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Religious/Moral/Ethical Conflicts
During President Trump's 1st Year in Office:

2018-FEB to 2018-JUN:
Polls and voting look bad for Republicans.
Discussions fail on resolving Deferred
Action for Childhood Arrivals"
(DACA).
Federal government shutdown.
Trump falsely accuses Canada of arson:
burning down the White House.
Trump Administration separates immigrant
children from their parents at the border.

Part 20

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This topic is continued here from the previous essay.

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2018-FEB-06: Missouri district flips from Republican to Democrat:

Mike Revis (D) defeated his Republican opponent in a special election for Jefferson County in the Missouri House by three percentage points. In the presidential election of 2016-NOV, President Trump won in the county by 28 points. In this election, Revis won by 3 points -- a shift towards Democrats of 31 points!

Jessica Post, the executive director of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee which promotes the election of Democrats, said:

"Rep.-elect Mike Revis’s victory tonight will undoubtedly send another shockwave through the GOP as we continue to run the best candidates focused on addressing local issues and improving their neighbors’ quality of life. ... [We continue] to be impressed by our dedicated and talented slate of candidates, who have stepped up to run in these precedent-setting special elections." 1

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2018-FEB-06: White House chief of staff, John Kelley comments on President Trump's DACA deadline to Congress:

According to Politico, Kelly said that President Trump is not likely to extend the MAR-05 deadline that he gave to Congress to act on the DACA policy. He said that President:

"... Obama established the program, and it was considered to be unconstitutional, not based on any law. So the extension, I'm not so sure the President, this President, has the authority to extend it."

He added that he would not personally recommend an extension because Congress works best when faced with an immediate deadline. 2

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2018-FEB-07: Nancy Pelosi delivers record-breaking speech about the DACA program:

The House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi,77, delivered a marathon speech starting about 10 AM, and lasting for over eight hours. She read personal stories written by individual DREAMers and quoted Bible passages from the Gospel of Matthew.

It was the longest speech ever given in the House for at least a century -- perhaps forever. By the rules of the House, she was not allowed to sit down or take a washroom break. 3

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2018-FEB-20: Recent voting shows multiple dramatic swings in support from Republican to Democrat:

Since President Trump took office 13 months ago on 2017-JAN-20, a total of 37 former Republican state seats have switched to Democrat as a result of by-elections. The most recent switch occurred in Kentucky:

State Representative Rev. Dan Johnson (R) had represented the 49th District in the Kentucky House until 2017-DEC. The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting published an article in which Johnson was accused of molesting a 17-year-old girl at the church where he was pastor. He denied that the molestation ever took place, but later committed suicide. His widow, Rebecca Johnson (R) announced her candidacy for the seat. She referred to the abuse allegations against her husband as:

"... high-tech lynchings based on lies and half-truths."

Meanwhile, Linda Belcher (D), who had won the seat in 2008 also ran.

The 49th District had voted for Donald Trump (R) with a 49 point margin in 2016-NOV. Belcher won the by-election for the Democrats by almost 37 point margin -- an enormous swing of 86 percentage points! 4

As noted above, during early 2018-NOV, elections will be held for 468 seats in Congress -- one third of the Senate (33 seats) and all 435 seats in the House. Many existing members of Congress will consider their prime directive to be reelected in November. With so much support by the electorate switching from Republican to Democrat, there is a possibility that the Senate and/or the House may switch to become under Democratic control.

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2018-APR & MAY: Attorney General Sessions announces change in treatment of illegal adult and child immigrants:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) repeatedly announced a new "zero-tolerance" immigration policy change for immigrants. Previously, most adults crossing the border into the U.S. irregularly for the first time were charged with a misdemeanor offence. Now, whether they are with or without children, adults who attempt to enter the U.S. at other locations than a formal border facility will be arrested and criminally prosecuted.

Because of a previous court decision called the "Flores Agreement," the government cannot jail migrant children together with their parents. Thus, if parents are to be jailed, their children must be separated from their parents at the border, and housed separately in detention centers.

Subsequently, there was a high level of confusion on the Internet and in media over the origin of the order to separate parents from children. Snopes -- a reliable agency which fact-checks high visibility controversial statements -- reported that various media sources claimed that the law to separate families was "passed by President Barack Obama, President Bill Clinton, or 'the Democrats''."

Snopes concluded:

"A cluster of rumors about the controversial separation of families at the border held that the policy came before the Trump administration, either stemming from a 1997 'law' or purported policies of previous [Democratic] administrations. Those claims were false. No federal law required or suggested the family separation policy announced by Attorney General Sessions in several sets of remarks during April and May 2018." 14

President Trump directly blamed the Democrats for the separation of children. He tweeted on JUN-05:

"Separating families at the Border is the fault of bad legislation passed by the Democrats. Border Security laws should be changed but the Dems can’t get their act together! Started the Wall." 14

He did not identify the name of the law that he claimed was passed, and when it was passed, and during which Administration.

President Trump had added to the confusion. During a remark on JUN-19 to the National Federation of Independent Business. He said:

"... as a result of Democrat-supported loopholes in our federal laws, most illegal immigrant families and minors from Central America who arrive unlawfully at the border cannot be detained together or removed together, only released. These are crippling loopholes that cause family separation, which we don’t want." 13

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2018-MAY-24: Moderate Republicans in Congress push for a vote on the DACA program:

Moderate Republican, Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA-10th) noted that the U.S. has historicallly never punished children for the actions of their parents, and we shouldn't start now. He said that "an agreement in principle" was reached among GOP House members on MAY-24 on a path forward for the DACA program. The agreement would provide green cards to all "DREAMers" -- who were mostly brought to the U.S. -- at the average age of 6 -- by their parents. This would allow them to apply for citizenship after 12 years. It will be presented to all House Republicans at a two-hour meeting scheduled for JUN-07. If it fails to be voted on because of objections by the GOP leaders, then they will try to force a vote in the House. 5

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2018-MAY-25: President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had testy phone call:

The two had an angry phone call dealing with new tariffs imposed by the U.S. that targeted steel and aluminum exports from Canada to the U.S. Trump had added the tariffs as a "national security" issue, implying that Canada represented a military threat to the U.S. When Trudeau asked what kind of threat Canada posed to the U.S., Trump replied:

"Didn't you guys burn down the White House?" 6

President Trump was referring to an incident during the War of 1812 when British soldiers attacked Washington. Americans had declared war on Britain in 1812. The British Army burned down a number of buildings; one was the White House on 1814-AUG-24. 7 The building was later rebuilt using slave labor.

However, Canada did not exist at the time. It only became a nation in 1867-JUL-01 -- over a half century later. It has remained at peace with the U.S. throughout its existence. The two countries cooperated during the 20th century to fight wars in Europe together. The U.S. and Canada share the longest undefended border in the world.

Aides to both President Trump and to Canada's Prime Minister Trudeau declined to comment on Trump's White House burning remark.

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2018-JUN-07: Stalemate over DACA program:

Bill O'Reilly, the former Fox News TV host, noted that:

"The Republicans in the House do not know how to handle the Dreamers.  Today, Speaker Paul Ryan will make yet another attempt to get some kind of agreement on a new law that would deal with the thousands of aliens who were brought to America illegally by their parents, through no fault of their own.

Polls show that most American citizens want compassion for the undocumented young people, but what form that compassion takes is undefined."

The average age of the children when they were were brought to the U.S. was about six. They would have gone into Grade 2 at school. Today, many have only vague memories of their country of origin, and have lost the ability to speak its language.

O'Reilly suggested a compromise solution:

  • Give each DREAMer three months to register with the government.
  • Their resume would be analyzed by homeland security who would decide if the DREAMer was sufficiently responsible to obtain a temporary resident card.
  • Successful applicants could later apply for a green card; and still later, U.S. citizenship.
  • Advancement towards citizenship would require two years of part time volunteer public service work or enlistment in the military. 8

Webmaster's comment:

Some adjustments would have to be made to this plan for those DREAMers who are older. Many have completed university and become established in a profession. It would be difficult for them to disrupt their career and engage in public service work.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is promoting a very different bill, called the Securing America’s Future Act, It would:

  • Drastically reduce immigration,
  • Tear families apart,
  • Criminalize all undocumented immigrants,
  • Provide no long-term solutions for most Dreamers, and
  • Eliminate protections for people seeking asylum, including children. 9

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2018-JUN-14: Multiple Jewish groups decry President Trump's "unconscionable" policy of separating children from parents at the border:

The Anti-Defamation League organized a letter signed by twenty-six Jewish groups that oppose the federal government's policy of separating parents and children immigrants from each other. The groups came from all three major U.S. Jewish movements: Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist. The American Jewish Committee, HIAS and Jewish Women’s International also signed on. The letter says, in part:

"This policy undermines the values of our nation and jeopardizes the safety and well-being of thousands of people. As Jews, we understand the plight of being an immigrant fleeing violence and oppression. We believe that the United States is a nation of immigrants and how we treat the stranger reflects on the moral values and ideals of this nation." 11

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2018-JUN-14: Congressional Republicans fail to create a compromise immigration bill for DREAMers:"

Republicans in the House circulated two conflicting immigration bills regarding immigration and the future status of the almost undocumented 700,000 DREAMers, many of whom were brought to the U.S. as young children:

  • One would give DREAMers a path forward to citizenship, based on their merit. To make the bill more attractive to President Trump, they attached an unrelated $16.6 billion dollar allocation to build Trump's border wall to the bill. It also makes cuts to legal immigration and makes it harder for immigrants to seek asylum. It would end the separation of children from their parents at the border, but would keep them together in detention longer.

  • The other is more conservative. It makes deeper cuts to immigration and ignores the DREAMers, leaving them with no protection against expulsion from the U.S.

Democratic congress members are opposed to both bills. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said:

"The legislation ... is totally unworthy of America."

Apparently, based on earlier statements by the President, they had expected that he would sign either of these bills because they meet his previously stated requirements. However he seems to have reversed his position. On JUN-15, he said that he "certainly won't sign the bill" into law. However, he later reversed his position and said that he would sign either bill. President Trump's opinion is critical, because Congress could not possibly override a Presidential veto at this time.

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2018-JUN-18: The Trump Administration have separated almost 2,000 babies and children from their parents at the U.S. border over the previous 42 days:

Many individuals and families, particularly from the Northern Triangle countries of Central America -- Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador -- have left their homes to seek asylum and freedom from abuse, violence, terrorism, persecution and murder. Both international law and U.S. law gives them the right to seek refuge in the United States.

The Obama administration had introduced a policy that:

"... detained illegal border crossers as families together in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody rather than criminal detention. (Emphasis not in the original).

However, the Trump Administration reversed this policy. During May:

"Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a "zero tolerance" policy directing Homeland Security officials to prosecute all cases of illegal entry into the US. Few exceptions were made for parents traveling with minor children.

Because of an existing court decision called the "Flores Agreement," the government cannot jail migrant children. On JUN-15, the Trump administration admitted that during the preceding 42 days, from APR-19 to MAY-31, border officials separated 1,995 children from 1,940 parents with whom the children were traveling. Under their new policy, the parents were jailed and their children were stored in separate facilities, some of which have been described as similar to dog kennels.

Audio recording of children who’ve just been separated from their parents at the border, with subtitles:

10

The audio recording received 1.8 million views and 6,237 comments within its first 17 hours online at You Tube. The vast majority were unsympathetic to the children. Some of the others were:

  • Goddess111: "And there's actually a rule that prohibits anyone at the facility from touching these distraught children. They cannot hold them, cuddle them, rub their back, comfort them. They afraid, they're without their mommy and in with strangers who are not allowed to comfort them."

  • C. Scott: "I really did not want to listen. I knew I would come undone. I could not bear to hear this it was one of the most upsetting things I have ever had to hear. I agonize for how young they are and can't process what is happening, but only feeling one of the most deep seated fears that most all have as children -- losing our parents."

  • K Burns: "And this makes us great again?"

  • Anon: "Poor children, they are taking this to extreme. It's so sad. My prayers are with them. God sees this and is well aware of this. It's His children you do not harm. Luke 17:2 'It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones."

  • Fang Dangular: "I didn't think there was anything worse than listening to children, terrified and crying. Then I saw the comments by people who defended separating them from their families (I don't know what it says about the US education system that most can't grasp the difference between illegal migrants and asylum seekers). That's it humanity, I give up." 10

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2018-JUN-20: President Trump responds to enormous level of political pressure:

In response to immense political pressure concerning the separation of children and their parents at the border, President Trump caved, He signed an executive order that will allow many immigrant families to stay together, until the end of their immigration procedures. The Justice Department will still prosecute adults who cross the U.S. border illegally. However. they families will be housed together "... where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources.

Unfortunately, the executive order does not affect families that have already been separated; they include over 2,000 children and babies. Kenneth Wolfe, a spokesperson for the Administration for Child and Families Division within the Department of Health and Human Services said:

"There will not be a grand fathering of existing cases."

Also there is an existing ruling that limits the duration that families may stay together. 12 A 1997 court order limits the time interval to a maximum of 20 days. These bugs will have to be worked out.

It is worthwhile remembering that the U.S. is a nation made up largely of immigrants. Only about 2% of the population are Native American and Alaskan Natives. That means that 98% of people in the U.S. are immigrants or descendents from immigrants.

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2018-JUL-08: Stalemate on DREAMers:

Tal Kopan, writing for CNN Politics, said that Republicans are deeply divided on immigration:

  • The conservative wing of the party, emboldened by President Donald Trump's approach, are pushing hard line measures, including limits on legal immigration and funding for a border wall. ..."

  • More moderate Republicans "... are pushing for legislation that would include a guaranteed way for young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals [DACA] to gain citizenship. They also support scaling back some of the more aggressive approaches like cutting legal immigration.

A Republican compromise bill failed by nearly 100 votes in the House!

President Trump showed his frustration by tweeted on JUL-05:

"Congress - FIX OUR INSANE IMMIGRATION LAWS NOW!" 16

Unfortunately, with divisions among Republicans, and a major divide between Republicans and Democrats, no compromise seems possible at this time.

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Amanda Terkel, "Democrats Win Special Election In Missouri District That Went Big For Trump," Huffington Post, 2018-FEB-06, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/
  2. "Chief of staff [John] Kelly suggests undocumented immigrants who didn't sign up for DACA were 'too afraid' or 'too lazy'," CNN politics, 2018-FEB-06, at: http://transcripts.cnn.com/
  3. Ed. O'Keefe, et al., "Nancy Pelosi’s filibuster-style speech tops eight hours in bid to force immigration votes," The Washington Post, 2018-FEB, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/
  4. Kara Voght, "Democrats Just Won a Republican Seat in a District That Trump Won by 49 Points," Mother Jones, 2018-FEB-20, at: https://www.motherjones.com/
  5. Sarah Wire, "Moderate Republicans pushing for immigration vote give leaders until June 7 to reach a deal," Los Angeles Times, 2018-MAY-24, at: http://www.latimes.com/
  6. Jim Acosta & Paula Newton, "Trump invokes War of 1812 in testy call with Trudeau over tariffs," CNN Politics, 2018-JUN-06, at: https://www.cnn.com/
  7. "Burning of Washington," Wikipedia, as on 2013-JUN-13, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/
  8. Bill O'Reilly, "O'Reilly's Solution to DACA," 2018-JUN-07, at: https://www.billoreilly.com/
  9. ""Pruitt's Palace of Corruption crumbling?" 2018-JUN-07, Progress Report email, from [email protected]
  10. "Listen to Children Who’ve Just Been Separated From Their Parents at the Border," ProPublica, 2018-JUN-18, at: https://www.propublica.org/https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/
  11. JTA, "26 Jewish Groups Decry ‘Unconscionable’ Policy Separating Children From Parents," Forward, 2018-JUN-14, at: https://forward.com/
  12. Tal Kopan, "What Trump's family separations executive order does," CNN Politics, 20198-JUN-20, at: https://www.cnn.com/
  13. Linda Qui, "Fact-Checking the Trump Administration’s Case for Child Separation at the Border," The New York Times, 2018-JUN-19, at: https://www.nytimes.com/
  14. Kim LaCapria, "Was the ‘Law to Separate Families’ Passed in 1997 or ‘by Democrats’?," Snopes, 2018-JUN-18, at: https://www.snopes.com/
  15. Erik Wasson, "Immigration Deal Eludes House Republicans as Ryan Promises Vote," Bloomberg. 2018-JUN-07, at: https://www.bloomberg.com/
  16. "Donald Trump Demands Congress Fix 'Insane' Immigration Laws," NDTV, 2018-JUL-06, at: https://www.ndtv.com/

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Author: B.A. Robinson.
Last updated on: 2018-JUL-13
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