Democrats Express Urgency to Pass Citizenship Laws in Light of DACA Ruling

Democratic Senate aides have confirmed that there is an urgency among Democrats to pass new citizenship laws in favor of “Dreamers” in light of a federal judge’s ruling that blocked roughly 500,000 to 700,000 unauthorized immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from participating in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA program and receiving protection from deportation. read more

Lindsey Graham Implies That Nancy Pelosi Is a ‘Crazy’ ‘Radical Liberal’

GOP Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina was on the CBS show “Face the Nation” on Sunday and implied that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was “crazy” and a “radical liberal” and he would not deal with her.

Graham said that serious negotiations to end the partial government shutdown can’t begin in until Democrats put someone in charge whom Republicans view as more reasonable.

Graham said:

“We’ll have offers on the table when we find somebody that’s not crazy to deal with. We’re not going to put any offers on the table as long as people in charge of these negotiations accuse all of us who want a wall of being a racist.” read more

House Budget Chair Willing to Give In to Trump For Dreamer Protections

New House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) said on Friday that some amount of money for border security in exchange for legal protections for Dreamers, or young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, could be the way to agreement for Democrats and Republicans to end the ongoing partial government shutdown.

“There’s a lot of pride right now that’s probably adversely affecting a settlement on both sides, and nobody wants to cave,” Yarmuth told Hill.TV. read more

Senators Push For New Immigration Deal to End Shutdown

Several key members of the U.S. Senate have said they want to revive controversial immigration negotiations as a way to end the partial government shutdown, which is now two weeks old.

Congress has been trying — and failing — to rewrite the nation’s immigration laws for many years. Trying to achieve consensus on immigration now, and to pass a bill that President Trump will sign, seems like a very difficult path to follow.

But with Trump and congressional Democrats at a stalemate on the shutdown, making immigration reform part of the negotiations is now being discussed seriously. And those discussions include senators from both parties.

“It’s come back to life again,” said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, of a potential immigration deal. “We’ll see if it has legs.”

Immigration reform was reportedly discussed during a closed-door meeting at the White House on Wednesday that included Trump, congressional leaders and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who attended the meeting, said the topic was mentioned briefly, “in a bleak way,” and he said he was reluctant to begin negotiations on immigration reform without Trump’s expressed support.

“I’ll tell ya, it’s such a bitter experience a year ago. And I told the president that I had a bitter experience,” he said after the meeting. “We’re not going to jump back in that until there’s a pretty clear public commitment from the president.”

Trying to solve immigration actually could create more obstacles and make resolving the shutdown even more difficult.

Democratic leadership will face intense pressure from the progressive wing of the party to take a tough stance on immigration. Likewise, from the right, Trump is facing great pressure and has shown he is susceptible to criticism when it comes from Fox News or conservative talk radio.

Sen. Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of GOP leadership, said that expanding the scope of shutdown negotiations could be one way to break the logjam.

“You know, sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to make it bigger, and that’s always one of the options here,” Blunt said.

With no visible progress yet on resolving the border funding, more members of Congress are calling for immigration reform to be tied to the border wall talks.

During a Democratic leadership meeting this week Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) proposed reviving a 2013 immigration bill which included a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented immigrant population as well as $40 billion for border security.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) urged Trump to make a deal on comprehensive immigration reform. He said it could be his “Nixon to China” moment and bring an end to the partial government shutdown.

“Why would he not agree to such a thing?” Alexander said. “We could go small, we could go a little bigger … but I’d like to see the president say, ‘OK, we’ve got a new Congress. We’ve got divided government. I’m the president who can actually make this happen.’”

Other members are suggesting a smaller deal that would focus only  on immigrants who were brought into the United States illegally when they were children.

One approach that may be gaining favor is to include a fix for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. Members of both parties say they are sympathetic to immigrants who entered the country illegally as children. The issue has been put on the back burner while the fate of the DACA program is tied up in court.

GOP Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) said immigration reform should be on the table after she helped craft a deal last year that included $25 billion for border security in exchange for a path to citizenship for DACA recipients.

“I certainly think it’s worth considering,” Collins said Thursday. “Had the Department of Homeland Security not blasted it the night before, it clearly would have passed with more Republican support. So I do see that as a potential path out of this impasse.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) is promoting a measure that would establish a $25 billion border trust fund and codify protections for DACA recipients. He argued on Thursday that it could be a “win-win” for both parties.

New House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) appeared to disapprove of linking the border wall fight and DACA recipients, telling reporters that they are “two different subjects.”

And Durbin, who said immigration was “near and dear to my heart,” admitted that Trump has said he supports and could work with Democrats on immigration reform. 

“But he’s said that before,” Durbin noted. “DACA recipients hang on every word. I do not want them to get their hopes up until there’s a clear indication that the president supports this.”

There is no guarantee that a broader

immigration read more

Pelosi Pledges to Help ‘Dreamers’ When Democrats Take Control

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has promised that the House of Representatives will pass legislation next year that will put Dreamers — young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children — on a pathway to citizenship.

Pelosi is attempting to secure her position as Speaker of the House when her party retakes control of the House in January. Members of the Democratic Caucus have asked her to hold votes in the House to codify protections for the Dreamers who have been the recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. They also want legislation passed in January to help immigrants with Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

Pelosi issued a statement over the weekend, as a response to a letter sent last week by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

In the statement she wrote:

“America draws strength from our long, proud heritage as a nation of immigrants. In the Majority, Democrats will work to reverse the Republicans’ destructive anti-immigrant agenda. Our House Democratic Majority will once again pass the Dream Act to end the uncertainty and fear inflicted on patriotic young men and women across the country.”

“We will protect TPS recipients and those fleeing unimaginable violence.”

Rep. Adriano Espaillat, of New York, one of the members of Congress who signed the letter to Pelosi, said that Democrats should move ahead “expeditiously” in January to pass bills that shield Dreamers and TPS holders from deportation. She added that Democrats should pass these laws without providing any funding for a wall on the southern border. Donald Trump and other Republicans have said wall funding must be included in any bipartisan immigration proposal or to extend DACA protection.

“I think the Dream Act should be taken on alone, with no poison pills attached to it,” Espaillat said, expressing the views of many other Democrats in the House. She also said that Democrats should pass the immigration bills within the first 100 days of the next session.

“These young people are still in limbo,” Espaillat said. “Had it not been for the courts, they would probably be underground, they would be in the shadows.”

Donald Trump has tried to dismantle the DACA program which has helped over 800,000 undocumented immigrants.

He has lost court cases, however, read more

U.S. appeals court rules against Trump on DACA immigration program

By Tom Hals

(Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court in California ruled on Thursday that President Donald Trump’s administration must continue a program begun under former President Barack Obama that protects hundreds of thousands of immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children.

The decision by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals preserves the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program introduced in 2012 that has shielded from deportation a group of immigrants dubbed “Dreamers” and has given them work permits, though not a path to citizenship.

Trump has taken a stern stance against illegal immigration. His administration announced plans in September 2017 to phase out DACA, arguing that Obama exceeded his constitutional powers when he bypassed Congress and created the program. DACA offers protections to roughly 700,000 young adults, mostly Hispanics.

The three-judge panel rejected the administration’s claim that the decision to end DACA was not reviewable by the courts.

“And, upon review, we conclude that plaintiffs are likely to succeed on their claim that the rescission of DACA – at least as justified on this record – is arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise not in accordance with law,” Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw wrote.

The ruling represented another legal defeat for Trump concerning DACA, although he has won court victories on other parts of his tough immigration policies.

On Monday, the administration took the unusual step of asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case, which stems from a federal judge’s January decision to block Trump from ending DACA, even though the appeals court had yet to rule.

Trump said on Wednesday he saw potential to work with Democrats, who won control of the House of Representatives this week, but he would have to see how the Supreme Court rules on the issue.

San Francisco-based U.S. District Judge William Alsup decided in January the government must continue processing renewals of existing DACA applications while litigation over the legality of Trump’s action is resolved. The administration in February unsuccessfully appealed Alsup’s ruling to the Supreme Court.

The ruling stems from a lawsuit brought by the University of California, the states of California, Maine, Maryland and Minnesota and others challenging Trump’s move to end DACA.

Trump’s move last year had called for the program to begin winding down this past March. Trump’s action sparked an outcry from immigration advocates, business groups, colleges and some religious leaders. There are about 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States, according to the Pew Research Center.

Lawsuits both challenging and supporting Trump’s decision to end DACA have been working their way through the courts, making it likely the issue will wind up in front of the Supreme Court.

The ruling by the 9th Circuit does not impact a nationwide injunction to preserve DACA issued by U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn in February, which also has been appealed.

In addition, a federal judge in Washington in August ordered the administration to fully restore DACA, including taking new applications. That decision was stayed pending appeal.

Legislation to extend protections for DACA recipients and provide them a path to citizenship failed in Congress this year.

(Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Additional reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Noeleen Walder, Tom Brown and Will Dunham)

DACA Supporters Fall Short As Ryan Avoids Disaster in House Vote

Moderate Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives failed in their attempt to force Speaker Paul Ryan to bring a vote on the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program to the house floor.  Shortly before the deadline of midnight on Tuesday it was announced by GOP leadership that the moderates had come up short in their attempt to pass a discharge petition that would have forced a vote on the DACA proposal. With the support of all Democrats in the House, plus a handful of GOP moderates, the DACA proposal would have passed the House against the wishes of Ryan and other members of the Republican leadership team. read more

Republican Rebellion on Immigration Threatens GOP

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are far from unified on many important policy issues.  First and foremost among these issues is immigration, especially when it comes to creating a workable U.S. policy on a path to citizenship and the treatment of “Dreamers” under the DACA program. And according to the Associated Press, immigration issues are threatening to tear apart the Republican Party.

For many years, and since taking control of the House, Republican policies have been heavily influenced by the right-wing Freedom Caucus, which was formed from the old Tea Party.  This group of about 30 hard-liners on immigration have fought hard against a path to citizenship and against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  And up to this point they have prevailed.

But as the GOP majority is held in the balance in this year’s midterm elections, the domination of the Freedom Caucus is now being threatened by about 30 Republican moderates in the House who want their party to liberalize its official positions and policies on immigration.

To say this is a highly-charged issue is an understatement.  Many people believe that Donald Trump’s exploitation of the issue is what led to him being elected president.  Many also believe that to keep Trump’s base of rabid anti-immigrant supporters fired up to support GOP candidates this fall, the party must hold firm against the moderates who want more open immigration laws.

But moderates don’t see it that way, and they have taken actions in the House that would force Speaker Paul Ryan to hold a vote that he may find embarrassing and that would outrage GOP conservatives.  They 

have launched a petition drive that would force House votes on four immigration bills, and they say they have 23 Republicans willing to support their efforts. read more

Trump Signs Ridiculous Spending Bill While Repeating Lie That Our Military Is Depleted

After creating chaos earlier this morning by threatening to veto the proposed Senate and Congressional omnibus spending bill, adding an additional 1.3 trillion dollars to the previous 1.7 trillion added by the Republican tax reform law passed just over a month ago, Mr. Trump finally decided to sign the legislation, announcing his decision to a pool of reporters in the Diplomat Room of the White House this afternoon.

All of this, after Mr. Trump characterized the bill and the process surrounding it as “ridiculous.” This very well may be the first truth Trump has told us. There are several reasons the bill is ridiculous.

The first reason this bill is ridiculous is due to the chaotic nature the bill was finally agreed to. To be clear: Trump himself created this chaos.

With lawmakers already on their way out of town for the Easter Break, Mr. Trump managed to turn the entire decision into one more akin to the drama seen on reality-television shows.  Said Trump, earlier this morning through Twitter:

“I am considering a VETO of the Omnibus Spending Bill based on the fact that the 800,000 plus DACA recipients have been totally abandoned by the Democrats (not even mentioned in Bill) and the BORDER WALL, which is desperately needed for our National Defense, is not fully funded.”

A second reason the bill is ridiculous is due to DACA recipients still not having protection in our nation with Mr.Trump blaming Democrats for the problem.

But while Trump blames Democrats for abandoning recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, it is noteworthy that it was none other than Mr. Trump himself who rescinded the program initiated by former President Obama. At that time, despite a bipartisan agreement reached in committee, Mr. Obama out of necessity implemented the program due to Congress’ inability and refusal to allow that agreement to the floor for a vote.

Video of Explanation on DACA:

While true the White House attempted to persuade Democrats to extending DACA by providing a mere two years of protection for these recipients, with no guarantees beyond, in exchange for Trump’s  full 25 Billion dollars funding for the Wall he continually tells his supporters Mexico will pay for, Democrats demurred. As The New York Times reports:

“Democrats countered by saying they would agree to the full $25 billion only if the president agreed to a pathway to citizenship for a much broader population of young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, well over a million people — a deal that was similar to an earlier offer from Mr. Trump. The White House rejected the Democratic offer.”

Let me be clear: Republicans and Mr. Trump promised Democrats and notably one of their own, Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) on each of the several stop gap measures funding our government that a bipartisan vote would occur on the floor. When Senate Democrats refused to buckle in January leading the government to shutdown for a weekend, Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said these words in order to get the government re-opened:

“Should these issues not be resolved by the time the funding bill before us expires on February 8, so long as the government remains open,” the Republican leader said in his floor speech — repeating for emphasis “so long as the government remains open,” — “it would be my intention to take up legislation here in the Senate that would address DACA and border security, as well as other related issues.”

But notice what Trump and Republicans have done with DACA: They have turned the entire matter into one of immigration which does nothing for those who are already here in our nation through no fault of their own. With nearly 700,000 recipients currently living in our nation at this time, coupled with the prolific deportation taking place under this administration, I wonder how those recipients feel right about now?

Make no mistake: When Trump negotiates the future lives of Dreamers in order to obtain his funding for a Wall that many do not want built, he is extorting these people as political pawns.

A third reason this spending bill is ridiculous is due to Trump’s repeated claim that our military is depleted. Let me be clear: It isn’t. With its roots in conservative talking points while former President Obama was in office, all in an effort to portray him as an appeaser, the talking point is merely a myth. Caroline Dorminey, policy analyst from the Cato Institute, writes in The Hill that the “military isn’t depleted,” but  overworked.

During his last State of the Union Address, President Obama told Congress that our nation “spends more on our military than the next eight nations combined,” with PolitiFact rating the President’s claim as mostly true. Contrast this statement with Trump’s persistent contention that our “military is depleted,” while neglecting to consider the federal budget process, and his apparent lack of realizing two wars came to a close under Obama, all earning him a

Three Pinocchios read more