Is it fair to distribute Electoral College votes and congressional seats by counting all people, not just citizens? Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., is suing the federal government because he thinks Alabama will be hurt because of the current methodology of the census. Read his interview, posted below, or listen on the podcast:
We also cover these stories:
The Trump administration announces new asylum rules.
President Donald Trump defends his “go back” tweets, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemns him.
Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley call on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate social media companies’ practices.
Daniel Davis: Alabama is suing the federal government over whether illegal immigrants should be counted in the census. The outcome will have real political ramifications for Alabama and other states.
And today we’re joined by one of the plaintiffs in that lawsuit. None other than Congressman Mo Brooks who represents Alabama’s 5th Congressional District.
Congressman, thanks for being with us today.
Rep. Mo Brooks: My pleasure.
Davis: Congressman, before we get into the lawsuit specifically, I’d like to ask your response to the president’s executive order last week after the Supreme Court pretty much blocked off his path to adding the citizenship question to the census.
He issued an order to the executive branch to gather as much information as it could piecemeal on citizenship. What’s your reaction to the president’s move there?
Brooks: I have mixed reactions. First, it’s unfortunate that the Supreme Court botched it in the way in which the Supreme Court chief justice drafted his opinion, which in effect barred the asking of the citizenship question on the census. A question that has been asked far more often than not.
It’s also unfortunate that the Trump administration, whoever it was that actually was involved in this process, I suppose a lower echelon person botched it by talking about improper motivations for asking a citizenship question.
Had the Trump Administration done it right and focused on what are legal motivations, then I believe we would have the citizenship question on the census.
It’s something that [Chief] Justice [John] Roberts probably would have agreed with, although, quite frankly, I believe he should have agreed with it anyway, based on the history of the citizenship question on the census.
So that’s kind of the mixed reaction side of it.
On the plus side, you’ve got the executive order that’s going to try to determine how many illegal aliens there are in each state, which is fundamental to making sure that we have a proper dispersal of congressional seats, and Electoral College votes based on people who are lawfully within the United States, not based in part on people who are illegally here.
Kate Trinko: Tell us about the lawsuit that you and the state of Alabama are bringing on this question.
Brooks: Sure. You’ve got anywhere from 11 million illegal aliens in the United States, according to the 2010 census, to maybe 22 million. If you believe a recent Yale University study.
We have one congressional seat and one Electoral College vote that is doled out amongst the 50 states, roughly 750,000 people equal one electoral college vote and one congressional seat.
Well, if you’ve got 22 million illegal aliens in the United States of America, then you’re looking at roughly 30 congressional seats and Electoral College votes that are being allotted based on the count of illegal aliens rather than American citizens.
So in effect, you’re diluting the influence of American citizens over their own government.
You’re also, and this is part of the lawsuit, you are adversely affecting the “one man, one vote” principles that are enunciated in the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution that require congressional seats after reapportionment by way of example to be perfectly equal in population with maybe a fraction of a percentage point deviation.
And that’s to ensure that no one citizen’s vote counts more than another citizen’s vote.
Well, if you have a congressional seat, say in California where half of the people live in that congressional seat are illegal aliens, you’ve in effect doubled the political weight of a citizen’s vote in that congressional seat versus one that’s made up of primarily American citizens.
And so, that dilution of the vote by the counting of illegal aliens in my judgment is unconstitutional because it violates one man, one vote principles.
Trinko: And how do you see Alabama specifically being hurt by this?
Brooks: The odds are that the state of Alabama will lose a congressional seat if illegal aliens are counted nationally.
Keep in mind that you’re talking about a shift of roughly 30 congressional seats and 30 Electoral College votes from one set of states that don’t have a lot of illegal aliens to other states that have a lot of illegal aliens. And Alabama would likely be one of those 30 congressional seats that are shifted. That’s wrong.
Notably, there tends to be a shift to the socialist democrat states and away from states that are predominantly made up of American citizens, which in turn have a better understanding of the foundational principles that have made America a great nation, which in turn means that those states that are losing congressional seats and losing Electoral College votes, if you count illegal aliens, more often than not, they’re red states.
Davis: That seems like pretty straight forward policy to count the people in your apportionment count that are actually going to be voting legally. But I guess the policy argument could be different from the legal argument. You’ve argued that this is also unconstitutional. Could you explain that for us?
Brooks: It’s unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment, one man, one vote principles. And you are diluting the vote of American citizens when you count illegal aliens for the purposes of distribution of political power. That political power being congressional seats on the one hand and Electoral College votes on the other.
There’s a huge movement afoot in the United States to have illegal aliens voting in all of our elections. To have other noncitizens, lawful immigrants voting in all of our elections. That’s something the socialist democrats are pushing.
And in effect what that does over the long haul is it steals from American citizens the ability to govern their own governments.
Now, we’re not the United Nations. We’re the United States. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but there are probably about a dozen Democrat-controlled cities that have made it lawful to register to vote even if you’re not an American citizen. Makes no difference if you’re a lawful immigrant or an illegal alien.
The largest such city that allows illegal aliens and noncitizens to register to vote and vote is San Francisco. So, that gives you an idea of where the socialist democrats want to take us as a country.
They want to undermine the very principles that have made America who we are, the greatest nation in world history, and they want to do that by bringing into our voting pool people who are not as well informed about the foundational principles that have made us who we are, the greatest nation in world history.
Trinko: I have to say, I grew up near the insanity in San Francisco and it’s amazing to see firsthand. … Speaking of craziness, have you spoken to any liberals in Alabama? Have you spoken to any Democratic colleagues? Is there any sympathy for this argument from unexpected quarters?
Brooks: I have not spoken to any Democrats in the state of Alabama who are familiar with the national Democratic Party’s goal of allowing noncitizens and illegal aliens in particular to participate in American elections.
Right now it’s limited theoretically to municipalities, but with a wink-wink and a nod-nod, you have to wonder how many of those illegal aliens or lawful immigrants, both of whom are noncitizens when they show up with their voter registration card, are allowed to vote in state and federal elections.
Davis: Currently, under the current apportionment count, legal noncitizens are also being included in that. Correct?
Brooks: I believe there’s a pretty good argument for excluding all noncitizens in the count for the distribution of political power. That being the distribution of congressional seats and electoral college votes.
However, the Alabama lawsuit is limited to the most egregious of those two groups and those are illegal aliens who should not even be here. Whose first act on our soil was to spit on our laws and our Constitution.
Trinko: So, what’s next for this lawsuit?
Brooks: We’re waiting for the proceedings to develop to the point where a federal district judge in Birmingham will be able to render an opinion.
Most of the issues are legal in nature, although there is also some factual issue and that comes down to whether Alabama will lose a congressional seat, as we believe, if illegal aliens are counted for the purposes of distribution of federal government political power.
Davis: It seems like this is something that other states would really have a big stake in as well.
Brooks: Oh, they do. The red states have a huge stake in it and the blue states do, too. The blue states covet more congressional power, more Electoral College influence on the election of the president and states. And they want to take those congressional seats and take those Electoral College votes from the red states.
I’m using that as a generalism. It’s not always that way.
By way of example, Texas is probably a net gainer when you bring in illegal aliens in the count for the purposes of reapportionment of congressional seats and Electoral College votes. California is a huge gainer. … Probably Illinois, New York. They’re gainers. A state like Alabama, a state like Ohio, South Carolina, perhaps. A number of red states in the heartland of America, they tend to be the net losers if we count illegal aliens.
Davis: It’s a lawsuit with very real political ramifications. And congressman, we appreciate you coming in and talking about it with us.
The world recently learned that the American Psychological Association promotes “polyamory,” “swinging,” and “relationship anarchy.” Their experts say it’s healthy and ethical. They’re crazy.
Leftists who run our nation’s public schools love to hide behind the skirts of the American Psychological Association when it comes to crazy sex ed. So in a recent column I wondered how long it would take for them to push polyamory on the pubertal.
Then I learned they already do.
Targeting California Kids
It was a California teacher who discovered the “LGBT Consensual Non-Monogamy Task Force.” She was reviewing the state department of education’s “health” lesson mandates for the fall and stumbled across a term she didn’t know. She went to look it up, and was led to the American Psychological Association.
California instructs teachers to talk to youngsters about sex “partners.” They are to avoid terms like “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” because “some students may be non-monogamous.” This is in the lesson plan for 12-year-olds.
There it is. The American Psychological Association reaching its crusty paw all the way down to pre-pubertal kids.
The education department tells teachers that 14-year-olds “may have various gender identities and sexual orientations.” Indeed, “there are an infinite number of ways an individual can express their individuality and sense of self.”
Special emphasis is to be given to non-heterosexual ways, however. “Teachers should affirmatively acknowledge the existence of relationships that are not heterosexual by actively using examples of same-sex couples in class discussions.”
All of this is to ensure the classroom is a “safe environment.” Though it most certainly is not safe for the innocence of children.
California urges teachers to bring outside sexperts into the classroom. Provided they are “vetted.”
Planned Parenthood is apparently pre-approved, as it is given a special plug in the directives: “By the seventh and eighth grade, students are often more willing and eager to engage with guest speakers” from “local nonprofit organizations, such as Planned Parenthood.”
Talk about the fox guarding the chicken coop…
“Polysexual” and “pansexual” are “common” sexual orientations for high schoolers, teachers are told. But they are to keep in mind that “gender and sexuality are often fluid and do not always fit neatly into these categories.”
That might be funny if they weren’t talking about kids.
Using Kids as Lab Rats
California schools aren’t the only ones intentionally sexualizing kids. Northern Virginia schools are also used as “laboratories” for LGBT policy experimentation. The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network admitted that to The Washington Post last year.
After reading my column, a mom in Fairfax wrote to me about the “thruples” and “quadruples” (rhymes with couples) her kids encountered at a Fairfax County high school. These are polyamorous groups of three or four.
“These groups are allowed to openly ‘be together’ (hold hands, kiss, wrap arms, etc.), just as standard couples are in the halls,” she said.
She also told me there are “furries.” Rhymes with insane. Poor souls who believe they are animals and self-identify as such. “This year, we have some cats and a fox.”
There is a very good chance that most moms and dads are not even remotely aware of the insanity going on in government schools today. None of it is by accident. All of it is by design. All of it funded by you and me.
Children are being used as lab rats in a social experiment. Without the consent of their parents. But with the encouragement and approval of the American Psychological Association.
Sickness is health, bad is good, wrong is right. And there is no tolerance for those who might disagree.
It’s past time to take back our public schools, where 86% of American kids are sent, supposedly for an education. Justice demands that we rescue these children. But wisdom demands it, too.
Because, as Abraham Lincoln said, “The philosophy of the school room in one generation, will be the philosophy of government in the next.”
Today’s student is a serious-minded, independent-thinking individual who seeks to analyze and understand the problems of our society, and find solutions to these problems, which are in keeping with the highest traditions and values of our democratic system.
Students, according to King, were the future of a more
thoughtful and equal society, and one of the most important tools at their
disposal was the freedom of speech.
Yet, today it seems students have changed.
Finding solutions to the problems of society remains a
dominant feature of modern universities, but many students have rejected the
former spirit that valued solutions, as King noted, “in keeping with the
highest traditions and values of our democratic system.”
In fact, instead of engaging in civil dialogue, students
now express outrage at controversial speakers and demand the resignation of
faculty members who refuse to conform to progressive creeds or do not
immediately condone students’ threatening or pernicious actions.
Worse, often they do this with campus administrators in
For instance, a left-leaning professor, Bret Weinstein, at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, who objected to reverse segregation on campus (specifically, a day when white students and faculty were to remain off campus), was hunted by students in 2017 because of his objection.
Campus security, aware of the situation, recommended
that he remain off campus, since they could not protect him as the college
president had ordered security to “stand down.”
After police removed protesters interrupting Texas state Rep. Briscoe Cain’s speech at Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University, the university president immediately ended the event. He claimed that scheduling procedures weren’t followed, even though the dean of the law school had approved the event.
Some argue that such extreme situations result from a
very small, but vocal, group of college students. Most students, instead, choose
to remain silent, rather than risk their friendships and social capital—afraid
they might appear “unwoke.”
The trend of student silence is especially evident from
the guarded support Sahil Handa received after publicly critiquing the political
tribalization among his fellow Harvard students.
Handa wrote that he “received well over a hundred notes from students thanking [him] for writing the article.”
But, he added, “not a single one was shared in public.”
The poignancy of the political atmosphere on college campuses is emphasized by a 2019 Knight Foundation study. It found that “[m]ore than two-thirds (68%) of college students say their campus climate precludes students from expressing their true opinions because their classmates might find it offensive.”
At the same time, the study found that more than half of
students thought that “shouting down speakers or trying to prevent them from
talking” was either “always” or “sometimes” appropriate.
Although most students condemned violence as a means to stop a speech or rally, 16% of respondents thought violent actions were acceptable either “always” or “sometimes.”
This general opposition to the free exchange of ideas is fundamentally opposed to an environment of open inquiry. Yale University’s Woodward Report outlines the university’s purpose as “[t]o discover and disseminate knowledge by means of research and teaching. To fulfill this function, a free interchange of ideas is necessary … .”
Accordingly, “the university must do everything possible to ensure within it the fullest degree of intellectual freedom,” it said.
Intimidation and fear impede intellectual freedom.
Growing tribalism means that many students are reticent to engage their peers
in real conversations.
This silent passivity allowed overzealous administrators
and raucous students to limit the free exchange of ideas on campuses.
Some state policymakers, however, have refused to stand by idly as public universities began to confine free-speech activity to narrow, often remote, strips of campus.
Jonathan Butcher from The Heritage Foundation noted that Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, and Wisconsin have already taken corrective measures by eliminating free-speech zones in their public universities.
free-speech protections, in particular, preserve the hallmarks
of campus free speech since the “public areas of campus—such as sidewalks and
campus lawns—are public forums and are open on the same terms to any speaker.”
Moreover, students who repeatedly infringe on others’
expression of free speech can face expulsion.
It’s unfortunate that policymakers must go to such great
lengths to protect a basic tenet of a free society in public universities. But the
most distressing element of the conflict is the pervasive silence among
students who are unwilling to speak their minds.
Universities were places where students challenged each
other, sometimes fiercely, and engaged in civil discourse.
Mrs. King envisioned the modern student as “a
significant political actor with amazing power to influence the course of
societies all over the world.” However, past students only earned her
admiration because they were willing to engage their peers in civil discourse—exercising
To be worthy of her plaudits, today’s students must break
President Donald Trump defended tweets that suggested unnamed congresswomen “go back” to their countries of origin, but House Democrats planned to introduce a resolution to denounce his remarks as racist.
Trump, speaking to reporters Monday at a White House event, noted that he “didn’t mention names” in his tweets Sunday.
But many inferred that Trump’s tweeted reference to “‘Progressive’ Democratic Congresswomen” who should return to where they “came from” and “help fix” those “totally broken and crime infested places” was aimed at four House Democrats in particular: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
Some pundits refer to the four women, all critics of both Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as “the squad.” Of the four, only Omar was born outside the United States.
In response, Pelosi, D-Calif.–who had been locked in a clash with the four freshmen last week–tweeted that the president’s tweets confirmed that he wants to “make America white again.”
On Monday, Pelosi backed a resolution to condemn the president’s words in a letter to House colleagues.
“The House cannot allow the president’s characterization of immigrants to our country to stand,” Pelosi’s letter says. “Our Republican colleagues must join us in condemning the President’s xenophobic tweets. Please join us in supporting a forthcoming resolution.”
The House Democrats’ resolution is sponsored by members born outside the United States. It refers to President Ronald Reagan’s final speech as president, when the Republican standard-bearer said: “Thanks to each wave of new arrivals to this land of opportunity, we’re a nation forever young, forever bursting with energy and new ideas, and always on the cutting edge, always leading the world to the next frontier. … If we ever closed the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost.”
In remarks Monday at the White House, Trump defended himself without taking back any of his tweeted words.
“If you’re not happy here, then you can leave. As far as I’m concerned, if you hate our country, if you’re not happy here, you can leave. That’s what I say all the time,” Trump told reporters during the “Made in America” event. “That’s what I said in a tweet that I guess some people think is controversial.”
Republican lawmakers who criticized the president’s tweets included Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, both of South Carolina, Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, and Rep. Susan Brooks of Indiana.
Many congressional Democrats and commentators called the tweets racist.
“A lot of people love it, by the way. A lot of people love it,” Trump said at the White House. “But if you’re not happy in the U.S., if you’re complaining all the time, very simply you can leave. You can leave right now. You can come back if you want; don’t come back, that’s OK, too.”
In response to a question, Trump also denounced Pelosi’s tweet saying he wants to “make America white again.”
“That’s just a very racist statement, somebody who would say that,” the president said. “Speaker Pelosi said ‘make America white again.’ … That’s a very racist statement, and I’m surprised she’d say that.”
Though he said he didn’t mention names in his Sunday tweets, Trump talked specifically about past controversial remarks by Omar.
“I never met her, and I hear the way she talks about al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda’s killed many Americans,” Trump said.
Trump referred to Omar’s much-publicized comments about the 9/11 attacks by Islamists affiliated with the al-Qaeda terrorist group, in which she said “some people did something.”
“You remember the famous ‘some people?’ These are people that in my opinion hate our country,” Trump said. “Now, you can say what you want, but get a list of all the statements they’ve made. All I’m saying is if they’re not happy here, they can leave. I am sure there will be many people that won’t miss them, but they have to love our country. These are congresspeople, and I never used any names.”
Trump continued to single out Omar, however.
“You have somebody who comes from Somalia, which is a failed government, a failed state, who left Somalia and ultimately came here, who’s now a congresswoman who’s never happy,” Trump said. “[She] says horrible things about Israel, hates Israel, hates Jews. Hates Jews. Very simple.”
Omar claimed Monday that Trump wanted to “silence” her.
Ocasio-Cortez also ripped into the president in a tweet Monday.
Trump also referred to Ocasio-Cortez, but not by name, in citing her successful opposition to Amazon’s plan to relocate its headquarters to New York City.
“One of them kept Amazon out of New York. Tens of thousands of jobs–would have been a great thing,” Trump said. “New York has not been the same since that happened. It really hurt New York.”
Two of the country’s staunchest big tech critics are asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate social media companies’ perceived censorship practices.
Facebook, Google, and Twitter exercise lots of influence on Americans and they also use their tools to censor some content while amplifying others, Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri wrote in a letter Monday to the Federal Trade Commission. They are asking the agency to open a public probe into the impact such policies have on people.
“Companies that are this big and that have the potential to threaten democracy this much should not be allowed to curate content entirely without any transparency,” they wrote. “These companies can greatly influence democratic outcomes, yet they have not accountability to voters.”
They added: “They are not even accountable to their own customers because nobody knows how these companies curate content.” Cruz and Hawley are two of the biggest Republican critics of Google and Facebook, both of which are consistently accused of discriminating against conservative content.
Hawley, for his part, introduced the Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act in June that aims to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which gives online companies immunity only if they can show they are politically neutral. Section 230 was passed in 1996, when the internet was in its infancy.
Other Republicans are taking a more critical stance against big tech companies as well. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, for one, is dinging Google for not doing enough to protect children.
“Things would change tomorrow if you could get sued,” Graham said during a congressional hearing on July 9 dealing with online dangers to kids. YouTube is under pressure to turn off its recommendation systems for videos featuring kids after reports showed potential predators were abusing the feature.
While waiting for Congress to act on closing immigration loopholes, the Trump administration is imposing a new rule to limit asylum claims by requiring professed refugees to first seek asylum in another country closer to home.
The Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security announced the new rule for asylum seekers, which is set to take effect Tuesday.
Asylum seekers will be required to apply for protection from prosecution or torture in at least one other country outside the asylum seeker’s country of citizenship or nationality before he or she enters the United States.
The rule comes as President Donald Trump tries to gain control over the southern border amid a surge of migrants from Central America.
Kevin K. McAleenan, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said the change is designed to decrease that surge.
“Until Congress can act, this interim rule will help reduce a major ‘pull’ factor driving irregular migration to the United States and enable DHS and DOJ to more quickly and efficiently process cases originating from the southern border, leading to fewer individuals transiting through Mexico on a dangerous journey,” McAleenan said in a formal statement.
The Trump administration contends it has the flexibility to place the restriction on asylum seekers under the congressionally passed Immigration and Nationality Act, which allows additional limitations on eligibility for aliens who seek asylum in the United States.
“Ultimately, today’s action will reduce the overwhelming burdens on our domestic system caused by asylum-seekers failing to seek urgent protection in the first available country, economic migrants lacking a legitimate fear of persecution, and the transnational criminal organizations, traffickers, and smugglers exploiting our system for profits,” McAleenan said.
A high number of meritless asylum claims has overwhelmed the Border Patrol. Only a small minority of recent asylum seekers are granted asylum when their case is adjudicated, but many avoid detention and are able to escape into the interior of the country.
A federal appeals court previously upheld the Trump administration’s policy of sending Central American asylum seekers to Mexico while their asylum requests are being adjudicated.
“This rule is a lawful exercise of authority provided by Congress to restrict eligibility for asylum,” Attorney General William Barr said in a prepared statement.
Barr said this would deter phony asylum claims “while ensuring that no one is removed from the United States who is more likely than not to be tortured or persecuted on account of a protected ground.”
“The United States is a generous country but is being completely overwhelmed by the burdens associated with apprehending and processing hundreds of thousands of aliens along the southern border,” the attorney general said.
The administration is making three exceptions to the new rule that apply when an asylum seeker demonstrates he or she applied for protection in another country and was denied; is a victim of trafficking; or is someone who traveled to the U.S. only through countries that were not parties to two agreements (the 1951 Convention on the State of Refugees and the 1967 Convention Against Torture and Other Curel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment).
The recent surge of illegal immigrants, mostly from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, has flooded into border states such as Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California.
Under the new rule, the asylum seekers from these countries first would have to apply for asylum in Mexico or other nations they pass through en route to the United States.
Administration officials previously asserted that economic migrants are making bogus asylum claims to enter the United States. Officials and commentators also have argued that the United States is not the only country that can offer protection from persecution.
The regulation is well within DHS authority under existing federal law, said Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation.
“It seems obvious that aliens who wait to claim asylum until they arrive at our shores and didn’t take the opportunity to claim asylum in any other country they traveled through that has an asylum statute [do] not have a credible claim,” von Spakovsky told The Daily Signal.
“This is exactly the same rule that the European Union applies to asylum seekers–they have to claim asylum in the first EU country they enter. This change in U.S. procedures has been long needed.”
There’s a reason Planned Parenthood likes to challenge pro-life laws on the West Coast. It knows the cases will eventually bubble up to the most liberal bench in the country—the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
There’s just one problem. After almost three years of President Donald Trump, their favorite appeals court isn’t exactly liberal anymore. And that’s throwing a major wrench into the abortion industry’s plans.
Elections have consequences, and they’ve been big ones for the makeup of America’s courts. Just last week, Trump added another originalist to the 9th Circuit bench, Daniel Bress—bringing the administration’s total for the much-maligned court to seven.
For the first time in decades, the 9th Circuit, which Trump has accused of being “out of control” with “a horrible reputation,” is on the verge of ideological balance. And for liberals, who rely on the courts to do what legislatures will not, the prospect of losing their grip is daunting.
On Thursday, abortion extremists started to feel the effects of the president’s court-leveling when the 9th Circuit refused to stop the administration’s family planning rules from taking effect.
In a shocking blow to Planned Parenthood’s ego, the judges ruled 7-4 that the Department of Health and Human Services’ rule stopping Title X grantees from promoting abortion could go into effect. Making the decision even more upsetting for liberals, two of the judges in the majority were Trump appointees.
If the rule goes into effect, groups like Leana Wen’s Planned Parenthood could stand to lose millions of dollars.
Wen, who’s obviously unaccustomed to bad news from the 9th, called the decision “devastating.” And not just for her bottom line, which could suffer a $60 million loss—but for the left’s whole court-shopping strategy.
Originally published in Tony Perkins’ Washington Update, which is written with the aid of Family Research Council senior writers.
Are Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, and her staff violating federal immigration law? If the information reported in the Washington Examiner is correct, then the answer could be “yes.”
The National Border Patrol Council’s El Paso chapter and Customs and Border Protection staff told the Examiner that Escobar has been sending members of her staff to the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juarez “to find migrants returned from El Paso, Texas, under the ‘remain in Mexico’ policy.”
According to the Examiner, members of Escobar’s staff are then “coaching them to pretend they cannot speak Spanish to exploit a loophole letting them … return to the U.S.”
Under the Migration Protection Protocols implemented by the Trump administration, non-Mexicans illegally crossing our southwest border who claim asylum are to be returned to Mexico while their asylum claims are being evaluated.
However, this protocol does not apply if the asylum-seeker does not speak Spanish, which is the apparent “loophole.”
If the Washington Examiner report is accurate, congressional staffers have either lied to immigration officials or coached migrants to lie to the officials in order to get the migrants into the U.S.
Is that against the law?
The Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. §1324(a)(1)(A)(iv)) says it is a felony if a person “encourages or induces an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such” entry is illegal.
Furthermore, it is a violation to engage “in any conspiracy to commit” such acts or to aid or abet “the commission” of such acts.
Violations are punishable by up to five years in prison.
As the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in 1993 in U.S. v. Oloyede, the word “encourages” is “not limited to bringing in, transporting or concealing illegal aliens.” Rather, it also includes “actions taken to convince the illegal alien to come to this country or to stay in this country.”
That same court decision confirmed that a person violates the law if he or she “encourages” someone to make false statements on an immigration application.
In their individual capacities, members of Congress don’t have the power to pick and choose which laws they want to obey and which they want to ignore, like someone making selections in a cafeteria.
The law requires knowledge (or reckless disregard) of the fact that the migrant’s entry is illegal. If congressional staffers are specifically instructing migrants to lie about their language ability to take advantage of the loophole in the protocols, it seems obvious that the staffers know the entry of the migrants is illegal. Why else would the staffers instruct the migrants to lie about their fluency in Spanish?
Moreover, if the congressional staffers were instructed by their boss—Escobar—to engage in such behavior, then the “conspiracy” and “aiding and abetting” portions of the law would come into play.
A federal prosecutor would have to have pretty strong evidence before indicting a member of Congress—something that might be difficult to do unless a staffer decided to come clean and testify about what he or she was told to do.
By the way, Escobar’s office is allegedly also providing migrants with medical diagnoses intended to give them a pathway into the U.S.
The Examiner reports that one of Escobar’s staffers and an official of the local Catholic diocese brought in a migrant who they claimed had “cognitive disabilities.”
The migrant was returned to Mexico after it was discovered that the diagnosis was not made by a medical professional, but by one of the congressional aides.
Another intriguing angle: The Border Patrol Council says that Escobar’s aides have been recording their south-of-the-border conversations with returned migrants.
If federal investigators can get those recordings, they may be able to get a very quick answer as to whether the congresswoman’s aides have been coaching migrants to lie to immigration officials.
What should happen now?
An important principle of our legal system is that no one in this country—including members of Congress—is above the law. Members of Congress have the power to change laws and pass new ones—but only if they can get the support of a majority of their fellow lawmakers.
In their individual capacities, members of Congress don’t have the power to pick and choose which laws they want to obey and which they want to ignore, like someone making selections in a cafeteria.
Laws that are not enforced are meaningless. This includes the immigration laws, even though many Democrats in Congress and in state and local governments want to pretend our immigration laws are optional.
Like all of us, Escobar and members of her staff are entitled to the presumption of innocence. But it seems clear that the allegations in the Washington Examiner are serious enough to warrant a thorough investigation of the congresswoman and her staff.
From the perspective of a country counting itself as the “best barometer” of concern about Russia’s aggression, President Donald Trump is anything but soft on the government of Vladimir Putin, a top Polish official in the U.S. says.
Trump pledged last month to put 2,000 more U.S. troops in Poland, at a time when that nation is wary not only because of its own distant history with Russia but because of Russia’s invasions of Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014. The U.S. already has about 4,000 troops in Poland.
“It couldn’t be clearer that the president is far from … cozy with Russia,” Maciej Golubiewski, the New York-based consul-general of Poland for the U.S., told The Daily Signal in a recent phone interview.
“Poles I think are the best barometer of what it means to be cozy with Russia, because we are the closest ones who understand the threat,” Golubiewski said.
Trump met June 12 at the White House with Polish President Andrzej Duda. Trump is set to travel to Poland in September, where he is expected to announce Poland’s inclusion in the Visa Waiver Program during his second visit to the country.
Golubiewski recalled Trump’s July 2017 speech in Poland, a strong defense of America’s Western allies and a critique of Russia that was widely regarded as one of Trump’s best foreign policy speeches.
“He couldn’t have been clearer about his condemnations of what Russia is doing in Ukraine and what Russia is doing in Syria and what Russia is doing in blackmailing Europe with creating that monopolistic supply of gas,” Golubiewski said of the speech Trump made two years ago.
The United States is the “sole guarantor for security in Europe,” Golubiewski said, and Poland will provide the infrastructure for the division headquarters of American troops, which some call “Fort Trump.”
Trump’s announced troop buildup is a “visible and permanent commitment on the part of the United States,” the Polish official told The Daily Signal.
“Some studies that appeared recently showed that if Europe were to go it alone, in terms of defending itself against potential Russian attack on the Eastern plank, it would take around 20 years for Europe to reach the capacity … to mount an effective defense and pushback,” Golubiewski said.
Having been invaded by both Germany and Russia, he said, Poland, like Eastern European countries, has a better understanding of threats after the Cold War than other countries do.
“In a lot of Western Europe, there is not enough of an appreciation of conventional military threats that arise on Europe’s borders,” Golubiewski said. “It was in vogue in the late ’90s, early 2000s to talk about ‘We just have to have small, agile special troops,’ that terrorism would be the most common threat. People tend to forget conventional threats. Countries still invade other countries.”
He pointed to Trump’s push for more NATO countries to pay the required 2 percent of gross domestic product toward national defense as another defense against Russia. Of the 28 NATO member nations, the United States and Poland are among the eight nations that pay the full 2 percent.
A Year of Anniversaries
Trump’s September visit to Poland will come on the 80th anniversary of Germany’s invasion of Poland, which started World War II.
In June, Poland marked 30 years since the once-communist and Soviet-alligned nation held its first mostly free election and voters rejected all communist candidates at the end of the Cold War.
The president’s visit also highlights 100 years of U.S.-Poland diplomatic relations, and 101 years since Polish independence.
While the presidencies of conservative Ronald Reagan and progressive Woodrow Wilson seem quite far apart, both were instrumental for Poland at key moments, Golubiewski said.
“All those anniversaries should rank very loudly in the ears of the Americans,” he said, adding:
That notion of freedom–in many countries in the West, during old times when the first pilgrims were reaching the states, there was absolutism in Europe. There were absolutist kings [in Europe]. Poland was a rare exception. We had relatively weak kings and our society was ruled locally.
We had a lot of freedoms that in Europe [were] a rarity. That’s also why Poland welcomed so many Jews, because they were escaping persecution from Western Europe. A lot of those anniversaries should be close to the American heart. We wouldn’t be where we are without the close friendship and alliance with the U.S.
Golubiewski, a native of Lodz, Poland, who lived in and around Washington, D.C., for many years, holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, politics, and economics from Washington and Lee University in Virginia.
At Odds With EU
Poland has clashed with the European Union over Duda’s reforms of his country’s judiciary and on immigration matters.
“Poland is a very loyal member of the European Union and doesn’t want to contest the laws of the EU, but also believes that EU bureaucracy should be faithful to the letter of the treaty,” Golubiewski said. “Just like the U.S. Constitution, certain matters are reserved to the states. So it’s a bit of a similar situation where you have [a] federal versus states’ rights debate.”
A complex judiciary system in Poland that wasn’t reformed when the country moved to democracy in 1989 allowed older Soviet judges to remain on courts.
When Duda tried to replace such judges, Polish opposition leaders accused him of a power grab to politicize the courts. The EU sued to stop the move.
“The judiciary in Poland has had a great deal of autonomy, including ruling itself–a very, very different system than the United States where we don’t have as much democratic oversight over the way judges are picked,” the Polish official said.
He said that in the U.S., for example, the president nominates judicial candidates who must be questioned and confirmed by the Senate before they take their seats as judges.
“What the government wants to do is increase legitimacy and democratic oversight, in line with what you have in the United States, which balances the judiciary with other branches of the government,” Golubiewski said.
“We are in a dialogue with the EU. This is a civil and formal dialogue. We are trying to ensure that this reform is agreeable to all the parties involved.”
Poland also has been more resistant to accepting Syrian refugees and immigrants into the country without stronger vetting than the EU would prefer.
“We oppose unilateral actions by some countries that invite immigrants to enter, then ask that they be de facto forcefully relocated to other countries, because they cannot deal with them because there are too many,” Golubiewski said. “So, this again falls outside the competencies of the EU to ask for such a thing.”
The diplomat stressed that Poland is open to immigration.
“We are actually the second country in the EU behind Great Britain with the number of economic migrants,” he said. “We don’t have a problem with legal immigration and legal movement of people. We have to observe the rules.”
Canadian Medicare, our northern neighbor’s universal health care system, generally receives rave reviews from proponents of nationalized or socialized health care, but the Fraser Institute found that more than 63,000 Canadians left their country to have surgery in 2016.
As Americans contemplate overturning our health system in favor of one similar to Canada’s, we must ask why so many leave.
The Canadian system consistently ranks low or lowest across numerous metrics in the Commonwealth Fund’s extensive survey on health care. With regards to specialists and surgeries, the United States ranked best or nearly best.
The Fraser Institute study did not examine where Canadians traveled for surgery, but given proximity and our much better metrics, most probably came here.
are scheduled after patients are seen by the surgeon, and most people see
surgeons only after a referral by either their primary care physician in
America, or their general practitioner in Canada. In the United States, 70% of
patients are able to be seen by specialists less than four weeks after a
referral. In Canada, less than 40% were seen inside of four weeks.
After being advised that they need a procedure done, only about 35% of Canadians had their surgery within a month, whereas in the United States, 61% did. After four months, about 97% of Americans were able to have their surgery, whereas Canada struggled to achieve 80%.
is significantly outperforming Canada in surgery wait times even as it’s likely
that tens of thousands of Canadians come here to use the American system.
surgery, procedures such as appendectomies, cholecystectomies, and hernia
repairs, make up the largest portion of those who leave Canada for care. Based
on the latest available date from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation
and Development, the total Canadian case load for many of these procedures is
about 10% of America’s.
health system is certainly flawed and in need of reform, but there is clearly
something working well enough that our system, despite already treating 10
times more cases of appendicitis, can absorb the dissatisfied Canadians.
has been a consistent trend since at least 2014, when an estimated 52,513
Canadians left for their medical care. In 2015, the number went down slightly
to 45,619. 2016 exceeded the 2015 number with an estimated 63,459 patients
seeking care elsewhere.
Moreover, both countries have had comparable rates of private health insurance coverage for the past 20 years, roughly 60-70%. But the Canadian private insurance market is entirely supplemental–it covers co-payments for services not covered or not entirely covered by the provincial insurance. Primary coverage, which is the predominant form of insurance in America, is all but illegal in Canada, and would be under “Medicare for All” as well.
In the United States, government insurance covers gaps left by the private market. Private insurance is the norm and Medicare and Medicaid provide a health insurance safety net for elderly or low-income Americans.
In Canada, government-provided Medicare is the primary form of insurance, and private plans merely fill in gaps in coverage for those with more disposable income or employee benefits. The two systems are mirror opposites of one another.
Health care is a product of the labor of physicians, nurses, technicians, and a whole ecosystem of health care workers. If making the government the primary payer for these services is so smart, why does the universal system next door shed patients by the tens of thousands to ours?
American health care can be improved and should be; American health care performs about middle-of-the-pack for many other items on the Commonwealth Fund survey. There are many inefficiencies, often government-imposed, that increase the cost of health care and restrict the insurance market.
The administration already has loosened some regulations that will give employers more flexibility in providing health benefits and has begun to push for price transparency which also should bring down costs.
Whatever the case may be, reforming American health care should focus on enabling our strengths. Under no circumstance should we tear it down and build it anew to resemble the system whose citizens escape by the tens of thousands just to be treated in a timely manner.