Mike Coffman Takes All Sides in Immigration Debate

If Rep. Mike Coffman was a horse…

Congressional Republicans have been flailing around in the last few days trying to both express concern over the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy while also making sure to avoid proposing any sort of actual change to enforcement efforts that are separating thousands of children from their families (well, except for Rep. Ken Buck, anyway). Democrats, meanwhile, are uniting behind legislative efforts to put a stop to the growing humanitarian crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border, but there’s not much they can effectively accomplish without the support of some Republican lawmakers.

Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) popped up in several national stories on Monday after he released a statement indicating that he supported Senate Democratic efforts to stop Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy. This move surprised exactly no-one who has ever paid attention to Coffman; over his 30 years in elected office, Coffman has developed a well-deserved reputation for generally taking all sides of all issues at all times.  But a new story today points out a particularly-egregious example of Coffman’s doublespeak on immigration.

As CNN reports for the first time, Coffman quietly signed on to the Goodlatte bill on March 18; nine days later, Coffman voiced a request on the House floor to remove his name from the legislation. The reason this is important is because the Goodlatte bill was widely understood to be THE CONSERVATIVE OPTION for dealing with immigration reform. This, of course, is not at all consistent with Coffman’s attempts at forging a moderate image on immigration, let alone Coffman’s stated public support for offering undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship.

How does Coffman’s office explain this doublespeak? Here’s CNN:

A spokesman for Coffman said his initial support of the Goodlatte bill, which until now had not been reported, was his attempt to explore all options for an immigration fix. [Pols emphasis] The congressman withdrew his support, the spokesman added, once he realized the bill would not offer a permanent solution for hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants known as DREAMers.

“We were exploring all legislative avenues and that came aboard,” said Daniel Bucheli, a Coffman spokesman. “Then, looking at the details closer, it was clear there would be no permanent protection for DREAMers and at that point he took his name off it.”

Mike Coffman demonstrates the proper hand position for riding the fence.

This explanation is more than a little absurd, as CNN continues:

But the Goodlatte bill never offered DREAMers permanent protection, raising questions as to why it took Coffman nine days to realize the bill did not meet one of his primary immigration objectives. [Pols emphasis] The bill, which was widely known at the time as the conservative option to ongoing debates over immigration, was also rolled out on January 10, 2018, months before Coffman decided to attach his name to the proposal.

As part of that rollout, a one-page summary from House Judiciary provided on the bill made clear it would not offer a pathway to citizenship.

A spokesperson for the progressive group “Organizing for Action” told CNN that if you don’t like where Coffman stands on immigration, “just wait a few days.” It’s not intellectually honest for Coffman to pretend this isn’t accurate.

0 Shares

Former Federal Prosecutors Call for End to “Zero Tolerance” Policy

John Walsh served as U.S. Attorney in Colorado from 2010-16.

As CNN reports:

A bipartisan group of more than 70 former US attorneys are calling on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reverse the Trump administration’s policy of prosecuting all people who cross the border illegally, saying it is “dangerous, expensive, and inconsistent” with the values of the Justice Department.

“Like the majority of Americans, we have been horrified by the images and stories of children torn from their families along our nation’s Southwest Border. And like a majority of Americans, we are appalled that your Zero Tolerance policy has resulted in the unnecessary trauma and suffering of innocent children,” the prosecutors wrote on Medium in a post published Tuesday morning.

The most visible byproduct of the Trump administration’s practice, known as “zero tolerance,” has resulted in thousands of children being separated from their parents when apprehended at the border, because unaccompanied minors can only be held in immigration detention for a short period of time…

…the prosecutors in Tuesday’s letter say requiring 100% enforcement of the policy, without exceptions, was an “ill-conceived” plan.

“US Attorneys under both Republican and Democratic administrations have for decades been given discretion to determine how and when to charge misdemeanor illegal entry cases to address the needs of their districts,” they added. “Now, under your policy, because children cannot accompany their arrested parents to an adult criminal detention center, these children, apparently including infants and toddlers, are routinely separated from their parents.” [Pols emphasis]

Among the signers of the letter, which you can read in full at Medium.com, is former U.S. Attorney from Colorado John Walsh.

0 Shares

Republicans Do Nothing as Children Pulled from Families

UPDATE: As NBC News reports, it’s getting increasingly difficult for the White House — and Congressional Republicans — to deflect blame for this crisis:

The idea of separating migrant children from their mothers was discussed during the earliest days of the Trump administration as a way to deter asylum-seekers, according to notes from a closed-door DHS meeting.

—–

John Moore/Getty Images

The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on immigration has led to thousands of children being forcibly separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border. Every single Democrat in the U.S. Senate has now signed onto The Keep Families Together Act, which is intended to put a stop to this horrific policy. While many Republicans have spoken out against the practice of forcible separation, they aren’t taking any real action to force a change.

As Politico explains, this could be a telling moment ahead of the 2018 election:

Even as the White House blames Congress for the crisis at the border,GOP lawmakers are struggling to craft a proposal that unites their own party, let alone one that can win bipartisan support and become law. And with no congressional solution in sight, Hill Republicans worry that Trump’s immigration crackdown could swamp their success on the economy and overshadow all the things they want to run on in the midterm elections…

…And the renewed focus on immigration is almost all self-inflicted, from Trump’s decision to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to his relentless focus on the border wall to his “zero tolerance” policy for border-crossers, which has already led to more than 2,300 children separated from their parents.

But the decision by the administration to separate children from their parents has elevated the issue to one now consuming national politics. Hugh Hewitt, a leading conservative media voice, raised the prospect that the family separation crisis could become “the Republicans’ new Katrina and the president’s new Katrina” in an interview with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) on Monday.

“The White House can fix it if they want to.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)

Understanding why Congressional Republicans refuse to act on this growing humanitarian crisis is depressingly obvious. The results of three new polls are telling.

Polling data released in the last 24 hours by Quinnipiac University, Ipsos, and SSRS all show that the general public disagrees strongly with forcible separations. All three polls also show Republican support for these actions.

According to Quinnipiac, 66% of voters — including 91% of Democrats and 68% of Independents — oppose the Trump immigration policy, but 55% of Republicans support the “zero tolerance” decision:

Quinnipiac University (6/18/18)

 

According to Ipsos, 55% of respondents overall disagreed with the “zero tolerance” approach, with 46% of Republicans expressing support. Finally, a CNN/SSRS poll finds that 67% of Americans disapprove of the Trump immigration policies, while a majority of Republicans stand in support.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise, then, when Republicans like Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) blame the parents of undocumented immigrants for being separated from their children. Some Republicans, such as Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), don’t go as far as Buck but won’t do anything beyond issuing statements:


Senator Gardner thinks that Congress should do something. Democrats are doing something. It’s Republicans who are sitting on their hands.

Conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin makes a similar point about Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse in the Washington Post today:

The larger issue for Sasse and for other Republicans who have from time to time taken issue with the president is their abject refusal to translate rhetoric into action. [Pols emphasis] In legislation, in oversight and in the confirmation process, they routinely shrink from confrontation with the White House or their own leadership. Republicans do, after all, have the majorities in both houses and long ago could have voted to end child separation. They could, at any time, cease confirming judges or even refuse to go forward on any business until the wicked policy is ended.

Sasse, a former university president who holds a PhD in history from Yale, surely is familiar with the admonition, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil  [or wicked, in his telling] is for good men to do nothing.” Speaking, posting and tweeting don’t count as “doing.” Unless Sasse starts doing, he is enabling.

Republican elected officials do nothing because they are paralyzed in fear of their right-wing base and President Trump. As we’ve said many times in this space, refusing to take action is a choice in itself.

0 Shares

Buck: Children Being Separated From Parents For Their Own Good

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

Despite widespread condemnation of Trump’s mandate to separate immigrant children from their parents at the border, U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) doubled down on his support for the Trump policy today, telling a radio host that the “children are being separated from their parents out of consideration for their own safety.”

In radio comments last week, Buck blamed the parents of the children, saying it’s “unfortunate” that immigrants choose to cross the border illegally.

And so it’s “just a sad reality that there is going to be some unfortunate separation of individuals when crimes are committed.”

On KOA radio this morning, host April Zesbaugh asked Buck if he agreed with U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) who called for the immediate cessation of the “policy that separates kids from their families.”

Buck:I rarely agree with Ed, but I like Ed a lot. But no, I think that it is terribly unfortunate when kids are separated from their families. But the reality is there has to be a responsibility taken by parents who bring kids to this country illegally or who don’t go through the proper asylum procedure when coming into this country. Putting kids in a detention facility with adults is a dangerous situation that’s not done in this country in our criminal system. And where these families are going are to detention centers. And so there is a public safety issue for these kids that has to be taken into account also. It doesn’t change the fact that it’s a terribly unfortunate situation. But I think that the Trump administration — and previous administrations — have had a tough time dealing with how to deal with — or how to address — families that are that are coming into this country legally.

On the same show this morning Perlmutter said Trump “of course” has the power to stop immigrant kids from being separated from their parents, pointing out that Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, launched the policy this year–and that under previous Democratic and Republican presidents, this did not happen to children at the border, even though past administrations had the power to do it.

“I think it’s illegal and it is immoral to be separating these kids from their families,” said Perlmutter, calling the situation an “emergency” in which kids are being “housed in cages.”

“It’s just wrong,” said Perlmutter.

0 Shares

Get More Smarter on Monday (June 18)

Don’t forget to get those Primary ballots in the mail or deliver them to a nearby ballot drop (the latter option is probably better at this point). Check GoVoteColorado.com for more information. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY… 

The Trump administration policy to separate innocent children from their families as part of a crackdown on illegal immigration is quickly becoming one of the biggest issues of 2018, with media outlets descending on Southern U.S. border areas to report on a sickening crisis. As the Washington Post reports, pushback from all sides has been swift:

President Trump doubled down Monday on his insistence that Democrats are to blame for the administration’s forced separation of migrant children from their families at the border, even as some Republicans urged him to reverse course…

…Contrary to Trump’s claims, the separations largely stem from a “zero-tolerance” policy announced with fanfare last month by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. As more families are stopped for illegally crossing the border, adults are taken to detention facilities that are effectively jails, and children are sent elsewhere.

The White House also has interpreted a 1997 legal agreement and a 2008 bipartisan human trafficking bill as requiring the separation of families — a posture not taken by the George W. Bush or Obama administrations. [Pols emphasis]…

…“The President should immediately end this family separation policy,” Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said in a lengthy Facebook post Monday. He said Trump doesn’t need Congress to change course on “the horrors of family separation.”

“The administration’s decision to separate families is a new, discretionary choice,” Sasse wrote. “Anyone saying that their hands are tied or that the only conceivable way to fix the problem of catch-and-release is to rip families apart is flat wrong.”

President Trump is trying hard to maintain his line that this hardline policy is somehow the fault of Congressional Democrats, but it is indisputably true that these enhanced enforcement measures began under the Trump administration. Here’s the New York Times:

President Trump remained resistant on Monday in the face of growing public outcry over his administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the border, repeating the false assertion that Democrats were the ones to blame for it, and suggesting that criminals — not parents — were toting juveniles to the United States…

…In a series of tweets and speeches on Monday, Mr. Trump instead relied on fear to curry support for a “zero tolerance” policy that refers for criminal prosecution all immigrants apprehended crossing the border without authorization. The president used the threat of gang violence and other crime, and a change in the fabric of American culture as a means to stoke support among supporters and push Congress into figuring out a way to drum up funding for his long-promised border wall.

Former First Lady Laura Bush is among the notable Republicans condemning the Trump policies, which she blasted in a harsh editorial published on Sunday. Meanwhile, Dara Lind explains for Vox.com why Trump’s strategy of blaming Democrats doesn’t work in this case:

As a matter of policy, the US government is separating families who seek asylum in the US by crossing the border illegally.

To be clear, there is no official Trump policy stating that every family entering the US without papers has to be separated. What there is is a policy that all adults caught crossing into the US illegally are supposed to be criminally prosecuted — and when that happens to a parent, separation is inevitable.

Still unconvinced that this policy actually comes from the Trump administration? Try this CBS News story.

► Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen today refused to apologize for the Trump administration policies — sparking calls for her resignationStephen Collinson and Lauren Fox of CNN wonder how long the White House can sustain this policy. NBC News takes a detailed look at life inside the chain-link fences at an immigration processing center in Texas.

 

► Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper today joined Governors from across the country in refusing to use state resources for the Trump administration’s family-separation enforcement methods :

For more local coverage on reaction to the Trump immigration policies, check out the Colorado Independent, the Longmont Times-Call, and the Grand Junction Sentinel.

 

 

 Colorado’s Primary Election finally concludes in about a week. Tell us who you think will win the Democratic and Republican gubernatorial nominations, respectfully. 

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

0 Shares

Lock Kids Up – Trump’s Border “Solution” for Prison Profits

LL at ICE protest

“Lucia” (not her real name)  speaks about the pain of being separated from her children by ICE. Photos by Amalthea Aelwyn, used with permission

Lucia’s* voice is cracking. She can’t hold back the tears as she describes being incarcerated in the  GEO Group ICE detention facility,  where a crowd is gathered now to hear her.

“Lucia”* fled her father’s abuse and horrific civil war in Guatemala to come to the US in 1998. She went to school here, but had to drop out of high school when her mother died of cancer.

“Lucia” has raised a family, worked, and made a life here, but when her husband was pulled over at a traffic stop, both were incarcerated in the ICE facility in Aurora. For a week, her  children had no idea where their parents were, or if they were alive or dead. They finally were able to post $1000 bond each, and are now working their way through the system, trying not to be deported, trying to keep their family together.

Cristian

Marguerite and Cristian addressing the crowd at Families Belong Together rally. Photo by Amalthea Aelwyn, used with permission

Cristian from Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition is a vibrant young man with a wide smile.  He is a student leader at his college.

But Cris is a Dreamer, and if DACA protections are rescinded, he could be deported at any time.

He tells the story of how his mother carried him and his young sister over the border, and how she has worked ever  since  to maintain the family.

“My mother has been on that waiting list (for citizenship) since 1999,” he said. “My whole family pays local taxes, we pay into Medicaid and Medicare, Social Security, we pay Federal taxes, local taxes, sales taxes. We pay for programs we will never benefit from. We’re helping to take care of our nation’s children, of our senior citizens. We are not a burden. The real burden is the moral burden Trump is imposing on this country with these policies.”

Marguerite, from Colombia, said,“ I see this building behind you and it pains me. It hurts. Because I would have to wait in line to see my son. He waited for months there to be deported back to Colombia.  There is no illegal human being on this earth. The only way we can become illegal is to break our laws and hurt each other. But we’re not doing that.”

Lucia, Cristian, and Marguerite are speaking to a diverse crowd of about two hundred people,  gathered in front of GEO group’s vast, windowless, grim ICE facility in Aurora on June 14, 2018, to protest the Trump administration’s new policy of separating families who are crossing the border.

I am part of this protest. We are here  because we feel that we must “do something” to stop the atrocity of tearing families apart and incarcerating the young children of families who come here seeking asylum.

Over 11,000 children have been separated from their families while crossing the southern border since March, according to NPR. About 46 kids a day are being torn away from their parents. This is not including the unaccompanied minors who were already showing up at the border by the thousands.

(more…)

1 Shares

Trump Torpedoes Immigration Compromise

CNN reports, President Donald Trump has spiked the best-laid plans of more civil Republicans once again:

President Donald Trump on Friday morning delivered a potentially fatal blow to a compromise immigration bill under development in the House.

Trump said on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” that he is not planning to sign the negotiated measure.

“I’m looking at both of them. I certainly wouldn’t sign the more moderate one,” Trump said. “I need a bill that gives this country tremendous border security. I have to have that. We have to get rid of catch-and-release.”

…The rejection of the compromise contradicts messaging from the White House in recent days.

Earlier this week, top White House adviser Stephen Miller, a known hardliner on immigration, was on the Hill telling key conservatives the White House was supportive of the negotiations on the bill, and House Speaker Paul Ryan told his GOP members behind closed doors that he had been in touch with Trump who was “excited” about the process.

But that’s not the story today–and Rep. Mike Coffman, who has staked a good chunk of his political future on getting a “compassionate” immigration reform deal through his hard-right Republican House leadership and on to the President’s desk, lashed out against Trump on Twitter earlier this morning:

Wow! But wait, isn’t this the same Coffman who said just a few months ago of the same Donald Trump:

“He’s got the credibility in terms of being tough on immigration and I think he’s the only one, probably, within the Republican Party that can solve this issue,” Coffman said. [Pols emphasis]

Why yes, yes he was! And as far as the attempt to pass comprehensive immigration reform under President Barack Obama back in 2013–as we recall, didn’t Mike Coffman have something to say about that too?

I think both parties have it wrong right now. [Pols emphasis]

Well, scratch that then! As for President George W. Bush’s failed attempt at immigration reform, Coffman wasn’t in Congress then–but his predecessor Tom Tancredo was, and readers will recall that back then Coffman and Tancredo were much tighter on immigration than Coffman purports to be today. And here’s what Coffman said about Bush’s efforts back then:

 

And with that, our work is done here. There are Republicans in Congress today who have credibility when it comes to this long-vexing issue, and a consistent record of trying to find solutions so that doesn’t smack of contrivance and political desperation.

Mike Coffman is not one of those Republicans. In every way that counts, he is part of the problem.

0 Shares

Ken Buck Blames Immigrant Parents for Separation from Children

(Ugh — promoted by Colorado Pols)

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) blames immigrant parents, not the Trump Administration, for the “sad reality” that some immigrant children will be separated from their parents at the U.S. border.

Appearing on KFKA radio in Greeley Wednesday, Buck said it’s “unfortunate” when immigrant children are separated from their parents, but it’s also “unfortunate” that immigrants choose to cross the border illegally.

And so it’s “just a sad reality that there is going to be some unfortunate separation of individuals when crimes are committed.”

Buck made the comments after KFKA host Gail Fallen noted that Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions is “under fire” for policies that “have resulted in immigrant children being separated from their parents after crossing the border illegally.”

She asked for Buck’s “take on that,” to which the northern Colorado Congressman replied:

Buck: I’ll tell you, Gail, I think it’s unfortunate when families are separated. But it’s also unfortunate when families make a decision to break the law [by coming here.] And there are consequences in this country. We are a country of rule – a country of laws. And we believe in the rule of law. And I think it’s just a sad reality that there is going to be some unfortunate separation of individuals when crimes are committed. I was a DA for years, a prosecutor for 25 years. And I was involved in making sure that those who are more dangerous and violated the law were  separated from the rest of society. And that’s part of what we do.

Critics of the policy of separating children from their parents say it’s cruel, and the United Nations human rights office has said it’s illegal, violating the immigrants’ rights and international law.

As the New York Times reported Tuesday:

The administration angrily rejected what it called an ignorant attack by the United Nations human rights office and accused the global organization of hypocrisy.

The human rights office said it appeared that, as The New York Times revealed in April, United States authorities had separated several hundred children, including toddlers, from their parents or others claiming to be their family members, under a policy of criminally prosecuting undocumented people crossing the border.

That practice “amounts to arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and is a serious violation of the rights of the child,” Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, based in Geneva, told reporters.

Buck’s office did not immediately return a call seeking comment on the United Nations stance.

On the radio yesterday, Buck went on to say he was optimistic that in the coming months “we will have a positive result” on immigration legislation.

GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan announced Thursday that he expects a floor vote on immigration legislation in the coming weeks.

Listen here to Buck on Greeley’s KFKA radio June 6:

0 Shares

At Least It’s Not Your Incredibly Racist Primary…Yet

Georgia GOP gubernatorial candidate Michael Williams and his “deportation bus.”

Mother Jones’ Pema Levy reports on the Republican gubernatorial primary in the state of Georgia–a race setting new and unsettling precedent for its open appeals to racism, and even vigilante violence against undocumented immigrants:

The Republican gubernatorial primary in Georgia has devolved in recent weeks into a chest-thumping argument over which candidate hates undocumented immigrants the most. In their rush to prove themselves, two candidates—both currently elected officials—have engaged in an escalating competition over who can personally “round up” and remove more immigrants from the state.

In a television ad released May 9, Brian Kemp—who serves as Georgia’s secretary of state and was formerly a state legislator—suggests he intends to personally detain and remove immigrants from the country. “I got a big truck,” he says, climbing into a pick-up truck, “just in case I need to round up criminal illegals and take ’em home myself.” He then adds with a smirk: “Yep, I just said that.”

“His ad is beyond anti-immigrant, as he quite literally threatens to abduct individuals,” Stephanie Cho, executive director for Asian Americans Advancing Justice Atlanta, said in a statement. “Georgia needs a governor who…does not promote reckless vigilantism.”

But state Sen. Michael Williams, another GOP primary candidate, disagrees. So Williams saw Kemp’s pick-up truck—and raised him a bus.

On Wednesday, Williams launched a multi-county campaign tour in his “Deportation Bus.” Metal grating covers the windows of the gray bus, and the words “Fill this bus with illegals” run along its side. On the back it reads: “Danger! Murderers, rapists, kidnappers, child molesters, and others on board.”

This is all taking place despite the fact that GOP-dominated Georgia already has laws on the books severely penalizing so-called “sanctuary cities” that have essentially eliminated in that state the sort of complaints traditionally made about American cities that “don’t cooperate” with federal immigration officials. Georgia is a state in which the “solutions” controversially proposed to this issue have already been implemented–but as you can see, the demagoguery against immigrants has only gotten worse.

It’s just another example of the normalization of rhetoric only heard on the distant fringe of American politics before Donald Trump became President. In previous years, the absolutely horrific things coming out of these mainstream gubernatorial candidates’ mouths would be national news, with every Republican in the land forced to either validate or condemn it.

In Donald Trump’s America, this barely registers. That could be even worse than what they’re saying.

0 Shares

DACA Vote in House Inches Closer

Clockwise from top left: Polis, Coffman, DeGette, Perlmutter

Congress is getting closer and closer to a potential vote on DACA that could lay out a path to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of immigrants who came to the United States as children through no fault of their own.

CNN reported earlier today that House leaders pushing a discharge petition are only a handful of votes away from pressing ‘GO.’ More recently, a report from Talking Points Memo indicates that the votes are in-hand:

House Republican moderates say they have enough support to force a full House vote on legislation to protect undocumented immigrants brought here as children, as tensions between them and House GOP leaders continued to escalate on Thursday.

A coalition of GOP centrists led by Reps. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Jeff Denham (R-CA) are sick and tired of waiting for leaders refusing to move on a fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. And they’re just four GOP signatories away from being able to force a full House vote on a solution, assuming all House Democrats join them in support.

Denham told reporters Thursday afternoon that the Democrats would be publicly coming onboard before the end of the day — and that more Republicans would be signing on “this week.”

“I have more than enough signatures for the discharge petition,” he said.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is trying to scare Republicans into compliance by telling them that a DACA vote will cost the GOP its House Majority in November. This argument doesn’t appear to be working, as Politico reports; seeing as how there are already dozens of reasons why Republican might lose the House in 2018, singling out DACA as a political bogeyman is a pretty weak arm-twisting maneuver.

Four members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation have signed onto the discharge petition: Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver), Rep. Jared Polis (D-Boulder), Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora), and Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County).

0 Shares

Sorry Mike Coffman, You’re Part Of Paul Ryan’s Machine

Can Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

AP reports on the latest attempt by proponents of immigration reform in the House to force a vote on…well, something, anything, preferably a bill that includes relief for undocumented immigrants who came to this country as children. It’s an effort that once again has Rep. “New” Mike Coffman of Colorado on board, but as the AP reports, Speaker Paul Ryan says no dice–and has the majority to back it up:

Speaker Paul Ryan mocked an effort by breakaway Republicans — a group that includes U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado — to force election-year votes on rival immigration proposals as a drive that would produce “show ponies,” not legislation the president would sign into law…

“These immigration bills deserve a vote, and Republican leadership has been wrong in holding them up,” Coffman said in a statement. “The time to get this process moving is now.”

But Coffman and his GOP allies remained shy of their goal of collecting enough signatures to force a vote. Those Republicans, who have moderate views on the issue, could force GOP leaders to hold a vote on their plan if they gather at least 218 signatures, a majority of the chamber’s membership, including Democrats.

The maverick Republicans want to allow votes on a hard-right immigration bill, a liberal one, a bipartisan compromise and any immigration bill of Ryan’s choosing. Under their plan, the measure that passes with the most votes would prevail.

As you can see, this is not a petition to force one specific bill, but to force the consideration of multiple bills spanning the range of ideological approaches to immigration reform. We don’t yet know the details of the “hard-right” bill that would be included in this discharge petition, but it’s difficult to imagine that bill would be supportable by Democrats–or, we would sincerely hope, Rep. Coffman.

Despite the risk of setting up passage of legislation adverse to the goals of immigration reform proponents, this report seems to presume that all 193 House Democrats would sign on to the discharge petition. Even if that happens, though, Republican supporters of this effort are still reportedly 25 members short in their own caucus for it to be successful. That significant remaining hurdle is made far higher by Speaker Ryan’s move to firewall the rest of the GOP caucus by crapping on the whole effort.

All of which brings us back to the same point we’ve made time and time again about Rep. Coffman, as he continues to try to live down his Tom Tancredo-loving anti-immigrant past by playing lip service to immigration reform–despite the impossibility of getting such reform through a chamber controlled by his own party. Yes, obviously, if this effort were to actually succeed against the long odds it faces in Paul Ryan’s House, Coffman would be deserving of praise. The problem is that Coffman has never once succeeded in persuading fellow Republicans to address immigration reform in a manner consistent with the lip service he pays to the issue. And all the while, Coffman continues to vote for leadership like Paul Ryan who guarantee failure.

Is 2018 the year Coffman’s game is finally up? When the discharge petition fails, we’ll revisit the question.

0 Shares

Coffman Blames Everyone But Himself for Not Helping Dreamers

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Tom Tancredo y Mike Coffman.

It was good to see ColoradoPolitics dedicate a post to U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) announcement Wednesday that he supports a parliamentary maneuver to force a long-stalled vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on the Dreamer issue. Who’s not hoping this works? And it might.

But the ColoradoPolitics piece allows Coffman to blame everyone except himself for ignoring the Dreamers, when he’s been a major part of the problem.

Especially in this boisterous election season, ColoradoPolitics should not have posted this quote from Coffman without offering someone, somewhere, the chance to critique it:

“Democrats failed to make immigration reform a priority when they had control of the U.S. House, and Republican leaders have not made any progress to date,” Coffman said in the Wednesday statement. “I’m proud to be a part of this bipartisan effort to finally bring these important immigration reform bills to a vote.”

While it’s true that Democrats did control the U.S. House of Representatives from 2007-2009, Coffman is flat-out wrong to blame “Republican leaders” for the lack of progress on the Dreamer issue, as if he wasn’t part of the problem, even in recent years.

In fact, as anyone who’s tracked the heart-breaking immigration issue knows, the best chance that Dreamers had at gaining protection from deportation died in the Repubublican-controlled House in 2013, after the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly and bipartisanly passed a comprehensive immigration bill by a vote of 68-32. The immigration bill included the Dream Act, which includes a path to citizenship.

ColoradoPolitics even cited the 2103 immigration bill in its post that featured Coffman slamming his partisan colleagues and patting himself on the back.

“Whichever bill makes it to the Senate has at least a fighting chance. The Senate is where Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet had success with the Gang of Eight in 2013 to pass a bipartisan immigration reform bill, only to watch it wither away in the House,” reported ColoradoPolitics.

But the post left out the fact that Coffman opposed the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill, and did nothing to stop his colleagues form killing it, leaving Dreamers desperate for help and the rest of us crying.

0 Shares

Legislative Trick Doesn’t Force Vote on Dreamer Bill in U.S. House

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) has taken little action on his promise to force a vote in Congress on a bill to help some Dreamers avoid deportation, but he’s touting another effort as if its comparable when, in fact, its not.

Coffman told reporters in Washington DC yesterday that he’s joined about 240 representatives to promote, in Coffman’s words, a “mechanism whereby we can have a vote, not just on one [Dreamer] bill but on four bills.” (Listen here at 9 min 50 sec.)

Under the parliamentary mechanism, called “Queen of the Hill,” four different Dreamer bills would be introduced, and the one with highest votes would move on to the U.S. Senate.

While this is a creative way to try to get a vote, the trouble is, House Speaker Paul Ryan would have to approve the Queen of the Hill procedure if a vote were to take place. And it already sounds like he’s against it.

BloombergPolitics reported yesterday:

But Ryan has final say on whether to pursue the plan. He’s said publicly that he doesn’t think this vote procedure is the best way to handle immigration because it gives the majority party — and congressional leaders — less control over the outcome. Trump continues to tweet about the wall he wants to build on the border with Mexico, as well as the need for legislation to address the immigrant status of people brought to the U.S. illegally as children, known as dreamers.

The only way to leapfrog the Speaker is through another parliamentary mechanism called a discharge petition, which Coffman has apparently dropped.

Last year, the Aurora Republican grabbed headlines by launching a discharge petition to allow some Dreamers to temporarily avoid deportation, but he has since mostly abandoned the effort, securing only five signatures, one of which is his own, while 218 are required.

Coffman opposed the best chance at passing the Dream Act when it was included in bipartisan immigration reform legislation that stalled in the U.S. in 2014.  He voted against the Dream Act in 2010 but has subsequently endorsed it.

During his news conference yesterday, Coffman said he “often meets with Dreamers” and decried the fact that no votes have been taken on the Dreamer issue since Trump announced that he would end the Obama’s DACA program, which allowed some Dreamers to stay in the U.S. for a few years.

Coffman’s office has not responded to multiple requests for comment about his efforts to help Dreamers.

0 Shares

Colorado Democratic Assembly Results

Colorado Democrats assembled at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield from Friday, April 13, to Saturday, April 14, 2018. The crowd of almost 4,000 Democrats were enthusiastic, engaged, yet civil (in contrast to the stunning back-stabbing and skullduggery at the Republican assembly) . The CDP Assembly was superbly well-organized, with balloting completed in about a half hour, and counted in less than two hours.  Kudos to Chair Morgan Carroll and all of the CDP staff and volunteers.

All of the  congressional districts held their own assemblies; many candidates had primary challengers or Democratic challengers to Republican incumbents. In this “blue wave” year, no office held by the GOP can be considered to be off-limits. Democrats in Colorado put forward a slate of phenomenal candidates.

The official results from the Colorado Democratic Party (CDP) for statewide offices are:

CU Regent-at-Large
Lesley Smith: 3,229 votes (100.00%)

Based on these results, Lesley Smith has qualified for the Democratic primary ballot for CU Regent-at-Large.

Treasurer
Bernard Douthit: 1,074 votes (31.50%)
Charles Scheibe: 557 votes (16.34%)
Dave Young: 1,778 votes (52.16%)

Based on these results, Bernard Douthit and Dave Young have qualified for the Democratic primary ballot for Treasurer.

Secretary of State
Jena Griswold: 3,352 votes (98.44%)
Phillip Villard: 53 votes (1.56%)

Based on these results, Jena Griswold has qualified for the Democratic primary ballot for Secretary of State.

Attorney General
Amy Padden: 360 votes (10.54%)
Joe Salazar: 1,249 votes (36.58%)
Phil Weiser: 1,805 votes (52.87%)

Based on these results, Joe Salazar and Phil Weiser have qualified for the Democratic primary ballot for Attorney General. Amy Padden can qualify for the ballot if the Secretary of State determines that she has collected the requisite number of valid signatures.

Governor
Cary Kennedy: 2,101 votes (61.65%)
Jared Polis: 1,120 votes (32.86%)
Erik Underwood: 187 votes (5.49%)

Based on these results, Cary Kennedy and Jared Polis have qualified for the Democratic primary ballot for Governor.

NOTE: These are not all of the candidates that are running for these particular offices. Some candidates have chosen to qualify for the ballot by submitting petition signatures instead of going through the caucus-assembly process.

Here are the CD results in order: ( rounded to nearest 1%). I’ll update this list with numbers as I find them.

I’ve included my notes on the assemblies I attended and on the speakers I heard.

CD1: (Denver metro)Diana Degette – 61% . Her primary opponent, Saira Rao , got 37%, and  will be on the ballot. Rep. Degette has been a reliable Democratic vote for many years in a safe district – I think Rao’s candidacy will be a needed wake-up call to be more progressive and to offer better constituent services. Rao is sharp, a great speaker, and has energized the progressive base. Degette attended her CD1 assembly on April 13 , did not attend nor speak at the state assembly April 14.

CD2: (Boulder area – Jared Polis vacated the seat to run for Governor) Joe Negeuse – 91% Joe gave a helluva speech, as he always does. His personal story touches many people. Boulder will be well represented by him, as he’ll certainly win the primary, and almost certainly the general election. His primary opponent, Mark Williams, did not make the ballot.  The GOP has put up a couple of “Nicks” against Neguse: Nick Thomas and Nicholas Morse. I don’t know who won the GOP assembly vote, but they won’t beat “the Goose”.

CD3: (most of the western slope and SW CO – currently held by Scott Tipton) Diane Mitsch Bush had the highest delegate vote with 56%; Karl Harlon also cleared the 30% threshold with 41%, and will be on the ballot.

CD4: (Mostly NE CO – current incumbent Ken Buck) The Doctors were in the house! Veterinary doctors Karen McCormick and Chase Kohne each had throngs of energetic supporters on stage for their nominations. Each gave a rousing speech:

Kohne’s best line, in my opinion: “If you want to shoot an AR15, go down to the recruiting office and join the military.”

McCormick’s nominators are emphasizing Dr McCormick’s support for Dreamers and immigrants. Karen McCormick emphasized Cannabis, immigrant rights, healthcare, union support, bipartisan cooperation to get laws passed. Full disclosure: I live in CD4. I’m voting for McCormick, will be fine with Kohne as well.

CD5 (El Paso area, currently held by Doug Lamborn) Stephany Rose Spaulding won the delegate count and will be on the ballot. I don’t know about the other CD5 candidates, whom you can read about at the EPCO Young Dems site.  It’s great to see so many young Democrats running from what has6been the Tea Party GOP’s bastion in Colorado.

CD6 Aurora / Arapahoe County area, currently held by Mike Coffman. Jason Crow won top ballot with 64% , while Levi Tilleman will also be on the ballot with 35%. I saw Crow speak to the assembly, and found his persona to be authentic and appealing. PPP surveyed 761 voters, and found that Crow polled 44-39 against Coffman in Febrary 2018.

CD7 Ed Perlmutter, the Democratic incumbent, did not attend the Assembly as far as I know. Ed, a very popular Congressman in his district,  is not  being primaried in this election.

 

Author’s note – this diary started as an open thread based on my  live blogging at the Colorado State Assembly. I’ve updated it with ballot results.

 

 

0 Shares

Walker Walls Off Colorado

On Wednesday, a SuperPAC called “Better Colorado Now” kicked off a six-figure television ad buy in support of Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton that blows the anti-immigrant dog whistle as soon as the first frame rolls:

 

“Better Colorado Now” is technically not associated with Stapleton’s campaign, though Stapleton himself actually helped to raise money for the SuperPAC right before he “officially” declared as a candidate for Governor.

Look but don’t touch, Kansas

This new TV ad intimates that Stapleton is the “one” Republican candidate for Governor who “supports strengthening our border security,” though it doesn’t bother to explain how the Governor of Colorado would have any power over how the United States deals with its Mexico border.

Come to think of it, the ad also doesn’t specify which border Stapleton would “strengthen.” Perhaps Stapleton envisions walling off Colorado from the rest of the country, which brings up a whole host of new questions.

Do we start by walling off Wyoming and cutting the supply of illegal fireworks into Colorado? If we wall off New Mexico, can we add in a tunnel so that the flow of green chile is not interrupted? Do we need a little corner-sized piece of wall between Colorado and Arizona? Should plans for a wall include a moat with sharks in the water? (nevermind on that last one — obviously we need a shark-infested moat).

Anyway, we thought it would be helpful to poll our readers to give Stapleton an idea of where he should start building his mythical wall. Cast your vote below.

Which state should Colorado wall off first?
Kansas
Wyoming
Nebraska
Oklahoma
New Mexico
Utah
View Result
0 Shares

Mike Coffman Useless As Trump Blows Up Immigration Debate

Rep. Mike Coffman. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Back in September of 2017, Rep. Mike Coffman made a statement to Real Clear Politics about immigration reform and President Donald Trump they we felt pretty sure would come back to haunt him:

“He’s got the credibility in terms of being tough on immigration and I think he’s the only one, probably, within the Republican Party that can solve this issue,” Coffman said. [Pols emphasis]

Let’s be clear about this–Rep. Mike Coffman, frequently held up as a “moderate” on the issue of immigration after dramatically changing his own position in recent years, said last fall that Donald Trump is “the only one” within the Republican Party who can solve the vexing issue of immigration.

Headlines from this weekend are making this statement more than a little problematic for Rep. Coffman, as the New York Times reports today:

President Trump declared on Monday that a plan to protect young immigrants from deportation is “dead” and repeated his calls for Mexico to enforce border security laws and prevent immigrants from coming to the United States illegally…

Mr. Trump’s declaration that “DACA is dead” is a reference to the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protected hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation.

The president’s position on the program is a moving target. Mr. Trump ended the program last year, but courts have blocked his decision. He also has said that he would sign a bipartisan proposal to protect the young immigrants, but he regularly threatens Democrats that there will be no deal.

In response, Rep. Coffman is somewhat less full of praise for Trump:

The problem for Rep. Coffman as he calls out strongly for a “permanent solution for DACA recipients” is he is nearly a month overdue on his promise to force a vote on a temporary solution for DACA recipients, the so-called BRIDGE Act Coffman sponsored last year as a stopgap measure, threatened to force to a vote with a discharge petition, then sheepishly abandoned after House Speaker Paul Ryan tapped him on the proverbial shoulder. At this point, Coffman is completely sidelined in the debate over immigration in Washington despite having garnered a wealth of–as it turns out undeserved–positive press.

Today, we’re pretty sure nobody in their right mind would say that Trump is the nation’s savior on immigration. Certainly nobody who wants to have credibility on the issue.

0 Shares

“Illegal aliens” help drive people out of Colorado, says Republican state house leader

(People are moving out of Colorado? That’s news to…everybody! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R).

Appearing on conservative radio Thursday, State Rep. Patrick Neville of Castle Rock, the House Republican leader, blamed immigrants for helping to drive people out of the state of Colorado.

The topic was introduced by KLZ afternoon radio host John Rush, who asked Neville about bills to crack down on “sanctuary cities,” which is a term used to describe municipalities that choose not to work with federal officials to deport undocumented immigrants, which can result in the breaking up of families and disruption to local communities and economies.

Neville wants lawmakers to pass legislation, killed by Democrats at the state Capitol, that would have punished public officials who vote to protect undocumented immigrants. He’d do this by allowing residents to sue officials who “adopt sanctuary city policies.”

“When these illegal aliens run around and injure people, that raises litigation costs and it raises property and casualty insurance rates in Colorado, and this is one of many reasons we see citizens moving out of the state,” Neville told Rush.

Neville did not respond to a tweet asking for evidence to support his accusation that people are leaving Colorado due to economic problems caused by immigrants here.

RELATED: State Rep. Dave Williams seeks to reign in “lawless politician community” by targeting sanctuary cities

Statistics repeatedly show that undocumented immigrants commit fewer crimes than U.S. citizens, yet they are often vilified by conservatives.

Listen to Neville on KLZ 560-AM Thursday, March 15:

0 Shares

Coffman again promises to force vote on Bridge Act (temporary), not to be confused with the Dream Act (permanent)

(Let’s be clear – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) recommitted this week to force a House vote to temporarily protect Dreamers from deportation, if there is no legislative fix by March 5, when the program’s phaseout under Trump is complete.

Coffman told reporters Tuesday he’d revive his so-called discharge petition, which is a parliamentary mechanism for forcing a House vote, after putting it on hold last September at the request of House Speaker Paul Ryan, who did not want Coffman’s effort to coincide with other pro-Dreamer bills.

Coffman is not promising to force a vote on the Dream Act, which would not only allow Dreamers to work and avoid deportation but also offer them a pathway to citizenship. It’s a permanent solution.

The bill that Coffman is promising to push after March 5 is called the Bridge Act, which would protect Dreamers who are already enrolled in Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. It’s a legislative version of what Obama did for the Dreamers and Trump torpedoed. It’s temporary, with limited protections lasting three years.

As such, Coffman wants to extend Obama’s temporary Dreamer-protection program, which Obama put in place after Congress refused to agree on a permanent fix, like the Dream Act.

Last week, Coffman said he would not support the Dream Act because it is “unrealistic,” even though Coffman voted numerous times for Hail-Mary legislation, including Obamacare repeals, that were widely considered unrealistic at the time. Still, he remains a co-sponsor of the Dream Act.

Coffman said in Septermber he’d sign a discharge petition for the Dream Act. Why the legislation is “unrealistic” now isn’t clear.

Ironically, during Obama’s term, Coffman helped kill the bill that’s come closest to solving the Dreamer problem, and that was the comprehensive immigration reform bill, passed by a bipartisan 68-32 senate vote in 2013. The legislation, which died in the U.S. House, would have protected the Dreamers from deportation and put them on an expedited road to citizenship.

Coffman, along with then U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) both opposed allowing the bipartisan bill, with the Dreamer provisions and much more, to even come up for a vote in the GOP-controlled House. The Denver Post reported that “no Colorado House Republican” supported the bill.

Coffman told The Denver Post he’ll begin collecting signatures to force a vote on the Bridge Act March 5, when DACA expires.

0 Shares

Coffman backtracks on support for “unrealistic” Dream Act

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

During a raucous town hall meeting Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) backed off a pledge of support for the Dream Act, which he co-sponsored just last year.

Asked by an audience member if he supports a “clean Dream Act,” which would grant a path to citizenship to undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, Coffman hedged, saying “it’s not realistic.”

“You know, it’s not realistic, because the President would never sign it,” he answered. “If I thought it would be signed into law, I would.”

Coffman co-sponsored a bipartisan Dream Act last year, along with 200 other Congressman, and it’s not clear why the Dream Act is any less realistic today than it was last year.

Furthermore, Coffman, whose office does not return calls for comment, has voted numerous times for legislation that had no realistic chance to become law.

For example, when Obama was president, Coffman voted repeatedly to repeal Obamacare, even though the chances of Obama signing legislation to repeal Obamacare were extremely low to nonexistent.

As multiple media outlets, including Reuters below, reported last year:

In the past few years, the House has voted more than 60 times to repeal or alter Obamacare, but Republicans had no hope a repeal would become law as long as Obama was president and could veto their bills.

Also while Obama was in office, Coffman voted five times to defund Planned Parenthood. Not only was it unrealistic for Obama to sign a bill with such a provision, but the odds of an anti-Planned Parenthood measure clearing the U.S. Senate at the time were objectively low.

During the Obama presidency, numerous other bills were passed by House Republicans, including Coffman, that had no realistic chance to become law.

Watch Coffman explain why he won’t support the Dream Act at a town hall Feb. 20:

0 Shares

Tancredo’s Ghost Looms Large As Immigration Efforts Teeter

Tom Tancredo.

Politico reports on the troubled place immigration reform efforts in Washington find themselves today:

A bipartisan agreement unveiled Wednesday faces intense skepticism from the left flank of the Democratic Caucus and hardening resistance from many Republicans amid a White House campaign to defeat it, including a Thursday veto threat. It would give an estimated 1.8 million undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship while spending $25 billion on border security…

The Trump administration stepped up its resistance to the bipartisan immigration amendment overnight, with the Department of Homeland Security releasing a comment blasting it as “an egregious violation of” the president’s four-part framework that would create “mass amnesty.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a supporter of the bipartisan proposal, slammed DHS on Thursday for “acting less like a partner and more like an adversary.” [Pols emphasis]

“Instead of offering thoughts and advice — or even constructive criticism — they are acting more like a political organization intent on poisoning the well,” Graham said in a statement.

Here’s the Tweet from the Department of Homeland Security’s press secretary that set off Sen. Lindsey Graham:

If the name Tyler Q. Houlton rings a bell for local political observers, there’s a very good reason. Houlton is a longtime Colorado political operative, who once worked at the right-wing “news site” Colorado Observer as well as the conservative advocacy group Compass Colorado. Prior to that, Houlton served as the spokesperson for Rep. Tom Tancredo–during the same time period that Tancredo became persona non grata in the Bush White House for his nativist antics on immigration at the same time that Bush was pushing for comprehensive immigration reform.

With all of this in mind, Lindsey Graham’s inside-baseball dig at Houlton reveals a much bigger divide between Republicans than is generally recognized. Appointing Tancredo’s former spox to run the press shop for the Department of Homeland Security is a highly provocative act as Graham’s burn demonstrates. But it also shows again just how far from the mainstream the Trump administration is on the issue of immigration.

Far enough that Team Tancredo is a perfect fit.

0 Shares

What happened to Coffman’s promise to force vote on a Dreamer bill by March 5?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Republican Congressman Mike Coffman grabbed headlines back in September for promising to try to force Republican leaders in the U.S. House to vote on his bill, called the BRIDGE Act, allowing Dreamers to remain in the U.S. for two more years, while Congress works out a permanent solution.

But just three days later, Coffman announced he’d met with House Speaker Paul Ryan and decided to hold off on his “discharge petition,” which is the mechanism to force such a vote, because the Speaker wanted time to introduce an unspecified long-term Dreamer-protection bill.

The media coverage of Coffman’s backtrack was dimmer, but luckily The Hill reported that Coffman had given House leadership a deadline for taking action on a Dreamer bill.  If Ryan didn’t act, Coffman would, he told the Hill’s Cristina Marcos Sept. 7:

Coffman warned he would renew his push if lawmakers are unsuccessful in reaching a deal once the six-month phaseout period ends in March 2018.

“I said that I would pull back on that to see how [Ryan] would do. What he didn’t want is two efforts simultaneously that are going at the same time, his effort to try to get our bill to the floor, and my effort to try to push a discharge petition,” Coffman said in an interview just off the House floor.

“But if he couldn’t bring something to the floor, then I would push the discharge petition.”

So Coffman promised to act on behalf of Dreamers before the DACA program expires.

That will occur March 5, as explained Sept. 5 when Trump began an “orderly phase out” of the DACA program, which allowed the Dreamers, who were brought into the U.S. as children, to remain in the U.S. and work temporarily.

So where do things stand now? There are about three weeks to go until DACA expires, unless the courts delay expiration further. And no word from Coffman.

Ryan has said he’ll only act on a bill approved by….Trump.

(more…)

0 Shares

Bennet Keeps Faith With DREAMer Activists as Dems Stumble

Sen. Michael Bennet (D).

The Denver Post’s Danika Worthington reports on the end of an occupation of Sen. Michael Bennet’s office by supporters of “DREAMer” undocumented immigrants who came to this country as children–which came despite passage last week of a budget resolution that once again failed to provide a solution for these people despite high drama and near-universal lip service paid to resolving their status:

At 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, six immigration activists entered the office for Bennet, who has been active on immigration issues in recent years. They demanded that he vote against this week’s proposed budget agreement, which bolstered military and domestic programs but left out immigration reform…

The activists left at 11 a.m. on Friday, said Emma Bliesener, one of the protesters. The group had referred to themselves as “the Denver6.”

“We’re on the same team here,” she said. “We just want to make sure everyone is doing everything in their power to support the immigrant community.”

There are several important reasons why the occupation last week of Sen. Bennet’s Denver office was resolved amicably–in marked contrast to a similar direct action last summer in Sen. Cory Gardner’s downtown Denver office by a group of protesters with disabilities from the storied ADAPT civil rights group, which ended in a public relations disaster for Gardner as Denver Police dragged ADAPT activists out of his office and arrested them in full view of national news cameras.

By all accounts Bennet’s staff was level-headed and engaging throughout the occupation of his office, and arrest never appears to have been seriously considered. Second, Bennet personally spoke with the activists in his office by phone from Washington to listen to their concerns, a conversation that reportedly went well. Third, and most importantly, Bennet voted against the DACA fix-less budget “deal” that has outraged immigrant-rights activists. Although the deal passed without Bennet’s support, there was no practical reason left to hold Bennet responsible for the actions of his Senate peers.

Although Bennet’s good faith in dealing with these protesters averted the nasty outcome Gardner had, it would be a mistake to think that Democrats are not in political danger from failing–repeatedly now–to maintain a unified front against President Donald Trump and Republicans in the fight to protect DACA beneficiaries. Activists on the issue broadly perceive Sen. Chuck Schumer’s cave-in last month, followed by last week’s budget deal, to be an abandonment of Democratic promises after being essentially bribed by Mitch McConnell to choose a laundry list of domestic spending goodies over a DACA fix. Democrats were also far too concerned with the inside-baseball procedural moves that tossed nominal “responsibility for a shutdown” back and forth between the parties–which nobody outside the political water cooler class gives two shits about.

So yes, good on Sen. Bennet for deftly managing last week’s tricky politics, and good for the activists pushing back on everybody regardless of their party affiliation to demand deeds not words. Politically and morally, more of both will be needed before the end.

0 Shares

Leader Pelosi Throws Down For DREAMers

UPDATE: Multiple outlets reporting this is now the longest floor speech in the history of the U.S. House:

—–

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

A widely-reported deal on a short term funding resolution to stave off a government shutdown as early as tomorrow night is in jeopardy this hour as House Democrats led by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi revolt over the lack of a solution for undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children–an issue on which Democrats lost out three weeks ago as they relented on forcing a shutdown, but appear to be once again rallying around today:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi started speaking on the House floor around 10 a.m. today. She’s still going, almost six hours later.

So what’s this all about? Pelosi started her speech announcing that she opposes the bipartisan Senate spending deal because it doesn’t include a permanent solution for undocumented immigrants affected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program…

House Democrats will likely spend the next 24 hours pushing to get a commitment from House Speaker Paul Ryan on floor consideration of DACA bills.

The deal will require Democratic support to pass the House, so the House Democratic leader’s comments make the plan’s future unclear.

It’s unknown as of now how this will end up, but Pelosi is doing everything the leader of the minority can do in this situation. Because some amount of Democratic support will be needed to pass the continuing resolution Democrats have the leverage to make a stand at this moment. Politically, a show of force on behalf of DACA kids will serve Democrats far better than the ignominious end of the last shutdown fight.

This is a nice way of saying that fellow Democrats would be well served to shake off their timidity and join her on the floor.

Rep. Mike Coffman too, but anybody holding their breath for that is hopelessly naïve.

0 Shares

Poll: Americans Don’t Think Immigrants are Scary

President Trump and his MS-13 helmet.

President Trump on Tuesday said that he would “love to see a shutdown” if Congress cannot work out what Trump says are needed funds for border security as the President increasingly tries to tie the immigration issue to violent criminals (such as the Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, gang from El Salvador).

But according to results from a new Quinnipiac poll, Americans do not buy into the scary rhetoric on immigrants that has been emanating from the White House. From The Hill:

Most Americans do not believe that undocumented immigrants commit more crimes than U.S. citizens, a poll released Tuesday found.

The Quinnipiac University poll found that 72 percent of Americans don’t think illegal immigrants commit more crimes than citizens, despite arguments to the contrary from President Trump and some Republicans.

Thirteen percent of Americans believe undocumented immigrants do commit more crimes than citizens, the poll found.

In addition, 63 percent of respondents said they don’t think illegal immigrants take away jobs from citizens, compared to 33 percent who think that is the case.

During an event at the White House focused on MS-13 today, Trump said, “not another country in the world has the stupidity of laws that we do when it comes to immigration.”

0 Shares

State lawmaker: Immigrants have “murdered, mayhemmed, raped” people in sanctuary cities

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Dave Williams (R).

State Rep. Dave Williams, a Colorado Springs Republican, slammed sanctuary cities during a radio appearance Friday, claiming immigrants are drawn to them and “wreak havoc.”

“People have been murdered, mayhemmed, [and] raped” by immigrants in sanctuary cities, Williams said.

Williams appeared on KNUS’ Peter Boyles show to talk about his policy proposal to punish politicians representing sanctuary cities by holding them liable for crimes committed by undocumented immigrants who cause, as he pus it, “any sort of murder or mayhem to anyone personally or their property.”

The bill, called the Colorado Politician Accountability Act, made national news when it was introduced in the state legislature last year.

Williams told Boyles he’s continuing his crusade against what he refers to as “lawless politicians” who promote sanctuary city politics, this time by leaving it up to Colorado voters.

Williams: “You know what? I’m bringing it back! And this time – this time — I’m going to make it a referendum of the people. And I guarantee you that the Democrats are not inclined to ask the people. Because if we ask the people, this bill is going to become law and the politicians can go to jail and get sued.”

“Denver’s DA Beth McCann deserves to be prosecuted,” said Boyles. Williams agreed, adding that “every politician complicit in this deserves some degree of accountability, whether it’s going to jail or getting sued.”

Williams has also been highly critical of Dreamers, or young immigrants who were brought to the country as children and receive protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. He once painted them as criminals despite the fact that immigrants who have committed crimes are not eligible for DACA, and that Dreamers are not allowed to keep their DACA status if they do commit a crime.

Studies have consistently shown that immigrants – both documented and undocumented – commit significantly less crime than native-born Americans, and may actually make their communities safer.

Williams once claimed that immigrants “destroy American lives” and that not all cultures are equal.

Listen to Boyles’ radio interview with Williams in full here.

0 Shares