Trump Is Reshaping The Judiciary. A Breakdown By Race, Gender And Qualification

Good analysis with significant longer-term impact. Sharp contrast with Canadian judicial appointments under the current government where by my count, 56 percent are women, 9 percent visible minority and 3 percent Indigenous peoples:

The Trump administration has already written the opening chapters of what could be its most enduring legacy: the makeup of the federal courts.

In partnership with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Trump White House has secured lifetime appointments for 29 appeals court judges and 53 district court judges. That’s not to mention two Supreme Court nominees.

“He came into office with a mandate to nominate judges in the mold of Justice [Antonin] Scalia and Justice [Clarence] Thomas,” said Carrie Severino, chief counsel at the Judicial Crisis Network, which advocates for conservative judges. “That was a key reason he won the presidency.”

Supporters will celebrate that record this week at the annual convention of the Federalist Society, whose primary mission is to place conservatives on the courts.

The effort is so important to the Republican legal community and the party’s voting base that lawmakers have been holding hearings for nominees while the Senate was in recess, aiming to confirm those candidates in the lame-duck session scheduled before the end of the year.

Critics call this an abuse of the system and point out that all the Trump picks for the appeals courts and the Supreme Court tend to have something in common: most of them are white men.

“Of his 43 appellate nominations, none are African-American,” said Vanita Gupta of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

“None are Latino. Only nine are women. Our nation’s great diversity should be reflected in its government institutions, especially the federal judiciary, which serves as the guardian of our rights and liberties.”

Also notable, said Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, is that the Republican-controlled Senate limited President Obama to two circuit court judge confirmations and 22 district court nominations during his final two years in office.

Obama’s choice for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, never got a hearing.

NPR aggregated these data from public sources and inquiries to judicial nominees. This presentation reflects the state of nominations formally sent to the Senate as of Nov. 14, 2018. View the full spreadsheet here.

Source: Trump Is Reshaping The Judiciary. A Breakdown By Race, Gender And Qualification

Latinos Increasingly Concerned About Their Place In U.S. Society, Survey Finds

Hardly surprising given the language of President Trump and the impact of his policies:

One out of every two Latinos in the United States says that life has become more difficult for them in the past year, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, D.C.

Mark Lopez, director of global migration and demography research at Pew and a co-writer of the survey, says the findings reflect a turn “towards being pessimistic about the country, about the direction of the country and also the future for their own children.”

Lopez says Latinos have traditionally been more optimistic than the general U.S. population about life in the United States. “But that’s changed,” he says.

Nearly 4 in 10 Latinos say they experienced some kind of harassment related to their ethnicity in the past year.

Chart showing that four-in-ten Latinos experienced an incident and heard expressions of support tied to their background in the past year.

Yet a similar number say they have also heard expressions of support for Latinos.

The experience of 38-year-old Janet Sadriu illustrates both of these findings.

Sadriu was driving on a two-lane, 35 mile-an-hour city street in Houston recently when a driver passed her on the right, pulled next to her and started yelling obscenities at her at a red traffic light. She pulled out her phone and started recording him.

Houston resident Janet Sadriu recorded this video when a driver started yelling obscenities at her at a red traffic light.

“I don’t know him,” says Sadriu, “but he automatically assumed I’m Hispanic. I have black hair, I’m not blue-eyed and white.”

“Learn English,” he rants in the video. “It’s my country. Get out.”

Sadriu was born in Mexico. She’s a U.S. citizen and has lived in the United States since 2009.

“I was shocked and shaken,” she says. “I was afraid that this man was going to follow me and pull out a gun.”

Sadriu, whose 2-year-old daughter was in the car with her, filed a police report.

Sadriu says she was angry when she posted her video on social media. “I was thinking of other immigrants who are out of status,” she explained, “and who are afraid to speak up or ashamed and would not expose this man’s ugly behavior.” But she’s also hoping for change, so that “by the time my daughter is older, she is going to live in a world where all the racism and hate and bullying is gone.”

She says the response has been overwhelmingly kind and supportive.People from all over don’t agree with this type of behavior,” she says.

According to the Pew survey, 38 percent of Latino respondents experienced similar incidents in the past year. Some said they were asked not to speak Spanish in public or were told to go back to their country.

Nearly two-thirds of Latino respondents say that Trump administration’s policies have been harmful to their communities. The survey found many Latinos are more worried about deportation and family separation. They are also more concerned about their personal finances than in past years, even though the country’s economy is doing well and Latino unemployment is at historic lows, according to Pew.

Social media documents harassment

Other recent examples of harassment include an incident in May, when a lawyer in Manhattan threatened to call ICE agents on the kitchen staff making his lunch.

Last month, a Colorado woman harassed two women for speaking Spanish at a supermarket.

At Andy’s Restaurant in Lovettsville, Va., in October, a Guatemalan family was accosted by a white woman finger-wagging at them for speaking Spanish. In the video, the woman is heard demanding, “show me your passports,” followed by, “go back to your f****** country.”

A response to the belligerent woman was posted on Andy’s Facebook pageby the restaurant owners. “Thank you for thinking that you have a right to express your venomous and vitriolic views — no matter how odious and ignorant — wherever and whenever you desire,” they posted. “Thank you —and we mean this with all the aforementioned respect that you rightfully deserve — for never returning to Andy’s. You are not welcome.”

Comments to Andy’s Facebook post quickly poured in from all over the country with words of support like Caroline Hart’s: “Thank god for human beings like you.”

Janet Sadriu, the Houston mom who experienced verbal harassment while driving “just for my looks,” has a message for Hispanics who encounter such harassment. She urges them “not to be afraid and speak up.” There are more good than bad people out there, she says.

Source: Latinos Increasingly Concerned About Their Place In U.S. Society, Survey Finds

Hate crimes in U.S. up 17 per cent in 2017, third consecutive year with increase

Latest numbers (Canadian numbers should be out shortly):

Hate crimes in the United States rose 17 per cent last year, the third consecutive year that such crimes increased, according to newly released FBI data.

Law enforcement agencies reported 7,175 hate crimes occurred in 2017, up from 6,121 in 2016. That increase was fueled in part by more police departments reporting hate crimes data to the FBI, but overall there is still a large number of departments that report no hate crimes to the federal database.

More than half of such crimes, about 3 of 5, targeted a person’s race or ethnicity, while about 1 of 5 targeted their religion.

Of the more than 7,000 incidents reported last year, 2,013 targeted black Americans, while 938 targeted Jewish Americans. Incidents targeting people for their sexual orientation accounted for 1,130 hate crimes, according to the FBI.

The FBI has urged local police departments to provide more complete information about hate crimes in their jurisdictions.

Of the more than 7,000 hate crime incidents in 2017, more than 4,000 were crimes against people, ranging from threats and intimidation to assault, to murder. More than 3,000 were crimes against property, ranging from vandalism to robbery to arson.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said the new figures are “a call to action – and we will heed that call. The Department of Justice’s top priority is to reduce violent crime in America, and hate crimes are violent crimes. They are also despicable violations of our core values as Americans.”

Whitaker said he was “particularly troubled by the increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes,” which are already the most common type of religious hate crime in the United States.

Anti-Semitic hate crimes rose 37 per cent in 2017. Anti-Islamic hate crimes declined 11 per cent last year, with 273 such incidents, the data show.

Source: Hate crimes in U.S. up 17 per cent in 2017, third consecutive year with increase

A Defeat for White Identity What the midterms tell us about racial backlash and economic populism.

Ross Douthat’s take:

Running for president in 2016, Donald Trump sold two kinds of populism. One appealed to white tribalism and xenophobia — starkly in his early embrace of birtherism, recurrently in his exaggerations about immigrant crime, Muslim terrorism and urban voter fraud.

The other was an economic appeal, aimed at working-class voters hit hard by de-industrialization who found the existing Republican agenda too libertarian. Trump promised to protect entitlements and replace Obamacare with something more generous; his anti-immigration arguments were about jobs as well as crime; he promised lavish infrastructure spending and trade deals that would bring back factory jobs; he pledged to make the G.O.P. a “worker’s party.”

When this combination of appeals delivered victory, it set off an interminable debate about whether to look at Trumpian populism primarily through the lens of race or economics. Interminable, but crucial, because the answer would say a lot about whether a less tribal political alignment is possible — with Democrats winning back blue-collar whites or Republicans building a pan-ethnic nationalism — or whether we’re doomed to a permanent racial polarization of the parties.

The strongest argument for privileging economics is a simple one: Trump won millions of working-class white voters in the Midwest, the constituency and the region hit hardest by globalization, who had previously voted for Barack Obama. If you voted twice for the first black president, this argument goes, your main political motivation probably isn’t racism, and the fact that Trump ran as an economic populist seems like a more important explanatory fact.

The rebuttal, the case for privileging race, relies on a raft of studies, the most recent one summarized by Vox’s Zack Beauchamp just weeks before the midterms, which show that those Trump-Obama switchers were more likely to express racially conservative attitudes and hard-line anti-immigration views than they were to have suffered recent economic setbacks.

The hypothesis floated by these studies’ interpreters is that the combination of Obama’s presidency and Trump’s deliberate race-baiting had an activating effect on white anxiety. Racial backlash against the first black president was more limited in 2012 because Romney didn’t play to racial fears, but the backlash escalated, and flipped more white voters, once the next Republican nominee did.

I’ve taken swipes at these studies, but I’m more frustrated by the way they’re used by pundits than by the work itself, which does tell us two important facts — that Trump probably won getting-by-O.K., working-class Americans rather than the truly desperate, and that Obama-to-Trump switchers had to have a certain indifference to minority concerns (which is what many social-science measures of “racial conservatism” pick up) to tolerate his more bigoted appeals.

At the same time these kind of studies often treat immigration as a strictly-racial issue when it’s understood by many voters as an economic one (which is why African-American and native-born Hispanics can be immigration hard-liners). They elide the fact that you can base your vote on economic issues without being maximally economically anxious. (Given the G.O.P.’s historic brand as the party of business, you might expect a successful Republican economic-populist pitch to pick off the less anxious working class voters first.) And they encourage a slippage in liberal analysis where a voting bloc’s susceptibility to identity politics get described starkly as a “white nationalism” that implicitly places those voters beyond the reach of reason — even when they voted for Barack Hussein Obama four short years before.

Which brings me to the recent midterms, which offered a natural experiment in the race-versus-economics question — because, as president, Trump has been more plutocratic than populist on many issues, even as he has kept up the tribalist provocations and, just before the midterms, used the migrant caravan as an excuse for race-baiting.

If the Obama-Trump voters were primarily motivated by racial anxiety, you would expect his approach to consolidate them for the G.O.P. — especially with a strong economy, with the Democrats putting up lots of minority candidates, and so on.

But white identity politics failed to hold Trump’s gains. Some of the biggest swings against the G.O.P. were among middle and lower-income Americans, not just among affluent suburbanites. The Upper Midwest swung back toward Democrats. And among whites without college degrees, Democrats improved on Hillary Clinton’s showing by eight percentage points — identical to their gains among college-educated whites.

This doesn’t mean that the racial fears Trump stoked didn’t bring some Republican voters to the polls. But it proves that white-identity politics isn’t simply destiny, that Democrats can reach wavering white-working class voters instead of writing them off, and that if Republicans want to hold them, then actual economic populism — with its potential pan-ethnic rather than racially polarizing appeal — is a better bet than what we’ve gotten too often from his White House.

In what is not the most optimistic time for race relations in America, I call that good news.

Source: A Defeat for White Identity

Trump Suspends Some Asylum Rights, Calling Illegal Immigration ‘a Crisis’

For the Conservatives arguing for closing the loophole in the Safe Third Country Agreement that does not return asylum seekers entering outside regular border crossings (i.e., Roxham Road) to the U.S., the constraints on the U.S. government doing the same for its Southern border may be instructive:

President Trump proclaimed on Friday that the illegal entry of immigrants across the southern border of the United States was detrimental to the national interest, spurring tough changes that will deny asylum to all migrants who do not enter through official border crossings.

The proclamation, issued just moments before Mr. Trump left the White House for a weekend trip to Paris, suspends asylum rights for all immigrants who try to cross into the United States illegally, though officials said it was aimed primarily at several thousand migrants traveling north through Mexico in caravans.

“The continuing and threatened mass migration of aliens with no basis for admission into the United States through our southern border has precipitated a crisis and undermines the integrity of our borders,” Mr. Trump wrote in the proclamation.

As he left the White House for the overseas trip, Mr. Trump said, “We want people to come into our country, but they have to come into the country legally.”

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on Friday within hours of the president’s proclamation, urging a federal judge to prohibit Mr. Trump from moving ahead with his plans to deny asylum to thousands of migrants who may cross the border.

In a legal filing in United States District Court in San Francisco, the A.C.L.U. said that the president’s move was “in direct violation of Congress’s clear command that manner of entry cannot constitute a categorical asylum bar.” The lawsuit also alleges that the administration enacted the rule “without the required procedural steps and without good cause for immediately putting the rule into effect.”

The lawsuit could set in motion another clash between Mr. Trump and the judicial system over the power of the presidency to control the nation’s borders. Officials at the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to questions about the lawsuit.

Administration officials said on Friday that the suspension of asylum rights would be in effect for at least 90 days, but could end sooner if Mexico’s government would sign an agreement allowing the United States to return those who illegally cross the border from Mexico, regardless of their home country — a proposal that Mexico has long rejected.

For decades, immigration law in the United States has required that officials allow migrants who fear persecution in their home countries to seek asylum regardless of whether they entered the United States legally or illegally.

Mr. Trump’s proclamation is a radical departure from that tradition. With the exception of children arriving without parents, officials said that all migrants who cross illegally would automatically be denied asylum. Advocates for migrants condemned the policy shift as meanspirited and unconstitutional.

“Issuing a presidential proclamation effectively denying vulnerable families protection from violence is contrary to our laws and values,” said Kevin Appleby, a senior director at the Center for Migration Studies. “In the long run, it will not deter asylum seekers who are fleeing for their lives. On this one, the emperor has no clothes.”

Across the world, nations have for years agreed to consider asylum protections for those fleeing violence and persecution, even if they cross borders illegally. Human rights advocates said on Friday that the United States should be a leader in supporting that idea.

“One thing that unites a majority of Americans is a belief in the principle of asylum,” Ali Noorani, the executive director of the National Immigration Forum, said in a statement. “Eroding that principle means eroding a defining value of our nation.”

Administration officials insisted that the new rules would remain consistent with United States obligations to the rest of the world because seeking asylum is not the only way for someone fleeing persecution to receive protection.

Officials said migrants would be allowed to seek other protections if they could prove a risk of being tortured in their home countries. However, they conceded that those claims were purposely much harder to prove and that fewer people were likely to qualify to stay in the United States than would have by receiving asylum. The only way to seek asylum will be to arrive at an official border crossing.

But officials conceded that many of the crossings from Mexico into the United States — known as ports of entry — were over capacity and already had trouble processing the number of asylum claims being made by migrants there. Under the new policy, many more are expected to arrive at the crossings.

In the proclamation, Mr. Trump acknowledged the problem and directed his administration “to commit additional resources to support our ports of entry at the southern border to assist in processing those aliens.”

Mr. Trump’s proclamation drew on the same powers to control the nation’s borders that he cited when he banned travel from several predominantly Muslim nations shortly after becoming president. The Supreme Court upheld a later version of that ban after a nearly year-and-a-half legal fight.

The new proclamation is certain to ignite a similar legal battle.

For months before the midterm elections, Mr. Trump cast the group of migrants as a threat to national security, claiming — without evidence— that among them are criminals and “unknown Middle Easterners.”

Mr. Trump’s proclamation puts into effect regulatory changes announced Thursday afternoon that effectively overhaul deep-rooted asylum laws that sought to provide a safer life in America for people fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries. Officials said the changes would take effect early Saturday morning.

Most of the migrants in the caravan come from Honduras and other Central American nations, where they say they fear for their lives because of continuing violence.

Mr. Trump has been seething for months about the increase of immigrants crossing into the United States from Mexico and the caravan of several thousand migrants whose travels have drawn news media attention. The president ordered more than 5,000 active-duty troops to the border to prevent the migrants from crossing.

By early this week, that caravan still had about 4,000 or 5,000 people and had made it to Mexico City.

Jeff Sessions Is Out, But His Dark Vision for Immigration Policy Lives On: The New Yorker

Good overview on his views and legacy:

For more than two decades, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s hostility to immigrants put him on the outer fringes of the Republican Party. When Congress seemed likely to pass comprehensive immigration reform—first in 2007, then in 2013—Sessions worked assiduously to scuttle it. In 2015, after the Republicans took control of the Senate, he circulated a memo titled “Immigration Handbook for a New Republican Majority,” in which he argued that the G.O.P. had lost the Presidency in 2012 partly because it failed to curtail legal immigration to the U.S. The next year, he became the first U.S. senator to back Donald Trump in the Republican Presidential primaries, which at once bolstered Sessions’s flagging public profile and legitimized Trump’s candidacy in the eyes of anti-immigration hawks. (“Sessions was Trump’s Good Housekeeping seal of approval,” Mark Krikorian, the head of the Center for Immigration Studies, an influential anti-immigration think tank, told me last year.) Addressing a group of immigration judges in Virginia last October, Sessions paused to marvel at his own good luck. “I’m just astounded that President Trump made the miraculous intervention, and I’m the Attorney General of the United States,” he said, grinning broadly. “It’s really, really hard to believe.”

On Wednesday, Sessions resigned under pressure from the White House. For the past year and a half, the President, who felt betrayed that Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation, in March, 2017, had routinely mocked and insulted his Attorney General. Trump upbraided him in the Oval Office, called him a “dumb Southerner” behind his back, and taunted him in speeches and on Twitter. (“I’m so sad over Jeff Sessions because he came to me,” Trump said in September. “He wanted to be Attorney General, and I didn’t see it.”) But, as the Trump Administration adopted increasingly draconian policies, it became clear that, for Sessions, orchestrating the most systematic and wide-reaching assault on immigrants in modern history was well worth enduring near-constant humiliations from the President. As the government’s top lawyer, Sessions was responsible for, among other things, cancellingdaca, spurring family separations, trying to defund sanctuary cities, dismantling the asylum system, reshaping the immigration courts, and retooling multiple travel bans. To the extent that the President has styled himself as an anti-immigration crusader, it’s with a script written entirely by Sessions.

Trump’s immigration agenda has always faced an administrative hurdle that Sessions was particularly determined, and well-positioned, to try to overcome: the President wants to deport more people than the machinery of the federal bureaucracy can possibly process. When Sessions took over as Attorney General, in January, 2017, there was a backlog in the country’s immigration courts of more than five hundred thousand cases, and the number has since grown to more than a million. Meanwhile, at Trump’s urging, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been increasing the number of people it arrests, which has only compounded the problem. In April, Sessions, who presided over the country’s immigration-court system as the Attorney General, instituted a quota to force judges to hear seven hundred cases a year—about three per day—and then further restricted their ability to weigh evidence in individual situations. A former immigration judge told the Times, “Sessions is treating them like immigration officers, not judges.”

Sessions claimed to be making these changes in the name of efficiency, but his real motives were easy to discern. In May, he issued a ruling forbidding immigration judges from exercising a crucial form of discretion called “administrative closure.” As the court backlog has grown in the last several years, judges have frequently closed cases when an immigrant did not face imminent deportation. As of September, 2018, some three hundred and fifty thousand cases had been dismissed because the defendants were considered such a “low priority” for arrest by the enforcement standards established under President Obama. Sessions declared this practice illegal. A few weeks later, lawyers at ice received a memo that cited his decision and instructed them to reopen old cases. According to the document, “there is no burden to provide a persuasive reason” for rescheduling the cases, “or to provide any reason at all.” The signal from Sessions was justification enough. In the past fiscal year, ice lawyers have already reopened about eight thousand previously closed deportation cases.

What made Sessions so dangerous as Attorney General was his technical knowledge of which levers to pull to advance his agenda. As the head of the Justice Department, Sessions made frequent use of a fairly obscure authority to refer pending immigration cases to himself for review; in eight such cases that had come before a body known as the Board of Immigration Appeals, he ultimately issued his own, superseding legal judgments. (By contrast, this referral power was used nine and four times during the entirety of the Bush and Obama Presidencies, respectively.) In three instances, including the case involving administrative closure, Sessions ruled on how to manage the immigration court docket to facilitate increased deportations. In the remaining five, he attempted to redraw the system for how the U.S. government grants asylum. “He knew when he got the job what power he was getting,” Sarah Pierce, an analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, told me. “And you could see, based on the cases he referred to himself, what his priorities were.”

The most consequential of these cases involved a Salvadoran woman who had been granted asylum in the U.S. after escaping an abusive husband in 2014. In June, Sessions reversed the ruling on the grounds that victims of domestic abuse and gang violence no longer qualified for protection under U.S. law. Legal experts estimated that Sessions had single-handedly dismantled between sixty and seventy per cent of asylum jurisprudence from the previous three decades. An asylum officer at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services told me, “Ninety per cent of the people I’ve referred to a judge for an asylum hearing were referred on the basis of gang-related violence or domestic violence in Central America. Now what?” Sessions’s ruling came just as the Trump Administration, under a so-called zero-tolerance policy advanced by Sessions, was separating families as they sought asylum at the border. Parents who fled to the U.S. with their children, Sessions claimed, were scarcely better than human smugglers secreting contraband. “If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you,” he said. “That child will be separated from you as required by law.”

Where immigration policy is concerned, Trump will be hard-pressed to find an Attorney General as ideologically single-minded and crafty as Sessions was. Yet Sessions’s departure will likely do little, if anything, to slow the broader agenda he’s already set in motion. In large part, this is because Sessions can rely on a cabal of former staffers and loyalists across the federal bureaucracy to carry on in his absence. The most notorious and powerful of them is, of course, Stephen Miller, who is now leading the President’s crackdown on immigrants as a senior policy adviser in the White House. Others are less well known, but nearly as influential. Gene Hamilton, another former Sessions staffer (like Miller, he joined the Trump campaign in 2016), is a counsellor at the Justice Department and served briefly at the Department of Homeland Security advising then-Secretary John Kelly. Hamilton wrote the memo ending daca, partnered with Miller to sabotage the refugee program, directed officials at D.H.S. to separate families, and worked to quietly end a raft of humanitarian protections that have long defined U.S. immigration policy. L. Francis Cissna, who, as the head of U.S.C.I.S., is trying to punish legal immigrants for using public benefits, worked with Sessions as a staffer on the Senate Judiciary Committee—as did Cissna’s deputy, Kathy Nuebel Kovarik. Others, like Dimple Shah, a lawyer at the Department of Homeland Security, and Julie Kirchner, now the ombudsman at U.S.C.I.S., are also hardened ideologues who came out of Sessions’s political network. In effect, Sessions’s reach extends across every government agency that shapes immigration policy.

Since it was Trump who severed his relationship with Sessions, and not the other way around, there’s a temptation to cast the President as the one who got the better of their partnership. The opposite may be closer to the truth, however. In less than two years, Jeff Sessions managed to import his world view into the upper echelons of the U.S. government; Trump was Sessions’s mouthpiece, and his lifeline out of political obscurity. When Sessions was weighing whether to endorse Trump, in February, 2016, Steve Bannon had to persuade him. “Trump is a great advocate for our ideas,” Sessions told Bannon, according to Joshua Green’s book “Devil’s Bargain.” “But do you think he can win?” he asked. Bannon replied, “One hundred per cent. If he can stick to your message and personify this stuff, there’s not a doubt in my mind.”

Source: Jeff Sessions Is Out, But His Dark Vision for Immigration Policy Lives On

The Most Pro-Immigration House of Representatives in Over a Century

David Bier of the Cato Institute on the midterms and immigration:

In this election, journalists following the immigration beat will focus on the outcomes of individual races. Dave Brat, the Virginia nativist whose defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in 2014 doomed hopes of immigration reform, lost in a previously safe GOP seat. Democrats blew out Corey Stewart in Virginia and Lou Barletta in Pennsylvania, the most anti-immigrant Senate candidates. Kris Kobach, the author of state anti-immigrant laws across the country, cost Republicans the governorship in Kansas.

But the two most important outcomes of this election are in the big picture. First, nativists have officially squandered their last, best chance to restrict legal immigration. There may never be another moment like the one in 2017 and 2018, where the House, Senate, and White House were all controlled by Republicans with nativist agendas. They held multiple votes in the House and Senate on various measures to make legal immigration cuts, and all their efforts went down in flames.

The second outcome is even more important: the House of Representatives is now the most pro-immigrant that it has been since the 19th century. Current House Democrats would not only pass the broadest legalization in the history of the United States—they also would greatly expand legal immigration. No elected House Democrat is opposed to legalization, even if they would want it paired with some enforcement measures.

The last Democratic House from 2007 to 2010 did pass the Dream Act for a very small portion of the illegal population—only a subset of the Dreamers qualified—but it didn’t even reach a majority of the House (216, not 218, voted yes). House leadership lost 38 “blue dog” Democrats and got the votes of just five Republicans. Today, the Dream Act would easily pass the House with more than a dozen Republicans voting for it, even after moderate-Republican losses.

The last Democratic-majority House could not—and did not—pass any comprehensive immigration reform bill that would offer a path to citizenship for most illegal residents or expand legal immigration. From 1995 to 2006, the GOP majority bookended its tenure by passing the two harshest immigration enforcement bills since the 1920s: the Sensenbrenner enforcement bill in 2005 and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act in 1996.

Except for one Congress from 1933 to 1994 Democrats controlled the House and during that time the House did pass several bipartisan immigration bills, a mix of expansive and restrictive measures. The Immigration Act of 1990 expanded legal immigration, while hiring more Border Patrol Agents. The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 provided for amnesty, but it was generally seen as a restrictive measure (which is why most of the Hispanic Caucus voted against it) because it made it illegal to hire someone without a valid photo ID, which naturally led to discrimination against Hispanic workers.

Prior to that, a Democratic-majority House passed the Refugee Act of 1980 which increased legal immigration for refugees. The Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 legalized the status of Cubans who made it to the United States, and the Immigration Act of 1965 replaced the old national origin quotas and expanded legal immigration (though more than anyone expected at the time). Before 1965, House Democrats did only very slight liberalizations, ending the Asiatic Bar Zone and allowing some Jewish refugees to resettle in the United States. They mostly maintained the restrictive system created by Republicans in the 1920s.

House Democrats today would not just protect every expansive immigration measure enacted from 1965 to 1990—they would greatly build upon them if they could reasonably expect them to be signed into law. The starting place for reform for them is the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill, H.R. 15, a version of which the Senate had passed. At the time, every House Democrat except two cosponsored the legislation. The bill would legalize more than 8 million illegal residents and at least double permanent legal immigration.

However, the bill also had some provisions that are unlikely to remain. In particular, while it expanded immigration overall, it ended the Diversity Visa Lottery and cut so-called “chain migration,” two issues that President Trump has championed. Because the lottery disproportionately benefits African immigrants—who Trump reportedly referred to as coming from “shithole” countries—many Democrats are now opposed to repealing it as a matter of principle.

Rather than cutting family-sponsored immigration, Democrats will seek to expand it. The legalization provisions were also very restrictive, covering just three quarters of the illegal resident population. Democrats would certainly go further now. Especially after seeing how their colleagues did in this midterm, the remaining moderate Republicans would likely sign onto these measures if tied to stricter enforcement.

As importantly, this House will have the backing of the most pro-immigration general public in recorded history. More Americans oppose cuts to immigration and favor expanded immigration than at any point since at least 1965. Because the Senate is still in GOP hands, however, Democrats will have to focus on chipping away at the numerous legal immigration restrictions and enforcement measures that the Trump administration has implemented or has plans to implement. Republicans would be wise to work with them in a bipartisan manner.

Source: The Most Pro-Immigration House of Representatives in Over a Century

Trump is Acting Desperate: Rothman

Noah Rothman on Trump’s anti-immigration campaign strategy. But as Trump might himself see, “we shall see”:

There is no doubt that Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings electrified Republican voters. Democrats spent two weeks demonstrating how they would govern in the majority, illustrating clearly for Republicans who might have been lukewarm on the GOP in the Trump era that the alternative was deeply problematic. But if the Kavanaugh effect was real, it had a short half-life. And Donald Trump seems to know it.

The president was never comfortable with the notion that GOP voters might be motivated to vote because of their enthusiasm for Republicans other than himself. Within days of Kavanaugh’s confirmation, Trump insisted that his first midterm election should be a “referendum about me.” The terrible massacre of observant Jews in Pittsburgh and a disturbed Trump fan’s campaign of terror directed at Democratic officials (an act Trump inexplicably attributed to political media’s critical coverage of his administration) has all but reset the nation’s political consciousness. Trump senses that, and he resents it. “The Republicans had tremendous momentum, and then, of course, this happened, where all that you people talked about was that,” Trump said last week to the cameras that followed him into a North Carolina campaign rally.

Source: Trump is Acting Desperate

Trump, the Jews and anti-Semitism: A Dangerous Double Game

Good summary:

U.S. President Donald Trump has long been dogged by accusations that he stokes anti-Semitism both by the language and references he uses and by hiring and embracing figures who actively promote a hyper-nationalist, racist and discriminatory agenda for the United States. This accusation took on a whole new relevance in the wake of the attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday, in which a white nationalist killed 11 congregants during a baby naming ceremony.

Trump closed his winning 2016 presidential campaign with an ad that many observers slammed as blatantly anti-Semitic. In his first month in office Trump again sparked scandal when the White House left out any mention of Jews while marking Holocuast Remembrance Day. After topping off a campaign littered with dozens of such incidents, the accusations surrounding Trump and anti-Semitism reached a boiling point at his first solo press conference in February 2017, where, responding to a question about recent threats to Jewish centers across the country and rising anti-Semitism, Trump declared, “I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life.”

The day before that press conference, Trump hosted a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu where he was also pressed to address rising anti-Semitism in America. Trump answered, “As far as people – Jewish people – so many friends, a daughter, a son-in-law, and three beautiful grandchildren. I think that you’re going to see a lot different United States of America over the next three, four, or eight years. I think a lot of good things are happening, and you’re going to see a lot of love. You’re going to see a lot of love. OK? Thank you.”

After Trump responded, Netanyahu came to his aide saying,“I think we can put that to rest,” despite the fact that Trump never used the word “anti-Semitism.” Trump’s daughter Ivanka is a convert to Judaism and married into an Orthodox Jewish family.

In the campaign ad that Trump released back on November 5th, 2016, four villains are blamed for the problems the everyday American is facing – which Trump promised to fix as apart of his “make America great again” pitch for the presidency. Those villains were Hillary Clinton, George Soros (financier and philanthropist), Janet Yellen (then Fed Chair) and Lloyd Blankfein (Goldman Sachs CEO). Three out of the four are Jewish.

As Soros and Yellen come onto the screen in the ad, the narrator says, “The establishment has trillions of dollars at stake in this election. For those who control the levers of power in Washington and for the global special interests. They partner with these people who don’t have your good in mind.”

In August 2017, Trump stunned the nation when he declared that “both sides” were culpable for violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which claimed the life of a counterprotester. A torchlit march that preceded the day of violence featured white supremacists chanting “Jews will not replace us.”

Trump later clarified his original remarks and openly condemned the white nationalists. However, veteran journalist Bob Woodward wrote in his recent book “Fear,” that Trump felt, “That was the biggest fucking mistake I’ve made. You never make those concessions. You never apologize. I didn’t do anything wrong in the first place. Why look weak?”

The book put Bob Woodward in the Trump family’s crosshairs and resulted in an additional anti-Semitism scandal for the Trump clan when Eric Trump, the president’s youngest son, said of some of the claims in the book, that “It’ll mean you sell three extra books, you make three extra shekels.” Using the word “shekel” is a long-standing anti-Semitic trope going back to Judas’ betrayal of Jesus in the New Testament.

Jewish journalist Julia Ioffe’s April 27 profile of Melania Trump in GQ irked the first lady enough that she tweeted criticism of it calling it, “another example of the dishonest media and their disingenuous reporting” and that Ioffe had “provoked” the deluge of anti-Semitic hate online that followed the publication of the profile, including from the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer, which urged its followers to “go ahead and send her [Ioffe] a tweet and let her know what you think of her dirty kike trickery.”

Jews funding immigration

Last week both Soros and Clinton were sent bombs in the mail by a Trump supporter who targeted almost a dozen Democrats and CNN – the news network Trump often singles out as “fake news” and as an “enemy of the people.”

Florida congressman Matt Gaetz, who invited a Holocaust denier to this year’s State of the Union address, posted a video on Twitter this month which shows people in Guatemala being handed money. Gaetz, without citing evidence, suggested in the Tweet that Soros was funding a migrant caravan headed towards the U.S. He wrote on Twitter, “BREAKING: Footage in Honduras giving cash 2 women & children 2 join the caravan & storm the US border @ election time. Soros? US-backed NGOs? Time to investigate the source!”

Trump tweeted the exact same video a day later, writing, “Can you believe this, and what Democrats are allowing to be done to our Country?”

The gunman in Pittsburgh, Robert Bowers, who yelled “All Jews must die” before opening fire, made anti-Semitic comments online and expressed anger at a Jewish group which helped refugees.

Bowers wrote on an alt-right social media platform, that “HIAS likes to bring invaders that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics. I’m going in.”

HIAS is an American nonprofit organization that provides humanitarian aid and assistance to refugees.  Another post from Bowers that apparently referred to HIAS read, “Open you Eyes! It’s the filthy evil jews Bringing the Filthy evil Muslims into the Country!!” Bower’s massacre of worshippers is the deadliest attack on a Jewish community in American history and his motive as of now appears to be a white supremacist driven hate of Jews and his belief that the Jewish community aids refugees and immigrants entering the U.S.

Bower’s summed this up in post he made weeks before the shooting, “There is no #maga as long as there is a kike infestation.”


In December 2015, Trump again waded into anti-Semitic waters when he said in a speech addressing the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), “You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money,” adding, “Is there anyone in this room who doesn’t negotiate deals? Probably more than any room I’ve ever spoken.”

However, despite his claim at the RJC that he is above transactional politics, Trump in September of this year seemed to complain that the U.S. Jewish community was not more grateful after Trump moved the U.S. Embassy, in a ceremony which included Pastor Robert Jeffress who believes “Jews are going to hell,”  from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May.

A report from the Jewish People Policy Institute, a Jerusalem-based think tank, in September quoted a White House official who claimed the move should have generated praise from within the Jewish community, but that Trump is treated unfairly.

“We can take justified criticism, but if Obama had transferred the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, the American Jewish community would have been united in applauding him!” the official said.

Earlier this month, Mark Mellman, who once ran Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid campaign in 2015, published a poll with the Jewish Electorate Institute that found roughly seventy-five percent of Jewish Americans plan to vote for the Democrats in the midterm elections, with only a quarter voting Republican.

Additionally, Fifty-six percent polled said they disapprove of the embassy move, while only 44 percent said they approved.

Growing anti-Semitism

A new report released Friday by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) found far-right extremists have increased an intimidating wave of anti-Semitic harassment against Jewish journalists, political candidates and others public figures of next month’s U.S. midterm elections.

ADL researchers analyzed more than 7.5 million Twitter messages from Aug. 31 to Sept. 17 and found nearly 30 percent of the accounts repeatedly tweeting derogatory terms about Jews appeared to be automated “bots.”

The study also found a “surprising” abundance of tweets referencing “QAnon,” a right-wing conspiracy theory that started on an online message board and has been spread by Trump supporters.

“There are strong anti-Semitic undertones, as followers decry George Soros and the Rothschild family as puppeteers,” researchers wrote.

Trump, who has been pushing his “America first,” anti-globalist message since announcing his campaign in 2015, took the unprecedented step last Monday of outright declaring, “I am a nationalist.”

“A globalist is a person that wants the globe to do well, frankly, not caring about our country so much. And you know what? We can’t have that,” Trump said at a rally in Houston.

“You know, they have a word – it’s sort of became old-fashioned – it’s called a nationalist. And I say, really, we’re not supposed to use that word. You know what I am? I’m a nationalist, okay? I’m a nationalist. Nationalist. Nothing wrong. Use that word. Use that word.”

Trump’s rhetoric helped him win in 2016 by whipping up his base and energizing voters. His rallies have become a central feature of his presidency and while he may say he is “the least anti-Semitic” and “least racist person” ever – his rhetoric has reshaped the Republican Party and deeply divided Americans.

From Virginia to California, the Republican Party has an unprecedented amount of white supremacists and Neo-Nazis on the ballot this year. The GOP has actively worked to both distance and remove some of these candidates off the ballot in some cases, while unhappily accepting them in others.

In Virginia, Republican Corey Stewart is running for the U.S. Senate as a self-described neo-Confederate, championing a “take back our heritage” platform. In Illinois, Arthur Jones, a candidate for the state’s 3rd Congressional district boasts of his membership in the American Nazi Party. Anti-Semitic GOP candidate, John Fitzgerald, made it through his open primary and will appear on the ballot in California’s 11th Congressional District. Fitzgerald’s campaign has urged to “end the Jewish takeover of America.”

Source: Trump, the Jews and anti-Semitism: A Dangerous Double Game

President Trump Isn’t Breaking Immigration Arrest Records

Cato Institute does some of the better analysis of US immigration policies and practices:

President Trump has made no secret about his intentions to deport illegal immigrants. His statements as well as administrative actions to remove certain guidelines that focused enforcement efforts on criminals has understandably caused a lot of concern among illegal immigrants, their American families, and those concerned with their plight. They should take comfort that the Trump administration’s efforts to boost arrests, the necessary precursor to a deportation, are stymied by limited local and state law enforcement cooperation with the federal government when it comes to identifying illegal immigrants.

Recently released data on the number of arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) shows that they are arresting many fewer illegal immigrants under Trump’s administration than under President Obama’s, at least through June of 2018.  During the first full 17 months of the Obama administration, from February 2009 through June 2010, ICE arrested 437,671 illegal immigrants.  For the same first full 17 months of the Trump administration, ICE arrested 226,138 illegal immigrants, about half the number arrested during the same period in Obama’s administration.

Relative to the last full month of the previous administrations, the number of ICE arrests under Trump is up by a whopping 37 percent (Figure 1).  Over the same time, President Obama’s ICE was arresting 25 percent more people than under the last full month of the Bush administration, quite a significant increase on its own.  The increase under Trump is larger as a percentage because it started from a low base, but the increase in the number of arrests under Obama was larger.  For instance, the number of arrests under Obama was 5,803 greater in June 2010 than in December of 2008.  At the same point in the Trump administration in June of 2018, the number of arrests was up 8,965 over December 2016.

There are two broad categories of arrests by the ICE.  The first is called custodial arrests, which is when ICE picks up an illegal immigrant arrested by another law enforcement agency such as state or local police departments.  The second is called ICE arrests, which is when ICE itself arrests illegal immigrants on the streets.  Figure 2 shows that the number of custodial arrests have fallen dramatically since October 2008 while the number of ICE arrests has stayed relatively constant.  This means that local and state non-cooperation with ICE works to reduce the number of ICE arrests as between 70 percent and 90 percent of those arrests are custodial over the entire time.

Some states, like Texas, are fully cooperating with ICE when it comes to immigration enforcement while others like California are resisting mightily.  In Texas, there were 3,963 ICE arrests in May 2018 compared to 2,584 in December 2016, a 53 percent increase.  In California, there were 1,587 ICE arrests in May 2018 compared to 1,356 in December 2016, a 17 percent increase.  ICE is more active everywhere in the country, in sanctuary states and non-sanctuary states, but the difference is stark across such jurisdictions.

The federal government under Presidents Bush and Obama convinced virtually every locality in the United States to sign up for the Secure Communities program that essentially turned over the vast majority of the arrested illegal immigrants to ICE for deportation.  Since President Obama was a Democrat, there was little initial political opposition to the massive increase in states and localities cooperating with the feds via Secure Communities – especially in Democratically controlled states with large numbers of illegal immigrants.  However, political reluctance to cooperate via Secure Communities built rapidly.  In 2011 Massachusetts, Illinois and New York requested to opt out of the program.  States like California then limited statewide cooperation with ICE and then President Obama replaced Secure Communities with a less punitive version called the Priority Enforcement Program that targeted criminals, which was in effect from 2015 to 2017.  Today, most states and localities with large numbers of illegal immigrants are not cooperating with President Trump’s ICE nearly as much as they cooperated with President Obama’s ICE – which is preventing Trump from arresting and, eventually, deporting large numbers of illegal immigrants.

There are other, lesser reasons why the Trump administration is unlikely to reach President Obama’s deportation record.  One is bureaucratic incompetence in the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and other executive branch chaos that has so far prevented an orderly and organized deployment of law enforcement resources.  As a partial result of those administrative problems, they are incapable of convincing states and localities to enforce federal immigration laws.  Another reason is that illegal immigrants in 2018 are savvier than they were in the past, are better able to avoid law enforcement, and the few who were criminals were deported over the years, fewer new illegal immigrants have taken their place, and those remaining are less likely to come into contact with law enforcement.

State and local government reluctance to enforce federal immigration laws and cooperate with the Trump administration has limited its ability to arrest and, eventually, deport large numbers of illegal immigrants.  At the current rate, ICE under the Trump administration will be able to arrest about half a million fewer illegal immigrants relative to the Obama administration even if President Trump serves two full terms.  Those who are dispirited by the Trump administration’s efforts to deport large numbers of otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants should take some solace that their efforts to block full local and state cooperation with ICE is bearing fruit.

Source: President Trump Isn’t Breaking Immigration Arrest Records