‘We will prosecute’ employers who help immigration sweeps, California AG says

The state’s top cop issued a warning to California employers Thursday that businesses face legal repercussions, including fines up to $10,000, if they assist federal immigration authorities with a potential widespread immigration crackdown.

“It’s important, given these rumors that are out there, to let people know – more specifically today, employers – that if they voluntarily start giving up information about their employees or access to their employees in ways that contradict our new California laws, they subject themselves to actions by my office,” state Attorney General Xavier Becerra said at a news conference. “We will prosecute those who violate the law.”

Becerra’s warning comes as fears spread of mass workplace raids following reports that immigration agents plan to target Northern California communities for deportations due in part to the state’s “sanctuary” law, which seeks to restrict local law enforcement agencies’ ability to cooperate with immigration authorities.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s acting director Thomas Homan told a Fox News host earlier this month that “California better hold on tight… If the politicians in California don’t want to protect their communities, then ICE will,” prompting a query from Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris to brief them on how raids are prioritized.

Becerra repeatedly referred to the reports as “rumors,” and said the state Department of Justice was not aware of planned sweeps targeting Northern California, in particular.

Becerra said the state Department of Justice and the state Labor Commissioner’s Office plan to issue formal guidance to all California employers, public and private, notifying them of their responsibilities under a new state law called the “Immigrant Worker Protection Act,” signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year that took effect Jan. 1. It seeks to prevent all workers, regardless of immigration status, from being detained at workplaces.

Authored by San Francisco Democratic Assemblyman David Chiu, the bill:

▪ Requires employers to ask immigration agents for a warrant before granting access to a worksite.

▪ Prevents employers from voluntarily sharing confidential employee information without a subpoena.

▪ Requires employers to notify their workers before a federal audit of employee records.

▪ Gives the attorney general and labor commissioner exclusive authority to enforce new provisions of state labor laws.

▪ Prohibits employers from re-verifying information on employment verification forms, unless compelled to by federal law.

Powered by WPeMatico

Gang of Six senators furiously trying to nail down support for immigration bill

Republicans scramble to try to avert government shutdown as deadline nears
The group, an offshoot of the so-called Gang of Six, is “practically sprinting” to get the bill officially introduced, one congressional aide said, and are working to add as many Republican supporters as possible. When the bill was unveiled on Wednesday night, it had picked up four Republicans in addition to the three that worked to develop it.
If all 49 Democrats support the bill, only four more Republicans would be needed to clear the 60 votes required to advance legislation in the Senate.
Graham, Durbin introduce bipartisan immigration bill despite setbacks
Even though the bill has already been rejected by the President and Republican leadership, the calculus is that with a standoff on government funding, Republicans will be pressed on why they walked away from a bipartisan deal with votes to pass it when the shutdown blame game begins.
Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, one of the lead authors of the bill, met on Thursday morning with the House Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of lawmakers who have sought a centrist deal on DACA as well, his office said. Building House support could answer White House chief of staff John Kelly’s criticism that the bill didn’t have backing from both sides of Capitol Hill when it was brought to the President last week.
“It will be the basis of an agreement. Things will be added to it,” said Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. “The President outlined a way forward on Tuesday. This proposal follows that outline. We can make it a little bit better, maybe for both sides. I don’t think there’s a whole lot of room to move, but some.”
Democrats’ negotiating position got stronger on Thursday when Republican South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds, who has backed the bipartisan immigration bill, announced he would not vote for a weeks-long short-term funding extension, saying good governance requires a long-term solution instead of short-term fixes.
Rounds joined Graham in his opposition. With other Republican fiscal hawks traditionally opposed to short-term continuing resolutions, the pressure is lifted off vulnerable Democratic senators up for re-election to vote for a funding deal that even a handful of Republicans aren’t supporting.
John Kelly: Immigration 'hardass'
The bill would offer a pathway to citizenship for eligible young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children, allocate nearly $3 billion to a border wall and technology, limit sponsorship of family members by recipients of the program and reallocate diversity lottery visas to other immigration programs.
Advocates are optimistic that the tide has turned in Democrats’ favor in recent days. They argue that the President’s rejection of the bipartisan bill — just days after he was televised telling lawmakers to bring him a deal and he would sign it — combined with the news of Trump referring to certain countries in a disparaging way has only empowered Democrats to stand up.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham: 'I'm not going to vote' for funding bill
“In the last 24 hours we’ve sensed a real shift from Republicans not believing Democrats are going to be resolute, to, ‘Oh my god, Democrats are resolute and Republicans are joining in and we won’t be able to pass the CR without negotiation,'” said Frank Sharry, a longtime immigration advocate with America’s Voice Education Fund.

Powered by WPeMatico

ICE defends deportation of immigrant in US nearly 30 years

CLOSE

Jorge Garcia, 39, of Lincoln Park, hugs his wife and two kids before being escorted by ICE agents to be deported to Mexico, on Jan. 15, 2018, at Detroit Metro Airport.
Erik Shelley

DETROIT — Immigration officials are defending the deportation of Jorge Garcia, a metro Detroit man whose case has sparked national attention since he was removed from the U.S. on Monday. 

In a statement, the Detroit office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said that they had previously “exercised prosecutorial discretion” in allowing him to stay in the U.S. But that discretion ended in November when ICE told him he now had to leave.

Garcia, a married father of two from Lincoln Park, had lived in the U.S. since 1989, brought to the U.S. by undocumented family members. He had struggled for years to become a legal resident, trying various paths with the help of attorneys and working with immigration officials.

Though Garcia faced orders of removal, U.S. officials had allowed him for years to stay. But that changed in November, when he was told by ICE that he would be removed, part of a toughening of immigration enforcement under President Trump. 

More: Trump administration highlights ‘foreign-born’ terror-related criminals in immigration push

More: ICE arranges for ‘housing agreement’ so it can retrieve criminals living in country illegally

His deportation on Martin Luther King Jr. Day sparked a national outcry, with a wide range of commentators and officials — both conservative and liberal — calling it an outrageous move. Others defended Garcia’s deportation, saying he didn’t have legal status to remain in the U.S.

In a statement Tuesday night, Detroit ICE spokesman Khaalid Walls said: “As ICE Deputy Director Thomas Homan has made clear, ICE does not exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.”

Walls said that Garcia was “an unlawfully present citizen of Mexico” who “was ordered removed by an immigration judge in June 2006.”

ICE said in its statement that Garcia “appealed his removal in 2008 to the Board of Immigration Appeals, where it was remanded back to the lower court, which subsequently allowed him to voluntarily depart. After he failed to depart within the timeline of the agreement, he became subject to a final order of removal in 2009.

“ICE exercised prosecutorial discretion on multiple prior occasions in Mr. Garcia-Martinez’s case in 2011, 2012 and 2014. In a further exercise of discretion during the this period, Mr. Garcia-Martinez was never detained.” 

“On Jan. 15, Mr. Martinez was removed pursuant to the judge’s removal order.”

More: Deportation of Ohio woman was in error, appeals court says

More: Dad facing deportation who is sole caregiver to ill wife takes refuge at Detroit church

First reported by the Detroit Free Press, Garcia’s deportation has been widely reported by a number of media outlets and generated criticism from many readers, elected officials, church leaders, and advocacy groups. 

Garcia’s family is trying to help get him returned to the U.S., but the process could take at least 10 years, said his wife, Cindy Garcia. He said he’s planning to live for now in the Mexico City area.

Speaking to the Free Press Sunday night on the eve of the deportation, the Garcias said they spent about $125,000 on attorneys and filing fees trying to get Jorge legal status. 

Garcia said he was too old to qualify for DACA. He said he has asked ICE if they could delay his Jan. 15 deportation until after Congress passes legislation on DACA that may include people in his age group, but ICE refused.

Follow Niraj Warikoo on Twitter: @nwarikoo

 

Read or Share this story: https://usat.ly/2mKdl0L

Powered by WPeMatico

A Shaky Justification for Immigration Reform

President Trump and his Senate allies are now presenting their goal for immigration reform as increasing the number of high-skilled immigrants allowed into the United States. But the immigration legislation from Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia that Trump has endorsed would almost certainly reduce the total number of high-skilled immigrants.

That stark contradiction has been overshadowed by reports that Trump used a vulgarity to describe immigrants from Africa and Haiti during a private White House meeting last week—and by the widely disputed accusation from Cotton and Perdue, who attended, that their colleague Dick Durbin lied when he recounted the president’s language.

But by trumpeting high-skilled immigration, Trump, Cotton, and Perdue are also obscuring the most significant impact of their proposal: a 50 percent cut in legal immigration. Within that smaller pool of immigrants, high-skilled workers could very well comprise a larger share than they do now. But if that shift were to happen, it would only be because immigration levels would fall even faster for those who are lower-skilled.

“They are not talking about immigrating 1 million scientists and engineers,” said Stuart Anderson, the executive director of the National Foundation for American Policy and a former immigration aide to two Republican senators. “It’s completely untrue that it would bring in more skilled immigrants. The purpose of this from the beginning has been to cut legal immigration.”

In 2016, the United States admitted nearly 1.2 million legal immigrants. They mostly fall into four big categories: those who are sponsored by employers (about 140,000 annually); refugees and asylum seekers (160,000); those admitted through a diversity lottery (around 50,000); and the relatives of American citizens and legal permanent residents (about 800,000).

The Cotton and Perdue bill that Trump has embraced would limit refugee admissions to 50,000 annually, terminate the diversity lottery, and severely reduce family-based immigration. U.S. citizens could still sponsor spouses and minor children in unlimited numbers, though the age limit for eligible children would be lowered. And legal permanent residents could sponsor those relatives up to an annual cap. But almost all other forms of family reunification—or “chain migration,” as conservatives call it—would be eliminated: Neither citizens nor permanent residents could sponsor their adult children or siblings. The only exception would be the parents of citizens, who would be allowed to enter temporarily—typically so their kids could care for them—but not obtain citizenship.

But despite its supporters’ rhetoric, the Cotton-Perdue bill would not increase the 140,000 visas available for employment-based immigration. Instead, it would shift those slots out of the current framework—where specific employers sponsor specific workers—and into a new points system, which ranks prospective immigrants on such qualities as their education and English proficiency. The sponsors’ claim that the bill would increase skilled immigration is based almost entirely on the possibility that this point-based approach would admit more highly educated immigrants than the existing employer system.

Experts don’t all agree it would. But even if it did, the effect would be modest. The 140,000 employment slots include workers’ immediate families. On average, that means only about 70,000 workers are admitted through this category. Increasing the share of workers with a college degree might enlarge the number of skilled immigrants the United States admits by a few thousand. But any such gain likely would be overwhelmed by the number of skilled immigrants the bill would exclude by retrenching other categories, especially family and diversity immigration. Those two categories alone could face a combined reduction approaching 300,000 in the bill’s first year.

The Migration Policy Institute has calculated that nearly half of all immigrants admitted in the past five years have a college degree. Even if the numbers are lower for family members or diversity participants—that precise data isn’t available—the likelihood is that the bill would exclude many more college graduates by shutting those doors than it opens on the employment side.

“If you are thinking about the number of college graduates who would be getting green cards each year, that number would go down,” said Julia Gelatt, a senior policy analyst at MPI.

The Trump administration has also indicated it is considering administrative changes that would make it harder for high-skilled immigrants to remain in the United States under the tech-focused H1-B program, and harder for foreign students to work in the country temporarily after graduation. “Their entire regulatory agenda is to have fewer high-skilled people work in the U.S., especially in the long term,” Anderson said.

The bipartisan immigration-reform plan the Senate approved in 2013 offers a revealing contrast to the Trump agenda. That bill—which passed with support from every Senate Democrat and 14 Senate Republicans before House Republicans killed it—eliminated three categories of non-employment immigration: siblings, married adult children, and the diversity lottery. But it shifted the visas it eliminated into a new merit-based system that supplemented the employer-sponsorship track, rather than replacing it as Cotton and Perdue’s bill would. That meant that, unlike the new legislation, the 2013 Senate plan actually would have admitted more high-skilled immigrants.

Cotton has signaled he might agree to transfer some of the family-based slots he would eliminate into skills-based immigration. But as long as he’s attempting to slash overall legal-immigration levels—at a time when the country will need more workers to fund Social Security and Medicare for its growing senior population—he’s unlikely to find many takers among Democrats or even centrist Republicans. The 2013 precedent shows there’s a path to bipartisan agreement on shifting the balance of new immigrants more toward those with high skills—but not if the real goal remains locking out as many future immigrants as possible.

Powered by WPeMatico

There’s Been A Massive Shift To The Right In The Immigration Debate

President Trump’s disparaging comments in an Oval Office meeting last week about Haiti and “shithole” (or “shithouse”) African countries felt like the immigration debate had reached a new place. It has — but not just because of that meeting.

There’s been a massive conservative shift in the ongoing debate over immigration. With Republicans in control of the White House and Congress, and some of the party pushing a hard anti-immigrant stance, Democrats and immigration advocates have had to greatly temper their hopes for reform.

The last big effort at immigration reform came five years ago, in a bill written by a bipartisan group of senators known as the Gang of Eight. It included a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. at that time. That pathway to citizenship was offered in exchange for about $40 billion over 10 years to pay for 20,000 new border patrol agents, 3,500 new customs agents, 700 miles of border fencing and other security enhancements. The plan also would have included an increase in H-1B visas, which are reserved for educated, specialized workers; created a new guest worker program; and shifted away from family visas toward a skills-based system that would have raised the caps on visas for some immediate family members in exchange for getting rid of visas altogether for siblings and many adult children.

In other words, it was a compromise, offering a way for those already in the U.S. to obtain legal status while shifting the contours of who would be allowed into the U.S. in the future. While people with higher education or certain skills would have had greater immigration opportunities, visas for extended family of current immigrants and geographically targeted areas would decrease. All the while, enforcement would ramp up. The effort had the support of many Republicans, and the Gang of Eight’s bill passed the Senate by a 2-to-1 margin. But the effort was squashed in the House well before a viable bill was even offered.

Today, the potential compromises look very different. Some Democrats — once adamant that the immigration system needed comprehensive reform rather than piecemeal legislative tweaks — have trained their sights on a long-term legislative fix for a group of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. Some Republican plans are offering a path to citizenship for this much narrower group of people — though some of their immigration proposals offer no path at all — in exchange for funding for a border wall and a variety of restrictions on immigration.

That shift in focus is partly out of necessity: Trump canceled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, enacted through executive order by President Barack Obama. For the 690,000 people enrolled at the time of the announcement, the move laid out a timeline for when they would lose their right to work, as well as their shield from deportation.

Though the program officially begins to phase out starting in March of this year, tens of thousands who didn’t re-enroll by the Oct. 5 deadline will see their protections end before that. (Many already have lost their protections, though U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently began accepting renewal applications again because of a federal court order.) Others would have qualified for DACA if the program had continued but were never able to apply. The end of the program will have far-reaching effects on families and communities.

But many advocates say the narrowed focus on DACA, and the support even among Republicans for a long-term fix, isn’t only out of necessity. It’s also a sign of how successful the young immigrants have been at making their case for citizenship.

“You have a lot of business leaders and quasi-mainstream types really getting on board,” said Hiroshi Motomura, a scholar of immigration and citizenship law at the UCLA School of Law. He sees the shift toward a focus on DACA as a validation of incremental political wins and a viable way to reform immigration. A pathway to citizenship for the group enjoys broad bipartisan support from the public.

“It is pretty significant that we’re having this conversation,” said Ignacia Rodriguez, an immigration policy advocate with the National Immigration Law Center. “It’s a Republican-controlled Congress and an administration that isn’t interested in immigration reform.”

The focus on DACA also reflects Democrats’ narrowed goals and limited bargaining power under an administration with restrictionist views on immigration. While the political debate has focused on DACA, Trump has succeeded in executing a far more conservative vision of the U.S. immigration system.

One of Trump’s early acts as president was to make all undocumented people in the U.S. eligible for deportation. Through a combination of executive orders and actions by the Department of Homeland Security, there have been decreases in the number of skilled workers, refugees and families of citizens and permanent residents since Trump took office.

The Department of Homeland Security recently brought an end to Temporary Protected Status, a program that gave temporary visas to people from countries in the aftermath of a natural disaster or war, for 195,000 El Salvadorans, 46,000 Haitians, 2,500 Nicaraguans and more than 1,000 people from Sudan.

The Trump administration has also set the total number of refugees allowed into the U.S. at 45,000 people a year, a steep drop from the 85,000 people admitted in fiscal year 2016. It’s the lowest ceiling in the history of refugee resettlement, according to data compiled by Vox.

Then there are delays in issuing visas for existing programs. Approvals for H1-B visas, given to workers with unique and in-demand skills, declined by 14 percent in fiscal year 20171 from fiscal year 2016, according to data from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The administration has also been challenging a record number of visa applications, slowing down the process and discouraging applications to the program. Last year, applications declined for the first time in four years.

Those programs represent a relatively small number of the total immigrants in the U.S. But the Trump administration has also slowed approvals for a larger visa program and simultaneously brought a vocabulary and ideology into the White House that reflects a significant shift in how the U.S. views its obligation to immigrants.

Visa approvals from a program that allows U.S. citizens and green card holders to sponsor immediate family members are at the lowest number in years, as Reuters first reported.Currently, U.S. citizens can sponsor spouses, minor children and parents without limitation. Green card holders can sponsor people in the same categories, though there are caps on how many are admitted each year. U.S. citizens can also sponsor adult children and siblings, again with caps.

“>2 A total of 540,810 applications were approved in fiscal year 2017, 22 percent less than in fiscal year 2016. The data also shows that a smaller number of family visas was denied under Trump than during the previous three fiscal years. The result is more people than ever with pending applications: There were 1.29 million applications pending at the end of fiscal year 2017. Thirty-six percent of them are spouses and minor children.

There’s also the ripple effects of Trump’s hardline stance on immigration. The third iteration of the administration’s travel ban recently went into effect and has implications for all kinds of travel from several countries, most of which are Muslim-majority. Attempts to illegally cross the southern border went down after Trump became president, though since April, the numbers have once again been on the rise. Arrests for immigration-related offenses have increased, including for people with no criminal history beyond traffic violations. International student enrollment at universities is down as well. And as some places have declared themselves “sanctuary cities,” passing laws that limit cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration agents, federal officials have made a point of conducting raids there.

All of the policy changes have likely added up to fewer new immigrants. And while the policies and enforcement strategies enacted to date are largely reversible, they have caused a major shift in the discussion on immigration reform and surfaced a divide within both the Republican and Democratic parties. Democrats are torn over whether to throw their political weight behind DACA, which could mean forcing a government shutdown. Republicans are debating what to ask for in exchange for a path to citizenship, while others want no path at all. It’s unclear whether there will be inter- and/or intra-party agreement, but it’s clear that wherever they end up will be a far cry from the proposals that seemed so politically promising just a few years ago.

Powered by WPeMatico

Lindsey Graham Spent a Year Courting Trump, But on Immigration He’s Being Shut Out

In early 2016, during the Republican primaries, Senator Lindsey Graham,
of South Carolina, called Donald Trump a “kook” who was “unfit for
office” and who would be “the most flawed nominee in the history of the
Republican Party.” Graham’s prediction came true, but Trump won the
Presidency anyway. And, eventually, Graham changed tack. After Trump
took office, he and the President started golfing together, sometimes as
frequently as twice in a single week. “President Trump shot a 73 in
windy and wet conditions!” he tweeted after one outing in October.
“Trump International Golf Club is a spectacular golf course,” he wrote
several weeks later, after another “great day of fun playing with
@POTUS.” In late November, Graham assailed the President’s critics in
the media during an interview on CNN. “What concerns me about the
American press is this endless, endless attempt to label the guy some
kind of kook not fit to be President,” he said. Many saw Graham’s shift
as a pragmatic accommodation rather than a conversion to Trumpism—even
as he has publicly courted the President, the senator has kept his
distance from some of Trump’s most outrageous decisions and statements.
“Graham knows that, in order to get anything done in this town, he has
to get along with the President,” a former Republican congressional aide
told me. “I don’t think he wants to be sidelined like Jeff Flake.”

At the moment, Trump is presiding over a series of hugely consequential
talks in Congress about immigration reform, a policy area that Graham
has worked on for years. “Graham is completely committed to this issue,”
a former Democratic staffer in the Senate, who used to work with him,
told me. In 2013, Graham was a member of the bipartisan “Gang of
Eight
,”
which brokered a deal on comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate,
only to watch the initiative die in the House. For years, he has also
championed legislation known as the DREAM Act, which would create a path
to citizenship for undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers, who came
to the U.S. as children and have lived here ever since. Trump set off
the current discussions over immigration legislation in September, when
he cancelled an Obama-era program known as Deferred Action for Childhood
Arrivals, or DACA—which shielded seven hundred thousand Dreamers from
deportation and granted them work permits—and tasked Congress with
devising a substitute policy.

Trump has two opposing impulses on DACA: one is to tout himself as a
bipartisan dealmaker and the other is to reassert the anti-immigrant
vitriol that he believes plays well with his political base. Graham has
encouraged Trump to be the dealmaker, but, inside the White House, key
Trump aides, most notably Stephen Miller, are pushing him in the other
direction. Early last week, Graham seemed to have gained the advantage.
When the President convened Democrats and Republicans at the White House
last Tuesday to talk about a legislative fix to DACA, the President
“sounded like he was channelling Lindsey Graham,” someone close to the
negotiations told me. “I’ll sign whatever bill they send me,” Trump told
the lawmakers. “If they come to me with things I’m not in love with, I’m
going to do it, because I respect them.” Two days later, however, after
six senators—led by Graham and the Illinois Democrat Dick
Durbin—announced a deal, the President
trashed it. “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come
here?” Trump reportedly asked during an Oval Office meeting with Graham
and Durbin. Miller had regained the upper hand.

Trump’s outburst destabilized the negotiations. “We had a President that
I was proud to golf with, call my friend,” Graham said on Tuesday,
during a Senate hearing. “I don’t know where that guy went, but I want
him back.” He came up short of blaming the President for the setback,
however, and instead faulted the White House. “We cannot do this with
people in charge at the White House who have an irrational view of how
to fix immigration,” Graham told reporters later. In this, he was likely
referring not just to Miller but also to John Kelly, Trump’s chief of
staff. “Miller and Kelly are to the right of the President on
immigration,” someone close to the White House told me. “The two of them
were with the President just before the Oval Office meeting with Graham
and Durbin, and the President got really worked up.”

The six senators who announced the DACA deal last week have tried to
press on without the President’s endorsement, thinking that, if they
could secure more widespread backing for the deal in Congress, there was
a chance that Trump would come back to the negotiating table to claim
credit. On Thursday, Graham and Durbin are expected to introduce a bill
in the Senate. According to a partial version of the measure leaked
earlier this week, this legislation would offer a path to citizenship
for Dreamers; allocate more money for border-security measures; revise
the long-criticized visa-lottery system; and offer certain legal
protections to the parents of DACA recipients. On Tuesday, a separate
bill—introduced by the Republican Will Hurd, of Texas, and the Democrat
Pete Aguilar, of California—emerged in the House, with broad bipartisan
support. It was billed as a “narrow and
bipartisan

effort to save DACA that could track with the Graham-Durbin bill in the
Senate.

“It’s not just Democrats pushing for something, it’s now a bipartisan group,” a Democratic aide in the Senate told me. The government faces a
potential shutdown on Friday, if Congressional leaders can’t find enough
votes to keep the government funded through next month. Democratic
leadership had previously been
wary of making DACA a condition for voting on a funding bill, but the
President’s recent behavior has made them feel that they have some
political cover. “The President has assured that he and his party will
take the blame if there is a shutdown, not just because of the way he
rejected [the deal] but because of the fact that he hasn’t accepted a
reasonable bipartisan plan to avert all this,” the Democratic aide
added. On Wednesday, Nancy Pelosi, the House Minority Leader,
urged members of her caucus to withhold their votes for a funding measure
unless Republicans met their demands on immigration. The question now is
whether Senate Democrats will take a similar line.

Republicans, meanwhile, are trying to figure out what the President
wants. “It’s just constant whiplash,” the former Republican aide said.
Conservatives searching for reasons to oppose the Graham-Durbin deal
don’t have to look hard—it would carve out legal status for the parents
of Dreamers in the form of Temporary Protected Status, or T.P.S., a
designation which the Trump Administration is currently rescinding for
hundreds of thousands of people. “You’ll have Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, and
Rand Paul railing against it in the Senate,” the former aide told me.
“There’ll be those who vote for whatever McConnell”—meaning Mitch
McConnell, the Majority Leader—“votes for. But, with the President
opposed to it, why do they risk it?”

The Republican aide had told me to watch John Cornyn, the Republican
whip in the Senate. “He tends to be half in and half out on every
immigration debate,” the aide said. On Wednesday morning, Cornyn, who’d
previously been circumspect, came out with a definitive pronouncement on
the Graham-Durbin deal. “The ‘Gang of Six’ deal to fix DACA will not get
a vote in the House or the Senate because POTUS will not sign it,” he
tweeted. “Let’s go back to the drawing board.” Later in the afternoon,
McConnell weighed in. “I’m looking for something that President Trump
supports,” he told reporters. “As soon as we figure out what he is for,
then I would be convinced that we were not just spinning our wheels.” As
Republican leadership backtracked, Graham made a surprise announcement.
Even if it risked a shutdown, he wouldn’t vote to continue to fund the
government without a DACA deal. After all that time on the golf course
with Trump, the senator could no longer hold back.

Powered by WPeMatico

Divisions over immigration, military dollars threaten to derail government spending bill

Bitter divisions in both parties threatened Wednesday to derail Congress’s effort to keep the federal government fully operating past the end of the week.

The shutdown threat emerged on two fronts: Republican defense hawks in the House said a short-term spending plan the party introduced late Tuesday did not devote enough money to the military.

Meanwhile, Democrats, whose support would be critical for passage in the Senate, began lining up in opposition amid pressure from immigration activists to use the budget talks as leverage to legalize many young immigrants known as “dreamers.”

By Wednesday evening, the short-term bill was on the cusp of failure.

The Capitol Hill showdown reflected a broader clash certain to dominate national politics in the months leading up to November’s midterm elections. President Trump and congressional Republicans are determined to fulfill the campaign promises that swept them to power in 2016, including boosting military spending and scaling back immigration. Democrats have been emboldened by Trump’s unpopularity and a surge of grass-roots activism to resist at every turn.

Absent an accord, federal agencies would cease nonessential activities and furlough hundreds of thousands of employees at midnight Friday evening — the first shutdown since 2013, when GOP opposition to the Affordable Care Act sparked a 16-day standoff.

House Republicans unveiled a bill Tuesday that would extend funding for four weeks, allowing time for further negotiations toward deals on long-term spending and immigration. To entice Democrats, GOP leaders attached a six-year extension of the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program, as well as the delay of two unpopular health-care taxes.

But few, if any, Democrats have been swayed by the overture. House Democratic leaders urged their caucus to withhold their votes, forcing Republicans to produce their own majority. And most Senate Democrats, whose votes are necessary to pass, bristled at the strategy.

“I think there’s a lot of reluctance to take what Republicans throw at us without any negotiation,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who remained undecided on the bill. “I mean, what’s amazing to us is, we’re 48 hours from a shutdown, and Republicans aren’t willing to engage in a good-faith negotiation with Democrats.”

At the same time, Democrats were far from unified. While some promised to oppose the funding measure, others were reluctant to shut down the government. “I don’t think there’s consensus,” Murphy said.

Republicans, meanwhile, laid the groundwork to blame a shutdown on Democrats. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) noted Democrats have called for a renewal of the children’s health program and said, “We have a good chance of passing it.” House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said it was “baffling” and “unconscionable” that Democrats would vote against the bill.

“Good-faith negotiations are underway, and to push that aside and try and jeopardize funding for things like [children’s health insurance] and our military, to me, makes no sense,” Ryan said.

Democrats have sought to bargain over a litany of policy matters, including funding to counter opioid abuse and protections for failing pension plans.

The most explosive issue, however, remained the fate of the roughly 690,000 young immigrants who enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program under President Barack Obama’s administration to avoid deportation, as well as other “dreamers” who were brought to the United States as children.

Trump has announced plans to end the DACA program in March, forcing high-stakes negotiations over a legislative fix. Democrats have insisted that those talks be combined with the debate over a long-term spending accord, which has placed immigration policy at the center of the shutdown drama.

As House Republican leaders worked to avoid a shutdown, White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly made the rounds on Capitol Hill, meeting with members of groups including the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, who are pushing for a DACA fix, and the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, who want border security funding and tighter immigration policies.

After exiting a bipartisan meeting of top congressional leaders, Kelly gave an upbeat assessment of the immigration talks while offering no timetable for when an agreement might be reached.

“The DACA deal will be worked out, I think, by the United States Congress,” he told reporters. “Both sides of the aisle have agreed to meet in a smaller group and come up with [what] they think is the best DACA deal, and then it’ll of course be presented to the president.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters Wednesday that an “overwhelming number” of Senate Democrats were opposed to another short-term funding bill without an accord on immigration.

“They believe if we kick the can down the road this time, we’ll be back where we started from next time, so there’s very, very strong support not to go along with their deal,” he said.

Several Democratic senators who voted for a similar bill in December, giving Republicans enough votes to avert a pre-Christmas shutdown, announced on Wednesday that they would not support another patch.

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) said he was “not willing to leave these bipartisan priorities behind and vote for a bill that gives President Trump and congressional Republicans more time to hold the country hostage.”

At least one Senate Republican, Lindsey O. Graham of South Carolina, further complicated the GOP outlook, saying he, too, would oppose the bill. Sen. John McCain’s (Ariz.) absence because of cancer treatment left only 49 potential Republican votes for the bill, and two of those, Mike Lee (Utah) and Rand Paul (Ky.), voted against previous similar measures.

“I’m tired of it,” said Graham, who crafted a bipartisan DACA proposal that Trump rejected last week. “This is the fourth one we’ve done, and you’re killing the military.”

Passage in the Senate requires 60 votes, but defections among Democrats had pushed the GOP to the edge.

House GOP leaders hoped to hold a vote on the spending bill Thursday but faced a potential revolt from Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee, who have bristled at the delay in an agreement boosting military funding, and conservative hard-liners, who want to take a tough line with Democrats on immigration and other issues.

“The only way they’re going to be taking the deal that we’re offering . . . is if they’re forced to, and no one has the courage to force them to,” said Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), a member of the House Freedom Caucus.

The chances that a shutdown would come to pass increasingly rested on a small group of moderate Senate Democrats, who are being forced to choose between their party’s efforts to secure immigration and funding priorities and their desires to keep agencies open while talks continue.

They are under intense pressure from liberal activists and advocates for immigrants, who are pushing Democrats to stand up to Trump and Republicans — particularly on behalf of dreamers, who could be at risk for deportation under Trump’s policies.

Angel Padilla, policy director for Indivisible, a network of liberal citizen groups, said the organization’s 6,000 chapters nationwide are focused this week on pressuring Democrats to vote against the next spending plan.

“This is a much bigger issue after what happened last week,” Padilla said, referring to reports that Trump called African nations, El Salvador and Haiti “shithole countries.”

“We don’t understand why a Democrat would go along, given what happened last week,” he added. “Sometimes it’s a hard vote, but sometimes you have to do this.”

The clash has posed an intense quandary for Schumer, whose instinct has long been to protect the more moderate members of his caucus from political peril in an election year. But the bigger risk could be alienating his party’s liberal base.

Inside the Democrats’ lunch Wednesday, according to a person not authorized to speak publicly about it, Schumer laid out the state of negotiations and asked senators to relay to him how they were leaning. There was frustration, the person said, that they have not been able to force Republicans to negotiate on the bill, but it remains unclear whether 41 Democrats would be willing to force a shutdown.

“Chuck has been very clear on this: He knows that each senator is going through a thought process about where they want to end up, how they would explain their vote, what their position is going to be, and he’s given lots of room to members to make decisions,” said Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), the assistant party leader, after emerging from the lunch. That said, he added, “No one stood up and said they had to vote for this thing.”

Brian Fallon, a former Schumer aide who is now a senior adviser to Priorities USA, a Democratic super PAC, said Democrats’ power to force a deal might never be greater than it is now — with bipartisan priorities stalled and a president seemingly under siege. “I think that moderates who remain skittish here don’t realize the amount of leverage they have,” he said.

The bigger risk, Fallon said, would be punting again on an immigration deal and alienating key partners in the Democratic coalition: “I think the activists are asking a fair question when they ask, ‘If not now, when?’ ”

Eighteen Senate Democrats voted for the last temporary spending bill.

Now that group is under exponentially more pressure, and there are signs at least some could buckle.

“I think it’s a bad proposal, I’ll just tell you that, and it has nothing to do with DACA; it’s a bad proposal,” said Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who voted for the December bill, “It doesn’t push us in the direction we need to go.”

Powered by WPeMatico

John Kelly: Immigration ‘hardass’

“Kelly is a hardass,” said one Republican lawmaker, who requested anonymity to discuss Kelly’s approach to immigration. “Some people might think he’s softer; he’s a hardass, also. And a straight, straight shooter. He doesn’t sugar coat things.”
Kelly has been seen as a stabilizing force on an erratic presidency, taming an unorganized White House. He appealed to Democrats Wednesday by calling Trump “uninformed” on some immigration issues, according to a source familiar with the comments.
John Kelly told Democrats some of Trump's campaign stances 'uninformed'
But such moves don’t change the fact that the administration, with Kelly’s full support, will continue to aggressively enforce immigration laws, according to a senior government official. And Kelly is the person who helped sink a bipartisan immigration deal that emerged last week.
The White house chief of staff warned Trump the agreement would incite anger among his base, who expect him to deliver on his promises to build a border wall and deport undocumented immigrants, according to two White House officials and a congressional source familiar with the situation. And he sent word to Capitol Hill, where like-minded Republican lawmakers were summoned with minutes to spare to attend a White House sit-down with the crafters of the deal, who later claimed they were blindsided by the move.
Kelly’s tactics, which culminated in a heated, profanity-laced Oval Office meeting, disappointed some lawmakers and administration aides, who have privately expressed fears that his hardline views are obscuring chances for an immigration deal. And it opened him to criticism from some lawmakers, who began publicly saying this week that Trump isn’t well served by his staff.

Full scope of voices

Trump's White House: How a bipartisan policy meeting devolved into vulgarity
Kelly’s supporters say he is merely ensuring the President is hearing from a full scope of voices as he weighs various proposals on an issue that was central to his rollicking presidential campaign. And the White House has publicly downplayed Kelly’s role in orchestrating last Thursday’s meeting, which devolved into Trump deriding some countries as “shitholes” or “shithouses,” depending on the telling.
Instead, the White House has insisted that it was Trump’s decision to invite Republicans to the session in the hopes of hearing their views on the emerging plan.
Speaking Wednesday, Kelly said the bipartisan agreement offered by Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham and Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin didn’t meet Trump’s criteria.
“That deal that came over was supposed to be two things: bipartisan and both sides of the Hill,” Kelly told reporters on Capitol Hill in between meetings. “There were a number of other senators that had been involved in this from the beginning … that were not consulted.”
“The President has said from the beginning, it’s got to be bipartisan and unless it involves the House as well as the Senate, it’s going to go down again as a bill that does not pass into law,” he said.
Kelly met for an hour Wednesday with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and listened to concerns about how the administration has approached immigration. The meeting was “cordial” and “positive,” participants said, but didn’t produce any new path toward an agreement. While lawmakers made a point to say they appreciated the session, they expressed disappointment that Kelly had not come armed with any proposals to negotiate and that he didn’t seem well-versed in the bipartisan proposals under development in Congress.
Among the concerns aired in the meeting were the administration’s use of the term “chain migration” to describe the process of citizens and green card holders bringing their extended family to the US.
“Please don’t use that term,” Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-California, told Kelly, explaining the phrase is considered loaded and offensive. Kelly didn’t apologize, but acknowledged the term is disputed, according to a source in the room.

Spearheading immigration talks

‘);$vidEndSlate.removeClass(‘video__end-slate–inactive’).addClass(‘video__end-slate–active’);}};CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === true) ? true : false;var configObj = {thumb: ‘none’,video: ‘politics/2018/01/16/lindsey-graham-immigration-irrational-views-white-house-sot-ip.cnn’,width: ‘100%’,height: ‘100%’,section: ‘domestic’,profile: ‘expansion’,network: ‘cnn’,markupId: ‘body-text_24’,adsection: ‘const-article-inpage’,frameWidth: ‘100%’,frameHeight: ‘100%’,posterImageOverride: {“mini”:{“height”:124,”width”:220,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180116130510-lindsey-graham-011618-small-169.jpg”},”xsmall”:{“height”:173,”width”:307,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180116130510-lindsey-graham-011618-medium-plus-169.jpg”},”small”:{“height”:259,”width”:460,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180116130510-lindsey-graham-011618-large-169.jpg”},”medium”:{“height”:438,”width”:780,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180116130510-lindsey-graham-011618-exlarge-169.jpg”},”large”:{“height”:619,”width”:1100,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180116130510-lindsey-graham-011618-super-169.jpg”},”full16x9″:{“height”:900,”width”:1600,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180116130510-lindsey-graham-011618-full-169.jpg”},”mini1x1″:{“height”:120,”width”:120,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180116130510-lindsey-graham-011618-small-11.jpg”}}},autoStartVideo = false,isVideoReplayClicked = false,callbackObj,containerEl,currentVideoCollection = [],currentVideoCollectionId = ”,isLivePlayer = false,moveToNextTimeout,mutePlayerEnabled = false,nextVideoId = ”,nextVideoUrl = ”,turnOnFlashMessaging = false,videoPinner,videoEndSlateImpl;if (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === false) {autoStartVideo = false;if (autoStartVideo === true) {if (turnOnFlashMessaging === true) {autoStartVideo = false;containerEl = jQuery(document.getElementById(configObj.markupId));CNN.VideoPlayer.showFlashSlate(containerEl);} else {CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = true;}}}configObj.autostart = autoStartVideo;CNN.VideoPlayer.setPlayerProperties(configObj.markupId, autoStartVideo, isLivePlayer, isVideoReplayClicked, mutePlayerEnabled);CNN.VideoPlayer.setFirstVideoInCollection(currentVideoCollection, configObj.markupId);videoEndSlateImpl = new CNN.VideoEndSlate(‘body-text_24’);/*** Finds the next video ID and URL in the current collection, if available.* @param currentVideoId The video that is currently playing* @param containerId The parent container Id of the video element*/function findNextVideo(currentVideoId) {var i,vidObj;if (currentVideoId && jQuery.isArray(currentVideoCollection) && currentVideoCollection.length > 0) {for (i = 0; i 0) {videoEndSlateImpl.showEndSlateForContainer();}}}callbackObj = {onPlayerReady: function (containerId) {CNN.VideoPlayer.reportLoadTime(containerId);CNN.VideoPlayer.handleInitialExpandableVideoState(containerId);CNN.VideoPlayer.handleAdOnCVPVisibilityChange(containerId, CNN.pageVis.isDocumentVisible());if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {var containerClassId = ‘#’ + containerId;if (jQuery(containerClassId).parents(‘.js-pg-rail-tall__head’).length) {videoPinner = new CNN.VideoPinner(containerClassId);videoPinner.init();} else {CNN.VideoPlayer.hideThumbnail(containerId);}}},/** Listen to the metadata event which fires right after the ad ends and the actual video playback begins*/onContentEntryLoad: function(containerId, playerId, contentid, isQueue) {CNN.VideoPlayer.showSpinner(containerId);},onContentMetadata: function (containerId, playerId, metadata, contentId, duration, width, height) {var endSlateLen = jQuery(document.getElementById(containerId)).parent().find(‘.js-video__end-slate’).eq(0).length;CNN.VideoSourceUtils.updateSource(containerId, metadata);if (endSlateLen > 0) {videoEndSlateImpl.fetchAndShowRecommendedVideos(metadata);}},onAdPlay: function (containerId, cvpId, token, mode, id, duration, blockId, adType) {clearTimeout(moveToNextTimeout);CNN.VideoPlayer.hideSpinner(containerId);if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== ‘undefined’ && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(true);videoPinner.animateDown();}}},onTrackingFullscreen: function (containerId, PlayerId, dataObj) {CNN.VideoPlayer.handleFullscreenChange(containerId, dataObj);},onContentPlay: function (containerId, cvpId, event) {var playerInstance,prevVideoId;/** When the video content starts playing, inject analytics data* for Aspen (if enabled) and the companion ad layout* (if it was set when the ad played) should switch back to* epic ad layout. onContentPlay calls updateCompanionLayout* with the ‘restoreEpicAds’ layout to make this switch*/if (CNN.companion && typeof CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout === ‘function’) {CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout(‘restoreEpicAds’);}clearTimeout(moveToNextTimeout);CNN.VideoPlayer.hideSpinner(containerId);if (CNN.VideoPlayer.getLibraryName(containerId) === ‘fave’) {playerInstance = FAVE.player.getInstance(containerId) || null;} else {playerInstance = containerId && window.cnnVideoManager.getPlayerByContainer(containerId).videoInstance.cvp || null;}prevVideoId = (window.jsmd && window.jsmd.v && (window.jsmd.v.eVar18 || window.jsmd.v.eVar4)) || ”;if (playerInstance && typeof playerInstance.reportAnalytics === ‘function’) {if (prevVideoId.length === 0 && document.referrer && document.referrer.search(//videos//) >= 0) {prevVideoId = document.referrer.replace(/^(?:http|https)://[^/]/videos/(.+.w+)(?:/video/playlists/.*)?$/, ‘/video/$1’);if (prevVideoId === document.referrer) {prevVideoId = ”;}}playerInstance.reportAnalytics(‘videoPageData’, {videoCollection: currentVideoCollectionId,videoBranding: CNN.omniture.branding_content_page,templateType: CNN.omniture.template_type,nextVideo: nextVideoId,previousVideo: prevVideoId,referrerType: ”,referrerUrl: document.referrer});}if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== ‘undefined’ && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(true);videoPinner.animateDown();}}},onContentReplayRequest: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== ‘undefined’ && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(true);var $endSlate = jQuery(document.getElementById(containerId)).parent().find(‘.js-video__end-slate’).eq(0);if ($endSlate.length > 0) {$endSlate.removeClass(‘video__end-slate–active’).addClass(‘video__end-slate–inactive’);}}}},onContentBegin: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {CNN.VideoPlayer.mutePlayer(containerId);if (CNN.companion && typeof CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout === ‘function’) {CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout(‘removeEpicAds’);}CNN.VideoPlayer.hideSpinner(containerId);clearTimeout(moveToNextTimeout);CNN.VideoSourceUtils.clearSource(containerId);jQuery(document).triggerVideoContentStarted();},onContentComplete: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {if (CNN.companion && typeof CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout === ‘function’) {CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout(‘restoreFreewheel’);}navigateToNextVideo(contentId, containerId);},onContentEnd: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== ‘undefined’ && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(false);}}},onCVPVisibilityChange: function (containerId, cvpId, visible) {CNN.VideoPlayer.handleAdOnCVPVisibilityChange(containerId, visible);}};if (typeof configObj.context !== ‘string’ || configObj.context.length 0) {configObj.adsection = window.ssid;}CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === true) ? true : false;CNN.VideoPlayer.getLibrary(configObj, callbackObj, isLivePlayer);});/* videodemanddust is a default feature of the injector */CNN.INJECTOR.scriptComplete(‘videodemanddust’);
As the immigration debate has heated up, Trump tasked Kelly with spearheading talks on the issue in the hopes of striking a deal that would adhere to his campaign promises. He’s taken more of a personal role in meetings with aides and lawmakers, where his deeply held views have been apparent, according to people who have participated in them. That has led to some grumbling from other administration officials, who believe Kelly’s hardline stance on immigration has obfuscated opposing views.
As secretary of Homeland Security, Kelly gained the President’s approval by channeling the unwavering immigration stance that Trump espoused on the campaign trail, despite offering what appeared to be a more moderate stance during his confirmation hearing a year ago — including downplaying the importance of a border wall.
His ardent approach — paired with a no-nonsense Boston accent and a Marine’s rigor — is what led Trump to name him chief of staff, people familiar with Trump’s thinking say.
His mandate entering the West Wing was to instill order among warring factions of aides and streamline the flow of information to the President. Outsiders also viewed him as a potentially moderating force on a President whose brash outbursts and appeals to nationalist sentiments had alienated some voters and establishment politicians.
But Kelly has sought to manage expectations, and has bolstered Trump during some of his most controversial moments, including backing up his views on Confederate monuments and appearing in the White House briefing room to defend Trump’s phone call with the grieving widow of a slain US serviceman.

Toughest job

‘);$vidEndSlate.removeClass(‘video__end-slate–inactive’).addClass(‘video__end-slate–active’);}};CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === true) ? true : false;var configObj = {thumb: ‘none’,video: ‘politics/2017/10/20/white-house-press-briefing-rep-wilson-fbi-speech-shs-sot.cnn’,width: ‘100%’,height: ‘100%’,section: ‘domestic’,profile: ‘expansion’,network: ‘cnn’,markupId: ‘body-text_32’,adsection: ‘const-article-inpage’,frameWidth: ‘100%’,frameHeight: ‘100%’,posterImageOverride: {“mini”:{“height”:124,”width”:220,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171020145035-white-house-press-briefing-rep-wilson-fbi-speech-shs-sot-00000423-small-169.jpg”},”xsmall”:{“height”:173,”width”:307,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171020145035-white-house-press-briefing-rep-wilson-fbi-speech-shs-sot-00000423-medium-plus-169.jpg”},”small”:{“height”:259,”width”:460,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171020145035-white-house-press-briefing-rep-wilson-fbi-speech-shs-sot-00000423-large-169.jpg”},”medium”:{“height”:438,”width”:780,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171020145035-white-house-press-briefing-rep-wilson-fbi-speech-shs-sot-00000423-exlarge-169.jpg”},”large”:{“height”:619,”width”:1100,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171020145035-white-house-press-briefing-rep-wilson-fbi-speech-shs-sot-00000423-super-169.jpg”},”full16x9″:{“height”:900,”width”:1600,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171020145035-white-house-press-briefing-rep-wilson-fbi-speech-shs-sot-00000423-full-169.jpg”},”mini1x1″:{“height”:120,”width”:120,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171020145035-white-house-press-briefing-rep-wilson-fbi-speech-shs-sot-00000423-small-11.jpg”}}},autoStartVideo = false,isVideoReplayClicked = false,callbackObj,containerEl,currentVideoCollection = [],currentVideoCollectionId = ”,isLivePlayer = false,moveToNextTimeout,mutePlayerEnabled = false,nextVideoId = ”,nextVideoUrl = ”,turnOnFlashMessaging = false,videoPinner,videoEndSlateImpl;if (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === false) {autoStartVideo = false;if (autoStartVideo === true) {if (turnOnFlashMessaging === true) {autoStartVideo = false;containerEl = jQuery(document.getElementById(configObj.markupId));CNN.VideoPlayer.showFlashSlate(containerEl);} else {CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = true;}}}configObj.autostart = autoStartVideo;CNN.VideoPlayer.setPlayerProperties(configObj.markupId, autoStartVideo, isLivePlayer, isVideoReplayClicked, mutePlayerEnabled);CNN.VideoPlayer.setFirstVideoInCollection(currentVideoCollection, configObj.markupId);videoEndSlateImpl = new CNN.VideoEndSlate(‘body-text_32’);/*** Finds the next video ID and URL in the current collection, if available.* @param currentVideoId The video that is currently playing* @param containerId The parent container Id of the video element*/function findNextVideo(currentVideoId) {var i,vidObj;if (currentVideoId && jQuery.isArray(currentVideoCollection) && currentVideoCollection.length > 0) {for (i = 0; i 0) {videoEndSlateImpl.showEndSlateForContainer();}}}callbackObj = {onPlayerReady: function (containerId) {CNN.VideoPlayer.reportLoadTime(containerId);CNN.VideoPlayer.handleInitialExpandableVideoState(containerId);CNN.VideoPlayer.handleAdOnCVPVisibilityChange(containerId, CNN.pageVis.isDocumentVisible());if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {var containerClassId = ‘#’ + containerId;if (jQuery(containerClassId).parents(‘.js-pg-rail-tall__head’).length) {videoPinner = new CNN.VideoPinner(containerClassId);videoPinner.init();} else {CNN.VideoPlayer.hideThumbnail(containerId);}}},/** Listen to the metadata event which fires right after the ad ends and the actual video playback begins*/onContentEntryLoad: function(containerId, playerId, contentid, isQueue) {CNN.VideoPlayer.showSpinner(containerId);},onContentMetadata: function (containerId, playerId, metadata, contentId, duration, width, height) {var endSlateLen = jQuery(document.getElementById(containerId)).parent().find(‘.js-video__end-slate’).eq(0).length;CNN.VideoSourceUtils.updateSource(containerId, metadata);if (endSlateLen > 0) {videoEndSlateImpl.fetchAndShowRecommendedVideos(metadata);}},onAdPlay: function (containerId, cvpId, token, mode, id, duration, blockId, adType) {clearTimeout(moveToNextTimeout);CNN.VideoPlayer.hideSpinner(containerId);if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== ‘undefined’ && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(true);videoPinner.animateDown();}}},onTrackingFullscreen: function (containerId, PlayerId, dataObj) {CNN.VideoPlayer.handleFullscreenChange(containerId, dataObj);},onContentPlay: function (containerId, cvpId, event) {var playerInstance,prevVideoId;/** When the video content starts playing, inject analytics data* for Aspen (if enabled) and the companion ad layout* (if it was set when the ad played) should switch back to* epic ad layout. onContentPlay calls updateCompanionLayout* with the ‘restoreEpicAds’ layout to make this switch*/if (CNN.companion && typeof CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout === ‘function’) {CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout(‘restoreEpicAds’);}clearTimeout(moveToNextTimeout);CNN.VideoPlayer.hideSpinner(containerId);if (CNN.VideoPlayer.getLibraryName(containerId) === ‘fave’) {playerInstance = FAVE.player.getInstance(containerId) || null;} else {playerInstance = containerId && window.cnnVideoManager.getPlayerByContainer(containerId).videoInstance.cvp || null;}prevVideoId = (window.jsmd && window.jsmd.v && (window.jsmd.v.eVar18 || window.jsmd.v.eVar4)) || ”;if (playerInstance && typeof playerInstance.reportAnalytics === ‘function’) {if (prevVideoId.length === 0 && document.referrer && document.referrer.search(//videos//) >= 0) {prevVideoId = document.referrer.replace(/^(?:http|https)://[^/]/videos/(.+.w+)(?:/video/playlists/.*)?$/, ‘/video/$1’);if (prevVideoId === document.referrer) {prevVideoId = ”;}}playerInstance.reportAnalytics(‘videoPageData’, {videoCollection: currentVideoCollectionId,videoBranding: CNN.omniture.branding_content_page,templateType: CNN.omniture.template_type,nextVideo: nextVideoId,previousVideo: prevVideoId,referrerType: ”,referrerUrl: document.referrer});}if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== ‘undefined’ && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(true);videoPinner.animateDown();}}},onContentReplayRequest: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== ‘undefined’ && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(true);var $endSlate = jQuery(document.getElementById(containerId)).parent().find(‘.js-video__end-slate’).eq(0);if ($endSlate.length > 0) {$endSlate.removeClass(‘video__end-slate–active’).addClass(‘video__end-slate–inactive’);}}}},onContentBegin: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {CNN.VideoPlayer.mutePlayer(containerId);if (CNN.companion && typeof CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout === ‘function’) {CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout(‘removeEpicAds’);}CNN.VideoPlayer.hideSpinner(containerId);clearTimeout(moveToNextTimeout);CNN.VideoSourceUtils.clearSource(containerId);jQuery(document).triggerVideoContentStarted();},onContentComplete: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {if (CNN.companion && typeof CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout === ‘function’) {CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout(‘restoreFreewheel’);}navigateToNextVideo(contentId, containerId);},onContentEnd: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== ‘undefined’ && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(false);}}},onCVPVisibilityChange: function (containerId, cvpId, visible) {CNN.VideoPlayer.handleAdOnCVPVisibilityChange(containerId, visible);}};if (typeof configObj.context !== ‘string’ || configObj.context.length 0) {configObj.adsection = window.ssid;}CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === true) ? true : false;CNN.VideoPlayer.getLibrary(configObj, callbackObj, isLivePlayer);});/* videodemanddust is a default feature of the injector */CNN.INJECTOR.scriptComplete(‘videodemanddust’);
Kelly has told friends his role as Trump’s top aide has been the toughest job of his career, which has included deployments in Iraq and as commander of US Southern Command. But he’s also described the chief of staff role as immensely rewarding.
On immigration, Kelly has been supported inside the West Wing by Stephen Miller, a senior policy adviser whose hardline views on immigration are well known. Miller has been a staunch and outspoken proponent of limiting immigration to the US, and is viewed as the White House’s guiding voice on the matter — to the chagrin of Democrats working to strike an agreement.
“It’s hard to find any effort to kill immigration legislation that doesn’t have Steve Miller’s fingerprints on it,” Durbin said on Tuesday. “He’s been an outspoken foe of immigration reform and opponent to DACA and the Dreamers from the start.”
Kelly is “more of an adult,” one person familiar with the situation said, and Trump believes that with him in charge, there’s a better chance of getting something done. Another person said Kelly respects Miller but is the clear person in charge.
While Kelly may foster more goodwill on Capitol Hill than Miller — who gained notoriety as an outspoken and rabble-rousing congressional aide — the chief of staff’s actions over the past week have prompted some lawmakers to air their misgivings publicly.
“I don’t think the President was well served by his staff,” Graham said on Tuesday, adding later: “I think someone on his staff gave him really bad advice between 10 and 12 on Thursday.”
Asked whether he pinned the blame on Kelly, who as chief of staff has demanded rigorous order in the West Wing, Graham demurred: “I think General Kelly is a fine man but he’s also part of the staff.”
On Wednesday, Kelly darted between meetings on Capitol Hill meant to restart immigration talks after last Thursday’s profanity-laden meeting. Aside from the Hispanic lawmakers, he met with four moderate Republicans, followed by two leaders of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and then went to meet with the bipartisan congressional leaders who are attempting to negotiate a deal.
Asked as he departed whether he would take into account the diverse set of views he’d heard, Kelly answered affirmatively.
“Yeah, sure,” he said.

Powered by WPeMatico

US shutdown looms amid immigration feud

The US government is two days away from a shutdown as lawmakers and the White House feud over immigration.

Congress faces a Friday deadline to pass a stopgap measure that would fund federal agencies until next month.

Democrats want the bill to include protections for immigrants who entered the US illegally as children.

Hopes of a bipartisan deal were scuttled last week after Mr Trump’s alleged use of a crude term during White House negotiations.

Neither Republicans, who control both chambers of Congress and the White House, nor Democrats want to be blamed for a federal shutdown with crucial mid-term elections looming in November.

What are Republicans offering?

House Republicans are attempting to entice Democrats to vote for the continuing resolution by including a provision to extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (Chip) for six years.

Chip, which provides healthcare for nine million children, is near the top of Democrats’ wish list.

The House of Representatives could vote on the measure as early as Thursday, and if it passes, the bill would go to the Senate.

At least some Democratic votes are needed to pass the budget measure ahead of Friday’s deadline.

However, the Republican proposal could also face opposition among their own hardline rank-and-file in the House.

Republicans hope a provision in the bill to eliminate a tax on expensive health plans could appease conservative lawmakers.

What do Democrats want?

Democrats want the bill to include protections for around 700,000 undocumented immigrants who came to country as children, known as “Dreamers”.

Mr Trump last year ended Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca), the programme that allowed Dreamers to stay in the US.

The US president gave a deadline of 5 March for Congress to come up with a solution.

The Republican president had signalled he was ready to make a deal to help the Dreamers in return for funding on border security, including a wall along the US border with Mexico.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Bipartisan immigration talks had sounded promising until it was reported last week that Mr Trump had dubbed certain nations “shitholes” during legislative negotiations.

As the White House and lawmakers feuded over who said what, prospects of a grand bargain on an issue that has bedevilled successive US administrations receded.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democratic Senator Dick Durbin maintain a deal is still on the table.

But the White House has declared it dead, leaving immigration out of the spending bill to be voted on by Friday.


Kicking the can again?

Analysis by Anthony Zurcher, BBC News, Washington

The thing about a game of chicken is knowing when to blink. Democrats and Republicans are again careening toward a government shutdown neither side really seems to want.

The power dynamic here, however, is far from balanced. Republicans control both chambers of Congress.

If they stick together, the House of Representatives can pass some sort of short-term solution without any Democratic support. Then Senate Democrats will have to decide whether they have the numbers to block the bill and force a shutdown – or if they should even try.

If Democrats get six years’ worth of funding for low-income children’s healthcare – part of the proposed legislation to keep the government open for another month – is that enough?

Will they pay a political price from their base for not going to the brink – and, perhaps, over – to get help for the undocumented immigrants who entered the US as children?

At least so far, Democrats have been reluctant to risk a government shutdown to protect the hundreds of thousands of these “Dreamers”. And Republicans are too fractured to agree on much of anything at all.

It’s a recipe for procrastination and another round of brinksmanship in just a few weeks’ time.


Didn’t this just happen?

Yes. In December, Congress passed a similar short-term bill to keep the government open until 19 January.

The hope had been that Congress would have reached a deal on immigration by now.

And this deal, if it passes, would only keep the government running until 16 February.

The whole drama may be replayed in the coming weeks.

Powered by WPeMatico

In Arresting an Immigrant-Rights Activist, ICE Shows Its New Power

On Thursday, after officials in the New York City offices of Immigration
and Customs Enforcement informed him that he was going to be deported,
the immigrant-rights activist Ravi Ragbir fainted. An ambulance was
called to take Ragbir and his wife, Amy Gottlieb, who had accompanied
him to ICE’s offices, to New York-Presbyterian Hospital. When they
arrived at the hospital, Gottlieb was asked to get out—to make room, she
thought, for her husband to be wheeled out on a stretcher. But she was
then surrounded by ICE agents, and watched as the ambulance sped away.
The agents said that they would soon let her know her husband’s
whereabouts. A full day passed before she got a call from Ragbir
himself. He was at a detention center in Miami.

Ragbir and Gottlieb, who are both fifty-three, have lived with the
possibility of his deportation for a long time. A native of Trinidad,
Ragbir came to the U.S. on a valid visa, in 1991. But following a
wire-fraud conviction, in 2001, he has been allowed to remain in the
country only at the discretion of immigration officials. During these
years, officials had granted Ragbir a series of temporary stays, taking
into account his family ties in the U.S. and his work in New York City
as the executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition, a group that
advocates immigration reform and offers support to individuals fighting
deportation. Yet Ragbir and Gottlieb had known that his mandatory
check-in with ICE last week might end differently—everything had changed
after Donald Trump took office. They and their legal team had been
preparing for the check-in for days, trying to anticipate different
contingencies. Alina Das, his lawyer, had met with Scott Mechkowski, the
assistant director of ICE’s New York City field office. According to
Das, she had offered Mechkowski documentation in support of Ragbir’s
case, and Mechkowski had said that he would consider granting him a
stay. But, ultimately, he didn’t. (Mechkowski could not be reached for
comment.)

“It’s arbitrary and cruel,” Gottlieb told me this week. “Someone makes
an appointment to go into a regularly scheduled appointment with a
government agency, and that agency snatches you away from your family.”

Ragbir immigrated to the U.S. legally, and he is married to a U.S.
citizen. But federal law allows immigrants with certain types of
criminal convictions to be deported. His wire-fraud case was part of an
investigation into a mortgage company that he worked for as a
salesman—he was accused of accepting fraudulent loan applications—and,
after his conviction, he served thirty months in prison. “Immigrants
with criminal convictions essentially receive a double punishment,” Das
told me. “Even after they pay their ‘debt to society,’ they go through
the process of facing deportation.” Following his time in prison, Ragbir
also spent nearly two years in immigration detention while his
deportation case was considered.

Ragbir was eventually released on order of supervision, which required
him to comply with regular check-ins but spared him deportation. In
2014, the Obama Administration issued new guidelines for ICE that
prioritized the deportation of immigrants who were considered
public-safety threats or who had committed “serious” crimes—Ragbir and
his lawyers considered this to be an additional measure of protection.
But Trump reversed those guidelines immediately upon taking office.
During the campaign, he had promised a crackdown on immigration, and,
once President, he allowed ICE more leeway in picking its targets.

One of the core missions of the New Sanctuary Coalition, where Ragbir has
worked since 2010, is to help people in precisely his current situation.
The group sends representatives to accompany people during their
check-ins with ICE and offers legal and advocacy services as needed. In
March, at Ragbir’s last check-in, a handful of members from the
coalition, along with New York City Council members and state senators,
accompanied him to ICE’s offices. Juan Carlos Ruiz, a founder of New
Sanctuary, thinks that the presence of so many supporters overwhelmed
the agency. Officials told Ragbir to come back in ten months. “I think
they’re afraid when we’re an organized, aware, educated society to
what’s going on,” Ruiz told me. “It takes away their power. It takes
away the arbitrariness. Our practices and programs are designed to
dismantle that. We put a name and a face to what’s going on.”

Ruiz believes that these tactics have allowed Ragbir and others to stave
off deportation for as long as they have. “The protection they have had
is from the visibility, which has given their cases urgency,” Ruiz told
me. Still, he admits that there are limitations to what the group can
do—and Ragbir’s case illustrates this. The week before Ragbir’s arrest,
ICE apprehended Jean Montrevil, a Haitian immigrant and activist whose
deportation New Sanctuary had successfully fought, in 2010. Montrevil
had been due for a mandatory check-in in the coming days, but ICE agents
picked him up where there would be few witnesses, and no supporters
standing with him. Montrevil’s arrest had worried Ragbir and his
supporters. “As soon as Jean was picked up, we knew it was a risk. We
knew we had to be careful,” Gottlieb told me. On Tuesday morning,
Montrevil was deported from Florida to Haiti. His ex-wife and their
three children remain in New York.

Last week, ICE released a statement on Ragbir’s case. He had, according
to agency, “exhausted his petitions and appeals through the immigration
courts, the Board of Immigration appeals, and the U.S. District Court.”
In other words, it was time for him to go. But Das said that ICE is
wrong. There are ongoing legal proceedings, including a petition to reverse his 2001 conviction and sentencing that has been pending since
February.

On Wednesday, ICE agreed to transport Ragbir to a detention facility in
the New York region; a judge had agreed with his lawyers that he
shouldn’t be held in Florida, thousands of miles from home. Over the
weekend, Gottlieb had flown to see Ragbir in Florida, where they spoke
through Plexiglas. Gottlieb, an immigrant-rights activist herself, is
used to these fights, but not to ones that hit so close. “How can this
be happening to people we love?” she said. “To people I love? To my
husband?”

Powered by WPeMatico