Trump punks out on DACA

So, Donald Trump has decided what to do with DACA now:

The Trump administration announced Tuesday it would begin to unwind an Obama-era program that allows younger undocumented immigrants to live in the country without fear of deportation, calling the program unconstitutional but offering a partial delay to give Congress a chance to address the issue.

So, Trump is trying to pass the buck to Congress–note he doesn’t even pretend he will write a bill. And you’ll note that Trump was too much of a wimp to announce it himself:

In announcing the decision at the Justice Department, Attorney General Jeff Sessions

What a bold president.

Now look at the statement:

As President, my highest duty is to defend the American people and the Constitution of the United States of America.  At the same time, I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents.

This is an example of Trump’s compassion:

Guillen’s father, Jesus Guillen, said he’d asked his son not to try and rescue people in the storm, but he insisted, saying he wanted to help people. He cried and prayed on Sunday afternoon as they pulled his son’s body from the water.

Alonso Guillen was a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which temporarily lifted the threat of deportation for immigrants brought to the U.S. before they were 16, family members said.

“I’ve lost a great son, you have no idea,” she said, weeping softly. “I’m asking God to give me strength.”

She said she hoped U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials would take pity and grant her a humanitarian visa so that she could come to Houston and bury her son, but she was turned back at the border.

back to Trump’s statement:

In referencing the idea of creating new immigration rules unilaterally, President Obama admitted that “I can’t just do these things by myself” – and yet that is exactly what he did, making an end-run around Congress and violating the core tenets that sustain our Republic.

Officials from 10 States are suing over the program, requiring my Administration to make a decision regarding its legality. The Attorney General of the United States, the Attorneys General of many states, and virtually all other top legal experts have advised that the program is unlawful and unconstitutional and cannot be successfully defended in court.

This from a President who signed an executive order about immigration that caused chaos because it was so poorly written and was issued a stay because it was so likely to be found unconstitutional.

Therefore, in the best interests of our country, and in keeping with the obligations of my office, the Department of Homeland Security will begin an orderly transition and wind-down of DACA, one that provides minimum disruption.  While new applications for work permits will not be accepted, all existing work permits will be honored until their date of expiration up to two full years from today.  Furthermore, applications already in the pipeline will be processed, as will renewal applications for those facing near-term expiration.  This is a gradual process, not a sudden phase out.  Permits will not begin to expire for another six months, and will remain active for up to 24 months.  Thus, in effect, I am not going to just cut DACA off, but rather provide a window of opportunity for Congress to finally act.

It is now time for Congress to act!

Most Presidents who want something done will present legislation to be introduced in Congress, not this one. Like with healthcare and taxes, he expects Congress to do all the work and he expects to get the credit. If things go wrong then it’s not his fault. What a coward.

Here’s the Trump/Republican agenda

Today we get an idea of what Trump and Republicans want to do:

The revised order is narrower and specifies that a 90-day ban on people from the six countries does not apply to those who already have valid visas or people with U.S. green cards.

According to the fact sheet, the Department of Homeland Security will conduct a country-by-country review of the information the six targeted nations provide to the U.S. for visa and immigration decisions. Those countries will then have 50 days to comply with U.S. government requests to update or improve that information.

Additionally, Trump’s order suspends the entire U.S. refugee program for 120 days, though refugees already formally scheduled for travel by the State Department will be allowed entry. When the suspension is lifted, the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. will be capped at 50,000 for fiscal year 2017.

This will probably cut the number of visitors to the US, cut the number of students who want to go to college in the US, and cut the number of people who want to work in the US. This will cost millions of jobs and redirect some of the best and brightest to Europe and Canada.

House Republicans on Monday released their long-awaited plan for unraveling former President Barack Obama’s health care law, a package that would scale back the government’s role in health care and likely leave more Americans uninsured.

House committees planned to begin voting on the 123-page legislation Wednesday, launching what could be the year’s defining battle in Congress.

GOP success is by no means a slam dunk. In perhaps their riskiest political gamble, the plan is expected to cover fewer than the 20 million people insured under Obama’s overhaul, including many residents of states carried by President Donald Trump in November’s election.

The proposal would continue the expansion of Medicaid to additional low-earning Americans until 2020. After that, states adding Medicaid recipients would no longer receive the additional federal funds Obama’s law has provided.

More significantly, Republicans would overhaul the federal-state Medicaid program, changing its open-ended federal financing to a limit based on enrollment and costs in each state.

The changes also might crash the individual market to make it impossible for tens of millions of Americans to get health insurance. That would be a plus for Republicans.

However, it was the next phrase Carson uttered that landed him in hot water.

“There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less,” Carson said. “But they too had a dream that one day, their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters. . . might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land. And do you know of all the nations in the world, this one, the United States of America, is the only one big enough and great enough to allow all those people to realize their dream.”

Ok, that seems a little unfair. Well:

The original nine plaintiffs claim that detainees are forced to work without pay and that those who refuse to do so are threatened with solitary confinement.

Specifically, the lawsuit claims, six detainees are selected at random every day and forced to clean the facility’s housing units. The lawsuit claims the practice violates the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which prohibits modern-day slavery.

‘‘Forced labor is a particular violation of the statute that we’ve alleged,’’ Free said. ‘‘Whether you’re calling it forced labor or slavery, the practical reality for the plaintiffs is much the same. You’re being compelled to work against your will under the threat of force or use of force.’’

This has been going on for a while so it’s not just the new administration, except that President Obama tried to cut back on private prisons for this type of reason and the Trump administration wants to expand them:

Notably, the stocks of the two biggest private prison operators, Geo Group and CoreCivic (formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America), have surged since Trump’s election. The companies donated a total of $500,000 to Trump’s inaugural festivities, USA Today reported.

Since Trump took office, his administration has reversed the Obama administration’s policy to end the country’s reliance on private prisons.

And if a little slavery slips in, well all for the better. Just ask Ben Carson–immigration and slavery are basically the same thing.

Trump wants to block all Muslims

The LA Times talks about the goal of the travel ban:

Trump’s top advisors on immigration, including chief strategist Steve Bannon and senior advisor Stephen Miller, see themselves as launching a radical experiment to fundamentally transform how the U.S. decides who is allowed into the country and to block a generation of people who, in their view, won’t assimilate into American society.

That project may live or die in the next three months, as the Trump administration reviews whether and how to expand the visa ban and alter vetting procedures. White House aides are considering new, onerous security checks that could effectively limit travel into the U.S. by people from majority-Muslim countries to a trickle.

and why they’re doing it:

The trio, who make up part of Trump’s inner circle, have a dark view of refugee and immigration flows from majority-Muslim countries, believing that if large numbers of Muslims are allowed to enter the U.S., parts of American cities will begin to replicate disaffected and disenfranchised immigrant neighborhoods in France, Germany and Belgium that have been home to perpetrators of terrorist attacks in Europe in recent years.

Within decades, Americans would have “the kind of large and permanent domestic terror threat that becomes multidimensional and multigenerational and becomes sort of a permanent feature,” one senior administration official argued.

“We don’t want a situation where, 20 to 30 years from now, it’s just like a given thing that on a fairly regular basis there is domestic terror strikes, stores are shut up or that airports have explosive devices planted, or people are mowed down in the street by cars and automobiles and things of that nature,” the official said.

These are the same kind of statements that have in the past included the Irish, Italians, Greeks, and Jews, among others. It is typical of racist xenophobes like Trump and Bannon. Umm, let’s look at some murder rates:

  • United States: 3.9 per 100,000
  • Belgium: 1.8
  • France: 1.2
  • Germany: 0.9

I would hate for the US to become one of those violent hellholes.

Boston welcomes immigrants

Boston telling Trump they support immigrants:

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Trump: let’s be nasty and make the US less safe

So, President Trump has decided to go the anti-life route:

President Trump signed an order Friday to suspend admission of all refugees for 120 days while a new system is put in place to tighten vetting for those from predominantly Muslim countries and give preference to religious minorities. Trump said that the goal is to screen out “radical Islamic terrorists” and that priority for admission would be given to Christians.

People are given refugee status if there is a danger to staying in their country, so it’s almost certain that people will die because of this order.

Also, Trump he wants to give priority to Christians, but Kevin Drum notices that the country that sent the most refugees to the US last year was the Democratic Republic of the Congo which is a majority Christian country. He can’t even discriminate against Muslims right.

The order went into affect immediately so even people who were in the air when it was signed have been blocked. Let’s look at some:

The lawyers said that one of the Iraqis detained at Kennedy Airport, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, had worked on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq for 10 years. The other, Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, was coming to the United States to join his wife, who had worked for a U.S. contractor, and young son, the lawyers said. They said both men had been detained at the airport Friday night after arriving on separate flights.

So, Iraqis who had helped US troops and had been given permission to enter the US after a long screening process were blocked. Given they were targeted because they helped the US, I wonder how many Iraqis will be willing to help US troops in the future? If fewer Iraqis are willing to help, that will make the job more dangerous for US troops. Thanks Donald.

As an aside, a coincidence has been noticed:

The order would place a 30-day stop to visas for immigrant and visitor visas for travelers from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia, all Muslim-majority countries whose citizens the order says “would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.” But it would not affect travelers from all Muslim countries — the ban does not apply to Egypt, Turkey, Azerbaijan, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia, which by complete coincidence are all countries where the Trump Organization has business interests.
If this was anyone other than Trump, everyone would know it really was a coincidence but with Trump you never know.
Note: The ACLU has filed suit on the behalf of the refugees that were blocked. It might be a good time to support the ACLU.

American Justice

Now doesn’t this make you proud to be an American:

Immigration Judge David Ayala is gentle in his questioning. His tone and manner are intended to put Alejandra at ease. But there is nothing easy or comforting about this proceeding. The US government is seeking to send her back to El Salvador.

Although she was led into the courtroom with nine other juveniles, she is effectively standing before the judge alone – without the benefit of a lawyer, a parent, or even a friend.

Alejandra is seven years old.

Yup, the US is making 7 year olds defend themselves in court. And it matters:

Since 2005 more than 203,000 children ages 17 and younger have appeared in US immigration court for removal proceedings. Of those, 87,614 did so without the guidance of a lawyer, according to data maintained by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University.

Having the benefit of legal counsel during an immigration hearing can be critical; a child with representation is 6.5 times more likely to win his or her hearing. During the past five years, juveniles with lawyers won 85 percent of their cases in immigration court, while those without a lawyer lost 87 percent of their cases, according to an analysis of TRAC data.

The reason the lawyers win so often is that the children are coming from war-torn countries where their life is in danger–they are refugees and that gives them rights. Of course the people in the US have shown that they don’t care about child refugees and so the process has been made so most will be sent back. Many to die. As I said, it makes one proud to be an American.

Trump’s lips move, which means he lying

So, Donald Trump gave a speech in Portland, Maine:

In his remarks on terrorism, Trump paid particular attention to Maine’s Somali refugees.

“We’ve just seen many, many crimes getting worse all the time, and as Maine knows — a major destination for Somali refugees — right, am I right? Well, they’re all talking about it. Maine. Somali refugees. We admit hundreds of thousands — you admit, into Maine, and to other places in the United States — hundreds of thousands of refugees,” Trump said.

Let’s see how things really are:

In Lewiston, where an estimated 7,000 Somalis live, police said Friday that crime is going down, not up.

“The Somalis have not caused any increase in crime. They’re integrated here in our city,” the acting police chief, Brian O’Malley, said Friday. “The Somalis come here because they want somewhere safe and good schools to raise their kids, and that’s what Lewiston has.”

Crime in the city fell 17 percent in 2015 compared with the year before, continuing a steady, downward trend, O’Malley said.

So an ignorant lie, typical of Trump. You might notice another lie in that short bit by Trump: crime in general is going down. He also through this in:

“If we keep going the way it is, our whole country is becoming different,” he said. “They’re shooting our police at record levels.”

The article doesn’t even bother to note that police are not being shot at record levels. Trump lies so often, it’s impossible to correct all his lies.

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