House passes ‘Kate’s Law’ and bill targeting sanctuary cities
|| The Hill
“The House passed legislation on Thursday to crack down on illegal immigration and enact a key priority of President Trump’s known as “Kate’s Law.”
In largely party line votes, the House approved two bills. One would cut off some federal grants from so-called sanctuary cities that limit cooperation with immigration authorities; the other would impose tougher sentences on criminals who have entered the U.S. illegally multiple times.
“For years, the lack of immigration enforcement and spread of sanctuary policies have cost too many lives,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the author of both bills.
The sanctuary city bill passed 228-195, while the sentencing bill passed 257-167.
Three Democrats defected from their party to support taking away grants from the sanctuary localities: Reps. Matt Cartwright (Pa.), Henry Cuellar (Texas) and Collin Peterson (Minn.). Seven Republicans voted against the bill: Reps. Justin Amash (Mich.), Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.), Dan Donovan (N.Y.), Peter King (N.Y.), Dave Reichert (Wash.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.).
House Democratic leaders encouraged members to oppose the bill to withhold funds from sanctuary cities, but didn’t apply as much pressure on “Kate’s Law,” which establishes higher penalties for criminals who have entered the country illegally.
Twenty-four Democrats voted for “Kate’s Law.” Amash was the only Republican to oppose it.
The sentencing legislation is named after Kate Steinle, who was fatally shot in 2015 in San Francisco by a man who had had seven previous felony convictions and was deported to Mexico on five previous occasions.
Trump had invoked the shooting on the campaign trail to promote his immigration agenda, including at his speech at the Republican National Convention last summer when he accepted the party’s presidential nomination.
The convention featured speeches from parents whose children were killed by immigrants in the U.S. illegally, and the White House has tried to keep a focus on the issue since then.
Three of first lady Melania Trump’s guests at the president’s address to Congress in February were people who had family members killed by undocumented immigrants.
During his address to Congress, Trump announced a new Homeland Security office called Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) to assist victims of crimes committed by immigrants in the country illegally.
“I’m calling on all lawmakers to put the safety of American families first. Let’s pass these bills through the House, through the Senate, and send them to my desk. I will give them the fastest approval, the fastest signature, that you have ever seen.”
Despite the House passage of the two bills on Thursday, Democrats are likely to present a roadblock in the Senate.”
California, Virginia Refuse To Cooperate With Trump Voter Fraud Probe
“California and Virginia on Thursday refused to comply with a request from President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission to provide personal information about registered voters.
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in a statement that Trump’s voter fraud commission’s request of personal voting data on every American voter “is a waste of taxpayer money” that aims to ratify a false claim that millions voted illegally. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe called the probe “politically motivated and silly.”
California, which had more than 19.4 million registered voters as of February, was the first state to announce it will not comply with the commission’s request. Virginia soon followed. Trump’s commission on Wednesday asked all states to provide personal information about registered voters. Trump has claimed, without evidence, that millions voted illegally in last year’s presidential election.
″I will not provide sensitive voter information to a commission that has already inaccurately passed judgment that millions of Californians voted illegally,” Padilla said.
“California’s participation would only serve to legitimize the false and already debunked claims of massive voter fraud made by” Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Kris Kobach, vice chairman of Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, Padilla continued. “The President’s Commission is a waste of taxpayer money and a distraction from the real threats to the integrity of our elections today: aging voting systems and documented Russian interference in our elections.”
Sale of Voter Registration Data Raises Questions, Objections
|| NBC San Diego
“If you’re a registered voter, are you aware that what you write on your registration form is publicly available?
“Commercial” interests are barred from that data.
But all sorts of other people have legal access to it.
A lot of people think only government agencies can access voter registration information – the courts, for instance, to summon you for jury duty.
But it can be purchased for purposes such as scholarly and journalistic research, and for use in “elections” and “politics”.
Buyers are only a phone call away from you.
“So I received a phone call and was invited to be paid to share my political opinions,” says Jennifer Armour, a voter registered in the city of San Diego. “And I was told the reason I was being called was because of information that was tied to my voter registration.”
Armour was being solicited for a political focus group — under state law, an appropriate cause to which county voter registrars can sell voter registration information ‘at cost’.
But the telemarketer, whose phone number Armour eventually tracked to a local research firm, wouldn’t tell her who was behind the request.
And that just didn’t seem ‘cricket’.
“The marketing firm that represents a political organization is not the political organization themselves,” Armour said in an interview Thursday. “So that is another entity that was given my information that maybe should not have.”
She filed a complaint with the registrar’s office, where voter forms say your information is protected against “commercial use”.
Purchasers of that data have to fill out forms certifying they’re qualified to receive it.
But ‘gray areas’ seem to abound.
“Those definitions are going to be defined and investigated by the Secretary of State’s office to determine whether or not it meets the letter of the law,” says Michael Vu, San Diego County’s registrar of voters, whose office handled about 160 voter data requests last year.
Voters need not disclose their phone numbers on the registration forms, so that’s one way to ward off calls from telemarketers.
Vu says the last four digits of Social Security numbers and drivers’ licenses are never publicly revealed.
Armour offers this suggestion: “If they just give out a list that has however many voters that are registered in San Diego County and say ‘Have fun looking for the people you’re interested in contacting’ — even that would make me feel a little bit better.”
Changes like that are the province of the Legislature, and no doubt there’d be pushback from various interest groups — especially the folks who send you those election-cycle mailers.”
Alien Invasion: Thousands of Foreigners Registered to Vote (and Voting) in Virginia
|| PJ Media
“Some inside the Beltway are in a froth about foreign influence in our elections.
Yet I’ll wager they won’t say a word about real foreign influence in elections — even when actual evidence exists.
A new report released today documents that in Virginia alone, 5,556 voter registrations were cancelled because of citizenship defects. Many of those cancelled had gotten on the voter rolls despite saying on their voter registration form that they were an alien and not eligible to vote.
Voter history records also show that many thousands of ballots were cast by registrants removed for citizenship defects.
Only Americans should be electing American leaders, but that isn’t happening.
Even worse, the report documents the extensive efforts by state and local election officials to conceal the extent of noncitizen registration and voting.
These efforts include internal emails that revealed an intent to alter public records to hide the full extent of noncitizen cancellations.
The report released by the Public Interest Legal Foundation, of which I am president, can be accessed here.
PILF originally asked in 2016 for election records demonstrating registrants removed from the voter rolls for citizenship defects. Under federal law, all list maintenance records are subject to public inspection. You would have thought election officials would be transparent and keen to comply with federal disclosure laws.”
WashPo: Illegal-Alien Recruits In Military Bring Unsolvable Security Threats
“More than 1,000 illegal aliens accepted into the U.S. military pose impossible-to-fix security concerns, according to a report in theWashington Post.
The Post’s report cites a Pentagon memo which says that 4,100 of 10,000 illegal alien recruits are facing “enhanced screening,” and that “30 percent [of those] subject to ‘enhanced screening’ have ‘unmitigable derogatory information’ that could bar them from service.”
The Post’s article is focused on the interests of illegal aliens, and ledes with the claim that “The Pentagon is considering a plan to cancel enlistment contracts for 1,000 foreign-born recruits without legal immigration status, knowingly exposing them to deportation, a Defense Department memo shows.”
However, the Post quickly admits the security concerns, saying:
Officials have assigned threat level tiers to the nearly 10,000 Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) program recruits, both in the service and waiting to serve, based on characteristics like proximity to classified information or how thoroughly they have been vetted.
The Defense Department launched the program in 2009. Since the program’s start, more than 10,400 troops, most of them with service in the Army, have filled medical billets and language specialties — like Russian, Mandarin Chinese and Pashto — languages identified by the Pentagon as vital to the success of military operations, but in short supply among U.S.-born troops…
The overtasked vetting process and heightened security risk led officials to recommend canceling enlistment contracts for all 1,800 awaiting [still] orders for basic training, and halting the program altogether, according to the memo…
The Pentagon is also considering ending the careers of 2,400 part-time troops in the program who have yet to attend basic training.
The MAVNI program began in 2008 but was frozen in December 2016. Many of the people accepted into the program have not yet been accepted for basic training.
Immigrant recruits sometimes get extra scrutiny in the case of divided loyalties or various ties that may compromise their loyalty, but officials are leery of investigating Muslim soldiers. For example, Nidal Hassan was accepted into the U.S. military and was promoted to Major, despite having two Muslim parents. Subsequently, Hassan became more publicly devout and he murdered 14 Americans at Fort Hood in 2009 amid abundant evidence of his growing hostility to the U.S. military.
Other Islamic threats in the U.S. military include:
A Muslim convert, Hassan Abu-Jihaad, was convicted in 2008 of leaking secrets while serving in the U.S. Navy in 2001.
In 2003, Sgt. Hasan K. Akbar killed two soldiers and injured 14 others in a gun-and-grenade attack in Kuwait as soldiers were pushing the Iraqi army out of Kuwait.
In 2012, Army Private Naser Jason Abdo was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for preparing attacks against American soldiers in Texas. He adopted Islam at age 17, when living with his Jordanian-born father.
In 2013, Navy veteran Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif was convicted of preparing an attack on a Seattle military recruiting center.
In 2014, Army National Guard Specialist Hasan Edmonds was detained while trying to join the Islamic State.
In March 2015, U.S. Air Force veteran Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, was convicted of providing material support to ISIS.
Media reports say foreign militaries are seeing the same Islamic and diversity problems. The German media reported that 20 Muslim radicals had joined the German military and French officials reported that up to 10 Muslims in the French military had defected to jihad groups.
How Bad Is the Crisis in Illinois? It Has $14.6 Billion in Unpaid Bills
|| The Wall Street Journal
“SPRINGFIELD, Ill.—This is what happens when a major American state lets its bills stack up for two years.
Hospitals, doctors and dentists don’t get paid for hundreds of millions of dollars of patient care. Social-service agencies help fewer people. Public universities and the towns that surround them suffer. The state’s bond rating falls to near junk status. People move out.
A standoff in Illinois between Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and Democratic Speaker of the House Michael Madigan over spending and term limits has left Illinois without a budget for two years. State workers and some others are still getting paid because of court orders and other stopgap measures, but bills for many others are piling up.
The unpaid backlog is now $14.6 billion and growing. Illinois is even late paying its utilities bills to Springfield, its own capital city. On July 1, the beginning of the next fiscal year, billions of dollars in road projects are scheduled to grind to a halt.
“Right now, our state is in real crisis,” said Gov. Rauner last week, on the eve of a special legislative session where lawmakers are trying to hammer out an agreement before the state enters its third budgetless year.
Susana Mendoza, the state’s Democratic comptroller, is in charge of doling out limited funds to organizations demanding payment—a job she likens to handing out crumbs to starving children. She predicted unpaid bills will soon top $16 billion. “It is almost hard to say those numbers out loud because they seem so insane, but that’s where we are right now,” she says.
Illinois remains the business center of the Midwest with numerous Fortune 500 companies based in and around Chicago, major rail infrastructure and one of the nation’s busiest airports. That hasn’t stopped the deadlock from rippling through towns from Rock Island on the Mississippi River to Charleston in central Illinois. Hospitals and doctors are feeling the brunt as the state delays Medicaid payments and insurance payments for state employees.
Peoria-based OSF Healthcare, a network with 10 Illinois hospitals, is owed about $115 million for bills over four months old, the equivalent of 18 days of operating expenses, says Chief Financial Officer Michael Allen. “We have to be cautious about our future,” he says. “There’s just no end in sight.”
The state owes Illinois dentists $225 million, and some of those bills go back 23 months, according to the Illinois State Dental Society. Some dentists in college towns or other areas with lots of state workers are selling their receivables to keep their heads above water. Others are asking state employees to pay in cash, says Ronald Lynch, a dentist in Jacksonville.
“There are dentists who have to do this just to survive,” says Dr. Lynch. “It’s very stressful.” Dr. Lynch, who hasn’t asked for such cash payments, says he is owed about $250,000, forcing him to forgo a salary so he can continue to pay bills and his employees.
Health care is the capital’s biggest employer apart from the state itself. Springfield’s two hospital systems—Memorial Health and HSHS St. John’s—say they together are owed more than $200 million by the state. Edgar Curtis, Memorial Health’s chief executive, says he has put off a $100 million capital-expansion project because of the uncertainty. “We hate to see projects being shelved because of what is going on at the state level,” he says.
The Coliseum building at the state fairgrounds in Springfield closed indefinitely earlier this year after the state failed to come up with funds needed for repairs. The closure has cost the city tourism dollars from horse shows and other events.”
Sebastian Gorka on O’Keefe CNN Tapes: “Complete Vindication For The President”
“National Security editor for Breitbart, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, was asked during an interview today to give his thoughts on the series of O’Keefe’s CNN tapes. In the series of tapes, a CNN producer can be clearly heard admitting that Trump/Russia collusion is “bullshit” and that the entire thing is a “witch hunt” to help CNN’s ratings. Gorka did not mince words when addressing the ramifications of these released tapes, and the (now public) exposure of CNN knowingly pushing false stories.
“I think this is the day when the Left rues ever coming up with the phrase ‘Fake News’ because now we have the evidence. We have the consequences of systematic generation of Fake News, happening at the epicenter of one of the places that was producing the most of it,” he said.
“It’s just a testament to the determination of the president,” Gorka continued. “He sticks with what he knows to be true. He hangs in there doggedly and finally. Thanks to intrepid people like James O’Keefe, we have the evidence, and people are getting fired.”
Sessions: Supreme Court travel ban order a victory for separation of powers
|| The Hill
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday said the Supreme Court’s decision to reinstate part of President Trump’s travel ban is a victory for the separation of powers.
“Today’s order is also an important step towards restoring the separation of powers between the branches of the federal government. The Court’s decision recognizes that the Executive has the responsibility to protect the safety and security of the American people under the Constitution of the United States and its laws,” Sessions said in a statement.
“The judiciary serves, pursuant to their oath, under the same Constitution and these same laws. This case raises profound questions about the proper balance of these constitutional powers, and we are eager to advance our views on these important issues.”
The court’s decision makes it so that individuals who cannot show a relationship with a person or entity in the United States will be temporarily barred from entering the country once the court order takes effect in 72 hours.
Trump’s executive order sought to impose a temporary ban on nationals from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.
Sessions, in his statement, said he was pleased with the decision and argued it is “crucial” to “properly vet those seeking to come to America.”
“Through Article II of the Constitution, the founders of our country vested the Executive Branch with a great responsibility: to ensure the national security of our country,” Sessions said.
“I am committed to defending the President’s ability to exercise that responsibility and the Department of Justice is confident that the United States Supreme Court will uphold this constitutional and necessary executive order.”
The Supreme Court in its Monday decision also said it would hear the Trump administration’s appeal of a lower court’s order that had halted the travel ban.”
Supreme Court Reinstates Part of Immigration Order In Clear Victory For Trump
“It appears that the Battle Royale over immigration is on. The Supreme Court issued the following order: “We grant the petitions for certiorari and grant the stay applications in part.” The Court also reversed in the state in the major religious clause case in Trinity Lutheran.
Here is the stay language: “We grant the Government’s applications to stay the injunctions” blocking the implementation of the ban “to the extent the injunctions prevent enforcement of Section 2(c).” Section 2(c) deals with the suspension of entry from six countries and “foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”
Here is the money quote:
“An American individual or entity that has a bona fide relationship with a particular person seeking to enter the country as a refugee can legitimately claim concrete hardship if that person is excluded,” the Court wrote. “As to these individuals and entities, we do not disturb the injunction. But when it comes to refugees who lack any such connection to the United States, for the reasons we have set out, the balance tips in favor of the Government’s compelling need to provide for the Nation’s security.”
The parties will not be affected, but it is a victory for the Trump Administration in staying those who want to come without family in the country or other bona fide relationship. As previously discussed, I believe that the odds favor the Administration in prevailing in the long run.”
The inside story of the FBI whistle-blower who accuses her bosses of ignoring warnings of 9/11. A reading of her entire memo suggests a bracing blueprint for change
|| CNN | 2002
“Few Americans love anything about their government as much as Coleen Rowley loved the FBI. When she was in the fifth grade, Rowley wrote a letter to the bureau’s headquarters in Washington and got back a booklet called 100 Facts About the FBI. From that point on, she dreamed of becoming an agent. Friends say she protested when her dean at the University of Iowa Law School refused to let an FBI recruiter on campus; she lost the battle but applied for a job on her own and was hired as a special agent after earning her law degree in 1980. She took pride in being a pioneer, part of the first wave of women fighting to be taken seriously in the bureau’s male-dominated, button-down culture. She worked her way up the ladder as an FBI lawyer–handling applications for searches and wiretaps, working organized-crime cases in New York City and becoming, in 1995, chief counsel in the Minneapolis field office. She won a reputation as a highly disciplined professional, opinionated, principled and supremely devoted to her job. For seven years in the 1990s, she doubled as chief spokeswoman for the Minneapolis office, fending off the media hordes during big cases like the 1999 arrest of St. Paul housewife Sara Jane Olson, a former member of the Symbionese Liberation Army who had been on the lam for two decades. Despite the stress and the risks, Rowley, a suburban mother of four, has never worked anywhere else. She is the family breadwinner, a competitive long-distance runner, a person, by all accounts, of substance.
All of which helps explain why friends and colleagues of Rowley were impressed but not altogether surprised when she put her career on the line last week to blow the whistle on the terrible failings of her beloved FBI. “She is the kind of person who always does what is right when nobody’s watching,” says one friend. “That is why she came out.” American life seems uniquely capable of producing stories like hers–a loyal public servant who clings to her belief in the system until a betrayal of that faith makes it impossible to stay silent. Rowley, unable to sleep at 3 a.m. one night in early May, drove to the office and wrote the first draft of a memo. She spent a week fine-tuning it, setting it aside for days, anguishing and at times doubting whether she could go through with it. Summoning her courage last Tuesday, she at last fired off the 13-page letter (“from the heart,” she writes) to her ultimate boss, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and flew to Washington to hand-deliver copies to two members of the Senate Intelligence Committee and meet with committee staffers. The letter accuses the bureau of deliberately obstructing measures that could have helped disrupt the Sept. 11 attacks. The FBI responded by marking the letter CLASSIFIED.
The product of months of gathering frustration, Rowley’s memo–a full copy of which was obtained by TIME–unspools in furious detail how, in the weeks leading up to the hijackings, officials at FBI headquarters systematically dismissed and undermined requests from Rowley’s Minneapolis field office for permission to obtain a warrant to wiretap and search the computer and belongings of Zacarias Moussaoui, the French-Moroccan operative arrested in Minnesota last August and facing trial this fall as the sole person charged with conspiring in the attacks. Rowley asserts that the FBI didn’t “do much” to share information about Moussaoui with other government agencies or to match the evidence that Moussaoui took pilot lessons with an earlier report from a Phoenix field agent raising suspicions about Middle Eastern men enrolled in flight school. In Rowley’s view, bureaucratic incompetence stalled an investigation that may have led closer to the black heart of Osama bin Laden’s plot. “It’s at least possible we could have gotten lucky and uncovered one or two more of the terrorists in flight training prior to Sept. 11,” Rowley writes. “There is at least some chance that…may have limited the Sept. 11th attacks and resulting loss of life.”
Like no other document to emerge from the current firestorm over the mistakes and missed signals that led to Sept. 11, the Rowley memo casts a searing light into the depths of government ineptitude. In Washington, where the FBI and CIA may be criticized but are allowed to clean up their own messes as they see fit, the memo sent shudders through the establishment for a simple reason: it came from within. If Rowley’s account is accurate–and colleagues say she’s not one for shading the truth–her letter amounts to a colossal indictment of our chief law-enforcement agency’s neglect in the face of the biggest terrorist operation ever mounted on U.S. soil. It raises serious doubts about whether the FBI is capable of protecting the public–and whether it still deserves the public’s trust. While saying she does not believe the FBI director engaged in a post-9/11 cover-up, Rowley accuses Mueller and senior aides of having “omitted, downplayed, glossed over and / or mischaracterized” her office’s investigation of Moussaoui. After Sept. 11, top FBI officials decided to “circle the wagons,” as she puts it, and deny–as Mueller did immediately after the attacks–that the FBI had any knowledge that Islamic terrorists might be planning an attack involving hijacked airplanes. “I have deep concerns,” she writes, “that a delicate shading/skewing of facts by you and others at the highest levels of FBI management has occurred and is occurring.” Just 2 1/2 years from retirement, Rowley is now fretting about reprisals, friends say. She closes her letter by acknowledging “the frankness with which I have expressed myself” and asking for federal whistle-blower protection.”