On Trump vs Hawaii

hamilton

Hamilton

Excerpts from “DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, ET AL., PETITIONERS v. HAWAII, ET AL. ” decided 5 to 4.

Under these circumstances, the Government has set
forth a sufficient national security justification to survive
rational basis review. We express no view on the soundness
of the policy. We simply hold today that plaintiffs
have not demonstrated a likelihood of success on the
merits of their constitutional claim.–Chief Justice Roberts for the Court

***********

The First Amendment prohibits the establishment of
religion and promises the free exercise of religion. From
these safeguards, and from the guarantee of freedom of
speech, it follows there is freedom of belief and expression.
It is an urgent necessity that officials adhere to these
constitutional guarantees and mandates in all their actions,
even in the sphere of foreign affairs. An anxious
world must know that our Government remains committed
always to the liberties the Constitution seeks to preserve
and protect, so that freedom extends outward, and
lasts.–Justice Kennedy concurring

***********

Declarations, anecdotal evidence, facts, and numbers
taken from amicus briefs are not judicial factfindings. The
Government has not had an opportunity to respond, and a
court has not had an opportunity to decide. But, given the
importance of the decision in this case, the need for assurance
that the Proclamation does not rest upon a “Muslim
ban,” and the assistance in deciding the issue that answers
to the “exemption and waiver” questions may provide,
I would send this case back to the District Court for
further proceedings. And, I would leave the injunction in
effect while the matter is litigated. Regardless, the
Court’s decision today leaves the District Court free to
explore these issues on remand.

If this Court must decide the question without this
further litigation, I would, on balance, find the evidence of
antireligious bias, including statements on a website
taken down only after the President issued the two executive
orders preceding the Proclamation, along with the
other statements also set forth in JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR’s
opinion, a sufficient basis to set the Proclamation aside.
And for these reasons, I respectfully dissent.–Justice Breyer

***********

The United States of America is a Nation built upon the
promise of religious liberty. Our Founders honored that
core promise by embedding the principle of religious neutrality
in the First Amendment. The Court’s decision
today fails to safeguard that fundamental principle. It
leaves undisturbed a policy first advertised openly and
unequivocally as a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims
entering the United States” because the policy now
masquerades behind a façade of national-security concerns.
But this repackaging does little to cleanse Presidential
Proclamation No. 9645 of the appearance of discrimination
that the President’s words have created.
Based on the evidence in the record, a reasonable observer
would conclude that the Proclamation was motivated by
anti-Muslim animus. That alone suffices to show that
plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of their Establishment
Clause claim. The majority holds otherwise by
ignoring the facts, misconstruing our legal precedent, and
turning a blind eye to the pain and suffering the Proclamation
inflicts upon countless families and individuals,
many of whom are United States citizens. Because that
troubling result runs contrary to the Constitution and our
precedent, I dissent.–Justice Sotomayor

https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/17-965_h315.pdf

 

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Posted in Immigration, Terrorism, Trump | 3 Comments

Rep. Capuano (D-MA) on conditions at the Southern border

laws not menJune 27, 2018
Dear Friends,
I spent Saturday with some of my House colleagues at the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas. I felt I had to see for myself the impact of President Trump’s family separation policy. I wanted an opportunity to talk with parents and children about what they are enduring and to express my grave concerns directly to federal officials.
We started at the Centralized Processing Center in McAllen, Texas, where individuals detained at the border are first sent. This is the place where 15-foot high chain-link fences are used to contain children and adults – you may have seen the widely published photos.  Detainees are held in 4 large “pods”.  Two pods were reserved for unaccompanied children, one for boys and another for girls. The other two were reserved for adults and adults with children.  Approximately 300 detainees were present when we visited.  I was struck by an open box of diapers, clear evidence that some of the detainees are mere babies.
We were told that most detainees spend only a few days at the processing facility before being sent to other locations around the country.  We had many pointed questions for officials there, who have been carrying out this cruel and indefensible policy. The answers I received weren’t even close to satisfactory.
We went next to the McAllen Border Patrol Station and Intake Facility where federal officials monitor border crossings and detain anyone they believe is attempting to enter the country illegally. This facility resembles a municipal jail – all cement, locked doors, and a central monitor station.  Detainees here were also separated and held by group.  We were told detainees usually spend only a few hours here before being sent to the processing facility described above.  However, the area had recently suffered severe flooding which impacted travel and delayed their transfer. As a result, some detainees had been held there much longer – with no cots or mats to sleep on, just a hard, cold cement floor.
I expressed in the strongest possible terms my concern that families are being separated with little thought given to reunification. This is beyond unacceptable. It inflicts needless pain on innocent people. In simple terms, it is evil.
Our fact-finding mission ended at the Port Isabel ICE Detention Center. I talked with parents who have no idea where their children have been sent. They expressed fear and anger, sharing details of their journey to the United States and their worries over what will happen to their families now. Lots of tears were shed.
I saw children in cages, looking scared and disoriented. I had an opportunity to speak to some of the children, and it touched me deeply, as a father and a citizen. They are terrified and confused. There is no doubt that these innocent minors will suffer lifelong consequences from the trauma of separation. And there is no doubt that the government of the United States deliberately and needlessly caused their suffering.
Some of the overriding impressions I came away with include the following.  Our government had no plan to initiate this new “zero tolerance” policy.  Our government has no thoughtful plan on how to end the policy.  The detainees I saw were poverty stricken and did not speak English. They were terrified and confused.  Many did not know where their children were.  Some knew where their children were being held but had not spoken to them in quite a while.  None had any idea of when they might reunite with their children.
We learned a particularly infuriating detail from detainees about communication. Although we were repeatedly told that detainees could call their children, the process of doing is was broken.  To start, many detainees didn’t know where their children were.  Some had trouble accessing a phone.  Others said they had to pay for the call – but didn’t have any money in their “prison account”, so they couldn’t even contact someone to ask that funds be deposited for them.  Keep in mind, the detainees are coming from abject poverty – they are some of the poorest people in the western hemisphere.  Is it a surprise they cannot afford a phone call?
We also learned that many of the children crossing the border unaccompanied are told to look for the “green uniform”, which is worn by CBP personnel. The reason they are given this information is because their loved ones think they will be taken care of. Instead, they are being imprisoned.
I have returned more determined than ever to fight for the reunification of every family. I am working along with my travel companions to draft legislation to address the issues we identified.  To be clear, legislation will take time and will be difficult to pass in the Republican-controlled Congress.
I also listened closely to the Border Patrol and ICE officers we met.  Most are local people of Hispanic descent who speak fluent Spanish. They are not unmoved by this situation. Those of us who are trying to address this debacle will do well to remember that the problem starts and ends in Washington D.C. with Donald Trump.
Donald Trump created this crisis on his own and we are obligated to force him to fix it. What has happened to these children is nothing short of child abuse – state sponsored child abuse which every decent American should take action to end.
It is a sad chapter in American history, but I am convinced that we can change it and find ways to make sure it never happens again.  I look forward to seeing many of you protesting and rallying as we continue our push to right this horrendous wrong.
 
Posted in Immigration | 2 Comments

Candidates’ Last Interviews

Reporter Vaughn Golden interviewed the five NY23rd Congressional Candidates on Saturday (June 23, 2018). Here are the videos of each interview. Each are about 30 minutes long.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Can we declare peace?

twitter

He drew a circle that shut me out-
Heretic , rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle and took him In!— Edwin Markham

Can we declare peace?

Was North Korean militarism never a problem, so we can set it aside with a handshake? Can we accept Kim as a gentleman rather than a tyrant? Can the question of human rights abuse in N. Korea be ignored?

Is Syria’s Assad government alright now? Can we honorably abandon those of his opponents we have supported? Can Syria’s use of chemical weapons, once abhorred, now be ignored?

Need we oppose China’s claim of sovereignty in the South China Sea, or can we close our eyes to it in the interest of peace?

Can Japan’s security, which we once pledged to protect, now be left to the Japanese? Will they now need a nuclear deterrent, chemical weapons, and all the rest?

Can we be friends with Russia in spite of Russian aggression in Ukraine?

Will we honor our commitment to NATO only when convenient and when others have “paid up?”

What about the Kurds; do we owe them anything for their support in Iraq and Syria?

What about Iran? If N. Korea can be allowed to have nuclear weapons after all, why not Iran. Let’s declare peace.

If peace can be had for the asking, I’m all for it. Drawing lines is no longer popular, but without lines how do we identify our vital interests? Should Congressional approval be needed for a “declaration of peace?”

 

 

Posted in Trump, War | 1 Comment

Immigration reform bills

laws not menRep. Capuano (D-MA) writes:

The First of Two Very Bad Immigration Bills

The House spent most of Thursday debating two immigration bills. Neither one comes close to comprehensive immigration reform. The first, H.R. 4760, the Securing America’s Future Act, is essentially an anti-immigration bill. The legislation does not include a permanent path to citizenship for the Dreamers. Instead, it allows some Dreamers to apply for three year temporary legal status which cannot be used to apply for a green card. They can apply for renewal at the end of the three year period but approval is not guaranteed. Moreover, this provision does not cover all Dreamers. In fact, about 2 million of these individuals will still be left with no avenue to stabilize their status in this country.

H.R. 4760 takes a hammer to the existing family-based reunification program. Under current law, U.S. citizens can sponsor their parents, children, spouses and siblings for a green card. The bill narrows eligibility to only spouses and minor children. The legislation eliminates the Diversity Visa Lottery program. This initiative is open to nationals of countries whose citizens have not previously come to the United States in large numbers. Under this program, roughly 50,000 green cards are distributed annually after careful review of applicants who must meet certain educational standards. This program has been a success and the only reason to end it is to close off a legal avenue for immigrants, many from sub-Saharan Africa, to come to our country.

H.R. 4760 also makes the family separation crisis worse by clearing the way for an undocumented individual to be criminally prosecuted if they are simply discovered living in the country. Previously, these circumstances were treated essentially as misdemeanors. Given what we are seeing play out at the border, does anyone doubt that this administration would fully embrace this provision – arresting and prosecuting every illegal immigrant they can find – without regard for any minor children, most of them U.S. citizens, they may leave behind? And of course, H.R. 4760 contains $30 billion for Trump’s border wall. I voted NO. Republicans couldn’t round up the votes for this bad bill. H.R. 4760 failed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN 193 41 0 0
DEMOCRAT 0 190 0 3
TOTAL 193 231 0 3
         
MASSACHUSETTS 0 9 0 0

 Tom Reed to his credit voted NO.

More Immigration

The House also considered H.R. 6136, the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act. Republican leaders pulled it from consideration because they didn’t think they had the votes to pass this bill either. This legislation is being laughably described as the Speaker Ryan “compromise” bill. It doesn’t even come close. H.R. 6136 also fails to provide a tenable solution for Dreamers. This bill establishes a “contingent non-immigration status” which would require Dreamers to apply for six year renewable status while they wait in a long line for green cards. Under this proposal it could take up to 23 years before all Dreamers get green cards and years more before they become citizens.

H.R. 6136 also abolishes the Diversity Visa Lottery Program and rescinds more than 3 million immigrant visa petitions that have already been approved. Tearing children from the arms of their parents as a matter of deliberate policy must be one of the cruelest actions that this Administration has undertaken. And this proposal is surely one of the most hypocritical. The legislation revokes already approved applications made by U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents for their relatives abroad. They are already facing a long wait for immigrant visas. These families followed the rules. Although persons dear to them, often in difficult and dangerous circumstances, could not join them, they trusted in the rule of law and did nothing illegal to get their loved ones here. Yet none of that matters.

This bill makes family reunification even more difficult by eliminating two family-based immigration programs. It reduces some important protections for asylum seekers by raising the bar for those fleeing persecution and other dangerous circumstances. The legislation also requires the Department of Homeland Security to essentially imprison families if a parent is caught attempting illegal entry. It does nothing to alleviate the crisis at the border. In fact, it makes the situation measurably worse. H.R. 6136 also contains $25 billion for Trump’s border wall. I spoke on the floor about this bill which the House is expected to continue considering next week.

While the House considers these bills, child abuse by our Federal Government continues.

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2018/roll282.xml

 

Posted in Immigration, Reed's Views | Tagged | 9 Comments

Immigration

4th-of-July-ParadeFor too long, the Human Rights Council has been a protector of human rights abusers.--Ambassador Haley

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Linda Andrei:

  • DACA immediate citizenship
  • Refugee status clearly defined
  • Keep families together
  • Plan for migrant workers

Max Della Pia:

“Words cannot fully capture the stunning cruelty of the Trump Administration’s policy of separating children from their parents when they cross the border,” Della Pia said. “As a nation, we can disagree about the best policy to address the issue of immigration, but the basic humanity with which we treat those who arrive at our border cannot be up for debate.”

Ian Golden:

  • Support fair trade and labor practices
  • Prioritize sovereign nations and communities over corporations
  • Maintain and better guest worker program and visa program revisions
  • Create and maintain pathways to residency and citizenship
  • Maintain funding for proven border security measures

Tracy Mitrano:

This country was built by immigrants and continues to benefit from the skills and expertise immigrants bring to the U.S. I support immigration reform that provides undocumented people living in the district in good legal standing with a path towards citizenship. Farmers and wineries in this District depend on immigrant workers.

Eddie Sundquist:

As a second-generation American whose grandparents came through Ellis Island, I have seen firsthand why this country is a beacon for the world. We need to embrace the values of diversity and work to continue America’s tradition of being a melting pot for all.

Here in the New York 23rd, immigration drives our local economy. We rely on migrant workers to work on our farms, we have many immigrants working in our world-class universities, and our district was built by immigrants, including my own family.

We must be open to accepting new immigrants and cultures. It spurs our economy and creates innovation. It is never the right time to build walls and shut ourselves off. I support legislation to ensure our immigration policies are clear and simplify the visa process so our workers and immigrant populations are better able to support our district.

Let’s not forget about the half-million DACA recipients (DREAMers) we have in this country. These incredible people work, pay taxes, and improve our communities across the U.S. This nation is their home, and we need to allow them to stay and work toward a path to citizenship.

Note: Except for Max Della Pia, the information is from the candidates’ web site.

http://www.post-journal.com/news/page-one/2018/06/state-to-sue-over-child-immigration-policy/

Posted in 2018, Congress, Immigration, Political, President, Trump | 2 Comments

Tom Reed’s 2017 financial disclosure

mr-moneybags-blank

Reports are due May 15 of the following year. The House has 30 days more to post them. It isn’t clear why they wait till the last minute. It appears that Tom Reed reported the same figures in 2018 for 2017 as he reported in 2017 for 2016 with the addition of a new family business: Twin Tiers Medical Billing.

~~~~~~~

Assets:

2015 2016 2017
Corning Inc. IRA <$15,000 <$15,000 <$15,000
Level 3 Communications IRA <$15,000 <$15,000 <$15,000
M&T Bank accounts <$100,000 <$100,000 <$100,000
Mineral Rights None None None
R&R Properties <$250,000 <$250,000 <$250,000
R&R Resource Recovery  <$250,000 <$250,000 <$250,000
Twin Tiers Medical Billing <$15,000

Notes:

    1. Tom identifies Mrs. Reed’s salary as income, but gives no amount.
    2. Mineral rights are said to have no value until developed.
    3. Level 3 Communications is an internet service provider.
    4. Tom and family visited the Czech Republic in August 2015 at the expense of the Ripon Society and Franklin Center.
    5. Tom and family visited London, England in November 2016 at the expense of the Ripon Society and Franklin Center.
    6. Tom and family visited Berlin, Germany in August 2017 at the expense of the Ripon Society and Franklin Center.

http://clerk.house.gov/public_disc/financial-pdfs/2017/10022013.pdf

http://clerk.house.gov/public_disc/financial-pdfs/2016/10016804.pdf

http://clerk.house.gov/public_disc/financial-pdfs/2015/10011507.pdf

Posted in Congress, Political | Tagged , | 1 Comment