Illegal immigration

10 things you need to know today: June 21, 2014

The U.S. is sending additional judges and attorneys to Texas to expedite asylum claims.

The U.S. is sending additional judges and attorneys to Texas to expedite asylum claims. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool)

The Week

The Obama administration addresses illegal immigration, an Egyptian court sentences more than 180 to death, and more

1. Obama administration announces new measures to counteract illegal immigration
The United States will not tolerate a surge of women and children crossing the Mexico border into Texas, administration officials said on Friday as they announced new measures to stymie the recent immigrant influx. Many of those crossing the border are from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, and the White House said it will invest $9.6 million to help those countries repatriate their citizens. The administration is also sending additional immigration judges and attorneys to Texas, in order to expedite asylum claims. More than 52,000 unaccompanied minors, and 39,000 adults with children have been apprehended along the border so far this year. [The Washington Post]

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2. Egypt court sentences more than 180 to death in mass trial
In what is considered the largest mass trial in recent Egyptian history, a court handed down more than 180 death sentences today, stemming from an August attack on a police station that killed one officer and one civilian. Those sentenced to death include the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader, Mohammed Badie. However, the international community has condemned the mass death sentences, saying Egypt’s government is becoming increasingly politicized. One man sentenced, Mustafa Youssef, “was born blind,” noted his lawyer. “How would he kill, burn and loot?” [The Associated Press]

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3. Ukraine begins unilateral ceasefire as Russia redeploys troops to border
Following weeks of fighting, new Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko instigated a week-long, unilateral ceasefire on Friday, although he was quick to note that while forces would not take offensive action against pro-Russian militants, they would still defend themselves against any attacks. During the week, separatists have a chance to turn in weapons, although the Donetsk People’s Republic gave no sign of relenting as the ceasefire began. Meanwhile, U.S. officials said that Russia had sent tanks and heavy artillery back across the border on Friday, although Moscow claimed it was merely bolstering troops on its side of a border steeped in fighting. [The Washington Post]

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4. U.N.: Number of displaced people reaches more than 50 million
For the first time since World War II, more than 50 million people are living under forced displacement, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. At least 51.2 million people, roughly the equivalent of the entire population of Spain, are currently seeking refuge or asylum, and at least half of that number are children. And with renewed violence in Iraq, the U.N, says the number may increase this year. “We are seeing here the immense costs of not ending wars,” Antonio Guterres, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees says. “Peace is today dangerously in deficit.” [NPR]

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5. Iran, six powers remain in stalemate after nuclear settlement talks
Saying Iran will not reach an agreement until six big powers “abandon excessive demands,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif left this week’s nuclear talks in a stalemate. The United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany met with representatives from Tehran in an attempt to broker a deal to lift sanctions on Iran in exchange for more regulations on the country’s nuclear work. The major powers are aiming for a July 20 deadline, in the midst of renewed fears of Middle East wars. [Reuters]

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6. Report: Pentagon, VA not assessing success rate of PTSD treatments
A report released on Friday by the Institute of Medicine says neither the Department of Veterans Affairs nor the Pentagon is tracking the success of PTSD treatments offered to troops. The VA spent more than $3 billion on PTSD care in 2012, but it failed to study whether the treatments actually helped soldiers. Meanwhile, the Pentagon’s treatments “appear to be local, ad hoc, incremental, crisis-driven, with little planning devoted to the development of a long-range approach to obtaining desired outcomes,” the IOM reports. While five percent of all troops report cases of PTSD, the number is much higher for those who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. [Time]

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7. Presbyterian Church will allow ministers to perform same-sex marriages
Changing its constitution’s definition of marriage from “a man and a woman” to “two people,” the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted on Thursday to allow ministers in states that have legalized same-sex marriages discretion to perform the nuptials. Actually changing the language in the church’s Book of Order to reflect the amendment requires a year-long ratification process, and conservative members of the General Assembly may still push against that measure. “There were some of us with tears of joy, and some of us with tears of grief,” Rev. Susan De George, a lesbian minister of the Hudson River Presbytery, in New York, said of the vote. [The New York Times]

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8. Scientists discover new species of Neanderthal in Spain
Researchers published a description in the journal Science on Thursday of a new, Neanderthal-esque prehistoric human species. The remains, found in a cave in northern Spain, do not dramatically alter the current theory of human evolution. They do, however, suggest that there were several isolated, unique human species existing at the same time in different parts of the world, which may have eventually fought for the same land. [The Washington Post]

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9. Disney taps Rian Johnson to write, direct Star Wars: Episode VIII
With production just barely underway on Star Wars: Episode VIIDisney and Lucasfilm have already selected director Rian Johnson to helm the next film in the series. Best known for Looper, a sci-fi action film featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, Johnson also directed several episodes of Breaking Bad and was on the shortlist for the Star Trek reboot. [Variety]

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10. Peanut the mutt wins ‘World’s Ugliest Dog’ title
As far as titles go, “World’s Ugliest Dog” sounds like one most canines would rather not win, but that’s too bad for 2-year-old mutt Peanut. Peanut’s owner, Holly Chandler, entered the dog in the 25th annual competition in California to bring attention to the traumas of pet abuse, and she said she will use the $1,500 prize to pay for other injured animals’ veterinary expenses. While Peanut is healthy now, he was seriously burned as a puppy, resulting in the unsightly, hairless patches all over his body that earned him Friday’s victory. [The Associated Press]

10 things you need to know today: April 7, 2014

Activists wave Russian and Soviet-era flags outside of a Ukrainian government building held by separatists. 

Activists wave Russian and Soviet-era flags outside of a Ukrainian government building held by separatists. (AP Photo/Alexander Ermochenko)

The Week

Jeb Bush stands up for undocumented immigrants, pro-Russia protesters get tough in Ukraine, and more

1. Jeb Bush calls illegal immigration an “act of love”
Jeb Bush signaled Sunday that he would break from GOP hardliners’ “harsh political rhetoric” on issues such as education and immigration if he ran for president in 2016. In a speech capping the celebration of the 25th anniversary of his father’s presidency, the former Florida governor said illegal immigration was often “an act of love” by people trying to provide for their families. He said he would decide whether to run by year’s end. [The New York Times]

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2. Pro-Russia protesters take the offensive in Ukraine
Pro-Russia demonstrators stormed provincial government buildings in three cities in eastern Ukraine on Sunday. The demonstrators in Donetsk, about 120 miles from the Russian border, raised a Russian flag and demanded the release of riot police accused of killing protesters in Kiev. Ukraine’s new government said Monday that one of its naval officers had been shot dead by Russian soldiers in the disputed region of Crimea. [SlateThe Wall Street Journal]

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3. The hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 focuses on pings
The British navy ship HMS Echo, which has advanced detection gear, on Monday sailed into a part of the Indian Ocean where a Chinese crew detected audio pings that might have come from the cockpit voice and data recorders of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which vanished a month ago. The head of Australia’s search said it could take days to confirm whether the signals came from the plane, because they came from a depth of about 14,800 feet. [CNN]

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4. Massive Indian election gets underway
India launched the world’s biggest elections on Monday in two small states. The voting — to pick the 543-member Lok Sabha, or House of the People — will take place over 15 days, with more than 800 million people eligible to cast ballots. The Bharatiya Janata Party, a Hindu nationalist opposition party promising to boost economic growth and jobs, is expected to beat the ruling Congress party, but fall short of an absolute majority. [Reuters]

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5. Obama launches Democrats’ midterm push on equal pay
President Obama is preparing to sign two executive actions on equal pay Tuesday at the White House. One will prohibit federal contractors from retaliating against workers for discussing how much they make. The other will create new regulations requiring contractors to report salary data, including sex and race breakdowns, to the government. The moves come as Democrats prepare a push on the issue ahead of November’s midterm elections. [Politico]

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6. Spring break party ends in violence and arrests
Police in Southern California arrested about 100 people over the weekend after violence erupted at Deltopia, an annual spring break party. A crowd started throwing rocks and bottles at police and smashed windows after a campus officer at the University of California, Santa Barbara, arrested someone who hit him in the face with a backpack filled with liquor bottles. At least 44 people wound up in hospitals. [The Associated Press]

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7. Rwanda mourns victims 20 years after genocide
Rwanda began a week of official mourning Monday to mark the 20th anniversary of a genocidecommitted by Hutu extremists in 1994. At least one million people, most of them ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus, died in the 100 days of slaughter. Many of the victims were hacked to death with machetes. The violence began after Hutu President Juvenal Habyarimana’s plane was shot down over the Rwandan capital. [BBC News]

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8. Pistorius murder trial resumes with the first defense witness
Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius took the stand at his murder trial on Monday, beginning his testimony by apologizing to the family of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, whom he says he shot by mistake. Pistorius says he fired through the bathroom door of his Pretoria, South Africa, home, killing Steenkamp, because he thought an intruder was inside. Prosecutors say he murdered her on Valentine’s Day last year after an argument. [The Associated Press]

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9. Ortiz’s presidential selfie might be the last
If you never get a chance to snap a selfie with President Obama, blame David Ortiz. The Boston Red Sox slugger took a photo of himself with Obama, who was unaware that Ortiz had a social media marketing deal with Samsung to promote the Korean phone maker’s new Galaxy Note 3. Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer said the president didn’t know about Samsung’s role. “Maybe this will be the end of all selfies,” Pfeiffer said. [The Christian Science Monitor]

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10. Mickey Rooney dies at 93
Mickey Rooney, a child star turned Hollywood legend, died Sunday at age 93. Rooney appeared in more than 200 movies over 80 years, but was remembered best by early fans as the star of MGM’s Andy Hardy films. Rooney won two honorary Oscars — one in 1938, the other in 1982. Laurence Olivier once called the 5-foot-3 Rooney, who played Puck in the 1935 movie version of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “the greatest actor of them all.” [USA Today]

93-Year-Old Tennessee Woman Who Cleaned State Capitol For 30 Years Denied Voter ID

Voter suppression is alive and well in 2012.

I’m happy to know that the Department of Justice is looking into the South Carolina voter suppression issue, but I honestly believe all the states that implemented those laws should be investigated as well.

Think Progress

A 93-year-old Tennessee woman who cleaned the state Capitol for 30 years, including the governor’s office, says she won’t be able to vote for the first time in decades after being told this week that herold state ID failed to meet new voter ID regulations.

Thelma Mitchell was even accused of being an undocumented immigrant because she couldn’t produce a birth certificate:

Mitchell, who was delivered by a midwife in Alabama in 1918, has never had a birth certificate. But when she told that to a drivers’ license clerk, he suggested she might be an illegal immigrant.

Thelma Mitchell told WSMV-TV that she went to a state drivers’ license center last week after being told that her old state ID from her cleaning job would not meet new regulations for voter identification.

A spokesman for the House Republican Caucus insisted that Mitchell was given bad information and should’ve been allowed to vote, even with an expired state ID. But even if that’s the case, her ordeal illustrates the inevitable disenfranchisements that result when confusing voting laws enable state officials to apply the law inconsistently.

The incident is the just latest in a series of reports of senior citizens being denied their constitutional right to vote under restrictive new voter ID laws pushed by Republican governors and legislatures. These laws are a transparent attempt to target Democrat constituencies who are less likely to have photo ID’s, and disproportionately affect seniors, college students, the poor and minorities.

As ThinkProgress reported, one 96-year-old Tennessee woman was denied a voter ID because she didn’t have her marriage license. Another senior citizen in Tennessee, 91-year-old Virginia Lasater, couldn’t get the ID she needed to vote because she wasn’t able to stand in a long line at the DMV. A Tennessee agency even told a 86-year-old World War II veteran that he had to pay an unconstitutional poll tax if he wanted to obtain an ID.

The Nasty Mr. Santorum

Mario Piperni

Here’s Mr. Family Values guy talking about what he’d do with illegal immigrants and their families.

“You can’t be here for 20 years and commit only one illegal act … because everything you’re doing while you’re here is against the law …” Santorum said. “I understand Congressman Gingrich saying, ‘Well, you know, people have been here and they’ve been good citizens and paying taxes.’ Yeah, under somebody else’s Social Security number because you stole it.”

Families should be broken up when the law is broken, which includes illegal immigration, he added.

Rick Santorum would have made a wonderful 17th century Inquisition judicator.

In the race to determine who of the GOP’s primary candidates is the nastiest and most heartless, Rick Santorum has just taken the lead.  Behind Santorum’s pious, holier-than-thou, Jesus-loves-you facade, there is something horribly ugly and callous about the man.  Breaking up families, illegal or not, when other solutions exist, is enough reason to pray that bible-thumping Rick never again holds political power of any kind.

Hey, Rick, Jesus would have been so proud of you.

On the bright side, all small-minded, gay-bashing, immigrant-hating Americans certainly have no shortage of politicians to support.  There’s an entire political party out there made just for them

 UPDATE:

This is worst than ugly.  Michele Bachmann sees no problem in dragging illegals on to buses in front of their children.

Watch video here…

KS GOP State Rep. Compares Undocumented Immigrants To Pigs, Suggests Shooting Them From Helicopters

Now this guy is seriously exhibiting “the crazy”…

Think Progress

During a Kansas state House Appropriations Committee hearing on state spending for controlling feral swine, GOP state Rep. Virgil Peck suggested that hunters could shoot undocumented immigrants like they do with pigs in order to control illegal immigration:

A legislator said Monday it might be a good idea to control illegal immigration the way the feral hog population has been controlled — with hunters shooting from helicopters.

State Rep. Virgil Peck, R-Tyro, said he was just joking, but that his comment did reflect frustration with the problem of illegal immigration. [...]

After one of the committee members talked about a program that uses hunters in helicopters to shoot wild swine, Peck suggested that may be a way to control illegal immigration.

The Lawrence Journal World reports that Peck refused to apologize for the remark. “I was just speaking like a southeast Kansas person,” he said. The Kansas blog Dome on the Range has the audio clip and direct quote of Peck’s remarks. “It looks like to me if shooting these immigrating feral hogs works maybe we have found a [solution] to our illegal immigration problem,” he said

Republicans block youth immigration bill

I would agree that is an important bill for “undocumented” youth, who are in this country through no fault of their own, I hope that it will be picked up in the 112th Congress and finally passed. 

Yahoo News

Senate Republicans on Saturday doomed an effort that would have given hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants a path to legal status if they enrolled in college or joined the military.

Sponsors of the Dream Act fell five votes short of the 60 they needed to break through largely GOP opposition and win its enactment before Republicans take over the House and narrow Democrats’ majority in the Senate next month.

President Barack Obama called the vote “incredibly disappointing.”

“A minority of senators prevented the Senate from doing what most Americans understand is best for the country,” Obama said. “There was simply no reason not to pass this important legislation.”

Dozens of immigrants wearing graduation mortarboards watched from the Senate’s visitors gallery, disappointment on their faces, as the 55-41 vote was announced.

“This is a dark day in America,” said Jorge-Mario Cabrera, a spokesman for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles. “The Senate has … thrown under the bus the lives and hard work of thousands and thousands of students who love this country like their own home, and, in fact, they have no other home.”      More…

Fiorina Called For Imprisoning ‘Employers Who Knowingly Hired Illegal Immigrants’ — Including Meg Whitman?

Meg Whitman, President and CEO of the online m...

Image via Wikipedia

Think Progress

This week, California Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman had a “gran problema” arise from her past when her former housekeeper revealed that Whitman had employed her for several years, despite knowing she was undocumented. Whitman flatly denied the charge, saying she stopped employing Nicky Diaz Santillan as soon as she learned of her immigration status. But, Santillan’s lawyer produced a letter from the Social Security Administration stating Santillan’s name didn’t match her Social Security number, which included a handwritten note from Whitman’s husband, suggesting the family knew of Santillan’s status.

As ThinkProress has noted, Whitman has taken a harsh stance on immigration. So has her fellow ex-CEO and GOP nominee Carly Fiorina, who is running for Senate in California. In a local TV interview earlier this year, Fiorina said she “absolutely” supports sending people to prison for knowingly employ undocumented immigrants:

ANCHOR: There was one viewer who asked the question, ‘Would you imprison employers who knowingly hired illegal immigrants?’

FIORINA: Well, sure. If an employer is knowingly breaking the law, of course, they need to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Absolutely.

Watch:

Would Fiorina be willing to apply her standard to Whitman, or at least her husband?

Hardcore anti-immigrant group Americans for Legal Immigration is demanding Whitman’s arrest. The group’s president William Gheen said Whitman should stand trial, saying, “To accept her mere claim of innocence without a trial would be similar to advocating that OJ Simpson not be charged with murder because he came out and told the press he did not do it after evidence suggested he did.”

Jan Brewer Admits She Was Wrong About Beheading Claims

Jan Brewer

Image via Wikipedia

Huffington Post

PHOENIX — Gov. Jan Brewer rose to national fame defending the state’s immigration law and warning of rising violence along the U.S.-Mexico border, including a claim that headless bodies were turning up in the Arizona desert.

But the claim has come back to haunt her after her stammering debate performance in which she failed to back it up and ignored repeated questions on the issue from a scrum of reporters.

Brewer has spent the time since backtracking and trying to repair the damage done from her cringe-worthy debate against underdog challenger Terry Goddard.

“That was an error, if I said that,” the Republican told The Associated Press on Friday. “I misspoke, but you know, let me be clear, I am concerned about the border region because it continues to be reported in Mexico that there’s a lot of violence going on and we don’t want that going into Arizona.”

She said she was referring to beheadings and other cartel-related violence in Mexico in comments she made earlier this summer about decapitated bodies found in the state’s southern region.

Brewer’s candidacy caught a big break in April, when she signed a controversial new state immigration law that put local police officers on the front lines of enforcing federal immigration law. At the time, Brewer’s primary campaign faced serious challenges, but signing the bill cleared her path to what proved to be an easy primary win on Aug. 24.

A veteran Arizona political observer said her latest gaffes may not sway many voters but could put a charge into Goddard’s campaign.

“I think it gave him an opening,” said Bruce Merrill, a longtime pollster and retired Arizona State University journalism professor.

Goddard can now play the debate clips over and over as he attacks her competence to lead Arizona.

Continue reading…

Gov. Brewer: ‘Arizona has been under terrorist attacks’ with ‘all of this illegal immigration.’

 

Think Progress:

Today during a Fox News interview about Arizona’s new controversial immigration law, Gov. Jan Brewer (R) commiserated with host Megyn Kelly about all the criticism she’s been receiving from people outside of Arizona. When Kelly asked if the critics have a real “appreciation” for Arizona’s immigration problem, Brewer said “obviously not,” likening it to the state being “under terrorist attacks”:

KELLY: Do you think that these folks who are all noticeably outside of your state, are the ones that I just ticked off, including the President, have an appreciation, governor, for what Arizona has been going through with respect to illegal immigration?

BREWER: Obviously not. You know Arizona has been under terrorist attacks, if you will, with all of this illegal immigration that has been taking place on our very porous border. […] The whole issue comes back, that we do not and will not tolerate illegal immigration bringing with it very much so the implications of crime and terrorism into our state.

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Tread on me only when it comes to immigration?

The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty has a great article on the Tea Party’s take on “immigration policy”.  the site has libertarian views. 

 It questions the true motives of teabaggers who support Arizona’s new immigration law as well as their support for all government intervention when it comes to immigration policies.

I made some similar points in a post earlier this week.  Should one conclude that “teabaggers” are not really “anti-big government”  when it comes to immigration issues?

The Free Man Online:

The Arizona law enabling police to ask for immigration papers or proof of citizenship of anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally has fanned the flames of an already hot debate over immigration.  How these issues play out in the Tea Party movement will be interestingPolling data indicate that Tea Partiers have a significant anti-immigration element to them.  So, will people who claim to dislike big government be consistent and oppose this new law?

That opponents of big government would support immigration control is surprising on its face.  Enforcing such laws requires governments, federal or state, to exercise powers that small-government advocates should reject.  It’s not that immigration law requires enormous expenditures, or that it dramatically increases the size of government.  But it does increase the scope of government power.

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Too often forgotten in these debates are the rights of immigrantsLibertarians believe in human rights, not just citizens’ rights or Americans’ rights.  People everywhere have, or should have, the right to travel where they wish and to contract for work with whomever they wish.  On what grounds do those who profess a belief in freedom prohibit them from doing so?  (To anticipate a possible objection:  Illegal immigrants are not more likely to commit crimes, and the U.S. crime rate has fallen since the 1987 amnesty program.)  People who break the law to look for work in America are mostly trying to make a better life for themselves and their families.  Why risk life and limb to come here to go on welfare when they can do the same thing at home without risk?  And by what right do we prevent them from trying to make better lives for themselves, just as we would wish for American citizens?  The reverence with which supposed opponents of big government treat the artificial lines governments draw is yet another puzzle.

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