High schoolers pack Senate office building to push for DACA fix

If no legislative solution is found, illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children would once again be subject to deportation. (@blibal/Twitter)

by Joe Nuziale 

A Senate office building was packed with high school protesters who walked out of their schools on Thursday.

Armed with signs and their voices, numerous high school students from around the Washington D.C. area crowded into the Hart Office Building with demands for Congress to pass a new DREAM Act. The original DACA program was ended by Attorney General Jeff Sessions this past September with a six-month delay for lawmakers to find a solution.

If no legislative solution is found, illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children would once again be subject to deportation.

A police officer who spoke with reporter Daniel Dale said that the voices of the students echoing off the walls of the building’s atrium sounded “like a football game.”

According to a report from the Washingtonian, the students are expected to move to the House side of the U.S. Capitol building to call out House Speaker Paul Ryan. Ryan, R-Wis., was indecisive about voting on a standalone bill would restore DACA benefits to recipients.


34 Republicans Stab Americans In The Back, Demand That By Christmas Paul Ryan Must Fix…

When it comes to giving ultimatums, Trump is king among all American politicians. When he gives a deadline, and an order, things happen.

Not so much for other politicians. They can’t demand results in quite the way Trump can.

That’s a good thing, mind you. Because most other politicians don’t have in mind what is best for the country. Not even a group of 34 Republicans, pushing Paul Ryan to pass legislation that they think is best for Americans.

It’s not Repeal and Replace. It’s not a Wall. It’s not an updated Travel Ban – of course not.

It’s the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. That, for several Republicans, is the most pressing issue facing the nation.

And these conservatives are demanding that Ryan stop work on every other pressing issue to fix it.


The Washington Examiner reports:

Nearly three dozen House Republicans asked House Speaker Paul Ryan Tuesday to pass legislation this year that creates a permanent legislative solution to the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“While we firmly believe that Congress must work to address other issues within our broken immigration system, it is imperative that Republicans and Democrats come together to solve this problem now and not wait until next year,” the 34 lawmakers wrote in a letter to Ryan.

Mind you, 34 Republicans is not exactly a supermajority. It’s hardly a fraction of Congress, in fact. Most Republicans were focused on tax reform rather than this.

But the fact that even a fraction of conservatives could lose focus is unsettling. And the fact that they could dare to give the government an ultimatum? Even more unsettling. The Commander in Chief dictates the top-down policies. It’s up to the rest of Congress to follow, or get out of the way.

Instead, they’re demanding that Ryan drop everything and fix DACA.

Well, newsflash, Repubs: fixing DACA is the Democrats’ job. Not yours. They’re the ones that have let it get this far without a permanent solution. Obama, after all, was the president that kept kicking the can down the road, and postponing a final decision on DACA.

Trump is working to find solutions for the most pressing matters for the country. He doesn’t have time for sideshows.

Neither does Ryan.

Source: Washington Examiner

WEEKEND: Government shutdown ‘could happen’ Saturday…WEEKEND: Government shutdown ‘could happen’ Saturday…

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By Christina Wilkie

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that a government shutdown “could happen” as soon as Saturday.

“It could happen,” Trump said during a Cabinet meeting at the White House, in response to a reporter’s question about the Friday deadline for a spending bill to fund the government.

“The Democrats are really looking at something that could be very dangerous for our country,” Trump said. “They are looking at shutting down. They want to have illegal immigrants, in many cases people that we don’t want in our country, they want to have illegal immigrants pouring into our country, bringing with them crime, tremendous amounts of crime.”

Congress has until midnight on Friday to approve a short-term spending package to keep the government open. Despite majorities in both chambers, Republicans will need Democratic votes to pass the bill.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., responded on Twitter to Trump’s comments saying: “President Trump is the only person talking about a government shutdown. Democrats are hopeful the President will be open to an agreement to address the urgent needs of the American people and keep government open.”

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What congressional Democrats want in exchange for supporting the spending bill are permanent protections for the nearly 800,000 young, undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States who were brought here as children, the so-called Dreamers.

Earlier this year, Trump canceled an Obama-era protection policy for Dreamers, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. The president’s order gave Congress until March 2018 to pass a bill with DACA-like protections. Republicans have signaled a willingness to address the issue in a spending bill later this year, but not in the short-term fix that must pass this week.

Trump, however, appeared intent on painting any DACA fix proposals as a sort of carte blanche for open borders. “The Democrats maybe would want to shut down the country because they want people flowing into our country,” the president said.

‘Undocumented, unafraid.’: DACA recipients storm the U.S. Capitol



By Perry Stein

They ditched school and marched to Capitol Hill en masse, then filled four floors of balconies in the vast atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building. Silent at first, fists raised in the air, they soon erupted into bellowing chants that echoed through the massive marble-clad room.

“Dream Act. Dream Act.”

“Sí se puede. Sí se puede.”

The demonstration Thursday involving high school and college students from the Washington region and beyond was the latest attempt by undocumented immigrants and their advocates to keep Congress focused on their plight.

In September, President Trump announced he would kill the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which grants work permits and deportation protection to nearly 700,000 illegal immigrants brought here as children.

If Congress does not pass legislation to replace the program, work permits will begin expiring in March.

Competing bills have been proposed to offer DACA recipients a path to citizenship, and a group of Republican lawmakers held a news conference Thursday to urge action on that legislation this year. The Republican leadership — consumed with plans to cut taxes — has said no vote is likely before January.

“It’s been two months since DACA has been rescinded, and we have no solution yet,” said Bruna Bouhid, communications manager for United We Dream, the organization that helped plan Thursday’s protest. “Immigrant youth are honestly fed up, and they are tired of waiting.”

Students wore orange shirts that said “Clean Dream Act,” a reference to legislation that would offer a path to citizenship without adding tough new anti-immigration measures.

They came from local schools including Woodrow Wilson High School in Northwest Washington, Gaithersburg High School in suburban Maryland, Georgetown University, Trinity Washington University and more.

Groups also traveled from states as far as Washington and Arkansas. Kristina Saccone, a spokeswoman for D.C. Public Schools, said the protest was not a sanctioned school event, and students who participated received unexcused early dismissals.


“My parents were hesitant to let me come, but I insisted that this is an important cause and they came around,” said Gissel Bonilla, a sophomore at School Without Walls in Washington whose parents are from El Salvador. “Something needs to be done.”

A U.S. Capitol Police officer used a megaphone to warn the crowd it is illegal to demonstrate in the building. “Stop chanting if you do not intend to be arrested,” the officer said.

Most people became quiet and raised their fists in the air, but a handful of protesters continued their refrain.

Eva Malecki, a spokeswoman for U.S. Capitol Police, said 15 people were arrested, all of them adults.

Martin Martinez, a 24-year-old DACA recipient from Spokane, Washington, said he came to Capitol Hill to fight for his future. He immigrated from Mexico with his family when he was 8, and now attends college and works as a field organizer for United We Dream.

“I consider this country my country,” Martinez said. “DACA gave me the opportunity to feel safe and provide for myself and my family. That power that I have been given to help myself and my community is at stake.”

The protest inside the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building. (Astrid Riecken/For The Washington Post)

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) stood with some of his staff in the corner of the Hart Senate Building watching the protest unfold early Thursday afternoon. He said it was a powerful display, and he wants to vote for a clean Dream Act as soon as possible.

“We need to just get Ryan to put something on the floor so we can vote on it,” Ellison said, a reference to Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.).

On Wednesday, Kirstjen Nielsen, President Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Homeland Security was asked about DACA recipients during her confirmation hearing.

Nielsen said participants in the program would not be an enforcement priority for Immigration and Customs Enforcement if Congress fails to act, an assurance that drew criticism from anti-immigration groups on social media.

She also told Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), one of the administration’s fiercest critics, the government would not use personal information it has compiled through the program to track down individuals whose DACA permits expire and deport them.

No matter. The young protesters who came to the Senate a day later said they would not stop demonstrating until Congress passed firm legislation.

As they exited the Hart building Thursday, again with their fists raised, they chanted once again.

“Undocumented,” they yelled. “Unafraid.”

ICE cracks down on immigrants far from border, new data reveals

President Donald Trump made building a wall on the southern US border the centerpiece of his election campaign. But new data shows border detentions are at the lowest level in several decades.


“Build that wall” was a common chant at rallies in support of Trump, but border crossings are decreasing and US Border Patrol made only 310,531 arrests – a 25 percent decline from the 415,816 in 2016 and the fewest in 45 years, new datashows.

When a reporter asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders if that figure undermined the need for the wall, she responded, “I think it shows the effectiveness of the Trump presidency, and another success story as we wrap up the year.”

While arrests near the US-Mexico border have declined, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Removal Operations (ERO) have drastically increased immigrant roundups far away from the crossings. The agencies carried out 143,470 arrests and 226,119 removals – a 37 percent increase since Trump’s inauguration in January, compared to the same period in 2016.

“We have clearly seen the successful results of the president’s commitment to supporting the frontline officers and agents of DHS as they enforce the law and secure our borders,” said acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke.


It’s unclear what threat most of the deported immigrants present. Some 90 percent of the immigrants arrested in the 2017 fiscal year had some type of criminal conviction or faced criminal charges. However, three out of four of the most common convictions involved traffic offenses or violations of immigration law and not violent crimes.

Soft targets have been among the high-profile deportations carried out under the Trump administration. Guadalupe García de Rayos, an Arizona mother who had been in the country for 21 years, was deported in February during a routine check-in with ICE officials. A 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy detained by Border Patrol after a hospital visit was released from custody only after public outcry and a lawsuit by the ACLU.

In September, the Trump administration announced it would end DACA, the Obama-era program protecting some 800,000 immigrants from deportation who were underage when they arrived in the country illegally.

In October, the Justice department began ramping up efforts to force localities to enforce federal immigration law. Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a memo giving 29 jurisdictions until December 8 to comply, or lose federal funding.