Florida House passes anti-immigrant bill that could mean deportation for a minor traffic violation

The Florida House of Representatives has passed an anti-immigrant bill that that would force local and state law enforcement to collaborate with mass deportation agents and could create such a hostile climate for the state’s immigrant families that even minor traffic violations could result in family separation and deportation.

House Bill 527 and Senate counterpart 168 “would ban policies that limit local cooperation and information-sharing with federal authorities on immigration matters,” New American Economy fund said, and advocates believe that the state could follow Arizona, home of the infamous “Papers, Please” law, in experiencing financial repercussions should panicked immigrants flee the state. But it’s the human costs that are also frightening.

“Immigrant families will be split up for minor traffic infractions such as broken tail lights,” Lester Crowne writes in the Miami Herald, “fender benders, and driving without a license; which undocumented workers are unable to obtain in Florida.” In a video from immigrant rights leader Thomas Kennedy, seven-year-old Isaac tells state Sen. Joe Gruter, the Senate bill’s primary cosponsor, that he’s afraid. “I don’t want to be scared, I don’t want my friends at school to be separated from their families.”

Hundreds of Floridians protested the proposals last month in Tallahassee. Following HB 527’s passage in the House on Wednesday, a number of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients and their advocates gathered outside the Senate holding signs targeted at Gruter, reading “Stop criminalizing us,” “Keep families together,” and “Do U care about us?”

SB 168 “would be devastating for my community,” DACA recipient Valentina added, saying that Immigration and Customs Enforcement and police collaboration could lead to the separation of her family. She’s urging Floridians to call state’s senators (more information is available here) and help keep families together by urging a no vote on this legislation.

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Midday open thread: U.S. measles cases highest since 2000; Americans most stressed in the world?

Today’s comic by Ruben Bolling is The great and powerful Special Counsel of Oz… Revealed!

North Korea rumored to have executed four officials after failed summit with U.S. in Hanoi: The claim came from a trade official who spoke to a reporter from Asia Press. The four officials had been accused of selling information to Washington before the summit, according to a Japanese news agency.

Survey claims Americans most stressed people in the world: The annual Gallup poll of 150,000 people throughout the world, 1,000 of them Americans, found that the latter reported feeling stress, anger and worry at the highest levels in a decade:

In the United States, about 55 percent of adults said they had experienced stress during “a lot of the day” prior, compared with just 35 percent globally. Statistically, that put the country on par with Greece, which had led the rankings on stress since 2012. […]

When Gallup investigated the responses more closely, it found that being under 50, earning a low income and having a dim view of President Trump’s job performance were correlated with negative experiences among adults in the United States. […]

“We are seeing patterns that would point to a political explanation, or a polarization explanation, with the U.S. data, but can we say that definitively? No,” said [Julie Ray, Gallup’s managing editor for world news. “

Cases of U.S. measles higher so far this year than any since the disease was declared eliminated worldwide in 2000: As of Wednesday, there were 695 cases in 22 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In most instances, those cases have occurred in unvaccinated communities. The CDC says 91.5% of US children aged 19 months to 35 months received at least one dose of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine in 2017, the most recent year data are available. The first year measles became a disease that health care providers were required to report was 1912. Over the next 10 years, an average of 6,000 people in the United States died annually from measles. Until 1963 when measles vaccinations was introduced in the U.S., 3-4 million people contracted the disease nationwide. In 2017, the most recent year with available data, the World Health Organization said measles caused nearly 110 000 deaths worldwide. Complications can mean hospitalization in up to a fourth of cases, with potential for causing brain damage, blindness and hearing loss.

MIDDAY TWEET

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an ape figuring out how to use a smartphone is the beginning of the end for us idiots pic.twitter.com/ElDrsbkrZz

— J.D. Durkin (@jiveDurkey) April 24, 2019

Emperor penguins abandon second-largest breeding site because unstable ice.

 A GAO report finds tribal consultation lacking nearly two decades after executive order issued in the matter: The Government Accountability Office reported that the feds are still failing to meet their trust and treaty obligations, as has been the case for a century and a half. GAO investigators interviewed officials of 57 tribes, more than a tenth of the tribes that are federally recognized. They found numerous, serious failures in outreach and a lack of input on infrastructure and other projects. For example, the government approved a project that disturbed a known tribal burial site in South Dakota, and agency officials considered their consultations successful even though they approved an injection well that was opposed by the tribes they consulted with.

Massachusetts officials approve state’s first offshore contracts for 800 megawatts of wind power: The deal with Vineyard Wind also requires the company to provide $15 million to help integrate battery storage in low-income communities.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Biden is in. Greg Dworkin notes that David Waldman gives this sentence no exclamation point. Miller’s the latest to deny testimony to Congress. Trump’s targeting of Hillary. Chinese influence peddling at Perv-a-Lago. More from the Mueller report.

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You want impeachment? Sure! But what does everyone else want?

We’ve been tracking impeachment with our Civiqs survey platform. Let’s look at how that has tracked over the last two years:

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Civiqs Results

Trump fixer Michael Cohen’s guilty plea did more to prod people toward impeachment than the Mueller report did. Support for impeachment among Democrats is 76-10, while opposition among Republicans is as you’d imagine—92-6. Independents have actually been pretty swingy about the whole thing:

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Civiqs Results

Want your mind blown? Check out the disparate results amongst women and men:

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Party first: Trump Federal Reserve pick will withdraw if he becomes a ‘liability’ for Republicans

Donald Trump’s ultra-controversial Federal Reserve nominee Stephen Moore says he’ll withdraw his name “if something I said or something I’ve done becomes a political problem.” Okay, first of all, IF? The man wants “no women anything” anywhere near sports and has had to disavow support of a return to the gold standard. The second, bigger issue here, though, is that as a Federal Reserve nominee, Moore is putting partisan concerns first.

“I don’t want to be a liability,” he told the Wall Street Journal. “Why should we risk a Senate seat for a Federal Reserve board person, you know? I mean that just doesn’t make any sense.” Republican Party first, in other words.

This level of partisanship is new and problematic. “You don’t want to be able to look at the person and say well, he’s going to be hawkish or dovish just dependent on who’s in power,” said the chief U.S. economist at Barclays. But that is what Donald Trump wants, obviously.

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Arizona’s 2018 Senate race offers roadmap for Democrats to retake the state legislature

Republicans have controlled the Arizona legislature for decades, but the 2018 elections illuminates the path for Democrats to majorities in each chamber. Democrat Kyrsten Sinema defeated Republican Martha McSally 50-48 in last year’s U.S. Senate race and carried 16 of the state’s 30 legislative districts, enough for narrow majorities in both chambers if Democrats can capture all of them.

Democrats last took control of the state House after the 1964 elections, even though Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater narrowly beat Democratic President Lyndon Johnson that same year. Team Blue’s last Senate majority was more recent (though still long ago), coming in 1990, though a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans ran the chamber in the early 2000s when each party controlled exactly half the chamber’s seats.

Last year, the GOP emerged with the same 17-13 Senate majority it won 2016, but the Republican edge in the House dropped from 35-25 to just 31-29. Unlike in most states, there is no lieutenant governor who could break a tie, so if Democrats can pick up just one seat in the House and/or two in the Senate, the parties would presumably once again have to develop some sort of power sharing agreement.

Arizona is divided into 30 legislative districts, and each one elects one senator and two state representatives every two years; the districts are exactly the same for both chambers. Each party can nominate up to two candidates for each House district, and voters can vote for their top two choices in the general election. The two candidates with the most votes are elected.

Sinema carried all 14 districts that Hillary Clinton won as she was losing the state to Donald Trump 49-45 in 2016 and also won two districts that went for Trump. This pair of Sinema/Trump district consists of LD-17, which includes a large part of Chandler in the Phoenix area, and LD-20, which includes parts of Phoenix and Glendale. LD-17 moved from 51-43 Trump to 50-47 Sinema, while LD-20 went from 49-45 Trump to 51-47 Sinema.

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Brothers separated at border by Trump administration are reunited after 183 days apart

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It’s not just parents and their children who have been ripped apart at the southern border by the Trump administration, nor has family separation stopped there despite Donald Trump’s executive order last summer. Last week, two brothers who were forcibly separated at the border were reunited outside a New York City foster care center after 183 days.

Twenty-one-year-old Junior has been raising his 8-year-old brother Andy for the past five years. “According to Junior,” CBS This Morning reports, “since Andy was three years old, his older brother is the only person he’s known.” Together, they traveled 1,500 miles from Honduras to the U.S./Mexico border, where they were then forcibly separated by federal immigration officials.

Junior would spend more than two agonizing weeks without any word about about what happened to Andy. Other parents have described similar waits where they weren’t told anything about their kids. When Junior was finally able to speak to him on the phone, he found out Andy had been sent to a foster care center in New York City. “He was crying,” Junior said. 

It would be six months before they would see each other again. Last Friday, Junior flew to the New York City agency with all the paperwork he needed to retrieve his little brother from the agency in hand. Just minutes passed, CBS This Morning continued, before Junior walked back out “with his arm tightly wrapped around Andy’s shoulder.” The two returned to Texas, where they continue to wait out their asylum case.

Junior and Andy haven’t been alone. The Trump administration has claimed that the children jailed at the prison camp in Homestead, Florida, are unaccompanied minors, or kids who came to the U.S. alone, but lawmakers who have visited the prison camp say they’ve met children who were also separated from families. “If they came with an uncle, an aunt, an older brother or sister, they’re not considered separated,” said Texas Rep. Sylvia Garcia. Family separation remains a crisis. 

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Democrats try, again, to get Republicans to agree to ban hacked materials from 2020 campaign

With the Trump administration clearly not intending to do much to protect the 2020 election, House Democrats are once again pushing Republicans to pledge to not use hacked materials against opponents in the 2020 election.

Rep. Cheri Bustos, chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is trying to get her Republican counterpart Rep. Tom Emmer to agree to ban the use of hacked materials. “There is no question that agents of the Russian government and other bad actors will attempt to infiltrate both the DCCC and NRCC to steal information for malicious use again in this upcoming election,” Bustos wrote to Emmer. “As the heads of two major party organizations in our nation, we have an obligation to send a clear and unified message that Democrats and Republicans reject foreign interference in our elections.”

This is the Democrats’ third go at this agreement. In 2016 and 2017, Republicans basically ignored the requests. They considered it in 2018, but didn’t follow through. Now that the Mueller report has made clear that an arm of the NRCC used hacked information from the Russian military intelligence “Guccifer 2.0” entity in a campaign, there is some heft behind the Democrats’ request. Republicans, thus far, are pooh-poohing the incident—not denying it, just saying the hacked information they used was public record, anyway.

So the Democrats’ attempt to get their counterparts to agree not to “participate, aid or encourage hackers or foreign actors” or seek out stolen information, or use hacked or stolen information, or back any campaign that uses that information seems likely to be rebuffed. Because Republicans have to cheat to win, and they know it.

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Trump calls former White House counsel Don McGahn a liar … and won’t allow him to reply

In the report from special counsel Robert Mueller, former White House counsel Don McGahn is one of the most cited witnesses. That’s because McGahn’s testimony speaks so clearly to multiple instances of obstruction. In particular, the report indicates that Trump both tried to get McGahn to have the special counsel fired:

On June 17, 2017, the President called McGahn at home and directed him to call the Acting Attorney General and say that the Special Counsel had conflicts of interest and must be removed.

The report also shows that when word that Trump had ordered McGahn to end the investigation reached the press, Trump called McGahn back to his office and ordered him to deny the first order. In fact Trump “made repeated attempts to get McGahn to change his story.” Now that the White House counsel’s testimony is out there in the public, Trump has settled on a strategy that seems like a perfect encapsulation of who Trump is, and how he believes things should work.

Trump is using both press appearances and his Twitter account to claim that the Mueller report is wrong and that “I never told then White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller, even though I had the legal right to do so.” At the same time, the Trump White House has announced it will fight a subpoena from Congress over calling McGahn to testify and to produce related documents. Trump wants to be able to state his version of “reality,” and make sure that no one else can speak or show evidence that might contradict his statement.

Trump expanded on his claim that either McGahn or the special counsel was lying by saying that “Mueller was not fired and was respectfully allowed to finish his work.” Which might sound almost reasonable, had Trump not called Mueller a “Trump hater who was highly conflicted” and called the  investigation “illegal” in that very same sentence where he said it was “respectfully allowed to finish its work.”

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Deutsche Bank begins turning over documents for New York’s probe into Trump’s business finances

Deutsche Bank has begun producing financial records subpoenaed last month by the New York attorney general related to an investigation into several Trump Organization projects, according to CNN. Attorney General Letitia James initiated a civil probe into financing related Donald Trump’s family business following testimony from his former lawyer Michael Cohen that Trump manipulated the value of his assets when trying to obtain loans from various financial institutions. Deutsche Bank has the distinction of being one of the only financial institutions that has continued lending hundreds of millions of dollars to Trump, even after he was exposed as a serial defaulter.

Now the lender is actively turning over both emails and loan documents related to four Trump Organization projects, in particular: Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC; Trump National Doral Miami; Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago; and Trump’s failed attempt to buy the NFL’s Buffalo Bills franchise.

In addition to the New York AG inquiry, the House Intelligence and Financial Services committees are also scrutinizing the bank for its role in potential money laundering schemes related to Trump’s businesses.  

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White House refuses to let Stephen Miller testify to Congress on immigration policy he’s shaped

The White House has—predictably—refused to allow Stephen Miller to testify before the House Oversight Committee. In addition to the reflex of blocking any and every request from the House now that it’s controlled by Democrats, there is a precedent that White House aides rarely testify, which White House counsel Pat Cipollone alluded to in offering to make “cabinet secretaries and other agency leaders” available.

But Miller isn’t just any White House aide. He’s dominating Cabinet secretaries and agency leaders in setting Trump administration immigration policy, as House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings alluded to in his letter asking Miller to testify. The panel wanted to hear from Miller “because it appears that you are one of the primary moving forces behind some of the most significant—and in my view, troubling—immigration policies coming out of the Trump White House,” Cummings wrote.

No kidding: Miller is a white nationalist who’s helped drive the Trump administration’s family separation policy and the recent purge of top Department of Homeland Security officials, and has pushed to have undocumented immigrants dropped off in sanctuary cities. It’s not like Donald Trump needs someone urging him to follow his worst impulses, but Miller has fulfilled that role. And the only surprising thing about Miller evading congressional oversight is that you could imagine him wanting to publicly brag and get some white nationalist messaging on television.

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