Acting Attorney General Fired

The acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, issued a directive to US Attorneys not to defend the muslim ban in federal court stating:

My responsibility is to ensure that the position of the Department of Justice is not only legally defensible, but is informed by our best view of what the law is after consideration of all the facts. In addition, I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right.

At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful.

Two hours later, she was fired.

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Needless to say, this is rather unusual wording for an official statement.

Ironically, Attorney General nominee  Jeff Sessions questioned Sally Yates during her confirmation hearing asking, “Do you think the Attorney General has the responsibility to say to no to the President if he asks for something something improper? A lot of people have been defending the Lynch nomination by saying, ‘Well, he appoints somebody that’s going to execute his views. What’s wrong with that?’ But, if the views that the President wants to execute are unlawful, should the Attorney General or the Deputy Attorney General say no?” Yates was approved 84-12.

Yates’s replacement is Dana Boente, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. It was reported that Boente was not in the line of succession at DOJ headquarters. It appears he got the job because he is defending the ban in district court. He immediately rescinded Yates’s directive.

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Holocaust Remembrance Forgets Jews

This past Friday was Holocaust Remembrance Day. Normally, this is an apolitical event, but oddly the White House official statement did not mention Jews or antisemitism. The administration defended the statement by essentially stating that others were killed by the Nazis too. True, but not nearly at the same scale.

Steven Bannon run of Breitbart was marked with antisemitism, as is the altright movement. The Trump campaign’s slogan “America First” was the slogan used by Nazi apologists leading up to World War II. Trump’s campaign foreign policy advisor Joseph Schmitz (I do no know if he has current role in the White House) was accused of antisemitism and being a holocaust denier. He has picked white nationalists for high ranking jobs including Jeff Sessions for Attorney General. Finally, saying that Jews weren’t the target of the holocaust, is a tactic used by holocaust deniers for years.

 

 

Generals and Intelligence Officials Off National Security Council, White Supremacist Political Advisor On

c3s0f4gwaaaiuhq A new executive order came out today listing the new  makeup of the National Security Council. Most notably, the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs have been demoted to not attending, while White House Chief Strategist has been added as a principal member. Chief Strategist is a political position and is occupied by noted white supremacist and Breitbart publisher Steve Bannon. This is a highly unusual change,  as the NSC has historically been viewed as “off limits” to political advisors. Bannon is particularly troubling in that beyond stoking racial and ethnic hatred, he is a noted Putin supported, and has has described himself as a “Leninist,” saying, “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”

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Changes to the NSC Principals Committee

Protests Erupt and Emergency Stay Granted Over Muslim Ban

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Protestors at JFK Airport courtesy of the AP 
Protests erupted at international airport terminals nationwide today to oppose the muslim ban. Terminal 4 at JFK was shutdown as well as the international terminal at SFO. Immigration lawyers appeared en mass at the terminals  filing suits and writs of habeas corpus for all those detained. Throughout the day, there were reports on Twitter of people being detained or refused admission on to US bound flights by foreign stationed TSA officers.

Just now a federal judge in Brooklyn issued an emergency stay against the executive order allowing those that have already landed in the US with a valid visa to stay. This effects somewhere between 100 and 200 people. Those that are still abroad or pulled of flights before departing to the US are still out of luck.

 

Muslim Immigration Ban Created

Trump signed an executive order banning entry for 90 days for people from  seven muslim majority countries.These countries are:

  • Iraq
  • Syria
  • Iran
  • Libya
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • Yemen

If you have a visa, it can’t be used. This includes green card holders from these countries, and and people on long term visas such as an H-1b or F-1.

The order also instructs the Department of Homeland Security to to conduct a 30 day review or other countries . The order also stops the entry of all refugees for four months.

The order has also suspended the entry by refugees from any country for four months, claiming that it is unsafe to allow their entry, even though it takes at least two years of screening before a refugee is allowed entry. If and when refugee entries restart, the total number of refugees that may be admitted has been halved to 50,000 per year, and that priority should be “provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion.” This is widely seen as his campaign promise to allow christians to flee war ravaged counties, but not muslims. The order explicitly bans all Syrian refugees.

As I was typing this, it broke that two Iraqis that were granted a special immigrant visa because of their cooperation with the US government during the Iraq occupation are suing the government after they were detained at JFK and denied entry.

I am very disturbed that this is applying to people that have valid visas and green card holders. I’ve worked with Iranians and Syrians. There’s nothing inherently dangerous about these people, and yet now they’re being treated like they are a unique persistent threat to the very country. It’s ludicrous. As of today,  these people can leave the country.

Weekly Immigrant Crime Report

The Trump administration announced that it is going to publish a weekly list of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. The purpose is to put pressure on sanctuary cities for not using local law enforcement to enforce immigration laws.

This tactic is clearly an attempt to whip up fears about immigrants, and to try and put pressure on local governments. Of course the reason why sanctuary cities exist is because it allows undocumented immigrants to approach the police about crimes without fear of being arrested themselves.