Monday, June 10, 2019

Last Call For Deportation Nation, Con't

Last week we discovered that Ken Cuccinelli has no chance of being confirmed as Trump's immigration head because of all the Republican senators he's pissed off over the years, so on Monday, Trump simply named him as acting head and will leave him there indefinitely because nobody's going to tell him no.

Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) on Monday began his new job as acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a controversial appointment that could set up a showdown between the White House and Senate Republicans.

President Trump tapped Cuccinelli to lead the agency, which is tasked with administering the nation’s legal immigration system, at a time when he is seeking to crack down on illegal migration and make it tougher for immigrants to obtain benefits.

“Our nation has the most generous legal immigration system in the world and we must zealously safeguard its promise for those who lawfully come here,” Cuccinelli said in a statement distributed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). “I look forward to working with the men and women of USCIS to ensure our legal immigration system operates effectively and efficiently while deterring fraud and protecting the American people.”

Cuccinelli’s appointment was weeks in the making, with Trump eyeing the fellow immigration hardliner for a top role at DHS.

He will replace L. Francis Cissna, who was forced out as USCIS chief late last month amid a rolling shakeup at the department.

Just like any other "Senate Republicans are against this" situation, they will fall in line and do what Trump tells them to do. And Cuccinelli is there for a reason.

As Virginia’s top law enforcement official and in his years serving in the Virginia state senate, Cuccinelli laid a long track of aggressive anti-immigrant policies intended to restrict access to public services, employment, and even citizenship from migrants and their families. That record, combined with his vociferous defense of President Donald Trump on cable news and in conservative media outlets, puts Cuccinelli firmly in line with an administration that has made combating undocumented immigration its top domestic policy goal.

In his new role at Homeland Security, Cuccinelli will be one of the Trump administration’s top bosses on immigration-related matters, a portfolio that has felled other senior administration officials in recent months as the president has grown dissatisfied with stubbornly high rates of illegal entry into the United States.

If his record on immigration issues is any indication, Cuccinelli will embrace that role with relish. While his support for President Donald Trump may be relatively newfound, his championing of hardline Trump-style immigration policies is more than a decade in the making.

Although Cuccinelli first drew national attention during his time as Virginia’s attorney general for his attempts to keep laws against oral sex on the books, he also became a staunch advocate on behalf of aggressive immigration policies in other states. In 2010, Cuccinelli filed an amicus brief in support of S.B. 1070, an Arizona law that allowed police officers to investigate the immigration status of any person arrested or detained by law enforcement based on a “reasonable suspicion” that they were in the country illegally. That same year, he released a legal opinion expanding a similar policy to include any suspected undocumented immigrant stopped by law enforcement for any reason.

“Virginia law enforcement officers have the authority to make the same inquiries as those contemplated by the new Arizona law,” Cuccinelli wrote in the opinion. “So long as the officers have the requisite level of suspicion to believe that a violation of the law has occurred, the officers may detain and briefly question a person they suspect has committed a federal crime.”

Cuccinelli told reporters at the time that any police officer had the authority to question potential undocumented immigrants “so long as they don’t extend the duration of a stop by any significant degree.”

Those stances on illegal immigration appear tame compared to other proposals that Cuccinelli had backed before becoming attorney general. During his eight years in the Virginia state senate, Cuccinelli was the chief patron—the body’s version of primary sponsor—of a rash of bills targeting undocumented immigrants in the commonwealth.

One proposed law would have allowed employers to fire employees who didn’t speak English in their workplace, and stipulated that any employee so fired would be “disqualified from receiving unemployment compensation benefits.” Another bill would have allowed businesses to sue competitors that they believed to be employing undocumented immigrants for economic damages, plus $500 “for each such illegal alien employed by the defendant.”

In one case, Cuccinelli championed one of Trump’s most aggressive immigration policies before Trump himself did. In a 2008 bill, Cuccinelli urged Congress to call a constitutional convention to amend the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution “to clarify specifically that a person born to a parent who is a U. S. citizen is also a citizen of the United States,” to the exclusion of the children of undocumented immigrants who are born in the United States

And this clown is now Trump's chief immigration law enforcement officer.  Illegally, I might add.  But who cares?  Nothing is illegal anymore when Trump does it.

The Turtle, His Wife, And The Road To Corruption

When the GOP Senate Majority Leader is married to the Trump regime's Transportation Secretary, she helps him deliver those road projects here in Bevinstan that other states don't get, just in time to kick off his 2020 reelection campaign.

The Transportation Department under Secretary Elaine Chao designated a special liaison to help with grant applications and other priorities from her husband Mitch McConnell’s state of Kentucky, paving the way for grants totaling at least $78 million for favored projects as McConnell prepared to campaign for reelection

Chao’s aide Todd Inman, who stated in an email to McConnell’s Senate office that Chao had personally asked him to serve as an intermediary, helped advise the senator and local Kentucky officials on grants with special significance for McConnell — including a highway-improvement project in a McConnell political stronghold that had been twice rejected for previous grant applications.

Beginning in April 2017, Inman and Chao met annually with a delegation from Owensboro, Ky., a river port with long connections to McConnell, including a plaza named in his honor. At the meetings, according to participants, the secretary and the local officials discussed two projects of special importance to the river city of 59,809 people — a plan to upgrade road connections to a commercial riverport and a proposal to expedite reclassifying a local parkway as an Interstate spur, a move that could persuade private businesses to locate in Owensboro.

Inman, himself a longtime Owensboro resident and onetime mayoral candidate who is now Chao’s chief of staff, followed up the 2017 meeting by emailing the riverport authority on how to improve its application. He also discussed the project by phone with Al Mattingly, the chief executive of Daviess County, which includes Owensboro, who suggested Inman was instrumental in the process.

Todd probably smoothed the way, I mean, you know, used his influence,” Mattingly said in a POLITICO interview. “Everybody says that projects stand on their own merit, right? So if I’ve got 10 projects, and they’re all equal, where do you go to break the tie?”

“Well, let’s put it this way: I only have her ear an hour when I go to visit her once a year,” he added of Chao and Inman, a longtime Bluegrass State operative who had worked as McConnell’s advance man. “With a local guy, he has her ear 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You tell me.”

The circumstances surrounding the Owensboro grant and another, more lucrative grant to Boone County, highlight the ethical conflicts in having a powerful Cabinet secretary married to the Senate’s leader and in a position to help him politically. McConnell has long touted his ability to bring federal resources to his state, which his wife is now in a position to assist.

Chao’s designation of Inman as a special intermediary for Kentucky — a privilege other states did not enjoy — gave a special advantage to projects favored by her husband, which could in turn benefit his political interests. In such situations, ethicists say, each member of a couple benefits personally from the success of the other.

“Where a Cabinet secretary is doing things that are going to help her husband get reelected, that starts to rise to the level of feeling more like corruption to the average American. … I do think there are people who will see that as sort of ‘swamp behavior,’” said John Hudak, a Brookings Institution scholar who has studied political influence in federal grant-making.
In fact, days after launching his 2020 reelection campaign McConnell asked Owensboro’s mayor to set up a luncheon with business and political leaders at which the senator claimed credit for delivering the grant.

“How about that $11 million BUILD grant?” McConnell asked the crowd rhetorically, according to the Owensboro Times. He then recalled his role in securing earlier grants to the city, adding, “It’s done a lot to transform Owensboro, and I was really happy to have played a role in that.”

I mean the grants are helping the people of my state, even my county with that INFRA grant announced last year. I has suspected that Chao has something to do with it, but this is pretty much proof, with Chao designating someone to Kentucky to be in charge of the pork projects to keep Mitch's voters happy.

It's helpful and the interstate improvements are going to make a big difference.

It's also corrupt as hell. Mitch isn't buying my vote with a couple of interchanges. 

Chao should resign over this.  It won''t happen, it'll be forgotten in a week.  Ask Alex Acosta.

A Supreme Storm Warning

If it's a Monday in June, it means it's time for the Supreme Court, and we start off with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg all but promising that the major cases yet to be resolved this term, including the Roberts Court's major decisions on gerrymandering and citizenship questions on the US Census, will be decided by a 5-4 vote.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg hinted that sharp divisions will mark the final weeks of a Supreme Court term that will include major rulings on the census and partisan gerrymandering.

Speaking before the annual conference of federal judges in New York, Ginsburg suggested that more than a quarter of the court’s remaining 27 rulings will be decided by a single vote. Of the 43 argued cases settled so far, 11 were by a vote of either 5-4 or 5-3, she said.

“Given the number of most-watched cases still unannounced, I cannot predict that the relatively low sharp divisions ratio will hold,” the 86-year-old justice said, according to a copy of her remarks provided by the court on Friday.

The justices are scheduled to finish their nine-month term at the end of this month. It’s the first session since Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the court and strengthened its conservative majority.

Ginsburg has made an annual practice of summarizing the high court’s term at the June conference, often offering what seem to be tantalizing hints about the outcome of the court’s biggest disputes.

She touched on both the census and gerrymandering cases in her remarks Friday. She linked the census case, which will determine whether Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross can include a question about citizenship in the 2020 survey, to the court’s decision last year upholding President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

The travel ban ruling “granted great deference to the executive,” Ginsburg said. Opponents of the citizenship question “have argued that a ruling in Secretary Ross’s favor would stretch deference beyond the breaking point.”

We'll see what decisions are announced today.


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