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During President Trump's
1st Year in Office:
2017-SEP to 2018-JAN:
Courts rule on
bad for Republicans. Discussions
on resolving Deferred Action for
Arrivals" (DACA) Program.
Federal government shutdown. Part 19
2017-SEP-12: U.S. Supreme Court issues ruling to allow President Trump's ban on Muslims to continue:
The High Court issued a temporary ruling supporting President Trump's then current version of his ban on residents from six predominately Muslim countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. His ban has been repeatedly modified since the first one was issued in early 2017. The High Court ruled that the government can continue to prohibit residents of these countries from visiting the U.S., at least until the Court issues their final ruling. That will probably occur during 2018-JUN.
The ruling stated:
"The application for stay of mandate presented to Justice Kennedy and by him referred to the Court is granted, and the issuance of the mandate of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in case No. 17-16426 is stayed with respect to refugees covered by a formal assurance, pending further order of this Court." 1
Some have suggested that the ban on the six countries doesn't make a lot of sense. Only one terrorist attack on the U.S. has been perpetrated by residents from predominately Muslim countries. That involved the 19 terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, DC on 2001-SEP-11. Fifteen of them came from Saudi Arabia, two from the United Arab Emirates, and one each from Egypt and Lebanon. None of those countries are on the banned list. 2
This means that visitors to the U.S. from any of these six countries will continue to be banned from the U.S. -- at least for now -- even if they have close family ties with people in the U.S.
2017-DEC-04: U.S. Supreme Court permits new version of Trump's Muslim ban to continue:
The Trump administrations had produced a new iteration of their travel ban of residents from the same six predominately Muslim countries. 3
The U.S. Supreme Court again issued a temporary ruling, stating that the ban could be fully implemented for now -- pending a final ruling by the Court. The vote of the Justices was 5 to 2 in favor of the ban. Only Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor voted against allowing the ban to proceed. Some commentator on the Supreme Court activities suggest that this vote may indicate majority support within the court for Trump's travel ban.
Lower courts had previously issued ruling stating that residents from these six countries who want to see close relatives in the U.S. would be permitted to visit. However, the temporary ruling by the High Court reversed these decisions.
2017-DEC-22: Federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issues ruling declaring ban to be illegal:
The Blaze web site reported:
"The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that President Trump’s third iteration of his travel ban was illegal, but there’s a big catch to the decision. 4
The plaintiffs based their case on the belief that the ban violated the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. They offered in evidence statements made during the 2016 presidential campaign during which candidate Trump had repeatedly called for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. The Trump Administration has since denied an anti-Muslim bias, and asserted that the countries to be banned were selected only on the basis of the threat that terrorists there posed to the U.S. That is, all of the countries that the ban affected just happened to be predominately Muslim.
The Court of Appeals ruling stated that visitors with "strong connections" to the United States would be exempt from the ban and be able to visit.
The 9th Circuit Court ruled that:
"The Executive [Branch of the federal Government] cannot without assent of Congress supplant its statutory scheme with one stroke of a presidential pen." 4
However, the Court also ruled that the Trump Administration's ban would remain in force until the U.S. Supreme Court releases its final ruling. That is expected during 2018-JUN.
Neal Katyal, Attorney General for the State of Hawaii 4 tweeted:
"We have just won (again). Trump's 3d travel ban has been declared illegal by the court of appeals. Huge thanks to the Hawaii AG & @hoganlovells teams for incredible work. The stakes are high, as my closing argument to the ... [court] emphasized."
A video of the Attorney General's closing arguments are online. 5
2017-DEC-22: FiveThirtyEight.com reports on political polls at the end of 2017:
Their weekly polling roundup is called "Pollapalooza." This report was less than 11 months away from the midterm federal elections. On 2018-NOV-06, 33 Senate seats and all 435 House seats will be up for election! The article discusses polls showing public opinion on the Republican and Democratic parties near the end of 2017. FiveThirtyEight's generic ballot shows Democrats leading Republicans by 49.6% to 37.4% -- an 12.2 percentage point lead. The group estimates that the Democrats only need to lead the Republicans by 5.5 to 8 percentage points to win the House in 2018-NOV.
Other polling reports:
CNN has a generic congressional survey which indicates the overall public opinion on the two parties. Democrats led Republicans by a remarkable 56% to 38% -- by 18% percentage points. This is margin that has not been seen in at least 80 years since records have been kept!
A Pew Research poll found that 60% of U.S. adults believe that race relations have degenerated under Trump.
A Gallup poll found that 72% of U.S. adults believe that the country's health care system is in crisis. President Trumps disapproval rating was 57.2%. This has been steadily increasing since he took office. His approval rating has been declining over his term and has now reached 37.0%. 6
2017-JAN-12: Gallup Poll's results about President Trump's approval rating:
Gallup announced polling data on the percentage of U.S. adults who approved of President Trump's presidency. They found that:
61% of the membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- the main Mormon denomination -- had the highest approval rating of any religious group.
Roman Catholics gave him 38% which is close to the national average of 39%.
Protestants and other Christian groups gave him 48% -- almost a majority. This is a mixture of about 60% among White Protestants, 28% among Hispanic Protestants, and 10% among black Protestants. Mainline and liberal Protestants were not shown as a group, but probably had relatively low approval.
Muslims gave him the lowest rating of all religious groups at 18%; Jews were 26%.
Roman Catholics gave him 38% which is close to the national average at 39%.
NOTAs, those NOT Affiliated with any religious group, Atheists, and Agnostics gave him a rating of 23%.
Those affiliated with a non-Christian religion gave him a 22% rating.
The polls' margin of error ranged from ±4% among Muslims to ±1% among Protestants, Catholics and NOTAs. 7
2018-JAN-09: There was a very remote possibility that the Senate, House, and President may reach a deal on DACA:
"DACA" is an acronym that refers to the "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" program that may be terminated later in 2018 unless Congress acts, and produces a new DACA bill that the President can accept. The DACA program involves almost 700,000 undocumented youths and young adults who were illegally brought into the United States by their parents. They are often referred to as "DREAMers." On average. they were six years old when they arrived, so that many have spent almost all their life in the U.S. America is all they really know. Many cannot speak the language of the country in which they were born.
On JAN-09, U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco, CA ruled that DREAMers' work permits and protection from deportation must continue in force while a lawsuit challenging President Trump's decision to end the program works it way through the court system. 8
The White House called the injunction “outrageous,” and the Justice Department has said it will appeal the ruling.
Also that day, Donald Trump said that he would favor a deal that would resolve the security concerns of DREAMers. Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers are making threatening noises about not cooperating with a spending deadline that is rapidly approaching.
A bipartisan group of senators led by Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jeff Flake (AZ-R), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) reached a compromise agreement on JAN-10 that would allow the DACA program to continue. Senator Flake told reporters:
"Somebody has to put forward a document, someone has to put forward a bill. That’s what we’re doing. ... We’ve got to get 60 votes [in the Senate]. In order to get 60 votes, you’ve got to have a bipartisan bill. That’s what we’re doing here."
Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) notes that the bipartisan group:
"... has members that for 16 years have tried to get a congressional outcome and it’s not just about 60 votes. It’s [also about getting] 50 per cent plus one in the House." 8
Meanwhile, President Trump is putting his own conditions on a DACA agreement. He says that it must include a wall along the border between the U.S. and Mexico. He said:
"We need the wall for security. We need the wall for safety. We need the wall to stop the drugs from pouring in. I would imagine the people in the room, both Democrat and Republican ... are going to come up with a solution to the DACA problem that’s been going on for a long time, and maybe beyond that, immigration as a whole."
Also, Bob Goodlatte, (R-VA), the House Judiciary Committee chair; Michael McCaul, (R-TX), the House Homeland Security Committee chair; and Representatives Raúl Labrador (R-ID) and Martha McSally (R-AZ) have released their own plan which would allow DREAMers to apply for legal residency lasting three years, which might be repeatedly renewable when it expires.
Ed. O'Keefe, writing for the Washington Post, said that the bill:
"... also would authorize construction of border walls and fencing; allow federal immigration and security agencies to hire at least 10,000 new agents; end the diversity lottery program; end the ability of new U.S. citizens to legally move family members [from their country of origin] into the United States; withhold federal funding from cities that refuse to help federal agencies enforce immigration laws; and intensify use of the E-Verify system to check an employee’s immigration status." 8
It is going to be tough sledding for such a diverse group of lawmakers to reach any type of compromise. The fate of hundreds of thousands of DREAMers hangs in the balance.
2018-JAN: Action on fixing theDACA Program gets snarled up in a move to shut down the federal government:
Congress must approve a federal budget from time to time, in order that the federal government can continue to function. On midnight Friday, 2018-JAN-19, the previous budget expired and Congress was not able to reach an agreement in time on a new temporary stopgap bill to keep the government from a shutdown. The two parties blamed each other for the shutdown:
Democrats called it the "Trump Shutdown" because they blamed Republicans for not reaching a compromise in time.
The Republicans called it the "Schumer Shutdown," blaming the Senate Democratic Party leader, Chuck Schumer, and other Democrats, for the same reason.
Perhaps the most serious affect of the shutdown were nine million young poor and middle class children children who benefit from the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). That program was running out of money which would grow in seriousness the longer that the shutdown continued.
President Trump fired off two of his famous tweets showing contempt for DREAMers and for people who are concerned about their future:
"The Democrats are turning down services and security for citizens in favor of services and security for non-citizens. Not good!"
"Democrats have shut down our government in the interests of their far left base. They don’t want to do it but are powerless!" 9
The former tweet appears to refer to the proposed wall between the U.S. and Mexico which is supposed to cut down illegal immigration. In reality, the main effect of a wall might be an increase in sales of tall ladders in Mexico. The latter appears to refer to persons who care about DREAMers -- those who were brought to the U.S. as children, who lack documentation and protection. If the conflict cannot be settled, then they government may be free to sent back to their country of origin in the future, even though the U.S. is the only country that most of them have known, and even though many cannot speak the language there.
The people of the U.S. appear to disagree with he President. Both a Politico/Morning Consult poll and a Washington Post/ABC News poll found that adults hold Republicans more than Democrats responsible for the shutdown. Meanwhile, Congress members have typically been blaming members of the other party. 9
In a poll that was unrelated to the shutdown shows that public support the DREAMers is quite high:
"A recent CNN/SRRS poll found that 84 percent of voters support the government continuing to allow immigrants who meet DACA qualifications to remain in the United States." 9
This artificially-generated crisis may well cause voters to reduce their support for the Republican Party in the next election.
This shutdown was the first one in modern time during which the White House, the House, and the Senate are all controlled by the same party. After a three-day shutdown, Congress passed a bill to reopen the government for two and a half weeks and President Trump signed the bill into law.
Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) said: "This shutdown was avoidable."
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) said: "A government shutdown represents the ultimate failure to govern."
2018-JAN-25: President Trump uses the DREAMers as a bargaining chip:
The Trump administration released details on a plan involving support for DREAMers. It would include:
A path to citizenship for DREAMers, but only after a significant length of time -- a decade or more.
Limiting "chain immigration" by restricting sponsors so that they could only seek entry into the U.S. for their spouse and children, not other people from their family.
$20 billion for his beloved wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
$5 billion to improve security on the border in addition to the wall.