Monday, February 8, 2016

OBAMA-CLINTONOMICS AND SOARING POVERTY IN AMERICA: Report: Low-income households are low priority in US budget

Report: Low-income households are low priority in US budget

Report: Low-income households are low priority in US budget

By Brad Dixon
6 February 2016
According to a January 27 report by the Center on Budget Policy Priorities (CBPP), the 2016 appropriations legislation enacted by Congress in December includes funding increases for non-defense programs, but the increases for social programs that benefit low or moderate income households are substantially smaller than in other areas.

Eleven subcommittees are in charge of allocating funding to non-defense programs. Two subcommittees handle the appropriations: (1) the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education; and (2) the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

These two subcommittees handle more than 80 percent of the appropriations for programs that benefit low-income groups, but saw a mere 3.6 percent growth in funding, less than seven of the other subcommittees.

By contrast, the nine other subcommittees saw increases averaging 6.9 percent.

BLOG: UNDER OBAMA ECONOMIC INEQUALITY HAS SOARED FOUR TIMES GREATER THAN UNDER BUSH.

TWO-THIRDS OF ALL JOBS HAVE GONE TO IMMIGRANTS, BOTH LEGAL AND ILLEGAL.

As a result, social programs benefiting low-income households continue to lack adequate funding in the midst of growing economic inequality, high rates of unemployment and stagnant or declining wages.

For example, due to cuts to HUD funding, only about 25 percent of eligible families receive low-income rental assistance. As a result of the sequestration budgetary measures implemented in 2011, state and local housing agencies cut the number of families receiving housing vouchers by about 100,000. While roughly a third of these were restored between 2014 and 2015, the final appropriations package only managed to restore a further 8,000 vouchers (earmarked for homeless veterans).

And while the president requested $295 million to fund 25,000 new housing units for people with disabilities, the final bill only included $38 million aimed at reducing youth homelessness.
The low levels of funding appropriated to the Departments of Labor, Education and HHS means that funding for education for disadvantaged students was increased by only 3.1 percent (leaving the program at 10 percent below its funding level in 2010), while grants for job training grew by a mere 3.3 percent (18 percent below the 2010 figure).

Dramatic budget cuts were imposed by the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011, which has governed appropriations for the past five years and placed caps on funding through 2021. It also imposed a “sequestration” mechanism that substantially lowered caps in the event that legislators failed to agree on deficit-reduction measures.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, enacted by Congress in December, raised the appropriation caps set by the BCA for 2016 and 2017. The 2015 Act also increased appropriations for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), which is used to pay for the wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan and is funded outside of the BCA caps.

The structure and priorities of the latest budget reflect the irrationality of the capitalist system. While social infrastructure crumbles in the US—seen most vividly in the widespread lead toxicity in the drinking water of Flint and other American cities—and vast sections of the population face poverty, homelessness and unemployment, the ruling class spends astounding sums on weapons and other means of destruction to support its endless wars abroad, maintain the unchallenged superiority of its armed forces, and conduct military provocations that threaten the outbreak of nuclear war.

OBAMA TELLS INVADING ILLEGALS: "The white folk are easy to loot. Just call it "Hope & Change" - Look what I did for my crony banksters!"

Another Surge of Illegal Immigrants along the Southwest Border: Is This the Obama Administration's New Normal?
Statement of Jessica Vaughan
House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, February 4, 2016

Video and transcript: http://www.cis.org/Testimony/vaughan-another-surge-southwest-border

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2.
Immigration Policy Debate Questions
CIS Video, February 2016
http://www.cis.org/2016-Presidental-Election-Debate-Questions

Details: All too often the video questions approved by presidential debate moderators fail to address immigration from the perspective of the American people. Tough immigration topics get ignored and the same tired questions get repeated. The video questions below are presented by the Center for Immigration Studies with the hope that they will raise issues not yet adequately addressed by the 2016 presidential candidates.

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3.
Sanctuary Cities, Counties, and States: Five New Sanctuaries in Kentucky
By Bryan Griffith, Jessica Vaughan, and Marguerite Telford
CIS Map, January 31, 2016
http://cis.org/Sanctuary-Cities-Map

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4.
The Demographic, Economic, and Fiscal Impact of Immigration
By Steven Camarota
CIS Presentation, February 2, 2016

Excerpt: Below is a PowerPoint presentation I used at an event in New York City last week organized by Impact New York. The presentation deals with the demographic, economic, and fiscal impact of immigration. As I get a lot of questions about these topics, I though this PowerPoint might be a useful overview. Anyone who wishes to do so may download it and distribute it, with attribution.

PowerPoint: http://cis.org/camarota/demographic-economic-and-fiscal-impact-immigration

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5.
Obama, Immigration, and 'Electoral Caudillismo'
By Mark Krikorian
Inter American-Dialogue, February 3, 2016
http://www.cis.org/krikorian/obama-immigration-and-electoral-caudillismo

Excerpt: At issue is not the president's authority to set priorities for deportation. It's not likely he will deport many of the people in question anyway; deportations from the interior have dropped by more than two-thirds since 2011. And the much-lamented "raids" on Central American families have resulted in a mere 77 removals so far.

Rather, the key issue is whether the Constitution's requirement that a president "take care that the laws be faithfully executed" has any meaning, or whether he can simply ignore laws he dislikes. This will be important for U.S. immigration policy, of course. If the Supreme Court were to back Obama, future immigration decisions would become much more integrated into foreign policy, with the president having the freedom to admit (through something called "parole") or legalize essentially anyone he wants, without the need to consult the people's elected representatives.

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6.
The Ideological Divide on Immigration: Prevention vs. Protection
By Jerry Kammer
CIS Blog, February 7, 2016
http://cis.org/kammer/ideological-divide-prevention-vs-protection

Excerpt: I've been writing about border issues for 30 years. I don't think I've ever seen a clearer demonstration of the ideological chasm between Republicans and Democrats on border issues than Thursday's House immigration subcommittee hearing on the surge of Central Americans across the Southwest border.

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7.
Visa Interviews Finally Required for Jamaican H-2A Guestworkers
By David North
CIS Blog, February 5, 2016
http://www.cis.org/north/visa-interviews-finally-required-jamaican-h-2a-temporary-workers

Excerpt: The screening before they got on the plane (in Jamaica) started with the Caribbean version of a Tammany Hall process. For years, and maybe still, newcomers to the H-2A program had to get the approval of their members of parliament before they could be interviewed by the representatives of the employers. Returning workers who had pleased their U.S. employers did not go through that routine.

Yesterday the Departments of Homeland Security and State announced that from now on:Certain Caribbean residents seeking to come to the United States as H-2A agricultural workers will be required to have both a valid passport and a visa.
. . .
Although the new regulation nominally applies to many of the Caribbean islands, including those run by the French and the Dutch, the real impact will be on Jamaican workers. I have been told that the East Coast apple industry fought the change tooth and nail.

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8.
By Dan Cadman
CIS Blog, February 5, 2016
http://www.cis.org/cadman/underground-railroads-fugitive-slave-laws-and-deportation

Excerpt: The deeply disturbing series of events leading to lead contamination of public water sources in Flint, Mich., has been a major source of news in recent weeks.

The story took an odd turn when it was raised by Maria Hinojosa, NPR voice and host of the MSNBC show "Latino USA". Hinojosa alleged that illegal aliens in Flint were not availing themselves of untainted water resources available to them because they were not opening the door, in fear of raids by federal agents. I know of no empirical data to support the assertion. She apparently believes the basis for this is the recent announcement by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson that there would be targeted operations against aliens who have been ordered deported, but refused to report for removal, choosing instead to abscond.

But linking such operations to nationwide fear is absurd, given both their limited scope and the results to date: 121 apprehensions total, out of a potential of tens of thousands, even among the limited announced targets and many of those immediately received stays of removal from the Board of Immigration Appeals. There is every reason to think, in fact, that the so-called raids were a political exercise (see here and here ). To suggest a panic has ensued among the 11 or 12 million aliens illegally present as the result of these raids is either to seriously underestimate their intellect and political savvy, or to engage in bombast and bloviation sufficient to fill a zeppelin, or both.

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9.
"Mexico Is a Safe Place"
By Kausha Luna
CIS Blog, February 4, 2016
http://www.cis.org/luna/mexico-safe-place

Excerpt: During her visit to Arizona on Wednesday, Mexico's Minister of Foreign Affairs assured that Mexico is a safe place.

Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu said, "All countries issue [travel] warnings...These alerts reflect situations in small geographical areas." At the beginning of this month the U.S. State Department issued travel warnings for some cities and tourist locations in Mexico. Massieu reiterated that Mexico was a safe place for investment and visitors. Massieu emphasized, "The fact that each year more U.S. citizens visit us shows that Mexico is a safe place."

The Foreign Minister's statements raise several questions. If Mexico is safe enough for foreign investment and American citizens, is it not safe enough for Mexican citizens? The immigration narrative in the United States has been predicated on the reasoning that immigrants are fleeing from violence, and as such they should be welcomed with open arms. But, as Mexico's Minister of Foreign Affairs suggests, these situations are concentrated in small geographical areas. If this is the case, why do Mexicans not migrate to safer areas in Mexico rather than immigrating to the United States? The answer lies in the administration's grossly generous immigration policies. As witnesses explained during today's U.S. House Judiciary Committee Hearing, illegal aliens choose to come to the United States because they know they will be allowed to stay and receive benefits.

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10.
Chinese Governments and EB-5 Projects What the Witness Did Not Report
By David North
CIS Blog, February 4, 2016
http://www.cis.org/north/chinese-governments-and-eb-5-projects-what-witness-did-not-report

Excerpt: In my recent blogpost about Tuesday's Senate hearing on the EB-5 program, I reported that the DHS official in charge of the program, Nicholas Colucci, did not give a substantive response to a question from the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), about the involvement of Chinese governments in EB-5 projects in the United States.

More specifically Grassley asked (approximately), "Can you tell me that no Chinese government owns a regional center?"

There are more than 700 regional centers, all DHS-licensed and mostly for-profit entities, that play the middleman role between foreign investors and U.S. developers.
. . .
This strongly suggests municipal ownership; private corporations, at least in this country, are unlikely to have an address in a city hall. Is the USCIS staff so dense that they did not shoot a memo up the chain of command when they first noticed this, you will pardon the expression, red flag? One would hope not.

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11.
MPI Cheerleads for the Obama Administration's Enforcement Record
By Stanley Renshon
CIS Blog, Frebruary 4, 2016
http://www.cis.org/renshon/mpi-cheerleads-obama-administrations-enforcement-record

Excerpt: An institution's point of view is one thing, an individual's receptivity to facts and perspectives that lie outside of it is another. Some individuals are, for policy-analysis purposes, indistinguishable from their organizations. So, if you want the "good news" about the beneficial effects of high levels of immigration, you can always find it here, or here. Those looking for less cheerleading and more analysis will have to go elsewhere.

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12.
Fighting Human Trafficking Abroad, But Not at Home
By Dan Cadman
CIS Blog, February 3, 2016
http://www.cis.org/cadman/house-acts-modest-foreign-anti-trafficking-bill

Excerpt: On February 1, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 400, the "Trafficking Prevention in Foreign Affairs Contracting Act", which will go next to the Senate for consideration.

It is modest in scope, requiring the Department of State (DOS) and Agency for International Development (AID) to report to the Congress within 180 days of enactment on their respective efforts to define contractor recruiting fees, and explain how they will enforce provisions that prohibit the levying of such fees. The fees refer to amounts paid by employees of DOS and AID contractors to obtain their jobs often through shady middle-man recruiting agencies.
. . .
What is disturbing is that Congress finds the will to act in protecting vulnerable workers from developing countries abroad (many of whom will continue to be extremely vulnerable outside the purview of U.S. contract jobs, especially in Middle Eastern countries whose cultural sensitivities are different than ours, to put it delicately), yet has no courage to act on what is, essentially, a government-sanctioned pipeline of smuggled and trafficked aliens surging our borders who are promptly released for resettlement, or placed with putative family members some of whom have proven to be nothing of the sort, but are instead the same morally reprehensible types of contractors and recruiters that the GAO singled out. (See here and here.)

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13.
EB-5 Chief Gets a Gentle Grilling on EB-5 Problems
By David North
CIS Blog, February 2, 2016
http://www.cis.org/north/eb-5-chief-gets-gentle-grilling-eb-5-problems

Excerpt: Nicholas Colucci, the DHS official in charge of the EB-5 program within USCIS, got a sustained, fact-based, but courteous, grilling for two hours earlier today as he sought to defend the administration's handling of the controversial immigrant investor program at a hearing before the full Senate Judiciary Committee.
. . .
Much of the conversation was about the "targeted employment areas", sets of census tracts that are supposed to have at least 150 percent of the nation's unemployment rate, but that are often ungainly territories that string together a Fifth Avenue site with a distant slum. EB-5 funds are supposed to be spent in depressed areas, such as properly selected TEAs. His response was that his agency's regulations gave the states total control of this economic mapping. No one asked: "Why hasn't your agency repealed that regulation?"

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14.
It's Tax Refund Time for Illegal Aliens
By David North
CIS Blog, February 2, 2016
http://www.cis.org/north/its-tax-refund-time-illegal-aliens

Excerpt: That is also true for the semi-illegals covered (for the moment) by the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. (On the other hand, these illegals and semi-illegals cannot legitimately be covered by the insurance, though some must be beating that system.)

But the big attraction for filing early is not the new Obamacare tax break, which simply reduces the amount owed, it is the Old Faithful of tax breaks that illegal aliens can access: the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC). Illegals filing their income taxes can claim the ACTC if they have (or claim to have) children in the United States. This tax credit, unlike virtually all others, can result in a negative income tax payment. That means that no taxes will be collected from the individual, but he or she will get a check in the mail for all taxes withheld plus a bonus for the credit, as my colleague Jim Edwards has reported in the past.

The ACTC is well worth filing for; it can be as high as $1,000 per child claimed and proving the existence of a child is all too easy, with an ID number issued all too casually by the IRS, as we reported a couple of years ago. This is now called the TIN (tax identification number) and, in the immediate past at least, it was issued in such a sloppy way that the process was roundly criticized by the inspector general of taxation for the Department of the Treasury.

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15.
Visa Overstays: A Lesson in Flexible Facts and Pliable Media
By Dan Cadman
CIS Blog, February 2, 2016
http://www.cis.org/cadman/visa-overstays-lesson-flexible-facts-and-pliable-media

Excerpt: On January 20, the New York Times carried this story: "Few Foreign Visitors to U.S. Overstay Visa, Federal Report Says". It states that "A little more than 1 percent of the nearly 45 million foreign visitors to the United States overstayed their work or tourist visas last year, according to a long-awaited report by the Department of Homeland Security."

Great news! Or is it? Let me "do the sums here", as they say. Wait a minute. That's about half a million people added to the illegal alien population in just a year's time.

Since when does the word "few" appropriately apply to such a huge number? Not in any rational universe, but this is, after all, the New York Times, whose objectivity flies out the window on virtually any subject touching upon immigration. (One suspects that when Ted Cruz controversially referred to "New York values", this is the kind of thing he was describing. Perhaps he should have simply said "New York Times values" or "Mayor Bill De Blasio values" or even "Michael Bloomberg values" and avoided disparaging the entire city.)

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16.
Australia Ranks the Risks of Foreign Student Applicants by Nation of Origin
By David North
CIS Blog, February 2, 2016
http://www.cis.org/north/australia-ranks-risks-foreign-student-applicants-nation-origin

Excerpt: Australia, like the United States, is a high-income country, and is not a police state. The international student population in both countries is drawn largely from low-income nations. So Australia faces the same problems that we do with many foreign students wanting to stay beyond their allotted time, except that the numbers there are proportionately much larger than they are here.

Australia has created and published a ranking system to sort out all student applicants into three categories: 1, low risk; 2, medium risk; and 3, high risk, based on their country of origin, with the risk being that the student will not leave the country when the visa expires.

Australia then applies these risk assessments to six different types of schools: English instruction, K-12, vocational, undergraduate study for a degree, graduate study for an advanced degree, and non-degree programs. Since Australia is working with 164 nations, and each nation has six rankings, this produces a matrix with a total of 984 boxes, but they have a software program that individualizes this easily for individual applicants.

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17.
House Appropriations Boss Initiates Crackdown on Sanctuaries
By Jessica Vaughan
CIS Blog, February 1, 2016
http://www.cis.org/vaughan/house-appropriations-sanctuaries

Excerpt: Today the chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee in charge of funding the Department of Justice, John Culberson (R-Texas), put the Obama administration on notice that it must take steps to rein in sanctuary jurisdictions or risk problems getting approval for its own budget requests. In addition, Culberson announced that he will begin requiring local jurisdictions to follow federal law and stop obstructing communication with immigration agencies as a condition for receiving certain federal law enforcement funding.

In a sternly worded letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Culberson said that he has a responsibility to ensure that state and local law enforcement agencies are following federal law before they can get federal grants. He said that sanctuary policies restricting communication between local and federal officials are a clear violation of Section 1373 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Among the jurisdictions that have imposed such policies are San Francisco, Cook County, Ill., and New York City. In addition to prohibiting local officers from communicating with immigration authorities, these jurisdictions bar federal officers from coming into jails to interview or arrest deportable criminals.
. . .
Culberson warned that if the administration stubbornly continues to tolerate sanctuaries, he will find it hard to look favorably on any spending requests from DOJ in the coming appropriations season: "I hope the attorney general will do the right thing here so that I am not compelled to object to relevant portions of the Department's spending plan and reprogramming requests. Any refusal by the Department to comply with these reasonable and timely requests will factor heavily in my consideration of their 2017 budget requests."

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18.
An Update on a Small Educational Entity
By David North
CIS Blog, January 30, 2016
http://www.cis.org/north/update-small-educational-entity

Excerpt: The link was to our 2014 posting, "Should a School with a Financial Statement Like This Be Authorized to Teach Accounting to Foreign Students?". I could not find "the prove from ACICS", but that entity's website shows the accreditation.

In that post, we pointed out that the chief executive of ACCT had signed off on a financial report, filed with the Commonwealth of Virginia, that managed to spell the word "interest" four different ways in the course of five lines of type and included some highly puzzling financial reporting.

More than half a year passed after our blog was published before the accreditation was secured, and another nine months passed before ACCT called it to our attention. For the record, it now has accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). Accreditation by this organization has also been extended to, among others, three institutions (not apparently connected to ACCT) that have been in the news recently.

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THE ASSAULT ON THE AMERICAN MIDDLE CLASS: Job losses mount in US steel and aluminum industries

Job losses mount in US steel and aluminum industries

HILLARY'S POPULIST PERFORMANCE SUCKING UP TO THE VICTIMS OF FLINT - Hillary Clinton covers for Obama and Democrats in Flint water crisis


"For years, Hillary Clinton sat on the board of Walmart who was targeted in the largest gender-discrimination class-action lawsuit in US history.  She fought against an increase in the minimum wage in Haiti where thousands of poor Haitian women work in Levis, Hanes and Fruit of the Loom factories.  And she actively lobbied for support of DOMA which set LBGT rights back by 7 years until the Supreme Court reversed the law in 2005." 


OBAMA-CLINTONOMICS: CAN AMERICAN SURVIVE THE MASSIVE TRANSFER OF THE ECONOMY TO THEIR CRONIES?


"The Obama administration, which Hillary Clinton served for four years as Secretary of State, has accelerated the growth of social inequality
through bank bailouts and cuts to social spending."



Hillary Clinton covers for Obama and Democrats in Flint water crisis


Hillary Clinton covers for Obama and Democrats in Flint water crisis

By Shannon Jones


8 February 2016
The visit by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to
Flint, Michigan on Sunday was an effort at damage control aimed at covering up the criminal role of the Democratic Party in the lead
poisoning disaster and cynically using the tragedy confronting residents to boost her own campaign.

Speaking at the House of Prayer Missionary Baptist Church, which has a
mostly black congregation, on the North side of Flint, Clinton sought
to gloss over the culpability of local and state Democratic party
officials in the Flint water crisis, while strongly implying that the
poisoning of Flint residents was a racial, not a class issue.

Despite her professions of outrage, Clinton only raised the issue of
lead poisoning after it became an issue in the US and global press in
January. Her visit to Flint, only days before the New Hampshire primary, where polls have her trailing US Senator Bernie Sanders, is atransparent attempt to shore up her flagging poll numbers by using local residents as a backdrop.

The stopover in Flint was little more than a photo-op. After a
15-minute speech the Democratic candidate was hustled out of the city
along with her sizeable press and Secret Service entourage.

In her remarks Clinton touted a paltry $200 million in federal aid
proposed for the city of Flint via legislation sponsored by
Congressional Democrats. This is $400 million less than the inadequate
$600 million in federal emergency relief proposed earlier by Democrats
in an amendment to an energy bill pending before Congress. Conservative
estimates of the cost of replacing Flint’s antiquated lead pipes range
up to $1.5 billion. This does not include a price tag on the
incalculable cost to the health of Flint residents, whose children have
been permanently scarred by exposure to lead-tainted water.

Clinton’s proposal is slightly more than the reported $153 million in speaking fees she and former president Bill Clinton have pocketed since leaving the White House in 2001.

Underscoring the unserious nature of Clinton’s professions of
sympathy for Flint residents, the Democratic aid proposal does not even
match the $1 billion spending package to replace lead pipes in Flint
advanced by Republican Congresswoman Candice Miller.

Viewed from another perspective, the amount of aid Clinton cited for
Flint is little more than the cost of a single F-35 fighter jet. The
policy of both Clinton and Obama is clear: unlimited funds when it comes
to bombing Iraq and Syria, but no money to address the life-or-death
social ills facing working people.

Speaking at a black church, Clinton declared, “if what was happening
in Flint had been happening in” the mostly white Detroit suburbs of
“Grosse Pointe or Bloomfield Hills, we all know we would have had a
solution yesterday.”

The attempt to portray the crisis in Flint as a racial issue is
absurd, given the fact that nearly half the population of Flint is
white. Meanwhile the majority of the largely-Democratic local elected
and appointed officials who presided over the disaster are
African-American.

While the Republican administration of Governor Rick Snyder and
Democrats attempt to shift blame for the crisis, Flint residents
continue to confront elevated levels of lead in their drinking water. To
date, not a single lead pipe in the working class city of 100,000 has
been replaced in the aftermath of the crisis.

The response of the Obama administration to the Flint crisis recalls
the notorious indifference shown by the George Bush administration in
the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. In the
aftermath of the storm that killed 1,800, Bush, abetted by the
Democrats, rejected any serious efforts to rebuild devastated New
Orleans and Gulf Coast cities, leaving the area to rot.

Now, in the wake of Flint, a man-made disaster, the response of all
levels of government is essentially the same. The message of Clinton was
unmistakable: residents of Flint are on their own.

This was expressed in Clinton’s praise of inmates at the Ionia state
prison who volunteered to donate one-third of their meager $10 monthly
stipend to aid the citizens of Flint. Instead of a multibillion federal
public works effort to rebuild Flint’s infrastructure, Clinton touts
donations from prisoners.

Her only other concrete proposal to help Flint was to send AmeriCorps
volunteers to the city. This is a slap in the face to Flint parents,
whose children will need, not untrained volunteers, but rather highly
qualified professionals to deal with the debilitating effects of lead
poisoning.

Clinton absurdly attempted to portray Michigan Democrats as champions
of the people of Flint. She declared, “I thank the elected officials
who are here and I appreciate greatly the work they are doing at the
city, the county and the federal level. I had the opportunity to be with
your friend [Senator] Debbie Stabenow who is working hard with your
friends Senator Gary Peters and the Congressmen Kildee, Levin and others
who are trying to get support and help from the federal government.”
She recited the names of the Michigan Democratic Congressional
delegation in the same breath as that of professor Marc Edwards of
Virginia Tech, who was one of the first to expose lead in the water of
Flint, and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician who raised the alarm
about the lead poisoning of Flint children.

While Edwards and Hanna-Attisha showed genuine perseverance and
courage, Michigan Democrats can make no such claim. The emergency
manager of Flint, Darnell Earley, who oversaw the switch of the water
supply of Flint from Detroit to the polluted Flint river, was a
Democrat, as was the mayor of Flint at the time. Indeed, the Flint mayor
and Democratic city council toasted the criminal decision to send
highly corrosive Flint River water into the homes of the city’s
residents.

As for the Michigan Democratic Congressional delegation, including US
Representative from Flint Dan Kildee, no one paid heed to the
complaints of Flint residents until after the exposure by Marc Edwards.

Just as criminal as the role of the Snyder administration were the
actions of Obama-appointed officials in the federal Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA). The top EPA official for Michigan, Susan
Hedman, silenced a lower-ranking employee who tried to raise warnings
about lead in Flint’s drinking water. Instead Hedman colluded with state
officials to keep reports of elevated lead levels from the public for
months, until Edwards’ research exploded the cover-up.

Over the past several decades there has been a vast transfer of
wealth from the working class to the richest 1 percent or one-tenth of 1
percent of society. General Motors extracted massive profits off the
backs of the working class in Flint before largely abandoning the city
in the 1980s, leaving a legacy of toxic wastes and poverty.

The Obama administration, which Hillary Clinton served for four years as Secretary of State, has accelerated the growth of social inequality
through bank bailouts and cuts to social spending.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

AMERICAN ECONOMIC FREEDOM COLLAPSES UNDER THE BANKSTER-BOUGHT PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA - BUT THE RICH HAVE NEARLY DOUBLED THEIR WEALTH AND THOUSANDS OF ILLEGALS POUR OVER AMERICA'S OPEN BORDERS AND JOBS!

America’s Economic Freedom Has Rapidly Declined Under Obama

America’s declining score in the index is closely related to rapidly rising government spending, subsidies, and bailouts. (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters/Newscom)
Millions of people around the world are emerging from poverty thanks to rising economic freedom. But by sharp contrast, America’s economic freedom has been on a declining path over the past decade.
America’s declining score in the index is closely related to rapidly rising government spending, subsidies, and bailouts.
According to the 2016 Index of Economic Freedom, an annual publication by The Heritage Foundation, America’s economic freedom has tumbled. With losses of economic freedom in eight of the past nine years, the U.S. has tied its worst score ever, wiping out a decade of progress.
>>> Read the full 2016 Index of Economic Freedom
The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation.  We’ll respect your inbox and keep you informed.
The U.S. has fallen from the 6th freest economy in the world, when President Barack Obama took office, to 11th place in 2016. America’s declining score in the index is closely related to rapidly rising government spending, subsidies, and bailouts.
Since early 2009:
  • Government spending has exploded, amounting to $29,867 per household in 2015.
  • The national debt has risen to $125,000 for every tax-filing household in America—a total over $18 trillion.
  • The government takeover of health care is raising prices and disrupting markets.
  • Bailouts and new government regulations have increased uncertainty, stifling investment and job creation.
This is not something to take lightly. Economic freedom is the foundation of U.S. economic strength, and economic strength is the foundation of America’s high living standards, military power, and status as a world leader. The perils of losing economic freedom are not fictional.

It is painfully clear that our economy has been performing far below its potential, with individuals, families, and entrepreneurs being squeezed by the proliferation of big-government bureaucracy and regulations.
>>> Related: America Mired Below Top 10 in Economic Freedom
As documented by the index, and by other scholars, America’s economic freedom has been declining at an alarming pace.
Indeed, as The Wall Street Journal recently summed it up succinctly, Obama is “a champion when it comes to limiting economic freedom, and American workers have the slow growth in jobs and wages to prove it.”
Not surprisingly, our economic dynamism and innovative capacity have been measurably reduced.
Not surprisingly, our economic dynamism and innovative capacity have been measurably reduced. Self-inflicted wounds include:
No wonder the labor force participation rate has remained at near record lows after more than five years of steady decline.
Worse, vibrant entrepreneurial growth has been stymied by greater policy uncertainty and mounting debt. And a disturbing trend toward cronyism has gravely eroded the rule of law and distorted our free-market system.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, keynote speaker of the official release of the 2016 Index, recently stated:
It’s been almost seven years since the Obama “recovery” began, and our economy is barely out of neutral. Why does America have to settle for this?
Restoring economic freedom is prerequisite to revitalizing and brightening America’s future. 2016 is the year to reaffirm the principles of limited government, free enterprise, and rule of law so that we can reconstitute an America where freedom, opportunity, and prosperity flourish.
The time to act is now.

NARCOMEX ON OUR OPEN AND UNDEFENDED BORDERS - HOW HEROIN PLAYS INTO BARACK OBAMA'S STRATEGY OF BUILDING A DICTATORSHIP FOR HIS CRONIES BY DESTROYING THE AMERICAN MIDDLE CLASS HE SO LOATHES

THE BANKSTER PRESIDENT'S STRATEGY TO FORM A MUSLIM-SYMPATHETIC DICTATORSHIP:

1. MAKE SURE THE BANKSTERS HAVE LOOTED THE AMERICAN MIDDLE CLASS DOWN TO ZERO.

2. KEEP THE BORDERS WIDE OPEN TO ASSURE THAT NO LEGAL CAN GET A JOB. BOTH OBAMA'S SEC. of (ILLEGAL) LABOR WERE LA RAZA MEXICAN SUPREMACIST.

3. SABOTAGE HOMELAND SECURITY TO ASSURE THE MEXICAN DRUG CARTELS HAVE OPEN MARKETS. AN ADDICTED MIDDLE CLASS CAN HARDLY PUT UP A FRONT AGAINST AN OBAMA DICTATORSHIP.


4. ARM THE MEX DRUG CARTELS AND CALL IT "Fast and Furious".


About the time President Bush threw open our southern border — followed by Obama rolling out the welcome mat for illegal aliens — Mexico aggressively moved into the heroin business. In 2007, U.S. authorities seized 367 kilos of heroin on the Mexican border. In 2013, authorities seized 2,162 kilos. During that same time period, heroin use nearly doubled in the U.S.


Heroin: Blame it on America
 
By Ann Coulter

Human Events Online, February 3, 2016

About the time President Bush threw open our southern border — followed by Obama rolling out the welcome mat for illegal aliens — Mexico aggressively moved into the heroin business. In 2007, U.S. authorities seized 367 kilos of heroin on the Mexican border. In 2013, authorities seized 2,162 kilos. During that same time period, heroin use nearly doubled in the U.S.

As a result, in the last decade, half a million Americans have died from drug overdoses, mostly heroin and other opiates. That’s ten times more than the number of Americans who died fighting the entire Vietnam War.

Mexico is pumping drugs into our country, but to blame Mexicans would be “xenophobic.” They’re poor and brown! We can’t blame the Mexican drug cartels, and we certainly can’t blame the corrupt Mexican government that is paid off by the cartels.

http://humanevents.com/2016/02/03/heroin-blame-it-on-america/

As the body count at the hand of Islamic extremists continues to rise in America, shouldn't the president be trying to come up with a way to defend Judeo-Christian types, who cling to guns and the Bible, from Islamic jihadi types who cling to mac...


Concrete Evidence of the Continuing Plunge in Both Civil and Criminal Immigration Enforcement

By Dan Cadman

CIS Immigration Blog, January 23, 2016

Two recent reports from Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) reflect the continued erosion of immigration enforcement under the Obama administration.

On January 20, TRAC reported that criminal prosecution for immigration offenses fell 22.3 percent from November 2014 to November 2015, and more than 36 percent over the course of five years, excluding magistrate court (which deals exclusively with petty offenses).

The following day, TRAC announced that "ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] Detainer Use Stabilizes Under Priority Enforcement Program". The Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) is the replacement to the Secure Communities Program mandated by Homeland Security Security Jeh Johnson as a part of the president's "executive actions" on immigration. It significantly restricts the ability of immigration agents to file detainers against aliens arrested by police on criminal charges.

I have no idea what TRAC means by "stabilizes". A quick look at Figure 1a of their report shows a more accurate state of affairs, if one considers the number of detainers being filed over the course of five years, from a high in April 2011, when Secure Communities became fully effective nationwide and kicked into high gear, versus October 2015. I would use other phrases: "plummeted" or "Dropped like a stone". Or, as my colleague Jessica Vaughan has noted, particularly in relation to detainers filed at county jails, where the lion's share of criminals of any stripes are held after being booked for offenses small and large: "a stunning free fall".


Obama, in radical mosque, calls for other religions to be tolerant

As the body count at the hand of Islamic extremists continues to rise in America, shouldn't the president be trying to come up with a way to defend Judeo-Christian types, who cling to guns and the Bible, from Islamic jihadi types who cling to machetes and the Quran?
Guess not, because for his first visit to a U.S. mosque, Obama chose a congregation where a Sudanese native and former member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Adam el-Sheikh, was chief imam for almost twenty years.
Why would a U.S. president even give credence to a congregation once led by a man who also lent a hand in founding the Muslim American Society, a Muslim Brotherhood-established organization interested in advancing sharia law?
Does Obama not care that in his spare time, the current executive director of the Fiqh Council of North America, an association of Islamic legal scholars, also helped found the notorious Dar Al-Hijrah mosque, led by the late al-Qaeda terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki?  Or that in 2004, while still serving as imam of the Islamic Society of Baltimore, el-Sheikh discussed Palestinian suicide bombers with the Washington Post?
If certain Muslims are to be cornered where they cannot defend themselves, except through these kinds of means, and their local religious leaders issued fatwas to permit that, then it becomes acceptable as an exceptional rule, but should not be taken as a principle.
Even the alleged terrorist-affiliated Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) commended Obama's decision to visit the Islamic Society of Baltimore, saying:
For a number of years, we've been encouraging the president to go to an American mosque.  With the tremendous rise in anti-Muslim sentiment in our country, we believe that it will send a message of inclusion and mutual respect.
"Inclusion and mutual respect"?
Maybe CAIR should tell that to the two homosexual men murdered by devout Muslim-American/convicted sex offender Ali Muhammad Brown, who, after rinsing the blood off his hands, went on to avenge Muslim deaths overseas by also executing 19-year-old college student Brendan Tevlin at a traffic light.
Prior to the president showing up in Baltimore, White House spokesperson Josh "Not So" Earnest had this to say:
I think the president is quite interested in making sure that we're affirming the important role that Muslims play in our diverse American society and certainly affirming their right to worship God in a way that's consistent with their heritage.
Question: Who exactly is not upholding "the important role that Muslims play in our diverse American society"?  And in the 3,186 mosques located in cities all across America, which people are having their "right to worship God in a way that's consistent with their heritage" thwarted?
Furthermore, rather than worrying about the 3 million Muslims steadily progressing toward becoming the second largest religion in America, maybe Josh should be making sure that, despite Obama, the Little Sisters of the Poor retain their "right to worship God in a way that's consistent with their heritage."
Meanwhile, the president descended on the Islamic Society of Baltimore, which is sort of like preaching about being less discriminatory toward Christians from the pulpit of the hateful Westboro Baptist Church.
In Baltimore, Obama mentioned bullied Muslim children and vandalized mosques and lauded Ibtihaj Muhammad, a 2016 female Olympian who plays with swords while dressed in a hijab.  Then he pointed out that "we have to understand: an attack on one faith is an attack on all our faiths."
One small problem!  This is the guy who consistently assaults certain faiths.
In 2009, prior to a speaking engagement at Georgetown University's Gaston Hall, Obama requested the crucifixes be covered up.  That same year, in order to have a "non-religious" Christmas, Obama suggested that the East Room Nativity be relocated.  Likewise, the president has blamed Christianity for lives lost during the Crusades and regularly ridicules the Christian faith with snide remarks
As for God's chosen people, Obama insulted Jews at a White House Hanukah celebration; publicly dissed Bibi Netanyahu; and, worse yet, minimized the threat posed by providing a genocidal anti-Semitic revolutionary theocratic state a pathway to a nuclear bomb.
Not to mention the president's failure to acknowledge the worldwide genocide being waged by Muslims against Christians, or ignoring the fact that in America, Jews are ten times more likely than Muslims to be targeted for a hate crime.
Advocating for Islam seems to be Barack "that's not who we are'" Obama's most ardent public relations effort.  In his recent State of the Union address, anyone perceived to be indulging in what he perceives as anti-Muslim bigotry was publicly rebuked when he said:
When politicians insult Muslims, whether abroad or our fellow citizens, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid called names, that doesn't make us safer. That's not telling it like it is. It's just wrong. It diminishes us in the eyes of the world.
How about when Muslim extremists living in the U.S. shoot and kill 14 people at a Christmas party; behead a co-worker at a food distribution plant; or, "on a mission from Allah," stab a store clerk to death?  Does that "make us safer"?
Besides, how is America elevated in the eyes of the world if our president remains silent after Islamic extremists behead two Coptic Christians in New Jersey, or slit the throats of three Jewish men in Massachusetts?
Since Barack Obama ascended from the mean streets of Chicago to the Oval Office in 2009, there have been approximately 64 people murdered by Muslim extremists on U.S. soil, and that's not counting the number of American deaths at the hands of Muslims overseas.
And yet, in another attempt to address what Barack Obama calls a "hugely distorted impression" of Islam, the one suffering from what perceives in others hoped to remedy the problem by commiserating with the guilty at a radical mosque in Baltimore.
Jeannie hosts a blog at www.jeannie-ology.com.
As the body count at the hand of Islamic extremists continues to rise in America, shouldn't the president be trying to come up with a way to defend Judeo-Christian types, who cling to guns and the Bible, from Islamic jihadi types who cling to machetes and the Quran?
Guess not, because for his first visit to a U.S. mosque, Obama chose a congregation where a Sudanese native and former member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Adam el-Sheikh, was chief imam for almost twenty years.
Why would a U.S. president even give credence to a congregation once led by a man who also lent a hand in founding the Muslim American Society, a Muslim Brotherhood-established organization interested in advancing sharia law?
Does Obama not care that in his spare time, the current executive director of the Fiqh Council of North America, an association of Islamic legal scholars, also helped found the notorious Dar Al-Hijrah mosque, led by the late al-Qaeda terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki?  Or that in 2004, while still serving as imam of the Islamic Society of Baltimore, el-Sheikh discussed Palestinian suicide bombers with the Washington Post?
If certain Muslims are to be cornered where they cannot defend themselves, except through these kinds of means, and their local religious leaders issued fatwas to permit that, then it becomes acceptable as an exceptional rule, but should not be taken as a principle.
Even the alleged terrorist-affiliated Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) commended Obama's decision to visit the Islamic Society of Baltimore, saying:
For a number of years, we've been encouraging the president to go to an American mosque.  With the tremendous rise in anti-Muslim sentiment in our country, we believe that it will send a message of inclusion and mutual respect.
"Inclusion and mutual respect"?
Maybe CAIR should tell that to the two homosexual men murdered by devout Muslim-American/convicted sex offender Ali Muhammad Brown, who, after rinsing the blood off his hands, went on to avenge Muslim deaths overseas by also executing 19-year-old college student Brendan Tevlin at a traffic light.
Prior to the president showing up in Baltimore, White House spokesperson Josh "Not So" Earnest had this to say:
I think the president is quite interested in making sure that we're affirming the important role that Muslims play in our diverse American society and certainly affirming their right to worship God in a way that's consistent with their heritage.
Question: Who exactly is not upholding "the important role that Muslims play in our diverse American society"?  And in the 3,186 mosques located in cities all across America, which people are having their "right to worship God in a way that's consistent with their heritage" thwarted?
Furthermore, rather than worrying about the 3 million Muslims steadily progressing toward becoming the second largest religion in America, maybe Josh should be making sure that, despite Obama, the Little Sisters of the Poor retain their "right to worship God in a way that's consistent with their heritage."
Meanwhile, the president descended on the Islamic Society of Baltimore, which is sort of like preaching about being less discriminatory toward Christians from the pulpit of the hateful Westboro Baptist Church.
In Baltimore, Obama mentioned bullied Muslim children and vandalized mosques and lauded Ibtihaj Muhammad, a 2016 female Olympian who plays with swords while dressed in a hijab.  Then he pointed out that "we have to understand: an attack on one faith is an attack on all our faiths."
One small problem!  This is the guy who consistently assaults certain faiths.
In 2009, prior to a speaking engagement at Georgetown University's Gaston Hall, Obama requested the crucifixes be covered up.  That same year, in order to have a "non-religious" Christmas, Obama suggested that the East Room Nativity be relocated.  Likewise, the president has blamed Christianity for lives lost during the Crusades and regularly ridicules the Christian faith with snide remarks
As for God's chosen people, Obama insulted Jews at a White House Hanukah celebration; publicly dissed Bibi Netanyahu; and, worse yet, minimized the threat posed by providing a genocidal anti-Semitic revolutionary theocratic state a pathway to a nuclear bomb.
Not to mention the president's failure to acknowledge the worldwide genocide being waged by Muslims against Christians, or ignoring the fact that in America, Jews are ten times more likely than Muslims to be targeted for a hate crime.
Advocating for Islam seems to be Barack "that's not who we are'" Obama's most ardent public relations effort.  In his recent State of the Union address, anyone perceived to be indulging in what he perceives as anti-Muslim bigotry was publicly rebuked when he said:
When politicians insult Muslims, whether abroad or our fellow citizens, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid called names, that doesn't make us safer. That's not telling it like it is. It's just wrong. It diminishes us in the eyes of the world.
How about when Muslim extremists living in the U.S. shoot and kill 14 people at a Christmas party; behead a co-worker at a food distribution plant; or, "on a mission from Allah," stab a store clerk to death?  Does that "make us safer"?
Besides, how is America elevated in the eyes of the world if our president remains silent after Islamic extremists behead two Coptic Christians in New Jersey, or slit the throats of three Jewish men in Massachusetts?
Since Barack Obama ascended from the mean streets of Chicago to the Oval Office in 2009, there have been approximately 64 people murdered by Muslim extremists on U.S. soil, and that's not counting the number of American deaths at the hands of Muslims overseas.
And yet, in another attempt to address what Barack Obama calls a "hugely distorted impression" of Islam, the one suffering from what perceives in others hoped to remedy the problem by commiserating with the guilty at a radical mosque in Baltimore.


Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2016/02/obama_in_radical_mosque_calls_for_other_religions_to_be_tolerant.html#ixzz3zEpEdxXS
Follow us: @AmericanThinker on Twitter | AmericanThinker on Facebook
 
YOU REALLY WANT TO HAND 40 MILLION MEXICANS AMNESTY?

Indicted Border Patrol Agent Has Two Birth Certificates

http://www.texastribune.org/2016/02/02/indicted-border-patrol-agents-nationality-question/?utm_source=texastribune.org&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=Tribune%20Feed:%20The%20Texas%20Tribune%20Sections&mc_cid=580a871fec&mc_eid=3ccf90ee68



Bordering on Insecurity LogoThe Texas Tribune is taking a yearlong look at the issues of border security and immigration, reporting on the reality and rhetoric around these topics. Sign up to get story alerts.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with new statements from U.S. Customs & Border Protection and Joel Luna's lawyer.

BROWNSVILLE — Federal immigration authorities are treating Joel Luna, a Border Patrol Agent accused last month of capital murder and drug cartel ties in deep South Texas, as a potential foreign national subject to deportation, The Texas Tribune has learned.

In an unusual move, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has targeted the federal agent with a “detainer” — basically a civil arrest warrant filed against non-citizens — at the Cameron County jail. As a matter of law, ICE has no civil immigration enforcement authority to arrest or detain a U.S. citizen.

The detainer adds a surprising twist to a case that has already generated national headlines and focused attention on U.S. law enforcement corruption along the southern border.

Luna, two of his brothers and two other South Texas men have been indicted on capital murder and other charges stemming from the murder and beheading of a Honduran national, whose body was found during spring break last year near South Padre Island. Investigators say the men had ties to the powerful Gulf Cartel.

After Luna was arrested last year, the Cameron County sheriff's office said investigators found more than a kilo of cocaine, $90,000 in cash, firearms and Luna’s Border Patrol badge in a safe at the home of his mother-in-law.

The five men are scheduled to be arraigned in state district court in Brownsville on Wednesday. Garcia said Joel Luna will plead not guilty on all charges and ask for a jury trial.
Now a new wrinkle has emerged in this case: Luna has two birth certificates, one from Hidalgo County, Texas, the other from Reynosa, Mexico — right across the Rio Grande River.

ICE did not immediately return phone calls, but Luna’s lawyer, Carlos A. Garcia, said he has no doubt that his client is a U.S. citizen, an ironclad requirement for employment as a Border Patrol agent. Garcia also denied a statement from U.S. Customs & Border Protection asserting that Luna had been "arrested on False Claim To United States Citizenship" on Nov. 12, when the agent was already in state custody in South Texas.

He said any federal arrest would trigger an appearance before a magistrate within 48 hours and notification to him as Luna's lawyer — and "none of that occurred," Garcia told the Tribune.
“He worked for the federal government. No one had ever questioned his citizenship before — until his arrest,” Garcia said. “I don’t put much value in whoever it was that made that determination. You have one person that decided that, you know what, this is worth a second look.”

Garcia said Luna attended elementary school in Mexico, which has stiff paperwork requirements for children who want to enter the public school system there. He said it’s not uncommon for parents or other relatives to fraudulently obtain Mexican birth certificates.

“Mexicans who live along the border can purchase a birth certificate by just showing up one day and saying, 'Hey, my kid was born on this date in this place,'” he said.

In Luna’s case, the U.S. birth certificate was filed two days after his birth on May 20, 1985. The Mexican birth certificate was issued in August of 1988, a little over three years after his birth was reported in San Juan, Texas.

The Texas Tribune has obtained both documents. The Mexican one came from authorities in Ciudad Victoria, the capital of the state of Tamaulipas, where birth certificates are considered public records. Garcia provided the Tribune his American birth certificate. The existence of the Mexican birth certificate potentially suggests that Luna has dual citizenship.

Border Patrol Agent Joel Luna, indicted for capital murder, has two birth certificates, one saying he was born in Mexico, the other saying he was born in Texas. Luna's lawyer says he was born in Texas.
Border Patrol Agent Joel Luna, indicted for capital murder, has two birth certificates, one saying he was born in Mexico, the other saying he was born in Texas. Luna's lawyer says he was born in Texas.
“I don’t know whether or not my client has Mexican citizenship per se, but there is a Mexican birth certificate out there,” Garcia said. "He left Mexico a long, long time ago when he was very young. It’s unfortunate that we have this little wrinkle, but it's there."

It's at least the second recent case involving a federal border agent holding both Mexican and U.S. birth certificates. In another case of alleged law enforcement corruption at the border, the Monitor newspaper of McAllen reported Tuesday that a Customs and Border Protection agent accused of taking a bribe also has competing birth claims on both sides of the border.

As Feds Plan to Cut Border Monitoring, Texas Officials Ask Why

A Customs and Border Protection vehicle patrols on the Texas border near the Rio Grande, Thursday, July 24, 2014, in Mission, Texas. Texas is spending $1.3 million a week for a bigger DPS presence along the border.
A Customs and Border Protection vehicle patrols on the Texas border near the Rio Grande, Thursday, July 24, 2014, in Mission, Texas. Texas is spending $1.3 million a week for a bigger DPS presence along the border.
Gov. Greg Abbott and U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Laredo Democrat, pressed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Monday to explain why the agency plans to reduce its aerial surveillance on the Texas-Mexico border.
In a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, the lawmakers said the cut to a requested 3,850 hours of aerial detection and monitoring in 2016 amounts to 50 percent less coverage than recent years.
“Given the recent surge of migrants from Central America and Cuba along the southern border, we believe DHS should request more surveillance and security resources, not fewer,” Abbott and Cuellar wrote in a letter.
The pair also reminded Johnson that in September, Abbott’s office asked the DHS for more aerial resources and U.S. Border Patrol agents but that the request was never acknowledged.
A DHS spokesperson said the agency would respond "directly" to the governor and the congressman.
The El Paso sector also saw 1,030 unaccompanied minors, an increase of almost 300 percent.
In Monday’s letter, the pair also requested a detailed breakdown of how the DHS determined the reduction in aerial surveillance was warranted and information on how staffing and operation levels would be affected.
While Abbott has spoken extensively about illegal immigration from Mexico and Central America, the letter marked the first time Abbott has referenced a recent surge of Cubans coming into Texas.
Abbott visited the island nation last year to explore expanding trade between Cuba and Texas. During that trip, he spoke about the current trade embargo but not the migrant issue.
During the 2015 fiscal year, about 28,400 Cubans entered Texas through U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Laredo field office, which extends from Del Rio to Brownsville. That’s compared to about 15,600 in 2014.
The surge came after the Obama administration announced in 2014 its plans to re-establish ties with Cuba, leaving many Cubans fearing they will lose a special designation that allows them to apply for legal residency status, or a “green card,” after living in the country for a year. Cuellar and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, have called for the repeal of that designation.


Another Surge of Illegal Immigrants Along the Southwest Border: Is this the Obama Administration’s New Normal?

House Committee on the Judiciary
9:00 a.m., Thursday, February 4, 2016
2141 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

http://judiciary.house.gov/index.cfm/hearings?ID=9AC016C4-D7CD-44D7-8172-9B81E587D2BD

Witnesses:

Brandon Judd, U.S. Border Patrol Agent and the President of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) National Border Patrol Council

Steven McCraw, Director, Texas Department of Public Safety

Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies, Center for immigration Studies


Houston Slayings Fueled Border Security Debate

Dan Golvach, father of Spencer Golvach,  at his son's grave in Houston Tuesday, October 20, 2015.
Dan Golvach, father of Spencer Golvach, at his son's grave in Houston Tuesday, October 20, 2015.
Bordering on Insecurity LogoThe Texas Tribune is taking a yearlong look at the issues of border security and immigration, reporting on the reality and rhetoric around these topics. Sign up to get story alerts.
HOUSTON — Julie Golvach remembers that something felt “off” the night she lost her only child.
It was exactly one year ago today, a few minutes before 1 a.m. Standing in the driveway of her Houston home, waving goodbye to her sister under a clear winter sky, something didn't feel right. The stars didn’t look the same.
Golvach tossed and turned in bed for a while but was sound asleep when a knock on the door came at 6 a.m.
“I jumped up and I knew,” she said.
She stopped by her son’s boyhood bedroom, the one with the window looking out onto the driveway. He’d slept there a week earlier, the evening they went to see "American Sniper" together. She slipped past the picture of him and his best childhood friend on the wall, skirting the bed with the stuffed toy lamb — a baby shower relic — lying on top.
Out the window, Golvach saw three people — two uniformed police officers and a woman wearing a shirt that read “chaplain.” Her chest pounded as she made her way to the front door and opened it.
“Is it Spencer?” she asked.
The second those words tumbled out of her mouth, she knew the answer, just as she had known when she uttered that exact phrase the day he was born, before anyone told her if the baby was a boy or a girl. She just knew.
It was Spencer.
One night off
Spencer Golvach grew up in the sprawl of northwest Houston, surrounded by guitars and destined for a career in music, his father’s passion.
When he turned 16 in 2005 and got his driver’s license, the easygoing musician started working at a local guitar store in a strip mall not far from Jersey Village High School, where he excelled in shop class and anything he could do with his hands.
He had always fiddled with his dad’s guitars, and he developed a knack for fixing and rebuilding them at the store. A few years later, when the shop owner announced his retirement, Spencer decided to buy the Cy-Fair area business.
Spencer Golvach, at the age of three, pictured with a guitar. Authorities say Golvach was killed by Victor Reyes, an undocumented immigrant, during a random shooting spree in January 2015.
Spencer Golvach, at the age of three, pictured with a guitar. Authorities say Golvach was killed by Victor Reyes, an undocumented immigrant, during a random shooting spree in January 2015.
With nine employees and a soft economy, life as an entrepreneur proved tough sledding. He struggled to turn a profit, and he took a second full-time job as a receiving lead and forklift operator at a local warehouse.
Even that wasn’t enough to cover the bills. By early 2015, Spencer was preparing to move into a smaller — and cheaper — space in the same shopping mall. He could hardly wait for Saturday, Jan. 31 to arrive, the day the slimmed-down version of Spencer’s Guitar Shop was set to open. Between giving guitar lessons, working an 8-to-5 day job, building out the new store and playing bass in his band — The Dead Revolt — Spencer needed a break.
“The guy was burning the candle at both ends for a long time,” recalled Dan Golvach, his father. “He takes one night off, to go take his girlfriend out for her birthday. That was Jan. 30. And he drops her off ... and 15 minutes later he pulls up to that red light.”
Less than a mile from his apartment, Spencer steered into the left turn lane at 18th Street and Mangum Road and waited for the green light. The details of what happened next are captured in the records of two police agencies, more than a dozen news articles and the unceasing nightmares of Spencer’s parents and loved ones.
An undocumented Mexican national named Victor Reyes, a native of Reynosa along the Texas-Mexico border, pulled up next to Spencer's beloved white Toyota pickup. He pointed a pistol at Spencer’s head and pulled the trigger.
The bullet went through the passenger side window and into Spencer’s skull, at the top of his right ear.
“I choose to believe it killed him instantly,” his father said in an interview months later. “I think he was just there and then it’s like someone turned the lights off. I don’t think he suffered.”
But the Golvach family’s suffering — compounded by the feeling that Spencer’s death could have been prevented — was just beginning.
Houston police, their report indicates, found 25-year-old Spencer dead in his truck at 12:56 a.m. — right around the moment Julie Golvach, waving goodbye to her sister, couldn't shake the feeling that something was off.
A few hours later, she was phoning her ex-husband to break the news.
“I couldn’t make out what she was saying and I finally just said, ‘is my son dead?’”— Dan Golvach
“She was just inconsolable,” he recalled. “I couldn’t make out what she was saying and I finally just said, ‘is my son dead?’ She said, ‘yes.’ Then of course I started. I joined the chorus.”
More than a thousand people attended Spencer’s memorial service, a tribute to his fun-loving nature and penchant for making friends across generational, ethnic and gender lines.
Those who knew Spencer universally describe him as fun-loving and strikingly calm. After he died, a family friend ordered up a batch of commemorative rubber bracelets emblazoned with his laid-back motto: “Chill Don’t Freeze."

A bloody rampage
More than once since the funeral, Julie Golvach has found herself wishing that her son’s attacker had gotten to know Spencer. She’s convinced he never would have pulled the trigger. But the official evidence of the crime, while scant, suggests Spencer was chosen randomly. And he wasn’t the only victim.
Police say Reyes shot a man in the face, wounding him, in the suburban city of Jersey Village minutes before killing Spencer, and they connected him to at least two more random shootings shortly thereafter. All told, Reyes shot two dead and wounded three others before a Harris County Sheriff’s deputy took him down after a violent shootout, officials say.
John Weston, 67, says he’s lucky to be alive after encountering Reyes on the Hempstead Highway near Pinemont, about 10 minutes north of where Spencer had just been killed. He remembers seeing a big, dark truck driving aggressively behind him. When he got to the stoplight, it pulled up alongside him.
“All of a sudden I hear this ungodly noise,” Weston recalled. “I don’t know if you can imagine how fast your mind works, but I saw a shattered window and I saw a bullet hole in my window. My mind is thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, somebody’s shooting at me and this guy at this light.’”
He pressed his foot to the accelerator to get out of the line of fire, but not soon enough. He heard the second shot, and its impact felt like someone “hauled off and hit you upside the head,” he said.
Weston realized the truck's driver was the gunman. “I saw blood everywhere,” he said. His hands were covered in it, so he could only manage to re-dial on his cell phone. He finally reached his wife, who told him to go to the nearest toll booth. An ambulance was called. Doctors found that a bullet had entered his left cheek and stuck in the other side of his mouth.
A year later, after reconstructive surgery to replace a badly shattered jaw, his mouth remains completely numb below the tongue. With his health woes and lost time at work, he’s struggling to keep his printing business afloat.
“Everything I do now is a little more difficult, but considering I’m here talking, I’m blessed to be here,” Weston said. “It’s scarred me forever. I don’t break down and cry, but I think about it all the time.”
Had Reyes been a homegrown criminal, the story might have ended in the empty field where the deputy shot him — chalked up as another random act of violence in a city and nation all too used to them.
But as word spread about Reyes’ long criminal record and multiple deportations, the case was thrust into the volatile debate over illegal immigration and control of the southern border: first in local news stories, then at the Capitol in Austin and most recently on the presidential campaign trail on a stage in mid-November with GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump in Beaumont, where Dan Golvach spoke out and held up a poster of Spencer along with others killed by undocumented immigrants.
Gunman's long record
According to the Houston office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Reyes had been removed from the country four times between 2003 and 2010, but little is publicly known about what he was doing in Houston prior to terrorizing its northwest environs — or why he did it.
His criminal and illegal entry records stretch back at least to 2002 when, at age 18, he was convicted of burglarizing a building in Hidalgo County, across the border from Reynosa, which he told police was his place of birth. He spent a month and a half in jail before a state court sentenced him to three years' probation, ordered him to pay an $850 fine and mandated 120 hours of community service.

Victor Reyes, shown in 2001 jail mug shot from Hidalgo County. Authorities say Reyes, an undocumented immigrant, went on a January 2015 shooting spree in Harris County that killed two and wounded three.
Victor Reyes, shown in 2001 jail mug shot from Hidalgo County. Authorities say Reyes, an undocumented immigrant, went on a January 2015 shooting spree in Harris County that killed two and wounded three.
A year later, he was back in the Hidalgo County Jail for breaking a beer bottle over a man’s head at the Tejano Saloon in Pharr. He was sent back to Mexico after serving about a month in the local jail, but he came back. By then, his previous probation had been revoked, and he served several months in a state jail in Raymondville.
Deported again on Jan. 20, 2004, Reyes was caught trying to cross the border the next day, triggering a 90-day sentence in federal prison and yet another deportation — his third.
A few months later, on Aug. 10, he was caught again, in McAllen, and received a one-year federal prison sentence for his fourth known illegal re-entry. His crimes didn’t end there. A few weeks before his prison release date, Reyes beat up a fellow inmate — described by his lawyer as a rival gang member — cutting and fracturing his face, according to federal court records.
Two new assault charges made Reyes eligible for 20 years behind bars. Despite his history of violence, burglary and repeat illegal crossings, federal prosecutors offered Reyes a deal: In exchange for a guilty plea on one of the counts, and in recognition of his “truthful testimony” and “acceptance of responsibility,” they promised to give him a sentence “at the lowest end of the applicable guidelines” on a single charge, court papers show. Under the plea bargain, Reyes' sentence was 63 months, a quarter of the maximum he faced under the two counts.
That’s a few more spoonfuls of salt in the wound for Dan and Julie Golvach. Had Reyes been given even half of his possible sentence on the two assault counts, he would have been in prison instead of at that traffic light killing their son.
“The people who agreed to this deal need to be held accountable,” Julie Golvach said. “The result was the horrific murder of my son.”
The prosecutor who signed the plea agreement, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Hammer, declined to talk about the case, referring questions to U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Angela Dodge in Houston.
Dodge sent The Texas Tribune a boilerplate description of plea deals, saying they “ensure a resolution of the case and that someone is convicted of the crime(s) we believe they committed without going through the time and expense of a trial,” while providing “justice for all.” She declined to say whether prosecutors took Reyes' previous crimes into account, or if they frequently offer plea deals to convicted criminals who commit additional crimes behind bars.
It’s another official secret in a case with no shortage of them.
Family still seeking answers
The Houston Police Department, using its own discretion under the Public Information Act, blocked release of all but a few details on the Golvach and Weston shootings. The department cited a provision allowing it to withhold criminal records absent a final disposition, such as a conviction or deferred adjudication. Since Reyes is dead and the city’s case is otherwise closed, that means Houston police likely can withhold the information indefinitely.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office declined to release its investigative files, but for an entirely different reason: After every officer-involved shooting — in this case, a deputy ended Reyes’ deadly rampage — the Harris County district attorney’s office presents the case to a grand jury even if no one complains. That happened last week, just days before the one-year anniversary of the shooting spree.
The federal government holds onto its files with a tight grip, too, citing the 1974 U.S. Privacy Act. The act covers only U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement has decreed that its protections apply to federal immigration detention records, even those related to undocumented immigrants convicted of horrific crimes. The agency voluntarily released a narrative of its multiple encounters with Reyes, but the Tribune has not yet heard back from ICE or U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services on its written request for his entire immigration file. 

The secrecy across local and federal agencies that came into contact with Reyes confounded and frustrated the people touched by his violence. Weston said his wife became “very disillusioned” about their quest for even the simplest answers.
Dan Golvach, father of Spencer Golvach, in Houston Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at the intersection where his son was killed by an undocumented immigrant in January.
Dan Golvach, father of Spencer Golvach, in Houston Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at the intersection where his son was killed by an undocumented immigrant in January.
“I mean, we asked them, ‘Who was the guy?’” Weston said. “We had to fill out paperwork and all that kind of stuff, but we never got any satisfactory answer. It was almost like it was top secret information.”
Hoping to break through the bureaucratic walls and get some answers about who killed their son and why, the Golvaches eventually hired a former investigative reporter, ex-KTRK-TV newsman Wayne Dolcefino. In a letter last year to then-Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, Dolcefino said the sheriff’s office was “doing a disservice to this crime victim by not responding to this request in a proper manner.” The local investigative files remained sealed as of late last week, but the Harris County Sheriff's Office asked the Tribune to resubmit its request for the records and promised a quick turnaround.
Even with new information beginning to trickle out, the victims and their families still don't know where Reyes lived or if he had a job, who owned the truck he was driving that night or — least of all — the motive for his deadly rampage.
According to Harris County Assistant District Attorney Heyward Carter, some elements of the senseless crime may never be known.
Carter, who handled a single aspect of the case — the officer-involved shooting — was able to speak about the case for the first time last week. He revealed that Reyes was "extremely intoxicated" and had a "significant amount of cocaine" in his system. He also identified the weapon, a .380 caliber pistol, that he said was legally purchased at one point, but authorities haven't determined how a convicted felon and undocumented immigrant, barred from buying or possessing firearms, obtained it.
“We live in an age of mass shootings, and even though this one didn’t get a whole lot of publicity, that’s what this is."
— Heyward Carter, Harris County Assistant District Attorney
Carter also provided details about the actions of the Harris County deputy sheriff, Javier Rojas, who finally put an end to the deadly rampage. By chance, Rojas was patrolling the area and heard shots being fired. He saw the truck of Reyes' final victim, identified by police as Juan Garcia, in obvious distress, weaving randomly at an intersection. Garcia later died from his wounds, and a woman in the car with him was slightly injured from the broken glass.
Rojas chased after Reyes, who crashed his truck through a barrier at the end of a dead end street and went another 200 yards or so into an empty field. Rojas continued the pursuit on foot and found Reyes crouching behind the truck. He ordered the suspect to drop his weapon but Reyes stood and fired at the officer instead. Rojas returned fire and struck him in the chest. When authorities photographed the body his hand was still gripping the pistol "with his finger on the trigger," Carter said.
In terms of a motive, authorities can only speculate based on a conversation Reyes had with a supposed girlfriend about three hours before the shooting spree began. He wanted her to go out to a bar or nightclub with him, and she turned him down. Authorities speculate he may have been taking out his rage on couples: It's possible he saw Spencer Golvach dropping off his girlfriend shortly before shooting him at the red light and then targeted Garcia after seeing he had a woman in his vehicle.
But it's just a theory.
“We live in an age of mass shootings, and even though this one didn’t get a whole lot of publicity, that’s what this is," Carter said. "I don’t understand why he was doing it.”
Carter did confirm what the families had learned from detectives in the immediate aftermath of the shootings: Reyes still had plenty of ammunition left in his truck — suggesting that he was planning a more extensive shooting spree. There were at least 20 live rounds left in the vehicle, and he appeared to be reloading while driving near the scene of his final attack.
“Had this officer not been there just coincidentally ... there were plenty of roads for him to go down. He had plenty of ammo, and it didn't seem like he was stopping, that's for sure," Carter said. "As horrible as this situation was, it could have been way worse.”
After the facts were presented to grand jury last Wednesday, the panel decided not to proceed with any further action related to the incident. The Golvach family calls Rojas' response heroic.
"Why was he allowed to be here?"
Julie Golvach burst out into tears again last week after hearing for the first time some of the details of the crime that took her son's life. 
“I really feel I deserve to know what brought them together at that point in time, what caused him to shoot my son,” she said. “I think we deserve to know why he was even here — why he was allowed to be here.”
It’s a common refrain among those who have been victimized by people in the country illegally. They weren’t supposed to be here in the first place, and the government's inability to keep them from crossing the southern border after they’ve been deported — and prevent them from committing crimes — provokes a unique brand of helplessness and outrage.
Even Weston, a lifelong Democrat who attended both of Barack Obama’s inaugurations and favors allowing otherwise law-abiding immigrants into the United States to work and seek a better life, said he had to fight the urge to call Donald Trump and tell him he was “dead-on” with his focus on foreigners who commit crimes here.
“Somebody’s got to do something about it,” he said. In the same breath, Weston emphasized that he doesn’t support Trump for president and said keeping dangerous felons from crossing the border or entering the vast illegal workforce defied simplistic solutions.
“If there’s some way to filter out the ones that intend to harm people, I would be in support of that,” he said. “It may prevent something like this from happening to somebody else.”
Dan Golvach is more blunt and outspoken. A few weeks after his son’s murder, he was at the state Capitol testifying in favor of 2015 state legislation — ultimately doomed — that would have prohibited local law enforcement authorities in Texas from adopting “sanctuary” policies that keep police out of immigration matters.
Then late last year, he appeared with Trump at a campaign rally in Beaumont, saying his son died as “the result of politically correct politics” — namely, bipartisan policies that he believes go too easy on undocumented immigrants and the people who hire them.
“When you lose the thing you love the most, you’re not that worried about being PC,” Golvach said in an interview. “If you’re going to come here, you need to do it legally on our terms, not your terms.”
Golvach readily admits that anger over his son’s killing sometimes hits “toxic” levels. He says he’s still haunted by the image of Spencer in a hastily chosen coffin, still upset he was killed right next to the stadium where he used to watch baseball as a kid, still mad as hell that the government won’t cough up the records they have on his son’s killer.
It would be worse without all the good memories of his son, and without the certainty that if Spencer were alive today he would say to him: “chill don’t freeze.”
“He’d tell me, ‘Don’t have a heart attack. You know, clear your mind and keep it cool,'” he said. “He would tell me not to hate anybody


 RASMUSSEN:

Republican Debate Shows Where Comprehensive Immigration Is Headed: Nowhere

House Appropriations Boss Initiates Crackdown on Sanctuaries

By Jessica Vaughan, February 1, 2016
Today the chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee in charge of funding the Department of Justice, John Culberson (R-Texas), put the Obama administration on notice that it must take steps to rein in sanctuary jurisdictions or risk problems getting approval for its own budget requests. In addition, Culberson announced that he will begin requiring local jurisdictions to follow federal law and stop obstructing communication with immigration agencies as a condition for receiving certain federal law enforcement funding.

BLOG: LIKE ALL OF OBAMA'S CABINET, ONE MUST FIRST BE CONNECTED TO THE BANKSTER SECTOR AND SECONDLY BE AN ADVOCATE FOR OPEN BORDERS, SABOTAGE E-VERIFY AND PROMOTE THE INTERESTS OF LA RAZA ABOVE LEGALS. THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT LORETTA LYNCH HAS AND WILL DO.


In a sternly worded letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Culberson said that he has a responsibility to ensure that state and local law enforcement agencies are following federal law before they can get federal grants. He said that sanctuary policies restricting communication between local and federal officials are a clear violation of Section 1373 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Among the jurisdictions that have imposed such policies are San Francisco, Cook County, Ill., and New York City. In addition to prohibiting local officers from communicating with immigration authorities, these jurisdictions bar federal officers from coming into jails to interview or arrest deportable criminals.

State and local sanctuary policies obstruct immigration enforcement and cause the release of criminal aliens back to the streets of American communities. According to ICE records that the Center obtained in a FOIA request, in 2014 more than 9,000 criminal aliens that ICE was seeking to deport were instead released. More than 2,300 of these criminal aliens went on to commit additional crimes within just a few months.

The three law enforcement funding programs that could become off-limits to sanctuaries currently dispense more than $1 billion a year to state and local agencies.
Mr. Culberson contacted the Center shortly after the publication of this information in July, saying that he had long sought concrete information on the extent of this problem and that he was determined to use his authority to address it. The Center has compiled a list of over 300 cities, counties, and states that have laws, ordinances, regulations, resolutions, policies, or other practices that protect criminal aliens from deportation — either by refusing to or prohibiting agencies from complying with ICE detainers, imposing unreasonable conditions on detainer acceptance, or otherwise impeding open communication and information exchanges between their employees or officers and federal immigration officers. These jurisdictions are noted on a map here.
Culberson's letter outlines several steps he expects the Justice Department to take:
  1. Beginning this year, amend the grant application forms for the Byrne/Justice Assistance Grants (JAG), Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants, and State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) reimbursement program to require agencies seeking these funds to swear that they do not have policies that violate Section 1373; and
  2. Work with sanctuary jurisdictions to change their policies, and if they do not, take legal action to compel their compliance with federal law;
  3. Deny funding to any non-compliant sanctuary jurisdictions.
In addition, he asks the attorney general to look at whether jurisdictions that release criminal aliens sought by ICE are in violation of 8 USC 1324, the federal felony statute that prohibits anyone from shielding illegal aliens from detection. After all, these jurisdictions have been notified in writing by the detainers (federal Form I-247) that the aliens' identities and status have been confirmed by biometric fingerprint matching, and that federal agents wish to take custody of the aliens, and/or to be notified of the date, time, and place of release — so the sanctuaries are knowingly releasing deportable aliens sought by ICE. He said that he will consider applying this section of the law next year to block funding to jurisdictions that release criminal aliens sought by ICE. This action could affect the hundreds of agencies that fail to comply with or accept ICE detainers, for example.

Culberson warned that if the administration stubbornly continues to tolerate sanctuaries, he will find it hard to look favorably on any spending requests from DOJ in the coming appropriations season: "I hope the attorney general will do the right thing here so that I am not compelled to object to relevant portions of the Department's spending plan and reprogramming requests. Any refusal by the Department to comply with these reasonable and timely requests will factor heavily in my consideration of their 2017 budget requests."

Even following public outcry over a series of cases of murders committed by criminal aliens after release by sanctuaries, including the killing of Kate Steinle in San Francisco, the Obama administration has resisted calls for action to discourage or punish the jurisdictions that obstruct immigration enforcement. Instead, it has pressed ahead in implementing the so-called Priority Enforcement Program, which explicitly allows sanctuary policies that violate federal law. It's clear that the administration is more interested in protecting criminal aliens than in protecting the public from their acts; now we'll see if the Department of Justice is willing to jeopardize its own funding to spare sanctuaries from being sanctioned, and if the sanctuaries are willing to sacrifice federal funding in order to protect criminal aliens.



Surge in Illegal Aliens, 500% Increase in Some U.S. Ports of Entry

Judicial Watch Corruption Chronicles, December 30, 2015

The agency’s own statistics certainly contradict that, showing that the southern border region is as porous and vulnerable as ever. Other entry ports that saw large hikes in Central American illegal immigrants during the first two months of this fiscal year include Del Rio, Texas (269%), El Centro, California (216%) and Rio Grande Valley, Texas (154%). The Border Patrol breaks the stats down by “family unit” and illegal immigrants under the age of 18, referred to as “Unaccompanied Alien Children” or UAC. The Rio Grande Valley port of entry topped the list in both categories with 8,537 family units and 6,465 UACs during the two-month period. In all, the nation’s nine southern border crossings saw an average of 173% increase in family units and a 106% increase in minors during the short period considered.

Some of the illegal immigrants are Mexican nationals, but the overwhelming majority comes from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The government records show that somehow 4,450 family units from El Salvador evaded our topnotch border security and entered the United States in a period of only two months. Guatemala and Honduras had 3,934 and 3,203 respectively. Mexico had 538 family units. Of interesting note is that, during this period, the Border Patrol reports 35,234 apprehensions in the region of foreigners labeled by the government as “Other Than Mexican” or OTM. This is a term used by federal authorities to refer to nationals of countries that represent a terrorist threat to the U.S.
. . .
http://www.judicialwatch.org/blog/2015/12/surge-in-illegal-aliens-500-increase-in-some-u-s-ports-of-entry/





Houston Slayings Fueled Border Security Debate

Dan Golvach, father of Spencer Golvach,  at his son's grave in Houston Tuesday, October 20, 2015.
Dan Golvach, father of Spencer Golvach, at his son's grave in Houston Tuesday, October 20, 2015.
Bordering on Insecurity LogoThe Texas Tribune is taking a yearlong look at the issues of border security and immigration, reporting on the reality and rhetoric around these topics. Sign up to get story alerts.
HOUSTON — Julie Golvach remembers that something felt “off” the night she lost her only child.
It was exactly one year ago today, a few minutes before 1 a.m. Standing in the driveway of her Houston home, waving goodbye to her sister under a clear winter sky, something didn't feel right. The stars didn’t look the same.
Golvach tossed and turned in bed for a while but was sound asleep when a knock on the door came at 6 a.m.
“I jumped up and I knew,” she said.
She stopped by her son’s boyhood bedroom, the one with the window looking out onto the driveway. He’d slept there a week earlier, the evening they went to see "American Sniper" together. She slipped past the picture of him and his best childhood friend on the wall, skirting the bed with the stuffed toy lamb — a baby shower relic — lying on top.
Out the window, Golvach saw three people — two uniformed police officers and a woman wearing a shirt that read “chaplain.” Her chest pounded as she made her way to the front door and opened it.
“Is it Spencer?” she asked.
The second those words tumbled out of her mouth, she knew the answer, just as she had known when she uttered that exact phrase the day he was born, before anyone told her if the baby was a boy or a girl. She just knew.
It was Spencer.
One night off
Spencer Golvach grew up in the sprawl of northwest Houston, surrounded by guitars and destined for a career in music, his father’s passion.
When he turned 16 in 2005 and got his driver’s license, the easygoing musician started working at a local guitar store in a strip mall not far from Jersey Village High School, where he excelled in shop class and anything he could do with his hands.
He had always fiddled with his dad’s guitars, and he developed a knack for fixing and rebuilding them at the store. A few years later, when the shop owner announced his retirement, Spencer decided to buy the Cy-Fair area business.
Spencer Golvach, at the age of three, pictured with a guitar. Authorities say Golvach was killed by Victor Reyes, an undocumented immigrant, during a random shooting spree in January 2015.
Spencer Golvach, at the age of three, pictured with a guitar. Authorities say Golvach was killed by Victor Reyes, an undocumented immigrant, during a random shooting spree in January 2015.
With nine employees and a soft economy, life as an entrepreneur proved tough sledding. He struggled to turn a profit, and he took a second full-time job as a receiving lead and forklift operator at a local warehouse.
Even that wasn’t enough to cover the bills. By early 2015, Spencer was preparing to move into a smaller — and cheaper — space in the same shopping mall. He could hardly wait for Saturday, Jan. 31 to arrive, the day the slimmed-down version of Spencer’s Guitar Shop was set to open. Between giving guitar lessons, working an 8-to-5 day job, building out the new store and playing bass in his band — The Dead Revolt — Spencer needed a break.
“The guy was burning the candle at both ends for a long time,” recalled Dan Golvach, his father. “He takes one night off, to go take his girlfriend out for her birthday. That was Jan. 30. And he drops her off ... and 15 minutes later he pulls up to that red light.”
Less than a mile from his apartment, Spencer steered into the left turn lane at 18th Street and Mangum Road and waited for the green light. The details of what happened next are captured in the records of two police agencies, more than a dozen news articles and the unceasing nightmares of Spencer’s parents and loved ones.
An undocumented Mexican national named Victor Reyes, a native of Reynosa along the Texas-Mexico border, pulled up next to Spencer's beloved white Toyota pickup. He pointed a pistol at Spencer’s head and pulled the trigger.
The bullet went through the passenger side window and into Spencer’s skull, at the top of his right ear.
“I choose to believe it killed him instantly,” his father said in an interview months later. “I think he was just there and then it’s like someone turned the lights off. I don’t think he suffered.”
But the Golvach family’s suffering — compounded by the feeling that Spencer’s death could have been prevented — was just beginning.
Houston police, their report indicates, found 25-year-old Spencer dead in his truck at 12:56 a.m. — right around the moment Julie Golvach, waving goodbye to her sister, couldn't shake the feeling that something was off.
A few hours later, she was phoning her ex-husband to break the news.
“I couldn’t make out what she was saying and I finally just said, ‘is my son dead?’”— Dan Golvach
“She was just inconsolable,” he recalled. “I couldn’t make out what she was saying and I finally just said, ‘is my son dead?’ She said, ‘yes.’ Then of course I started. I joined the chorus.”
More than a thousand people attended Spencer’s memorial service, a tribute to his fun-loving nature and penchant for making friends across generational, ethnic and gender lines.
Those who knew Spencer universally describe him as fun-loving and strikingly calm. After he died, a family friend ordered up a batch of commemorative rubber bracelets emblazoned with his laid-back motto: “Chill Don’t Freeze."

A bloody rampage
More than once since the funeral, Julie Golvach has found herself wishing that her son’s attacker had gotten to know Spencer. She’s convinced he never would have pulled the trigger. But the official evidence of the crime, while scant, suggests Spencer was chosen randomly. And he wasn’t the only victim.
Police say Reyes shot a man in the face, wounding him, in the suburban city of Jersey Village minutes before killing Spencer, and they connected him to at least two more random shootings shortly thereafter. All told, Reyes shot two dead and wounded three others before a Harris County Sheriff’s deputy took him down after a violent shootout, officials say.
John Weston, 67, says he’s lucky to be alive after encountering Reyes on the Hempstead Highway near Pinemont, about 10 minutes north of where Spencer had just been killed. He remembers seeing a big, dark truck driving aggressively behind him. When he got to the stoplight, it pulled up alongside him.
“All of a sudden I hear this ungodly noise,” Weston recalled. “I don’t know if you can imagine how fast your mind works, but I saw a shattered window and I saw a bullet hole in my window. My mind is thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, somebody’s shooting at me and this guy at this light.’”
He pressed his foot to the accelerator to get out of the line of fire, but not soon enough. He heard the second shot, and its impact felt like someone “hauled off and hit you upside the head,” he said.
Weston realized the truck's driver was the gunman. “I saw blood everywhere,” he said. His hands were covered in it, so he could only manage to re-dial on his cell phone. He finally reached his wife, who told him to go to the nearest toll booth. An ambulance was called. Doctors found that a bullet had entered his left cheek and stuck in the other side of his mouth.
A year later, after reconstructive surgery to replace a badly shattered jaw, his mouth remains completely numb below the tongue. With his health woes and lost time at work, he’s struggling to keep his printing business afloat.
“Everything I do now is a little more difficult, but considering I’m here talking, I’m blessed to be here,” Weston said. “It’s scarred me forever. I don’t break down and cry, but I think about it all the time.”
Had Reyes been a homegrown criminal, the story might have ended in the empty field where the deputy shot him — chalked up as another random act of violence in a city and nation all too used to them.
But as word spread about Reyes’ long criminal record and multiple deportations, the case was thrust into the volatile debate over illegal immigration and control of the southern border: first in local news stories, then at the Capitol in Austin and most recently on the presidential campaign trail on a stage in mid-November with GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump in Beaumont, where Dan Golvach spoke out and held up a poster of Spencer along with others killed by undocumented immigrants.
Gunman's long record
According to the Houston office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Reyes had been removed from the country four times between 2003 and 2010, but little is publicly known about what he was doing in Houston prior to terrorizing its northwest environs — or why he did it.
His criminal and illegal entry records stretch back at least to 2002 when, at age 18, he was convicted of burglarizing a building in Hidalgo County, across the border from Reynosa, which he told police was his place of birth. He spent a month and a half in jail before a state court sentenced him to three years' probation, ordered him to pay an $850 fine and mandated 120 hours of community service.

Victor Reyes, shown in 2001 jail mug shot from Hidalgo County. Authorities say Reyes, an undocumented immigrant, went on a January 2015 shooting spree in Harris County that killed two and wounded three.
Victor Reyes, shown in 2001 jail mug shot from Hidalgo County. Authorities say Reyes, an undocumented immigrant, went on a January 2015 shooting spree in Harris County that killed two and wounded three.
A year later, he was back in the Hidalgo County Jail for breaking a beer bottle over a man’s head at the Tejano Saloon in Pharr. He was sent back to Mexico after serving about a month in the local jail, but he came back. By then, his previous probation had been revoked, and he served several months in a state jail in Raymondville.
Deported again on Jan. 20, 2004, Reyes was caught trying to cross the border the next day, triggering a 90-day sentence in federal prison and yet another deportation — his third.
A few months later, on Aug. 10, he was caught again, in McAllen, and received a one-year federal prison sentence for his fourth known illegal re-entry. His crimes didn’t end there. A few weeks before his prison release date, Reyes beat up a fellow inmate — described by his lawyer as a rival gang member — cutting and fracturing his face, according to federal court records.
Two new assault charges made Reyes eligible for 20 years behind bars. Despite his history of violence, burglary and repeat illegal crossings, federal prosecutors offered Reyes a deal: In exchange for a guilty plea on one of the counts, and in recognition of his “truthful testimony” and “acceptance of responsibility,” they promised to give him a sentence “at the lowest end of the applicable guidelines” on a single charge, court papers show. Under the plea bargain, Reyes' sentence was 63 months, a quarter of the maximum he faced under the two counts.
That’s a few more spoonfuls of salt in the wound for Dan and Julie Golvach. Had Reyes been given even half of his possible sentence on the two assault counts, he would have been in prison instead of at that traffic light killing their son.
“The people who agreed to this deal need to be held accountable,” Julie Golvach said. “The result was the horrific murder of my son.”
The prosecutor who signed the plea agreement, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Hammer, declined to talk about the case, referring questions to U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Angela Dodge in Houston.
Dodge sent The Texas Tribune a boilerplate description of plea deals, saying they “ensure a resolution of the case and that someone is convicted of the crime(s) we believe they committed without going through the time and expense of a trial,” while providing “justice for all.” She declined to say whether prosecutors took Reyes' previous crimes into account, or if they frequently offer plea deals to convicted criminals who commit additional crimes behind bars.
It’s another official secret in a case with no shortage of them.
Family still seeking answers
The Houston Police Department, using its own discretion under the Public Information Act, blocked release of all but a few details on the Golvach and Weston shootings. The department cited a provision allowing it to withhold criminal records absent a final disposition, such as a conviction or deferred adjudication. Since Reyes is dead and the city’s case is otherwise closed, that means Houston police likely can withhold the information indefinitely.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office declined to release its investigative files, but for an entirely different reason: After every officer-involved shooting — in this case, a deputy ended Reyes’ deadly rampage — the Harris County district attorney’s office presents the case to a grand jury even if no one complains. That happened last week, just days before the one-year anniversary of the shooting spree.
The federal government holds onto its files with a tight grip, too, citing the 1974 U.S. Privacy Act. The act covers only U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement has decreed that its protections apply to federal immigration detention records, even those related to undocumented immigrants convicted of horrific crimes. The agency voluntarily released a narrative of its multiple encounters with Reyes, but the Tribune has not yet heard back from ICE or U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services on its written request for his entire immigration file. 

The secrecy across local and federal agencies that came into contact with Reyes confounded and frustrated the people touched by his violence. Weston said his wife became “very disillusioned” about their quest for even the simplest answers.
Dan Golvach, father of Spencer Golvach, in Houston Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at the intersection where his son was killed by an undocumented immigrant in January.
Dan Golvach, father of Spencer Golvach, in Houston Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at the intersection where his son was killed by an undocumented immigrant in January.
“I mean, we asked them, ‘Who was the guy?’” Weston said. “We had to fill out paperwork and all that kind of stuff, but we never got any satisfactory answer. It was almost like it was top secret information.”
Hoping to break through the bureaucratic walls and get some answers about who killed their son and why, the Golvaches eventually hired a former investigative reporter, ex-KTRK-TV newsman Wayne Dolcefino. In a letter last year to then-Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, Dolcefino said the sheriff’s office was “doing a disservice to this crime victim by not responding to this request in a proper manner.” The local investigative files remained sealed as of late last week, but the Harris County Sheriff's Office asked the Tribune to resubmit its request for the records and promised a quick turnaround.
Even with new information beginning to trickle out, the victims and their families still don't know where Reyes lived or if he had a job, who owned the truck he was driving that night or — least of all — the motive for his deadly rampage.
According to Harris County Assistant District Attorney Heyward Carter, some elements of the senseless crime may never be known.
Carter, who handled a single aspect of the case — the officer-involved shooting — was able to speak about the case for the first time last week. He revealed that Reyes was "extremely intoxicated" and had a "significant amount of cocaine" in his system. He also identified the weapon, a .380 caliber pistol, that he said was legally purchased at one point, but authorities haven't determined how a convicted felon and undocumented immigrant, barred from buying or possessing firearms, obtained it.
“We live in an age of mass shootings, and even though this one didn’t get a whole lot of publicity, that’s what this is."
— Heyward Carter, Harris County Assistant District Attorney
Carter also provided details about the actions of the Harris County deputy sheriff, Javier Rojas, who finally put an end to the deadly rampage. By chance, Rojas was patrolling the area and heard shots being fired. He saw the truck of Reyes' final victim, identified by police as Juan Garcia, in obvious distress, weaving randomly at an intersection. Garcia later died from his wounds, and a woman in the car with him was slightly injured from the broken glass.
Rojas chased after Reyes, who crashed his truck through a barrier at the end of a dead end street and went another 200 yards or so into an empty field. Rojas continued the pursuit on foot and found Reyes crouching behind the truck. He ordered the suspect to drop his weapon but Reyes stood and fired at the officer instead. Rojas returned fire and struck him in the chest. When authorities photographed the body his hand was still gripping the pistol "with his finger on the trigger," Carter said.
In terms of a motive, authorities can only speculate based on a conversation Reyes had with a supposed girlfriend about three hours before the shooting spree began. He wanted her to go out to a bar or nightclub with him, and she turned him down. Authorities speculate he may have been taking out his rage on couples: It's possible he saw Spencer Golvach dropping off his girlfriend shortly before shooting him at the red light and then targeted Garcia after seeing he had a woman in his vehicle.
But it's just a theory.
“We live in an age of mass shootings, and even though this one didn’t get a whole lot of publicity, that’s what this is," Carter said. "I don’t understand why he was doing it.”
Carter did confirm what the families had learned from detectives in the immediate aftermath of the shootings: Reyes still had plenty of ammunition left in his truck — suggesting that he was planning a more extensive shooting spree. There were at least 20 live rounds left in the vehicle, and he appeared to be reloading while driving near the scene of his final attack.
“Had this officer not been there just coincidentally ... there were plenty of roads for him to go down. He had plenty of ammo, and it didn't seem like he was stopping, that's for sure," Carter said. "As horrible as this situation was, it could have been way worse.”
After the facts were presented to grand jury last Wednesday, the panel decided not to proceed with any further action related to the incident. The Golvach family calls Rojas' response heroic.
"Why was he allowed to be here?"
Julie Golvach burst out into tears again last week after hearing for the first time some of the details of the crime that took her son's life. 
“I really feel I deserve to know what brought them together at that point in time, what caused him to shoot my son,” she said. “I think we deserve to know why he was even here — why he was allowed to be here.”
It’s a common refrain among those who have been victimized by people in the country illegally. They weren’t supposed to be here in the first place, and the government's inability to keep them from crossing the southern border after they’ve been deported — and prevent them from committing crimes — provokes a unique brand of helplessness and outrage.
Even Weston, a lifelong Democrat who attended both of Barack Obama’s inaugurations and favors allowing otherwise law-abiding immigrants into the United States to work and seek a better life, said he had to fight the urge to call Donald Trump and tell him he was “dead-on” with his focus on foreigners who commit crimes here.
“Somebody’s got to do something about it,” he said. In the same breath, Weston emphasized that he doesn’t support Trump for president and said keeping dangerous felons from crossing the border or entering the vast illegal workforce defied simplistic solutions.
“If there’s some way to filter out the ones that intend to harm people, I would be in support of that,” he said. “It may prevent something like this from happening to somebody else.”
Dan Golvach is more blunt and outspoken. A few weeks after his son’s murder, he was at the state Capitol testifying in favor of 2015 state legislation — ultimately doomed — that would have prohibited local law enforcement authorities in Texas from adopting “sanctuary” policies that keep police out of immigration matters.
Then late last year, he appeared with Trump at a campaign rally in Beaumont, saying his son died as “the result of politically correct politics” — namely, bipartisan policies that he believes go too easy on undocumented immigrants and the people who hire them.
“When you lose the thing you love the most, you’re not that worried about being PC,” Golvach said in an interview. “If you’re going to come here, you need to do it legally on our terms, not your terms.”
Golvach readily admits that anger over his son’s killing sometimes hits “toxic” levels. He says he’s still haunted by the image of Spencer in a hastily chosen coffin, still upset he was killed right next to the stadium where he used to watch baseball as a kid, still mad as hell that the government won’t cough up the records they have on his son’s killer.
It would be worse without all the good memories of his son, and without the certainty that if Spencer were alive today he would say to him: “chill don’t freeze.”
“He’d tell me, ‘Don’t have a heart attack. You know, clear your mind and keep it cool,'” he said. “He would tell me not to hate anybody.”

Concrete Evidence of the Continuing Plunge in Both Civil and Criminal Immigration Enforcement

By Dan Cadman

CIS Immigration Blog, January 23, 2016

Two recent reports from Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) reflect the continued erosion of immigration enforcement under the Obama administration.

On January 20, TRAC reported that criminal prosecution for immigration offenses fell 22.3 percent from November 2014 to November 2015, and more than 36 percent over the course of five years, excluding magistrate court (which deals exclusively with petty offenses).

The following day, TRAC announced that "ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] Detainer Use Stabilizes Under Priority Enforcement Program". The Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) is the replacement to the Secure Communities Program mandated by Homeland Security Security Jeh Johnson as a part of the president's "executive actions" on immigration. It significantly restricts the ability of immigration agents to file detainers against aliens arrested by police on criminal charges.

I have no idea what TRAC means by "stabilizes". A quick look at Figure 1a of their report shows a more accurate state of affairs, if one considers the number of detainers being filed over the course of five years, from a high in April 2011, when Secure Communities became fully effective nationwide and kicked into high gear, versus October 2015. I would use other phrases: "plummeted" or "Dropped like a stone". Or, as my colleague Jessica Vaughan has noted, particularly in relation to detainers filed at county jails, where the lion's share of criminals of any stripes are held after being booked for offenses small and large: "a stunning free fall".