Arrests on civil immigration charges are up 38% in 100 days since Trump’s executive order

By Nigel Duara

Federal immigration agents have arrested more than 40,000 people since President Trump signed executive orders expanding the scope of deportation priorities in January, a 38% increase over the same period last year.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting Director Thomas Homan said Wednesday that Trump has “opened the aperture” of charges that immigration agents are permitted to prosecute, a departure fromObama administration priorities which targeted immigrants in the country illegally who have serious criminal convictions.

“There is no category of aliens off the table,” Homan said.

In late January, Trump stripped away most restrictions on who should be deported. A Los Angeles Times analysis revealed that more than 8 million people who crossed the border illegally could now be considered priorities for deportation.

Trump’s orders instruct federal agents to deport not only those convicted of crimes, but also those who aren’t charged but are believed to have committed “acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense.”

The new numbers, released in a press call with reporters, suggest that Trump’s pledge to step up deportations is bearing fruit, at least in some parts of the country.

Although the president’s plan to build an expanded new wall on the Mexican border has been stymied – Congress refused to include funding for it in a recent budget deal – his new border security priorities appear to be having a significant impact on immigration enforcement.

According to calculations by Los Angeles Times, as many as 8 million people living in the country illegally could be considered priorities for deportation under Trump’s new policy. Under the Obama administration, about 1.4 million people were considered priorities for removal.

The stepped-up immigration arrests have not been reflected in Southern California, where the detention rate has remained relatively flat, and agents say they have done little to change their enforcement strategy.

Homan said that, in his estimation, federal agents are happier with Trump’s directives than they were under Obama’s more cautious approach.

“When officers are allowed to do their jobs, morale increases,” said Homan, who also served under Obama. “I think morale is up.”

Homan said the paucity of people trying to enter the country illegally, a number which has reached a record low, means agents have more time to spend on removals from the nation’s interior.

According to the new ICE data, nearly 75 percent of those arrested in the 100 days since Trump signed his new executive orders on immigration are convicted criminals, with offenses ranging from homicide and assault to sexual abuse and drug-related charges.

But there has also been a significant increase in the number of non-criminals arrested. A total of 10,800 people were arrested whose only offense was entering the country illegally, more than twice the 4,200 such immigrants taken into custody in the first four months of 2016.

“While these data clearly reflect the fact that convicted criminals are an immigration enforcement priority, Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly has made it clear that ICE will no longer exempt any class of individuals from removal proceedings if they are found to be in the country illegally,” the agency said in its report.

Migrant advocates were quick to condemn the administration’s priorities.

Addressing claims by John F. Kelly, Trump’s secretary of Homeland Security, that the administration is only focusing on criminals, and Wednesday’s numbers, Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice Education Fund, said the majority of people targeted cannot be considered “serious criminals.”

“These guys spin, distort, exaggerate, and dissemble almost as much as the president they work for,” Sharry said. “The false claims are aimed at providing cover for an agenda that calls for the deportation of millions. Instead of targeting serious criminals, they are targeting every immigrant they can get their hands on and calling all of them criminals.”

While deportations of migrants caught near the border are generally a quick matter, Homan said, the removal processes for so-called “interior deportations” take longer. He expects the overall pace of removal proceedings to slow down as fewer border crossers are removed and interior deportations make up a larger share of all removals.

Without providing specific numbers, Homan said assaults on federal agents conducting arrests are up 150% over the same period last year. Homan attributes the increase to “noncompliance” — meaning actively resisting arrest.

Federal agents must also contend with jails that refuse to allow ICE agents inside. Such jails contend that immigration enforcement is outside the scope of their duties, and some also say the presence of immigration enforcement agents adversely affects relations with local migrant communities.

Homan said jails that do not allow ICE agents inside to make arrests force the agents to capture migrants on the street, a far more dangerous and expensive proposition.

“If the jail lets them go, we have to send a team of officers,” Homan said. “One officer can make a safe arrest inside a facility. If the jail doesn’t cooperate, we have to go get them.”

Edited For mb3-org.com

Deputy Assistant to the President Sebastian Gorka is a Fascist

Sebastian Gorka is a Neo-Nazi — semantics aside his ideology makes him a Nazi — his collaborating ideological brethren trace directly back to Hitler. As the Hungarian Free Press writes on March 6, 2017: On October 19, 2003 Tamás Molnár (later far-right Jobbik Party’s Vice Chairman) organized an event in the Hungarian city of Visegrád to discuss the future […]

via Deputy Assistant to the President Sebastian Gorka is a Fascist — Anti-Fascist News

Space Group Trolls President Trump from 90,000 Feet Above Earth

President Donald Trump’s latest critics have taken to the stratosphere to get his attention. The Autonomous Space Agency Network launched a weather balloon about 90,000 feet above the Earth with a pointed message for the president on a large printed card: “LOOK AT THAT, YOU SON OF A B-TCH.” The “DIY space exploration” group used…

via Space Group Trolls President Trump from 90,000 Feet Above Earth — TIME

‘No Walls, No War, No Warming’: Progressives Call for Priorities Shift

Under President Donald Trump’s budget, “war wins out”—over pretty much everything

by Deirdre Fulton

Social movement leaders from groups across the progressive spectrum launched a campaign on Tuesday denouncing President Donald Trump’s proposed $54 billion increase in the U.S. military budget, which is coming at the expense of the environment, education, human and civil rights protections, and public health.

The #No54BillionforWar effort is launching on the 50-year anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence,” which warned that “a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

But Trump’s proposal, which pays for increased military spending by slashing everything from the Environmental Protection Agency to diplomacy, “does exactly that,” said Phyllis Bennis, who directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. Under Trump’s budget, she told Common Dreams, “war wins out”—over pretty much everything.

“[T]he Trump administration plans to take much of their $54 billion gift for the Pentagon from the budgets of the Environmental Protection Agency (even threatening to shut down its already under-funded environmental justice office), the Department of Health and Human Services (slashing family planning and anti-violence-against-women programs), from the State Department (thus privileging war over diplomacy), and foreign aid (so that the wealthiest country in human history turns its back on the world’s most desperate),” reads the coalition statement published Tuesday.

“Using just a fraction of the proposed military budget, the U.S. could provide free, top-quality, culturally competent, and equitable education from pre-school through college and ensure affordable comprehensive healthcare for all,” it points out. “We could provide wrap-around services for survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence; replace mass incarceration with mass employment, assure clean energy and water for all residents and link our cities by new fast trains. We could double non-military U.S. foreign aid, wipe out hunger worldwide. The list of possibilities is long.”

Signatories to the statement include:

  • Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow;
  • May Boeve, executive director, 350.org;
  • Medea Benjamin, co-founder, CodePink;
  • Naomi Klein, author, This Changes Everything;
  • Judith LeBlanc, director, Native Organizers Alliance;
  • Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate;
  • Michael T. McPhearson, executive director, Veterans For Peace;
  • Stephen Miles, director, Win Without War;
  • Nabil Mohamad, vice-president, Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee;
  • Terry O’Neill, president, National Organization for Women;
  • Josh Ruebner, policy director, U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights;
  • Opal Tometi, co-founder, Black Lives Matter;
  • Vince Warren, executive director, Center for Constitutional Rights;
  • Cindy Wiesner, national coordinator, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance

Reflecting on make-up of the broad coalition, CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin told Common Dreams: “We have been trying for years—many years—to get a broad-based consensus among social justice and environmental groups that the bloated military budget was affecting all of their work.”

Now, under Trump, she said, “it seems like people are getting it.”

What’s more, she added, “I think this will help us get a seat at the table, [to] get recognition…in terms of the anti-war movement being recognized as a key component of the resistance movement.”

Already, she said, the coalition sees opportunities to simultaneously advance local resolutions opposing the flow of tax dollars toward the military alongside initiatives like the ACLU’s “Freedom Cities” project. The campaign will also have a presence at the 2017 U.S. Conference of Mayors in Miami Beach, where Benjamin hopes mayors will recognize the importance of funneling money toward healthcare, infrastructure, and education rather than the Pentagon.

As the statement declares: “We can do this. Reverse the flow. No walls, No war, No warming!”

Follow the campaign under the hashtag #No54BillionforWar:

Net Neutrality Is Trump’s Next Target, Administration Says

By

The Trump administration served notice on Thursday that its next move to deregulate broadband internet service companies would be to jettison the Obama administration’s net neutrality rules, which were intended to safeguard free expression online.

The net neutrality rules, approved by the Federal Communications Commission in 2015, aimed to preserve the open internet and ensure that it could not be divided into pay-to-play fast lanes for web and media companies that can afford it and slow lanes for everyone else.

Supporters of net neutrality have insisted the rules are necessary to protect equal access to content on the internet. Opponents said the rules unfairly subjected broadband internet suppliers like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and Charter to utility-style regulation.

In a news conference, Sean Spicer, the White House spokesman, mentioned the net neutrality rules affecting telecommunications and cable internet services, noting that the Obama administration had “reclassified them as common carriers.”

Mr. Spicer said President Trump had “pledged to reverse this overreach.” The Obama-era rules, Mr. Spicer said, were an example of “bureaucrats in Washington” placing restrictions on one kind of company — internet service suppliers — and “picking winners and losers.”

Telecommunications and cable television companies fought being classified as common-carrier utility services, which are subject to anti-blocking and anti-discrimination rules. They said the classification opened the door to government interference that would ultimately reduce incentives to invest and would therefore result in higher prices and hurt consumers.

Mr. Spicer made his comments after Congress voted this week to complete its overturning of Obama-era internet privacy protections and to allow broadband companies to track and sell their customers’ online information with greater ease. The vote was seen as a prelude to further deregulation for broadband companies.

Mr. Spicer remarked on the rollback of privacy rules before he spoke more broadly about regulations on broadband internet services. President Trump, he said, will “continue to fight Washington red tape that stifles American innovation, job creation and economic growth.”

Mr. Trump earlier this year appointed Ajit Pai, a former lawyer for Verizon and a minority Republican member of the Federal Communications Commission, as chairman of the agency. Mr. Pai voted against the net neutrality rules as a commission member in 2015.

Since becoming chairman, Mr. Pai has indicated that he plans to either roll back or decline to enforce many consumer protection regulations created during the Obama administration, including those regarding net neutrality.

Getting rid of the net neutrality rules, policy experts said, will be more difficult than peeling away the privacy regulations. Congress, in a vote mainly along party lines, and by a narrow margin, overturned the privacy rules enacted last fall, using a streamlined process under the Congressional Review Act.

But that faster procedure will not apply to the net neutrality rules, which were approved by the F.C.C. two years ago, beyond the timetable for such reviews.

Another path to repeal would be for Mr. Pai, who now leads a Republican-majority commission, to revisit the issue at the F.C.C.

Politically, net neutrality might be a bigger challenge as well. When it was weighing the rules in 2014 and 2015, the F.C.C. received more than one million public comments. The vast majority of them endorsed strict nondiscrimination rules that supporters viewed as necessary to preserve the democratic ethos of an open internet.

That wave of response influenced the Democratic-majority commission. “Net neutrality could be a volatile and explosive issue,” said Gene Kimmelman, president of Public Knowledge, a nonprofit consumer group. “I’m not sure the Trump administration appreciates that it addresses nondiscrimination for all kinds of speech, as much for Breitbart and Newsmax as it is for MSNBC and CNN,” referring to news sources that are staunch backers of the Trump administration and ones often seen by Republicans as harsh critics.

Opponents of the net neutrality rules say the rules were mainly the result of a very effective lobbying campaign by powerful internet companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Netflix. They have deep pockets and could pay more for fast lanes for their services, they say, but used the net neutrality campaign to avoid that expense.

“Regulations result in the allocation of wealth by the government,” said Jeffrey Eisenach, an economist and visiting scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, who was also an adviser to the Trump transition team. “They are often an opportunity for one group of firms to grab an advantage over another group.”

(Re) Making the case for hate crime laws in Trump’s America

March 15, 2017 Earlier this week a neighborhood in Southeast Portland was covered in spray-painted swastikas. Swastikas on cars, fences, trees, and sidewalks. It’s been part of a rash of similar graffiti in the metro area this winter, including “Kill niggers” and other racist scrawlings at Lake Oswego High School and a swastika with a […]

via (Re) Making the case for hate crime laws in Trump’s America — Watching the Wheels