Never let a good crisis go to waste

“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. … This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not before.”

This quote comes from Mayor  Rahm Emmanuel.  It has been used completely out of context since he said it in an interview in 2008. What he meant was a crisis gets the public attention to a problem, and puts pressure on government to come up with solutions.

The raging forest fires in California should have been the crisis to tell us that the impacts of climate change are real and resulting in deaths around the world.    Trump’s comments on Californian’s forgot to rake their leaves was laughable.  It’s also sad, because human lives are at stake.  I am not saying that climate change caused the forest fires, but that global warming results in hotter and longer summers in California, resulting in very dry brush.  This makes many large and populated areas more vulnerable to rapidly spreading fires,

So let us add:  “Never let a crisis be pointed to you or your organization.”   With the second important proviso,   “Be creative.”    Trump meant to say that the state of California was responsible.   They didn’t maintain their forests well.   This became laughable again, when Trump insisted that Finland rakes their leaves.   The President of Finland was confused.    Learn to pivot and deflect, at the same time as appearing to answer questions.  Avoid like the plague the follow up question.  The buck stops somewhere else.

As news of Trump’s involvement in a potential Trump Tower in Moscow has leaked out,  an additional proviso comes to mind.  “If creativity fails, try lying.”     Trump claims that the Trump Tower project in Moscow was public knowledge in 2016, which I am hoping that this qualifies as the “Lie of the Year”  for Politifact annual contest.  Another tactic, is to change the subject to a completely different crisis that is not your fault.    Trump has tweeted that the FBI is wasting their time investigating the Russian interference (aka, “Witch hunt” and “hoax”)  when they should go after Hillary Clinton,  James Comey,  Loretta Lynch, Clinton Foundation,  Uranium One, etc,  or really anything connected to  Democratic campaign.      Like science fiction,  the public can never get enough of big  scandal stories, even the manufactured narratives.

So, while Emmanuel just wanted to say how a crisis helps in solving real problems,  he had not envision the new era of creating scandals out of  practically nothing, for purely political reasons.  The best defense is a good offense.   Be inventive and retaliate with another scandal, blown out of proportion.     Example: Hillary’s email scandal was real and 10X worse than the Russian collusion, which we know is a hoax.    Another example — the caravan story  and the imminent  invasion of half of Guatemala’s  criminal population,  along with Middle East terrorists.  This was only good up to the mid-term election.

Remember there is strength in numbers.  You can lie without statistics, but it just sounds more impressive with statistics.   Even false statistics.

So,  to re-iterate:

  1.  You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. … This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not before.
  2.  Never let a crisis be pointed to you or your organization.   Learn to deflect and pivot.  The buck stops somewhere else.
  3.  Be creative.  If creativity fails, try lying.
  4.  The best defense is a good offense.  Be inventive and retaliate with another scandal, blown out of proportion.
  5.  There is strength in numbers.  You can lie without statistics, but it just sounds more impressive with statistics.  Even false ones.

Poor Mayor Emmanuel who looked on the positive side of a crisis.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_best_defense_is_a_good_offense

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Rahm_Emanuel

 

 

Asylum case

I just wanted to add that this case is far from settled.   The Judge issued a temporary restraining order, and there will be more hearings to determine if a permanent restraining order should be issued.   There is a legal question of “standing” in which the ACLU and others representing the “immigrant organization groups” must defended their right to sue  based on damages done by the Proclamation   There really has been no real application of the Proclamation, so attorneys claim a potential  damage based on a decline in activity to the non-profit organizations seeking to assist immigrants with their asylum claims.

If the Ninth Circuit Court rules that the plaintiffs lack standing, then the merits of their case can not be adjudicated, and the temporary restraining order would be lifted.

The case East Bay Sanctuary v Trump, Case 18-cv-6810.

The standing question will likely rely on the applicability of “Havens Realty Corp. v. Coleman, 455 U.S. 363 (1982).”   I will be following this case closely.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

Liar in Chief

 

I’ve discussed this before.  Donald Trump has a problem with the truth.  This is the famous line from Republican Bob Corker.  Great places for lying are campaign rallies.  Twitter works well.  He stays away from solo  press conferences – he’s holds the record for the fewest.   That’s when reporters, who really know their facts will trip him up.   Zingers don’t work at press conferences.

The rallies were for his supporters.  He knew the House may flip.  We’ll know today.     Two major theme – My administration is doing incredible great things and the Democrats are your worse enemy.  And the media – it’s also your enemy.  And actually,  ignoring a lot of very important issues, like for instance the budget and well, the world at large.    It’s all about Donald and the narrative, and largely untrue.

Trump said that they were close to reaching a deal on the China tariffs.  Stock market did nothing.  If it came from Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce, and someone I admire,  the stock markets would have exploded.  With Donald, it was a sound bite.    Xi Jinping had a  swift and harsh rebuttal.    He referred to  “beggar-thy-neighbor” which in economics,  is a policy through which one country attempts to remedy its economic problems by means that tend to worsen the economic problems of other countries.   He accused the US as play by the  “law of the jungle” obviously ignoring the World Trade Organization, which we have built up over the years to promote free trade.  In fact,  Xi Jinping has probably better standing as a global capitalist than Trump.

Campaigning and marketing are similar.  It  is simply that everything I can offer you is great and will make your life better.  Everything my competitor has is awful and will make your life horrible.  Truth is expendable.   Fear works.   Caravans of dangerous criminals approaching the border is good.   Stalemates in Congress over budgetary issues – forget,  too boring.

Donald Trump on the campaign stump: His most glaring falsehoods, is Politifact’s latest update on our liar in chief.   The folks at Politifact know their stuff, and could have written a lot more.  But by saying these are the “most glaring”  falsehoods, they can go home before the sunrises.   I guess my favorite is:

“The Democrat plan would just obliterate Medicare and terminate Medicare Advantage … seniors who have been paying for this for years (and) will not be taken care of anymore.”

which perhaps I would be worried about, but it came from our liar in chief and is false.   It is just the opposite, as the Sanders bill would greatly expand benefits.

Should the measure pass, it would offer much more than the current Medicare program, including dental, vision, hearing and long-term care. With few exceptions, there would be no premiums, no co-pays or other out-of-pocket expenses. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, however. The price tag would be in the multiple trillions of dollars.”

Some lies are so simple, such as the US Steel plants:

“US Steel is now building seven plants.”

No they’re not.  Nor six as in his prior statement.  No new plants, Mr. President!

The last of the glaring falsehoods,  #8,  is a whopper as everyone wants to help our wounded warriors.   Trump said:

 “We passed veterans’ choice, giving our veterans the right to see a private doctor, rather than waiting on line for weeks and weeks and weeks. 44 years they’ve been trying to pass that. I got it passed.”

Nope Trump  didn’t.  Obama got it passed in 2014.  the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014.   It was smart to put a year on it, just so we know it wasn’t Trump’s act.  There were some changes to it during Trump’s term,  but it was Obama bill.

Politifact and Factcheck.org  come to similar conclusions – Trump will lie on almost any issue.   He gets caught and doesn’t seem to care.  I said the birth right citizenship was more about getting airtime.   Fox News actually found “legal experts”  who could explain why there were some exceptions.     Absolutely amazing.   Apparently, if say Venezuela invades Puerto Rico (for instance), then it would not be under the jurisdiction of the US.    What is a saving grace in these situation, is that all cases coming before the Supreme Court, must be associated with an actual case already heard by the lower courts, not some hypothetical case from an attorney.   So no, no Executive Order on birthright citizenship.

Marketing has little to do with the truth and everything to do with airtime.   Get on television, social media, anywhere possible.  Make it as personal as possible – like the lie on the wounded warriors.   It hits everyone who has a friend or neighbor serving in the military.  And it was a whopper of a lie that Trump has used many times.

Trump’s statements, as evaluated by Politifact,  fall in the  mostly false, false or pants on fire about 69% of the time, and true statements are 5% (about 1 in 20).    A falsehood repeated at a dozen rallies and aired over the media, still counts as one lie.   His highest percentage (33%) is False, followed by Mostly False (21%).  Of course,  these are only statements presented as facts, not opinions.

There are some really big messes and scandals looming.   If the House stays Republican, they will go after Rosenstein and Mueller.   The deep state nonsense will  re-emerge.  I believe Mueller will be announcing more criminal  indictments after the elections, and not just Russians.   Roger Stone,  adviser to the President is my guess of who is next.  There will likely be demands for Trump’s tax returns, which the Donald will not like.    Ryan Zinke,  Secretary of Interior, is being investigated for illegally profiting from policy changes, and might be the next cabinet official to leave in disgrace.  Iran and North Korea nuclear talks will go nowhere.   Iran is not caving in to US demands, but pushing back.   And China trade wars could get really nasty.  The caravan, well forget it, the troops will be returned within 3 to 4  months of inactivity.

I better stop here.  Vote today.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Donald Trump’s Record – Politifact

The most glaring falsehoods  – Politifact

 

 

 

 

Crazy s*** on immigration

Note:  Tom Toles is one of my favorite cartoonists.  This is from the Washington Post.  Trump later said he might send up to 15,000 troops to the border, when the caravan was 900 miles away, and the participants, many mothers with their children,  looked very weary.

Immigration is a hot button issue.  There are a lot of folks, who are either unemployed or struggling with low paying jobs, who blame everything on immigrants, particularly Mexicans.  Add a bit of bigotry into this mix, and irrational fears of the caravan approaching the US borders, and Trump has created an energized  constituency that will vote straight Republican in the next election.

What Trump can not do, nor any president, is take away any of our constitutional rights, through Executive Orders.  Headlines in CNN this morning, reads “Trump claims he can defy Constitution and end birthright citizenship.”   Any executive order would typically be routed through the Department of Justice, and they would not give their blessing.  An executive order is effective until a court issues an injunction.  The injunction would happen very quickly.   The Fourteenth Amendment states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.”  My guess is that Trump isn’t that stupid to sign such an Executive Order.

It has succeeded.   Trump wanted more media coverage.  He sure as hell got it.   It is only a desperation ploy, given early voting in the mid-term elections has started.

Next is the caravan.   I’ll go as far as saying Trump’s  characterization of the caravan as being an invading force is pure fiction.   Now, the truth is, there is widespread chaos in Honduras. According to the New York Times:

Trump has consistently conflated Central American migrants with members of gangs like MS-13, even though many Hondurans joined the caravan precisely to escape the gangs. And while migrants have a right under both international and U.S. law to seek asylum at the border, Trump has continuously voiced his opposition to their arrival. He urged Mexican authorities to prevent the caravan from reaching the United States, called for 4,000 members of the National Guard to be deployed to the border and urged U.S. lawmakers to vote for stricter immigration laws.

Immigration stories by bloggers, are  almost all false.   Unfortunately even Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security,  Kirstjen Nielsen, joined with them, spreading false stories:

There are billboards in Central America in the Northern Triangle countries advertising how to grab a kid to get into the United States illegally. Because that loophole is so big. Billboards,” Nielsen said during a July 19 interview with NBC’s Peter Alexander at the Aspen Security Forum.

Politifact labels her statement “false” as there has been no evidence of any billboards.   The US during the Obama administration, did help support billboards to help prevent illegal immigration, not promote it.   See link at the bottom.

Just as I went to post this blog, Trump double down on his false claims:

The Democrats want to invite caravan after caravan of illegal aliens into our country. And they want to sign them up for free health care, free welfare, free education, and for the right to vote.”

The statement is false in every aspect. See link below.   In fact, Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schummer, got it right responding to Donald Trump’s  actions as simply trying to distract attention from other issues, many health care.  Further Pelosi added:

Pelosi reiterated that message in another statement: “Despite Republicans’ fear-mongering, this group of families may not even make it to the U.S. border, and those migrating for economic reasons will not qualify for asylum.”

The qualifications for asylum are based on the rules of Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS).    Trump doesn’t have the authority to unilaterally change the rules.  The Department of Justice, and AG Jeff Sessions will be involved in any changes.   The courts will likely decide if it is within the executive branch’s authority to make changes.

The false claims on the caravan are too long to discuss all of them.  The caravan has existed since 2008.  The people are poor.  Many are women with children.  Many are fleeing gang violence in their countries.     George Soros, a billionaire and strong Democratic supporter, is not funding the caravan.  In fact, just about every claim against Soros, spread through social media is untrue.

The mid-term election might turn the House of Representatives to Democrat.  That’s what this heated rhetoric on immigration is about.

At this point, Trump would light a school bus on fire if he could get an extra 5 minutes of air time.  And distract the electorate from horrible policies – ranging from pulling out of the  Paris climate accord,  eliminating many rules governing clear air and water, and the attempted elimination of health care for Americans with pre-existing conditions.

Unfortunate there will be a slew of more lies as we get to Nov 6.   VOTE!

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

False statements on the caravan

Kirstjen Nielsen falsely says there are billboards in Central America on illegal immigration.

Trump says he will restrict asylum, claims troops will shoot at rock throwers

 

 

Trump: Populism, Nationalism with overriding Pro-business focus

Populism and nationalism are not policies, but ideologies, which when rigidly applied or taken to extremes, have terrible consequences.   Populism concentrates on the problem, rather than the solution.   Nothing is every built on existing solutions.   It is more of a tear down and rebuild philosophy,  Underlying populism is a focus not on problems of society, but on government itself.   An excellent example was Trump’s campaign slogan, “Let’s drain the swamp.”   The message was that policies in the Obama administration were only what lobbyists wanted, and he was truly independent of their efforts.   The more Hillary Clinton spoke of her background in government, the more she became part of the “elite” class who were causing all the problems.

Populists exaggerate the problem and are vague on the solutions.  Trump frequently goes from an exaggeration to an outright lie.   Populists  are constantly at war with opponents who they claim will only make matters worse by continuing government policies.   Case in point was Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the EPA, taking an axe to hundreds of environmental rules, on the basis of deregulation.   He had no interest in protecting the environment.  He allowed  and in fact appointed “elitists” or fossil fuel lobbyists guide federal policies.  I guess Pruitt would defend his policies as doing what is best for the nation in helping companies explore for oil, ultimately lowering the cost of gasoline.

Nationalism says that a country does only what is in its best interest.   With Trump, it seems anytime we are part of an international organization, we have this tremendous clout to determine outcomes.   Case in point, is Trump’s verbal attack of Germany at the NATO summit.

Trump renewed the long-standing U.S. criticism of the project on Wednesday, and doubled down by tying it to the future of NATO. “Germany, as far as I’m concerned, is captive to Russia because it’s getting so much of its energy from Russia,” Trump told NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, speaking on camera. “We have to talk about the billions and billions of dollars that’s being paid to the country we’re supposed to be protecting you against.”

Trump was referring to the Nord Stream 2.  It will take another blog to Here is the irony of nationalism – other countries can’t tell us what to do, but we can tell them how to run their countries. I will explain the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in a later blog.

The third element is a pro-business agenda.  The tax cut is a very much part of this.  It seems not much of the tax cut is being put to use to expand manufacturing.  It likely will drive up our deficits.   With trade tariffs, this will in the short term help some businesses, particularly steel and aluminium manufacturers.  It is likely to hurt US car makers, and drive up the price of cars.  In Florida,  the orange and grapefruit growers are worried about being priced out of Asian markets due to reciprocal tariffs.

So, if populism focuses only on the problem, and nationalism guides policy decisions, the end result as in the coming trade war, likely will hurt Trump’s pro-business agenda.  International cooperation will be dwindling under Trump, as he pushes America first, and above everything else.

The travel ban is an excellent example of populism and nationalism, accomplishing very little.   Certainly,  the Muslim world thinks very little of our president.

Getting tough on immigration, was rooted in populism and nationalism.   It was founded on exaggeration and frequent lies. The resulting family separation and horrific outcomes were predictable.  It was a bet that executive authority would triumph over judicial restraint.  It didn’t.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

 

Lie of the year 2018

I think it’s a sure win for Trump.   It’s only mid-year, but there are really a slew of them, which really put him over the top.  The FBI embedding secret agents within the Trump campaign qualified for a “Pants on Fire”  award.   But, then came the Trump’s administration policy change to separate children from their parents,  and blame it on a law passed by Democrats,  really blew past prior lies.   Here is the post:

A “horrible law” requires that children be separated from their parents “once they cross the Border into the U.S.”  Donald Trump,  May 28, 2018.

Politifact says:  “We rate this statement False.”

Here’s the truth from Politifact.

But there is no law that mandates separating children from their parents. Trump’s own administration devised a policy to that effect.

So what is Trump talking about?

Whenever parents are charged with a federal misdemeanor (entry without inspection in this case), or awaiting trial, they are placed in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. Children cannot go to jail, so they are transferred to the custody of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement. They are then placed with relatives, juvenile detention centers or foster care. That’s a longstanding Homeland Security policy, DHS told us.

Before the Trump administration, immigrants entering illegally as families were rarely prosecuted, said Sarah Pierce, an associate policy analyst of the U.S. Immigration Program at the Migration Policy Institute. Instead, immigrants were held in family detention centers until they were sent to appear before an immigration court or deported.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on April 6 the Homeland Security Department would now be referring all illegal border crossings to the Justice Department for prosecution. Facing criminal charges, parents would go to detention centers, leaving their children unaccompanied.

It’s the decision to prosecute parents that is causing the separations.

“That’s a choice they have made that’s largely different from what other administrations have done,” said Peter Margulies, an immigration law and national security law professor at Roger Williams University School of Law.

When we asked for evidence of policies separating families, the White House referred us to items determining what happens to unaccompanied immigrant minors. But none of the children in question would be deemed unaccompanied if the Trump administration did not decide to prosecute their parents.

The 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement, for example, calls for the release of unaccompanied minors to family members or sponsors who can care for them as their immigration case is resolved. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, which Trump has wrongly called “a Democrat rule,” determines that unaccompanied minors be transferred to Health and Human Services custody.

The White House argued such policies encourage parents to send their children into the United States, knowing they will be promptly released.

“The cruel and inhumane open borders policies of the Democratic Party are responsible for encouraging mass illegal migration, enabling horrendous child smuggling, and releasing violent MS-13 gang members into American communities,” White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said in an emailed statement.

The Trump administration may believe that Democrats are responsible for policies that encourage illegal border crossing, but we found no law mandating that children be separated from their parents.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Link:

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2018/may/29/donald-trump/trump-blames-democrat-own-policy-separating-family/

May 24, 2018 was a rapid fire series of lies  by Donald Trump on immigration on the Trump friendly “Fox and Friends”

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2018/may/24/donald-trump-made-8-misleading-claims-about-immigr/

 

 

 

 

Did Mexican border apprehensions soar?

Details of Donald Trump’s decision to send National Guard to the Mexican border, have not been finalized.   He needs further consultation with the governors of the states involved.  His basis is that apprehensions are surging, as a result of increase attempts to illegal enter the US.   Note CBP data combines both apprehensions and inadmissibles together and for convenience I call them apprehensions.

I conclude the apprehensions at the Southwest border to Mexico have not suddenly soared, after an examination of the Customs and Border Patrol data.  In fact, apprehensions (approx 50,000) are very much in line with the prior five years.  What was very unusual was the pattern in FY17 as shown in the orange line.  The fiscal year 2017 goes from October 1, 2016 to Sep 30, 2017.  So, October 2016, during the Obama administration had a record number of apprehensions (67,000, I’m rounding the numbers to multiples of 1,000),  followed by a sharp drop off to a record low in April 2017.

Exactly why the  apprehensions in 2017 were abnormally low, maybe a combinations of a number of factors.  Remember,  these are immigrants who were either turned away at the border or caught attempting to get in.  The most obvious factor could be the perception of tougher enforcement at the border by President Trump.    But also remember when the economy of the US is doing well, this also tends to help Mexico and the other Latin American countries, so fewer immigrants attempt to cross the border.   The Mexican coyotes control the border crossings, with a network of associates in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and other countries, and I believe they   are charging very high fees (> $10,000) for their services, based on conversations I have had recently.

 

It isn’t easy to interpret these statistics.   The high number of apprehensions  as occurred in June 2014 (68,000 apprehensions) might be the result of  diligent efforts on the part of Customs officials, and not an increase in  the number of illegal  immigrants.   In 3 of the 5 years, there is a significant drop off apprehensions from May to Jun (2013, 2014 and  2015), but 2017 is markedly different with an increasing trend extending from April to Dec 2017.

Bottom line is these are the statistics of people who didn’t get into the US, and we don’t know how many did.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Twitter page:  CBP Statistics

 

 

 

Cost of Guarding Trump’s wall in San Diego

Ok.  This isn’t about the cost of guarding any actual fence or wall.   I note that  see through fence, rather than a solid wall has been long considered a more effective border security efforts.   Some prototypes include see through sections, so are they walls or fences.  Do we care?

This is about the eight standing prototypes in San Diego.   They must be guarded day and night against  graffiti artists, who would love to deface them probably with not very favorable opinions of Trump’s immigration policies.   The task to stand guard over these eight walls/fences falls to the San Diego city police and the San Diego County  Sheriff’s office.   NBC 7 local news in San Diego reports a total cost of around  one million dollars,  of which  $278,000 is for city police and $761,000 is for the Sheriff’s office.   The Sheriff’s office estimate  is for approximately 10,000 hours of overtime, coming out to $76/hour.  The cost estimate from NBC News is provided in the links.

There has been no reported arrest of graffiti artists,  so the security must be working.  This also may be to the no nonsense Trump position (Minimum mandatory sentence to all graffitists)  or the “Trump effect” of not daring to deface his wall.

The prototypes  have already been tested, I guess, by seeing if people can get over them.  It has been reported that all the prototypes passed, even the ones with see through parts.  If these prototypes are to stay until the security fence (the word I like) is built,  we may be looking at decades of prototype protection.  It would seem there should be some way to make money off of this.   San Diego Prototype Park?   Maybe do some landscaping, and build signs, explaining the features of each fence.

Or, invite local artists to paint the walls.  In Miami, we have Wynwood walls, which is very popular among tourists.

I suspect like many walls, this one will come down.   The destruction day should  be on YouTube.

And I expect Trump to stiff the city and county for all their good work.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

This report also goes into details of the drastic drop off of illegal immigrants entering the US through Mexico.   But the Department of Homeland Security is saying that in March 2018, there was a sudden surge in attempted illegal entry.   Of course, all we have are statistics on how many failed to get into the US, not how many evaded border patrols.   There are a lot of statistics floating around, and I’ll do my best to explain them in a future blog.

NBC 7 Investigates Looks at Local Border Wall Costs and Immigration Arrests

 

 

 

 

 

Immigration Removals

I know this is a hot issue.  This blog is narrowly focused on historical and recent removal statistics.  Here’s my conclusion – Trump in 2017 will likely deport the same or slightly fewer immigrants than Obama did in his last year.   I know this seems contrary to the general impression that Trump is far more aggressive against illegal immigrants  than Obama.  I will explain why.

President Obama record of deportations is shown below based on the ICE website.  There is an upward trend in deportations, peaking at 409,000 in 2012, then declining to 235,000 by 2015.  I’ve rounded the numbers for convenience.    The deportations in fiscal year (FY) 2016 are basically the same as 2015, at 240,000 removals,  or an average  20,000 deportations per month.

immigration trends

The blue bars are the non-criminal removals.   The priority shifted during Obama’s administration to target removals of illegal immigrants with a criminal convictions, as the blue bars become smaller percentages of the entire bar over time.

The decline in removals from 2012 to 2016 is likely attributable to a reduction of immigrants coming through from Mexico.   Security barriers including extension of the security fence and electronic surveillance likely discouraged immigrants or at least made the crossings much more expensive.   There is a network of “coyotes” operating in many countries, such as Brazil, Guatemala and Nicaragua which organize illegal entries into the US, and my extremely limited polling indicates the cost is rising, costing as much as $10,000.   News of increased border enforcement  can  discourage illegal entry.    Therefore, it should  not be interpreted that a decline in removals means that enforcement is lacking.

The Obama administration, through Executive Orders,  aggressively targeted illegal immigrants with criminal records, as shown by the graph below:

ice removals

 

The blue line is for “interior removals” (away from the border or near border towns) and is represents the Obama’s efforts to target immigrants with criminal conviction records.   I don’t have a breakdown of these offenses,  but they likely include fairly minor offenses.

ICE attributes the increase in removals in 2016 due to: (1) increase state and local cooperation through the priority enforcement program (PEP) and (2) increased border security.    They state that 99.3% of the illegal aliens by ICE in 2016 met the enforcement priorities.     The statistics for 2016 are provided below:

2016 Statistics
Number %
At border removals 174923 72.8
Interior removals 65332 27.2
Total 240255
At border convicted of a crime 78351 44.8
At border, not convicted of a crime 96572 55.2
total 174923
Int. removals convicted of crime 60318 92.3
Int. removals not convicted of a crime 5014 7.7
Total 65332
All removals convicted of crime 138669 57.7
All removals not convisted of crime 101586 42.3
Total 240255
At border, non-criminals 96572 95.1
Int. removals, non-criminals 5014 4.9
Total 101586
Suspect of confirmed gang members 2057 0.9
Not suspected or confirmed gang members 238198 99.1
Total 240255

Probably, if Trump’s policies are working as he claims,  the interior removals of immigrants convicted of crimes would rise above 60,318 in 2017.    The best estimate I have at present is 202,000 removals for 2017, which will be about 14% below 2016.   This would not be any fault of enforcement, but rather a decline in border crossings.  Separating fact from fiction will be challenging.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

Week 1: Trump found in violation of Constitution

It’s all over the news, so I won’t go into the details.

The heroes are the attorneys for the ACLU.   So, I’m sending them a contribution right now.

ACLU

One Syrian women was reportedly about to be sent back to her home country when the ruling came down—and was promptly taken off the flight by Customs and Border Protection agents.

The stay is temporary.    There will be a court hearing to determine if the Executive Order is legal.   The Judge ordered the government to turn over all names of people facing deportation under the Order.

Will the Department comply with furnishing these documents?

GO ACLU!

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

Immigration – Trump’s Plan

immigration

 

Donald Trump plans to remove 2 to 3 million illegal immigrants in 2017.   Obama deported approximately  400,000 per year, or about 2.5  million between 2009 and 2015.  Bush deported approximately 2 million immigrants during the 8 years he was President.

It all seems very unrealistic to be deporting 10 times more immigrants than last year.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-donald-trump-deport-immigrants-60-minutes-20161113-story.html

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

Supreme Court Immigration Case

Messy.  Immigration policy is always messy.  This case is messy.  Obama’s order did not legalize anyone, but deferred deportation for a small fraction of immigrants here illegally.  It is estimated that it applied to 400,000 of the 11 million illegal immigrants.  The question is whether President Obama has this authority.  The Obama administration is on the defensive because the Texas court says he doesn’t have this authority and this caused a temporary halt to the program.   A future president could rescind this order.

Illegal immigrants who qualify get the all important green card, with alien registration numbers,  just like permanent residents.   So, opponents of the order argue that this simply promotes illegal immigration to this country.  However, new arrivals or anyone coming after 2010 are excluded from this order.   Many will not qualify because of a lack of documentation showing that they were here in 2010.

The outcome could go 4-4,  5-3 or even 6-2,  with Roberts and Kennedy joining with the liberals.  But, many observers seem to go for the 4-4 verdict, which is a win for the states suing the government and an  end Obama’s executive action.

The case will be decided in June.   The best analysis of the issues comes from scotusblog.com as follows:

Scotusblog.com

Obama’s executive order included the words “lawfully present”  for people here illegally.   It was argued by the Solicitor General  the executive order might work equally well without these 2 words.   But, attorneys supporting Texas, insisted the order allowed people to be lawfully present, whether it was explicitly stated or by the rights created by the order.

I guess the SC has  the option of striking down the entire order because it is simple contradiction of the legal status of these immigrants, and beyond the authority of the President to change.

But, the executive branch has the obligation to carry out the laws passed by Congress- not enact laws to their own liking.  So, this is the basis for Justice Kennedy’s comment that the executive order turns  policy making upside-down. This comment coming from Justice Kennedy gives experts the feeling of a 4-4 decision with Justice Kennedy siding with conservatives.  Thus, the argument that Obama’s executive order runs counter to the wishes of Congress is strong.

Another problem is whether Texas can show grounds for bringing the lawsuit, based on the financial harm of having to provide driver licences to all the “legally present”  immigrants.  There was extensive discussion on this point.  Texas has a law in place permitting driver licences to those in the  “deferred status” category, so they would be financially burden unless they changed their laws in which case they could not sue the government.   Chief Justice Roberts aptly called this a Catch-22.

Transcript of Oral Arguments

Liberals seemed more receptive to the argument that the realities of the immigration policy,  11 million illegal immigrants, and funds  be sufficient to deport a fraction  of these immigrants, so prioritization is within the right of the executive branch.  The Solicitor General Donald Verrilli opened with this observation, but Justice Sotomayor brought it up again during questioning.

The case will likely be a critical one, as this order is seen as an expansion of the authority of the president particularly among Republicans.  It is seen as a pragmatic solution to a Congress deadlocked on immigration reform among Democrats.   An Executive Order is not a law, but a temporary measure- but once immigrants get their deferred status, I honestly can’t see any future president wanting to rescind this order.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

Supreme Court to hear immigration case

Our immigration system is broken, and I know how to fix it.  Boy, if that isn’t the most worn out political cliche heard every election.

President Obama attempted to make one fix, called deferred deportation,  through the use of an executive order.  The lower courts in Texas said he had exceeded his authority.  Since President Obama and the Justice Department did not agree with the ruling, they appealed to the Supreme Court.  They have agreed to hear the case.

The Supreme Court could have declined to hear the case, in which case, the program would be dead.  So, it is a victory in a way, because they may rule in favor of the deferred deportation program.  Oral arguments will likely be in April, with a decision in late June, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The president can  not change a person’s status from illegal to legal.  The immigration laws are set by Congress.  And this is where the mess begins, because Republicans and Democrats have voiced very different agendas in regards to immigration.  But Obama and the Department of Justice felt that as long as the executive order made temporary changes to the way the law was being implemented, then the order was legal.  The next president can end the program for sure, but it will be extremely unpopular,  after granting deferred deportation to millions of people.  It will be like they came out of hiding, just to get caught again.

There are a number of legal issues before the court.  The authority to deport someone is with the INS, hence the executive branch has discretion to a certain extent.  But the lawsuits against the program argue that this should be done on a case by case basis, rather than a blanket deferment of a select group of illegals.  Another issue is whether the executive order is really a INS rule, in which case there is a lengthy process of hearings required as part of the rule making procedures.  An argument in favor of the executive order is that Congress did not budget enough money for the deportation of approximately 11 million illegals, so it forces the INS into selective enforcement.

The internet is filled with articles on deferred deportation.  For this reason, I have not included any links in this blog.

Supreme Court observers expect a close decision.   Liberals on the Court may see the executive order as a workable solution to a conflicting mess (lots of laws requiring deportation, little money to do it) made by Congress, while conservatives may see Obama as doing an end run around Congress.

The case belongs in the Supreme Court.  Exactly how much authority the executive branch of our government has, is a constitutional question, not to be answered by Congress, nor political candidates,   nor the media,  but in our highest court.

Stay tuned,

Dave