Day: February 12, 2012

American kids of immigrants denied food stamps in Alabama

Apparently the term compassionate conservatism died the moment it was “invented”…

The Raw Story

A civil rights law firm based in Alabama says that children who are U.S. citizens from at least five families have been denied food stamps because their parents are undocumented immigrants.

Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) Legal Director Mary Bauer confirmed to Raw Story that Alabama’s Department of Human Services had cited the state’s anti-immigration HB 56 law, which makes it illegal to conduct “business transactions” with undocumented workers, as a reason they were denied food stamps.

“We have heard from a number of people that several localities in Alabama have adopted the policy that they’re required to verify the status of parents who are trying to help their kids apply for food stamps — even if they themselves are not applying for food stamps,” Bauer explained. “Of course, that is illegal under federal law.”

“The localities are essentially saying that they are required to do this by Alabama’s immigration law,” she added. “What that means is that we have hungry U.S. citizen kids who are unable to get the benefits to which they are legally entitled.”

Yahoo News’ Liz Goodwin first revealed earlier this week that at least five people had called into SPLC’s immigration hotline to make a report.

Department of Human Services spokesman Barry Spear has insisted that the agency had no policy requiring proof of citizenship for services.

“We are unaware of any violations of the policy,” he said.

But Bauer was skeptical of that claim.

“That may be — that he is not aware of it,” she told Raw Story. “But this is the way that it’s playing out in the field and in the real world. And we will bring specifics to the department’s attention and insist that they come into compliance with federal law.”

While federal law prohibits undocumented immigrants from obtaining food stamps and many other welfare benefits, U.S. citizen children are entitled to all benefits regardless of the status of their parents. A recent study  from the Pew Research Center estimated that there were at least 4.5 million born in the U.S. with at least one undocumented parent.

Alabama state Senator Scott Beason, who authored HB 56, told WBRC that SPLC’s claims were “not necessarily factual.”

Update (5:30 p.m. ET): The SPLC tells Raw Story that they have not ruled out taking legal action if Alabama’s Department of Human Services does not come in compliance with the law.

West Wing Week: 2/10/12 or “Don’t Be Bored…Make Something”

The White House

This week, the President happily kicked off the Second Annual Science Fair at the White House and continued to call for an all-hands-on-deck approach to educating our kids in the fields of math, science, technology and engineering.

He also spoke about putting our veterans back to work at Fire Station #5 in Arlington, announced a $25 billion agreement to help homeowners and hold big banks accountable, and unveiled yet another We Can’t Wait initiative to encourage states to raise standards and reform schools.

Politico’s: The week in one-liners: Perry, Rove, Pelosi

The top quotes in politics …

“It’s halftime.” — Actor Clint Eastwood in a controversial ad for Chrysler that aired during the Super Bowl.

“I was frankly offended by it.” — GOP strategist Karl Rove responding to Eastwood’s ad.

“I’m not slipping off into the sunset.” — Texas Gov. Rick Perry in his first speech since dropping his presidential bid.

“I was the perfect candidate.” — Rep. Michele Bachmann patting herself on the back.

“A lot of people are giving me credit for that.” — Donald Trump discussing Romney’s caucus victory in Nevada.

“Nobody is the inevitable anything.”  — Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on who’s going to win the GOP nomination.

“Let’s try it!” — President Barack Obama getting excited about a marshamallow gun at the White House.

“Stephen Colbert used to be my friend.”— House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi complainingabout the comedian’s super PAC.

This week in the War on Voting: South Dakota’s shameful legacy continues

Daily Kos

The ACLU highlights just one story from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, one story that demonstrates the plight of hundreds of voters in the state.

South Dakota is trying to prevent Eileen Janis — and hundreds of other citizens — from voting.
Eileen grew up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and does suicide prevention work. She registered to vote for the first time in 1984. “I always vote because my mom told me to,” she says.But when she went to cast her ballot in the historic 2008 election, she found that she had been illegally removed from the voter rolls. Though she had been convicted of a felony, her sentence to probation meant that she had not lost the right to cast a ballot. “I went [to vote] with my son who had just turned 18. As soon as I tried to vote I was told no because I was a felon.”

South Dakota has a long and shameful history of disenfranchising Native Americans, so Ms. Janis’s story is far from unique. The ACLU sued on behalf of Janis and other disenfranchised South Dakotans and won. Which, of course, isn’t the end of the story. Here at Daily Kos, robbinsdale radical alerted us to the South Dakota legislature’s efforts to deny the franchise to those with criminal convictions, even those who were never sentenced to jail time. Native Americans are disproportionately represented in the South Dakota criminal system, and this effort would hit them particularly hard.

The ACLU tells how to take action:

Tell the DOJ to protect the right to vote in South Dakota and across the nation. Andurge Congress to pass the Democracy Restoration Act, which would let Eileen—and all Americans with past convictions who are living in their communities—vote in federal elections.

Day In 100 Seconds: CPAC Day Three

TPM2012

Alas, CPAC 2012 is no more. If you skipped days one and two because you were saving yourself for the main event – Palinmania – then today is your lucky day.

The conservative faithful rose as one to salute their idol – someone who spent half a term as governor before making money riding round the country in a bus.

Amongst all that, Mitt Romney, who’d spent much of the week suffering barbs about not being a “real conservative,” won the conferences two polls. Oh, and Grover Norquist spoke. Now we have to wait till CPAC 2013 to experience the joys all over again.