Good News from the Border ‘War’…

… The GOP’s war on suffering humanity, not to mention the explicit instructions of that Jesus guy to whom they’re always proclaiming their allegiance. Warren shouldn’t have been arrested in the first place, but at least 8 out of 12 jurors stood up for decency. Per the Washington Post:

When Scott Daniel Warren was arrested last year after allegedly providing food, water, beds and clean clothes to undocumented immigrants near Arizona’s Sonoran Desert, the question was whether he had broken the law or upheld it.

“No Más Muertes,” an advocacy group that wants “no more deaths” of people crossing the desert regions linking Mexico and the southwestern United States, sees Warren — one of its most visible members — as an apostle of humanitarianism. His advocates say the geographer, who has taught courses at Arizona State University, was heeding both religious rules and international covenants that require sanctuary for the persecuted and the dispossessed.

The government, however, sees Warren, 36, as a felon. Arrested by Border Patrol agents in January 2018 at a property offering aid for immigrants in Ajo, Ariz., he was accused of helping border-crossers evade authorities, which is prohibited under federal law.

The activist faced up to 20 years in prison on charges of harboring and conspiring to transport undocumented immigrants…

The judge, Raner C. Collins, dismissed them and scheduled a status hearing in the case for July 2. The U.S. attorney’s office in Arizona did not immediately indicate whether it would seek another trial.
Read more








Friday Morning Open Thread: Not So Fast, Squash Boy

(Jack Ohman via GoComics.com)
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And, of course, there’s this side note:








Pence Administration Cracks Down on Nefarious LGBT Plot to Have Children

As you are no doubt aware, same-sex couples cannot conceive children the same way opposite-sex couples can. While many choose to adopt, others choose to make what my husband and I call Science Babies. For male* couples, this usually involves one partner’s sperm and a surrogate; for female* couples, one provides the egg (and often womb), and then there is a sperm donor.

In a small but nasty administrative decision, the Pence wing of the administration has combined forces with the Trump wing to begin challenging birthright citizenship for gay couples who have Science Babies overseas:

Last summer, the State Department issued new rules unilaterally changing the department’s interpretation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), a 1952 law that, along with the 14th Amendment, codifies eligibility for U.S. birthright citizenship.

“The U.S. Department of State interprets the INA to mean that a child born abroad must be biologically related to a U.S. citizen parent,” the State Department’s website says. “Even if local law recognizes a surrogacy agreement and finds that U.S. parents are the legal parents of a child conceived and born abroad… if the child does not have a biological connection to a U.S. citizen parent, the child will not be a U.S. citizen at birth.”

Under the policy[…] children born via gestational surrogacy and other forms of assisted reproductive technology (ART) are considered to be born “out of wedlock,” in the State Department’s words—even if their parents, like Roee and Adiel, are legally married.

I’m sure you’ll be shocked to learn that these new rules only seem to apply to children born to same-sex couples.

For parents of non-traditional families, the policy change has been a disaster, leaving them to navigate the labyrinthine immigration legal system with little guidance from the State Department and, at the moment, little recourse for appeal. Children of U.S. citizens are put at risk of deportation or even statelessness—despite no textual legal basis for the policy.

[…]“Assumption of parentage,” as the State Department calls it, now seems to LGBT parents to be reserved solely for heterosexual married couples.

Indeed, friends of ours recently had a Science Baby who was born in Thailand, and they had to jump through a number of hoops, including several genetic tests, to get the kid a passport. The whole article shows just how much of a mess the administrative state is for same-sex couples right now. The pretzels we had to twist ourselves into pre-Obergefell and Windsor have ramifications that will echo through our lives until this is cleaned up by actual laws. Which will not happen any time soon. In the meantime, administrations which decide that they can reinterpret the law to their liking, since nobody is likely to stop them, will do so.

What’s most galling for me is that this is not a large number of people. Many of these people are servicemembers. There is no legitimate reason to do this. I can’t even imagine what they’ll cook up in court to make it seem like there is. In the Trump era, they don’t even have the goddamn courtesy to give us a pretext any more.

*Chromosomal sex








The War on Blue America

The story about Trump’s proposed immigrant-dumping in so-called “sanctuary cities” broke last night. Unless a rogue drone snatches the clump of hair off Trump’s noggin, or Javanka are exposed as masterminds of a global kitten-pelt purveying ring, or “acting” WH Chief of Staff Mulvaney discards his skin suit to reveal himself as a razor-toothed alien life form (not scenarios that can be discounted in this administration), that story deserves wall-to-wall media play. From The Post:

White House proposed releasing immigrant detainees in sanctuary cities, targeting political foes

White House officials have tried to pressure U.S. immigration authorities to release detainees onto the streets of “sanctuary cities” to retaliate against President Trump’s political adversaries, according to Department of Homeland Security officials and email messages reviewed by The Washington Post.

Trump administration officials have proposed transporting detained immigrants to sanctuary cities at least twice in the past six months — once in November, as a migrant caravan approached the U.S. southern border, and again in February, amid a standoff with Democrats over funding for Trump’s border wall.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s district in San Francisco was among those the White House wanted to target, according to DHS officials. The administration also considered releasing detainees in other Democratic strongholds.

It’s outrageous on so many levels. First, there’s the basic indecency of a proposal to transport frightened, desperate people to distant cities and dump them like so many stray dogs. We rightly revile and criminally charge people who treat unwanted pets this way, and here’s the White House pressuring federal agencies to do this to human beings.

It’s particularly scandalous considering that Trump demonizes immigrants constantly, routinely portraying asylum-seekers and immigrant detainees as murderous gang members bent on marauding through our streets in search of young blond women to rape and kill.

So, if we take Trump at his word about the character of the people in our custody, Trump tried to loose violent criminals on unsuspecting populations for the crime of electing Democrats. By his own lights, that’s a direct violation of Trump’s duty to protect U.S. citizens — all of us, not just MAGA chuds.

It’s also important to remember that this is consistent with Trump’s other actions to wage war on non-supporters. There’s the Trump administration’s absolutely catastrophic failure to assist fellow Americans who live in Puerto Rico, contrasted with Trump’s March 4th tweet about Alabama:

FEMA has been told directly by me to give the A Plus treatment to the Great State of Alabama and the wonderful people who have been so devastated by the Tornadoes.

That tweet barely caused a blip in the media, despite the clear implication that the POTUS personally directs which grade of “treatment” devastated communities receive in the wake of natural disasters from the taxpayer-funded organization charged with assisting ALL Americans.

Then there are the provisions in that plutocratic grab-bag of a tax bill that specifically target people in blue states by imposing property tax caps, which will eventually have the effect of tanking local education budgets.

There’s also the citizenship question ruse in the proposed U.S. Census questionnaire, which was designed to reduce the headcount and political power of states like California and New York. There’s the lowering of auto emission standards to depress green job growth. The list goes on.

The Republican presidents I personally have clear memories of include Reagan, Bush I and Bush II. They were all terrible. But all at least gave lip service to the notion that they had a duty to serve all Americans.

Their awful policies harmed huge groups of voters, including minorities, women, the disabled, young people, etc. But I can’t recall them obsessing over maps and drawing up plans to surgically strike back at entire regions of the country that gave electoral votes to an opponent.

It’s outrageous, and it’s a danger to the country. But this is the Trump administration, so I guess it’s just Friday.








Cold Grey Pre-Dawn Open Thread: Old, Alone, and Bitter

WHY DUN’T THA GUBMINT DO SUMPIN ABOUT THEM EEE-LEGAL ALIENS?!?

Also, WHY IS THA GUBMIT BOTHERIN MY GUYS (who possibly have different opinions about workers who were not born in Iowa, or even America)?!?

The most senior Senate Republican is warning the White House not to oust another top immigration official, making appeals to the administration against dismissing Lee Francis Cissna, the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, amid a purge of Homeland Security leaders.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said he was “very, very concerned” regarding reports that Cissna could be next in a series of rapid-fire DHS dismissals that began late last week when the White House suddenly pulled the nomination of Ronald Vitiello, who had been tapped as director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement…

Grassley had already worked closely with Cissna, who had been detailed from the administration to work on the Senate Judiciary Committee when the Iowa Republican served as its chairman. Other Grassley alumni hold senior positions at the citizenship agency, including Kathy Nuebel Kovarik, who is the chief of USCIS’s Office of Policy and Strategy.

“The president has to have some stability and particularly with the number one issue that he’s made for his campaign, throughout his two and a half years of presidency,” Grassley said. “He’s pulling the rug out from the very people that are trying to help him accomplish his goal.” …

Earlier Monday, Grassley said he texted Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, to relay his concerns about Cissna’s potential departure. Once the two men got on the phone, Mulvaney said he would look into the issue, according to Grassley.

“He didn’t seem to know who I was talking about,” recalled Grassley, whose top aides were also talking with senior White House staff about those concerns. Asked whether he wants to speak with Trump directly on the matter, Grassley said: “I’ll see if it’s necessary.”

Grassley also said he was going on Fox News — Trump’s favored cable news channel — to make his case publicly. Cissna was confirmed in October 2017 on a 54-to-43 vote.

The GOP senator was also critical of Stephen Miller, a senior White House adviser who has been one of the leading voices within the administration that has lobbied for the wholesale housecleaning at DHS.

“I think it would be hard for him to demonstrate he’s accomplished anything for the president,” Grassley said. When asked to elaborate, the senator chuckled and added: “It’s pretty hard to elaborate on it when there hasn’t been any accomplishments.”

I suspect that what Grassley really wants — just like his constituents — is for the kids to come back to the Heartland(tm), marry a member of the opposite sex and the same ethnicity, and start producing kids who aren’t half-breeds, weirdos, and/or Catholics. But since he’s accepted that’s not gonna happen soon enough, he at least wants to be sure he can find folks to pick the crops, work the production line, and clean the toilets at a price he considers affordable. Trump’s dementia-fueled meltdown and the Konservative Klown Korps taking advantage of their Oval Office occupation are making life just that much harder for Sen. Chuck, and the old man is not having it.

Me, I’m just rooting for injuries curious to see which side Mitch McConnell decides to support. Because McConnell’s Repubs, after all, are the party of Pecunia non olet