Progressive Breakfast for December 10

Morning Message

Eight Holiday Gifts American Workers Need

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, we're told - the hap-happiest season of all with parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting and utility repair workers out in the snow. It’s great, all right. You know what would make it better? Real presents for those who labor 52 weeks a year, without a paid sick day, pension benefits or employer-sponsored health insurance. For those of you stumped by this proposition, I’ve made a list. and I’ve checked it twice. Here are eight things that would bring cheer to working people this holiday: from medical care and education to some good, old-fashioned bank oversight and workplace safety. Plus that $4,000 bonus we were promised but never got. So here's a way to make your holidays joyous indeed - with lots of potato latkes, plenty of figgy pudding and eight worker wishes come true.

‘Public Charge’ Change Will Increase Poverty

Proposed public charge rules could increase poverty by 5% in New York City. NY Daily News:“Up to 115,000 New Yorkers could be pushed into poverty if the federal government approves proposed changes to the public charge rule, according to the Robin Hood Foundation. A new report from the nonprofit says between 65,000 and 115,000 New Yorkers — up to 45,000 of them children — could plunge below the poverty line due to the proposal, which would require many legal immigrants to choose between accepting benefits including food stamps and becoming legal permanent residents. At issue is a proposed change to immigration rules that would count benefits like SNAP food stamps and Medicaid against someone applying for a green card in determining whether the person is likely to wind up a ‘public charge.’ City officials, advocates and organizations such as the Robin Hood Foundation, a charity that focuses on helping lower-income people, believe the rule change would harm immigrants beyond those who would be directly affected by it — because it could have a chilling effect that would cause immigrants not at risk to unnecessarily stop receiving benefits.”

Physicians Denounce Public Charge Proposal

Public charge proposal is a threat to our patients’ health. Newsweek: “As physicians, our job is to ensure our patients are healthy. We are committed to doing all we can to keep our patients as healthy and safe as possible, whether this means ordering an ultrasound to evaluate a pregnancy, inoculating against a deadly disease or screening for depression. A proposal by the US Department of Homeland Security would deny green cards and visas to lawful immigrants if they use, or are likely to use, Medicaid or other government-subsidized health care programs—called the “public charge” rule. This change is sowing fear among our immigrant patients and their families who are applying for a green card or a visa. Our patients are concerned that the medical care they seek for themselves or their children could be the very thing that puts their immigration status at risk. Our colleagues in medicine have already started to see a chilling effect since this proposal was first leaked. The new report showing that the number of uninsured children in the United States has increased for the first time in nearly a decade is especially troubling; it is a telling sign that families are scared and are forgoing needed health services for their children. This trend is dangerous and reverses years of progress when it comes to children’s health care coverage. We see families disenrolling from Medicaid. We see immigrant women forgoing prenatal care and returning needed breast pumps to hospitals for fear of punitive actions. We know that our immigrant families are afraid to use food assistance programs and instead risk hunger and housing insecurity to remain on the path to a legal presence in the United States. Under the new proposal, the definition has been broadened in sweeping and dangerous ways. For the first time, the government will look at an immigrant’s use, or likely use, of Medicaid, SNAP, housing assistance and the Medicare Part D low income subsidy. The Administration is also contemplating adding the Children’s Health Insurance Program to the list of programs that would count toward a public charge determination. The test would also consider an immigrant’s income and preexisting medical conditions. Creating these unreasonable dilemmas for patients is neither evidence based nor in the best interest of our patients and their families.”

Trump, Congress Headed To Shutdown Impasse

Shutdown looms and priorities stack up as Congress races toward session’s end. NYT: “President Trump and congressional leaders are racing against a deadline next week to avert a partial government shutdown, pushing disputes over the president’s border wall and an array of legislation that touches on everything from Saudi Arabia to farm policy into the waning hours of Republican domination of Congress. The deepest impasse — and the one with the greatest potential to prompt a year-end breakdown — is over Mr. Trump’s demand for $5 billion for a wall on the United States’ southern border. The president has pressed for its inclusion in the final spending package before his party loses its House majority in January, a condition Democratic leaders have refused to accept. Mr. Trump is set to host Senator Chuck Schumer of New York and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leaders, at the White House on Tuesday for a meeting that will test the new dynamic between a president weakened by midterm election losses and empowered Democrats working to define their party for the era of divided government. Mr. Trump has flirted openly with forcing a government shutdown in a bid to compel Democrats to embrace wall funding. But Democrats have rejected such demands, saying they are willing to consider a much lower sum for border security or pass a measure that would essentially postpone the dispute, extending current spending levels for the Department of Homeland Security for a year. ‘If President Trump wants to throw a temper tantrum and shut down the government over Christmas over the wall, that’s his decision,’ Mr. Schumer said last week. ‘But there are two sensible options on the table.'”

Trump’s War On Legal Citizenship

Trump administration seeks to strip more people of citizenship. The Conversation: “U.S. government officials are making a coordinated effort to find evidence of immigration fraud by reexamining the files of immigrants who became U.S. citizens. They are searching for cases where individuals used more than one identity or concealed prior deportation orders before filing for citizenship. Such evidence may provide grounds to strip citizenship from those who allegedly gained it unlawfully. While the program is not new – it began under the Obama administration – the Trump administration has announced an intention to significantly expand it. More than 700,000 cases in which individuals were granted citizenship are under review. The Department of Justice announced in January 2018 that it expects to file actions to revoke citizenship against approximately 1,600 people. Six months later, the United States announced plans to hire “several dozen lawyers and immigration officers” to staff a new office focused on this work. Over the past 30 years, the government has sought to revoke citizenship only on a case-by-case basis after becoming aware of individual wrongdoing. As a result, prosecutors filed around a dozen cases each year to revoke citizenship – a process called denaturalization. The Trump administration has sharply increased the number of denaturalization attempts already, filing 25 cases in 2017 and another 20 during the first half of 2018. We are law professors who have studied the court records in the most recent cases. Our review of the court filings suggests that the government’s litigation procedures carry a disturbingly high risk of mistakenly taking away citizenship from someone who committed neither crime nor fraud.”

U.N. Approves New Framework On Migration

Ignore the Lies About the UN Migration Pact. It’s the Only Responsible Solution to a Changing World. Time: “The opening words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the landmark post-WWII text signed seventy years ago this month, still resonate today: ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.’ But the contours of today’s world are changing – often literally, as climate change sees sea levels rise and coastlines erode, threatening small island states and low-lying communities. And it’s incumbent upon all of us to ensure that the people living in these areas, and those who migrate from their homes due to war, persecution and poverty are as ‘free and equal in dignity and rights’ as those of us living in prosperity. That’s why on Dec.10, heads of state and the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will meet in Marrakesh to sign a Global Compact on Migration. Although it is entirely voluntary and non-binding, it promises to be a crucial milestone in the development of a humane, efficient and durable system for managing migration, that recognises that the mass movement of people is going to continue and that walls, fences and repression will never provide an acceptable solution. As heads of state travel to Marrakesh in the coming days, I hope they will reflect on the powerful words spoken earlier this year by Amina Mohammed, the UN Deputy Secretary-General: ‘Human beings have moved from place to place since the beginning of time, by choice and under duress, and will continue to do so. Refugees and migrants are not ‘others’. They are ‘us’. They are as diverse as the human family itself.’ These are the values we all must uphold if we are to have any hope of effectively managing migration and protecting human rights. Inaction, cowardice or sabotage will leave the whole world poorer.”