Last week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, made a series of arrests and removals of illegal immigrants in at least six states. David Marin, director of enforcement and removal operations for ICE in Los Angeles, said the raids were “routine”:
We made 161 arrests, and of those 161, 151 of those had prior criminal convictions. ... The majority of them were felons and those felons which had prior convictions included sex offenses, domestic violence, assault, robbery and weapons violations, just to name a few.
ICE arrested “criminal aliens and other individuals who are in violation of our nation's immigration laws.” Illegal immigrants and their advocates are outraged that a federal agency charged with enforcing U.S. immigration laws was enforcing the law.
Foreign nationals and their enablers took to the streets and Twitter and demanded #NoBanNoWallNoRaids. Perpetually aggrieved Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez said:
The goal of such policies is to inject fear into immigrant communities, frighten families and children, and drive immigrants farther underground. It damages public safety and the fabric of American communities while putting a burden on local social services and the foster-care system.
Hmmm? I thought they were “undocumented and unafraid.”
Democrats’ sanctuary policy stands in stark contrast to that of wannabe First Dude, former President Bill Clinton. In his 1995 State of the Union address, Clinton promised to put America first:
All Americans, not only in the states most heavily affected, but in every place in this country, are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country. The jobs they hold might otherwise be held by citizens or legal immigrants. The public services they use impose burdens on our taxpayers. That's why our administration has moved aggressively to secure our borders more by hiring a record number of new border guards, by deporting twice as many criminal aliens as ever before, by cracking down on illegal hiring, by barring welfare benefits to illegal aliens.
In the budget I will present to you we will try to do more to speed the deportation of illegal aliens who are arrested for crimes, to better identify illegal aliens in the workplace as recommended by the commission headed by former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan.
We are a nation of immigrants. But we are also a nation of laws. It is wrong and ultimately self-defeating for a nation of immigrants to permit the kind of abuse of our immigration laws we have seen in recent years, and we must do more to stop it.
Fast forward to today, Democrats say whether you got here by sneaking across the border or overstaying your visa, you’re welcome to stay.
Josh Barro, a senior editor for Business Insider, recently wrote:
You don't need to be a nationalist to understand that voters will expect policies to be made in their interest.
You can even think of this as identity politics, as applied to the whole electorate. How can something be identity politics if it applies to the whole electorate? Well, the whole American electorate has a shared identity characteristic: They are all American citizens.
Yet on immigration, Democrats have somehow ended up with policies premised heavily on their benefits to non-citizens, and therefore with an identity politics aimed at people who aren't eligible to vote.
In other words, they are doing identity politics badly, and will have to do it better — and rethink their ideas to put more of a focus on American citizens' interests — to beat Trump on immigration.
Until Democrats put Americans first, they will stay in the political wilderness banging their heads against a brick wall.
February is Black History Month. This year’s commemoration is special because we are still celebrating the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
I’ve visited the museum twice; my next visit is later this month. The museum can be overwhelming so I methodically focus on one floor at a time, beginning with the History Galleries.
It is as emotionally wrenching as you would imagine. It is also motivating and inspiring. I thanked the ancestors for surviving the brutality of slavery and maintaining their humanity, their “soul value.” I am empowered by their enduring legacy of struggle and resistance.
Last week, I checked out the Culture Galleries.
It was sheer joy to experience black culture in all its glory – music, fashion, dance, culinary and visual arts, as well as the performing arts.
I ended each visit at Contemplative Court where I sat and, well, contemplated how we got over.
On Friday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order imposing an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees from entering the United States and suspended all refugee admissions for 120 days. The executive order established a 90-day ban on citizens from “countries of particular concern” and created an “extreme vetting” process to “ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles.”
On Saturday, protests erupted at airports across the country.
On Sunday, Trump issued a statement clarifying the “extreme vetting” process:
America is a proud nation of immigrants and we will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression, but we will do so while protecting our own citizens and border. America has always been the land of the free and home of the brave.
We will keep it free and keep it safe, as the media knows, but refuses to say. My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months. The seven countries named in the Executive Order are the same countries previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror. To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting.
This is not about religion - this is about terror and keeping our country safe. There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order. We will again be issuing visas to all countries once we are sure we have reviewed and implemented the most secure policies over the next 90 days.
With the exception of Syria, Trump’s executive order does not name any countries. Instead, it incorporates by reference the majority Muslim countries identified in a memo by Barack Obama’s Department of Homeland Security as “countries of concern” – Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.
DHS is tasked with implementing the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act. Congresspersons who voted for the Act flocked to airports to denounce Trump’s “Muslim ban.” Congressman Bob Brady and Sen. Bob Casey joined the thousands of protesters at Philadelphia airport. Casey was still clad in his white tie tuxedo for the Academy of Music’s annual ball.
Brady and Casey failed to mention they voted for the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act which was included in the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act.
It should be noted that Philadelphia’s population is 44 percent African American. The city is home to an estimated 200,000 Muslims of whom 85 percent are black. Yet few African Americans participated in the #PHLairport protests.
The American Civil Liberties Union sued to block implementation of the executive order. U.S. District Court Judge Ann M. Donnelly from the Eastern District of New York, an Obama appointee, blocked part of the order. Donnelly ruled that refugees and foreign nationals who were legally on their way to the U.S. before the executive order was issued must be allowed entry. The ruling covers airport detainees and those already in transit, 100 to 200 foreign nationals. The executive order was not struck down.
In a statement, DHS said it would comply with the court orders:
Upon issuance of the court orders yesterday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) immediately began taking steps to comply with the orders. Concurrently, the Department of Homeland Security continues to work with our partners in the Departments of Justice and State to implement President Trump’s executive order on protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States.
We are committed to ensuring that all individuals affected by the executive orders, including those affected by the court orders, are being provided all rights afforded under the law. We are also working closely with airline partners to prevent travelers who would not be granted entry under the executive orders from boarding international flights to the U.S. Therefore, we do not anticipate that further individuals traveling by air to the United States will be affected.
Now get this: The ACLU represents illegal immigrants who ignore our borders, immigration laws and judicial deportation orders. They now complain CBP agents are ignoring the court orders.
One week into the Age of Trump, up is down and down is up.
I viewed the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States at Temple University. I went there because I wanted to watch the inaugural address on a big screen.
There was a small turnout of students, faculty and staff for the event. Still, I expected the post-inaugural discussion to be heated. It wasn’t. One student expressed concern that President Trump did not mention climate change. When a faculty member questioned his pledge to put “America first,” there was pushback. A student asked: What’s wrong with an American president putting America first?
Indeed, Rev. Jesse Jackson told an Atlanta television station:
The speech was full of hope and inclusion and he reached out to cities in a way they’ve not been reached out to for a long time. But with that must come a target, a timetable and a budget.
Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan said Trump declared his independence:
The inaugural address was utterly and uncompromisingly Trumpian. The man who ran is the man who’ll reign. It was plain, unfancy and blunt to the point of blistering. A little humility would have gone a long way, but that’s not the path he took. Nor did he attempt to reassure. It was pow, right in the face. Most important, he did not in any way align himself with the proud Democrats and Republicans arrayed around him. He looked out at the crowd and said he was allied with them.
He presented himself not as a Republican or a conservative but as a populist independent. The essential message: Remember those things I said in the campaign? I meant them. I meant it all.
It was an unmistakable indictment of almost everyone seated with him on the platform
Then a stark vow: “That all changes—starting right here and right now.” Jan. 20 “will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.”
President Trump may turn out be the disaster the mainstream legacy media and political establishment hope and expect. But apart from the #NotMyPresident and #NeverTrump crowd, Trump’s “blunt” speech was “a ray of light for millions.”
As an advocate for social justice, I celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. every day. On the official observance of his special day, I will join thousands for a ceremonial tapping of the Liberty Bell in his honor.
Afterwards, I’ll join the March for a Better America.
The march will begin at the slave quarters on Independence Mall and conclude at Mother Bethel AME Church, where POWER: An Interfaith Movement will unveil their 21st Century Declaration of Rights. They will call on elected officials, community leaders and ordinary citizens to support human rights. It sounds like a party for a drum major for justice.
Happy birthday, Dr. King.
Tomorrow, January 10th at 9:00pm ET, President Barack Obama will go to his adopted hometown and deliver his farewell address.
In an email message, President Obama said:
In 1796, as George Washington set the precedent for a peaceful, democratic transfer of power, he also set a precedent by penning a farewell address to the American people. And over the 220 years since, many American presidents have followed his lead.
On Tuesday, January 10, I’ll go home to Chicago to say my grateful farewell to you, even if you can’t be there in person.
I'm just beginning to write my remarks. But I'm thinking about them as a chance to say thank you for this amazing journey, to celebrate the ways you've changed this country for the better these past eight years, and to offer some thoughts on where we all go from here.
Since 2009, we've faced our fair share of challenges, and come through them stronger. That's because we have never let go of a belief that has guided us ever since our founding—our conviction that, together, we can change this country for the better.
So I hope you'll join me one last time.
You can join him via livestream here. For African Americans, Barack Obama’s parting will be such sweet sorrow.