Tea Party Group Teams With ACLU, NAACP On Patriot Act

“Growing concerns about the Patriot Act’s renewal are creating strange bedfellows. The Tea Party Patriots and the ACLU are running TV ads urging Americans to “tell Congress [to] protect our privacy.” On top of that, the executive director of Iowa’s ACLU and Tea Party Patriots’ boss Jenny Beth Martin have coauthored an op-ed in the Des Moines Register on “the need for significant reforms to curtail government surveillance authorities, like some of those included in the Patriot Act.” And even the NAACP — which hasn’t always been kind to the tea party movement — is getting in on the act. Hilary O. Shelton, director of the NAACP Washington Bureau and senior vice president for policy and advocacy, coauthored an op-ed with Martin, declaring: “We want our government to stop spying on innocent Americans.” “The thinking behind these alliances is to send a message to Washington that Americans are absolutely fed up,” said Martin in an email. “When Tea Party Patriots, ACLU and NAACP can set aside their oft-adversarial history, come together, and say to Washington ‘We have a problem’…then Washington has a problem. And they’d better pay attention.” I’m not naive enough to think that this represents a long-term reordering. When push comes to shove, expect these groups to return to their respective partisan corners. But one does get the sense an increasingly populist, anti-Washington mood is afoot. And this, if only for a moment, has transcended the usual political paradigm…”



“The ACLU and the Tea Party Patriots are uniting, at least on this one topic, by teaming up on a new video ad criticizing The Patriot Act. An old trope goes that if the left and the right agree that something is bad, it must be really bad. And as far as the ACLU and the Tea Party Patriots are concerned, The Patriot Act is really bad. With a new video ad entitled “Collect Call,” the two groups that often occupy opposing positions on the political spectrum want to remind America that the U.S. government has free access to Internet services such as Skype and can access your private medical information. The Patriot Act expires on June 1, and the two groups want Americans to urge their representatives to refuse to re-authorize the act. Both groups insist that our civil rights are too often violated by The Patriot Act and want it to end…”


ACLU, tea party group aim ad at Grassley

“…The new ad the ACLU and Tea Party Patriots are airing says that the NSA has violated Americans’ privacy and cites a federal appeals court ruling this month that calls the program illegal. Ads also are running in Washington, D.C., and New Hampshire, which along with Iowa is an early voting state in the presidential nominating process. The groups didn’t say how much they were spending on the ads. Critics have argued the NSA program violates the rights of Americans…”


Tea Party Patriots, NAACP Unite to Fight Federal Snooping

“They don’t agree on much — but the tea party and NAACP are aligned on this issue: “We want our government to stop spying on innocent Americans,” officials from both groups have declared. In an op-ed commentary in the Raleigh News & Observer, Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder and national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots, and Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP Washington Bureau, write that reform of the Patriot Act is “not enough,” calling for “a broad overhaul of the government’s surveillance powers.”…”


Watch the ACLU and Tea Party’s New Anti-Patriot Act Ad

“Just how bad is the Patriot Act? If you guessed “bad enough that the ACLU and Tea Party would join forces to make an ads about how bad it is bad,” then you’d be correct. Above is “Collect Call,” a new TV spot from the ACLU and the Tea Party Patriots, reminding citizens that because of the Patriot Act, the government can watch you Skype with your favorite soldier, and also listen to your doctor tell you about the results of your latest medical test. The Patriot Act expires on June 1, and if it dies, so will the NSA’s ability to spy on Americans. This is obviously the desired outcome for both the ACLU, which wants to preserve the civil rights of citizens, as well as the Tea Party apparently, who just generally don’t like the government meddling in their business. Which is why the two groups are airing the ad in Washington, DC, as well as in New Hampshire and Iowa…”


Rand Paul ‘Filibuster': 2016 Campaign Aided By Anti-Patriot Act Speech — And Social Media

“…Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the conservative group Tea Party Patriots, said the speech would be a success if it draws attention to the growing opposition to the bulk collection of data by government. “Ending the unwarranted mass collection of data by the government is an issue that unites Americans, as evidenced by our partnership with the ACLU and the NAACP,” she said. Paul promoted his faux filibuster on Twitter, Facebook and other social platforms that are a key feature of his campaign. Those venues often connect better with younger voters. He opened a digital campaign office in Austin, Texas, to focus chiefly on his online presence…”



Obamacare Updates: Tale of Fail from Coast to Coast

“It’s time now for your monthly reminder that Obamacare neither “working in the real world,” “proving its critics wrong,” nor “blowing away expectations:” Colorado (higher taxes): “The Connect for Health Colorado board of directors voted unanimously Thursday to raise the fees it charges on health insurance policies to bolster its finances as federal grants run out later this year. The state health insurance exchange raised the fee on 2016 plans purchased through its marketplace from the current 1.4 percent of premiums to 3.5 percent, the same rate charged on the federal exchange…Although insurance carriers pay the fees to the exchange, they acknowledge fees are passed on to consumers in one form or another…The fee increases are projected to help bring revenues to about $40 million in fiscal year 2015-16. It would cover operational expenses, but not capital costs, such as improving the computer system…” Kentucky (hurting hospitals):  “While Kentucky has gained national prominence as the only Southern state to fully embrace Obamacare, its hospitals say the law has left them facing billions of dollars in cuts and forced them to lay off staff, shut down services and worry for their financial health and, in some cases, survival. The Kentucky Hospital Association outlined its concerns in a report released Friday called ‘Code Blue,’ saying payment cuts to hospitals are expected to reach nearly $7 billion through 2024. ‘Kentucky hospitals will lose more money under the Affordable Care Act than they gain in revenue from expanded coverage,’ it said, experiencing a net loss of $1 billion by 2020…Hospitals are suffering a net loss, officials said, partly because about three-quarters of newly-insured Kentuckians signed up for Medicaid, which reimburses hospitals less than it costs to treat patients.” California (lack of affordability, ‘tepid’ enrollment): “After using most of $1 billion in federal start-up money, California’s Obamacare exchange is preparing to go on a diet. That financial reality is reflected in Covered California’s proposed budget, released Wednesday, as well as a reduced forecast calling for 2016 enrollment of fewer than 1.5 million people. The recalibration comes after tepid enrollment growth for California during the second year of the Affordable Care Act. The state ended open enrollment in February with 1.4 million people signed up, far short of its goal of 1.7 million. A number of factors contributed to the shortfall, but health policy experts said that some uninsured folks still find health insurance unaffordable despite the health law’s premium subsidies.” Hawaii (abject failure): “Despite over $205 million in federal taxpayer funding, Hawaii’s Obamacare exchange website will soon shut down…According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser the Hawaii Health Connector will stop taking new enrollees on Friday and plans to begin migrating to the federally run Healthcare.gov. Outreach services will end by May 31, all technology will be transferred to the state by September 30, and its workforce will be eliminated by February 28. While the exchange has struggled since its creation, it is not for lack of funding. Since 2011 Hawaii has received a total of $205,342,270 in federal grant money from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In total, HHS provided nearly $4.5 billion to Hawaii and other state exchanges, with little federal oversight and virtually no strings attached. Despite this generous funding, the exchange has underperformed from day one. In its first year, Hawaii enrolled only 8,592 individuals…”  Hawaii joints Maryland, Massachusetts and Oregon among the states that wasted hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars on utterly failed exchanges. A reminder from Phil Kerpen:…”


Employers Coaxing Retirees To Obamacare Exchanges

“As employers look at ways to reduce health expenses, some are considering giving retirees contributions and sending them to the public exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. A new survey of large employers by Aon Hewitt (AON) shows two-thirds of companies are considering changes to their “pre-65 retiree health strategies” and 28% of them are considering eliminating retiree health coverage altogether. This escalates a trend over the last decade by major companies to cut health benefits to workers who retire before age 65 when government-funded Medicare coverage for the elderly kicks in. But a new wrinkle emerging for those companies that still provide retiree coverage is to give them a defined amount of money and refer them to the public marketplaces where uninsured individuals buy subsidized coverage under the ACA. Of those making changes to their pre-65 retiree health coverage, “35% are favoring sourcing health coverage through the public exchanges under a defined contribution approach,” Aon Hewitt says. “Health exchanges are attractive because they enable companies to take advantage of the health care efficiencies found in the individual market,” John Grosso, actuary and leader of the Aon Hewitt retiree task force said in a statement…”


Insurance coverage rates increase after rollout of Affordable Care Act

“The Affordable Care Act has led to a continued increase in insurance coverage since initiation, with an estimated 22.8 million people newly insured as of February 2015, according to recent data from the RAND Corporation. There were 5.9 million people that lost coverage during this time, correlating to a net increase of 16.9 million people with insurance. “The net increase that we observed is slightly higher than a recent estimate from the federal government, which found 14.1 million newly insured adults since 2013,” Katherine G. Carman, economist with the RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, Calif., and colleagues wrote. “Employer coverage is by far the largest source of insurance among Americans younger than age 65, and the [Affordable Care Act] creates new incentives for people to take up employer policies.” The researchers sought to assess the changes in insurance coverage after the second enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act through February 2015. Longitudinal data were pooled on insurance transitions from the RAND Health Reform Opinion Study for adults aged 18 to 64 years. The researchers observed a consistent increase in insurance coverage from November 2013 to May 2014, with the most growth occurring in April and May 2014. Between September 2013 and February 2015, Medicaid enrollment increased by 9.6 million; enrollment in Marketplace plans increased by 11.2 million; and employer-sponsored insurance plans increased by 8 million. “The Medicaid increases were driven by both people becoming newly insured and people switching from one type of insurance to another,” Carmen and colleagues wrote. “Coverage through non-group policies declined by 1.9 million and other sources by 10 million. Those losing coverage became uninsured or switched to another type of plan.” The researchers observed a decrease in the number of uninsured people from 42.7 million in September 2013 to 25.8 million in February 2015…”


When paying the Obamacare penalty is cheaper than buying insurance

“When Angela Denig couldn’t cover the costs of Obamacare health insurance this year, she made the only decision she could: She gave up on coverage, paid the fee for not being insured and hoped she wouldn’t get sick. A few months later, a health scare would put the South Florida woman’s high-stakes gamble to the test. But at the time, she said, the calculation was clear. Paying a “several hundred dollar” penalty for remaining uninsured was much cheaper than forking over a monthly insurance premium of at least $200 under the Affordable Care Act — the only insurance she qualifies for. For Denig, buying insurance for herself is way down on a list of expenses that starts with taking care of her two teenage sons. And the penalty, which is designed to exert increasing pressure on the uninsured to sign up for a plan, wasn’t high enough this year to change her priorities. The Obamacare fee is still small enough this year — $95 or 1 percent of household income in 2014, whichever is greater — to make it worthwhile for people like Denig to opt out of health coverage. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimated earlier this year that 2 to 4 percent of consumers would pay the penalty, but final numbers have not yet been released by the Internal Revenue Service. That’s likely to change, though, when the penalty nearly quadruples next year and then spikes to $695 or 2.5 percent of household income, whichever is greater, in 2016. For Denig and others, the affordability of insurance is still the key question — and the main frustration. “I feel let down and defeated,” Denig, 41, said of the high premiums she was offered and rejected. “Then they’re gonna punish me by making me pay for it?”….”


Ex-CBO chief makes case for ObamaCare subsidies

“The man who led the Congressional Budget Office when ObamaCare was being constructed said Tuesday it was the “common understanding” at the time that subsidies would be available in all states — a crucial question in a looming Supreme Court case. Doug Elmendorf, who left his post in early 2015, said the staff “always worked under the view that subsidies would be available under the federal exchange.” The challengers in King v. Burwell argue that subsidies were only made available to people who buy ObamaCare through state-run marketplaces – not the federal marketplace. But Elmendorf dismissed the idea that the Obama administration was trying to coerce states into setting up their own exchanges by restricting subsidies. “It was a common understanding on the Hill, again on both sides of the Hill, on both sides of the aisle, in late 2009 and early 2010, that subsidies would be available through the federal exchange as well as through state exchanges,” Elmendorf said in an interview at the Peterson Foundation fiscal summit. Read more here…”


The biggest problem Obamacare didn’t fix

“More Americans have health insurance. Fewer people have to worry about catastrophic medical costs. Those are notable accomplishments of the Affordable Care Act. But 31 million Americans remain “underinsured,” which means they have healthcare coverage but still face out-of-pocket medical costs that could cause serious financial stress. Like workers who are underemployed—holding a job but for less pay or fewer hours than they’d like—the plight of the underinsured is often overlooked by policymakers, employers and public health advocates; they have insurance, after all, which means they’re better off than people who don’t. Yet the problems faced by the underinsured reveal the ongoing failings of the U.S. healthcare system and explain why Americans remain frustrated with Obamacare, as the ACA is known. A new study by the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund finds that 23% of people with health coverage are underinsured. That means out-of-pocket medical costs for a middle-income family—not including insurance premiums—would be more than 10% of household income in a given year if they hit the ceiling for all out-of-pocket costs. Most people who get health insurance under the ACA qualify for subsidies that help cover the cost of premiums, and some get additional tax breaks for medical costs they actually incur. There are no government subsidies for people who get health insurance through an employer, which is still the way most non-senior adults get coverage. To control the cost of premiums, many companies that offer insurance have been raising deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs. At the same time, many workers have been choosing such high-deductible plans, as they’re called, since the premiums are usually lower. Since 2003, the percentage of people covered by private-sector plans with a deductible of $1,000 or more has risen from 8% to 38%, as this chart from the Commonwealth study shows:..”


Sarah Kliff Discovers Obamacare Stinks

“Over the past few years there has been no greater Obamacare cheerleader than Sarah Kliff of General Electric Vox. Therefore it was quite a revelation today to discover she had a change of heart and has found her formerly beloved program to be deeply flawed. Is it too harsh to claim she now thinks Obamacare stinks? Well the Vox headline on her article used the term “crummier” as in Health insurance plans are getting crummier, and these charts prove it.  So just how much crummier have the Obamacare insurance plans gotten, Sarah? Let the former Obamacare cheerleader tell us why the program flat out stinks: – See more at:..”


Hawaii Obamacare Enrolls ZERO People During Special Enrollment Period

“The numbers are in: Hawaii’s Obamacare Exchange enrolled a grand total of ZERO — yes, zero people during its special enrollment period. The Obama administration had implemented the special enrollment period from March 15 – April 30 to assist individuals who were unaware they would face a tax penalty for not having “qualifying” health insurance. In all, less than 250,000 individuals decided to enroll nationwide meaning that millions of Americans would rather pay the tax than enroll in Obamacare.  While Hawaii enrolled zero individuals and is the worst performing state, it is not alone. Vermont signed up only 97 households, while Rhode Island enrolled just 25 households. Hawaii’s dismal performance should not be surprising. The website cost taxpayers $205 million but could only enroll 8,592 individuals in year one. Cost to taxpayers per enroll: $23,899. The state legislature recently rejected a $28 million bailout for the website meaning that a contingency plan to dismantle the exchange and migrate to the federal exchange will be implemented immediately. Unfortunately, taxpayers are not off the hook yet as it is expected that moving to the federally run healthcare.gov will cost $30 million…”


Senator Cassidy’s King v. Burwell Obamacare Alternative Should Be A Winner

“Senator Bill Cassidy. MD (R-LA) has introduced the Patient Freedom Act, in anticipation of the Supreme Court deciding for the plaintiffs in King v. Burwell, the lawsuit that seeks to force the administration to obey the law by not paying tax credits to health plans operating in states using a federal health insurance exchange (i.e.healthcare.gov). Victory for the plaintiffs this summer would cause significant disruption in health insurance in the 34 to 37 states without their own exchanges because premiums for up to nine million people would increase significantly. Many would choose to drop coverage if and when they have to face paying full premium for their policies. Congress must have an alternative to Obamacare ready because President Obama will immediately propose an amendment to change the law to accord with how he is executing it. Let tax credits continue to flow through healthcare.gov and just forget the money paid since January 2014 was illegal. It would be a very simple amendment – just a few sentences. The risk of Congress panicking and simply voting for that amendment, and finally surrendering to Obamacare, is unacceptable…”


U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and James Lankford: Let’s get health-care right, give authority to the states

“Health care reform has dominated our nation’s political and social conversations for the past six years. After the implementation of ObamaCare, it is clear the law brought radical change and real pain to our nation’s families, economy, and health care system. The promised “affordable health care fix” made things worse. The pending King v. Burwell case reveals another interesting legal problem with the policy and text of the Affordable Care Act. As written, the federally controlled subsidies and employer mandates are not allowed, unless a state chooses them. Now the Supreme Court debates, behind closed doors, the question of state responsibility and textual intent to determine the direction of health care in America. The resulting Supreme Court opinion could dismantle the structure of ObamaCare and give America a second chance to get health care reform right. Ironically, the issue of state responsibility could take “Obamacare” down and lift individual citizens up. The Constitution gives states the power to regulate health care within their state and voluntarily compact with other states, but the federal government has attempted to preempt state action by assuming centralized control. What is needed is clear legislation that affirms the right of states to compact with one another to return authority for health care regulation to states that choose to participate. Interstate compacts have been used on more than 200 occasions to establish agreements between and among states. Mentioned in Article 1, Section 10 of the Constitution, state compacts provide authority and flexibility to administer government programs without federal interference. In the Compact structure, federal health care tax money and responsibility is returned to a state when they expand their existing Healthcare Authority structure. Congressional consent is extended when states enter into a legally binding compact. It is similar to a multitude of other grants made by the federal government to states and local entities…”


Rubio, GOP House members back Fla. governor in Medicaid standoff with Obama admin

“Presidential candidate Marco Rubio and other Florida Republicans urged President Obama on Wednesday to renew federal funding for health program at the center of a festering dispute between Gov. Rick Scott and the administration, which wants the state to expand Medicaid under Obamacare instead. Their letter to the president comes days after Mr. Scott, a Republican, personally asked congressional Republicans to wade into the fight. “The well-being of Florida’s low-income families will remain in jeopardy until your administration approves funding for these vital health services,” Mr. Rubio and 11 House Republicans said in their letter. Mr. Scott wants the Health and Human Services Department in Washington to renew more than $1 billion in federal funding for a program that compensates hospitals that care for the uninsured, including poor and illegal immigrants. The program is set to expire this summer, though, and the Health and Human Services says expanding Medicaid under Obamacare is a more efficient way to make sure Florida’s poorest residents can access care. Mr. Scott has sued over the perceived arm-twisting, saying it violates a 2012 Supreme Court ruling that upheld Obamacare, but also said the government couldn’t threaten to withhold funds as a cudgel to force states to expand Medicaid…”


Legal Challenges To Obamacare


The Obamacare Curse: What If, Next Month, the Republicans Finally Get What They Want?

“Last summer, two Republican-appointed federal judges ruled, against the furious dissent of the Democratic appointee, in favor of what had theretofore been viewed as an outlandish lawsuit designed to blow up Obamacare. The unexpected progress of the lawsuit, hatched by anti-Obamacare activists at a right-wing think tank, filled conservatives with sudden Schadenfreude. They had lost every previous opportunity to finish off universal health care: a 2009 vote in the House, a 2009 vote in the Senate, another 2010 House vote, and, in 2012, both a lawsuit and a presidential election. Now they had yet another chance to drive a stake through the hated centerpiece of Barack Obama’s domestic legacy. Next month, the Supreme Court will rule on King v. Burwell. If all five Republican appointees support the plaintiffs (there’s no chance any of the Democrat-appointed justices will take the lawsuit seriously), some 7 million Americans will quickly lose their insurance. The prospect that this will occur has induced a wave of panic — not among the customers at risk of losing their insurance, who seem largely unaware, nor even among Obamacare’s Democratic supporters, but among Republicans. The chaos their lawsuit would unleash might blow back in a way few Republicans had considered until recently, and now, on the eve of a possible triumph, they find themselves scrambling to contain the damage. It is dawning on the Grand Old Party that snatching health insurance away from millions of helpless victims is not quite as rewarding as expected…”


Notre Dame suit to duck Obamacare birth-control mandate denied — again

“For a second time, a federal appeals court has rejected Notre Dame University’s plea for relief from Obamacare’s mandate requiring employer health plans to cover birth control. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit said the administration’s efforts to accommodate religious nonprofits made it unreasonable for them to grant a preliminary injunction that would shield the Catholic university in South Bend, Indiana, from the rule while the institution pursued the merits of its claims. “Although Notre Dame is the final arbiter of its religious beliefs, it is for the courts to determine whether the law actually forces Notre Dame to act in a way that would violate those beliefs,” wrote Judge Richard A. Posner, a Reagan appointee, joined in a concurring opinion by Judge David Hamilton, an Obama appointee. The 2-1 decision posted late Tuesday revisited Notre Dame’s distaste for an “accommodation” the administration offered to faith-based hospitals, universities and charities that have objected to the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Under the compromise, religious nonprofits can either let their insurers or third-party administrators know that the institution objects to insuring the contraceptives, or they can write to the Health and Human Services Department to opt out. From there, insurers or third-party administrators will be responsible for managing and paying for coverage for affected employees. Many nonprofits have rejected the accommodations, saying the opt-out forms still make them complicit in offering contraceptives they object to, notably morning-after pills they equate with abortion…”


Religious nonprofits lose second court case this week over Obamacare contraception mandate


Court refuses to rehear Obamacare contraception case

Says Priests for Life must be satisfied with White House accommodation


Report: Kitzhaber scrapped state Obamacare website to save election chances


‘What the hell happened?': Boehner demands VA reform plan from Obama

“House Speaker John Boehner Wednesday called on President Obama to come up with a “long term plan” to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs, which remains plagued with problems a year after the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. “Instead of a new day at the VA, the American people are seeing more of the same,” Boehner said in a floor speech. Boehner pledged to keep giving floor speeches about the VA, “until the administration produces such a plan.” The VA’s notoriously long wait times for veterans to obtain medical care have not improved, Boehner said, and the department is still plagued with waste, fraud and abuse. “This isn’t run of the mill incompetence,” Boehner said. “It’s arrogance that allows our vets to be lied to and ignored and, frankly, to die.” Congress last year passed a VA reform bill that pumped new money into the system to improve medical care, and it included a measure that was supposed to make it easier to fire incompetent VA employees….”


Boehner: Obama VA has left veterans ‘to die’

“House Speaker John A. Boehner said Wednesday that the Obama administration hasn’t fired enough people in the wake of last year’s veterans health-care scandal, and said it’s up to the president to come up with a real plan to fix the VA. Just one person has been fired by the Department of Veterans Affairs in the wake of the scandal — though investigators found more than 100 VA facilities kept secret wait lists that left veterans struggling to get the treatment they deserved. “What the hell happened to the rest of them?” Mr. Boehner said on the floor of the House, saying the looming Memorial Day holiday should be a time for Mr. Obama to revisit the issue and get a grip on things at the struggling agency. “It’s arrogance, and it’s arrogance that allows our veterans to be lied to, ignored, and frankly, left to die.” But Mr. Boehner also was facing criticism from some lawmakers in his own party this week as Congress tries to reach an agreement with the VA to avert another work stoppage at Colorado’s VA hospital construction project, which has ballooned in cost from $400 million to more than $1.7 billion. Rep. Mike Coffman, Colorado Republican, said he was “disappointed” in Mr. Boehner for “not showing appropriate leadership” to resolve the issue. “I hope I can convince [Mr. Boehner] to understand that our veterans should not be the casualty,” he told KUSA in Denver. “I do not sense the urgency.”…”


Boehner: Little progress at VA year after Shinseki departure


CareFirst says data breach affects about 1.1M people

“Health insurer CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield says hackers gained access to a database that included the names of 1.1 million people. The Maryland-based company says the breach happened in June 2014. It says the attackers got into a database that included the names, usernames, birth dates, email addresses and subscriber ID numbers of about 1.1 million current and former members and people who did business with CareFirst. The company says the attackers did not get access to members’ passwords because those are encrypted and stored in a separate system. They also didn’t get access to Social Security numbers, medical claims, or credit cards. Hackers in December or January broke into a database belonging to health insurer Anthem that held information for about 80 million people, including names, employment details and Social Security numbers…”


1.1 million CareFirst members in D.C.-area potentially breached



Democrat Congressman: ‘Someday, There Might be More People Here Illegally Than Legally’

“Rep. Jared Polis (D.-Colo.) took to the House floor yesterday and called for “celebrating” President Barack Obama’s unilateral actions allowing illegal aliens to stay in the United States and also to decry that none of the bills being brought up in the House that day were about immigration reform. Polis said that without immigration reform, America should expect more illegal aliens. “Someday,” he said, “there might be more people here illegally than there are here legally.”…”



“Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA)— an executive amnesty program President Obama announced in November — has “key electoral implications,” the liberal Center for American Progress concludes. The Obama administration’s DAPA program would provide legal status and work permits to millions of illegal immigrant parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents. According to a new CAP analysis released Tuesday, the estimated 3.7 million illegal immigrants who might qualify for DAPA have 5.5 million U.S. citizen children who either can or will be eligible to vote. “These numbers could provide sizable contributions to the margin of victory in swing states. In Florida during the 2012 presidential election, for example, these new voters would have comprised 70 percent of the margin of victory; in North Carolina, they would have represented one-third of the margin of victory,” the CAP analysis, authored by CAP’s associate director of immigration policy Lizet Ocampo, reads. “These figures do not take into account other citizen members of “mixed-status” households that include DAPA-eligible individuals—voters who would also feel the effect of DAPA implementation,” the report adds. The report alludes to the idea that the children of illegal immigrant DAPA beneficiaries will likely vote against the Republican critics of executive amnesty. “Opponents of DAPA will likely alienate a critical and growing voting demographic within the United States while champions of the program are likely to engender significant support from these same voters,” the report reads. Ocampo’s analysis further points to the fact that the majority of these voters will part of the growing Latino and Asian voting blocs — arguing that every month nearly 69,000 Latinos and 16,000 Asian Americans become old enough to vote or 4 million new potential voters from 2012-2016…”


Feds accuse man of assaulting immigration enforcement agent

“Federal prosecutors have accused a Mexican man living illegally in the United States of assaulting an immigration enforcement agent who arrested him for deportation. A criminal complaint filed Tuesday in federal court in Kansas accuses Emmanuel Rodriguez-Torres of assaulting a federal officer involving physical contact. Prosecutors allege he tried to kick the agent in the head and face. He is also accused of twice spitting on the officer’s face and clothing. No defense attorney is listed for Rodriguez-Torres in court records. The case stems from a May 6 incident during which agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement went to Great Bend to arrest him. A court filing says Rodriguez-Torres had been previously convicted of violent offenses such as assault and battery and was therefore eligible for immigration removal…”


Lawyer Says Immigration Military Recruitment Legislation Unnecessary

“A defense budget amendment intended to open the military up to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as minor children may have died by a House vote last week, but a veteran immigration attorney said legislation is unnecessary because the Defense Department already has that authority. “The President already has statutory authority to let them enlist, or more precisely, his service secretaries have the authority,” Margaret Stock told Military.com in a May 18 email. Stock, an Army Reserve lieutenant colonel who has taught at West Point and is a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, called the failed amendment to the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act a “symbolic effort.” Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Arizona, drafted the amendment that would have directed Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to review the effect to military readiness of opening enlistments up to undocumented immigrants now staying in the U.S. under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive orders. These immigrants are typically referred to as DREAMers – from the acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, proposed legislation to give the foreign-born but American raised men and women a path to citizenship. Under Obama’s 2012 and 2014 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – DACA – orders, these individuals were granted renewable work permits and exemption from deportation. Gallego’s amendment went to the House floor after being passed out of the House Armed Services Committee with bipartisan support. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colorado, who tried unsuccessfully last year to pass legislation enabling undocumented youth to join the military as a path to citizenship, was among committee lawmakers who supported Gallego’s amendment. “There is no higher expression of citizenship than serving your nation in uniform. I am fighting every day to give DREAMers the same chance I had to serve this country,” Coffman said at the time…”


White House Seeks to End Immigration Enforcement by Police

“The Obama administration is preparing to give illegal aliens a free pass when it comes to getting busted by local law enforcement for violating immigration laws. In a 100-page report, the Obama-appointed Task Force on 21st Century Policing has recommended that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “Decouple federal immigration enforcement from routine local policing for civil enforcement and nonserious crime. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security should terminate the use of the state and local criminal justice system, including through detention, notification, and transfer requests, to enforce civil immigration laws against civil and nonserious criminal offenders.”  Instead of arresting and detaining undocumented immigrants for crossing the border illegally, the report advises, “Law enforcement agencies should build relationships based on trust with immigrant communities. This is central to overall public safety.” The report also recommends that “Law enforcement agencies should ensure reasonable and equitable language access for all persons who have encounters with police or who enter the criminal justice system,” and “The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) should not include civil immigration information in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database.”…”


Republicans Continue to Lurch Right on Immigration

“Staring at startling exit polls after a beating by President Obama in 2012, Republicans vowed they were finally ready to do something about immigration reform or risk further alienating Hispanic voters. But two-and-a-half years later they have seem to have decided to lurch to the right on the issue. In interviews on Fox News this week, three Republican White House hopefuls did their best to assure potential primary voters that “amnesty” would not happen on their watch. On Monday, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey told Megyn Kelly that a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants was an “extreme way to go” and explained why he has changed his view on the issue. “I think I have learned over time about this issue and done a lot more work on it,” Mr. Christie said. “I think everyone has to do what you need to do to be able to get educated on these issues and learn.” Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin also defended his new and harder line on immigration to Fox’s Bret Baier. In 2013, Mr. Walker said that a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants “makes sense” and that he wants people from anywhere in the world to come to America and work hard. However, on Tuesday night he said that he was against amnesty and that illegal immigrants who live in the United States must go back to their countries of origin and apply for citizenship if they want legal status…”


Immigration Advocates Mark Day DAPA Would Have Opened

“The truth is that millions of people are being punished,” one Democratic lawmaker says.

“A day immigration advocates thought would be a time for celebration instead was filled with concern because of stalled Obama administration programs that would have been open for application Tuesday. “Today is actually a sad day when it should have been a day of joy for many of our immigrant families in this country,” Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., said at a news conference held by House Democrats to support the blocked programs. The new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, announced by President Barack Obama in November 2014, was put on hold in February after a federal judge in Texas issued a temporary injunction. So, too, was the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which was scheduled to go into effect three months ago…”


Immigration Reform 2015: On Day Obama Executive Actions Would Have Begun, Democratic Mayors Hold Forums To Support Illegal Immigrants

“Local officials who support President Barack Obama’s immigration moves said Tuesday they would help undocumented immigrants prepare for the process — currently blocked by the courts — to eventually get work permits and other rights. Their announcement marked the day the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program was to begin taking applications. A federal judge halted the program in February, after states challenged the president’s actions.  Cities United for Immigration Action, a coalition of municipal governments that support Obama’s executive orders, announced Tuesday the application drive, as well as several “days of action” in locations around the U.S., including New York City, Boston, Denver and Los Angeles. Immigrant families, laborers and their allies were also expected write letters to federal magistrates urging them to let Obama’s program take effect. Obama’s executive actions, announced last year but blocked by a federal district judge in February, would have granted relief from deportation and extended work permits to an estimated 5 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. A decision on a challenge to the program by more than half of the states, which was argued before the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans in April, is expected to come down at any time. More than 70 pro-immigration reform cities and counties in Cities United filed a friend-of-the-court brief in April, calling for the executive actions to be implemented. Even after the program was halted, many advocates continued to stress that eligible undocumented immigrants — those whose children were born in the U.S. or who didn’t qualify for a previous deportation relief program — gather the documentation needed for the application process…”


Immigration News Today: Latinos, Immigrant Rights Advocates Observe DAPA’s Original Implementation Date


Newswire : Luis Gutierrez talks immigration reform, presses fight for Undocumented


As Floridians Are Displaced, Rubio Demands More Foreign Workers

“Republican senator and presidential candidate Marco Rubio is backing a bill that would triple the number of guest workers businesses could hire every year, after hundreds of workers in his state were fired and literally replaced by foreign guest workers. Disney, Southern California Edison and most recently Fossil Group have together fired hundreds of American tech workers and forced them to train their foreign replacements, many of whom were flown in specifically to take their job. “You had me here one day, and the next day you had an Indian worker at a lower skill level sitting at my desk,” one of the hundreds of tech workers who Disney recently fired told The Daily Caller News Foundation. He and hundreds of his fellow “Cast Members” were informed last October they were being replaced by a foreign work force, and they could either stick around for 90 days and train their replacements — with a good attitude — or leave immediately and forego their severance packages. About a month before Disney broke the news, this worker got the very highest rating you can get from management in a performance review, received a raise and was told to expect a promotion. And just a week or two before the announcement, Disney announced record-breaking profits for the company. So when he was called in to that October meeting he was expecting some sort of promotion or pat on the back. Instead, he and the few dozen other highly regarded, knowledgable and experienced employees called into the meeting were told they had 90 days to find employment elsewhere. “Twenty years of hard work, technical skill building, fostering relationships, a bachelor’s degree in IT, guided me to a coveted position as an IT engineer at Disney,” he told TheDCNF, speaking on condition of anonymity, because he’s waiting on legal advice. “And that was just wiped out.”…”


Colorado to expand immigrant driver’s license tests

“Colorado is again taking appointments to test drivers for licenses regardless of their immigration status. The resumption of appointments will begin next Tuesday, with tests to begin June 1. The state Department of Motor Vehicles made the announcement Wednesday after getting a compromise level of funding to do the tests. The agency initially asked for $166,000 to keep open five offices that handle the licenses, and potentially expand the program. Lawmakers readjusted the request to $66,000, allowing for three offices to be open. The offices are in Colorado Springs, Denver and Grand Junction. State officials had only one such office available to immigrants since February because lawmakers were gridlocked on the funding request…”



“Thirty-seven MS-13 gang members have been indicted in Charlotte, North Carolina on numerous offenses including murder and attempted murder, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina announced Wednesday. Wednesday morning, a law enforcement dragnet rounded up 16 of the alleged gang members. While five remain “at large” the remaining 16 are in state custody. “As outlined in today’s indictment, the alleged MS-13 gang members have committed numerous violent crimes, including armed robberies, assaults, and murders, for the benefit of the criminal enterprise,” Jill Westmoreland Rose, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, said in a statement. “Today’s charges send a clear message to gangsters who think their gang affiliation puts them beyond the law’s reach.” While all 37 alleged gang members have been indicted on racketeering conspiracy charges, 22 of them are charged with additional crimes including those violent felonies Rose indicated. As the U.S. Attorney’s Office detailed, MS-13 is a criminal gang organization that originated in Los Angeles with membership largely comprised of immigrants and decedents of immigrants from Central America. “Transnational criminal gangs like MS-13 inflict untold damage in our communities by engaging in violence and trafficking in drugs, weapons and even human beings,” Special Agent in Charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Atlanta Ryan L. Spradlin added. “This lengthy investigation has uncovered alleged crimes ranging from petty drug deals to capital murder. There is no doubt that North Carolina communities will be safer as a result of these arrests.”…”




Zombie Immigration Programs

“No, not the immigration of zombies – I mean programs, in this case “temporary” amnesties, that never die. Today is the last day for illegal aliens and legal visitors from Liberia to register for Temporary Protected Status. Congress created TPS in 1990 to allow the executive to suspend deportations of (and grant work permits to) illegal aliens from countries where there’s been a natural disaster or civil strife. I’ve written frequently about the bogus nature of TPS (here and here, for instance), but always regarding the fact that while the status isn’t technically permanent, like a green card, it’s nonetheless renewed indefinitely, long after the home-country emergency has passed. An earlier crop of Liberian illegals, for instance, was granted a “temporary” amnesty in 1991 – and they’re still here. There are currently eleven countries whose illegals are enjoying a TPS amnesty; the list is on the left side of this page. None of those people – not one – will ever be made to return home because his “temporary” amnesty expired. I’m comfortable with such a categorical statement because it’s never happened to anyone – ever. Bu this latest case is a little different. The administration announced in November it would grant a TPS amnesty to illegals from Liberia (and Guinea and Sierra Leone, though their numbers are much smaller) because of the Ebola epidemic. It’s the registration for that amnesty that ends today…”


Scott Walker Redefines the ‘Flip-Flop’

“Wisconsin governor Scott Walker told Fox News’s Bret Baier

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