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

 

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Trump’s Problems

It isn’t the media.  Every president has to deal with unfavorable commentary.  Obama had Fox News and a massive conservative radio and print media which hated him.

It isn’t leakers.    If the story inside the White House is very different from the public statements, this news gets out. People talk.

It isn’t the Democrats, now officially labeled the “obstructionists.”   They have the right to give an alternative viewpoint.   The give and take between Republicans and Democrats was necessary to pass many important laws.  This helps out government from being too liberal or conservative.

Trump’s scandals at the core are basically poor decisions.  Too much done spontaneously, because he believes he doesn’t need others.  And his ego is frightening.  It started with embarrassing comments made at the CIA Headquarters  on how big the crowd was at the inauguration,  then the disastrous travel ban leading to the firing of the Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, then to the firing of Comey,  sharing to top secrets with the Russians and the General Flynn scandal.

Trump campaigned non-stop, smearing Hillary Clinton as a crook, for her mishandling of emails and the attack of the embassy in Benghazi.   Plus, everything one could find in the tabloid press.

And we are only about a third of the way of the first of four years. Kind of scary.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Thank you horrible, horrible people

All governments and businesses are inherently closed and dishonest organizations. This is not being negative, because  I’m not saying they are closed and dishonest all the time, in every aspect.  Just occasionally when something goes very wrong.   The public wants to know why VW manipulated their emission tests and how stupid the EPA could have been to accept these tests. Or how could  Wells Fargo opened up millions of fake accounts.   We want to know  the details of how VA  military  hospitals were able to cheated the system in reporting the time veterans had to wait for their urgent medical needs.  Or the IRS scandal where non=profit organizations  were systematically targeted if their  applications contained certain keywords, almost always related to conservative causes.  We want to know what was hit when the bombs dropped in Yemen missed their target under Trump.  Or when a Children’s hospital was bombed under Obama.    And we want to know how many times, Obama took vacations to go golfing.  Same with Trump.   And the same with the next president.

Another words, we want dirt.  It is our right.   Freedom of the press is how we keep our government and businesses honest.

Trump has been blasting  unfavorable media commentary to a new level.    Much of his problems stem from the way he portrays events.   The dishonesty of reasons behind Comey’s firing is a case in point, which I and others have covered enough. Commentary which blends the news with insight  is  either incredible, amazing, terrific or despicable, horrible, dishonest  or totally fake.   When the mother of all bombs was dropped on Afghanistan, CNN brought in a group of  military experts and  all were in full support of Trump’s action.  No problem with CNN.  But after Trump  said more had been done to defeat ISIS in Afghanistan in 8 weeks of his administration  than 8 years under Obama, one former military expert described that as a highly derogatory statement  to those serving in  armed forces.

He can’t be satisfied with his own accomplishments; he has to show he is better than Obama and Democrats.    His wild exaggerations are quickly picked up by dedicated  reporters.    Case in point, the Obama administration wiretapped the Trump towers.  Director Comey replied there is no evidence of this.   Should Comey have said, “No comment, it is under investigation” ? Would he have score some loyalty points?

Trump  stated in his latest interview with Judge Jeanine Pirro, that she is a fair and balanced reporter as she tossed a number of  softball questions at Trump.    I turned the channel at this point.  She is known for her non-stop rants against Hillary Clinton:

 Hillary, snap out of it,” Pirro said. “I’m tired of going through this with you. You’re a two-time loser who lost because you were a lousy candidate, you didn’t have a message, you lied every time you opened your mouth; you didn’t know what states to campaign in, you put our national security at risk with your amateur email setup, you were in a foundation that was nothing more than an organized criminal enterprise parading as a charity, four men died under your watch as you lied about a video, and there [were] a billion dollars missing from the State Department when you left. And I could go on and on, but I just don’t have the time. So, stop with the poor me nonsense. We’ve had it with you Clintons always claiming victimhood. The two of you haven’t followed the rules since the day you both showed up in your bell bottoms in Arkansas.”

Imagine if she said the same words to Trump, “You lied every time you opened your mouth,” Wow, end of interview, I sure. I watch Fox News for the news segments, not the commentary. I would not watch her show as too much tabloid gossip (Hillary steals a billion from the State Department).   Gee,  wouldn’t you think there would be an investigation?

Reporters are not going to get the straight story from government and inside information is fundamental to full reporting.    Piecing together the truth requires getting facts from people on the inside.   Leaking was given high praise by candidate Trump, and now widely condemned by President Trump.  Every person he fires from government can talk freely about their experiences.

Keep up the good work you horrible, horrible reporters from the mainstream media.    America needs you, for this president and all future presidents.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

Day 3 after Comey’s Firing

Trump’s very short notice on the firing, left many thinking the Sessions/ Rosenstein letters from the Dept of Justice was the pretense, rather than the reason for Comey’s firing.

The leaks from the White House are taken far more seriously than Trump’s notice, because they make sense.  Comey wasn’t political.  He was excessively truthful, experienced  and articulate.  These were not redeeming qualities in the mind of the President.

Why are the two letters from the Department of Justice considerable laughable?   Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein’s letter states two reasons for firing Comey all stemming from his July 5, 2016 press conference.  First was that he usurped his authority by the public announcement clearing Clinton of criminal wrongdoing.   Didn’t stop Trump,  fellow Republicans in Congress, and a half dozen commentators on Fox News from slamming Clinton and calling her a crook for the next 5 months.  In fact, Trump was attacking AG Loretta Lynch for her meeting with Bill Clinton on her plane.  Trump  wanted   to show the American people, that both the FBI and  DOJ could not be trusted for a fair evaluation of the Clinton investigation.

Rosenstein did not say that Comey broke any rule or law, only a tradition not to comment on cases until there is a review by the Justice Department.  Comey told the Senate Committee that he decided to come public after there were very unique circumstances. His decision was  related to  concern for the public’s perception of the DOJ’s impartiality.

That public perception of FBI/DOJ  cover up  was created and promoted by  Trump, and many Republicans in Congress.   Many in Congress were calling for an independent Special Investigator which would delay the conclusions of the investigation for months.  FBI/DOJ cover up  went in high gear on June 30, 2016  with the chance meeting between Lynch and Bill Clinton, on a Lynch’s private plane.  Trump accused AG Loretta Lynch of lying when she said they just talked about golf, grandchildren and other pleasantries.  He said it was BS and it was really about the email investigation.

Clinton/ Lynch Chance Meeting /  CNN  Comments

 

Now,  the second of Rosenstein’s reasons is really an over the top, piece of absurdity, only a lawyer could make.   He attacks  Comey’s derogatory comments about Hillary Clinton.  Under a normal environment, the FBI must be very careful of what is said.    However, this was hardly a normal environment, as the public was being informed every time they turned on television, that Hillary was either completely innocent or totally guilty of criminal activity.

It was great to have the FBI Director Comey at the end of his investigation to publically state to the public what exactly the FBI had discovered and had not discovered.   To do less, would have been concealment of facts to the public.  Either Clinton or Trump was going to be President, and had Comey delayed what had been finally concluded, even for one day,  would have given the public the impression of a cover up.

Of course, the real benefactor of Attorney’s derogatory  comment, was candidate Trump, who for the next six months would lamblast Clinton for her extremely reckless handling of the emails.  It is laughable that Trump would fire an FBI Directory, who at least in this aspect, helped him immensely become elected.

Comey had two messages for the American public in July 5, 2016.  The first was that Clinton was wrong in setting up an independent server for her email, and second, this activity was not at the level  of wrong doing that would be considered criminal.   The Department of Justice could have overruled Comey’s conclusion.  In fact, the DOJ has the FBI file, and they could always press charges.

So, forget this Sessions/ Rosenstein letter.    Trump never made much of it.    Comey was too straight forward, too honest, too articulate and too accurate.  No marketing skills whatsoever.  That’s what I liked about Comey.

Now,  Trump is searching for that one individual with less integrity, and more loyalty, and will still be approved by the Senate as Director of the FBI.  Good luck!

The firing  was, and still is about the Russian investigation.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

 

 

Trump’s Executive Order on Religious Freedom

An Executive Order can be a temporary fix of a problem.  But in Trump’s latest order, it was all for show.  And all pretty dumb.

It was a quick fix for a problem that did not exist. Make up a problem, then offer a solution.  Likely the fix will work.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/05/04/trump-s-religious-liberty-executive-order-is-a-triumph-of-fake-news

Stay tuned,

Dave

North Korea: Running on Themes

 

Yes. North Korea’s nuclear ambitions are scary.   This has been a problem passed from Clinton to Bush to Obama and now to Trump.   Problem is any easy solution, like direct military action, is only likely to make things a lot worse.    Imagine a solution that everyone  in the area, South Korea, Japan and China, to name a few, are  strongly opposed to, and that South Korea is the likely target of retaliatory strikes.  Trump ran a campaign of full of themes.  Now the reality sets in.   North Korea is not solved by tweets.

Kim Jong Un’s regime takes paranoia to extreme levels, maybe because their leader believes in an eventual war with the US or because it works.  I believe it is the latter,  because it distracts from the collapsing economy.   Trump, much more than other presidents are playing right into the regime’s game of paranoia and nationalism.

Diplomacy has to be a back door, quiet process of compromise, to lift sanctions.

Washington Post contributer, Fareed Zakaria got it right:

Trump’s bluster and bravado on North Korea will only make the U.S. look weak

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

Going forward with President Trump

Is  President Trump going to make America great again?  I have strong doubts.

It is clear that the stock market wanted Clinton to win.  The Dow futures dropped nearly 5% when it became clear around 11:00 pm that Trump had a high probability of winning.

If what kills our economy are unfair trade deals, currency manipulation and  competition from China,  then one would think the policies of Trump would be embraced by the stock market. But, this morning’s future trading  and overseas markets say otherwise.   The world markets are in shock.

World economics  is complicated. What looks to be in the US advantage short term, can end up a total disaster later.   The markets are concerned about  the potential for destabilization of our relations with other countries, and disruptive actions on trade agreements. Some economists predicted Trump would lead us back into recession, through tax cuts for the wealthy and increase government spending, particularly on the military.

I prepare a list of hot issues for 2017,  but I’m holding off posting  them,  given how wrong I was about the elections.  We now are in the transition period.  Trump takes office January 20, 2017.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

Trump – a nightmare for foreign policy

Republicans who served under George W. Bush recognized that the US had to play a leadership role in the world.  I like to say, “what goes around, comes around.”

Stronger together- really does work.  Make American Great through insults to our fiends (Mexico) doesn’t work.

Enough.  Donald Trump should not be President. He should withdraw.  As a Republican I hope to support someone who has the dignity and stature to run to the highest office in the greatest democracy on earth.

Condoleezza Rice,  Former Secretary of State under George W. Bush.

Nicholas Burns was undersecretary of state for political affairs under Bush.  Here is what he said today on CNN:

I hope she’s  [Clinton] going to be the president.  If it’s Donald Trump, I think all bets are off given his unorthodox and I think, very weak and very dangerous views about Russia.  I think we can say with some certainty that Vladamir Putin and the Russian government would like Donald Trump to be elected president because Trump has been denegrating NATo; he’ll make NATPO weaker. He won’t be the strong American leader in Europe that Europeans are accustomed to.  It is clear by their actions and words that the Russians support a Donald Trump candidacy.  Every other European government, and I’ve talked to a lot of them, desperately want Hillary Clinton to be elected because they want stability and a traditional American leader and a leader who is sophisticated enough to know how the US can be effective in that region.

 I think for most Europeans and East Europeans,  Trump is a real danger to them.

Republicans working for President Bush have either remained quiet or turned their back on Trump.  Here’s a sampling:

“If Donald Trump wins, he will, by definition, have created a new template of success for Republicans,” said Ari Fleischer, Mr. Bush’s first White House press secretary. “But if he loses, and particularly if he is crushed, it will reset the party back more in the direction of President Bush.”

Because Mr. Trump represents something far greater in the eyes of the Bush veterans than just an unfortunate party nominee, their determination to defeat him has become more intense.

The vast majority of the approximately three dozen veterans of Mr. Bush’s administration contacted for this article indicated that they would not cast a ballot for Mr. Trump.

“I can count on one hand the number of people I worked with who are supporting Trump,” said R. Nicholas Burns, a former Bush State Department official who has been calling his onetime colleagues to solicit support for the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.

R. Nicholas Burns :

Nicholas Burns (born January 28, 1956) is a university professor, columnist, lecturer and former American diplomat. He is currently Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a member of the Board of Directors of the school’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. At the Harvard Kennedy School, he is Director of The Future of Diplomacy Project and Faculty Chair for the programs on the Middle East and India and South Asia. He is Director of the Aspen Strategy Group, Senior Counselor at the Cohen Group and serves on the Board of Directors of Entegris, Inc. He writes a biweekly column on foreign affairs for the Boston Globe and is a senior foreign affairs columnist for GlobalPost.

This I promise you will be my very last post until after the election.   I also will post all comments on these issues.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

Trump Lies on the Benghazi

Republicans prepared a report  in June 2016 which none of the Democrats supported.  They issued their separate report.   But both Democratic and Republican reports and prior investigations state that the embassy in Benghazi was inadequately protected.  Hillary Clinton agrees with this assessment and as Secretary of State accepted all recommendations made at the time to improve security.  Of course, you are not going to hear this from Trump.

The big lie is that Secretary Clinton did nothing while 4 Americans were killed in Benghazi. Not even the Republican version of the Benghazi has any conclusion remotely similar to this.  The Republican report states it was impossible to save the two lives in the embassy.  The discussion is on the two lives while guarding the CIA annex.    This is all about an attack that lasted a total of 11 minutes.

Here’s the reporting from the New York Times, June 28, 2016:

“The Republican-led committee found no evidence of culpability or wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton, then the secretary of state.”

What the Republican version did, was to suggest, just possibly, more could have been done militarily to save the two lives and  suggest Leon Panetta and the Department of Defense.   acted too slow.  NYT reports:

 Senior Pentagon officials have consistently said that they were constrained by the “tyranny of time and distance” — that is, that the military could not have sent troops or planes in time to have made a difference.

NYT reports:

Even the report acknowledges the challenges facing the so-called FAST teams: These troops did not have their own planes, which meant delays waiting for flights; did not travel with their own vehicles (they would need to find some in Benghazi when they landed); and were designed to deploy before a crisis hit, not during hostilities.

Essentially, the hypothetical rescue mission would have been sent to save the lives of two servicemen guarding the CIA Annex.  More lives could have been lost in this mission.  And then the Pentagon, Obama, or even Secretary Clinton would have come under serious attack.

Full NYT article

The best summary I’ve seen on Benghazi is from Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Benghazi_attack

Stay tuned,

Dave