←  Political Discussion

Talk Radio Sucks -- Smart Politics


Immigration in the Trump Era

LFC's Photo LFC 20 November 2018 - 11:06 AM

We don't seem to have a thread on this so I started this one since I expect it to continue to be a major topic, especially as we get closer to the next election. I'm including (and leading off with) the citizenship question in here as its only purpose is to go after non-citizens.

We'll start it off with the exposure of a DoJ memo that they are discussing "weaponizing" the census by using the data to go after illegal immigrants. Remember that they said explicitly that this was not the case. What a shock. More lies from the Trump administration. Here's the explanation but it gets worse as one of the primary players is now clerking for Sam Alito.


The Censusgate scandal just took a shocking new twist, as a newly disclosed Department of Justice memo revealed that the Trump administration is considering sharing census responses with law enforcement, including ICE.

This would, in short, weaponize the census.

Census responses are required by the Census Act to be totally confidential. As recently as May 7, 2018, the Census Bureau stated its “absolute commitment to confidentiality.”

But in a June 12 email, a DOJ official told Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore that “I don’t think we want to say too much” about the confidentiality of census responses in case the issues “come up later for renewed debate.”

Until this email was released, no one knew there was any such “debate.”

The email surfaced in a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s proposal to add a citizenship question to the census.

Critics (including this writer) had railed against the proposal, arguing that it was meant to discourage undocumented immigrants and their relatives from answering the census. That, in turn, would lead to decreased representation in Congress and decreased funding for social services in areas with large Latino populations.

Now, it turns out that the motive may have been even more overt: to weaponize the census for ICE’s deportations of ‘illegal’ immigrants.

Already, the citizenship question had led to a scandal. In March, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, whose department oversees the Census Bureau, testified that the Department of Justice asked him to make the change so that they could better enforce the Voting Rights Act.

Turns out, that was a lie. In fact, Ross had asked DOJ send the letter to justify the policy change, and the real sources of the proposal were White House advisers Steve Bannon and Kris Kobach. (Ross also lied under oath about meeting Bannon and Kobach.) The claims about the Voting Rights Act were just a pretext—a ruse.

Now, we know the citizenship question was cooked up not only to undercount and underserve Latino Americans, but to turn non-citizens over to ICE. Or at least, that “debate” on that question was underway.

LFC's Photo LFC 20 November 2018 - 04:44 PM

The loss of General Beauregard Sessions may have a real impact on Trump's anti-immigrant crusade. Say what you like about him, KK Keebler certainly knew how to do racism effectively. He's been working on it his entire career.


Senior staffers will likely follow ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions and leave the Department of Justice, which could weaken anti-immigration efforts.

At least four top officials have either quit or are looking to leave after Sessions was pushed out and before President Donald Trump names a permanent replacement to oversee federal law enforcement, reported Politico.

Those departing officials are loyal to Sessions, who implemented and vigorously defended Trump’s controversial immigration policies, according to more than a half-dozen former and current administration officials.

Danielle Cutrona, a senior counsel to Sessions, departed Friday, and senior counselor Rachael Tucker could leave in the next couple of months or take another job in the department.

Jeff Wood, acting assistant attorney general, may also leave.

Both he and Cutrona had been with Sessions since the Alabama Republican was a senator.

Trump installed Sessions’ chief of staff Matthew Whitaker, a strong critic of special counsel Robert Mueller as interim attorney general, but he would not likely be nominated to stay on in the face of a likely Senate confirmation showdown.

Senate Democrats have already sued to have Whitaker removed as interim attorney general.

Some of the names floated as long-term replacements — such as former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and George H.W. Bush-era Attorney General Bill Barr — are far more moderate on immigration than Sessions or others preferred by GOP hardliners.

That could drastically cut back on the changes Sessions made during his year and a half on the job.

“For better or for worse, you cannot say [Sessions] has not had a very profound impact,” said Leon Fresco, head of the DOJ’s Office of Immigration Litigation under President Barack Obama. “He’s been a guiding force in moving both the DOJ and the Department of Homeland Security to draft and implement some of the most restrictive rules on immigration.”

LFC's Photo LFC 21 November 2018 - 02:06 PM

Not satisfied with breaking the law by suspending asylum petitions Trump is now giving the troops he sent to the border permission to shoot and kill during their mission. This is likely illegal as well but his base would swell with pride and cheer for Dear Leader if they gunned down a few dozen of those brown "invaders."


The White House late Tuesday signed a memo allowing troops stationed at the border to engage in some law enforcement roles and use lethal force, if necessary — a move that legal experts have cautioned may run afoul of the Posse Comitatus Act.

The new “Cabinet order” was signed by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, not President Donald Trump. It allows “Department of Defense military personnel” to “perform those military protective activities that the Secretary of Defense determines are reasonably necessary” to protect border agents, including “a show or use of force (including lethal force, where necessary), crowd control, temporary detention. and cursory search.”

There are approximately 5,900 active-duty troops and 2,100 National Guard forces deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Some of those activities, including crowd control and detention, may run into potential conflict with the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act. If crossed, the erosion of the act’s limitations could represent a fundamental shift in the way the U.S. military is used, legal experts said.

The Congressional Research Service, the non-partisan research agency for Congress, has found that “case law indicates that ‘execution of the law’ in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act occurs (a) when the Armed Forces perform tasks assigned to an organ of civil government, or (B) when the Armed Forces perform tasks assigned to them solely for purposes of civilian government.” However, the law also allows the president “to use military force to suppress insurrection or to enforce federal authority,” CRS has found.

Military forces always have the inherent right to self defense, but defense of the border agents on U.S. soil is new. In addition, troops have been given additional authorities in previous years to assist border agents with drug interdictions, but the widespread authorization of use of force for thousands of active-duty troops is unique to this deployment.

Each domestic deployment of troops to any of the 50 states or U.S. territories is governed by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction 3121.01B, “Standing Rules of Engagement, Standing Rules for the Use of Force by U.S. Forces.” Two annexes, L and N, are specific to Defense Department missions in support of civilian authorities.

However, each mission is unique, and the standing rules for the use of force can be adjusted except for the limitation against active-duty U.S. forces conducting law enforcement on U.S. soil, which is enshrined in the 1898 act.

LFC's Photo LFC 26 November 2018 - 01:24 PM

What is WRONG with these people?


Fox News guest on Monday brushed off worries about using pepper spray on migrant women and children, while suggesting that it was so harmless that it could be used as a condiment on snacks.

Appearing on “Fox & Friends” to discuss migrants trying to enter the United States, Border Patrol Foundation President Ronald Colburn said the U.S. Border Patrol was completely justified in firing gas canisters at women and children who were in the vicinity of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Colburn, whose non-profit organization was set up to honor Border Patrol agents killed in the line of duty, also clarified that the Border Patrol was not actually firing tear gas at the asylum seekers.

“The type of deterrent being used is OC pepper spray,” he said. “It’s literally water, pepper, with a small amount of alcohol for evaporation purposes.”

He then went on to explain that the gas being used on children is so harmless that it’s edible.

“It’s natural,” he insisted. “You could actually put it on your nachos and eat it! So it’s a good way of deterring people without long-term harm.”

This is O'Reilly and we already know there's a LOT wrong with him. Bonus hypocrisy points for that last sentence.


ormer Fox News host Bill O’Reilly accused CNN of being like a “totalitarian” regime because the network aired a photo of a migrant family fleeing from tear gas.

In a tweet on Monday, O’Reilly reacted to a widely-circulated Reuters photo taken on Sunday at the San Ysidro port of entry in California, which was temporarily closed due to a migrant caravan. In the photo, a family is seen running from tear gas.

According to O’Reilly, President Donald Trump’s administration was not the villain of the story.

“On CNN, in discussing the border situation, puts pictures on the screen of little children, their mothers, strollers, etc,” O’Reilly complained. “This is the type of media propaganda you see in totalitarian countries. If CNN wants open borders, just say that. Stop distorting a very serious situation.”

golden_valley's Photo golden_valley 26 November 2018 - 01:32 PM

Yeah let's pepper spray children! That's a fine example of American humanitarianism. How anyone thinks this is a solution to anything is beyond me. They're trying to save America and ending up condemning it as a land of tinpot dictatorship.

JackD's Photo JackD 26 November 2018 - 04:06 PM

I don't like the pepper spray/tear gas/whatever gas solution used on women and children (and, it should be noted, grown men) any more than the rest of you. I do question though what should be the response to asylum seekers rushing the ports of entry or holes in the fence. Any suggestions?

D. C. Sessions's Photo D. C. Sessions 26 November 2018 - 05:06 PM

Anyone who argues that pepper spray is just fine for children should do this:
  • You will not be required to inhale the mist or get it into your eyes.
  • Put your bare hands in the spray liquid, up to the wrists.
  • Wash it off. Use all the soap and water you like; those migrants should have brought plenty so if they don't it's their fault.
  • After washing, urinate as usual. This may include retracting the foreskin or separating the minor labia.
  • Wash again, even if you don't usually.
  • Rub your eyes.
Then go on camera again and tell us about the safety of it for children.

D. C. Sessions's Photo D. C. Sessions 26 November 2018 - 05:08 PM

 JackD, on 26 November 2018 - 04:06 PM, said:

I don't like the pepper spray/tear gas/whatever gas solution used on women and children (and, it should be noted, grown men) any more than the rest of you. I do question though what should be the response to asylum seekers rushing the ports of entry or holes in the fence. Any suggestions?

Perhaps not spending the prior month telling the world that they're not going to be admitted, that they are animals coming to rape and murder us, and that we will deploy first-rank combat troops against them?

JackD's Photo JackD 26 November 2018 - 05:13 PM

Well I agree with all of that but it doesn't address the question of what do "the authorities" do when asylum seekers rush or push to enter the ports of entry or fence holes without permission.

Practical Girl's Photo Practical Girl 26 November 2018 - 06:19 PM

I despise the war tactics. Some of that is on the "storm" side. This is, unfortunately, what we get when we have a broken immigration system added in with the Goader in Chief. A grown up President would be actually working the problem, instead of being a part of it. But the optics play in Trump's favor. People can bemoan the numbers of children and women (some pregnant) and feel satisfied. How in the fuck can the US treat these people the way we do? Others see it as a protective measure. The men there- who would allow their women and children to be in this peril? All of it is news porn that plays to each side's biases. None of it is a solution.

JackD's Photo JackD 26 November 2018 - 10:10 PM

I don't think the immigration bill that the Senate passed addressed the problem of the asylum seekers. Can anyone enlighten me on that?

AnBr's Photo AnBr 26 November 2018 - 11:00 PM

Was there any real asylum seeker rush at a gate?

HockeyDon's Photo HockeyDon 27 November 2018 - 08:22 AM

 JackD, on 26 November 2018 - 05:13 PM, said:

Well I agree with all of that but it doesn't address the question of what do "the authorities" do when asylum seekers rush or push to enter the ports of entry or fence holes without permission.

In this moment, detain and arrest them humanely.

Of course, if we simply established a system that doesn't encourage smuggling one's self into the country, hiding out in friendly neighborhoods, engaging in a sort of underground employment system, etc., this wouldn't be happening as much. At least IMO.

golden_valley's Photo golden_valley 27 November 2018 - 08:32 AM

 AnBr, on 26 November 2018 - 11:00 PM, said:

Was there any real asylum seeker rush at a gate?

Yeah I wondered that too. Especially when Trump, talking about the tear gas, said "why would someone put their kids in a position to get tear gassed?" Good question...

D. C. Sessions's Photo D. C. Sessions 27 November 2018 - 08:50 AM

Camera phones are not universally owned in the parts of Honduras where people are desperate enough to walk to the USA, so there may not be video. Or there might, but it's strange we haven't seen it yet.

Alternately, people were lined up at the gate to do exactly what they were told the US does: you speak to the officials, claim asylum, and get passed along.

Then, with no warning, ICE closes that port of entry, and there are thousands of people shut out early in the day with no expectation that the next day will be any better.

I seem to remember similar events in the US, although the circumstances differ. Here, it was overfull concerts or sporting events and the people waiting in line rioted -- often killing each other from the crush.

So, quick check: how many of those people in Tijuana died in the "rush" got the door slammed in their faces?

golden_valley's Photo golden_valley 27 November 2018 - 09:13 AM

Well here's the Homeland Security head's explanation: the children were being used as human shields.

ETA: Is Trump trumping this up to support his demand for funding for a wall and shutting down the government over the issue? He used the caravan to support his election claims so why not use it for another purpose (however unsuccessful the first attempt was).

D. C. Sessions's Photo D. C. Sessions 27 November 2018 - 09:33 AM

 golden_valley, on 27 November 2018 - 09:13 AM, said:

Well here's the Homeland Security head's explanation: the children were being used as human shields.

And, surprise! Not one of the Republicans even thought to ask how a woman with two children fit into that narrative.

golden_valley's Photo golden_valley 27 November 2018 - 10:27 AM

 D. C. Sessions, on 27 November 2018 - 09:33 AM, said:

And, surprise! Not one of the Republicans even thought to ask how a woman with two children fit into that narrative.

Why she was a "grabber" who grabbed the kids to use to gain sympathy and claim asylum according to Trump. They probably weren't even her kids.

Seriously though I'd be cautious about analysis by single photograph. Such things lack context like that photo of a Mexico City cop with a bloody head who some claimed was injured by a rock throwing caravan member but was really a photo from a 2012 incident in Mexico City.

LFC's Photo LFC 27 November 2018 - 03:52 PM

From the Department of What Could Possibly Go Wrong... (Bold mine.)


TORNILLO, Texas (AP) — The Latest on a desert detention camp for migrant children (all times local):

12:15 p.m.

A new government watchdog memo says the Trump administration waived rigorous background checks for all staff working at the nation’s largest detention camp for migrant children .

The memo, obtained exclusively by The Associated Press, says the former director of the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement personally signed off on sidestepping requirements for child abuse and neglect checks at the tent city in Tornillo, Texas.

None of the 2,100 staff has gone through FBI fingerprint checks either, but the Tornillo contractor says staff are vetted in other ways.

Tornillo now holds 2,324 migrant teens, and has expanded recently.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General memo confirms AP’s reporting that teens held at Tornillo are receiving inadequate mental health care.

A department spokesman did not immediately provide comment Tuesday.

LFC's Photo LFC 17 December 2018 - 02:05 PM

Another day, another revelation of incompetence under Trumpian rule.


The federal agency responsible for primary policing duties at a controversial tent city housing thousands of immigrant children in Tornillo, Texas, doesn’t have experience investigating child sex offense cases, despite evidence that such assaults are occurring within the nation’s shelter system.

The tent city, built on a patch of federal land near the border in El Paso County, has been a focal point of criticism and controversy as the number of children housed there has ballooned in recent months to about 2,800.

Late last month, as part of a larger investigation into child safety at the shelters, the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services warned that the Trump administration had waived FBI fingerprint background checks for employees at the emergency tent shelter and had hired “dangerously” few mental health counselors.

To handle any potential crimes at the tent city, the government has assigned the largely obscure Federal Protective Service.

The chief mission of the FPS is to protect federal buildings, such as the Census Bureau and the Social Security Administration, which it mostly does through its force of 13,500 private security guards. The agency also employs 1,000 law enforcement officers, who conduct site assessments, handle bomb threats and investigate any crimes, such as assaults and burglaries, that occur on federal property.

But an FPS spokesman acknowledged Thursday that the agency doesn’t have experience investigating the allegations of children who may have been abused or sexually assaulted.

“I don’t know of us investigating any cases in recent history,” said Robert Sperling, director of communications for FPS. The agency’s mission is protecting federal facilities, “there’s not often areas or instances where something like that may happen or occur.”

Experts in forensic interviewing and child abuse said children in the shelters are doubly vulnerable because they fear reporting assaults might affect their immigration cases.