HON. JEFFREY CHASE: Barr Intended To Attack The “Quintessential Particular Social Group In Society” — The Family — As Part Of His Restrictionist Deconstruction of Asylum Protections For Vulnerable Refugees — But, Can He Really Rewrite Reality? — Chase On Matter of L-E-A-!

Jeffrey S. Chase
Hon. Jeffrey S. Chase
Jeffrey S. Chase Blog


Aug 11 L-E-A-: How Much Did the AG Change?

In June 2018, the Attorney General issued his precedent decision in Matter of A-B-.  The AG intended his decision to lead to the denial of asylum claims based on domestic violence and gang violence by asylum officers, immigration judges, the BIA, and the circuit courts.  The decision also aimed to compel asylum officers to find those arriving at the southern border to lack the credible fear necessary for entry into the court system, allowing for their immediate deportation.

However, the decision failed to achieve these goals.  A U.S. District Court decision, Grace v. Whitaker, prohibited USCIS from applying A-B- in credible fear determinations. And Immigration Judges have continued to grant significant numbers of domestic violence claims, concluding that A-B- did not prevent them from doing so, but only required their decisions to contain an in-depth analysis of their reasoning.  The case of A-B- herself presently remains pending before the BIA.

More recently, the Attorney General took the same approach to the question of whether family may constitute a particular social group.  While once again, the administration’s goal is to prevent such claims from passing credible fear interviews and from being granted asylum, the effort also seems likely to fail.

                         *                *                    *

“There can, in fact, be no plainer example of a social group based on common, identifiable and immutable characteristics than that of the nuclear family.  Indeed, quoting the Ninth Circuit, we recently stated that ‘a prototypical example of a “particular social group” would consist of the immediate members of a certain family, the family being a focus of fundamental affiliational concerns and common interests for most people.'”

The above language is from a 1994 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, Gebremichael v. INS, 10 F.3d 28 (1st Cir. 1994).  It pretty much reflects the view of every circuit court over the past 25 years.  Since Gebremichael, the BIA has added additional requirements of particularity and social distinction to the particular social group (“PSG”) requirements in a series of six precedent decisions issued between 2006 and 2014.  But as a recent practice advisory of CLINIC points out, the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Circuits have all recognized that family can constitute a PSG, and all have reiterated that opinion in decisions issued in 2014 or later, meaning that those courts have not found the BIA’s subsequent requirements to alter their longstanding view on the matter.

For this reason, when L-E-A- was first decided by the BIA in 2017, the parties were not in disagreement on this point – the issue had acquired a “the sky is blue” certainty.  The issue before the BIA was rather about nexus – i.e.  what was required to show that one’s feared persecution was in fact “on account of” such family membership.  The Board settled on a highly restrictive standard for establishing nexus, illustrated by the single example of the Romanov family in 1918 Russia.

Possibly fearing an influx of asylum-seeking Romanovs, Matthew Whitaker, during his very brief tenure as Acting Attorney General, felt the need to certify the decision to himself.  And on July 29, his successor, WIlliam Barr, issued a decision very reminiscent of A-B-.

As in A-B-, Barr justified vacating the Board’s decision because it relied on the parties’ stipulation to the issue in question.   In Barr’s view, this caused the resulting decision to lack the rigorous analysis deserving of a precedent decision.  While it remains unclear why rigorous legal analysis is required where everyone agrees to the correctness of the assertion (do we require rigorous mathematical analysis to the proposition that 2+2 = 4?), it should be noted that unlike Matter of A-R-C-G-, which was the single precedent decision holding that victims of domestic violence could be eligible for asylum, there is 25 years worth of circuit court case law on this point, plus the BIA’s own statement in Matter of Acosta that kinship could be a basis for a PSG, which dates to 1985, a point that the BIA reaffirmed over the next three decades, in Matter of C-A- (2006), and then, by reference to that case, in Matter of M-E-V-G- (2014).  Barr’s excuse is that, in his view, multiple circuits “have relied upon outdated dicta from the Board’s early cases.”

As in A-B-, the AG’s decision affects no change in the applicable legal standard.  The holding is quite narrow, simply overruling the part of the BIA’s decision discussing the cognizability of family as a PSG.  The decision doesn’t preclude such findings, but rather requires adjudicators to spend more time on each case, providing a detailed, step-by-step analysis before granting relief.  This is a critical point, as at least one IJ has said that L-E-A- has closed the door on family-based PSGs.  IJs had a similar reaction in the immediate aftermath of A-B-, stating that they can no longer grant domestic violence claims, only to realize otherwise over time.  Barr specifically states that his decision “does not bar all family-based social groups from qualifying for asylum,” adding “[t]o the contrary, in some societies, an applicant may present specific kinship groups or clans that, based on the evidence in the applicant’s case, are particular and socially distinct.”  He also cautions adjudicators to “be skeptical of social groups that appear to be “defined principally, if not exclusively, for the purposes of [litigation] . . . without regard to the question of whether anyone in [a given country] perceives [those] group[s] to exist in any form whatsoever.”  These are restatements of long-existing law.  Of course, the concept of family was not artificially created for litigation purposes.

In L-E-A-, Barr specifically referenced the canon of ejusdem generis, which the BIA applied in Matter of Acosta to conclude that a particular social group should not be interpreted more broadly than the other four terms (race, religion, nationality, and political opinion) that surround it in the statute.1  As the canon was applied to counter the argument that the legislative intent of the PSG ground was to serve as a broad, catch-all “safety net” for those deserving of protection but unable to fit within the other four protected categories, the AG is happy to rely on the premise in his decision as well.

However, ejusdem generis is a two-edged sword.  In the same way as it prevents the PSG category from being interpreted more broadly than its fellow protected grounds, it similarly prevents those other categories from being interpreted more broadly than PSG.

And therein lies the flaw in Barr’s argument that “as almost every [noncitizen] is a member of a family of some kind, categorically recognizing families as particular social groups would render virtually every [noncitizen] a member of a particular social group. There is no evidence that Congress intended the term “particular social group” to cast so wide a net.”

Every noncitizen is also a member of a race and a nationality.  And most believe in a religion of some type.  But no court has suggested that those categories are therefore too wide to form a protected ground for asylum purposes.  Barr fails to explain that belonging to a protected ground does not make one a refugee; everyone in the world belongs to one or more such categories; many of us belong to all five.  Asylum requires persecution (either suffered in the past, or a sufficient likelihood of suffering in the future), as well as a showing that such persecution was motivated more than tangentially in the persecutor’s view by the victim’s possessing one or more of the protected bases.  When one also considers how extreme the harm must be to be constitute persecution; that such harm must either be by the government, or by a person or group that the government is unable or unwilling to control, and that the asylum seeker must not be able to avoid such harm through reasonable relocation to a safer place within their own country, it is not an easy standard to satisfy.

Barr then further errs in claiming that the test for social distinction is not whether the nuclear family carries societal importance (which in fact is the test), but rather, whether the applicant’s “specific nuclear family would be ‘recognizable by society at large.’”  In that sentence, Barr supported his erroneous claim by misquoting Jeff Sessions in Matter of A-B-, by omitting the word “classes.”  The actual quote, “social groups must be classes recognizable by society at large,” actually supports the argument that nuclear families would enjoy social distinction.  By manipulating the language of case law, Barr attempts to equate “social distinction” with fame.  Under his proposed interpretation, an asylum seeker must be a Kardashian to satisfy the PSG standard, and a Romanov to then prove nexus.  (While such interpretation is clearly incorrect, I am nevertheless coining the term “Czardashian” here).

The true test for social distinction is whether the proposed group is consistent with how society divides itself.  And families are the most basic way that society divides itself into groups.  We are often identified in society as someone’s child, spouse, parent, or sibling.  When we meet someone with a familiar last name, the first thing we ask is “are you related to so and so?”  The reason we care to ask such question is precisely because families are socially distinct.  By comparison, no one has ever asked me if I’m a member of the group of “tall, gray-haired, left-handed immigration lawyers with glasses,” because that is the type of artificially concocted group that in no way reflects how society divides itself.

Barr’s statement that “unless an immediate family carries greater societal import, it is unlikely that a proposed family-based group will be ‘distinct’ in the way required by the INA for purposes of asylum” is nonbinding dicta, expressing the likelihood of success in claims not before him.2  Nevertheless, his statement also overlooks an important aspect of PSG analysis: the impact of persecution on public perception.  Social distinction is measured not in the eyes of the persecutors, but of society.  But as UNHCR points out in its 2002 Particular Social Group Guidelines, at para. 14, even though left-handed people are not a particular social group, “if they were persecuted because they were left-handed, they would no doubt quickly become recognizable in their society as a particular social group.”  So even if we were to accept Barr’s flawed premise that a regular, non-celebrity family lacks his misconstrued version of social distinction, as word spread of the targeting of its members, that family would gain social recognition pretty quickly.

And as CLINIC’s practice advisory astutely notes, societies accord social distinction to even non-famous families in its laws determining how property is inherited, or to whom guardianship of surviving children is determined.


  1. For a highly detailed analysis of the Chevron deference test as applied to Matter of A-B-, including the use of ejusdem generis as a canon of construction in step one of Chevron, see Kelley-Widmer, Jaclyn and Rich, Hillary, A Step Too Far: Matter of A-B-, ‘Particular Social Group,’ and Chevron (July 15, 2019). Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 19-30. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3410556 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3410556
  2. See CLINIC’s Practice Advisory at 3. Much thanks to CLINIC attorneys Victoria Neilson, Bradley Jenkins, and Rebecca Scholtz for so quickly authoring this excellent guide.

Copyright 2019 Jeffrey S. Chase.  All rights reserved.


There can be no doubt of Bill Barr’s anti-asylum bias, his poor lawyering skills, his lack of ethics, and his willingness to serve as a weapon of White Nationalist racist nonsense.  If you serve the cause like a toady, whether or not you “truly believe” becomes irrelevant. 

But, as Jeffrey points out, no matter how much the Barrs of the world would like to rewrite the law without going through the legislative or regulatory process, there is a long history of Article III Courts and the Immigration Courts themselves recognizing family-based asylum cases. 

There is also an irreducible truth staring Barr and his fellow restrictionists in the face: folks have been identifying themselves based on kinship ties from the beginning of history and other folks have been protecting, rejecting, joining, or excluding themselves from those family-based kinship groups since humans first walked the earth. Sometimes these processes have been peaceful, other times violent, sometimes cooperative, and sometimes coercive.

But, the reality is that family-based persecution happens every day of the week, through out our world.  In many many  instances it’s “at least one central reason” for the persecution.

Ironically, folks like Trump and Barr are doing their best to divide our country into as many hostile and sometimes violent, ethnic, racial and social groups as it can. But, in the end, whether within my lifetime or not, the truth will “eat up” the lies and false ideologies that drive Barr and the rest of the Trumpists. Sadly, however, by the time they are rightfully dislodged from power, too many will have died or been irrevocably harmed by their false doctrines and conscious disregard for human life, human decency, and well-established truths of human history.



CTGN VIDEO: “THE HEAT: MIGRATION, ASYLUM & DEPORTATION” – “New Due Process Army Warrior” Paulina Vera Makes Mincemeat Of FAIR’s Matthew O’Brien & His Bogus White Nationalist Narrative!

Pulina Vera
Paulina Vera
Lecturer in Law
George Washington Law


The Heat: Migration, Asylum and Deportation

Anand Naidoo


Published August 14, 2019 at 5:50 PM

Hundreds more undocumented immigrants are being rounded up by U.S. law enforcement and processed for deportation. But the United States is not the only country dealing with these issues.

In 2015 and 2016, a wave of migrants and refugees sought asylum in Europe as they fled wars in Syria and Iraq.  Thousands more have died, or have been rescued at sea, as they tried to reach Europe from Africa. And, Italy is taking a tough stance on migrants by closing reception centers and trying to prevent rescue boats from docking at Italian ports.  Meanwhile Australia has long had some of the toughest asylum policies in the world, as it tries to prevent migrants and refugees from entering its country.

To discuss all of this:

  • Daniel Ghezelbash is a senior lecturer at Macquarie Law School and author of “Refuge Lost: Asylum Law in an Interdependent World.”
  • Reuven Ziegleris an associate professor in international refugee law at the University of Reading.
  • Paulina Vera is a lecturer in law at The George Washington University Law School.
  • Matthew O’Brien is director of research at the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

See the video here:





Wow! O’Brien is a shameless liar. Hopefully, his descendants will view this video and see for posterity just what a racist apologist opportunist and vile White Nationalist he is.


Unfortunately, this isn’t a “debate.”  It’s a question of O’Brien’s lies, fabrications, and false narratives versus truth. Even DHS’s OWN studies refute many of O’Brien’s White Nationalist talking points!!


It’s sad that in an attempt to present “ both sides” of a picture that has only one legitimate side, the media has to dredge up guys like O’Brien and give them a forum for their ugly, callous, and demonstrably untrue false narratives. Very much like the debate about climate change where lying “pseudo scientists” get equal time with those stating the truth, while the world disintegrates.


In the end, elections and political pandering can determine who holds power, but they can’t change truth. Contrary to Trump and his lackeys, there are no “alternative facts” and Trump himself is a living example of “fake news” and its toxic effects on our country and humanity. In this case, the truth is that under Trump and with support from folks like FAIR, our world is spiraling downward toward chaos and destruction.

ANYBODY, like O’Brien, who claims that “sound judicial practices” are being followed in today’s unfair and dysfunctional Immigration Courts should not be taken seriously by the media or anyone else.


Many congrats to Paulina, a courageous graduate of the “Arlington Immigration Court Internship Program” and a “Charter Member of the New Due Process Army” for taking a stand and speaking truth to the lies and liars who currently hold power.






Erin Burnett
Erin Burnett
CNN Anchor
Erin Burnett OutFront 

Watch Erin eviscerate “Coach Cooch” — talk about debunking many of Trump’s flse narritives and blatant racist lies in one short piece:



Sarah Ruiz-Grossman
Sarah Ruiz- Grossman
News & Politics Reporter
Huffington Post
Annie Polland
Annie Polland
Historian & Executive Director
American Jewish Historical Society, NY

Read Sarah’s report of the mismatch, featuring American Jewish Historical Society’s Historian Annie Polland:





  7 hours ago

Ken Cuccinelli: Statue Of Liberty Poem About ‘People Coming From Europe’

Trump’s citizenship and immigration chief followed up his earlier comments about the famous Emma Lazarus poem with a racist clarification.

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Ken Cuccinelli, the Trump administration’s acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, reinforced his controversial interpretation of the inscription on the Statue of Liberty ― this time giving it a racist twist.

CNN journalist Erin Burnett was asking Cuccinelli about his earlier interview with NPR, in which he reworded the Emma Lazarus poem “The New Colossus,” saying: “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet, and who will not become a public charge.”


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“‘Wretched,’ ‘poor,’ refuse’ – right? That’s what the poem says America is supposed to stand for. So what do you think America stands for?” Burnett asked Cuccinelli.

“Well, of course, that poem was referring back to people coming from Europe,” Cuccinelli answered, “where they had class-based societies, where people were considered wretched if they weren’t in the right class … And it was written one year after the first federal public charge rule was written.”

It is unclear why Cuccinelli felt the need to specify the group of immigrants Lazarus was referring to. The poem itself describes the Statue of Liberty by saying, “From her beacon-hand/ Glows world-wide welcome.” USCIS did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

Cuccinelli was on NPR defending the Trump administration’s controversial new rule effectively barring legal immigrants who are on government benefits, like food stamps and Medicaid, from becoming permanent residents.

Josh Marshall




Lotsa folks asking for longer version of this cuccinelli clip. Here it is.


7:36 PM – Aug 13, 2019

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After his remarks on NPR, HuffPost spoke to Annie Polland, a historian and director of the organization that has the original manuscript of Lazarus’ poem.

“To see how something so expressive of the country’s greatest ideals, to see how it could be so contorted or distorted, is really, I think, dismay is the only word,” said Polland, the executive director of the American Jewish Historical Society in New York, adding that she was “not surprised because we’ve been hearing these sentiments more than we have in the past.”

Lazarus originally wrote the poem in 1883 and it was added to the statue in 1903. Since then, the poem has become a symbol of the United States’ history of immigration.

Polland argued that the poem “is as much about who America or what America should be, as it is about immigrants,” adding that “in many ways, America defines itself by how it’s welcoming immigrants.”


Bess Levin
Bess Levin
Politics & Finance Writer
Vanity Fair

And, speaking of “evisceration,” perhaps no pundit in American does it better than Vanity Fair’s Bess Levin, who as had “Don the Cons’s “number “dialed up” from the get-go:


Lady Liberty


Ken Cuccinelli doesn’t think the whole “give me your tired, your poor” business applies anymore.



AUGUST 13, 2019

BY WIN MCNAMEE/GETTY IMAGES.The base of the Statue of Liberty famously displays the words of Emma Lazarus, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” But, if Donald Trump’s top immigration official had it his way, the poem would be revised to reflect the president’s “rich immigrants only” policy.

Speaking to NPR on Tuesday, the day after the administration unveiled a new rule that will penalize green card applicants for “financial liabilities” like having a low credit score or using Medicaid, Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, was asked if Lazarus’s poem, “The New Colossus,” remains “part of the American ethos.” To which Cuccinelli offered some suggested edits inspired by the executive branch’s take on who should or shouldn’t be allowed to live in the United States. “They certainly are,” Cuccinelli said. “Give me your tired and your poor—who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.”

Aaron Rupar




Here’s acting USCIS director Ken Cuccinelli saying on NPR this morning that the Statue of Liberty plaque should be changed to read, “give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet, and who will not become a public charge.”


8:31 AM – Aug 13, 2019

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One day prior, Cuccinelli had told reporters at the White House that he was “certainly not prepared to take anything down off the Statue of Liberty,” though apparently, having slept on it, he’s now up for some kind of appendage. During his interview with NPR, Cuccinelli noted that the plaque bearing Lazarus’s words “was put on the Statue of Liberty at almost the same time as the first public charge was passed—very interesting timing.” It’s not at all clear what point he thought he was making.


Jon Favreau Breaks Down The Lion King’s Opening Scene


Despite having zero actual experience in immigration policy, Cuccinelli was hired in May thanks to previous work sponsoring bills that tried to repeal birthright citizenship and would force employees to speak English in the workplace. (Had the latter passed, we assume Cuccinelli would have proposed revising the Statue of Liberty’s poem to read, “Speak English, bitch.”) In 2013, his mother told the Washington Post that as Christians, the Cuccinellis raised their children to “care [for] the poor” and that “if someone is starving, you want to bring him a meal, not a book on how to cook,” lessons her son apparently forgot. (Speaking of his Christian values, Cuccinelli has said that homosexuality “brings nothing but self-destruction, not only physically but of their soul.”)

This isn’t the first time a member of the Trump administration has cast aspersions on the whole “give me your tired, your poor,” business. Back in 2017, Stephen Miller, the president’s chief white rage officer, told Jim Acosta that he didn’t give a shit about the poem because it “was added later and is not part of the original Statue of Liberty.”


We are “governed” by evil racist fools. It’s up to the “The Due Process Army” and others to defend America and American ideals from these ignorant, yet existentially dangerous, White Nationalist racists!









“DUH” ARTICLE OF THE DAY: Eugene Robinson @ WashPost: “Trump’s claim that he supports legal immigration turns out to be a lie”


Eugene Robinson
Eugene Robinson
Opinion Columnist
Washington Post

The erratic Trump administration has had just one consistent policy principle, one guiding North Star: punitive and often sadistic treatment of nonwhite immigrants.

President Trump’s claim that he supports legal immigration, as opposed to the undocumented “invasion” he rails against, turns out to be — big surprise — a lie. On Monday, the administration proved its antagonism toward those who “stand in line” and “come in the right way” by issuing a new rule forcing many legal immigrants to make an impossible choice: accept needed government benefits to which they are fully entitled, or preserve their chances of obtaining permanent residence.

Say you’re an immigrant from Mexico who came here legally to join family members who are already permanent residents or citizens. Say you’re working a full-time minimum-wage job, plus odd jobs nights and weekends. You are a productive member of society. You are paying payroll taxes, sales taxes, vehicle registration fees and other government levies. Still, as hard as you work, you can’t make ends meet.

You may be legally entitled to health care through Medicaid. You may be entitled to food assistance through the SNAP program, formerly known as food stamps. You may be entitled to housing assistance. But according to the new Trump administration rule — set to take effect in two months — if you use any of these programs, you might forfeit the opportunity to ever obtain a green card making you a permanent resident. That means you also forfeit the chance of ever becoming a citizen.

Long advocated by White House adviser Stephen Miller, the Torquemada of the immigration inquisition, the new policy is a major step in Trump’s crusade to Make America White Again. If it survives court challenges, the new rule could dramatically reduce legal — I repeat, legal — immigration from low-income countries. Not just coincidentally, I am sure, this means fewer black and brown people would be granted resident status.

Trump’s message to the world: Keep your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. As he memorably and disgracefully put it: “Our Country is FULL!”

A Homeland Security Investigations officer guards detained workers Aug. 7 after immigration raids at seven work sites across Mississippi. (Handout/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement/AFP/Getty Images)

This is part of a well-established pattern. Trump often uses immigrants as scapegoats, encouraging his supporters to blame them for any and all problems they face. But beneath the cynical posturing there appears to be genuine animus.

Does the president hate all immigrants? He did once allegedly muse about wanting more newcomers from Norway. But those who are not white are treated, by this administration, as if they were not fully human.

How else to characterize a policy of cruelly separating children from their asylum-seeking parents at the border? Of keeping children in cages and denying them toothbrushes or soap? Of cramming adults into overcrowded lockups when their only crime was to lawfully seek refuge from violence and persecution?

Last week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement staged what was apparently the biggest one-day immigration raid in modern American history. Approximately 680 men and women classified as “removable aliens” were arrested at seven work sites in Mississippi. Taken from their job sites, many left young children waiting in vain, and in anguish, for their parents to pick them up from school or day care.

ICE has limited resources — certainly nowhere near enough to go after all the estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States. The only policy that makes sense is to prioritize the capture and removal of those who pose a genuine danger, such as MS-13 gang members. But that’s not who you find punching a clock for minimum wage at a chicken plant in Mississippi. Instead, you find hard-working people trying to put food on the table for their families.

The raid was a demonstration, a warning, a show of force. If the administration were serious, it would have gone after the employers, who were not immediately hit with charges or sanctions — and are already looking for replacement workers. The message to undocumented migrants was: You are weak. We can hurt you whenever we want.

Sensible immigration reform would provide the law-abiding undocumented with a pathway to legal status and citizenship. But the Republican Party blocks action because it is terrified that these immigrants would eventually become Democrats. I wonder why.

I’m betting that not a single unemployed steelworker or laid-off coal miner moves to Mississippi to take those jobs plucking poultry. Trump’s immigration policy isn’t a matter of economics. Nor is it a matter of principle or fairness.

Cruelty isn’t a sideshow in the way Trump deals with nonwhite immigrants. It’s the main event.




I’m betting that not a single unemployed steelworker or laid-off coal miner moves to Mississippi to take those jobs plucking poultry. Trump’s immigration policy isn’t a matter of economics. Nor is it a matter of principle or fairness.

Cruelty isn’t a sideshow in the way Trump deals with nonwhite immigrants. It’s the main event.

So, why is it OK to have mindless cruelty be the “official policy” of the US? If it isn’t “OK,” what is each of us doing to remove this cancer that is eating away the fabric of America under the incredibly bogus and insulting mantra of “Making America Great Again?”

Is cruelty great? Is stupidity great? Is dumping on our fellow man great? Is environmental degredation great? Is blatant racism great? Is misogyny great? Is beating up on children great? Is corruption great? Is lying great? Is cowardice great? Is selfishness great? Is White Nationalism great? Is encouraging gun violence great? Are out of control deficits great? Is turning our backs on vulnerable refugees great? Is bullying other countries great? Is insulting our allies great? Are useless “trade wars” great? Is sucking up to the world’s worst dictators great? Is nuclear proliferation great? Is wiping entire species from the earth great? Is less health care great? Is election minipultion by Putin great? Are collasing bridges and deteriorating roads great? Is using public office for private gain great? Is nepotism great? Is failing to pay taxes great? Just what part of Trumpism does the “MAGA Crowd” think is “great?”

It’s not rocket science. Trump, Miller, ”Cooch Cooch,” & company are the vilest racists since the supposed end of Jim Crow (as we’re now seeing, that was an illusion; it never ended for the GOP and the Trumps of the world). The DHS and disgraceful and disingenuous cowards like McAleenan, Morgan, Albence, and Provost are their “handmaidens.” Barr is their enforcer. And the GOP is the racist party of the “New Jim Crow.”

It’s not just immigrants, Eugene. Once Trump and his neo-Nazi gang are done “Dred Scottifying” migrants, they are going after you and every other person of color and minority in the U.S. who dares to stand up to up to them.

Ironically, it’s a small handful of truly bizarre African Americans and Hispanic Americans who continue to support Trump, wrongly thinking that they are now “De Facto White” and consequently the “railroad cars will never be coming for them,” along with those who don’t vote, who could give Trump the electoral college edge he needs to remain in office (while likely losing the popular vote by an even larger margin than in 2016) and seal their own eventual demise and that of their families.                                                                                                                                                   

Some German Jews had converted to Lutheranism or Catholicism before World War II thinking that it would save them from Hitler and the anti-Semites. How did that work out for them?

Trump and today’s GOP are unapologetic racists as well as congenital liars lacking in any type of fundamental values. Their lies are many, selfishness rampant, and their policies and pronouncements vile. But, they must be taken seriously for the existential threat they are to the rest of us. To treat them as anything else or to express surprise when they turn out to be “as advertised,” is to push America and the world ever closer to the abyss.

Treating Trump as “normal” or a “legitimate” U.S. President, as too may Federal Judges, legislators, and some members of the media do, is a potentially fatal mistake. He’s a 24-caret fraud, but every bit as much of a threat to our nation’s future as George III was when the Declaration of Independence was written; probably greater, because he’s here on our shore, in person –trying to satisfy his own insatiable ego while destroying our nation.                                                                                                                                                                        



COURTSIDE HAS BEEN SAYING IT FOR YEARS: For Survival As A Nation, We Need To Keep All The Law Abiding (95+%) Legal & Undocumented Immigrants Already Here, PLUS Enact A Robust Increase In Legal Immigration In All Categories & Allow Many More Legally Admitted Refugees & Asylees — Unless & Until Congress Works Up The Courage (E.G., “Balls”) To Do This, Even Over The Objection Of The White Nationalist Racist Restrictionists, Large Scale “Civil” Immigration Enforcement Is A Beyond Stupid, Highly Unprofessional, Cruel Hoax — An Abuse Of Authority, & A Grotesque Waste Of Taxpayer Resources That Makes America Infinitely Worse As A Nation — FINALLY, THE SO-CALLED “MAINSTREAM MEDIA” IS STARTING TO “GET IT!


From the WashPost Editorial Board:

By Editorial Board

August 11

THE DEPORTATION sweep Wednesday by hundreds of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at several food processing plants in Mississippi left a trail of tears, business jitters and widespread anxiety in places where undocumented immigrants are so tightly woven into communities that the towns would struggle to exist without them. The raids inflicted predictable suffering — especially among children whose parents were suddenly carted off — to such a degree that just 24 hours afterward, ICE had released some 300 of the 680 migrants it had arrested, including those who had no criminal records.

President Trump, whose own family business has for many years employed migrants who entered the country illegally , pronounced the Mississippi action a “very good deterrent ” to unauthorized immigration. The evidence for that assertion is nil. Still, the sweep provided some useful reminders, not least that the United States cannot deport its way out of a dysfunctional immigration system.

First, the raids underline American agriculture’s deep dependency on undocumented workers, who in 2014 accounted for 17 percent of employees in the sector — and considerably more than that on farms and in many food processing plants. Little wonder that plant managers and local residents in towns targeted by ICE last week worried that the raids would sap their businesses and vitality.

The fact is that relatively few Americans want dirty, dangerous jobs that pay $12 per hour, while requiring some employees to report to work at 3 a.m. One study commissioned by the dairy industry suggested 3,500 dairy farms would close if half the country’s foreign-born workers were deported; another survey, from North Carolina, showed that in 2011, a minuscule number of the state’s nearly half-million jobless workers applied for 6,500 available farm jobs, and most of those who were hired couldn’t hack the work; most of the jobs were then filled by Mexicans.

Second, any large-scale enforcement action will inevitably result in families being broken apart — including those whose children are U.S. citizens. In 2017, two-thirds of unauthorized adult migrants had lived in the United States for more than a decade, according to the Pew Research Center; their median duration of residence was 15 years. Officials may not like the optics of crying toddlers and preteens whose parents have been taken away, but they shouldn’t be surprised.

Third, businesses like the ones in Mississippi that employ undocumented workers are subject to federal prosecution. But it was Republican leaders in the House of Representatives last year, on Mr. Trump’s watch, who blocked legislation that would have required private employers to use E-Verify, a data system used to check whether employees are legally present in the country. Farm groups, including those who represent major employers in Republican districts in California and elsewhere, are dead set against requiring E-Verify, knowing it would produce severe labor shortages.

ICE officials and federal prosecutors are right that deportation sweeps are within their purview as lawful enforcement actions. The problem is that the law is so blatantly misaligned with economic, social and political realities that it is magical thinking to believe that enforcement alone, in the absence of sweeping reform of existing laws, can make a dent in the nation’s population of 10.5 million undocumented immigrants.


Best Point: Immigrants at the “lower levels” of our economic ladder make just as much, probably more, contribution to the national prosperity, continued existence, and welfare as those at the top. And, certainly they do more for the good of the nation than Trump and the useless civil enforcement authorities at DHS.

While I’m not going to turn away a “rocket scientist” who wants to immigrate, we certainly need more qualified agricultural, home health care, and construction workers than “rocket scientists.” And, yes, logical choices to enforce and administer the law in a rational manner, including declining to enforce useless and counterproductive provisions, and to resist political pandering stemming from racist motives are well within the lawful discretion of all law enforcement agencies.

Quibble: Just because enforcement is technically “lawful” does not mean that it’s prudent or appropriate. Most of today’s civil immigration enforcement is immoral, wasteful, and corruptly intended to support racism and White Nationalism.

I suspect that the majority of the criminal statutes and ordinances now on the books in the U.S. are largely unenforced or only sporadically enforced. That’s good policing, good public policy, and poor legislating.

What if your local police devoted 100% of their resources to “busting” anyone who drove 1 mile over the speed limit while failing to investigate and prosecute homicide, rape, robbery, and other violent felonies? That’s technically “legal,” but both inane and fundamentally corrupt. Those responsible would likely be quickly removed from office.

And, let’s be clear: While DHS resources are being concentrated on White Nationalist nonsense like the “Mississippi Raids,” REAL CRIMES, such as fraud, wage and hour violations, abuse of migrants, hate crimes directed at migrants, human trafficking, drug trafficking, domestic violence, rape, bribery, soliciting of sexual favors by DHS agents, extortion, perjury, tax evasion, and other felonies are NOT being aggressively investigated or prosecuted by Trump’s White Nationalist regime.

That’s basically the way the immigration laws are being (mal)enforced in Trump’s name by folks like McAleenan, Albence, Morgan, Provost, and others. Don’t fall for their nonsensical apologist “we’re only enforcing the law” BS. (Also, what about the laws protecting refugees, asylum seekers, and encouraging legal immigration that these complicit clowns are unlawfully perverting or failing to enforce?)

Instead, vote to insure they and everyone associated with Trump are removed from office, required to make an honest living in the future, and replaced with competent, humane, and ethical folks who will resist and when necessary “out” racism and White Nationalism in all of its toxic forms. Just because enforcement of obsolete, unworkable, and discriminatory laws might be technically “legal” doesn’t make it right, sensible, or moral. And, in the case of the Trump Administration, it’s downright immoral, dishonest, and counterproductive.



FRAUD, WASTE, & ABUSE @ “JUSTICE” – Barr & Co. Seek To Punish National Association of Immigration Judges (”NAIJ”) For Daring To Stand Up For Due Process & Judicial Independence!


Christina Goldbaum
Christina Goldbaum
Immigration Reporter
NY Times

Christina Goldbaum reports for the NY Times:

By Christina Goldbaum

  • 10, 2019

The Justice Department has moved to decertify the union of immigration judges, a maneuver that could muffle an organization whose members have sometimes been openly critical of the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement agenda.

The department filed a petition on Friday asking the Federal Labor Relations Authority to determine whether the union, the National Association of Immigration Judges, should have its certification revoked because its members are considered “management officials” ineligible to collectively organize, according to a Justice Department spokesman.

The move suggested escalating tensions between overwhelmed immigration judges desperate for greater resources and a Justice Department pushing them to quickly address a backlog of immigration cases.

“This is a misguided effort to minimize our impact,” said Judge Amiena Khan, vice president of the judges’ union, which has publicly criticized the use of a quota system in immigration court and other attempts to speed up proceedings.

“We serve as a check and balance on management prerogatives and that’s why they are doing this to us,” said Judge Khan.

Unlike other federal judges who are part of the judicial branch, immigration judges are appointed by the attorney general and are employees of the Justice Department. Though sitting judges are prohibited from speaking publicly about issues that could be considered political, representatives of the immigration judges’ union can speak publicly about Justice Department policies on behalf of its members.

This is not the first time an administration has challenged the organization. The Clinton administration also tried to decertify the immigration judges’ union, a move that the Federal Labor Relations Authority rejected, according to former immigration judges.

Both Judge Khan and the union president, Judge Ashley Tabaddor, have spoken out repeatedly against what they say is an attempt to turn immigration judges from neutral arbiters of the law to law enforcement agents enacting the White House’s policies. They have called for immigration judges to be independent of the Justice Department.

Last year, the union criticized the department’s quota system, which required immigration judges to complete 700 cases per year, as well as a move to bar judges from an administrative tool they had previously used to reduce their caseloads. The union says the focus on efficiency impedes judges’ ability to work through complicated cases and could affect the due process rights of immigrants in court.

The pressure to hear more cases more quickly amounts to “psychological warfare,” Judge Tabaddor said last year.

Addressing some of the union’s concerns, the Justice Department has tried to tackle the backlog, which now totals more than 830,000 cases, by hiring more immigration judges. Judges appointed by President Trump now make up 43 percent of the nation’s immigration judges, a larger share than under any of his five predecessors, according to a recent analysis by The Associated Press. A large number of his appointees are former military or Immigration and Customs Enforcement lawyers, the analysis found.

But that hiring has not been accompanied by other necessary support, Judge Khan said.

“I can’t work alone, I am reliant on support staff,” said Judge Khan. “Right now there are two judges to one support staff person,” which has delayed the progress of cases despite the additional judges, she said.

The judges’ union plans to officially respond to the Justice Department’s petition once it receives official notification from the Federal Labor Relations Authority.

If the attempt to decertify the union is successful, it could leave judges without recourse for their already overwhelming workload, judges said.

“The union won’t be able to help judges with overall working conditions at a time when most all judges would tell you working conditions are worse now than they have ever been,” said Paul Schmidt, a former immigration judge.

Judge Khan called the Justice Department’s petition part of “a systematic attack on unions” representing federal employees under the Trump administration. Last year, Mr. Trump signed a series of executive orders that rolled back the workplace role of unions for at least two million federal workers and made it easier to fire them. The administration said the move would make the government more efficient.

The Justice Department’s recent petition will most likely prompt an investigation by the Federal Labor Relations Authority, according to a department spokesman.



Seems like the investigation ought to be into ethical violations and attempts to misuse Federal labor laws by Bill Barr. A substantially identical challenge to the NAIJ was soundly rejected by the same agency, the FLRA, back in the late 1990’s under the Clinton administration.


Since then, over the strong objection of the NAIJ, the status of Immigration Judges has been even farther reduced to that of glorified “deportation clerks.” The idea that individuals whose little remining discretion has been removed have somehow morphed into “management officials” is both totally absurd and a confirmation that so-called “management officials” in the Federal Government under the Trump Administration have nothing to manage.


Seems like this clear abuse of our legal system by Barr and his cronies should be a subject for investigation by the House Judiciary Committee and would warrant commencement of impeachment proceedings against arrogant, anti-American scofflaw Bill Barr. Not that Barr hasn’t already been found in contempt of Congress and the American people – he has. He’s a disgusting character – a disgrace to public service and the legal profession.


I suppose he will escape accountability in his lifetime. But, the “Jefferson Davis of the Justice Department” will certainly receive the judgement of history against him for his betrayal of his country and his racist, White Nationalist misconduct clothed in a thin veneer of undeserved credibility based on his success in the corporate legal world. If anything, that a sleazy and corrupt character like Barr could prosper in the world of “white shoe corporate law” is an indictment of that system and its total lack of values and ethical standards.


Meanwhile, it appears that the actions of the NAIJ have been successful in striking a nerve among the DOJ kakistocracy. As with the corrupt, inept, and racist-infested DHS, the current inability of the DOJ as an institution to stand up to Barr’s dishonesty, corruption, and lawless behavior certainly merits a reexamination of the role and structure of the DOJ down the line with an eye toward determining how an institution supposedly staffed with “officers of the court” could be so cowardly and inept when it comes to standing up against internal abuses and contempt for our Constitution.


In addition, the latest abuse of authority by Barr emphasizes the need for immediate removal of the Immigration Courts from Barr’s control and a reversal of the “Chevron doctrine” of “judicial task avoidance” that has granted the DOJ’s immigration kakistocracy clearly unwarranted and unjustified “deference.”


Finally, I pass along my favorite quip from one of my former colleagues about the exalted “management role” of today’s Immigration Judges: “I often say I am not even permitted to manage the pencils in my courtroom.”


While there is a certain type of “dark humor” in the actions of Barr and the other “malicious incompetents” in the Trump Administration, there is nothing funny about the innocent lives being lost or threatened by their actions or the damage that these “evil clowns” are inflicting on our Constitution and our instructions.








NO MISSION, NO CREDS, NO SHAME: DHS Abandoned Our “National Security” When Trump Took Power — Now (Wittingly or Not) It’s Largely A White Nationalist Tool With A Huge Racism Problem Whose Highest Profile Activities Harm America, Rip Off Taxpayers, & Have Little Or No Relation To Real Law Enforcement — In Plain Terms, A Dangerous & Unnecessary Internal Political Police Force!



Angela Stuesse writes in the Washington Post:


By Angela Stuesse

Angela Stuesse is a cultural anthropologist at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. To learn more about immigrant and U.S.-born workers in Mississippi’s poultry industry, pick up her book, “Scratching Out a Living: Latinos, Race, and Work in the Deep South.”

August 9 at 6:00 AM

On Wednesday people across the United States were shocked by the news that ICE raids at a handful of Mississippi chicken plants had resulted in the largest single-state immigration enforcement action in U.S. history, with nearly 700 people detained. As surprising as the news was, coming on the heels of a deadly mass shooting that targeted Latinos, perhaps just as surprising was the location of the raids in the deep, rural South.

The prominence of Latinos in Mississippi’s chicken plants and communities today was not accidental. It was calculated, strategic and intimately related to deeply rooted structures of labor exploitation in the region. Beginning in the 1990s, Latin American immigrants were recruited to the state by the poultry industry, where they arrived to work in some of the lowest-paid and most dangerous jobs in the country. This week’s raids target deeply rooted workers and families and leave behind a devastated community, while also terrorizing many others across the country.

The roots of the heavily Latino workforces in Southern poultry plants lie in the growing American appetite for chicken during the 1990s, and the stirrings of a labor movement by African American plant workers. As poultry production expanded, workers’ pay and opportunities remained stagnant. As a result, labor organizing among the plants’ predominantly African American workforce began to gain traction.

Facing the prospect of its first union contract negotiations and in search of more “flexible” (read: exploitable and expendable) workers, in 1994 a chicken plant in Morton, Miss., headed to Miami in search of immigrant labor.

Advertising in Cuban stores and local papers, it took the poultry processor just one week to fill a Greyhound bus of immigrants eager for work. This experiment marked the beginning of the plant’s formal Hispanic Project, which included not just recruitment and transportation from Florida but also the provision of housing — mostly in dilapidated and overcrowded trailers — as well as local transportation and leisure activities, all for fees deducted from workers’ paychecks that often reduced their meager earnings to below minimum wage.

In its roughly four years of operation, the Hispanic Project recruited nearly 5,000 workers to two Mississippi towns with a combined population of less than 10,000. Not everyone stayed, but this scheme caught on, and other plants began recruiting Latinx immigrant workers from Florida, Texas and even farther afield.

Getting creative, one poultry processor offered its workers $600 for each new employee they recruited who stayed at least three months. Entrepreneurial individuals took full advantage of this incentive to recruit family, friends and others in their social networks in the United States and in their home countries. Once these connections were made, the plants no longer had to leave the state to recruit foreign workers. In the words of the architect of the Hispanic Project, “They were right here.”

By the time I arrived to work in Mississippi’s poultry communities alongside the Mississippi Poultry Workers’ Center in 2002, over half of the country’s quarter-million poultry workers were immigrants, most of them in the South. A mapping of poultry production and Latino population growth shows that poultry has been a major driving force of a demographic transformation in the region. In Mississippi, it was the driving force, increasing the Latino population in some poultry towns by over 1000 percent in the 1990s.

And this transformation of the poultry workforce has only continued over time. Today’s Mississippi poultry workers are from nearly every part of the continent, hailing from Argentina, Peru, Guatemala, Mexico, Uruguay, Nicaragua, Cuba, Honduras, Venezuela and other Latin American and Caribbean countries. They are doing work that is hazardous, painful and often degrading. They work long hours for low pay, scratching out a living so that the rest of us can buy cheap chicken.

And they do so because they were literally invited, recruited and incentivized to come. For ICE to be conducting raids in Mississippi ignores this history and ignores how the poultry workers recruited to these towns a quarter century ago have laid down roots. They have made Mississippi home and raised families.

Though industry leaders didn’t predict it at the time, the Hispanic Project changed the landscape of Mississippi and the rural South. In poultry towns across the region, today you can find authentic Mexican food, pickup soccer games, an abundance of Spanish-language churches, and schools brimming with bright and eager young Latinx Americans, U.S. citizens who are growing up as Southern as their peers.

Rooted members of the community, regardless of immigration status, deserve better than to be ripped away from their jobs and loved ones. Although neighbors and community organizations like the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance are working to support affected children and families, these raids ripple through communities, devastating individuals and families, and the most vulnerable people pay the highest price. As the alt-right celebrates this wreckage as another win for white nationalists, let us keep in view that these immigrants are here because 25 years ago one Mississippi poultry executive conceived an inventive idea, to flood the processing lines with eager and compliant immigrant workers.

And while they come at enormous costs to thriving, vibrant communities, these raids do little to affect immigration trends; people continue to migrate to the United States to survive. What they do affect is the working conditions for everyone. With the threat of family separation, detention and deportation hanging over people’s heads, immigrant workers are less likely to organize and less likely to speak out against poor conditions — and employers are more likely to take advantage of them. This ripples through the economy, depressing wages for U.S.-born workers, as well. The mounting threat of deportation and rising xenophobia help keep workers compliant, serving owners’ interests and consumers’ pocketbooks — but harming the people who prepare our food.


Today, DHS has morphed into an agency without legitimate purpose, direction, values, or decency. It operates largely without regard for  strategically effective use of limited public resources. It’s also horribly managed, mostly by “malicious incompetents.”

Undoubtedly, there are many necessary and legitimate functions within the “DHS mess.” And probably the majority of DHS employees are dedicated public servants, trying to do the best they can under the circumstances. But, the “DHS experiment” has miserably failed. Time to cut our losses as a nation.

The DHS should be dissolved, ridded of its racist culture, and the essential security, public service, and law enforcement functions reassigned to other agencies with legitimate missions, workable management structures, and proven competence (e.g., FBI, HHS, State, U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, etc.).

The “civil” immigration enforcement function likely could be sharply reduced in terms of both funding and personnel without any adverse effect on true “national security.” Indeed, elimination of the current misdirection of resources toward cruel, inhumane, and overwhelmingly unnecessary “civil detention,” mindless enforcement of provisions that often defeat the national interest (like the cruelly inane operation described in this article), failure to exercise prosecutorial discretion in a rational and professional manner, and racist grandstanding would greatly increase our actual national security while allowing resources to be directed in a more efficient and effective manner. And safeguards and oversight should be put in place to ensure that immigration enforcement and adjudication never again become tools of White Nationalism, racism, and neo-fascism.

A focus on election security and stopping White Supremacist domestic terrorism, missions that DHS has shamefully swept under the table, at best, and actively undermined, at worst, is also essential.




COURAGEOUS U.S IMMIGRATION JUDGES LIKE PAUL GAGNON OF THE BOSTON IMMIGRATION COURT CONTINUE TO PROTECT ABUSED REFUGEE WOMEN UNDER THE LAW DESPITE SESSIONS’S EXTRALEGAL ATTEMPT TO ELIMINATE PROTECTION IN MATTER OF A-B- — Continuing Threats By Bill Barr & EOIR Against Judges Who Act Fairly & Impartially Fail To Deter Some From Upholding Their Oaths Of Office — Of Course, “Women in Guatemala” are a “Particular Social Group,” As Beautifully & Convincingly Set Forth By Judge Gagnon’s Recent Decision, A Primer On The Proper Application Of Asylum Law That Carries Out The Intent Of The Supreme’s 1987 Decision in Cardoza-Fonseca!

Boston Judge Gagnon Decision

Thanks to Judge Jeffrey Chase, leader of our Roundtable of Former Immigration Judges for sending this to me.

Also, I join Judge Chase in congratulating Gerald D. Wall and the Greater Boston Legal Services (a clinical program of Harvard Law School) for providing pro bono representation in this case.

Note how succinct, straightforward, logical, and well-supported by authority Judge Gagnon’s decision is. Compare that with the nearly incomprehensible 30+ page anti-asylum, lie-filled, intellectually dishonest, and legally incorrect screed written by Sessions in support of his cowardly extralegal attack on some of the most vulnerable and deserving of protection among us in his Matter of A-B- atrocity.

Now think of how the system could work if Judge Gagnon’s correct decision were the precedent and all asylum applicants had access to qualified pro bono counsel.

Many cases could be promptly granted by an honest USCIS Asylum Office committed to properly applying protection law.  They would not even have to reach the backlogged Immigration Courts or be subjected to toxic, counterproductive “gimmicks” like “Let ‘Em Die in Mexico” or absurdities like claiming that everyone should apply in Guatemala, from which this respondent was fleeing for her life and which has neither a functional government nor a credible asylum system.

That, plus perhaps using retired judges from all types of courts and bringing back retired Asylum Officers and adjudicators trained to recognize and quickly grant “slam dunk” asylum cases like this would be the key to establishing a credible, independent, Immigration Court and a reestablishing a functioning asylum system of which we all could be proud.

Instead, our current maliciously incompetent White Nationalist regime continues to ignore our laws, our Constitution, and our international obligations in leading a cowardly and disreputable “race to the bottom” in which the richest and most powerful country in the world conducts itself as a “Banana Republic” led by a tinhorn dictator.




TRUMP SEES MASS MURDER AS OPPORTUNITY TO SPREAD LIES, HATE, RACISM, & DIVISION, WHILE TOUTING HIS “PERSONALITY CULT” — Hits On Leaders of Dayton, El Paso, While Upping Racial Tensions That Undoubtedly Will Lead To More White Supremacist Domestic Terror In The Near Future!


Ashley Parker
Ashley Parker
White House Reporter
Washington Post

From the Washington Post:

By Ashley Parker ,

Philip Rucker ,

Jenna Johnson and

Felicia Sonmez

August 8 at 12:01 AM

EL PASO — On a day when President Trump vowed to tone down his rhetoric and help the country heal following two mass slayings, he did the opposite — lacing his visits Wednesday to El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, with a flurry of attacks on local leaders and memorializing his trips with grinning thumbs-up photos.

A traditional role for presidents has been to offer comfort and solace to all Americans at times of national tragedy, but the day provided a fresh testament to Trump’s limitations in striking notes of unity and empathy.

When Trump swooped into the grieving border city of El Paso to offer condolences following the massacre of Latinos allegedly by a white supremacist, some of the city’s elected leaders and thousands of its citizens declared the president unwelcome.

In his only public remarks during the trip, Trump lashed out at Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, both Democrats, over their characterization of his visit with hospital patients in Dayton.

“We had an amazing day,” Trump said in El Paso as he concluded his visit. “As you know, we left Ohio. The love, the respect for the office of the presidency.”

Trump also praised El Paso police officers and other first responders and shook their hands, telling one female officer, “I saw you on television the other day and you were fantastic.”

None of the eight patients still being treated at University Medical Center in El Paso agreed to meet with Trump when he visited the hospital, UMC spokesman Ryan Mielke said. Two victims who already had been discharged returned to the hospital with family members to meet with the president.

“This is a very sensitive time in their lives,” Mielke said. “Some of them said they didn’t want to meet with the president. Some of them didn’t want any visitors.”

Before Trump’s visit Wednesday, however, some of the hospitalized victims accepted visits from a number of city and county elected officials, as well as Reps. Veronica Escobar (D-Tex.) and Jesús “Chuy” García (D-Ill.).

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said the president and first lady Melania Trump met with “victims of the tragedy while at the hospital” and were “received very warmly by not just victims and their families, but by the many members of medical staff who lined the hallways to meet them. It was a moving visit for all involved.”

El Paso and Dayton were not merely the latest in the multiplying series of American mass shootings. The carnage in El Paso is being investigated as an act of domestic terrorism, with parallels between a racist manifesto posted minutes before the shooting and the president’s own anti-immigration rhetoric.

President Trump is greeted by Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio on Wednesday. (Ty Greenlees/AP)

This has thrust Trump into the center of a roiling political and societal debate, with some Democratic leaders saying the president has emboldened white supremacy and is a threat to the nation.

Former vice president Joe Biden, who is running to unseat Trump in 2020, said in a speech Wednesday, “We have a president with a toxic tongue who has publicly and unapologetically embraced a political strategy of hate, racism and division.”

When the Mayor of Dayton first saw @realDonaldTrump tweet about her pic.twitter.com/Z8YdyeebXp

— Scott Wartman (@ScottWartman) August 7, 2019

Both in Dayton and El Paso, Trump kept almost entirely out of public view, a marked break with tradition, as presidents visiting grieving communities typically offer public condolences.

Trump avoided the Oregon district where the shooting in Dayton took place, and just a short drive from Miami Valley Hospital, which he did visit. Whaley said he would not have been welcome in the Oregon District, where scores of demonstrators congregated, holding ­anti-Trump signs and chanting “Do something!” in a call for stricter gun laws.

Brown and Whaley described the visit by the president and first lady in favorable terms.

“They were hurting. He was comforting. He did the right things. Melania did the right things,” Brown told reporters. “And it’s his job in part to comfort people. I’m glad he did it in those hospital rooms.”

Whaley added: “I think the victims and the first responders were grateful that the president of the United States came to Dayton.”

Both Brown and Whaley, however, were also sharply critical of Trump’s divisive rhetoric and Republican resistance to gun-control legislation.

Whaley later responded to Trump’s comments about her and Brown by calling him “a bully and a coward.” She said on CNN, “It’s fine that he wants to bully me and Sen. Brown. We’re okay. We can take it.”

The traveling press corps was not allowed to observe Trump’s visit with three victims who remained hospitalized. It fell therefore to White House aide Dan Scavino to proclaim in a tweet that Trump “was treated like a Rock Star inside the hospital.”

[‘Hispanic invasion’: A white nationalist version of Texas that never existed]

Trump and the first lady also met with police officers, fire officials, trauma surgeons and nurses at the facility, which treated 23 victims of the shooting. The hospital invited victims who had already been released to come back and meet with the president and the first lady.

“It was an authentic visit,” hospital president Mike Uhl said, praising Trump as “attentive, present and extremely accommodating.”

Trump offered his own affirmation on Twitter: “It was a warm & wonderful visit. Tremendous enthusiasm & even Love.”

Grisham said journalists were kept out of the hospital visit because staff did not want it to devolve into “a photo op” and overwhelm the victims with media.

The White House, however, distributed its own photos of Trump smiling for pictures with first responders, along with a slickly produced video, helping make the president the center of attention.

Trump’s reception in El Paso was less hospitable, and not only because so many local leaders have said they believe his rhetoric inspired Saturday’s slayings at a shopping center near the U.S.-Mexico border. Although he won the state of Texas in the 2016 election, Trump captured just 25.7 percent of the vote in El Paso County, the worst performance recorded here by a major-party presidential candidate in at least two decades.

An ever-growing makeshift memorial has sprouted near the shooting scene that features piles of colorful flowers, a row of white crosses, a line of prayer candles, as well as messages to the president. “Mr. T, Respect our sorrow and grief. Do not ‘invade’ our city,” reads one note, a reference to Trump’s repeated warnings of a migrant “invasion” at the border.

Just before Trump arrived in El Paso — where he and the first lady met with law enforcement personnel at an emergency operations center following their hospital visit — several hundred people gathered in opposition to his trip .

Congregating under the hot midday sun in a baseball field for an “El Paso Strong” event, some held homemade signs. “Go home! You are NOT welcome here!” read one. “This was Trump-inspired terrorism,” read another. “Trump repent,” read a third.

At one point, the crowd chanted, “Send him back!” — a nod to the incendiary “Send her back!” chant about Somali-born Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) at one of Trump’s campaign rallies last month.

“We feel like right now we should be in mourning, and we feel like we should be collecting our thoughts, we should be doing vigils and we should be gathering together as a community. We believe it is an insult that the president is coming here,” said one of the organizers, Jaime Candelaria, a 37-year-old singer and songwriter.

[‘Be quiet!’: Trump claims Beto O’Rourke uses a ‘phony name to indicate Hispanic heritage’]

Escobar said onstage, “In this moment, someone is visiting … I felt it was important that we come together and not focus on the visitor, but focus on El Paso.” She added, “We will not stop resisting the hate! Resisting the bigotry! Resisting the racism!”

In the crowd at the El Paso Strong event was Shawn Nixon, 20, a Walmart employee who was at work restocking the school supplies area when the gunman opened fire Saturday morning. At the sound of the shots, Nixon said he fell to the ground, pulling with him a young child who had been shopping with his mother.

“All I’m just asking for Donald Trump, for the president, to do is to say ‘sorry,’ ” Nixon said. “He created this crime. He created it because of his words. Every time that he’s on TV, that’s what he’s doing.”

During his flight home from El Paso, Trump attacked Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.), the twin brother of presidential candidate Julián Castro, tweeting that he “makes a fool of himself every time he opens his mouth.” The congressman has come under scrutiny for publicizing a list of San Antonio donors who have contributed to Trump and accusing them of “fueling a campaign of hate.”

On Saturday in El Paso, authorities said, a man opened fire inside the Walmart, killing 22 people and injuring two dozen others. At 1:05 a.m. Sunday, a gunman killed nine people and injured 27 others outside a bar in Dayton, police said.

All week, Trump has zigzagged between two competing instincts: unite and divide.

In the immediate aftermath of the shootings, Trump remained cloistered at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., issuing only short statements on Twitter. Back at the White House on Monday, the president delivered a scripted speech in which he preached harmony.

“Now is the time to set destructive partisanship aside — so destructive — and find the courage to answer hatred with unity, devotion and love,” Trump said, reading from teleprompters.

The president did not heed his own advice, however. Late Tuesday night, he took to Twitter to attack Beto O’Rourke, the former El Paso congressman running for president who has said Trump bears some responsibility for the shooting there because of his demonization of Latino immigrants.

Trump tweeted: “Beto (phony name to indicate Hispanic heritage) O’Rourke, who is embarrassed by my last visit to the Great State of Texas, where I trounced him, and is now even more embarrassed by polling at 1% in the Democrat Primary, should respect the victims & law enforcement — & be quiet!”

Then, as he departed the White House on Wednesday morning en route to Ohio, Trump told reporters he would refrain from attacking his adversaries during the trip.

“I would like to stay out of the political fray,” the president said. Asked about his rhetoric, he said he thinks it “brings people together” and added, “I think we have toned it down.”

[Gannett building in McLean evacuated after reports of man with weapon]

That detente lasted only a few minutes. Answering a reporter’s question about Biden, Trump pounced. “Joe is a pretty incompetent guy,” the president said. “Joe Biden has truly lost his fastball, that I can tell you.”

By the time the president had left Dayton, he was back on Twitter and sniping at Democrats, a tirade triggered by his consumption of cable television news aboard Air Force One.

“Watching Sleepy Joe Biden making a speech. Sooo Boring! The LameStream Media will die in the ratings and clicks with this guy,” the president wrote.

Then he lashed out at Brown and Whaley, falsely accusing them of “totally misrepresenting” the reception he received at Miami Valley Hospital. He alleged that their news conference immediately after the president’s visit “was a fraud.”

But neither Brown nor Whaley said Trump received a poor reception at the hospital.

When Whaley first saw Trump’s tweets criticizing her and Brown, she paused for a moment to read them on a cellphone and said, “I don’t — I mean, I’m really confused. We said he was treated, like, very well. So, I don’t know why they’re talking about ‘misrepresenting.’

“Oh, well, you know,” the mayor added with a shrug. “He lives in his world of Twitter.”

Parker and Johnson reported from El Paso, and Rucker and Sonmez reported from Washington. Arelis R. Hernández in Dayton, Robert Moore in El Paso, and Colby Itkowitz and John Wagner in Washington contributed to this report.


Totally lacking in human decency. Totally unqualified for any office, let alone the highest one in the land. Will enough folks ”wise up” and stand up to this cowardly bully before it’s too late for all of us?



SHOCKER: Trump’s Shockingly Disingenuous & Inappropriate Speech About El Paso Is Perceived By Many El Pasoans As . . . Shockingly Disingenuous & Inappropriate! — Fails To Mention Or Reach Out To Majority Latino/Hispanic Community Targeted By His Consistent Message Of Hate & Dehumanization!


Suzanne Gamboa
Reporter, NBC News

Suzanne Gamboa reports for NBC News:

Some El Paso residents outraged by Trump’s speech that ‘failed to mention Latinos’

EL PASO, Texas — President Donald Trump condemned white supremacy from the White House Monday, but left Hispanics and Latinos out of his speech.

It’s a significant omission and a stark difference from the written document that has been linked to the 21-year-old gunman who allegedly opened fire on weekend shoppers Saturday at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. The shooter’s alleged document mentions a Hispanic invasion, the increasing Hispanic population and a decision by its writer to target Hispanics after reading a right-wing conspiracy theory asserting Europe’s white population is being replaced with non-Europeans.

The death toll in the El Paso attack, which is being investigated as domestic terrorism, rose to 22 on Monday.

“We’ve got dead bodies. The majority are Hispanic. Some are foreign nationals from Mexico and we got a manifesto describing what he intends to do and why,” said state Rep. Cesar Blanco, a Democrat who represents El Paso.

“I think it’s telling; he failed to mention Latinos,” Blanco said of the president. “He failed to mention that our community is majority Latino, but it doesn’t surprise me.”

The Mexican government confirmed that eight of the victims identified so far were Mexican citizens, not unexpected considering the city of El Paso and surrounding communities of El Paso County, Texas are about 83 percent Latino.

Add to that the number of shoppers and workers from Mexico who legally cross the international border each day to shop, dine, work and visit family. The Walmart is part of a complex of retail outlets, with a Sam’s Club and the Cielo Vista mall next door. There is also a theater close by along with many restaurants and hotels.

Trump did say in the speech that he had sent his condolences to Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, because eight citizens from Mexico were among the dead. But he didn’t make specific mention of El Paso’s residents of Latino descent, who comprise the majority of the community.

Jeramey Maynard, 26, a local artist and restaurant manager, said Trump’s response has been largely political, exemplified by the president’s call to combine gun regulation reforms with immigration reform.

“He’s choosing his words without saying Hispanic or immigrant and making it about other things,” Maynard said. “He’s been having these racist comments. When it comes time to defend the community, of course we are not going to hear him say anything about the Hispanic community.”

Maynard added that he thought Trump “would paint it with the broadest brush he can. Why would he say something he thinks supports the Democratic Party?”

‘Target on our back’

Trump launched his 2016 election campaign with disparaging words, seen by many as racist, about people in the United States who have come from Mexico.

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems,” Trump said to a largely white crowd at Trump Tower in New York. “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people …”

Some defended the president saying he was referring only to immigrants who commit crimes and not speaking of Latinos in the United States as a whole.

But then Trump went on to question the ability of a U.S. district court judge to be impartial because he is of Mexican descent.

Trump’s political rallies have often been filled with chants of “Build the Wall” in reference to his pledge to build a wall across the entire border and make Mexico pay for it.

He responded to the influx of Central Americans seeking asylum by separating children from their parents and allowing border officials to hold them in chain-link pens.

In the past several days, many Latinos have been vocal about what they see as a through line between the president’s rhetoric and the shooting in El Paso.

Rep. Veronica Escobar, a Democrat whose district includes El Paso, said she had hoped Trump would have apologized for his rhetoric, which she said put a target on the city’s back.

“I would encourage him to do that,” she said.

The city has seen stark evidence of fear that exists among families because of the Trump hardline on immigration, according to several residents.

Marisa Limón Garza, deputy director of the Hope Border Institute, said the organization fielded calls from families who were directly affected by the shootings and families who were looking for loved ones.

They were afraid to go to the hospital or to interact with police and border enforcement, who responded to the shooting.

“If you are undocumented or of a mixed status household, the last place you want to go is where there is a tremendous amount of police presence,” Limón Garza said. Immigrants often are part of families that may include a mix of citizens, legal residents and people without legal status.

Her organization has been working with families to help them get the help they need, but she said it is a daily occurrence for people without legal permission to be in the country to be afraid to go to the hospital.

“This is just another layer of psychological trauma that this community has to face when we have already been ground zero for so many other challenges,” she said.

‘The illness is racism and xenophobia’

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus pushed Trump to commit to no longer using “invasion“ to describe Hispanic communities, immigrants or refugees to the country.

The caucus also asked the Trump administration to “acknowledge the threat of white supremacy and domestic terrorism” and to “combat this state of emergency head-on” with federal resources.

Rep. Joaquín Castro, D-Texas, twin brother of presidential candidate Julián Castro, said in a statement that the caucus is grateful Trump addressed the El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, tragedies.

But he said, “this does not make up for the years of attacks by President Trump on Hispanic Americans and our immigrant communities.”

“During the president’s address, he blamed the Internet, news media , mental health and video games, among others … Unfortunately, he did not take responsibility for the xenophobic rhetoric that he has frequently used to demonize and dehumanize Hispanic Americans and immigrants over the past four years.”

But Limón Garza said the tragedy has not been confined to immigrants.

“Here in El Paso we are a community that is over 80 percent Latino and that means people that are immigrant themselves and then people who have been here for generations,” she said. “It’s clear it was not just a random attack. It’s clear that this cannot be called someone with a mental illness. This illness is racism and xenophobia.”

Follow NBC Latino on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Trump delivered a dishonest, divisive, and totally insincere condemnation of White Supremacy designed and delivered primarily to reassure his White Supremacist supporters that he’s really still on their side.

His ridiculously inappropriate upcoming visit to El Paso is a totally dishonest and divisive self-promotion stunt which all residents should either ignore or peacefully protest.

There is no human good, empathy, or redeeming quality in Donald Trump. Decent folks have to stop looking for that which doesn’t (and never did) exist and band together and use what remains of our Constitutional system to remove him from office before he destroys our country and everyone in it. It won’t be easy, but the lives of generations to come and the world’s future are at stake.





Mark Joseph Stern
Mark Joseph Stern
Reporter, Slate

Mark Joseph Stern writes for Slate:

The Republican Party has no real plan to stop the epidemic of mass shootings that has turned American life into a gruesome Hobbesian nightmare. It’s easy to see why. All available evidence confirms that the guns are the problem: The United States’ patchwork of lax firearms laws allows Americans to slaughter civilians with astonishing ease. To stop mass shootings, lawmakers will need to tighten both federal and state gun laws, which Republicans refuse to do. We must remain sitting ducks, waiting to learn—in Sen. Marco Rubio’s memorable phrasing—whose “turn” it is next to be massacred.

Shortly after the El Paso, Texas, shooting on Saturday, the New York Times published an article that inadvertently presaged Republicans’ nonresponse to the imminent bloodbath. Senate Republicans, the Times noted, have passed virtually no legislation of any kind so far this year. In the face of mounting crises, the Senate’s GOP leaders have allowed little deliberation and few votes. They certainly won’t bring H.R. 8, a universal background check bill that already passed the House of Representatives, to the floor.

Instead, the Senate operates as “an approval factory” for Donald Trump’s judicial nominees, the Times found. Under Trump, the Senate has confirmed two Supreme Court justices, 99 district courts judges, and 43 federal court of appeals judges. Today, nearly 1 in 4 judges on the powerful courts of appeals was nominated by Trump. The president is reshaping the judiciary in the image of the Republican Party’s far-right conservative wing.

Today, nearly 1 in 4 judges on the powerful courts of appeals was nominated by Trump.

It would be a mistake to claim that the Senate has taken no action on gun control. While the House passes gun safety measures, the Senate installs judges who are eager to strike such measures down. Republican lawmakers have taken the long view: They may lose majorities in Congress and state legislatures, but Trump’s judges will sit on the bench for decades to come. Any future firearms restrictions may be invalidated; many existing gun safety laws are in serious jeopardy. The GOP may have no plan to stop mass shootings, but it does have a plan to ensure that Democrats can’t stop them, either.

To understand the dynamic here, it’s important to remember that the Supreme Court’s Second Amendment decisions have been fairly narrow. In 2008’s District of Columbia v. Heller, the court ruled that the amendment protects law-abiding individuals’ right to keep handguns in the home for self-defense. In 2010’s McDonald v. Chicago, the court held that this right applies against state and local governments. Thus, the Constitution prevents the government from outlawing the possession of a handgun in the home. Under current precedent, the Second Amendment poses no threat to the vast majority of proposed gun regulations.

Try as it might, the National Rifle Association and its allies have failed to persuade the Supreme Court to go any further. The court has declined to hear challenges to a ban on assault weapons, a requirement that guns be stored in a lockbox, a prohibition on concealed carry, and a mandatory waiting period between firearm purchases. A majority of the justices have simply refused to expand Heller and McDonald to curb Americans’ ability to protect themselves from the gun massacres that plague us today.

Trump’s judges are desperate to change that. Start with his Supreme Court nominees, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. In 2017, Gorsuch joined Justice Clarence Thomas in declaring that states may not ban civilians from carrying concealed weapons in public. Their dissent accused the court of treating “the Second Amendment as a disfavored right.” By joining Thomas’ opinion, Gorsuch signaled that he would force every state to allow concealed carry—even though states with looser concealed carry laws have more gun deaths. Gorsuch and Thomas also dissented from the Supreme Court’s refusal to block the Trump administration’s ban on bump stocks, which were used in the 2017 Las Vegas shooting.

Kavanaugh, too, proved to be a gun extremist during his tenure on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. In a 2011 dissent, Kavanaugh declared that D.C.’s ban on assault weapons infringed upon the Second Amendment. The District argued that the ban would save lives, since these guns are disproportionately used in mass shootings. Kavanaugh, however, claimed that Heller established a right to purchase assault weapons because there “is no meaningful or persuasive constitutional distinction” between semi-automatic handguns and rifles. (In fact, a typical semi-automatic rifle bullet exits the muzzle with far more powerthan the typical semi-automatic handgun bullet, making it substantially more devastating to the human body.)

Trump’s lower-court nominees are now openly lobbying the Supreme Court to strike down more gun laws. These judges have advanced an ambitious argument that limitations on the right to bear arms must pass strict scrutiny, the most stringent constitutional standard available. A strict scrutiny test would effectively kill any legislation that was not “narrowly tailored” to advance a compelling state interest—and preventing a mass shooting may not be a good enough reason.

In July 2018, four of Trump’s nominees to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals condemned a federal law that bars licensed dealers from selling handguns to out-of-state residents. The law does not ban interstate gun transfers; it merely requires handguns to be transferred to a dealer in the state where the buyer resides.

There is nothing especially burdensome about this law. Congress intended dealers to ensure that every handgun transfer complies with the laws of the state where the buyer resides. A panel of judges for the 5th Circuit upheld the law, and the full court voted not to disturb that ruling. Yet seven judges, including four Trump nominees, dissented, arguing that the law is unconstitutional. Judge James Ho, one of Trump’s most outwardly partisan nominees, scorned the government’s reasoning that “to protect against the violations of the few, we must burden the constitutional rights of the many.” Ho applied strict scrutiny, arguing that because there are “less restrictive alternatives,” like “better information sharing,” the law is not narrowly tailored.

In December, Judge Stephanos Bibas, another Trump nominee, wrote a similar dissent to a decision by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A panel of judges upheld New Jersey’s ban on large-capacity magazines (or LCMs). The majority noted that LCMs “have been used in numerous mass shootings” and result “in increased fatalities and injuries.” Without access to LCMs, shooters “must reload more frequently,” giving bystanders opportunities to flee or intervene. Applying intermediate scrutiny, the majority found that the New Jersey law “reasonably fits the State’s interest in promoting public safety.”

Bibas’ dissent could’ve been ghostwritten by the NRA’s lawyers. “The Second Amendment is an equal part of the Bill of Rights,” he wrote. “We may not water it down and balance it away based on our own sense of wise policy.” Bibas argued that the New Jersey law impaired the “core right” of self-defense and must therefore be subject to strict scrutiny. He found that the statute flunked that test, dismissing the “armchair proposition that smaller magazines force shooters to pause more often to reload.”

Many of Trump’s nominees appear to agree that some unknown number of people must be shot to death before the government can limit access to firearms.

“Armchair proposition”? Here, Bibas questioned a fact that countless mass shooting survivors can confirm: When a shooter pauses to reload, his intended victims have more time to escape. Bibas’ casuistry demonstrates a flaw in the conservative approach to the Second Amendment. Trump nominees keep demanding that any firearm restriction be subject to heightened scrutiny. But this test is a chilling mismatch for the Second Amendment, because when we talk about “tailoring” gun restrictions, we are really asking how many people must die before the government can justify its laws.

U.S. District Judge Roger T. Benitez, a George W. Bush nominee, illustrated this grisly truth in June 2017. Benitez blocked a California measure that outlawed large-capacity magazines, finding that it failed heightened scrutiny. Why? “Of the ten mass shooting events that occurred in California,” Benitez wrote, “only two involved the use of a magazine holding more than 10 rounds.” The ban’s “marginal good effects”—that is, the lives it would’ve saved—did not justify it. Because “only two” California mass shootings involved LCMs, the law was not reasonably tailored to protect the public.

The next year, a man walked into a bar in Thousand Oaks, California, and killed 12 people. He used large-capacity magazines that he purchased legally. The weapons would have been illegal if Benitez had not blocked California’s ban on LCMs.

Many of Trump’s nominees appear to agree that some unknown number of people must be shot to death before the government can limit access to firearms. Others take an even more extreme approach. In his 2011 dissent, Kavanaugh suggested that courts must look to “text, history, and tradition” to gauge the legality of gun control laws. They cannot deploy any kind of “interest-balancing test.” Unless a gun restriction is “longstanding,” Kavanaugh wrote, it is unconstitutional. This standard—which Ho cited favorably—would prohibit the government from experimenting with any new gun safety law. We would be stuck with the small set of regulations deemed “longstanding” by the courts. No matter how many bodies piled up, we would be helpless to protect ourselves against the butchery.

Trump’s judges are hoping the Supreme Court will kickstart this Second Amendment revolution. They might not have to wait long. This fall, the justices will hear a challenge to New York City’s restriction on the transportation of guns outside the home (unless it’s dismissed as moot). They may use the opportunity to enshrine a new Second Amendment standard into law. The conservative majority could demand that gun laws survive strict scrutiny. Or it could hold that any law that’s not “longstanding” be struck down, as Kavanaugh prefers.

Whatever the justices decide, scores of Trump judges in the lower courts will be waiting to vigorously enforce their decision, knocking down as many gun restrictions as possible. Republican senators will continue to confirm judicial nominees at a record pace. To the extent that the GOP has a plan to address mass shootings, this is it: stack the courts with more judges who will prevent American from addressing gun violence. Trump and the Senate are working together to build a judiciary that renders our government permanently powerless to take action against the bloodshed.


No perversion too great, no cause too grotesque for the GOP and their “Head Turtle.” While Mitch & Co. might think that their kids, because of their White Supremacist lineage, will be immune from bullets fired by White Supremacists and other hate mongers, there is no scientific evidence that is true. On the other hand, to be in today’s GOP is to ignore scientific evidence (except for the pseudo-science behind racism and restrictionist immigration policies).

At some point after the U.S. disappears as a nation, historians will look back in awe at how stupid a supposedly advanced country could be by empowering scam artists like Trump, McConnell, and the GOP. Indeed, “fiddling while Rome burns” would be an apt analogy for most of today’s GOP on gun control, immigration, climate change, heath care, debt control, income inequality, realistic taxes, retirement security, infrastructure, education, global cooperation, trade, and a host of other pressing issues.









DON KERWIN OF CENTER FOR MIGRATION STUDIES (“CMS”) WITH A STATEMENT ON EL PASO SHOOTINGS: “Yesterday’s hate crime attacked this community, its perpetrator reportedly angered by the “Hispanic invasion of Texas” and seeking to prevent “cultural and ethnic replacement” in a region settled by Spanish speaking persons in the mid-17th century and by native peoples in 40 AD.”

Donald M. Kerwin
Donald M. Kerwin
Executive Director
Center for Migration Studies
Statement of Donald Kerwin, Executive Director of the Center for Migration Studies, on the Shooting in El Paso
The violent attack yesterday in El Paso in which 22 people lost their lives and more than 24 others were injured evokes two starkly divergent views of El Paso, the first held by most of its residents and those who know it well, and the second championed by extremist politicians, media sources, and hate groups. The latter describe El Paso and other border communities as dangerous and crime-ridden places, victimized by “invaders” from undesirable countries.

Just five days ago, Beto O’Rourke outlined a different vision of this community, writing in The Hill that that El Paso might (instead) be considered the nation’s future Ellis Island; that is, a symbol of hope for the world. The Ellis Island language may have come from a 2012 gathering in El Paso of border residents (most from El Paso) from different sectors – public officials, law enforcement, faith communities, business people, the press, and others – who were offended by how their communities had been characterized in the national immigration debate and wanted to articulate a richer, more truthful narrative of their communities. “If nothing else,” they later wrote presciently, “we could all agree on this point. There is a prevailing narrative about the US border and it is false and it is dangerous to border communities.”

These border residents recognized the problems in their communities, some of which they attributed to ill-considered federal immigration enforcement policies and the vilification of immigrants.  El Pasoans have generously welcomed newcomers throughout their history, particularly in recent months. In a report published by the Border Network for Human Rights titled “The New Ellis Island: Visions from the Border for the Future of America,” they described El Paso as a safe, family-oriented, creative and culturally rich community that benefitted from its diversity and bi-national identity, and that could serve as a model for other American communities in an increasingly inter-connected world.

As Professor Josiah Heyman of the University of Texas in El Paso later wrote in the Journal on Migration and Human Security:

These border residents viewed their region as a set of human communities with rights, capacities, and valuable insights and knowledge … They saw the border region as the key transportation and brokerage zone of the emerging, integrated North American economy. In their view, the bilingual, bicultural, and binational skills that characterize border residents form part of a wider border culture that embraces diversity and engenders creativity. Under this vision the border region is not an empty enforcement zone, but is part of the national community and its residents should enjoy the same constitutional and human rights as other US residents.

They also enunciated a prophetic view of their communities:

We imagine a border that is no longer characterized by walls, migrant deaths, illegality, human and drug trafficking, and violence in all of its forms. We see a place of opportunity and encounter.  We see a place of pilgrimage where – like Ellis Island – residents and visitors can remember their family histories of crossing over, living as “strangers,” and struggling for a foothold in their new country. We imagine a region which, 50 years from today, serves as a symbol of hope for border communities throughout the world. We picture a border that crosses, but does not divide families and communities. We see a border of faith communities converted by their own core values and beliefs. We envision a gathering place for God’s scattered children, where residents and visitors in all their diversity can work together to build the human family. We hope, pray, and vow to work for such a border.

Yesterday’s hate crime attacked this community, its perpetrator reportedly angered by the “Hispanic invasion of Texas” and seeking to prevent “cultural and ethnic replacement” in a region settled by Spanish speaking persons in the mid-17th century and by native peoples in 40 AD.In a statement on the shootings, Bishop Mark J. Seitz of the Diocese of El Paso wrote:

Once again in our nation we see the face of evil. We see the effects of a mind possessed by hatred. We see the effects of the sinful and insipid conviction that some of us are better than others of us because of race, religion, language or nationality.

Bishop Seitz also lauded the borderlands for demonstrating to “the world that generosity, compassion and human dignity are more powerful than the forces of division.”

In announcing a faith vigil last night in response to the shooting, an inter-faith alliancewrote:

Today we stand in horror and shock at the devastating loss of life and heartless attack on our border community. Tomorrow we will mourn, dry tears, offer our sacrifice of prayer and brace ourselves for the work ahead. Because even now the borderlands will stick together and the borderlands will stand together.

As many have remarked, El Paso is a resilient and special American community, but has too long been the victim of hateful and dangerous rhetoric.  Its residents deserve the nation’s solidarity and respect, particularly at this sad time.

The Center for Migration Studies (CMS) is a New York-based educational institute devoted to the study of international migration, to the promotion of understanding between immigrants and receiving communities, and to public policies that safeguard the dignity and rights of migrants, refugees, and newcomers. For more information, please visit www.cmsny.org or contact Emma Winters, CMS’s Communications Coordinator, at ewinters@cmsny.org.
Copyright © 2019 Center for Migration Studies, New York, All rights reserved.
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Thanks, Don, for your powerful and timely statement!

Interesting to compare the statements of a real leader like Don Kerwin, who exercises moral authority, with the vapid and disingenuous statements of immoral White Nationalist hate purveyors like Trump and most of his GOP stooges (including, of course, “Super Stooge” Mike Pence).

Trump might have yielded to his campaign advisers’ suggestions that he “cool it” until the bodies are buried. Since “ego is everything, and winning is ego” in Trump-land, he apparently deemed it worth the supreme sacrifice of knocking off the hate tweets and lie streams for a few hours.

But, I guarantee that it won’t be long before Trump is once again throwing around knowingly false racist narratives and “hate bombs” directed at migrants, Hispanic Americans, African Americans, other minorities, and Democrats, with the GOP looking the other way, nodding approval, or, in too many cases, actually joining in or attempting to defend the indefensible. This is a party whose sorry and cowardly actions and policies are inconsistent with the continuation of America as a democratic republic. It deserves to be voted out of existence and consigned to the “dustbin of history.” Whether or not that actually happens, and when, is ultimately up to the American voters.




LET’S KILL THE VULNERABLE SO THAT WE CAN LIVE UNSUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLES AS WE DESTROY THE UNIVERSE: Trump’s “Racist Materialism” & His Pandering To Right Wing Hate Groups Fuel Revival Of Eco Facism!


Alexander C. Kaufman
Alexander C. Kaufman
Reporter, HuffPost

Alexander C. Kaufman reports in HuffPost:

A manifesto posted online shortly before Saturday’s massacre at a Walmart in El Paso that the suspected shooter may have written blamed immigrantsfor hastening the environmental destruction of the United States and proposed genocide as a pathway to ecological sustainability.

Filled with white nationalist diatribes against “race-mixing” and the “Hispanic invasion of Texas,” the manifesto highlights far-right extremists’ budding revival of eco-fascism.

Titled “The Inconvenient Truth,” an allusion to Al Gore’s landmark climate change documentary, the ranting four-page document appeared on the extremist forum 8chan shortly before the shooting. Authorities have yet to confirm whether Patrick Crusius, the 21-year-old Dallas-area white man arrested in connection with the shooting that left at least 20 dead, is the author.

“The environment is getting worse by the year,” the manifesto reads. “Most of y’all are just too stubborn to change your lifestyle. So the next logical step is to decrease the number of people in America using resources. If we can get rid of enough people, then our way of life can become more sustainable.”

HuffPost reviewed the document but, with consideration to the ethical concerns of broadcasting what might be a notoriety-seeking killer’s messaging, is not publishing a link to it.

The manifesto explicitly cites the 74-page message posted online by the gunman charged with killing 51 worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March. That alleged shooter, Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old white Australian, thrice described himself as an “eco-fascist” motivated to repel waves of migrants fleeing climate change-ravaged regions of the world.

For years now, denial served as the extreme right’s de facto position on climate change. That is starting to change.

Just look, as Dissent magazine did in May, at this spring’s European elections. Following the European Green Party’s historic gains, the far-right Alternative for Germany’s youth wing in Berlin urged party leaders to abandon the “difficult to understand statement that mankind does not influence the climate,” an issue that moves “more people than we thought.”


In France, the far-right National Rally already took the message to heart. The party, led by Marine Le Pen, vowed to remakeEurope as “the world’s first ecological civilization” with a climate platform rooted in nationalism. Le Pen railed against “nomadic” people who “do not care about the environment” as “they have no homeland,” harkening to the Nazis’ “blood and soil” slogan that, as The Guardianput it, described a belief in a mystical connection between race and a particular territory. Under that logic, “borders are the environment’s greatest ally,” as a National Rally party spokesman said in April.

In the United States, 70% of Americans recognize the climate is warming, and 57% understand humans’ emissions are the cause, Yale Program on Climate Change Communication polling shows. Republicans, long the only major political party in the developed world to outright reject climate science, are inching away from denialism but have yet to rally around a popular policy proposal.

“Someday Republicans are going to have to come up with some proposals that are responsive to these issues and, frankly, be more reasonable and more thoughtful,” Scott Jennings, a Republican consultant and a former campaign adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), told The New York Times last week.

More than 65 million people are displaced worldwide right now, marking ― depending on how you count it ― the highest number of refugees in history. Climate change is forecast to inflame the crisis. Catastrophic weather forced 24 million people to flee home per year since 2008, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, the Swiss-based international organization. By 2050, that number could hit anywhere from 140 million to 300 million to 1 billion. Drought, rising seas and violent storms could compel upward of 143 million people to leave sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America alone by the middle of the century, the World Bank estimated last year.

If we can get rid of enough people, then our way of life can become more sustainable.From a manifesto possibly written by the suspected El Paso gunman

Slashing global greenhouse gases and increasing aid to help poor countries close to the equator adapt is the obvious way to change that trajectory. The Green New Deal framework left-wing climate activists put forward late last year gained international popularity in part because its promise of good-paying jobs and meaningful work as a vehicle for wealth redistribution and ecological stability offers a powerful antidote to the toxic elixir of far-right prescriptions to social unrest.

But as planet-heating emissions continue surging and scientists’ projections grow more dire, eco-fascism is experiencing a revival in a subculture of far-right extremism online. It comes amid a rekindled interest in Ted Kaczynski, the convicted terrorist known as the Unabomber.

Kaczynski ― like his newfound online fandom, who often distinguish themselves with pine-tree emoji on social media ― subscribes to “lifeboat ethics.” The term, coined in the 1970s by the neoconservative ecologist Garrett Hardin, denotes the idea that “traditional humanitarian views of the ‘guilt-ridden,’ ‘conscience-stricken’ liberal” threatens the balance of nature. The belief traces its lineage back to 18th-century English philosopher Thomas Malthus, who theorized that population growth would eclipse the availability of resources to meet basic human needs without moral restraint or widespread disease, famine or war to thin the herd.

In September 2017, the white nationalist magazine American Renaissance asked its readers a question: “What does it mean for whites if climate change is real?” The bombastic essay wondered whether the “population explosion in the global south combined with climate change” demonstrated “the single greatest external threat to Western civilization” ― even “more serious than Islamic terrorism or Hispanic illegal immigration.”

“If continued global change makes the poor, non-white parts of the world even more unpleasant to live in than they are now, it will certainly drive more non-whites north,” Jared Taylor, the publication’s editor and an influential white nationalist, wrote in an email to the magazine Jewish Currents. “I make no apology for … urging white nations to muster the will to guard their borders and maintain white majorities.”

Two years later, white, male gunmen appear to be heeding his call.



Why take prudent and constructive actions to save our planet when the “haves” (or “wannabe haves”) think that they can sustain their unsustainable lifestyles (for a little while longer) just by killing off the “have nots?”





THE ROUNDTABLE IN ACTION: HON. ILYCE SHUGALL DELIVERS POWERFUL STATEMENT IN THE LA TIMES ON WHY SHE COULD NO LONGER SERVE AS A JUDGE IN OUR OBSCENELY DISTORTED AND UNFAIR U.S. IMMIGRATON COURT SYSTEM – “But nothing prepared me for the unprecedented, unfair and unworkable policies the Trump administration imposed on the courts and the immigration process.”


Hon. Ilyce Shugall
Hon. Ilyce Shugall
U.S. Immigraton Judge (Retired)
Director, Immigrant Legal Defense Program, Justice & Diversity Center of the Bar Assn. of San Francisco.


LA Times

AUG. 4, 2019


I have been an immigration lawyer dedicated to fairness and due process for immigrants my entire career. In 2015, convinced that my 18 years of experience as an advocate would make me a good immigration judge, I applied for the job.

Most immigration judges are former attorneys from the chief counsel’s office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, former assistant U.S. attorneys or former attorneys from other federal government agencies. Former advocates are appointed less frequently, but I believed in the importance of having judges from varied backgrounds on the bench and therefore applied.

I made it through the application and vetting process and was appointed to the bench in September 2017. I resigned this March because I could no longer in good conscience work as an immigration judge in the Trump administration.

I knew when I joined the bench that there would be frustrations, as immigration courts are governed by the Justice Department and lack the independence of other courts in the federal judicial system. But nothing prepared me for the unprecedented, unfair and unworkable policies the Trump administration imposed on the courts and the immigration process.

I believed it was my job to ensure that all people who appeared before me understood their rights and had the opportunity to fully present their cases. I found the job fulfilling when I was hearing cases. I enjoyed learning about the lives of people from all over the world and analyzing complex legal issues. It was also heartbreaking. I heard stories of horrific violence, terror and pain. I was moved by the struggles and resolve of those who leave everything behind to seek safety and refuge, those who dedicate their lives to caring for family members, and those who overcome incredible obstacles to make a better future for themselves and their families.

In 2018, Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions and the director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which oversees the immigration courts, began imposing quotas and performance metrics that affected the day-to-day function and independence of the judges. We were notified that all judges were expected to complete 700 cases a year to receive a satisfactory performance review. EOIR also published performance metrics for the judges that established specific timelines for adjudication of cases and motions.

During a conference of immigration judges in June 2018, agency leadership informed us that the quota policy would go into effect in October. Sessions, during his keynote speech at the conference, announced that he would be issuing his decision in the case of Matter of A-B-, which dealt with asylum claims based on domestic violence. His decision to prohibit grants of asylum for victims of domestic violence and persecution perpetrated by other nongovernment actors was announced later that day. I left the conference extremely demoralized.

My colleagues and I felt the impact of the case quotas on our ability to render correct and well-reasoned decisions. My calendar was fully booked with cases through 2021. The judges in San Francisco, where I served, were told we could not schedule any cases in 2022 until our calendars showed that three cases were scheduled every day through the end of 2021.


This meant that the judges were forced to schedule at least two cases in one time slot (there being two slots a day) — regardless of whether it was possible to hear two cases in such a short time frame or whether this would allow a judge to consider fully the merits of each case, which often involved determining life or death issues.

This was the way to push us to complete 700 cases a year. Failure to hit the quota would also result in failing to meet other performance metrics. In August 2018, Sessions also issued a decision limiting continuances of cases in immigration court.

Shortly after we were told to hear three cases a day, we were also told we could not schedule interpreters for two different languages in each of the morning or afternoon sessions. We were told we needed to match languages or pair English-language cases with other languages, though we had no tools to assist us in coordinating languages.

The impact of these administrative policies, while bad on judges’ morale and workloads, was worse for the immigrants appearing at court. The pressure to complete cases made me less patient and less able to uphold the constitutional protections required to properly adjudicate cases.

In addition to these policies, the Trump administration announced several new policy changes to limit the rights of noncitizens to apply for asylum. One was the “Remain in Mexico” policy, which required asylum applicants to stay in Mexico while awaiting their court hearings. Another was the administration’s attempt to eliminate eligibility for asylum for individuals who did not present themselves at a port of entry while simultaneously preventing asylum seekers from being processed at the ports of entry.

In November 2018, the EOIR director issued a memorandum to push through cases of “family units” on a fast track. These cases continue to be docketed and heard on an expedited basis. This policy prevents indigent noncitizens from having adequate time to secure counsel or evidence to support their cases. And it often leads to individuals being ordered removed without a hearing because clerical errors caused hearing notices to be sent to incorrect addresses.

As more policies were issued, it became clear that this administration’s attack on immigrants and the independence and functioning of the immigration courts would only get worse.

As I expected, the attacks continued. Since I resigned, the Department of Homeland Security has expanded expedited removal. Recently, EOIR began using a video to comply with federal regulations requiring that all noncitizens be advised of their rights and responsibilities in court. The video, which replaces in-person interpreters, will inevitably cause confusion and make it far harder for individuals to defend themselves.

Just last week, Atty. Gen. William Barr issued a decision that largely eliminates asylum eligibility for those facing persecution because of family ties. This ruling could affect thousands of legitimate asylum seekers fleeing violence in Mexico and Central American countries, as well as other parts of the world.

I expect the Trump administration’s relentless attacks against immigrants and the immigration system to continue. The way to limit the damage is to establish an independent immigration court that is outside the Justice Department. Until that happens, the immigration courts will be subject to the politics driving the administration rather than the principles of justice immigration judges are sworn to uphold.

Ilyce Shugall is the director of the Immigrant Legal Defense Program at the Justice & Diversity Center of the Bar Assn. of San Francisco.






 Well said, Judge Shugall, my friend, colleague, and fellow member of the Roundtable of Former Immigration Judges!


Ilyce explains and gives “real life examples” of two concepts that I discuss often at “Courtside:”


  • AIMLESS DOCKET RESHUFFLING (“ADR”): Arbitrarily or maliciously moving cases around without actually deciding them to the disadvantage of the respondents, their lawyers, the judges, court staff, and often even ICE counsel (who, as far as I can tell, are never consulted in advance or given meaningful input on major policy changes at DHS, despite probably being the best qualified individuals in the agency to understand the real legal framework and practical implications of various policy decisions imposed “from above”);

  • MALICIOUS INCOMPETENCE (“MI”): Using White Nationalist restrictionist policies, not based on either the law or empirical data, usually irrational and impractical, to limit the ability of migrants to exercise their legal rights, create chaos in the court system, and ultimately to destroy the system and replace it with something even more draconian and more completely unfair.









Veronica Stracqualursi
Veronica Stracqualursi
Politics Reporter
Kirsten Gillibrand
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand introduces new legislation that would provide asylum seekers with attorney

Veronica Stracqualursi


Updated 2:18 PM EDT August 2, 2019

2020 Democratic presidential candidate and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrandintroduced a bill Wednesday that would provide immigrants with an attorney as they seek asylum or other legal protections in the US as the Trump administration has been dramatically limiting the ability of Central American migrants to claim asylum.

Immigrants, for example, have the right to counsel and may hire a lawyer themselves, but unlike in the criminal justice system, representation is not guaranteed.

Under Gillibrand’s proposed bill, legal counsel would be required for eligible groups facing removal proceedings — including children, individuals with disabilities, victims of abuse, torture, and violence, and individuals at or below 200% of the federal poverty level.

The Funding Attorneys for Indigent Removal (FAIR) Proceedings Act “would ensure that some of the most vulnerable individuals in this process can be represented by an attorney,” Gillibrand said in a statement Friday.

“This would not only guarantee a more humane way to process asylum claims and other legal protections, but it would improve the efficiency of our immigration courts and help our country do a much better job of managing our immigration system,” Gillibrand said.

She accused the Trump administration of being “far too willing to fast-track deportation cases even when people have credible claims to asylum.”

Democratic Reps. Donald McEachin from Virginia and Zoe Lofgren from California have introduced a House companion to Gillibrand’s bill. Sens. Cory Booker and Bernie Sanders, two other 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls, and Richard Blumenthal have also signed onto the Senate bill as co-sponsors.

The Trump administration has worked to limit immigration and toughen the US asylum process amid overcrowded conditions at border facilities and a spike in apprehensions at the US-Mexico border over the recent months.

Last month, the departments of Justice and Homeland Security also rolled out an interim rule that would prohibit migrants who have resided or “transited en route” in a third country from seeking asylum in the US, therefore barring migrants from Central America traveling through Mexico from being able to claim asylum and as a result, drastically limiting who’s eligible for asylum.

A federal judge blocked the asylum rulefrom going into effect, deeming it “likely invalid because it is inconsistent with the existing asylum laws.”

The Trump administration also moved to expanda procedure to speed up deportations to include undocumented immigrants anywhere in the US who cannot prove they’ve lived in the country continuously for two years or more.

The notice, filed in the Federal Register on July 22, casts a wider net of undocumented immigrants subject to the fast-track deportation procedure known as “expedited removal” which allows immigration authorities to remove an individual without a hearing before an immigration judge. The American Civil Liberties Union has said it will sue to block the policy.

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Competent lawyers have been beating the Trump Administration like a drum on immigration issues. That’s why corrupt officials like Trump, Barr, Miller, “Big Mac With Lies,” and “Cooch Cooch” are so desperate to railroad asylum applicants out of the country while unlawfully denying them access to even the limited number of pro bono lawyers available under current law.

The Federal Courts have also “tanked” on their constitutional duty to insure Due Process by requiring appointed counsel in immigration cases, something that should make the entire Article III judiciary hang their collective heads in shame. The Federal Courts have also been “asleep at the switch” by allowing the Trump Administration to use inhumane coercive detention in obscure places and other gimmicks intentionally designed to defeat asylum applicants’ right to counsel of their own choosing.