President signs orders telling officials to enforce immigration laws

Why is it necessary for a president to issue an executive order telling public officials to enforce the laws passed by Congress?

That’s apparently what it has come to. According to The Wall Street Journal, Trump has signed orders that mean almost everybody living in the U.S. illegally is subject to deportation and new arrivals will no longer be subject to the current catch and release practice.

“The Department no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement,” WSJ quotes an enforcement memo as saying. “Department personnel have full authority to arrest or apprehend an alien whom an immigration officer has probable cause to believe is in violation of the immigration laws.”

The New York Times reports that the orders end the Obama administration policy that required Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to immediately deport only those newly arriving illegal immigrants who were apprehended within 100 miles of the border and had been in the country no more than 14 days. “Now it will include those who have been in the country for up to two years, and located anywhere in the nation,” NYT relates.

The orders also tell the federal immigration agencies to revive a program that used local police to help with immigration enforcement, a program called 287g that was scaled down under Obama, NYT says.

According to Channel 3, the 287g program under Sheriff Doug Gillespie only turned over to immigration those suspects that had an outstanding warrant or an immigration detainer.

But it would be up to current Sheriff Joe Lombardo to determine the level of cooperation.

Border wall in Nogales, Ariz. (Reuters pix via WSJ)

Border wall in Nogales, Ariz. (Reuters pix via WSJ)

Why judge blocked Trump travel ban

Immigrants arrive at Boston airport. (Reuters photo via WSJ)

Immigrants arrive at Boston airport. (Reuters photo via WSJ)

Now, we’ve never been big fans of executive orders and question whether they comport with the law and the leeway any given law grants the executive branch.

But Trump’s order suspending immigration from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for at least 90 days in an effort to block potential terrorists and to give time for vetting sounds much like what Obama did without prompting legal challenges. Without consulting Congress Obama called for allowing 110,000 Syrian refugees into the county. Trump cut that in half.

But a Seattle judge, in his seven-page ruling, granted a temporary restraining order sought by the state of Washington.

 

His rationale seems a bit dubious. How is the state irreparably harmed by a 90-day cessation of immigrants?

This is what he wrote:

robart1

robart2

Sounds more like a savings and potential benefit to taxpayers and the state than an irreparable harm. It might well be the right decision under the law and the Constitution, but is it for the right reason?

 

 

Legal battle over Trump refugee ban will be one to watch

That was quick.

With a stroke of his pen Obama agreed to allow 85,000 Syrian refugees into this country. With a stroke of his pen Trump cut that number to zero. Of course, more than 12,000 are probably already here.

Today refugees from the countries singled out by Trump in his executive order are already being held at airports on arrival from overseas and lawsuits have been filed.

Trump signs executive order.

Trump signs executive order.

Trump’s order suspends all refugees for 120 days and bars for 90 days the entry of any citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries — Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Iran and Yemen — even if they have valid visas. Trump said he intends to increase the vetting of certain foreigners and screen out potential “radical Islamic terrorists.”

When admissions are allowed to resume the order would “prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality” — presumably Christians.

This has lawyers scrambling for precedents to cite to establish religious discrimination and question the constitutionality of the order.

The U.K.-based Guardian already has posted an article exploring the legal arguments that can be made and notes that the Supreme Court ruled Congress can make immigration rules that, if applied to citizens, would be unconstitutional.

In the 1890s, the newspaper relates, the high court upheld a ban on Chinese immigrants. In 1972, the court ruled the president could bar a Marxist from entry, but said the president needed reasons that were “facially legitimate and bona fide.”

This past June the Supreme Court deadlocked 4-4 and thus let stand a Texas court ruling that blocked an Obama executive order granting millions of illegal immigrants amnesty from deportation and access to work permits.

The order was called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and would have allowed illegal immigrants if they had been in the country at least five years and had not committed felonies or repeated misdemeanors. It also would have expanded his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Trump at the time called Obama’s order “one of the most unconstitutional actions ever undertaken by a president.”

Now, we will see how his executive orders fare in court.

 

 

 

 

Trump spokesman says wall will be built

The border wall. (Getty Images)

The border wall. (Getty Images)

Though President Trump is waffling on what to do about Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive order (DACA or Dreamers), he appears to be moving forward with executive orders to build the wall that Mexico will pay for and end Obama’s catch and release practice for illegal immigrants caught at the border. According to spokesman Sean Spicer in a press conference this morning.

Trump is expected to use the Secure Fence Act of 2006 as the congressional basis for funding the wall.

Spicer said the administration would look into ways to strip sanctuary cities of federal funding. He also said immigration laws will be enforced.

Trump is heading to the Department of Homeland Security.

Spicer said this morning again that the priority is to deport criminal aliens and the administration would try to be compassionate with the Dreamers.

Trump signs order to speed up pipeline approvals

Trump signs executive order

Trump signs executive order

It is unclear whether it will amount to anything at all, but President Trump just signed executive orders intended to speed up the approval and completion of both the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access pipelines.

“A lot of jobs, 28,000 jobs. Great construction jobs,” Trump said as he wielded his pen to sign the Keystone order, adding that the pipelines would be built with American labor and steel.

Both pipelines will be “subject to terms and conditions to be negotiated by us,” Trump said.

The Dakota Access pipeline has been protested by Sioux Indians who claim the part of the pipeline under a lake that provides water for the tribe would jeopardize the water.

President Obama’s administration had blocked construction of the Keystone pipeline, saying it would add to global warming.

Trump also signed an executive order to expedite environmental reviews of other infrastructure projects, saying the current process is “incredibly cumbersome, long, horrible permitting process. … The regulatory process in this country has become a tangled up mess.”

Environmentalist groups immediately criticized the orders.

Trump said, “From now on we’re going to be making pipeline in the United States. We build the pipelines, we want to build the pipe. We’re going to put a lot of workers, a lot of skilled workers, back to work. We will build our own pipeline, we will build our own pipes, like we used to in the old days.”

Things are going to be different in Washington. Whether the bureaucracy actually speeds up remains to be seen.

 

ObamaCare repeal will not result in people dying in the streets

The Congressional Budget Office is out today with its doom and gloom projections of what would happen if ObamaCare is repealed:

The number of people who are uninsured would increase by 18 million in the first new plan year following enactment of the bill. Later, after the elimination of the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid eligibility and of subsidies for insurance purchased through the ACA marketplaces, that number would increase to 27 million, and then to 32 million in 2026.

B Premiums in the nongroup market (for individual policies purchased through the marketplaces or directly from insurers) would increase by 20 percent to 25 percent—relative to projections under current law—in the first new plan year following enactment. The increase would reach about 50 percent in the year following the elimination of the Medicaid expansion and the marketplace subsidies, and premiums would about double by 2026.

One problem with this is that it is based on a law proposed a year ago that would repeal mandates and penalties under the law, but would leave in place so-called insurance market reforms, such as barring insurers from varying premiums based on an individual’s health care costs, requiring coverage of pre-existing conditions and requiring coverage of things like maternity care.

The CBO itself noted: “The number of people without health insurance would be smaller if, in addition to the changes in H.R. 3762, the insurance market reforms mentioned above were also repealed. In that case, the increase in the number of uninsured people would be about 21 million in the year following the elimination of the Medicaid expansion and marketplace subsidies; that figure would rise to about 23 million in 2026.”
Another problem with the projection is that CBO projections about ObamaCare have been remarkably inaccurate.
For example, the CBO 2010 projection of ObamaCare enrollment in 2016 overshot the mark by 120 percent, according to Forbes, and the CBO projected the Medicaid expansion would be much smaller and less expensive than it really is.
Cato’s Michael Tanner notes that ObamaCare’s health insurance coverage expansion was mostly due to Medicaid expansion and not through subsidies for private insurance.
Having insurance doesn’t necessarily mean having health care.
“There is ample evidence to suggest that Medicaid provides little if any benefit,” Tanner writes. “One notable experiment in Oregon found no improvements in health outcomes from Medicaid enrollment. But regardless, repeal of ObamaCare is unlikely to have any short-term impact on Medicaid.”
Tanner concludes:

The only workable answer is to take otherwise uninsurable people out of the traditional insurance market altogether and subsidize their coverage separately.

This may be done through the expansion and subsidy of state high-risk pools, much the way states handle auto insurance for high-risk drivers. Or sick individuals may be taken out of the insurance system altogether, with their health care paid for through a reformed Medicaid program.

However these changes play out, it’s important to realize that no one is going to have their health insurance suddenly snatched away. Some people may have to get their health care in different ways, and some, who can afford it, may have to pay more.

But the predictions that replacing ObamaCare will mean uninsured Americans dropping dead in the street are worth little more than fake news.

Don’t buy the vision of people dying in the streets.

Ramirez cartoon

Ramirez cartoon

Editorial: Give Nevadans a voice in land use

Gold Butte (R-J photo)

Gold Butte (R-J photo)

Nevada’s two remaining Republican representatives in Washington have joined forces to introduce legislation that would prevent future presidents from usurping Nevada land without first consulting Nevadans.

This past week Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Mark Amodei, who represents Northern Nevada, introduced the Nevada Land Sovereignty Act of 2017 (H.R. 243, S. 22). If passed, it would block executive fiats designating or expanding national monuments without congressional approval or local support, they say.

In just more than a year President Obama has unilaterally declared off-limits to productive economic uses 1 million acres of Nevada land — first the 700,000-acre Basin and Range National Monument in Lincoln and Nye counties and in recent weeks the 300,000-acre Gold Butte National Monument in rural northeast Clark County. Basin and Range alone is larger than the state of Rhode Island.

Obama used the authority granted him by the Antiquities Act of 1906. Though more recent legislation has required environmental reviews and public comments, none was undertaken.

The legislation introduced by Heller and Amodei is terse and to the point. It basically piggybacks onto current law that reads: “No extension or establishment of national monuments in Wyoming may be undertaken except by express authorization of Congress.” The current proposal would amend this by simply adding the phrase “or Nevada” after the word Wyoming.

“Whether you agree with our proposals or not, I have always supported a public and transparent process which includes input from interest groups, local communities, and elected representatives,” Congressman Amodei was quoted as saying in a press release announcing the legislation. “Unlike all of our Nevada lands bills that allow stakeholders an opportunity to voice their concerns and ultimately reach a consensus agreement that achieves bipartisan support, the Obama administration has repeatedly bypassed Congress and local input. I continue to be amazed by the fact that some people hug unilateral, non-transparent monument designations, while at the same time, protesting vehemently over the introduction and public discussion of congressional lands bills proposals. In contrast to the last eight years of this administration’s one-sided approach on major land management decisions in Nevada, our bill simply ensures local stakeholders have a seat at the table going forward.”

Sen. Heller was quoted in that press release as saying, “Late last month, without even having a say in the matter, Nevadans witnessed the executive branch quickly lock up hundreds of thousands of acres of local, public land with an effortless stroke of the pen. No matter which political party is occupying the White House, these types of unilateral federal land grabs by the executive branch should not be allowed. Public input and local support remain critical to the decision-making process of federal land designations. This legislation prevents actions like last month’s Gold Butte land grab from occurring without input from Congress and local officials. I’d like to thank Congressman Amodei for his partnership on this bill.”

One hurdle for this proposal may be that all four of Nevada’s current Democratic members of the Washington delegation expressed support for Obama’s Gold Butte land grab.

Whatever one’s opinion on the end result, wouldn’t it be preferable for Nevadans to have a say in how the land here is used, instead of having it crammed down our throats?

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.