Friday, June 30, 2017

Two Dozen Democrats Join The House Republican Xenophobia Caucus


Yesterday, Bob Goodlatte's racist, xenophobic, Trumpist Kate's Law (H.R. 3004) passed the House. It should have been called O'Reilly's Law, since it was all his idea. In fact, the House passed two Trumpist garbage bills yesterday-- Kate's Law and Goodlatte's No Sanctuary for Criminals Act (H.R. 3003).
The House passed two bills Thursday to boost President Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown.

The bills-- "Kate’s Law" and the "No Sanctuary for Criminals Act"-- would up the penalties on undocumented immigrants who attempt to reenter the country illegally after being deported for crimes and slash funds from cities that protect them.

Kate's Law passed 257-167, largely along party lines, in the GOP-controlled House. Trump, who made immigration a key focus during the campaign and in his administration, celebrated its passage.
Well, not entirely. 24 Democrats-- mostly from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- voted with the GOP. Hoyer granted them dispensation to "vote their consciences." In theory, the Democrats whipped against the bill, but Hoyer made it clear he didn't really care if they crossed the aisle or not. He explained that "the public’s perception of allowing people to come back in, commit crimes and not have a more serious sentence [could harm vulnerable Democrats]. You talk to the families who have been adversely affected by that, it is a wrenching experience. Members believe that that’s pretty serious business, [and] I agree with that."

Among the Democrats voting no were a dozen of the most conservative, Republican-oriented members of the caucus, all of whom have "F" ratings from ProgressivePunch:
Jim Cooper (Blue Dog-TN)
Charlie Crist (Blue Dog-FL)
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)
Val Demings (New Dem-FL)
Josh Gottheimer (Blue Dog-NJ)
Ron Kind (New Dem-WI)
Anne Kuster (New Dem-NH)
Dan Lipinski (Blue Dog-IL)
Stephanie Murphy (Blue Dog-FL)
Tom O'Halleran (Blue Dog-AZ)
Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN)
Kyrsten Sinema (Blue Dog-AZ)
Republicans tried passing the bill in 2016 and it was killed in the Senate, something that will probably happen again this year.
Many Democrats panned the legislation, calling it anti-immigrant and saying it would stoke fear.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), called the measure "callous and irrational."

Others said it could target legal immigrants.
Just two of the Democrats who crossed the aisle to vote with the GOP on this have serious primary challenges this cycle, Kyrsten Sinema and Chicagoland Blue Dog Dan Lipinski. Marie Newman, the progressive opposing Lipinski, was disappointed, but not really surprised by Lipinski's vote. "This is another clear indication Congressman Lipinski is in lockstep with President Trump on immigration and his xenophobic views," she told us after the vote. "I am beyond disappointed with Mr. Lipinski’s anti-immigrant views. Mr. Lipinski views are wrong and are not consistent with progressive Democratic values. This legislation is very simply a way to demonize immigrants. Mr. Lipinski is deeply wrong and I will fight this type of stereotyping and discrimination tirelessly if I am elected. This is not just unacceptable, it is anti-American." If you agree with her, please consider contributing to her campaign here.

Katie Hill is running for Congress in Southern California against a Republican incumbent who has never-- in his entire legislative career (in the state Assembly, state Senate and now the House-- seen an anti-immigrant bill that he didn't embrace. In a district with a strong and vibrant Hispanic community, Steve Knight has dedicated his career in politics to making their lives as difficult as possible. Katie pointed out that "elected officials chose to vote for this bill not because they believe it is good policy, but because they care more about getting re-elected than the lives that will be impacted. It is further proof of how broken our system is when 'vote your conscience' actually means 'vote to get re-elected.' The discussion we need to have around immigration is hard, and we're dealing with so much fear mongering that it's easy to see how someone from a more moderate or swing district might be scared into voting for this. But we need to bring that discussion back to values, and the bottom line is that most people understand what it means to help their neighbors. It's up to us as progressives to protect and champion our values as a country and a community, no matter what kind of district you live in. Truly embracing those values and enacting them every day is the only way we overcome hatred or fear or divisiveness and start moving forward again."

Goal Thermometer It won't surprise you to know that the xenophobes and extremists at the so-called "Freedom Caucus" are big proponents of these kinds of policies and that their leader, Mark Meadows, doesn't just vote for this kind of counterproductive legislation, but does all he can to make bills like this as harsh and punitive as possible. His opponent in 2018 is progressive activist/farmer/Berniecrat Matt Coffay. Matt, would have voted NO. He told us this morning that "These bills are a disaster, and do nothing to address actual immigration issues in this country. Here in the U.S., we have millions of undocumented workers-- many of whom pay taxes-- who work hard, and deserve a path to citizenship. In my district here in Western North Carolina, farmers are already feeling the effects of Trump's immigration policies: many undocumented workers are afraid to show up for seasonal harvests for fear of an ICE raid, and family farmers are hurting as a result. The bottom line is that we need comprehensive immigration reform that will provide hardworking immigrants with a path to citizenship."

Ro Khanna (D-CA) told us that "Kate's law furthers the stereotype that anyone undocumented is criminal. The law is a pillar of Trump's anti-immigrant agenda. It criminalizes immigrants entering the United States legally if they have a past technical violation, and it goes after even those who come to escape persecution. There is a reason the Hispanic Caucus in Congress strongly opposed this bill."

Although Anne Kuster voted for it in a much bluer district, Carol Shea Porter, in a district Trump won, took a more courageous and principled stand in opposition:
“Today, I voted against H.R.3004, or ‘Kate’s Law,’ which is opposed by dozens of religious groups, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Charities USA, the Church World Service, the United Methodist Church, the Episcopal Refugee and Immigrant Center Alliance, the New Hampshire Conference United Church of Christ Immigration Working Group, the American Friends Service Committee, T’ruah: the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, and the Unitarian Universalist Association.

“Let me be clear: the killing of Kate Steinle was a horrible and inexcusable crime, and my heart goes out to her family and loved ones. This should never have happened. We must investigate the breakdown in policy that led to Kate’s tragic death. This bill would, however, have serious negative consequences by increasing the likelihood that innocent asylum seekers, trafficking victims, and other non-criminal immigrants will be imprisoned. These victims would be in trouble if they presented themselves at ports of entry to seek help.

“I also voted against H.R.3003, which the US Conference of Mayors strongly opposed and the Fraternal Order of Police said would unjustly ‘penalize law enforcement and the citizens they serve because Congress disagrees with their enforcement priorities with respect to our immigration laws.’ We must stand up for proper funding for law enforcement. It is unjust to jeopardize our local police agencies, which are already underfunded and understaffed. The policies this bill seeks to end are designed to improve trust in law enforcement and help our police officers do their jobs effectively. We should not take away local communities’ and law enforcement agencies’ ability to decide how to do their jobs.”
Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) led the opposition and he reminded his colleagues that "ever since Donald Trump descended the golden escalator at Trump Tower to announce his candidacy by saying Mexican immigrants are rapists and murderers and drug dealers, the Republican Party has had Mexican fever. And they have been working feverishly to paint immigrants as criminals. And when something goes bad, they go back to their old favorite. When Trump’s Muslim Ban was blocked in the Courts, out came the Attorney General to say they were doing more roundups and that no immigrant was safe. Is the Russia investigation not going so good for the Dear Leader? Hey, let’s whip out that Mexican thing, as Vice President Pence said. Maybe it will keep our voters happy and distracted. And now that the Republican health care bill is on the ropes and suffering from a 17 percent approval rating, here we are back on bashing immigrants. It is about feeding a steady diet of scapegoating to voters – even the President’s base voters-- who are starting to realize that things are not going so well. Almost 8 out of 10 Latinos are citizens of the United States and 1 out of 10 are legal permanent residents. That leaves about 1 in 10 who are undocumented, but this policy is about going after all of them. These bills are nothing new and they are not really about immigration or fighting crime. They are about racial profiling and putting Latinos, quote/unquote-- 'in our place.' Latinos, African-Americans, people of color, Muslims, and many others know what being in the cross hairs looks like. 99 percent of the votes for this bill today will come from people who do not have to worry about racial profiling for themselves or their children. And they represent Districts where most of their constituents don’t have to worry about racial profiling. But let’s be clear, Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona is the poster-child for the kinds of policies the Republicans want to impose on every city and county in the country and we know the result:"
Arpaio embodies racial profiling and rounding up people because they are brown and-- oh, we’ll sort out their papers later-- whether they are citizens or legal permanent residents or whatever. I have talked to US citizens who were detained by Arpaio because they didn’t carry with them their birth certificate or passport at all times-- in their own country.

And Arpaio has been sued successfully to stop his racial profiling and he has been charged criminally for his racial profiling tactics and still, the Republicans in the House want that to be the law everywhere.

Sometimes Democrats have to stand up for justice and against racial profiling when it is the right thing to do and the chips are down. Well, the chips are down and every Latino family and every immigrant is going to remember who stood up for them when they needed Democrats to fight to keep their families together.

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At 4:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I reluctantly claim one of the putrid 24 as my Congressvermin: Annie Kuster. If I were 10 years younger I'd start collecting signatures to run against her in the primary next year. I can't be surprised by her vote. The NHDP is so grateful to have officeholders that they'll fawn over anybody willing to call themselves a D, regardless how odious. Our congressional delegation is 4 Dems, all women. Only Carol Shea-Porter in the other district is worthy of the party label.

I think I'm going to have a good puke!

At 9:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone should remind Amash that the bill of rights is "just a goddamn piece of paper" and that nobody has enforced any of it that isn't the 2nd since Reagan. And voters collectively regard their navels at the government's usurpation of those rights.

2016 saw voters finally and clearly demand that their government be as racist, misogynist, indifferent, hateful, greedy and stupid as they are. And they have not been disappointed, except in the velocity of change in these directions.

Krystallnacht cannot be that far off. The hate is more palpable than just before the race riots in the '60s. George Wallace was a piker compared to the drumpfsterfire.

At 9:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

democraps just cannot help themselves. More feckless, hapless and cowardly every day.

At what point would a thinking person just realize they ain't worth the bother?

Puhleeeeze... someone tell me what that threshold is.

At 3:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The following link is the roll call for the "Kate's Law" vote:

The article lists 12 of 24 "Dems" who vote for the most recent congressional atrocity.
But these were only our "favorites" list with well-established " ... 'F' ratings from ProgressivePunch... "

At the link above one can add the 12 Dems who are working to achieve "F" class rating of their own:


My rep, DeFazio, appears, unfortunately unsurprisingly among the Fascist appeasers.
He is a purported member of the "progressive" caucus. While my particular area of his district does sport the political/racial mentality of 1910 Mississippi the vast majority of his constituents are in the allegedly "liberal" enclave of Eugene.

The district is heavily agricultural so has had lots of immigrants to do the dirty work that Americans can't be bothered to do to feed themselves. But, of course, we are too preoccupied hating "others" to appreciate that and even a "progressive" congress person lacks the spine to stand up to the rank racism.

John Puma

At 6:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great point, JP. DWT engages in far too much cherry-picking to illustrate some of its prejudices.

Fact is that the democrap party is rotten to the core and any complete and thorough autopsy on each and every failure/betrayal would clearly show this.

As such, the artificial bolstering of the bona-fides of the democrap party via this kind of subterfuge makes DWT part of the problem rather than part of any solution.

A lot of folks here will see through the fog. But the vast majority of voters are far too lazy and stupid. They need those they've "assigned" to do their thinking for them to be thorough and objective.


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