Trump’s America

In this story by Propublica and the Philadelphia Inquirer you can see how Trump’s anti-immigration policies work. Here’s one great example:

Peralta is short and stout, with a shy, ready smile for whomever crosses his path.

That morning, it was two federal agents named Joe Vankos and Chad Noel. They were on a mission to capture a 29-year-old convicted cocaine dealer from Mexico.

Instead, they stumbled across and arrested Peralta. Though regional ICE agents had picked up bystanders in the past, they were not supposed to. But in a new era where every undocumented immigrant is a potential target, Peralta was one of the first “collaterals” to be taken into custody.  And one of the most defenseless.

It should have been immediately apparent that Peralta, who has difficulty speaking, had serious cognitive disabilities. A neuropsychologist who later examined him wrote in an assessment for the court that Peralta cannot read, write, or identify colors and that he is not competent to give informed consent “or to understand any but the simplest instructions, requests or commands.”

Yet ICE maintained in its arrest report that Peralta not only willfully engaged with Vankos but confessed his undocumented status, stated he was 46, and claimed he had a child in Florida.

Peralta, however, is childless and does not know his age, his pro bono lawyer, Craig Shagin, said. He was abandoned as a youth in rural Pennsylvania and has for decades made ends meet as an apple picker, pumpkin harvester, and construction worker in the Gettysburg area.

And the article notes:

  • Took advantage of state and local officials’ willingness to conduct their own informal immigration investigations, call ICE and detain immigrants for hours until federal agents arrived — despite the questionable legality of these practices.
  • Occasionally stepped over the legal line themselves, according to interviews, sworn affidavits, and court filings, by trespassing, conducting warrantless searches, engaging in racial profiling, fabricating evidence, and even soliciting a bribe.

I’m assuming that all those people who respond to these stories with retorts like ‘what part of illegal don’t you understand’ think these officials should all be in jail. Because otherwise they would just be Xenophobes, which is certainly not true. Right?

The Second Amendment causes illegal immigration

This is an interesting proposition for conservatives:

It’s estimated that some two hundred thousand American guns are smuggled across the southern border each year. The region that’s been hit the hardest is Central America, where gun laws are relatively strict yet homicide rates are among the highest on earth. Gang wars, massive state corruption, and murderous criminal syndicates are to blame for the violence, but American firepower facilitates it. “Unlike other forms of contraband, American weapons don’t just pass through Central America but engulf it in storms of violence,” Mark Ungar, a political-science professor at Brooklyn College and an expert in the region’s gun violence, told me. This violence, in turn, has fuelled a refugee crisis. Since 2014, more than a hundred and fifty thousand unaccompanied immigrant children from countries in the region have fled to the U.S. seeking some form of asylum.

If you don’t like people from Central America trying to get into the US, you need to cut down on gun sales. US guns are the cause of much of the violence:

Seventy per cent of guns recovered by authorities in Mexico, for instance, were originally sold in the U.S.—most of them in Texas, California, and Arizona, according to a Government Accountability Office report. Forty-nine per cent of weapons recovered in El Salvador came from the U.S., compared to forty-six per cent in Honduras and twenty-nine per cent in Guatemala.

So, gangs in Central America make money by selling drugs to the US and then use the money to buy guns in the US. It sounds like the US is directly at fault and needs to take responsibility. I’m sure Republicans will be all over that–haha, sorry I made a funny.

Trump is anti-immigrant

The Republican party has long argued that it isn’t against immigrants just illegal immigrants. No one told President Trump (bold added):

Current rules penalize immigrants who receive cash welfare payments, considering them a ‘‘public charge.’’ But the proposed changes from the Department of Homeland Security would widen the government’s definition of benefits to include the widely used Earned Income Tax Credit as well as health insurance subsidies and other ‘‘non-cash public benefits.’’

Immigrants and their families facing a short-term crisis could potentially have to forgo help to avoid jeopardizing their US residency status. The proposal would also require more immigrants to post cash bonds if they have a higher probability of needing or accepting public benefits. The minimum bond amount would be $10,000, according to the DHS proposal, but the amount could be set higher if an applicant is deemed at greater risk of neediness.

DHS officials say the proposal is not finalized. But the overhaul is part of the Trump administration’s broader effort to curb legal immigration to the United States, and groups favoring a more restrictive approach have long insisted that immigrants are a drag on federal budgets and a siphon on American prosperity.

People to be deported

There is still no agreement on DACA but at least there’s no hurry:

“My status expires in August. Past August, I can’t see my future,” the 20-year-old said. “How can I prioritize class? You can’t sit in class and be expected to concentrate when your entire future is being decided on.”

But the situation could be more immediate than Rosenfeld thinks. After Congress failed to include a fix for DACA in the temporary budget deal — leading to a three-day government shutdown — a Feb. 8 deadline was set for addressing the program.
Then, last week, Trump announced proposed legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million young immigrants, but also includes demands that some in Congress said they are unlikely to accept. Currently, DACA is set to expire March 5, and the White House said if there’s no deal, all DACA recipients will be subject to deportation.

There was a deal but Trump decided it wasn’t good enough and now he’s asking for more. Even if Democrats who’s to say that Trump doesn’t change his mind again and demand more.

And here’s the type of illegal that needs to be deported:

He immigrated to Florida from Venezuela with his mother and older sister when he was 6. They arrived legally on a visa that would have provided his family a path to citizenship, but then his mother was diagnosed with kidney cancer and died. When that happened, Rosenfeld’s legal status, and that of his sister, changed.
“The only fault I had is that my mom passed away,” he said. “Had my mom not passed away, I would be a citizen today.”

See, it’s all his fault–he should have stayed in Venezuela (really, read the comments to this or any similar article). I despair of humanity.

Fuck Trump

This has been a week that shows President Trump’s priorities. He doesn’t care about the environment:

The Trump administration Thursday moved to vastly expand offshore drilling from the Atlantic to the Arctic oceans with a plan that would open up federal waters off the California coast for the first time in more than three decades.
The new five-year drilling plan also could open new areas of oil and gas exploration in areas off the East Coast from Georgia to Maine, where drilling has been blocked for decades.

The proposal comes less than a week after the Trump administration proposed to rewrite or kill rules on offshore oil and gas drilling imposed after the deadly 2010 rig explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

He doesn’t care about the Dreamers:

“We want the wall,” Trump said at a press conference at Camp David in Maryland. “The wall is going to happen, or we’re not going to have DACA,” he said, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Democrats are fighting to restore.

He doesn’t care about people who fled war-torn countries:

The Trump administration said Monday it is ending special protections for Salvadoran immigrants, an action that could force nearly 200,000 to leave the US by September 2019 or face deportation.

He wants a return to the war on drugs:

“This is a straightforward rule of law issue,” Lelling responded. “Congress has unambiguously made it a federal crime to cultivate, distribute, and/or possess marijuana. As a law enforcement officer in the executive branch, it is my sworn responsibility to enforce that law.”

A congressional budget rider bars the Department of Justice from spending money on most prosecutions of state-licensed medical marijuana operations, meaning the state’s currently operating dispensaries should be safe for now.
However, that amendment is due to expire later this month along with the current federal budget. Sessions previously called on Congress to drop the language.

And to compound this, Trump has shown himself to be a coward.

He says he supports DACA but had to get rid of it because there were legal problems (there really weren’t any).  Then he said that Congress needed to do something and he supported that. Now he says he only supports it if he gets what he wants. Don’t be surprised if he adds more requirements.

The same is true for the people from El Salvador, he says Congress should actually pass a law instead of relying on extensions to the Temporary Protection. And anyway:

The months before then “will provide time with individuals with TPS [temporary protected status] to arrange for their departure, or if eligible, to do the necessary paperwork to remain in the United States,” a senior administration official told reporters on a call previewing the announcement.

Of course they don’t say how this will happen and they want to make it harder to legally immigrate to the US.

It isn’t that Trump doesn’t support ending DACA or sending people back who have been in the country for 20 years or cracking down on marijuana, he does. It’s just that he doesn’t want to be blamed if these turn out to be unpopular.

MS-13 is horrible. Ok, it’s not too bad.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and President Trump have gone on and on about how horrible the Central American gang MS-13 is. Unless that is they’re talking about shipping immigrants back there:

More than 300,000 Central Americans and Haitians living in the United States under a form of temporary permission no longer need to be shielded from deportation, the State Department told Homeland Security officials this week.
The statement was issued a few days ahead of a highly anticipated DHS announcement about whether to renew that protection.
On Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent a letter to acting DHS secretary Elaine Duke to inform her that conditions in Central America and Haiti that had been used to justify the protection no longer necessitate a reprieve for the migrants.

As an aside, MS-13 formed in the LA area by Salvadorans displaced by the civil wars fomented by the US and it took root in El Salvador after the US deported many of them back to El Salvador. Reagan’s actions have come back to bite us.

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.

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