Within the months of May-June 2017, the republican President Donald Trump has returned to the basics of his campaign tactics which translates into him reverting back to catering to the Alt-right. The Alt-right chief strategist Steve Bannon who had been banished to the sidelines, is now a star again. The Vice President Mike Pence has been working closely on the president’s behalf with the republican legislators of the US Congress.
America First Policies, one of several groups/ pacs has been set up with backing from billionaires like the Mercers to prop-up the president. With a far right Christian apologist and lawyers, Jay Sekulow as his conduit to the alt-right media outlets, the president’s plan is set in motion. As a trump card the president has the alt-right attorney general Jeff Sessions covering his back flank.
The president’s goal is to insure the continuation of zealous support from his base, the rural and the alt-right voters, even after he goes for the coup d’etat, the firing of the FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller III, who is in charge of investigating the Trump-Russian saga.
And so now the president is pushing for the passage of two immigration bills which his base strongly favors…
On June 28, 2017, the Chicago Post published the following article by Mike Debonis and David Nakamura of the Washington Post, “Trump immigration, sanctuary city policies face first big legislative test.”
“President Donald Trump on Wednesday (6/28/17) highlighted what he called the dangers posed by illegal immigrants ahead of an important House vote on two bills aimed at cracking down on those who commit crimes and cities that refuse to help deport them.”
“Appearing with families that were victimized by immigrants, Trump called on lawmakers to “honor grieving American families” by sending the “lifesaving measures” to his desk quickly. The House action marks the first major legislative test of tougher immigration laws under Trump, who has tried to impose sweeping executive orders to limit immigration and ramp up enforcement.”
“The president’s (renewed) focus on immigration, illustrates the White House’s eagerness to get back onto comfortable footing. Trump has consistently employed strong rhetoric to paint immigrants – both those in the country illegally and some who arrive through legal channels – as potentially dangerous.”
“The president’s involvement has brought the pace of this up, and we’re doing it this week because he wants it to happen,” said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, a fierce advocate for strict immigration laws who co-sponsored the bills set to be passed Thursday. “The members are ready for it, too.”
The House votes – coming 6 months into Trump’s presidency – are also highlighting the limits of congressional action and the frustrations of conservatives who expected much more to have been done already.
Trump’s executive actions have had limited success. His travel ban on refugees and immigrants from several majority-Muslim countries was held up in federal court until the Supreme Court ruled this week that some of the provisions could be enacted while the Justices prepare for a hearing on the ban in the fall.
“Arrests of undocumented immigrants have spiked under Trump compared to the final couple of years under his predecessor, President Barack Obama, who had sought to shield more immigrants from deportations. Illegal border crossings have fallen significantly since Trump took office, which immigrant rights advocates have said could be an effect of Trump’s harsh rhetoric about illegal immigrants.”
“The House bills, by contrast, aim to enact tougher enforcement policies. One bill known as “Kate’s Law” is named after Kate Steinle, the 32-year-old woman who was shot and killed in 2015 by an illegal immigrant who had been deported five times. The bill enhances penalties for convicted and deported criminals who reenter the USA illegally.”
“The other bill, called the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, would bar some federal grants from so-called “sanctuary cities” that do not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement authorities and allow victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants to sue those cities.”
“But several House conservatives – already frustrated that Trump has not acted more quickly to undo Obama’s executive immigration actions – lamented it took so long into Trump’s presidency to get any immigration bills onto the House floor. And they quietly questioned why a more far-reaching immigration bill passed by the House Judiciary Committee in March was not being voted on.”
“Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., who beat the sitting House majority leader in a 2014 GOP primary after campaigning on immigration, said leaders were more interested in “a couple of the name-brand messaging pieces” than pushing for a more thorough bill.”
“I won on those issues. Trump won on those issues,” Brat said. “Hello – only in D.C. can you not hear outside of the bubble.”
“Democrats, meanwhile, cast the bills as a mean-spirited attempt to rally Republicans around legislation that would mainly harm undocumented but otherwise law-abiding immigrants at a time when other major parts of the GOP agenda are foundering.”
“They’re going to have a hard time figuring out the budget. They’re going to have a hard time figuring out their tax cuts. They’re going to have a hard time figuring out health care. The one thing they don’t have a hard time figuring out is being mean and nasty to immigrants,” said Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez, D-Ill.”
“The House bills have little chance of success in the Senate, where Republicans have only 52 seats and need 60 votes to overcome a filibuster. A version of Kate’s Law introduced last year by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, failed on a 55-42 vote.”
“Still, the White House made the legislation a centerpiece of its message on Wednesday. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., a hard-liner who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, joined Trump in the immigration meeting.”
“At the daily White House press briefing, Thomas Homan, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and John Huber, the lead federal law enforcement official in Utah, took the lectern to update reporters on the administration’s efforts to arrest and deport immigrants.”
“Kate’s Law, Huber said, would send a message that apprehending and punishing immigrants who repeatedly return to the country after being deported is a priority.”
“It also sends a message to the judicial branch, to the judges that the more that these people commit crimes in their communities, the more often they come back, the more serious the penalties will be,” Huber said.”
“Homan added that the other bill, focusing on sanctuary cities, would ban any municipal restrictions on cooperating with federal immigration agents or any restrictions on allowing law enforcement officers to inquire about a person’s immigration status.”
“If you enter this country illegally and violate the laws of this nation, you should not be comfortable,” Homan said.”
“Some Democrat-controlled state legislatures and city governments, including in California, have vigorously opposed Trump’s efforts to impose penalties on sanctuary cities. Some have passed statutes forbidding the jurisdictions from using public funds to support some federal immigration enforcement efforts.”
“Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have denounced such efforts. But a federal judge in April temporarily blocked the administration’s effort to withhold federal grants from such cities, ruling that only Congress had such authority over spending matters.”
An official with the American Civil Liberties Union said the House bills are “riddled with constitutional violations that completely disregard the civil and human rights of immigrants.”