fresh voices from the front lines of change







With DHS Purge, Harsher Immigration Plan Emerges

Trump's hardline new border plan. Axios: "President Trump has directed top officials to execute the most aggressive changes in immigration policy since his inauguration, sources tell Axios. Some officials consider the moves legally and politically dubious. The new policies, which the administration wants to impose using executive authority following the ouster of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, would be even more restrictive than those of his first two years. Asked whether to expect an acceleration in deportations, a senior administration official, familiar with internal deliberations, said: 'Yes, that’s the critical part of restoring integrity to the system.'"

Federal Judge Rebukes Trump On Asylum

Federal judge blocks Trump administration policy of sending asylum-seekers to Mexico. NPR: "A federal judge in California blocked the Trump administration from requiring asylum-seekers to return to Mexico as they await court hearings in the U.S. But the judge delayed implementing his ruling to give the government time to appeal. U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco wrote in a 27-page ruling that current U.S. law does not authorize the Department of Homeland Security to enact the Migrant Protection Protocols, first announced in a December 2018 memo by outgoing Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen. Seeborg also wrote that the MPP lacked sufficient safeguards for ensuring that people who want to apply for asylum are not returned 'to places where they face undue risk to their lives or freedom.' The ruling came in response to a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and other advocacy groups on behalf of 11 asylum-seekers from Central America. It argued that requiring the migrants to wait in Mexico violated humanitarian protections offered under U.S. and international law."

Stephen Miller Bares Teeth

Trump’s DHS purge puts spotlight back on Stephen Miller. WaPo: "President Trump continued his purge of the Department of Homeland Security's senior leadership yesterday — a shake-up stemming from rising frustrations with his administration's inability to curb the influx of migrants on the southern border. The sweep has once again put the spotlight on Stephen Miller, Trump's policy adviser and immigration agitator, who has pushed for the president 'to clean house at DHS, encouraging Trump to take wider aim at the entire department, not just the agencies responsible for immigration policy and border enforcement.' Stephen Miller told immigration hard-liners and conservative media in a conference call to 'take the president at his word when he's threatening to shut down the border,' as one source on the call told Power Up. 'You can tell that they're running out of options' to deal with the border challenges, the source added. Critics say Trump's chaotic spaghetti-on-the-wall approach to the border is contributing to the surge in families attempting to enter the U.S. 'I think it’s a result of the boy genius behind the policies,' Gil Kerlikowske, the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection under former president Barack Obama, told Power Up. 'If you want to look at who should be fired, it should be him — Stephen Miller.'"

Trump Says Nation Is 'Full.' In Fact, It's Emptying

Trump says the U.S. is 'full.' Much of the nation has the opposite problem.. NYT: "President Trump has adopted a blunt new message in recent days for migrants seeking refuge in the United States: 'Our country is full.' To the degree the president is addressing something broader than the recent strains on the asylum-seeking process, the line suggests the nation can’t accommodate higher immigration levels because it is already bursting at the seams. But it runs counter to the consensus among demographers and economists. They see ample evidence of a country that is not remotely 'full' — but one where an aging population and declining birthrates among the native-born population are creating underpopulated cities and towns, vacant housing and troubled public finances. Local officials in many of those places view a shrinking population and work force as an existential problem with few obvious solutions. 'I believe our biggest threat is our declining labor force,' said Gov. Phil Scott of Vermont, a Republican, in his annual budget address this year. “It’s the root of every problem we face. 'This makes it incredibly difficult for businesses to recruit new employees and expand, harder for communities to grow and leaves fewer of us to cover the cost of state government.'"

GOP Warns Drug Companies Not To Cooperate With Congress

GOP warns drug companies not to cooperate with a Congressional investigation. BuzzFeed: "In an unusual move, House Republicans are warning drug companies against complying with a House investigation into drug prices. Republicans on the House Oversight Committee sent letters to a dozen CEOs of major drug companies warning that information they provide to the committee could be leaked to the public by Democratic chair Elijah Cummings in an effort to tank their stock prices. Cummings requested information from 12 drug companies such as Pfizer Inc., Johnson & Johnson, and Novartis AG in January as part of a broad investigation into how the industry sets prescription drug prices. In their letters, Reps. Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows — leaders of the hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus — imply that Cummings may be attempting to collect the information in order to bring down the industry’s stock prices."

Are Dems Online The Real Electorate?

The Democratic electorate on Twitter is not the Democratic electorate in real life. NYT: "The outspoken group of Democratic-leaning voters on social media is outnumbered, roughly 2 to 1, by the more moderate, more diverse and less educated group of Democrats who typically don’t post political content online, according to data from the Hidden Tribes Project. This latter group has the numbers to decide the Democratic presidential nomination in favor of a relatively moderate establishment favorite, as it has often done in the past. The relative moderation of Democrats who are not sharing their political thoughts on social media, and therefore of Democrats as a whole, makes it less surprising that Virginia Democrats tolerated Mr. Northam’s yearbook page. It makes it easier to imagine how Joe Biden might not merely survive questions about whether he touched women in ways that made them feel uncomfortable, but might even emerge essentially unscathed. It also helps explain why recent polls show that a majority of Democrats would rather see the party become more moderate than move leftward, even as progressives clamor for a Green New Deal or Medicare for all."

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