Thursday, September 21, 2017

Trumpanzee And His GOP Enablers Would Rather Deport Latinos Than Get Serious About MS-13


Nancy Ohanian looks at Trumpanzee

Eliminating MS-13 and other violent criminal gangs should be a priority for law enforcement that all Americans should support. But that isn't what Barbara Comstock's Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act (H.R. 3697) is actually about. Her bill passed last week 233-175. Only one Republican, libertarian Justin Amash (MI), voted against it. 11 fake-Democrats took the bait and crossed the aisle to vote with the Republicans. Now Ryan is running around claiming the bill passed with "bipartisan support."

The 11 Democrats who voted for it are the worst of the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, primarily Blue Dogs and New Dems who consistently support the Republican Party policy agenda. Only one-- Ruben Kihuen-- hasn't earned an "F" from ProgressivePunch (and he has a "C"). These are the Democrats who gave Ryan and McCarthy the right to call the bill "bipartisan."
Salud Carbajal (CA)
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)
Josh Gottheimer (Blue Dog-NJ)
Ruben Kihuen (New Dem-NV)
Dan Lipinski (Blue Dog-IL)
Stephanie Murphy (Blue Dog-FL)
Tom O'Halleran (Blue Dog-AZ)
Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN)
Jacky Rosen (NV)
Raul Ruiz (CA)
Kirsten Sinema (Blue Dog-AZ)
The bill is not a crime-fighting bill or even an anti-gang bill. It's just a bill meant to label immigrants the GOP doesn't like as criminals. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), a senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee said the bill could be easily used to target groups of people who aren't gangs-- religious organistions particularly. "This may seem reasonable until you look at the offenses listed," she said. "These offenses could sweep in many people that no reasonable person would think of as a gang member. That means that under this bill, a religious organization that aids undocumented immigrants could be a criminal gang." It was no surprise that Chicago patriot Luis Gutiérrez would be one of the leaders among Democrats in exposing the legislation for what it really is-- and isn't:
While the President is playing deal or no deal with the lives of DREAMers, Speaker Ryan is allowing House Republicans to vote on a bill that labels as many immigrant youth as possible as gang members and makes it easier to deport them. He could be moving the bipartisan DREAM Act forward, but instead, he wants to make it very clear that Republicans see Latinos and immigrants as a threat to the U.S., not an asset. Hundreds of thousands of doctors, teachers, nurses and soldiers are going to be yanked from the American economy if Speaker Ryan does not allow the DREAM Act to go forward in the next few weeks, but his priority is feeding red meat to the anti-immigration wing of his party and satisfying them with a big helping of ‘let’s label Latino youth as machete-wielding menaces.’” This is not a bill to curtail violence or make the country safer, it is a political bill to allow Republicans in the House to make speeches about urging Americans to fear young immigrants.

It is clear that Democrats and Republicans would prefer to be talking about the DREAM Act and showing the country that we can act in a bipartisan manner to resolve the status of DACA recipients and other immigrants who were raised in the U.S. I am committed to not exchanging the safety of DREAMers for more deportations or further restricting legal immigration so that there are no available legal avenues for immigrants who help feed us, build our communities and serve our country. But the priorities of House Republicans seem inconsistent with what the American people, the majority of House Members and their own voters want them to do.
Juan Vargas, a California New Dem, tried talking his New Dem colleagues out of voting for the bill-- and mostly succeeded. His point was that the "bill would result in the targeting of persons of faith, religious leaders, and faith-based organizations, who are compelled by their beliefs to open their doors to vulnerable migrants seeking safety and respite. For many in the faith community, this action is deeply rooted in religious expression and goes directly to the core of our American values as protected by First Amendment expression. The broad provisions of this bill, which purportedly targets gang members, would lead to attempts to criminalize religious groups across the country as gang members simply because they answered the call of their faith. As people of faith, we are called to love our neighbor and welcome the stranger. This bill would functionally criminalize individuals who aid undocumented immigrants as gang members under an expanded harboring statute.  The Catholic community has raised alarms over this statute in the past and is concerned that this bill could result in groups of nuns being classified as 'gangs.' There is no humanitarian exception provided in the bill and the federal government has a record of penalizing individuals who provide humanitarian relief to migrants."

He continued in a very personal way: "As a person of faith, my Catholic upbringing and time in the Jesuit order has impressed upon me the duty to speak for those less fortunate among us…for the oppressed, for the poor and for the voiceless. As leaders of this great nation, we must act in a way that reflects the best of our national values and that reflects the best of who we are as Americans. We should not contribute to a climate of fear by criminalizing humanitarian aid to undocumented immigrants. Matthew 25 gibes me, and others that believe as I do, clear direction on how we are to treat the least among us."

Trump, of course, loves the bill and it is going to the Senate now. Stephen Lendman of Global Research labeled it "a police state measure" which define "a criminal gang as a "group, club, organization, or association of 5 or more persons that has as one of its primary purposes the commission of 1 or more of the following criminal offenses and the members of which engage, or have engaged within the past 5 years, in a continuing series of such offenses, or that has been designated as a criminal gang by the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Attorney General, as meeting these criteria. The offenses described, whether in violation of Federal or State law or foreign law and regardless of whether the offenses occurred before, on, or after the date of the enactment of this paragraph, are the following:”
felony drug offenses;
aiding unwanted immigrants;
violent offenses;
obstructing justice;
and other alleged violations of US laws, shifting responsibility to prove innocence on targeted individuals, not authorities as mandated under international and constitutional law.
And the bill is even worse than it appears at first glance.
Any immigrant suspected or alleged to be a gang member can be deported. US prisons are filled with wrongfully convicted men, women, youths, and children, mostly people of color.

HR 3697 is a vehicle for the manufacture of human and civil rights abuses, disgraceful legislation, its provisions no just society would tolerate.

It creates a sweeping new definition of “gang member,” giving authorities broad latitude to target social and political groups, clubs, even churches or other religious organizations.

It expands the use of mandatory, no-bond arbitrary detentions, a flagrant violation of international law. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights prohibits arbitrarily detaining anyone.

Refugees and asylum seekers will be deterred from seeking refuge in America.

It’ll subject law-abiding immigrants to flagrant abuses of power, including Fifth Amendment equal protection rights.

It’ll permit sweeping roundups of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers of color, mainly Latinos. Living in the wrong neighborhood would risk deportation.

So could wearing the wrong colored clothing or being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sweeping Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) roundups are notoriously indiscriminate, many individuals guilty of nothing abusively detained under deplorable conditions and deported.

HR 3697 authorizes deportations if there’s “reason to believe” so-called gang affiliation or association, no credible proof required.

Expansive language permits sweeping up law-abiding people indiscriminately, children as vulnerable as adults.

DHS can target anyone based on secret evidence, classified evidence, no evidence or any pretext cited-- without due process, constitutional protections denied.

Humanitarian relief can be denied individuals fleeing persecution from designated countries.
No one was surprised when a Gutiérrez neighbor, Chicago's far right Blue Dog Dan Lipinski, stuck with Ryan and Trump and voted against the Democratic position-- and against the interests of his own IL-03 constituents. His progressive primary opponent, Marie Newman, told us that once again Lipinski showed "that he's perfectly aligned with President Trump and the Republicans on the issue of immigration. By voting for H.R. 3697, Lipinski voted to increase racial profiling and the arrest of people of color on the mere suspicion that they're involved in criminal activity. Democrats in Congress ought to be focused on protecting Dreamers and keeping families together, not satiating President Trump's absurd views on Latinos." If you agree with Marie on this, please help her repeal and replace Dan Lipinski here. Hers is one of the few races in the country where a credible progressive is challenging a fake Democrat in a race that's going to go down to the wire.

There are only two Republican-held Senate seats that Schumer's DSCC thinks it can probably win in 2018: Flake's seat in Arizona and Heller's seat in Nevada. Both of his very conservative, hand-picked recruits, Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) and Jacky Rosen (NV) were among the 11 rogue Democrats from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party who supported this dreadful and deceptive legislation. Neither of these exceptionally bad candidates has any chance of winning without heavy Latino turnout. Neither is Latino in increasingly Latino-dominated states and in states where Latinos are becoming very cognizant of who their community's friends really are when push comes to shove. But these are the kinds of establishment GOP-lite candidates Schumer has always gravitated to for his entire career. Not just Arizona and Nevada, but all of America will suffer because of his inability to learn from his mistakes.

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