Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly moved Tuesday to implement a host of immigration enforcement changes ordered by President Trump, directing agency heads to hire thousands more officers, end so-called “catch-and-release” policies and begin work on the president’s promised U.S.-Mexico border wall.
“It is in the national interest of the United States to prevent criminals and criminal organizations from destabilizing border security,” Kelly wrote in one of two memos released Tuesday by the department.
The memos follow up on Trump’s related executive actions from January and, at their heart, aim to toughen enforcement by expanding the categories of illegal immigrants targeted for deportation.
One group of people who will be spared are the “dreamers.” When Donald Trump signed his Executive Orders on immigration he claimed the orders focused on enforcing existing laws and that is what this appears to do for the most part.
I was not going to write anything about this because Barack Obama is gone and this will go nowhere anyway however there was nothing else I found interesting enough to write about so here goes.
Judicial Watch–which continues to do the job the Congress failed to do–has uncovered through a Freedom of Information Act request that Jeh Johnson, while head of the Department of Homeland Security, also used an unsecured email account to transmit sensitive information. And he was not alone, there were three others in the department that followed suit.
Here is more:
Here is the open thread for Sunday, February 19th. Please feel free to post links to interesting articles and to discuss whatever issues arise during the course of the day. Nothing is off-topic here.
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Here is Pillar performing “Fireproof” from 2011:
Just one day after Donald Trump excoriated the false reporting of the mainstream media the Associated Press was at it once again. This time the so-called news agency reported that Donald Trump planned to mobilize 100,000 National Guardsmen through the Department of Homeland Security to round up and deport illegal immigrants.
This story was quickly denied by the White House:
Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, denied the AP’s report on Twitter shortly after it published.
“Not true. 100% false,”
The Department of Homeland Security also denied the story:
“The Department is not considering mobilizing the National Guard,” said Gillian Christensen, the acting press secretary for DHS.
It turns out a low level staff employee drafted this plan but it was never seriously considered by anyone important in the Trump administration:
A DHS official told The Daily Beast that the memo the AP cited was an early, pre-decisional draft, that Kelly never approved it, and that the department as a whole never seriously considered it.
Democrats are still posturing as if this is a true story:
Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto, a freshman Democrat from Nevada, issued a statement ripping the memo.
“Regardless of the White House’s response, this document is an absolutely accurate description of the disturbing mindset that pervades the Trump Administration when it comes to our nation’s immigrants,”
In other words the story was false but accurate, just ask Dan Rather how well that defense works out. But she was not alone:
And Sen. Kamala Harris, a California Democrat, also released a statement decrying the memo.
“The mere suggestion that the President would consider ordering 100,000 members of the National Guard to go door to door checking people’s document status is deeply disturbing,”
Of course this genius is purposely ignoring the fact that Donald Trump was not considering this course of action because the memo never even made it close to his desk.
This is exactly why so many people do not take the mainstream media, or the Democratic Party, seriously any more. But the damage will still be done because this fake news story is still being promoted as real and many people will likely buy into it.
malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium
Back on January 21 Donald Trump signed an Executive Order which instructed government agencies to “ease the burdens” of Obamacare by cutting burdensome regulations.
According to this story the IRS has decided, in light of the Executive Order, that it will no longer require people to disclose under penalty of perjury the status of their health insurance coverage and Americans will no longer have to pay the so-called “shared responsibility” fee. Here is more:
Following President Donald Trump’s executive order instructing agencies to provide relief from the health law, the Internal Revenue Service appears to be taking a more lax approach to the coverage requirement.
The health law’s individual mandate requires everyone to either maintain qualifying health coverage or pay a tax penalty, known as a “shared responsibility payment.” The IRS was set to require filers to indicate whether they had maintained coverage in 2016 or paid the penalty by filling out line 61 on their form 1040s. Alternatively, they could claim exemption from the mandate by filing a form 8965.
For most filers, filling out line 61 would be mandatory. The IRS would not accept 1040s unless the coverage box was checked, or the shared responsibility payment noted, or the exemption form included. Otherwise they would be labeled “silent returns” and rejected.
Instead, however, filling out that line will be optional.
“The recent executive order directed federal agencies to exercise authority and discretion available to them to reduce potential burden,” the IRS said in a statement to Reason. “Consistent with that, the IRS has decided to make changes that would continue to allow electronic and paper returns to be accepted for processing in instances where a taxpayer doesn’t indicate their coverage status.”
The IRS still reserves the right to follow-up on returns if people do not check line 61 however it seems unlikely:
“It’s hard to enforce something without information,” says Ryan Ellis, a Senior Fellow at the Conservative Reform Network.
The the legality of this move is already being questioned and it will be interesting to see if it is challenged because the mandate has already been deemed Constitutional and it would seem to me that only the Congress can make changes to an existing law.
malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium
Democrats are now smelling blood with the news that Michael Flynn resigned as National Security Adviser to Donald Trump after it was reported he had a conversation with the Russian ambassador before he was installed into the office he held until late last night.
Elijah Cummings glommed onto a tweet by Michael Flynn in which he claimed he was nothing but a scapegoat, here is what he had to say:
“Madame Leader, just this morning, Flynn tweeted that he is a ‘scapegoat.’ I believe we need to hold a public hearing with Flynn to get to the bottom of this,” Cummings said at a press conference. “We need to get his security clearance documents to find out if he was honest on those forms, and we need to know how much he got paid to have dinner with Vladimir Putin.”
Michael Flynn resigned abruptly last night as Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser amidst controversy over a phone call he made to the Russian ambassador before he was installed as National Security Adviser.
Michael Flynn is still professing his innocence and is claiming he did not talk about lifting sanctions on Russia, here is more:
“It wasn’t about sanctions. It was about the 35 guys who were thrown out,” Flynn said.
“So that’s what it turned out to be. It was basically, ‘Look, I know this happened. We’ll review everything.’ I never said anything such as, ‘We’re going to review sanctions,’ or anything like that.
“If I did, believe me, the FBI would be down my throat, my clearances would be pulled. There were no lines crossed.”
My initial thought about his resignation was that it was probably because he appeared to mislead Mike Pence–and he did mention this in his resignation letter–who then was embarrassed after he came to Michael Flynn’s defense. I do feel Mike Pence felt betrayed and might have been a driving for behind the resignation, however according to this story there might be another player (or players) behind the veil who worked to bring down Michael Flynn. Here is more on that possibility:
The abrupt resignation Monday evening of White House national security adviser Michael Flynn is the culmination of a secret, months-long campaign by former Obama administration confidantes to handicap President Donald Trump’s national security apparatus and preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, according to multiple sources in and out of the White House who described to the Washington Free Beacon a behind-the-scenes effort by these officials to plant a series of damaging stories about Flynn in the national media.
The effort, said to include former Obama administration adviser Ben Rhodes—the architect of a separate White House effort to create what he described as a pro-Iran echo chamber—included a small task force of Obama loyalists who deluged media outlets with stories aimed at eroding Flynn’s credibility, multiple sources revealed.
The operation primarily focused on discrediting Flynn, an opponent of the Iran nuclear deal, in order to handicap the Trump administration’s efforts to disclose secret details of the nuclear deal with Iran that had been long hidden by the Obama administration.
These are all unnamed sources so take it for what it is worth but it is understandable why they would want to remain anonymous if this story is true, and I for one would not put it past the Obama loyalists to do something like this to save the former President’s legacy and if this is true we can expect much more to come.
malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium