President Trump has nominated John Kelly’s chief of staff, Kirstjen Nielsen, to be the next Homeland Security secretary, but the nomination has already hit some snags from both sides of the aisle. The most curious aspect of the debate is highlighted in this article from USA Today. They focus on one Q&A session during Nielsen’s confirmation hearings where she was asked about the border wall. Her answer was, to put it mildly, less than inspiring.
Kirstjen Nielsen, an attorney with cyber- and homeland security experience, told senators during her confirmation hearing that the border should be fortified instead with a mix of personnel, technology and physicial fencing.
Her stand mirrors that of former DHS secretary — and her current boss — White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. Nielsen was Kelly’s chief of staff at DHS and followed him to the White House, where she is principal deputy chief of staff.
The president has stated as have predecessors at DHS certainly something that I share: There is no need for a wall from sea to shining sea,” she said.
I’m not going to pretend that Nielsen is the only person in Washington with questions about the border wall. Far from it, in fact. And I honestly don’t know if the political will exists on the hill (to say nothing of the required resources) to push through a “big, beautiful wall” that runs from sea to shining sea Gulf of Mexico. But that’s not really the point here, is it? Nielsen is being nominated to serve in the cabinet of the President of the United States and she should be entering that office (if confirmed) ready to stand up for the President’s agenda. You may not get everything you want, but you don’t begin a negotiation by ceding ground to the opponent.
It’s equally disappointing to hear so many ostensibly conservative members of the Republican party parroting the language of the Democrats on an issue which should be such a no-brainer in terms of policy. There will be huge challenges involved in building and maintaining a wall of that length. Getting it done in a single presidential term would likely prove impossible even if we had bipartisan consensus on the issue. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.
Yes, some of the terrain that the border runs through is brutal and construction in those areas will be challenging. But if we seriously want to have a full barrier capable of largely shutting down illegal immigration of all forms, such a wall is needed. As long as there are openings where someone can walk across, criminals will find a way to do it. Working over a number of administrations, the entire border actually could be secured eventually, including the addition of extra personnel, electronic monitoring and the other features Neilsen mentioned. And if you don’t think that a border wall can work, go read what happened in Hungary when they build one.
Rather than focusing all my fire on Neilsen (who is, I am positive, more than qualified otherwise), it’s worth taking a moment to look at the dog and pony show which her confirmation turned into thanks to the Democrats. She’s being considered for a spot in Homeland Security, so questions about the wall are clearly appropriate. But what else did her interrogators want to know about? Her views on climate change.
She is expected to win confirmation easily, though she did provide some answers Wednesday that took some senators aback. For example on climate change, Nielsen declined to say she believes humans caused it.
“I do absolutely believe that the climate is changing,” she said. “I’m not prepared to determine causation.”
Nielsen later pledged that she would review the science.
What exactly does the Secretary of Homeland Security have to do with climate change? Did you also ask her about her views on abortion and the Export-Import Bank? Surely you found time to get her take on the pressing issue of NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem.
Come on, guys. Grill her about matters related to her potential next job, obviously. But all the rest of this window dressing is unrelated and only serves as an opportunity for Democrats to do some grandstanding and create a few headlines. Let’s get on with the actual business at hand, shall we?

Paul Ryan Rebukes 13 GOP Reps Who Urge No-Strings Amnesty Giveaway

Thirteen Republican congressmen lined up on Thursday to support Democrats’ demands that the 2018 budget also include a quick, no-strings amnesty for millions of illegals — but they were quickly slapped down by House Speaker Paul Ryan.

“I think it should be treated separately on its own merits,” Ryan countered in his Thursday press conference.  “There is no need to have artificial deadlines,” he said, adding that his deputies are preparing an immigration proposal for consideration by caucus members.
The following Republicans called for the no-strings amnesty, as reported by the McClatchy Agency:
  1. Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA)
  2. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
  3. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX)
  4. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)
  5. Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE)
  6. Rep. Peter King (R-NY)
  7. Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA)
  8. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA)
  9. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ)
  10. Rep. John Faso (R-NY)
  11. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA)
  12. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL)
  13. Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN)
The thirteen stood in agreement with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) that Congress should provide an amnesty for at least 690,000 “DACA” illegals who were previously covered by President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Under the Democrats’ Dream Act, amnesty actually would be given to a broader group of three million illegal immigrants below the age of 40.
That Democrats’ act would give millions of illegals quick access to all federal financial aid — including Obamacare — and put them on a fast track to citizenship, after which they could vote for Democratic politicians and also use the chain-migration laws to bring in a legally unlimited number of Democratic-leaning relatives from their home countries. After the 1986 amnesty, newly naturalized Mexicans sponsored an average of six other Mexicans for citizenship, ensuring complete Democratic control of California.

Spoke this morning about the need for a productive, solutions-oriented discussion about policy for the 6,000  recipients in MN.

In contrast, pro-American reformers want Congress to cut the huge annual inflow of immigrants, so forcing companies to pay higher wages and to buy productivity-boosting, high-wage machinery. That low-immigration, high-wage policy got New York real-estate developer Donald Trump elected in 2016 because it wins huge support from the public, according to many polls.
Schumer claims to have bipartisan support for his no-strings Dream Act amnesty this Christmas. “We think we’re going to have a number of our Republican colleagues join us,” Schumer said Wednesday. “There are a lot of Republicans who want to pass DACA as well. So I am very optimistic it will pass.”
These 13 Republicans were in agreement, although without much enthusiasm.
Ros-Lehtinen reportedly said, “There’s a whole bunch of us that want to make this dream a reality.” Upton added, “We all respond by saying sĂ­, right?”
According to the Associated Press:
Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., said at the Capitol Hill news conference that their remarks were meant to encourage Ryan and “maybe put a little pressure on him as well to come forward with that solution that a majority of Republicans can support” …
Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, predicted widespread backing in the 435-member House.
“When the bill comes to the floor, whatever bill it is, I predict it will have a huge vote. Well over 300 votes to send this bill to the Senate,” Barton said.
A huge influx of Latino Americans has converted Barton’s district into a white-minority district. Whites comprise only 45 percent of the voters in the district, while Latinos comprise 22 percent. Newhouse is a fruit-grower in his home state and has championed continued industry reliance on cheap migrant workers instead of fruit-picking machinery. His district is now one-quarter Latino and he won his 2014 election by 1.6 percent.
Upton is a liberal in the GOP caucus and only holds a C rating from the NumbersUSA immigration-reform group. Ros-Lehtinen is a Cuban immigrant who has long favored Latino immigration. She is retiring in 2018. Issa’s district is in California, and the rising level of Latino voters nearly defeated him in 2016.
None of the legislators discussed any safeguards or offsets, such as the construction of the wall, or ending chain migrati0n and the visa lottery, or implementing President  Donald Trump’s immigration principles. They appeared prepared, as Schumer and the assembled pro-DACA protesters on Capitol Hill demanded, to tie a “clean” amnesty to an omnibus spending bill by the end of the year.
The pro-amnesty statement by the 13 legislators was issued just as a new poll showed declining public support for a DACA-style amnesty. The poll found fewer than 30 percent of American voters think “fixing” DACA is a priority while 68 percent support mandatory E-Verify, 53 percent prioritize stopping employers hiring illegal aliens, and 54 percent said they wanted to see overall legal immigration levels reduced.

Trump's Mar-a-Lago gets approval to hire 70 foreign workers because there aren't enough Americans willing to do the jobs

  • Managers claim there aren't enough Americans qualified and willing to do work
  • Trump's hiring of foreign workers was criticized during the 2016 election

  • Trump defended Mar-a-Lago's hiring practices, saying not enough Americans apply for its low-end service jobs

  • Mar-a-Lago has been approved to employ 35 foreign waiters, 20 cooks and 15 housekeepers to help serve its 500 members starting this month through May 31

  • The waiters will receive $11.88 an hour with no tips, the cooks $13.34 an hour and the housekeepers $10.33 an hour
  • The waiters' and cooks' wages are slightly above the national average

  • The housekeepers' are slightly below, per Labor Dept. statistics

President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club has received permission to hire 70 foreign workers to fill out its staff during its upcoming busy season, after managers attested there aren't enough Americans qualified and willing to do the work.
The president's hiring of foreign workers at the Florida resort over several years was criticized by his opponents during the 2016 campaign after he slammed companies for moving jobs out of the U.S. and others for hiring immigrants in the country illegally. 
During the Republican primary debates, Trump defended Mar-a-Lago's hiring practices, saying not enough Americans apply for its low-end service jobs and if his managers didn't recruit outside the country 'we might as well just close the doors.'
Trump Organization spokeswoman Amanda Miller did not return calls and emails seeking comment. Janine Gill, Mar-a-Lago's personnel director, also did not return a call. 
Trump visited Mar-a-Lago seven times after his January 20 inauguration and is expected back this season, perhaps as early as Thanksgiving.

President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort has received approval to hire 70 foreign workers for its upcoming busy season. The Florida club pictured above in April  
Under requests approved by the U.S. Labor Department, Mar-a-Lago can employ 35 foreign waiters, 20 cooks and 15 housekeepers to help serve its 500 members starting this month through May 31. 
The waiters will receive $11.88 an hour with no tips, the cooks $13.34 an hour and the housekeepers $10.33 an hour. The waiters' and cooks' wages are slightly above the national average for those fields and the housekeepers' slightly below, according to Labor Department statistics.
Trump (pictured above in Vietnam on Friday) came under fire in the 2016 presidential race for his hiring of foreign workers, especially since he blamed immigrants for stealing jobs from Americans 
Trump (pictured above in Vietnam on Friday) came under fire in the 2016 presidential race for his hiring of foreign workers, especially since he blamed immigrants for stealing jobs from Americans 
Mar-a-Lago has made similar requests in recent years, ranging from 88 employees in 2014 down to 64 last year.
Many other high-end resorts and clubs in Palm Beach County annually receive similar approvals from the government, including 141 foreign employees this year for The Breakers, a historic beachfront hotel near Mar-a-Lago, and 65 for The Polo Club of Boca Raton. 
All are offering wages roughly similar to Mar-a-Lago, according to their Labor Department filings. The area's peak tourist season is from about Thanksgiving to Easter.
The workers are hired under the H-2B visa program, which is for seasonal, non-agriculture employees and is capped at 66,000 nationally per year. 
The State Department says all visa applicants are screened against law enforcement and counter-terrorism databases, but would not say whether Mar-a-Lago applicants get extra scrutiny.
Peter Ricci, director of Florida Atlantic University's hospitality and tourism program, said most foreign workers hired by Palm Beach County resorts are students from Ireland, South Africa, Portugal and the Netherlands who are fulfilling a graduation requirement. 
Ricci, who has studied and worked with the local resort industry, said most American hospitality students don't want to work as servers but want to get into a management trainee program, while the foreign students see high-end waiter and service jobs as possible careers and are eager to take them.
'The more upscale the type of venue, the more difficult it is to hire the type of (American) server or employee that we need,' Ricci said. 'With their culture from their home countries, (the foreign recruits) come with a more dedicated attitude for service that the recruiters just can't find enough of locally.'
Palm Beach County's unemployment rate is 3.6 percent, below the national rate of 4.1 percent. The county's Great Recession rate peaked at 11.6 percent in August 2010 and has been in a steady decline since.
Mar-a-Lago's members pay $14,000 annual dues for access to the 17-acre (6.9-hectare) estate, with new members paying a $200,000 initiation fee that doubled earlier this year. 
Trump purchased Mar-a-Lago - 'The Greatest Mansion Ever Built,' according to its website - from the foundation of cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post in 1985 for $10 million and has invested tens of millions of dollars improving the property. He opened it as a club in 1995.
The property now boasts 58 bedrooms, 33 bathrooms, a 20,000-square-foot ballroom, tennis and croquet courts and three bomb shelters. Members pay extra to dine and stay on the property.
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