News Briefing for November 22, 2014

Eyeglasses with newspaper and coffee cup


Health insurance costs have nowhere to go but up

“Regardless of where you get your health insurance, one thing is for sure: Your premiums for 2015 and the next several years are set to rise significantly. Folks are used to the fact that health insurance costs always seem to go up. They’ve done so for the last 14 years, with the highest annual increase of about 14 percent and the lowest at about 3 percent. But the increases for 2015 are staggering, ranging from 20 percent to over 60 percent. And consumers need to plan for more rate hikes over the next several years, especially those who have coverage through their employer. One of the biggest causes behind these increases is the Affordable Care Act (ACA), so called because it was supposed to provide more affordable health insurance for all. According to a brief from the American Academy of Actuaries, several factors appear to be pushing health insurance premium up in 2015 and in future years. They include: Risk pool composition: The ACA prohibits insurers from charging different premiums to individuals based on their health status. So, when more people with higher claims (older, sicker, etc.) enroll in new health insurance plans and don’t get offset with a sufficient increase in those with fewer claims (younger, healthier, etc.), insurers project more claims and subsequently raise premiums. Reinsurance fund reductions: The ACA created a reinsurance program to provide payments to insurance plans to help offset the costs of enrolling individuals with higher claims. Funding for this program comes from additional fees on all health insurance plans, including employer-sponsored plans. Those fees are set to decline and eventually discontinue, which points to further rate hikes. Rising cost of medical services: This increase, the so called medical trend, results from an ever-worsening demand-supply imbalance. Beyond general inflationary pressures, an aging population is causing a rapidly growing utilization of health care, and the supply of medical services to meet this demand surge appears insufficient. The ACA also mandated additional benefits and covered services as well extra fees charged to health insurers, which are passed down in the form of higher premiums. Knowing that rising health insurance costs in 2015 and for the next several years is nearly a sure thing, regardless of the ACA, what can you really do about it? In my next column, I’ll lay out several strategies you can use to manage these ever-rising costs.”


ObamaCare Catastrophic Premiums Rising 18% In 2015

“Premiums for ObamaCare’s cheapest catastrophic plan will jump an average 18% in 2015 in 34 large markets, one in each state exchange using for a second year. This finding, along with a closer look at the level of premiums in these markets, suggests that a key feature of ObamaCare — a cheap catastrophic option for adults under age 30 and a fallback option for those who are ineligible for subsidies — is not functioning well in much of the country. In 17 (exactly half) of these markets, the lowest-priced catastrophic plan in 2015 won’t be even 10% cheaper than the lowest-cost unsubsidized bronze option and will offer only limited savings — at best. Actually, in seven of these markets (just over 20% of the full sample), there’s effectively no catastrophic option because the cheapest one costs more than the cheapest bronze plan.

Catastrophic plans have morphed under ObamaCare, which will limit maximum out-of-pocket expenses to $6,600 in 2015. In reality, the plans provide nearly the same coverage as bronze plans and throw in three free visits to a doctor. A number of markets will see a dramatic shift in the relative pricing of catastrophic and bronze plans in ObamaCare’s second year. The cheapest catastrophic premium roughly doubled in both St. Louis (from $101 to $192 per month for a 27-year-old) and Cedar Rapids, Iowa (from $90 to $182). In both markets, the least costly catastrophic plan had been 30% less than the cheapest bronze in 2014. Now, it’s priced about 20% higher than bronze in both cities.”


ObamaCare amnesty: No need to pay December premiums?

“Official ObamaCare enrollment data got a thorough dental cleaning on Thursday. Apparently, no one had flossed the data in some time, because a chunk of nearly 400,000 stowaways came flying out and slimed the Obama administration’s credibility. Yuck! Republican House investigators discovered, and Bloomberg News reported, that the latest numbers on people with health coverage via ObamaCare’s federal- and state-operated exchanges were inflated by the addition of 380,000 people who had signed up for dental plans. The Department of Health and Human Services later acknowledged the error, even expressing shock and dismay. Whether the error was the result of carelessness or, rather, a deliberate effort to keep the enrollment number levitating above the 7 million goal set in the fall of 2013, the revelation didn’t come as a great surprise to IBD. We’ve been reporting that the paid enrollment data reported separately by a number of states cast doubt on the accuracy of HHS data. Now we’ve learned the truth — 6.7 million people were paid up as of mid-October, about 16% less than the 8 million sign-ups that the administration celebrated back in the spring. Now, everyone will start to focus on how many people will sign up during the second enrollment period, which just launched. But there’s another, more immediate question that is also quite interesting: How many people will bother to pay their premiums in December? It’s unclear that this number will ever be reported, but there is good reason to suspect that people will take advantage of ObamaCare’s rules to skip their final payment of the year without consequence. Under ObamaCare’s 90-day grace period, insurers must pay all claims for an enrollee for the first month after a payment due date is missed. For policyholders who aren’t close to meeting their deductible, there is not risk in not paying their December bill and waiting to see if they have a costly medical emergency during the month.”



“Breitbart California’s article last month titled “Covered California Admits to ‘Narrow Networks’ of Doctors and Hospitals” revealed officials knew insurers listed on the state’s healthcare exchange were dumping providers to keep renewal rates down. In response, a state investigation just acknowledged insurance companies listed on the exchange violated the law by publishing sham lists that significantly overstated the number of doctors in their networks.

The Breitbart October 5, 2014 exposé revealed that the California State Insurance Department and Department of Managed Health Care knew when officials approved a 4.2% increase for 2015 Covered California individual care premiums that insurers were engaging in “narrow networks” to limit patient access to doctors and hospitals. It appears regulators knew that without narrow networks, Covered California premium rates would have skyrocketed.

Less than two weeks later, the Covered California website’s on-line directory of doctors and hospitals available under for the 12 health-insurance plans listed on the state exchange was taken off-line “due to errors,” according to a Covered California customer service representative on their 1-800-300-1506 phone line. Department of Managed Health Care acknowledged on November 18, 2014 over 25% of physicians listed in the medical services directories for Blue Shield of California and for Anthem Blue Cross were not taking Covered California patients or no longer had offices at their listed location. The new revelations come as Covered California began on November 15, 2014 enrolling about 1.2 million new and continuing subscribers. Yet, the Covered California website on November 19th was not allowing customers to login and the automated phone prompt stated that the “expected wait time is two hours.”

Officials acknowledged last month that the state-run online exchange directory listing 12 health-insurance plans was “temporarily” taken down to make improvements to the system, including speed, navigation, and search functions. The Daily News reported last month that the California Medical Association said the Covered California on-line directory had several factual errors. “Updating and calibrating the directory is a complex, labor-intensive effort,” Covered California officials replied in a statement. “The files are very large, and the search tool cross-references literally tens of thousands of doctors, hospitals and other providers across a dozen insurance companies.” The Los Angeles Times reported unsuspecting patients appear to have suffered huge additional medical bills for using advertised network doctors and hospitals for medical tests and procedures, but were actually “out-of-network.”


HHS releases proposed Obamacare rule changes

“The Obama administration proposed Friday numerous changes to the rules governing Obamacare. The proposals include altering the dates of open enrollment and changing the way existing customers are automatically renewed into their healthcare plans, according to a document released Friday by the Department of Health and Human Services. “Taken together, we believe these policies will ensure that consumers have access to high-quality, affordable health insurance,” the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in a statement. The proposed rule change would change the dates of open enrollment from the current Nov. 15-Feb. 15 to a window from Oct. 1-Dec. 15, which would allow customers to have new plans active by the first of the year. The change to auto-renewal would create the option of defaulting into a lower priced plan. The current rules keep customers in the same plan if they take no action.”


HHS Admits Unbelievably Lucky ‘Mistake’ (continuation of yesterday’s articles)

“Another day, another Obamacare lie. Bloomberg reports: “The Obama administration included as many as 400,000 dental plans in a number it reported for enrollments under the Affordable Care Act, an unpublicized detail that helped surpass a goal for 7 million sign-ups.  Without the dental plans, the federal government would have had 6.97 million people with medical insurance under the law known as Obamacare, investigators for the House Oversight and Government Reform committee calculated, using data they obtained from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Federal officials said in September they had 7.3 million people enrolled in coverage through new government-run insurance exchanges. They didn’t distinguish between medical and dental plans, breaking from previous practice without notice.” HHS admits that it made a “mistake”:”

Administration explains Obamacare enrollment numbers error

“The Obama administration has admitted that it inflated Obamacare enrollment numbers twice this year — including in testimony to Congress — thanks to an error in the way health insurance numbers were conflated with dental insurance figures. The exaggeration, which HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said was an “unacceptable” mistake, inflated the reported number enrolled in Obamacare by 400,000. House Republicans first spotted the issue, and say that blaming the bad numbers on mistaken data “strains credulity.” If you take the dental insurance customers out of the latest administration Obamacare report, the enrollment number is closer 6.7 million now. Burwell and HHS officials did not publicly explain how the mistake happened. But one administration official told POLITICO a topline number for paid enrollment — different data than HHS usually uses in its enrollment reports — was used for Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner’s testimony on the Hill in September. She said at the time that 7.3 million people were covered as of mid-August. The problem was uncovered by House Oversight Republicans after receiving more detailed information from HHS this month. Burwell pledged to take steps so that “this kind of mistake does not occur again after we understand why it happened.”

Several top Republicans saw it as far more than an error, though. House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa insisted “HHS must provide a clear and detailed account of who knew about this decision and when they knew it.” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted, “Administration double counts #Obamacare enrollees to reach enrollment goal” of 7 million.

The controversy follows the stream of unflattering news about former administration health care adviser Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economist who denigrated American’s “stupidity” on a series of videos to explain how the health law got passed. That has overshadowed the otherwise smooth rollout of Obamacare’s second open enrollment season, one that made good on Burwell’s promises to avoid a repeat of the debacle of’s debut last fall.

The hearing in which Tavenner used the 7.3 million figure was called by Republicans to explore’s online security. The number wasn’t part of Tavenner’s written testimony, and no detailed data was released. When pressed by reporters afterward for more details, HHS aides stressed that it was a figure gathered from insurers. Administration testimony — particularly to the highly controversial House Oversight Committee — typically goes through rounds of review inside HHS.”

HHS chief: Fudged Obamacare enrollment numbers “unacceptable”

“In a chat on Facebook on Thursday, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said the figures were inflated unintentionally. “This mistake was unacceptable,” Burwell said. “I will be communicating that clearly throughout the department. While we understand some will be skeptical, our clarity that this is [a] mistake and the fact that we have quickly corrected the numbers should give people confidence. It is important to continue to focus on the fact that millions of Americans are getting affordable health care.”

Re: Happy Mistakes


The Administration Remains a Die-Hard Liar About Obamacare Enrollment Figures

Obamacare’s September enrollment numbers used previously unincluded dental plans

“The Department of Health and Human Services included hundreds of thousands of dental plans when reporting Obamacare enrollments in September, an undisclosed departure from routine practice that made it appear the administration had met its goal of 7 million signups in 2014. Adding nearly 400,000 dental plans to the Affordable Care Act signups put the administration’s September number at 7.3 million instead of the more accurate 6.97 million, Bloomberg reported Thursday. That’s slightly less than the Congressional Budget Office’s original projection, and it left Obamacare-backer Charles Gaba baffled. “I really don’t see what the point would be of being misleading about that number,” he told Bloomberg. “Even if it had been 6.9 million, I don’t see that as being a terrible thing.” HHS had previously separately released enrollment numbers for medical insurance and dental plans. A May release showed enrollment totals at 8 million for health insurance and 1.1 million for dental coverage. The Washington Examiner has reached out to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services and will update with their response. HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell has set a 2015 target of 9.1 million enrollments.”

OVERNIGHT HEALTH: O-Care numbers inflated, HHS admits

CMS Propped Up Obamacare Enrollment Total With Dental Plans

“The Obama administration included 400,000 dental plans in its first-year Obamacare enrollment totals without acknowledging that it wasn’t full health insurance, falsely pushing the final number past the administration’s enrollment target. The actual enrollment total: 6.7 million, not quite meeting the seven million goal provided by the Congressional Budget Office. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services head Marilyn Tavenner announced in September that 7.3 million Americans were still enrolled in health coverage through Obamacare exchanges nationwide. But according to a report from Bloomberg, that data didn’t distinguish between medical and dental insurance plans, which departed from CMS’ usual practice without any acknowledgment. Had the agency separated out the dental plans as usual, it would have had to admit that Obamacare enrollment has fallen below its target, investigators for the House Oversight and Government Reform committee told Bloomberg. The combination hid the fact that over one million health insurance customers had already dropped their coverage. The CBO had originally projected that Obamacare exchanges would attract seven million customers in its first open enrollment period, although it shifted that estimate down to six million after problems arose with and state exchanges. Including the dental plans after sign-ups had dropped plans made it possible for the Obama administration to continue to say that it had met the goal. It’s a clear departure from the administration’s policy. Health and Human Services released its last detailed enrollment report in May and ceased making regular enrollment updates backed up by data afterwards. But the May report separated medical and dental plans, reporting eight million sign-ups for health insurance and 1.1 million for dental coverage.”

To claim 7 million Obamacare enrollees, the government just changed its own rules

“Initially, the Congressional Budget Office predicted that health insurance plans associated with the Affordable Care Act would attract at least 7 million enrollees. After a number of problems with state and federal enrollment websites surfaced in late 2013, the CBO amended its projection down to 6 million. When the ACA reportedly reached 8 million enrollees after repeatedly extending the deadline for the close of open enrollment in the spring of 2014, the left celebrated. “Eight million people have signed up for private insurance plans through the new federal and state marketplaces. And within the federal marketplaces, 28 percent of enrollees are ages 18 to 34,” The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohen crowed. “This is good news—very, very good news.” “Given where the law started in October, that is utterly insane,” a flabbergasted Ezra Klein wrote. “Obamacare hit its enrollment target because it was selling something that at least 8 million people wanted: affordable health insurance,” Vox’s self-satisfied Sarah Kliff concurred. They were far less ebullient about the Affordable Care Act’s enrollment figures when they were revised down significantly from over 8 million to just 7.1 million in October. Just days later, the CBO announced another downward revision of 2015’s expected new enrollees from just under an additional 6 million this year to fewer than 3 million. Today, the cheerleaders at the nation’s leading liberal publications were again disappointed to learn that the administration had deceived them into reporting that the Affordable Care Act had reached even that revised enrollment goal “The Obama administration included as many as 400,000 dental plans in a number it reported for enrollments under the Affordable Care Act, an unpublicized detail that helped surpass a goal for 7 million sign-ups,” Bloomberg reported on Thursday. “Without the dental plans, the federal government would have had 6.97 million people with medical insurance under the law known as Obamacare, investigators for the House Oversight and Government Reform committee calculated, using data they obtained from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.”

Administration admits Obamacare enrollment numbers error

Obamacare Inflates Its Numbers. I Feel Sick.

Another Lie? Obamacare First Year Sign Up Numbers Revealed To Be Substantially Inflated



Media Matters Attacked ‘Obamacare Enrollment Truthers’: Turns Out ‘Truthers’ Were Right



“A new paper by businessman and finance expert Scot Vorse throws an evidentiary grenade into the pending Supreme Court Case on Obamacare, King v. Burwell. The new information, published in a white paper from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, “highlight[s] a growing body of evidence indicating government officials originally planned to offer Obamacare tax credits only on state-established insurance exchanges,” according to the accompanying CEI press release. At issue in King v. Burwell is whether the 2012 IRS rule that provided federal tax subsidies to Obamacare enrollees in the 34 states that have chosen not to open their own exchanges is authorized under the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The plain language of the law contains no such provision. The Competitive Enterprise Institute disclosed when it released Vorse’s white paper on Thursday that it has helped fund the plaintiff’s legal expenses in King v. Burwell.  Subsidized premium payments made by the IRS to insurance companies for individual policies have been the key factor driving enrollment in all 50 states. Should the Supreme Court decision go against the federal government, it could send Obamacare into a death spiral as the number of enrollees, already well below the 19 million anticipated by the administration when the law passed in 2010, could plummet in the 34 states without their own exchanges. Compare, for instance, how the ruling would effect the out-of pocket expenses of two individuals with the same income and health characteristics. One resides California, which has its own exchange. Another resides in Texas, which does not have its own exchange. A Supreme Court decision against the federal government would have no impact on the out-of-pocket expenses of the California resident. If he’s currently paying a monthly health insurance premium of $500 and receiving a $400 monthly premium subsidy (calculated based on income and health characteristics specified in the 2010 Obamacare law) that subsidy would continue to be paid directly to his insurance company by the IRS. The California resident’s monthly out-of-pocket expense would remain at $100.”


Report: HHS Waffled On Federal Obamacare Subsidies Question

“The nonprofit coordinating several lawsuits against Obamacare subsidies in federally-run exchanges is out with a new report which suggests that the Obama administration itself didn’t expect to offer premium subsidies on The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Scot Vorse has published a timeline of the Department of Health and Human Services’ preparation for Obamacare’s launch over the past several years. Interestingly enough, while HHS quickly began work on getting state-run exchanges to offer subsidies, it doesn’t appear that the agency did the same with, suggesting it may have not initially believed it was allowed to. The question is more pertinent that ever. A number of lawsuits charging that Obamacare restricts subsidies to state-based exchanges only, and that the IRS is illegally handing out taxpayer dollars on, have proceeded quickly through the court system. The Supreme Court will hear one such case, King v. Burwell, next session. “Official documents show that while HHS moved quickly after the ACA’s enactment to help state governments make tax credits available through state-based exchanges, for nearly two years, it developed its website without any effort to offer tax credits on the federal exchange,” Vorse wrote in the CEI report.”


Jonathan Gruber Called to Testify in House Committee Over ‘Stupidity of American Voter’ Comments

“Notorious MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber, who was caught saying in a video that Democrats counted on the “stupidity of the American voter” to pass Obamacare, has been called to testify by the House Oversight Committee. Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) asked Gruber and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner to testify on December 9 about the overall lack of transparency related to Obamacare. “The American people deserve honesty, transparency and respect from those who forced the federal government into their healthcare,” Issa said Friday. “I expect Mr. Gruber and Administrator Tavenner to testify publicly next month about the arrogance and deceptions surrounding the passage and implementation of ObamaCare.” Issa’s brief letter to Gruber asks him to testify before the committee on December 9 about the “transparency failures” related to the implementation of Obamacare.”

Gruber Called To Testify On Obamacare Transparency Failures

House Committee Calls Gruber to Testify at Obamacare Hearing

“Jonathan Gruber, an MIT economist under fire for comments he made about the Affordable Care Act, is being asked to testify next month before Congress in a probe of the health law. The House Oversight and Government Committee has requested that Mr. Gruber and Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, appear Dec. 9 to testify about “transparency failures and outright deceptions” surrounding the Affordable Care Act, according to a press release issued Friday. Mr. Gruber declined to comment on the request. A spokesman for CMS didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment. “I expect Mr. Gruber and Administrator Tavenner to testify publicly next month about the arrogance and deceptions surrounding the passage and implementation of ObamaCare,” Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), chairman of the committee, said in the release. Mr. Gruber has inflamed Republicans critical of the health law after after a video surfaced where said the health law passed because of the “huge political advantage” of the legislation’s lack of transparency. He has since apologized for the remarks. CMS this week also was criticized by Republicans after the agency that oversees implementation of the health law acknowledged errors in calculating the number of people who had obtained coverage under the law. Some 6.7 million people had paid-up health coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges as of mid-October, about 400,000 less than the government had reported last week, the Obama administration said Thursday. The earlier number of 7.1 million people with paid-up coverage had included people who only bought dental coverage through the exchanges, which are also called marketplaces. Ms. Tavenner told a congressional hearing in September that 7.3 million people had paid-up coverage as of mid-August. That figure also included dental plans, administration officials confirmed Thursday. “A mistake was made in calculating the number of individuals with effectuated Marketplace enrollments. We have determined that individuals who had both Marketplace medical and dental coverage were erroneously counted in our recent announcements,” according to a statement Thursday from CMS.”

Gruber called to testify in Oversight probe on ObamaCare transparency



Loose-lipped ObamaCare adviser’s predictions more bad than bold, analysis shows

“All the millions of dollars paid to Jonathan Gruber by the federal and state governments to help design and implement ObamaCare may have been a bad bargain for reasons other than MIT economics whiz’s inability to stop insulting voters. His predictions, which government agencies used to make critical projections about the heath care plan, have not held up, according to an analysis. Although President Obama has downplayed Gruber’s role in crafting the Affordable Care Act, White House logs show he visited 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. more than a dozen times and was paid $400,000 for his work on the project. That followed several years of work with the state of Massachusetts, where a universal health care system implemented under former Gov. Mitt Romney has been hailed as the model for ObamaCare…. Gruber Prediction: Premiums will go down “What we know for sure the bill will do is that it will lower the cost of buying non-group health insurance,” Gruber told the Washington Post in November 2009. Premiums rose due to ObamaCare by an average of 49 percent, according to a county-by-county analysis done by the Manhattan Institute, proving critics and insurance companies, who had said Gruber’s models were deeply flawed, correct. “[ObamaCare] will result in individual market premiums increasing, not decreasing, as stated in the Gruber paper,” insurance company Wellpoint wrote in a 2009 paper. Gruber had simply failed to consider key factors in the plan that Wellpoint correctly predicted would add “between 20 percent and 80 percent to the cost of premiums under reform.” Specifically, Gruber’s analysis assumed everyone would qualify for ObamaCare subsidies, the company determined. Gruber’s prediction before the Senate in 2009, that ObamaCare would guarantee “sizeable premium savings for [the] young” and that a family with income of $38,000 “would save, on average, $8,550,” also failed to pan out, according to the Manhattan Institute analysis. “RomneyCare” estimates off. Gruber’s flawed modeling dates back to his efforts to help design a universal health care law for Massachusetts, later dubbed “RomneyCare” by some, according to the Manhattan Institute. “Jonathan Gruber at MIT devoted hours and hours to an essential econometric model,” Romney said in a speech upon passing the law. Although it is unclear exactly which predictions Gruber’s model was responsible for, a number of RomneyCare predictions were off. The first one was a prediction that the average health care plan under RomneyCare would cost $200. It ended up costing $380. At the time, Gruber explained it this way: “You know, we are suggesting a more comprehensive policy than the governor had originally anticipated, I think, when he said $200,” Gruber told American Public Media. According to an analysis by the libertarian CATO Institute, other RomneyCare predictions were wrong as well. “Gains in coverage have been overstated by nearly 50 percent, while costs have been understated by at least one-third,” the report concluded. One prediction Gruber got right. In 2009, when President Obama repeatedly said “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” Gruber commented ominously on the promise. “With or without reform, that won’t be true,” Gruber Told the Associated Press in June 2009. “[Obama’s] point is that the government is not going to force you to give up what you have, but that’s not to say other circumstances won’t make that happen.”


New video surfaces with controversial Obamacare consultant (continuation of past article)

“A new video has surfaced showing economist Jonathan Gruber, who made controversial comments about how the Affordable Care Act was written, talking about states’ opposition to the Medicaid expansion in the law, and the role poverty may play in its success or failure. “There’s larger principles at stake here,” Gruber said in the video, which appeared on the website in April. “When these states are not just turning down covering the poor people, but turning down the federal stimulus that would come with that. “They’re not just not interested in covering poor people, they’re willing to sacrifice billions of dollars in injections into their economy in order to punish poor people. I mean, it really is just almost awesome in its evilness.” Gruber was seen in a 2013 video that caught attention last week in which he said the ACA passed, in part, due to “the stupidity of the American voter.”


Jim Angle Reports: Obamacare’s “Cadillac Tax” In Jonathan Gruber’s Words

“JIM ANGLE, SPECIAL REPORT: Of all the taxes in Obamacare, non is more onerous than the whopping 40% “Cadillac tax” on generous workplace health plans, which the administration is trying to discourage.

JONATHAN GRUBER: Turns out politically, it is really hard to get rid of, and the only way we could take it on was first by mislabeling it, calling it a tax on insurance plans rather than what we all know: it is a tax on people who own insurance plans.

JIM ANGLE: What he called a “clever exploitation” of Americans’ lack of economic understanding. Later Gruber said because the tax was a “political nightmare” the president wanted to phase it in to draw less fire.

JONATHAN GRUBER: That ultimately became the genesis of the so-called “Cadillac tax.”

JIM ANGLE: A Cadillac plan is one that will cost about $27,500 for a faily of four in 2018. Unions would be hardest hit because they’ve negotiated generous health benefits, which are tax free, in exchange for reduced wages on which taxes are paid…But the tax is so large — $80 billion by 2023, private employers started the moment the law was passed to shift more cost to their workers…But taxpayers get hit too, about half of all union workers are public employees, meaning taxpayers are the ultimate employer who will bear the burden of the tax.”


Jonathan Gruber: Obamacare Architect, Unplugged

“Economist Milton Freeman said the promotion of bad policy requires two types of advocates. “Do-gooders,” he said, act in good faith but out of ignorance in promoting counterproductive policies. The second type are the “special interest” rent-seekers, those who stand to personally profit from the scheme. For economist Jonathan Gruber, the primary architect and intellectual godfather of both Romneycare and Obamacare, we need a new category. Gruber is a two-fer — both a do-gooder and a rent-seeker. Gruber, so far, has pocketed $6 million advising the federal and state governments on the very law he helped design. Massachusetts retained MIT economist Gruber to help design its signature healthcare measure. President Obama later employed Gruber to do the same thing for Obamacare, which Gruber called a deficit-reducing measure that bends the cost curve down. But it turns out when Gruber lets his hair down, he speaks very differently about the nature and goals of Obamacare. Recently, some rather embarrassing videotapes of Gruber comments have surfaced. Gruber on cost controls: “Cost control turns out to be very, very hard to do. Probably the single biggest frustration I have with critics of this law are people who say it didn’t go far enough. … We do not solve our cost problem in healthcare in the U.S. with this legislation. We simply do not, OK? But you know what? That’s because it was impossible to do so.” Gruber, in 2012, explaining how Massachusetts pulled off Romneycare: “The dirty secret in Massachusetts is the feds paid for our bill, OK? In Massachusetts we had a very powerful senator you may know named Ted Kennedy. … Ted Kennedy and smart people in Massachusetts had basically figured out a way to sort of rip off the feds for about 400 million dollars a year.” Gruber, in 2012, admitting that Obamacare was intentionally designed so that only enrollees in state-run exchanges — not the one run by the feds — receive subsides and tax credits (a matter the Supreme Court will soon decide): “I think what’s important to remember politically about this, is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits.” Gruber, in 2013, on voter stupidity: “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, you know, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever. … Look, I wish … that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not. … Yeah, there are things I wish I could change, but I’d rather have this law than not.” Gruber, in 2012, on Americans’ lack of understanding economics: “We just tax the insurance companies. They pass on higher prices that offsets the tax break we get — it ends up being the same thing. It’s a very clever, you know, basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter.” Gruber, in 2013, on Democrats’ efforts to disguise a direct tax on people who purchase so-called Cadillac plans: “Then another Massachusetts hero, John Kerry … came up with a great substitute idea. They said … ‘What if we instead just levied a 40 percent tax on the insurance companies that sell these terrible expensive Cadillac plans?’ We said, ‘Well, that’s pretty much the same thing. But why does it matter?’ ‘You’ll see.’ And we proposed it, and that passed because the American voters are too stupid to understand the difference.”


North Carolina fires Gruber after Obamacare remarks

“North Carolina’s state auditor on Thursday terminated a contract with Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economics professor and health-care expert whose comments on the Affordable Care Act have generated fury among conservatives. Auditor Beth Wood (D) had hired Gruber to analyze the state’s Community Care of North Carolina program, which provides managed care to the poor and disabled. Gov. Pat McCrory (R) and state lawmakers involved in reforming the state’s Medicaid system were studying whether to include the Community Care program in the reformed system. Wood’s office, in consultation with the Republican-led legislature, hired Gruber last November. He spent the year finding and analyzing data from the state Department of Health and Human Services. The month before he was hired, Gruber had appeared at a health-care policy conference in Pennsylvania, where he credited “the stupidity of the American voter” with helping pass the Affordable Care Act. Unnoticed until this month, the comments — and others in which Gruber glibly insults voters and taxpayers — exploded on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show, Fox News and conservative Web sites.”


Gruber and Obama’s Big Lie

No, Mr. President, Democrats didn’t win the health-care debate before Obamacare’s passage.


Gruber syndrome: WH advisor scolds Americans for not appreciating Obama economy enough


House Republicans Sue Obama Administration Over Health Law

“House Republicans filed a long-threatened lawsuit Friday against the Obama administration over unilateral actions on the health care law that they say are abuses of the president’s executive authority. The lawsuit — filed against the secretaries of the Health and Human Services and Treasury Departments — focuses on two crucial aspects of the way the administration has put the Affordable Care Act into effect. The suit accuses the Obama administration of unlawfully postponing a requirement that larger employers offer health coverage to their full-time employees or pay penalties. (Larger companies are defined as those with 50 or more employees.) In July 2013, the administration deferred that requirement until 2015. Seven months later, the administration announced a further delay, until 2016, for employers with 50 to 99 employees. The suit also challenges what it says is President Obama’s unlawful giveaway of roughly $175 billion to insurance companies under the law. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the administration will pay that amount to the companies over the next 10 years, though the funds have not been appropriated by Congress. The lawsuit argues that it is an unlawful transfer of funds. That issue involves subsidies known as cost-sharing reductions, which the federal government pays to insurers on behalf of people whose incomes range from the poverty threshold to two and a half times the poverty threshold ($11,670 to $29,175 a year for an individual). If the lawsuit is successful, poor people would not lose their health care, because the insurance companies would still be required to provide coverage — but without the help of the government subsidy, the companies might be forced to raise costs elsewhere. The subsidies reduce the co-payments, deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs that consumers incur when they go to doctors and hospitals.”

Republicans Sue Obama Administration Over Obamacare Implementation

“Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced Friday that the House of Representatives has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration, over its failure to implement Obamacare based on the law passed by Congress. “Time after time, the president has chosen to ignore the will of the American people and re-write federal law on his own without a vote of Congress,” Boehner said. “That’s not the way our system of government was designed to work.”

House files Obamacare lawsuit

“The House of Representatives filed a long-awaited lawsuit Friday, alleging that the Obama administration ignored key aspects of its health care reform law when implementing the sweeping new government program. The litigation, authorized by the House in July, addresses only the Affordable Care Act and makes no mention of immigration. However, the filing of the suit the morning after Obama unveiled his major executive actions on immigration was clearly intended to underscore GOP lawmakers’ desire to paint the president as a chief executive intent on overstepping his legal bounds. “Time after time, the president has chosen to ignore the will of the American people and rewrite federal law on his own without a vote of Congress. That’s not the way our system of government was designed to work,” House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement. “If this president can get away with making his own laws, future presidents will have the ability to as well. The House has an obligation to stand up for the Constitution, and that is exactly why we are pursuing this course of action.” President Barack Obama is not named as a defendant; the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, names as defendants Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and their departments. The White House dismissed the lawsuit Friday as meritless and as a waste of money. “Instead of passing legislation to help expand the middle class and grow the economy, Speaker Boehner and House Republicans are spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars pursuing a lawsuit that is without any sound legal basis,” White House spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine said. The new lawsuit claims that two specific aspects of implementation of the Obamacare law violated the terms of the legislation. First, the suit complains about repeated delays of the employer mandate, which was supposed to kick in in January of this year. The administration delayed the requirement until next year for some employers and until 2016 for others. Second, the litigation challenges payments to insurance companies under a cost-sharing provision that the suit argues was never authorized by law. Such “offset” payments amounted to $3 billion in 2014 and could total $175 billion over 10 years, the House claims. “The administration is instead unlawfully and unconstitutionally using funds from a separate Treasury Department account — authorized for other purposes — to pay insurance companies and thereby unilaterally altering the structure of the health care law,” Boehner’s office said.

The suit was filed for the House by George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley. The liberal critic of Obama’s alleged executive overreach is the third attorney to handle the matter for the House. It was assigned to Judge Rosemary Collyer, who was appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush. Two conservative litigators, David Rivkin of BakerHostetler and Bill Burck of Quinn Emanuel, were retained to handle the case earlier in the year. However, House aides say both backed out after being pressured by other clients to drop the litigation.

Democrats have widely dismissed the lawsuit as a political stunt. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi accused the Republicans of playing into the interests of “impeachment-hungry extremists.”

House Finally Files Affordable Care Act Lawsuit Against Obama

House Republicans file Obamacare lawsuit


House Republicans sue president over Obamacare



“Roughly one million undocumented immigrants in California qualify for President Obama’s executive action of deferred deportation that he announced on Thursday. Of those 40% will be eligible for the states free Medi-Cal health services, while the remaining will be ineligible under the program’s income requirements. Medi-Cal is the state’s name for Medicaid, a federal health services program for people who have low income. According to KQED News, the newly protected illegal immigrants do not qualify for other benefits of the Affordable Care Act and are not eligible for subsidies on the Covered California exchange. “They’ll be in the same situation as DACA,” said Gabrielle Lessard, a health policy attorney with the Los Angeles office of the National Immigration Law Center. Lessard was referring to a 2012 executive action by the president known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA granted deferred deportation to children born in America from parents who were in the country illegally.

California extends Medicaid benefits to DACA immigrants while most states do not. Ronald Coleman, government affairs manager for the California Immigrant Policy Center, explained to KQED in the California Report that deferred deportation means that the immigrants are now legal in the eyes of the law. He asserted that “California has historically covered broad populations of immigrants who reside in the state.” Coleman added all those that qualify for deferred deportation are “work eligible and, as lawfully present immigrants, they will be eligible for the state Medi-Cal program … if they are income eligible.” A Department of Health Care Services spokesman, Tony Cava, told KQED that so far they have not received any specifics on Obama’s latest executive action so they are “unable to assess any impact it might have on Medi-Cal services.”  Cava pointed out that any illegal immigrant requiring emergency health services must be taken care of and that none of their personal information can be used “for any type of civil immigration enforcement action under U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement law.”

Nevertheless, illegal immigrants remain reluctant to enroll in health insurance programs for fear of being deported or revealing the identity of other illegal relatives.”


Undocumented immigrants won’t get Obamacare – but Latino coverage could rise

“President Barack Obama’s immigration order won’t suddenly swell the rolls of Obamacare with undocumented immigrants, but it will open the door to many more Latinos getting health insurance. Freed from deportation threats, more of the undocumented may be able to take regular jobs with health insurance for themselves and their families, instead of operating in shadow jobs without health insurance. They will not be covered by Obamacare, however. And Latinos who are already legal residents – millions of whom remain uninsured – may feel more comfortable signing up for subsidized Obamacare coverage. There have been widespread reports that they had feared signing up might tip off authorities to family members who were undocumented, risking their deportation. The president’s bold action on immigration “will spill over to the health care arena,” predicted Frank Rodriguez, executive director of the Latino Healthcare Forum, which enrolls Hispanics in Obamacare around Austin, Texas. Latinos are a big target for the second Affordable Care Act sign up season just getting underway, and Rodriguez said the executive action would build enthusiasm and trust. Covering the undocumented, who are mostly Latinos, has been a flashpoint ever since the health reform debate began early in Obama’s first term. The “you lie” moment – when Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) interrupted Obama’s address to Congress – was one of the most rancorous in the whole health debate. But the health law specifically excludes the undocumented from the ACA exchanges – even if they could pay for it themselves — and from Medicaid. That ban was extended to the “DREAMers” in 2012, and now to the roughly 5 million covered in the president’s Thursday evening executive order.

The lack of access to health coverage for a population with an estimated 60 percent uninsurance rate remains a bitter pill for immigration reform activists who otherwise welcome Obama’s moves. But for the Latinos who are in the U.S. legally, the president’s new policy may spur more enrollment. Many people working on Hispanic enrollment have said people have voiced fears that signing up could somehow lead immigration officials to undocumented family members, threatening them with deportation. Obama himself went on Spanish-language television earlier this year to try to dispel those fears. Many Latinos did end up enrolling; the rate of uninsurance in working-age Hispanic adults shrank from 36 percent to 23 percent after the first open enrollment, according to a Commonwealth Fund survey. By comparison, Commonwealth found the uninsured rate of the general population moved from 16 percent to 12 percent.”


More states offering Obamacare abortions, Boehner blasts Obama’s broken promise

“The number of Obamacare plans nationwide offering on-demand abortion is skyrocketing despite a rule that bars using healthcare subsidies for the procedure, according to a new investigation. The probe by two anti-abortion groups comes on the heels of a GAO report that found over 1,000 plans offer elective abortions, not allowed under Obamacare and personally ruled out by the president. “2015 appears to be shaping up to include more abortion plans and companies switching policies to cover abortion on demand,” said a preliminary statement from the report produced by the Family Research Council and the Charlotte Lozier Institute. For example, they found, Group Health Cooperative in Washington state offered only abortion-free plans in 2014. According to their 2015 plan documents, now all of their individual plans cover elective abortion. Also, many so-called “Multi-State Plans” that excluded elective abortion in 2014 are offering it. “In Connecticut, two of the four new MSPs will cover elective abortion, according to 2015 plan documents,” they two groups said in a short briefing to Secrets. What’s more, there are indications that even the federal government is considering covering elective abortions in their health insurance. In tweeting out this story, House Speaker John Boehner wrote, “President Obama said taxpayers wouldn’t be forced to pay for abortions in #ObamaCare. That wasn’t true.” Anti-abortion advocates claim that the abortion coverage has been hidden in confusing language in health plans, a charge verified by the recent GAO report, and comments from key Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber who said the “lack of transparency” with which the law was approved was a “huge political advantage.” On Capitol Hill Thursday afternoon, Rep. Chris Smith, the co-chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Pro-life Caucus, will join with the Family Research Council, the Charlotte Lozier Institute and the Alliance Defending Freedom to push a new effort to require that Obamacare insurance plans be more transparent and tell Americans which plans offer abortion coverage on demand.”


“A report released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) in September stated that 1,036 plans in 28 different states provided coverage for abortions that did not fall under the allowable exceptions. Two pro-life groups, the Family Research Council and the Charlotte Lozier Institute, conducted their own investigation after seeing the GAO Report, and according to their research, this problem is poised to become even more widespread in 2015, with more companies switching to cover abortion on demand, and the plans that were already offering coverage for abortion services starting to expand that coverage. The Washington Examiner reported that the FRC and Lozier Institute say that part of the problem is that the Obamacare law itself and related regulations are so lengthy and complex, that language providing abortion coverage is “hidden in confusing language in health plans, a charge verified by the recent GAO report.”


Rep. Smith: Most Obamacare Plans Violate Hyde Amendment on Abortion Coverage


An Obamacare Do-Over (Gillespie)

“We need to get rid of Obamacare instead of attempting to fix it because it is fundamentally flawed, cleverly designed to lead us over time to a single-payer system. This will become clearer when the employer mandate provisions kick in next year, with their incentives for companies to dump workers from their employer plans into government-run exchanges. As the exchanges swell and become more costly to taxpayers, we’ll be told that a government monopoly would be more cost-effective. To push back against the bill’s gravitational pull toward a single-payer system that would essentially supplant private insurance with a government program, Republicans must have a plan that addresses the concerns that led to Obamacare’s enactment in the first place: rising costs, too many uninsured people and a lack of protection for patients with pre-existing conditions. My plan begins by addressing an anachronistic aspect of the tax code that’s rooted in World War II wage and price controls. Those who get health insurance through their employer get a tax break, but those who purchase it on their own generally do not. While preserving the tax break for employer-based insurance, my plan would offer health-insurance tax credits for all individuals and families who buy insurance on their own. The tax credit would be $1,200 per year for those under 35 years of age, $2,100 for those 35 to 49, and $3,000 for those 50 or older, plus $900 per child. For a family of four headed by two 40-year-old parents, the tax credit would be like having $6,000 in cash to spend on health insurance. If the family found a plan they liked for less, they could put the difference in a health savings account to help cover out-of-pocket expenses. These tax credits would benefit everyone, whereas under the Affordable Care Act premium assistance almost exclusively benefits the near-poor and the near-elderly, at great cost to the middle class and the young. A household in Virginia of two 36-year-olds making $63,000 a year gets no subsidy under Obamacare, but under my plan, they’d get a tax credit worth $4,200. And those with policies covering adult children up to their 26th birthday could keep them. This plan also has protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Parents with newborns would have six months to buy insurance for the baby without having to pay more for pre-existing conditions, as would young adults who went off their parents’ plans. Anyone who was insured for a year through an employer but lost that insurance would have two months to buy an individual-market plan, using the tax credit, without having to pay more for a pre-existing condition. No one with continuous coverage could be dropped from his or her insurance, or be re-priced, because of a pre-existing condition. My plan would also allocate $7.5 billion a year for state-run “high risk” pools. People who couldn’t afford insurance on the open market because of a pre-existing condition could not be turned away from these pools or forced to pay more toward their premiums than they could afford. These reforms provide consumer protections but prevent people from gaming the system by going without insurance until they get a costly diagnosis.”




Fact-checks on Obama speech come from AP, WaPo … and Jay Carney?

“Barack Obama’s speech on immigration last night may have been brief, but not brief enough to exclude misleading arguments. In a speech of less than 15 minutes, Obama managed to pack a few whoppers into his arguments for unilateral executive action, as the Associated Press noticed. They seem to have been nearly the only media outlet who did, but they dismantle four of Obama’s supporting arguments for his actions.

  1. “All we’re saying is that we’re not going to deport you” — No, that’s not all Obama said. Even if it were, the application of “prosecutorial discretion” to ignore an entire class of crime would still be problematic and unprecedented. However, Obama promised to issue work permits as part of this amnesty, allowing them to “compete with citizens and legal residents for better-paying jobs.”
  2. Claimed that the number of unaccompanied children apprehended in border crossings “is now actually lower than it’s been in nearly two years” as an argument that border security has improved — Actually, the opposite is true. “The number of unaccompanied children apprehended at the border has been on the rise since the 2011 budget year,” the AP reports. In 2011, the number was 16,000, over 38,000 in FY2013, and by the end of FY2014, the number was over 68,000.
  3. “Overall, the number of people trying to cross our border illegally is at its lowest level since the 1970s. Those are the facts.” – I caught this one last night, too. The reason that border crossings are down is because the economy crashed and there aren’t nearly as many jobs to attract workers. In the early 1980s, Ronald Reagan’s economic policies drove a 25-year expansion that came to an end in the crash of 2008, and the Obama economy produced stagnation in its place. When you recreate the stagnation of the 1970s, it has the same kinds of consequences. Arrests have risen as the economy picked up, as the AP points out, but the economy isn’t generating enough jobs to restart the big numbers of illegal crossings.
  4. “When I took office, I committed to fixing this broken immigration system.” — So why did it take until Obama’s second term for him to get serious about it? The AP fact-check notes that Obama promised in 2008 to move on immigration during his first year in office, when he had control of both chambers of Congress. “He never kept that promise to the Latino community,” they note. No kidding.”

FACT CHECK: Obama’s claims on illegal immigration





Obama Pulls Out 5 Rhetorical Stops in Immigration Speech


Obama Insists Old System of Deporting Illegals Is the Real Amnesty




Obama making ‘aggressive’ pitch on immigration

Top aide details plans for outreach on executive actions

“President Barack Obama’s trip Friday to Las Vegas marks the start of what a senior White House official described as a “very aggressive sales job” on his immigration executive actions.

Obama has drawn praise from his progressive allies for shielding more than 4 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. But his prime-time announcement Thursday was only part of the battle. Now Obama needs to convince Americans of the merits of his decision, and his administration must implement it without the embarrassing missteps of Obamacare. Dan Pfeiffer, a senior adviser to Obama, told reporters Friday that the president will travel across the country in the coming months, including a stop Tuesday in Chicago. He starts the road show with an event Friday at the same Las Vegas high school where he first outlined his principles for comprehensive immigration reform almost two years. “He will make the case to the country — how it is consistent with past practice of presidents of both parties,” Pfeiffer said at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. “We will be making the case about what we did and for Congress to finish the job.” “We will be aggressive about this,” Pfeiffer added. In addition to interviews with the president and travel by the Cabinet, the White House is preparing a “very hefty digital component” to reach younger people, Pfeiffer said.

The administration has been focused “for a long time” on how to implement the executive actions, he said. Officials undertook a similar, but more narrow, effort in 2012 when Obama created a deferred deportation program for young undocumented immigrants.

“We have a good sense of how to do that,” Pfeiffer said. “I do not see a need for a czar.”

Obama has work to do with voters. About half of all Americans disapprove of his decision to take executive action, even though strong majorities agree that Congress should create a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Just 38 percent approve of the president using his executive authority, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Wednesday.”

Obama Hits Campaign Trail to Sell Unpopular Amnesty

“President Barack Obama knows his amnesty for illegals is not popular, so he’s going back out on the campaign trail to persuade or mollify critical voter blocs, according to a top White House official. “The politics are not easy on immigration, they never have been,” Dan Pfeiffer told The Daily Caller at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “We didn’t do this for politics. We did it because it is the right thing to do.” “The president will undertake a very aggressive sales job,” Pfeiffer said. ”We’ll travel all over the country to do this. … [It is an] incredibly important priority.” The president is expected to pitch his amnesty Friday at a majority-Latino school in Las Vegas, and then fly up to Chicago, where he’ll pitch the amnesty to a friendly audience of long-standing allies.”

Obama launches sales mission on immigration


Obama heads to Vegas to rally support for immigration overhaul

“President Obama signed two executive orders on Friday that would delay deportation for millions of illegal immigrants. The president, who signed the controversial policies aboard Air Force One, then spoke about his action at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas.  Del Sol is the same school where he laid out his blueprint for immigration overhaul nearly two years ago. Several hundred protestors lined the streets holding “No Amnesty” and “Impeach Obama” signs. Others chanted “worst president ever,” as he drove by. His order will grant “deferred action” to two illegal immigrant groups- parents of United States citizens or legal permanent residents who have been in the country for five years, and young people who who were brought into the country illegally as of 2010. Hispanics are a growing and powerful constituency in Nevada and the state serves as fertile ground for the president to rally public support.  During a 15-minute primetime speech Thursday, Obama said his administration will start accepting applications from illegal immigrants who seek the deferred actions. Those who qualify will be granted protections for three years, Obama said, as he laid out his sweeping plan to the public Thursday night from the East Room of the White House. “Mass amnesty would be unfair,” Obama said during the primetime address. “Mass deportation would be both impossible and contrary to our character.” Obama, who pitched his plan as a “commonsense, middle ground approach,” said “if you meet the criteria, you can come out of the shadows and get right with the law” but warned “if you’re a criminal, you’ll be deported.”

Obama signs executive action delaying deportations for millions of illegal immigrants

Obama to Crowd in Vegas: “You’re Welcome”

Obama Makes Immigration Push In Vegas: “I Did What I Was Authorized To Do

President Obama touts immigration action in Las Vegas


Why Obama Went to Vegas

Hint: It’s not just about immigration.

“Some may ask of President Barack Obama’s decision to go to Nevada Friday to sign his immigration executive action: Why Las Vegas? I say: Why not? Las Vegas provides the president with perfect meshing of the political and the substantive, of the symbolic and the real. And, most of all, it is home to one Harry Reid, the soon-to-be defrocked majority leader who needs a lot of help to get re-elected to a sixth term. The president wants to boost the Democratic leader, even after Reid unleashed his chief of staff before the results came in two weeks ago to essentially blame Obama for the Senate turnover. But the fingerpointing is over and now both men need each other the way the president needed Reid to pass Obamacare and the way the senator needed Obama to help build a formidable Democratic machine in Nevada six years ago so he could survive in 2010. Now this beautiful friendship, or at least political symbiosis, has been reinvigorated after a red wave washed over Nevada, accentuating Gov. Brian Sandoval’s status as a potent force, and coincidentally a Hispanic one, who would be a heavy favorite should he choose to run against Reid. So what’s a president to do but help a fella out by agreeing to go to Reid’s home base? Here he can begin the process of rallying a base that deserted the Democrats two weeks ago and that Reid needs to reinvigorate if he has any chance to survive in two years. Hispanics are a key constituency for Reid, a demographic that helped him destroy Sharron “Some of you look a little more Asian to me” Angle in 2010. The final figures are not in, but the Hispanic vote in Nevada this year dropped precipitously after growing each of the previous three cycles, reaching 18 percent in 2012. Hispanics are about a quarter of Nevada’s population and could be as much as 20 percent of the electorate in 2016.

By announcing the executive action and then coming to Vegas to consecrate it with Reid at his side, the president shows he is willing to help rebuild the party’s base for the besieged senator. And the venue, Del Sol High School, also is meaningful for Obama, who has been there twice before, including in January 2013 when he made his immigration reform pitch shortly after he was inaugurated for a second term. This is a White House that loves symbolic gestures, so this will be a bookend to Obama’s speech last year. The president also well knows of Nevada’s importance in the 2016 White House sweepstakes, and while he is a lame duck, he cares about the party and who succeeds him. Nevada remains a purple state whose hue became a little redder after 2014, after becoming a little bluer in the two presidential elections Obama won here. Now an invigorated and burgeoning Latino vote could help it turn bluish again.

But beyond the favor to Reid, Obama can easily justify choosing Nevada for the signing ceremony. This is not homerism: Nevada, and Las Vegas specifically, is the best place to make the case for immigration reform. Why? The most important labor force in the state, the one that populates the gaming industry, is the Culinary union, a 50,000-member organization that, coincidentally, was an early endorser of a 2008 underdog named Barack Obama. It was the first union in the country to embrace the future president, who actually lost Nevada in the popular vote to Hillary Clinton but won more delegates because of the caucus system his campaign mastered. The Culinary is a melting pot, with more than 50 percent of its workers Hispanic, 14 percent Asian and 88 countries represented. There’s a reason MSNBC is setting up a live truck at union headquarters Friday. While the Mexican border states come first to mind when discussing the problem of immigration, it’s Nevada that actually has the highest share of undocumented immigrants in any state in America, at 7.6 percent.”


Protesters on both sides of immigration issue turn out for Obama visit to Las Vegas


Never Enough: Immigration Activist Heckles Obama During Amnesty Victory Lap





Obama Raises Stakes on Immigration in Vegas Rally

“Pitching his immigration plan directly to the American people, President Obama told a rowdy crowd today that what he’s offering is a “common sense” first step to fixing a “broken system.” “Our immigration system has been broken for a very long time, and everybody knows it,” Obama said. “It’s not amnesty,” Obama said of his plan to shield up to 5 million people from deportation. “Amnesty really is the system we’ve got today… What we are offering is accountability. It is accountability. It’s a common sense middle-ground approach.” Taking an exasperated tone, the president claimed he tried everything to work with Congress and chastised Republicans in the House for refusing to vote on the immigration reform bill that passed the Senate. “I cajoled and I called and I met. I told [House Speaker] John Boehner, ‘I’ll wash your car. I’ll walk your dog. Whatever you need me to do, just call the bill.’ That’s how democracy is supposed to work,” he said.


“This debate deserves more than politics,” he said. “This is about who we are. Who do we want to be?” Obama also pushed back against critics who claim his executive actions poison the well for future compromise. “Why? I didn’t dissolve parliament,” he joked. “That’s not how our system works. I didn’t, you know, steal away the various clerks in the Senate and the House who manage bills. They can still pass a bill. I don’t have a vote in Congress. Pass a bill.”The president chose to return to a familiar site to kick off his campaign to sell his unilateral plan to overhaul the nation’s immigration system and shield up to 5 million people from deportation.”


The Immediate (and Not So Immediate) Impact of Obama’s Immigration Announcement

“1. Relief For 4 Million From Fear of Deportation – Immediately. While they can’t file their application for 6-months, those who qualify for deferred action through a son or daughter that is a U.S. citizen will feel immediate relief. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are instructed to “immediately begin identifying persons in their custody” who meet the criteria; as well as consider the new criteria for “all individuals encountered.” So that means parents of a U.S. citizen can now go about their lives free from constant fear of deportation. For those who qualify for expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Dreamer status, those applications can be filed in 90-days.

  1. President Selling His plan – Immediately. Starting today, President Obama hits the road to sell his plan to the American public and put pressure on the GOP to get something passed in Congress. He speaks at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas—the same place he visited nearly two years ago to lay out his principles for reform. But it’s not just the everyday Americans he is trying to get on board…So expect him to continue putting pressure on the GOP to get something done.
  2. Advocate Groups Will Organize Sign-Ups and Seminars – This Weekend. Almost immediately, immigration groups will begin holding information sessions to help those impacted understand what they need to do to gain deferred action, as well as who exactly will qualify. Also, don’t expect them to slow down their efforts. While claiming success for President Obama finally acting, most groups are continuing to push for more action to include those left out and get congress to move forward.
  3. New Staffing and Resources at Border – Coming Weeks. In the coming days we should get a better picture of the new staffing and resources for the border and when exactly they go into effect. We do know there will be a new task force made up of the Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. According to a Department of Homeland Security memo, within 90 days there should be a realigning of personnel to accomplish these task forces, all while maintaining the “the surge of resources” sent to the U.S.-Mexico border during the unaccompanied minors crisis over the summer. We can also expect to see an overall change in the priorities, as outlined by the President, for CBP and ICE. Their first priority for deportation: those that are threats to national security, followed by those with three or more misdemeanors, and lastly those “who have been issued a final order of removal on or after January 1, 2014.”
  4. Credit Card Payments for Naturalization Fee — End of 2015. It’s not cheap to become a citizen! The cost of naturalization is about $680, but you can’t currently pay for it with a credit card, which may be why so many permanent residents never take the next step to become citizens Come the end of 2015, you can use your credit card.
  5. Adjustments to High Tech Worker Visas – It’s Not Clear. In a memo to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson outlined steps to improve the backlog for green cards and visas for high skilled workers, but no timetable is given. What we will see, however, is a modernization to the process. That means the Department of State and USCIS will work together more closely so temporary status doesn’t expire as quickly. Additionally, the 2007 expansion that allows students in STEM to stay an additional 17-months, for a total of 29-months on their “optional practical training” visa could also be increased.

“I direct that Immigration and Customs Enforcement and USCIS develop regulations for notice and comment to expand the degree programs eligible for OPT and extend the time period and use of OPT for foreign STEM students and graduates, consistent with law,” the memo outlines.


New DHS immigration rules: Drunk drivers, sex abusers, drug dealers, gun offenders not top deportation priorities

“The Department of Homeland Security has just released new “Policies for the Apprehension, Detention, and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants.” Designed to fill in the details after President Obama’s announcement that at least four million currently illegal immigrants will be given work permits, Social Security numbers and protection from deportation, the DHS guidelines are instructions for the nation’s immigration and border security officers as they administer the president’s directive. The new priorities are striking. On the tough side, the president wants U.S. immigration authorities to go after terrorists, felons, and new illegal border crossers. On the not-so-tough side, the administration views convicted drunk drivers, sex abusers, drug dealers, and gun offenders as second-level enforcement priorities. An illegal immigrant could spend up to a year in prison for a violent crime and still not be a top removal priority for the Obama administration. In the memo, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson says his department must develop “smart enforcement priorities” to exercise “prosecutorial discretion” in order to best use his agency’s limited resources. Johnson establishes three enforcement priority levels to guide DHS officers as they decide whether to stop, hold, or prosecute an illegal immigrant. Priority one is the “highest priority to which enforcement resources should be directed,” the memo says. The category includes “aliens engaged in or suspected of terrorism or espionage, or who otherwise pose a danger to national security.” It also includes “aliens apprehended at the border or ports of entry while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States.” In addition, any illegal immigrant convicted of an offense involving a criminal street gang, or convicted of a felony — provided that immigration status was not an “essential element” of the charge — is targeted. Finally, any illegal immigrant convicted of an aggravated felony is included in Priority One. The guidelines say Priority One aliens “must be prioritized” for deportation unless they qualify for asylum or unless there are “compelling and exceptional” factors that indicate the alien is not a threat. Priority two offenders, whose cases are less urgent then criminals in priority one, include the following: aliens convicted of a “significant misdemeanor,” which for these purposes is an offense of domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or driving under the influence; or if not an offense listed above, one for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of 90 days or more (the sentence must involve time to be served in custody, and does not include a suspended sentence) DHS further defines a “significant misdemeanor” as an offense for which the maximum term of imprisonment is one year or less, but greater than five days. In addition, the guidelines contain a possible out for illegal immigrants accused of domestic abuse. “Careful consideration should be given to whether the convicted alien was also the victim of domestic violence,” the guidelines say. “If so, this should be a mitigating factor.” Priority two also includes “aliens convicted of three or more misdemeanor offenses, other than minor traffic offenses or state or local offenses for which an essential element was the alien’s immigration status.” But there’s an important footnote to that. The three offenses must arise out of three separate incidents. If an illegal immigrant committed a single act that resulted in multiple misdemeanor charges, it would count as one charge for DHS counting purposes. The guidelines say priority two aliens “should” be removed — not “must,” as with priority one — unless they qualify for asylum or there are “factors” indicating the alien is not a threat. It’s a significantly lower standard than priority one. Finally, priority three includes those who have simply violated the nation’s immigration laws seriously enough to have been issued a final order of removal. The DHS memo describes them as the “lowest priority for apprehension and removal.” They can be allowed to stay not only if they qualify for asylum but also if, “in the judgment of an immigration officer, the alien is not a threat to the integrity of the immigration system or there are factors suggesting the alien should not be an enforcement priority.” In practice, that could prove a remarkably lenient standard. So there they are: the rules that will guide implementation of President Obama’s new “prosecutorial discretion” policy. Illegal immigrants who are also terrorists are clearly a top priority, as they should be. Illegal immigrants who are drunk drivers, sex abusers, drug dealers, and gun offenders — not so much. In addition, an illegal immigrant can run up a significant number of misdemeanor convictions — not arrests, not charges, but convictions — and still fall short qualifying for deportation. The president’s new policies will likely make a number of illegal immigrants who are also criminals very happy.”


Roundup: President’s Immigration Executive Actions and Tech


White House: Immigration steps would boost wages

“President Barack Obama’s moves on immigration would expand the labor force and increase worker productivity, according to a White House report Friday that estimates average wages would rise over a 10-year period. The president’s critics and even some labor allies dispute that claim. Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers forecasts that as a result of his administrative actions, the gross domestic product would grow by $90 billion, or 0.4 percent, over 10 years, and wages would rise by 0.3 percent by 2024. Obama’s actions could spare nearly 5 million immigrants illegally in the U.S. from deportation and make them eligible for work permits. The report aims to counter critics such as Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, who says Obama’s moves would lower wages and cost American workers’ jobs. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka also said the president’s effort to provide access to temporary visas could suppress wages in the high-tech sector. Obama’s plan promises to streamline some of the rules governing skilled immigrants — making it easier for them to change jobs, for example — and to provide new but unspecified immigration options for foreign entrepreneurs. But the plan fell short of satisfying the tech sector, which has lobbied hard to raise the current annual limit of 65,000 so-called “H-1B” visas for skilled workers. “This does little to nothing when it comes to the innovation economy,” said Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a trade organization. Congress would have to approve legislation to raise the H-1B visa cap. Guardino complained in an interview that Obama did not push hard enough, earlier in his presidency, for a package of reforms that included H-1B expansion. He said prospects for Congressional action now seem slim.”

White House Touts Economic Impact of Immigration Plan

“The White House on Friday said its immigration plan would have a plethora of positive economic effects, including higher growth and boosting wages for all Americans, countering criticism from some economists who have argued it could create more competition for open jobs. The White House’s Council of Economic Advisers said the plan by 2024 would raise gross domestic product by at least 0.4%, expand the size of the labor force by between 147,000 and 297,000 workers, and raise average wages for U.S.-born workers by 0.3%. The labor force change would not be seismic, the White House said, representing an increase of between 0.1% and 0.2%. In an assertion that is likely to draw fire from opponents of President Barack Obama’s executive order, the White House said the immigration plan would “have no impact on the likelihood of employment for U.S.-born workers.” There are widely different views about the economic impact of immigration changes. Many economists agree that giving legal working status to a large number of previously undocumented immigrants will help boost their wages in the near-term, but there is an unsettled argument about what happens to the wages of existing workers. A number of economists believe that if you increase the supply of labor, you will put downward pressure on wages. Critics will likely try and poke holes in the CEA’s findings, as it reflects a combination of anecdotal studies stretching back decades and concrete mathematical formulas. In calculating future GDP changes, the CEA used at least two complex mathematical equations, showing, for example, how the GDP would be affected given a larger labor force as well as working-age population. But other conclusions were based on past research. For example, its determination that the immigration changes will have “no net effect on the likelihood of employment of native workers in the long run” was based in part on a study of an influx of Cuban immigrants to Miami in 1980.”


Parents of ‘Dreamers’ Need Act of Congress, White House Says

“President Barack Obama’s sweeping immigration action leaves millions still at risk of deportation, including one group activists had long hoped the president would protect: the parents of the “Dreamers” he granted relief to two years ago. The White House’s lawyers concluded Obama didn’t have the authority to do so without Congress, a verdict that’s not sitting well with some of his own supporters. “Today’s victory is tremendous, but to be real, it is incomplete. Millions of Dreamers have siblings who have U.S. citizenship or green cards so their parents will qualify for this new program — and hundreds of thousands more Dreamers will now be eligible for protection,” United We Dream Managing Director Cristina Jimenez said in a statement Thursday evening. “But too many of our parents, LGBTQ brothers and sisters and friends were left out. United We Dream doesn’t agree with that decision and we are determined to fight for their protection. Our community sticks together.” As he headed to Las Vegas Friday along with Democratic lawmakers including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, he will face an audience that’s expected to include some of the parents of DACA recipients who will remain at some risk of deportation. Democrats had been cautioned in advance that Obama’s executive action would not apply more broadly to the parents of Dreamers, the group of undocumented people who came to America as children, because the administration’s own lawyers didn’t believe that move could be stacked on top of the existing deferred action program. “Here’s the problem we have: I would like to see … all of the families of DREAMers be protected, but because DACA was executive action, it’s the understanding, or at least it’s an opinion of the White House counsel that you cannot build on an executive action, so they had to be careful in the way that this was written to comply with all the precedents and law on the subject,” Durbin told reporters before Obama’s speech Thursday.



“In a new Facebook video released by the White House, President Obama reflects on his historic immigration reform speech by reminding Americans why he had to act to give illegal immigrants amnesty. Obama explained he understood that most Americans were frustrated with people who were breaking the law and cutting the line by coming into the country illegally.

With a soft piano soundtrack in the background, Obama helpfully explained to Facebook viewers that “it just comes down to people.” “You hear stories about young people who were brought here when they were two or three years old – are as American as any of us in attitude and love of country but don’t have the right papers and as a consequence they can’t apply for scholarships or they can’t travel because they are fearful that it might mean that they were deported,” he argued. “What you realize is that’s not what America is about.” Obama asserted that his unprecedented executive decision was a “common sense solution that most Americans would believe in.”


Obama puts the cat among the pigeons

“His “executive orders” demanding a stop to deportations is no doubt good news for millions of illegal immigrants — 5 million at last count — he wants to preserve and protect for Democrats looking to replenish a depleted constituency. But it’s not such good news for anyone who appreciates law and order on the border. Amnesties can be good, but they must be written carefully lest they invite more of the same misery that led to amnesty. The president’s invitation to the millions south of the border — “Come on in, I’ll find a way to make you legal later” — guarantees that hell on the border will continue, and probably get worse. The hell on the Potomac will get a lot worse. His “executive orders” demanding a stop to deportations is no doubt good news for millions of illegal immigrants — 5 million at last count — he wants to preserve and protect for Democrats looking to replenish a depleted constituency. But it’s not such good news for anyone who appreciates law and order on the border. Amnesties can be good, but they must be written carefully lest they invite more of the same misery that led to amnesty. The president’s invitation to the millions south of the border — “Come on in, I’ll find a way to make you legal later” — guarantees that hell on the border will continue, and probably get worse. The hell on the Potomac will get a lot worse. The president and his lawyers are clever. By not actually issuing an executive order called an executive order — he can call it a “memo” to his prosecutors but it’s still an order from the executive — he will make it more difficult for the Republicans to find a way to overturn it.”


Immigration Lawyer: Obama’s Plan Is ‘Like The Golden Ticket’

“Immigrants in the country illegally already are flooding attorneys’ offices with calls to see if they can qualify under President Barack Obama’s yet-to-be-announced plan to shield as many as 5 million immigrants from deportation. Obama said he’ll reveal the long-awaited order on Thursday. Alex Galvez, an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles, said he’s going to need to add phone lines to keep up with the demand. Orange County, California-based immigration lawyer Annaluisa Padilla said she’s getting twice as many calls as usual since buzz intensified over the plan, which would also grant the immigrants work permits. “It’s like the golden ticket,” she said. “Everybody who is calling my office is asking how can I get a work permit under Obama’s program? I am like, there is no Obama program yet.” Obama is expected to take executive action to protect many of the estimated 11 million people in the country illegally from deportation after Congress failed to pass an immigration overhaul. Republicans are vehemently opposed to the president’s likely actions, with some conservative members threatening to pursue a government shutdown if he follows through on his promises to act on immigration before the end of the year.”


The Truth About Obama’s ‘Temporary’ Ebola Amnesty

“When it rains, it pours. Just before unveiling his colossal administrative amnesty for millions of “undocumented” aliens and foreign tech workers on Thursday, President Obama separately ordered up to 8,000 more executive pardons and special work passes for Liberians, Sierra Leoneans and Guineans illegally in this country. Strange, isn’t it? The same administration that refused to enact travel bans from Ebola-plagued West African nations to protect Americans is now granting “temporary protected status” (TPS) to West Africans on American soil so they don’t have to go back. It’s not really about public health, of course. It’s about political pandering and electoral engineering. Here’s the dirty open secret: There’s nothing “temporary” about TPS benefits. Under both Democratic and Republican administrations, the program has become an endless, interminable residency plan for unlawful border-crossers, visa overstayers and deportation evaders from around the world. TPS golden ticket holders live here, work here, travel freely and are immune from detention or deportation. They are eligible to apply for an “adjustment of status,” which puts them on the path to green cards and eventual citizenship. In theory, TPS is a short-term humanitarian program built on good intentions. The secretary of homeland security “may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately.” Those conditions include hurricanes, environmental catastrophes, civil war, epidemics and other “extraordinary and temporary conditions.” In October, the White House extended TPS status and employment permits for an estimated 90,000 illegal alien Hondurans and Nicaraguans “for an additional 18 months, effective Jan. 6, 2015, through July 5, 2016.” Who are these TPS winners? Well, they’ve been here since 1998 — when Hurricane Mitch hit their homeland. That was 16 years ago. Their “temporary” status has been renewed a dozen times since the Clinton administration first bestowed it. Last October, the Obama administration extended TPS to an estimated 3,000 Syrian illegal aliens; the status will be up for renewal next March. At least 3,700 Liberians who have been here since 1991 on TPS won deferred deportations in September before securing renewed TPS status this week. And several hundred Somalis remain in the country with TPS first granted in 1991, along with some 700 Sudanese who first secured TPS benefits in 1997. TPS for both the Sudanese and Somalis was extended in September and lasts until May 2016. An estimated 250,000 illegal aliens from El Salvador first won TPS golden tickets after an earthquake struck the country in January 2001. Their latest extension was granted last May and lasts until March 2015. In addition, 60,000 illegal alien Haitians received TPS after earthquakes in their homeland in 2010. Their “temporary” status was renewed in March and extended “for an additional 18 months, effective July 23, 2014, through Jan. 22, 2016.”


On Immigration, Obama Fulfills His Promise to Progressives

The president has long been tugged between his bipartisan urges and his activist roots. With his executive order and speech Thursday, he chose activism.


How Democrats Created Obama’s Amnesty

There could have been a legislative deal on deportations, but Democrats wanted citizenship.


Rep. Luis Gutierrez Was So Excited About Executive Amnesty, He Lost Sleep Last Night [VIDEO]



““Executive action taken today is not a final solution,” said Democrat California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León of Obama’s Thursday evening announcement of reprieves for foreign nationals currently illegally present in the United States. Resounding applause for Obama and criticism of Congressional Republicans marked comments from León, Democrat Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and California amnesty advocates that echoed Obama’s Thursday evening deportation deferral address and lauded California “landmark legislation.” “In the absence of federal immigration reform, California has passed landmark legislation to help improve the lives of immigrants throughout the golden state, including the California Dream Act, the TRUST Act, the Reuniting Immigrant Families Act, the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, the Safe and Responsible Drivers Act,” read a post-announcement release from León, Atkins and other pro-amnesty advocates in California. Starting January 1, 2015, California will become the 11th state to issue driver licenses to illegal aliens under Assembly Bill 60, the “Safe and Responsible Drivers Act.” An estimated 1.4 million illegal aliens will be granted licenses under the new program. Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) said of Obama’s action, “This is a major step forward.” “I commend President Obama for using his lawful authority to protect millions of hardworking immigrants and their families,” said Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles). “Although the executive action taken today is not a final solution, it grants California immigrants some relief from an immigration system that has been broken for too long.” Reshma Shamasunder, Executive Director of the California Immigrant Policy Center, said, “we welcome today’s deportation relief as a key step on the road to inclusion. Yet, there are many more steps to travel on that road. We will continue to fight to expand this policy until all Californians, including members of the LGBT community, can live free of the threat of detention and deportation.”


Illegal immigrants to rally at White House, thank Obama for deportation reprieve

“On the day after President Obama’s historic announcement of a plan to protect millions of illegal immigrants from deportation, hundreds of Latino activists and families gathered in front of the White House on Friday afternoon to express their gratitude — and also vow to press Congress to finish the job. “The decision of the president is going to change the lives of 5 million people forever,” said Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA de Maryland and Virginia, the major regional advocacy group for illegal immigrants, shortly before the rally. “Today is a day for all of us to celebrate and thank him for delivering on his promise. We are all very touched and moved by what he has done.” At the same time, Torres said Friday will be the “last day of celebration,” because the immigrant community needs to turn its attentions immediately to Congress and the unfinished business of comprehensive immigration reform.”


Latin America applauds Obama’s immigration plan


How America Reacted to Obama’s Immigration Announcement In Photos


Jorge Ramos: “Obama Is Paying A Debt to The Latino Community”





Illegal Immigrant At The Border: Obama’s Amnesty Promise ‘Inspired Us’ [VIDEO]

“A woman told CNN in a segment that aired shortly before President Obama’s immigration speech that his plan, which will grant amnesty to up to five million illegal immigrants, inspired her to come to the U.S. illegally. “Did the possibility of immigration reform inspire you to come now?” CNN’s Alina Machado asked the woman, who waiting at a bus station near Mission, Texas with her children. “Yes, that’s right. That inspired us,” the woman said through a translator. Obama announced Thursday that parents of U.S. citizens and lawful residents who has lived in the U.S. for more than five years will be allowed temporary amnesty. Those brought to the U.S. by their parents as children will also be given extended protection from deportation.”




Latino Leaders: Obama’s Executive Order Doesn’t Solve Immigration Problem

“Leaders in the Latino community say President Barack Obama’s executive order granting as many as five million illegal aliens temporary legal status is less about compassion for undocumented Latinos and more about setting a political “trap” for Republicans while not solving the nation’s immigration problem. Will the GOP use the upcoming Continuing Resolution to defund the president’s amnesty plan? Will they consider impeachment? Will they come up with their own plan knowing Obama will likely veto any bill that puts border security ahead of a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people that are in the country illegally? “Clearly his action and the fact that he chose to do it now, he’s throwing a hand grenade into the mix, and he’s setting a trap for the Republicans,” Mario Lopez, president of the Hispanic Leadership Fund, told “It’s a Maximilian political trap,” Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of American Principles in Action Latino Partnership, told “If he was really interested in helping the undocumented and fixing the immigration system, he’d work with Congress.” Both Lopez and Aguilar said the timing of Obama’s order on the heels of a devastating loss for Democrats in the mid-term election makes it obviously a political move meant to appease his base and help Democrats in 2016 and beyond. They also said the broken immigration system should be a non-partisan issue and fixing it is the best response for Republicans. “[Republicans] should pass a bill that reflects a conservative immigration plan,” Aguilar said. “First, border security. Then the root of the problem – the demand for foreign workers – and finally, a way to provide legal status to millions without a special pathway to citizenship.”


Gay Rights Group: Immigration Deal ‘Leaves Out Too Many LGBT Immigrant Families’


Labor Officials Offer Praise, Criticism on Immigration Action

“…It “will help prevent unscrupulous employers from using unprotected workers to drive down wages and conditions for all workers in our country,” said Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, a federation of 56 labor unions. Still, many immigrants don’t qualify for the work authorization and will remain vulnerable to exploitations such as wage theft or retaliation when they try to complain, said labor leaders, calling the executive action just a first step and vowing to fight for legislation to provide a path to citizenship and better protections for immigrant workers. “Tomorrow we continue our fight in actions across the country to unite and organize for comprehensive immigration reform,” Service Employees International Union President Mary Kay Henry said Thursday night. Her union has about two million members, including about one-fourth who are Hispanic and many who are Latin American immigrants. “Only Congress can pass a long-term fix to our broken immigration system,” said Ms. Henry. She blamed Republicans for blocking progress and said if they don’t change “we will hold them accountable in the streets and at the ballot box in 2016.” Unions have been seeking an overhaul of immigration laws in part because of the hope that they can organize more immigrant workers, especially newly legalized ones who might be more likely to join. Union membership has become stagnant after years of declines and America’s demographics are changing. The percentage of all wage and salary U.S. workers in a union, at 11.3% in 2013, is roughly half what it was 30 years ago. As of early last year, Hispanic union membership had jumped 21% over the prior 10 years while white membership had fallen nearly 13%, according to Labor Department statistics. Mr. Trumka and other labor leaders said they’re concerned by what they called Mr. Obama’s “concession to corporate demands” for more access to temporary visas, which they said will allow the continued suppression of tech-sector wages. The Communications Workers of America union said that through the new rulemaking process that was added as a part of the executive action, it will press “for fair treatment and protections for both U.S. and foreign-born tech workers.” Mr. Obama’s so-called concessions fell short of what businesses wanted. President Obama also drew criticism for his timing. United Food and Commercial Workers Union President Joe Hansen called the action “belated.” “Our members and their families have persevered through raids and deportations” for years, he said. Rep. John Kline (R., Minn.), Chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, said President Obama’s unilateral action is a “brazen disregard for the rule of law and the constitutional limits of his office.” Americans have made clear they want Congress to work together to end gridlock, said Mr. Kline. “Unless the president changes course, we will lose an opportunity to advance reforms that would make a difference in the lives of students and working families. The president is determined to let that opportunity slip away,” said Mr. Kline.”

Unions Applaud Executive Action On Immigration



“Friday on MSNBC’s “Ronan Farrow Daily,” former President Jimmy Carter said President Barack Obama was “right” to go around Congress and enact executive action amnesty. Carter said, “I think he has tried every possible way to get Congress to pass a reasonable bill. The Senate on a bipartisan basis — they overwhelmingly supported the Senate version. I think President Obama worked as well as he can with the House of Representatives.”


Immigrants in Western states most likely to benefit from Obama’s executive order

“At least four-in-ten unauthorized immigrants in 12 states will be eligible to benefit from the executive order issued Thursday by President Obama, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis. Idaho, where 46% of the state’s unauthorized immigrant population is eligible for deportation relief, tops all other states on this measure. Other states with at least four-in-ten eligible immigrants include Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming. More than 5 million unauthorized immigrants are eligible for deportation relief under Obama’s executive action announced Thursday or the president’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which grants relief to young adults who came to the U.S. as children. The new executive action also expands the DACA program. When we expand our analysis to those eligible under both the new executive order and those already covered the president’s DACA program, it’s clear that many Western states, including those with the highest shares of unauthorized immigrants in their total population, are affected. With both programs combined, Idaho again tops the list, with about six-in-ten (62%) unauthorized immigrants now eligible for relief, the highest share in the nation, according to the Pew Research analysis of 2012 data.”


Emotions rise as people hear immigration plan

“Thousands of immigrant-rights activists, families and elected officials cheered across the country as President Barack Obama announced on television his plan for relief from deportations for about 5 million people. But after the initial burst of emotion Thursday evening at hastily organized watch parties and in living rooms, many said Obama’s plan was just the first step in the fight for comprehensive immigration reform. Immigrant families pointed out the plan would only cover about 5 million of the 11 million without legal status, leaving many families and individuals in limbo…A snapshot of reactions across the country: “This will definitely help our family no longer live in fear, fear that we will have to drop everything if our parents are deported. But there is still fear, because this is a temporary, and we need something permanent,” said Isaura Pena, 20, of Portland whose father and mother lack legal status. / “This is a great day for farmworkers. It’s been worth the pain and sacrifice,” said Jesus Zuniga, 40, who picks tomatoes in California’s Central Valley and watched the speech at a union gathering in Fresno. / “Simply stated, you’re the only singular person in this entire country that can advance or adopt meaningful immigration reform. By that very definition then, it is your singular failure alone as to why we do not yet have reform, why America continues to be at risk, and new crimes and new victims are mounting each and every day in every single state,” said Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, addressing the president directly in a video posted by his office Wednesday on YouTube. Jones vowed to crusade against illegal immigration after the shooting rampage last month by a Mexican man with a long criminal history who was in the country illegally. / “They’re going to have a chance to be what they want to be and get an education,” said Maria Perez, 41, of Fresno, California. She is documented, but she often worries about her nieces, ages 16 and 18, who aren’t. With the president’s speech, she feels hope that her nieces now can achieve her dreams. / “I believe that is a good step forward, but again I look at the other side and I believe he is maybe acting too rash. I don’t know why he is doing it without the consent of Congress. … I think that is creating too much dissention in Congress where it is already, and I don’t know if that is necessarily a good thing. I think for a lot of people — especially those who are here undocumented — it is great, but at some point we have to draw the line,” said community activist Bob Hernandez of Wichita, Kansas. / “I don’t think it helps because it’s going to create friction with the new Congress that’s Republican. While I think it’s probably the wrong thing for him to do, there’s a possibility it starts a dialogue and pushes the Republicans to move more quickly,” board chairman Jonathan Johnson said at his company’s Salt Lake City, Utah, headquarters. / “I am a mother of DREAMERS (the children who benefited from Obama’s Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program.) They are not citizens. It was a great disappointment to hear I won’t benefit from it. It’s bland. He gave us a little taste but it had no taste,” said Rosa Mejia, an undocumented immigrant in El Paso, Texas, who has been living in the US since 1999… “We have a lot of unemployed Americans right now, and I don’t understand why unemployed Americans can’t be hired to do the jobs these illegals are doing,” said John Wilson, who works in contract management in New York City. / “This is not a partisan issue. When the bluest of blue states — like Oregon, for example — vote overwhelmingly to prohibit illegal aliens from obtaining drivers licenses, it speaks volumes about the widespread lack of support for President Obama’s immigration policies. The American people have spoken, and time and again they have been ignored,” said Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer.”


President Obama unites 2016 crowd — for now

Republicans are furious over his executive action, but differ on how to deal with it – and immigration reform in general.



“The march towards a Hillary Clinton presidency seems inevitable, but Clinton continues to be her own greatest opponent. After refusing for weeks to take a definitive stance on President Barack Obama’s proposed executive amnesty, Clinton endorsed it, via Twitter, after the fact on Thursday evening–therefore ensuring that she will be the target of Republican criticism and public outrage as the 2016 presidential campaign begins in earnest. Hillary: Thanks to POTUS for taking action on immigration in the face of inaction. Now let’s turn to permanent bipartisan reform. #ImmigrationAction. It gets worse for Clinton. The Republican National Committee has compiled a list of “Five Times Hillary Clinton Claimed She Wanted To Limit A President’s Executive Power.” One example from 2008: “Rather than faithfully execute the laws, he has rewritten them through signing statements, ignored them through secret legal opinions, undermined them by elevating ideology over facts. Rather than defending the Constitution, he has defied its principles and traditions. He has abused his power while failing to understand its purpose,” she said.”


CNN Anchor Calls Out Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Live TV: ‘But Here’s the Problem…’

“CNN’s Chris Cuomo hammered Press Secretary Josh Earnest Friday morning in a tough interview where he pressed the Obama official to explain why the president decided to take executive action on immigration instead of trying to work with the newly-elected Congress next year. “The president promised not to do this,” Cuomo begins in the video clip provided by CNN. The “New Day” anchor added that Republicans warned Obama that “if you care about working with us, don’t do it, and then he did it. What’s the calculation?” Earnest defended the action by saying the president wasn’t going to allow “House Republican abstractionism” to keep him from doing what he “legally” could. He went on to call Obama’s action “legally unassailable” and compare Obama to George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. “But here’s the problem,” Cuomo responded. “The problem is how this was done may overshadow what was done because now the motivation is to stop this from happening, not to come up with their own plan. I mean, you had to see that coming, Josh.” When Earnest started to answer but then said, “let’s back up a little bit,” Cuomo interrupted and shot back: “You should back up more, Josh, because he’s had a lot of time, too. … The president had a lot of time, he didn’t do it. Now all the sudden he has to do it?”


Obama immigration plan riles Republicans, clashes loom

“The controversial overhaul provides three-year relief for millions of undocumented people who have lived in the country for more than five years and have children that are US citizens or legal residents. According to the president, it also channels more resources to the US border with Mexico and shifts deportation priorities toward expelling felons. But critics blasted the action as “illegal” and “unconstitutional” as soon as Obama unveiled Thursday night, bringing tensions with Republicans to a boil. Already emboldened by their sweeping midterm election victory, Republicans vowed to thwart Obama’s plans. “With this action the president has chosen to deliberately sabotage any chance of enacting bipartisan reforms he claims to seek,” House Speaker John Boehner declared Friday. “We are working with our members and looking at the options that are available to us,” he told reporters. “But I will say to you: the House will in fact act.” In a prime-time address, Obama said nearly a dozen commanders-in-chief before him have acted unilaterally over the past half century on some facet of immigration reform. “There are actions I have the legal authority to take as president — the same kinds of actions taken by Democratic and Republican presidents before me — that will help make our immigration system more fair and more just,” Obama said in his speech. Republicans were not buying it. “The constitution does not grant the president the power to act as a one-man legislature by appealing to ‘tradition,'” Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus fumed on Twitter. The RNC also urged opponents of the reform to contribute money to the party to help fight the order. Obama was quick to stress that the sweeping order “does not grant citizenship, or the right to stay here permanently, or offer the same benefits that citizens receive. “Only Congress can do that,” he added. “All we’re saying is we’re not going to deport you.” People living and working illegally in the country and who meet the criteria can apply for deferred deportation from next spring, the White House said.”


GOP searches for ways to block Obama’s immigration moves

“Republicans are plenty outraged about President Obama’s plan to defer deportations for millions of immigrants in the U.S. illegally. What they don’t have, however, is a plan to stop it.If President Obama acts in defiance of the people and imposes his will on the country, Congress will act,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who will be the majority leader in January, said Thursday. “We’re considering a variety of options. But make no mistake — make no mistake — when the newly elected representatives of the people take their seats, they will act.” The biggest problem angry Republicans face is a lack of viable options. To defeat the president, they’ll probably have to get creative — and maybe marshal some Democratic support along the way. There are three avenues for chipping away at his actions: legislation, litigation, and the budget, but some of those may dead end. Otherwise, they will have to wait for a president who wants to undo whatever Mr. Obama did. “Congress could pass a law that purported to bar the president from providing certain forms of relief to people who are expected to receive relief under the program,” New York University Law Professor Adam Cox, an expert in immigration and constitutional law, told CBS News. “That is not a very promising pathway for them because it seems obvious that the president would veto, if you had a standalone piece of legislation.” Litigation can be a difficult road because Congress would have to find someone who has the standing to challenge the president’s actions in court. Federal courts require the party bringing the suit to prove concrete injury, which members of Congress would be hard-pressed to do. A group of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents tried to sue former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to stop the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, which deferred deportation for certain young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. But a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in 2013, arguing that the agents lacked the necessary jurisdiction. Some one million of the immigrants who will gain relief under the president’s latest order will do so because the age limits on the DACA program are being removed.”


Stymied? Republicans seek immigration response

“United against President Barack Obama but uncertain how to stop him, outraged Republicans struggled for a response on immigration Friday that would check the president without veering into talk of impeachment or a government shutdown. Their remedy was far from clear. Republicans weighed filing a lawsuit. Or trying to block funding for Obama’s move. Or advancing immigration measures of their own. But the party was divided, and Obama’s veto pen seemed to give him the upper hand. And so, less than three weeks removed from midterm elections where they retook the Senate and amassed a historic majority in the House, Republicans found themselves stymied by a lame duck president whose unilateral move to curb deportations for millions left previously dispirited Democrats cheering and the GOP with no obvious response. “We’re working with our members, looking at the options that are available to us, but I will say to you: The House will, in fact, act,” House Speaker John Boehner declared at a news conference the day after Obama unveiled his landmark policy. Obama announced he was extending deportation protections and a chance for work permits to as many as 5 million immigrants now in the country illegally. He also will make more business visas available and reorder law enforcement priorities to focus more squarely on criminals for deportation. “In the days ahead the people’s house will rise to this challenge” said Boehner at the Capitol. “We will not stand idle as the president undermines the rule of law in our country and places lives at risk. … He’s damaging the presidency itself.” But Republicans acknowledged they were at a disadvantage given that any legislative solution they settled on would be subject to a veto by Obama that they could not likely overturn. And party leaders were determined to steer clear of a repeat just a year after Congress’ tea party contingent forced a politically damaging partial government shutdown over Obama’s health care law. But that was the scenario posed by a push among conservatives to use must-pass spending legislation to stop the president.”


GOP weighs options after Obama’s immigration action


Censure President Obama

If Congress remains silent, it acquiesces in the president’s constitutional excesses.

“But King and others are pointing out that there is another way for Congress to move against a president who has put himself above the law. And it’s one that Democrats once favored as a means of dealing with Bill Clinton’s perjury under oath and subsequent cover-up of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. None other than Nancy Pelosi proposed that the House censure Bill Clinton, rather than impeach him. She and other House Democrats backed a resolution declaring that President Clinton “fully deserves the censure and condemnation of the American people and the Congress.” Certainly some action beyond Congress suing the president and trying to withhold money from his efforts to implement his executive orders is needed. A failure to resist President Obama’s repeated, serious offenses against his oath of office not only endangers the Constitution today, but provides a blueprint for future generations to suffer similar assaults from another president. But what can Congress and the American people do? The impeachment of a president is a very grave step, a sort of “nuclear option” to be avoided unless absolutely required. Not only is its explicit purpose to legislatively overturn the sovereign judgment of the people at the ballot box, its impact on the work of the government and national life is deeply corrosive.”


Republicans Have Three-Month Window to Figure Out How to Fight Obama’s Immigration Plan

“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said Thursday night that it needs at least three months before people can start applying for protection from deportation under President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration. That could be good news for Republican opponents of Obama’s plan, since it will give them some time to figure out if they want to try to defund Obama’s effort, and if so, how to go about it. Republicans left town for the Thanksgiving break without a firm plan for attacking Obama’s action, which seeks to give temporary legal status to 5 million illegal immigrants with varying backgrounds. Many Republicans want to pass a spending bill that blocks funding for Obama’s plan, although others have indicated it may not be so easy to defund the proposal. If nothing else, USCIS’s fact sheet on Obama’s immigration plan indicates that the implementation of the plan will take some time. USCIS said it expects that only one aspect of the plan will be ready after three months, which is on or about February 20. That part deals with Obama’s decision to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. In 2012, Obama created DACA to spare the deportation of younger illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, if they lived in the U.S. since mid-2007. On Thursday, Obama expanded DACA so it applies to people who have lived in the U.S. since 2010. It will also expand work authorization for these people from two years to a three-year period. USCIS said it expects this expansion to be up and running “approximately 90 days” after Obama’s announcement.”


The cautious road ahead for Republicans

“That is what Obama said, and that is what his audience heard. The practical effects of the president’s move are more far-reaching and will have an immeasurably deleterious effect on American civic culture. Obama did not mention it, but his plan will also allow millions of eligible illegal immigrants to receive work permits and compete for jobs alongside American citizens. Obama effectively codified the principle that bringing a child into the United States is a ticket to legal status, which will inevitably result in new waves of immigrants from South and Latin America sweeping across the border. The president declared millions of illegal immigrants, without much specificity, ineligible for deportation which expands the powers of prosecutorial discretion to a ludicrous degree. The executive has the power to accelerate or decelerate enforcement priorities, not to abjure the enforcement of the law entirely. “Not really changing immigration law as much as erasing it,” The Washington Examiner’s Byron York observed, and he is right. But average Americans did not hear that. They heard the president wax poetic about the plight of the working illegal immigrant, an individual who is not a theoretical construct but a person of flesh and blood to millions of good-hearted Americans. They heard him weave flowery prose into a compelling narrative, around which he proposed circumspect action to make an unfair system fairer. Looming, the president warned, is the threat posed by overzealous Republicans who will seek to challenge his self-evidently sensible measure in the courts, or even shut down the government in a fit of irrational pique. For all this administration’s bravado, they seem to be aware that they are entering uncharted waters. At the very least, the White House knows the legal precedent for their actions is a dubious one. White House advisor Dan Pfeiffer told CNN just hours before the president’s speech that legislation is the correct way to reform the immigration system, and that the president’s actions will be as narrowly tailored as possible so as to accommodate the future action of Congress. “It’s not appropriate for the president, by fiat, to say that he can do every single thing that was in the comprehensive immigration reform bill,” White House Political Director David Simas agreed. When ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl pressed White House Press Sec. Josh Earnest as to whether the president would veto a budget passed by the new Republican Congress which defunds the implementation of this immigration action, he hedged. In a memo detailing the legal basis for Obama’s maneuver, the Justice Department conceded that Congress has a significant role yet to play. “As the Court noted in [Heckler v.] Chaney, Congress “may limit an agency’s exercise of enforcement power if it wishes, either by setting substantive priorities, or by otherwise circumscribing an agency’s power to discriminate among issues or cases it will pursue,’” the memo read. “When Congress has been dissatisfied with Executive action, it has responded, as Chaney suggests, by enacting legislation to limit the Executive’s discretion in enforcing the immigration laws.” The review of the applications from those who plan to seek delayed deportation status will not begin, according to a memo distributed by the White House, until “early 2015.”


How to Check the President

To restore the separation of powers, Republicans’ best bet is to win the presidency in 2016.



“On Friday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) reacted to President Barack Obama’s speech before the American people laying out his planned changes to U.S. immigration policy through executive action. Boehner explained to reporters at a press conference his disapproval of Obama’s actions and vowed to “protect the Constitution of the United States.” “He was making it impossible to build the trust necessary to work together,” Boehner said. “As I warned the president you can’t ask the elected representatives the people to trust you to enforce the law if you’re constantly demonstrating that you can’t be trusted to enforce the law. The president never listened. And with this action he has refused to listen to the American people. The president has taken actions that he himself has said are those of a king or an emperor, not an American president. And he is doing this at a time when Americans want nothing more than both parties to focus on solving the biggest problems in our country, starting with our still struggling economy. And the action by the president yesterday will only encourage more people to come here illegally and putting their lives at risk.” “We saw the humanitarian crisis at our border last summer is — how horrific it was,” he added. “Well next summer it could be worse. And this action also punishes those who have obeyed the law and have waited their turn. With this action the president has chosen to deliberately sabotage any chance of enacting bipartisan reforms he claims to seek. As I told the president yesterday, he is damaging the presidency itself. President Obama has turned a deaf ear to the people that he was elected and we were elected to serve. But we will not do that. In the days ahead the people’s house well rise to this challenge. We will not stand idle as the president undermines the rule of law in our country and places lives at risk. We’ll listen to the American people. We’ll work with our members and we will work to protect the Constitution of the United States.”

Boehner: ‘House Will Act’ in Response to Obama’s Immigration Orders (Video)


House leader: Obama ‘sabotages’ bipartisan immigration policy

“U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said on Friday that President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration had sabotaged chances for bipartisan legislation and vowed to lead a fight to block the order. Republicans remain split on the best course of resistance to Obama’s action easing the threat of deportation for some 4.7 million undocumented immigrants, but conservative groups were already pulling together legal strategies to challenge it. “With this action, the president has chosen to deliberately sabotage any chance of enacting bipartisan reforms that he claims to seek. And as I told the president yesterday, he’s damaging the presidency itself,” Boehner told reporters.

“We’re working with our members and looking at the options available to us,” he said. “But I will say to you, the House will, in fact, act.” Obama is set to sign the order, the biggest U.S. immigration changes in a decade, later on Friday at a high school in Las Vegas, Nevada, a city with a large Hispanic population. Just hours after his speech on Thursday night, Republicans launched a long-threatened lawsuit against the administration on another topic, accusing it of abusing executive authority through implementation of the president’s “Obamacare” health reform law. Republicans have said in recent weeks they would consider adding a challenge to the Obama immigration order to the healthcare lawsuit.”


Republicans plan first shot at immigration order with Dec. 3 hearing

“House Republicans plan to take their first shot at President Obama’s immigration directive on Dec. 3, when a committee will examine how the reduction in deportations will affect border security. Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, has summoned Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to testify on how the federal government is preparing for the new directive, which will end the threat of deportation for more than 4 million people living in the United States illegally. The hearing could take a combative tone, given the GOP’s staunch opposition to Obama’s executive action, which he announced on Thursday in a prime-time address. McCaul’s hearing will help Republican leaders show their base they are taking steps to block Obama’s action, even as they grapple with how to try to stop the move legislatively. “As chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, I will use every tool at my disposal to stop the president’s unconstitutional actions from being implemented, starting with this oversight hearing,” McCaul said in a statement. “Sec. Johnson will have the opportunity to answer the American people’s questions, including how DHS will secure our border and prevent additional illegal immigration.”

House GOP Announce Dec 3 Hearing To Probe Obama’s Immigration Edict



“When Congress returns from its Thanksgiving recess, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the “unconstitutionality” of President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration, Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) announced Friday.  “Last night, President Obama went all-in against the Constitution and today he is doubling-down on his lawlessness in Las Vegas of all places,” Goodlatte said. “Unfortunately for the American people, the President has ignored their opinions and forged ahead with his plan, creating a constitutional crisis and an untold number of consequences for the American people and legal immigrants.” Thursday evening Obama announced his executive actions, including granting legal status to nearly 5 million illegal immigrants and further reducing the likelihood of deportation for many more.

“The stakes of inaction are high and Congress will use the best tools available to stop President Obama from implementing his unconstitutional plan,” Goodlatte said, announcing his committee’s intention to hold a hearing about “the unconstitutionality of President Obama’s power grab” on Tuesday, Dec. 2.”


U.S. House will fight Obama’s immigration action: Boehner

“U.S. House Speaker John Boehner said on Friday that President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration has sabotaged chances for bipartisan legislation. Boehner said House Republicans intend to fight the president’s action, which was announced on Thursday, but did not detail a course of action. He indicated Obama’s decision to use his executive authority and bypass the U.S. Congress, where immigration legislation has stalled, could taint future efforts. “All year long I have warned the president that by … threatening action repeatedly on immigration, he was making it impossible to build the trust necessary to work together,” Boehner told reporters. “With this action, the president has chosen to deliberately sabotage any chance of … bipartisan reform that he claims to seek.” Obama, in a televised speech from the White House on Thursday night, said he intended to sign an order that would ease the threat of deportation for some 4.7 million undocumented immigrants, setting up a clash with congressional Republicans who opposed the move. Obama is set to sign the immigration order Friday afternoon at a high school in Las Vegas.”


Sen. Sessions reacts: We must stop Emperor Obama

“President Obama’s executive amnesty will provide an estimated 5 million illegal immigrants with the exact benefits Congress rejected, in violation of federal law. His order will grant them social security numbers, government-issued ID’s, legal status and work permits. Illegal immigrants will now be able to take jobs and benefits directly from struggling Americans in a time of high unemployment and low wages. They will be able to take jobs from Americans in all occupations, ranging from truck drivers to power company workers to jobs with city government. Many illegal immigrants will also be able to obtain green cards and become permanent residents, allowing them access to almost all federal programs, to receive citizenship and sponsor foreign relatives to join them in the U.S. In addition to providing formal amnesty benefits for 5 million illegal immigrants, President Obama has also eliminated virtually all enforcement with respect to the other nearly 7 million illegal immigrantsin the United States. As the president’s own former ICE Director, John Sandweg said: “if you are a run-of-the-mill immigrant here illegally, your odds of getting deported are close to zero.” All you have to do is get into the country from anywhere on globe — whether through the border or by overstaying a visa — and you are free to remain, take jobs and receive benefits. This year alone, the White House has released into the United States more than 100,000 illegal immigrants who simply showed up at the border and demanded entry. And now, with a single pen stroke, President Obama is obliterating what little remains of Americans’ immigration protections. Not only will millions of low-wage illegal immigrants rush into the labor market, but they will collect billions in taxpayer dollars as well. These costly government benefits range from child tax credits, to public housing to the likelihood that amnestied immigrants will rely on taxpayers for medical and retirement benefits. Only a short time ago, President Obama himself admitted this action would be illegal and unconstitutional: “I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own” he explained, adding “that’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written.” President Obama also said that: “The problem is that I’m the president of the United States, I’m not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed.” Apparently, America now has its first emperor. And he has issued an imperial order to dissolve America’s borders. Millions more will enter and demand the same amnesty benefits as those who came before. The entire moral foundation and consistency of our laws will have been eviscerated. Law enforcement officials have repeatedly warned that the president’s new amnesty will unleash a “tidal wave” of illegal immigration. The impact on our jobs, wages, hospitals, schools, police departments and neighborhoods will be crushing. A second hammer blow will be dealt by the president’s unilateral increase in foreign worker programs for large corporations, including technology corporations. Currently, two-thirds of all new jobs in the IT industry are being filled by foreign workers — and yet the president wants to dramatically surge foreign worker admissions even further. This at a time when the Census Bureau tells us more than 11 million Americanswith science, technology, engineering and math degrees don’t have jobs in those fields. President Obama is auctioning off America’s middle class to the highest bidders.”


Sessions: Congress Has ‘Duty’ to Oppose Spending on Things They Don’t Believe in

“In response to President Obama’s executive order on immigration, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said that Congress has a “duty to oppose spending money on things they don’t believe in” at a Heritage Foundation event on Friday. asked Sessions, “You’ve said the upcoming CR should prevent the president from spending any money on executive actions that will legalize illegal aliens. Would you vote for a CR that would allow the president to do that?” “I believe that we’ve got to work together and do this the right way, so I’m open to various ideas, but I do think Congress has a duty to defend its interest as the people’s Congress, and it has the power to do so,” Sessions said.”



“Friday at the The Heritage Foundation, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said President Barack Obama’s executive action amnesty is not putting the American worker first saying, “The average working truck driver is just as important as Mr. Zuckerberg.” Sessions said, “It’s time for us to stand up for the American worker … Even in the IT industry wages have not gone up since 2000,”  he continued. “Mr. Gates signs a letter to the president demanding action and other people saying we have to have more foreign immigrants the same week Microsoft laid off 18,000 workers Mr Zuckerberg spending tens of millions maybe hundred of millions of dollars on his agenda.”

“I don’t think this nation faces a crisis in a lack of workers, we have a crisis in the lack of jobs.”


Despite highest poverty numbers in 50 years, Obama okays illegals to compete for jobs in US


Boehner Says Obama’s Immigration Action Damages Presidency

“Speaker John A. Boehner said Friday that President Obama was “damaging the presidency itself” by using his executive authority to prevent the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants. Mr. Boehner said that the House would act to counter the president, but he declined to be specific. “With this action, the president has chosen to deliberately sabotage any chance of enacting bipartisan reforms that he claims to seek,” Mr. Boehner told reporters. “And as I told him yesterday, he’s damaging the presidency itself.” Mr. Obama, in his address to the nation Thursday night, all but dared congressional Republicans to act — either by passing their own immigration legislation to trump his executive action or by challenging him in a way that could be politically disastrous for the Republican brand.”


Boehner: Obama’s immigration action could have unintended consequences



“Talk radio host Laura Ingraham argued that if American citizens are ignored in the discussion of immigration policy, then “I don’t know why any of us are here” on Thursday’s “O’Reilly Factor” on the Fox News Channel. “We need to have compassion, of course for all people in what we do. But, compassion and concern and an allegiance to the American citizens and legal immigrants. If we ignore them in this process, in addition to our framers, then I don’t know why any of us here.” she said. Ingraham added, “this is not just a compassion play that is in line with what Congress had already indicated by a Congressional action. The president got shellacked in the elections, in part because people are kind of fed up, and the thing that’s not being mentioned tonight at all in all of this is how this is ultimately going to effect American workers. And they are being hit, there’s a lot of real sob stories about how they’re separated from families and how they’re working two or three jobs. And that’s not mentioned at all in all of this.” And that she had “never seen a president take this much authority away from Congress and in sharp contrast to what he said just a year ago, many, many, many times.” Regarding the legal battles over the president’s executive order, she stated “not quite sure” what standing the state of Texas had in its lawsuit against the Obama administration, and that “the standing question has to be done by a member of Congress.”



“Several top Republicans have issued statements in response to Obama’s executive amnesty order announcement promising to stop him. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the outgoing chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said, “we cannot let this stand.”

“The President’s unilateral actions on immigration are a violation of his responsibilities and the trust the American people have placed in him,” Issa said. “President Obama is playing a dangerous political game with lives and deepening the mistrust that the American people and Congress have in his ability to faithfully execute the law. The President is not respecting our system of checks and balances—we cannot let this stand.” Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) promised to do everything he can to stop Obama. “Granting amnesty to those here illegally is an affront to American workers and the people who are trying to join our country legally,” Hudson said. “As I’ve said before, I recognize our immigration system is broken and in need of reform, but I cannot and will not support any type of immigration reform until we secure the border first. We need to pass permanent, meaningful reforms that address the root of the problem to stop the influx of illegal immigration. I will do everything in my power to block the administration’s illegal amnesty policies and remain committed to working with my colleagues to secure our borders and fix our broken immigration system.” Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) said he expects Obama to veto attempts to stop him, but Republicans should do everything they can to block him.”



“Texas leaders are united in opposition and ready to battle President Barack Obama over his unilateral attempt to protect millions of illegal immigrants from being deported. In a televised speech to the nation Thursday evening, Obama announced he was issuing a series of executive orders to enact immigration reform, and will likely soon face a lawsuit from the State of Texas, as well as other states with Republican leadership. As Breitbart Texas reported, Obama declared that he would be taking “actions that I have the legal authority to take as President” that would liberalize the rules for work visas for highly skilled graduates and entrepreneurs as well as allowing millions of illegal immigrants to avoid deportation through “deferred action” if they had been in the United States more than five years, have children here who are citizens or legal residents, register with the government, pass a criminal background check, and pay back taxes.

Governor-elect Greg Abbott, the outgoing Attorney General who will serve in that role until January, vowed that Texas would respond with “immediate” legal action. “President Obama has circumvented Congress and deliberately bypassed the will of the American people, eroding the very foundation of our nation’s Constitution and bestowing a legacy of lawlessness,” said Abbott. “Texans have witnessed firsthand the costs and consequences caused by President Obama’s dictatorial immigration policy and now we must work together toward a solution in fixing our broken immigration system. Following tonight’s pronouncement, I am prepared to immediately challenge President Obama in court, securing our state’s sovereignty and guaranteeing the rule of law as it was intended under the Constitution.”

Abbott Vows To Challenge Immigration Order


Black Activists Speak Out against Obama Amnesty Agenda


How Obama Betrayed Black Workers Last Night

“President Obama last night removed any remaining doubt that he shares Jonathan Gruber’s assessment of the American voter. The group toward whom he’s shown the greatest contempt, however, is low-skilled American workers, particularly blacks. The president’s edict purporting to grant legal status to up to 5 million illegal aliens will have a devastating effect on the wage and employment levels of all low-skilled American workers, but the competition from (formerly) illegal aliens will be most acute in industries in which blacks traditionally have been highly concentrated — including, but not limited to, construction, hospitality, and service. The effect of illegal immigration on American wages and employment is now well-established. Hearings before the U.S.Commisssion on Civil Rights, for example, adduced copious evidence of the profound damage done to black wage and employment levels by illegal immigration. Competition from immigration accounts for approximately 40 percent of the 18 percentage point decline in black employment in recent years. That’s nearly a million jobs lost by blacks to immigrants. Moreover, numerous studies unequivocally show that illegal immigration depresses wage rates. In the leisure and hospitality industries alone, the wage suppression due to illegal immigration has decreased annual wage rates by $1,500. The fact that employers will, presumably, now have to pay (formerly) illegal aliens at lawful wages rates won’t reduce the negative impact of illegal immigration on black workers because the newly “legal” immigrants will still be paid a low wage, and the president’s edict is a green light to millions more illegal aliens to come to America at a time when our country has a historic surplus of low-skilled labor. Indeed, the edict could hardly come at a worse time for for black workers whose labor-participation rate is an abysmal 61.4 percent. Black teen unemployment is 32.6 percent. The black employment-population ratio is an appalling 54.7 percent. The last thing black workers need right now is more competition from illegal aliens.”


Laws Emanate from the White House Now

“But the speech was notable for some of the things Obama didn’t mention. For instance, he lied about what his non-amnesty amnesty consisted of: “All we’re saying is we’re not going to deport you.” As polling has suggested, this is less likely to provoke opposition than the truth: “All we’re saying is we’re not going to deport you — and also, here’s a work permit, a Social Security number, and a driver’s license.” He didn’t mention that his scheme will pull the plug on the Secure Communities program. The program checks the fingerprints of arrested criminal suspects against DHS records at the same time as they’re checked against FBI records. It is the lowest-common-denominator of immigration enforcement — if you oppose Secure Communities, you oppose immigration enforcement. But the anti-borders activist groups around the country do, in fact, oppose immigration controls of any kind, and reject the notion that illegal aliens who are arrested for drunk driving, assaulting police offices, beating their wives, and so on, should be subject to deportation. And Obama is one of them — but he has enough political sense not to mention that on national television. Another part of his edict that wasn’t mentioned was the extension of the validity of the “temporary” grant of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) from two years to three, eliminating the upper age limit to qualify, and extending it to those who entered before age 18 instead of the previous 16. These are details, for sure, but they highlight an important truth — he just set these parameters two years ago in an earlier edict and now he’s changing them. Why? Because he feels like it. These changes highlight the ad hoc nature of Obama’s lawmaking and point to the virtual certainty that any restrictions or limitations that may be included in the current directive can, and will, be changed whenever it’s politically convenient. He says you have to have arrived by 2010 to get this new amnesty? Well, he’ll just change it to 2013 next week. Didn’t include the parents of DACAs in this round of executive lawmaking? Maybe he’ll announce that in March. None of the criteria Obama has laid out to qualify for amnesty benefits has any basis in law or even logic — they’re simply the result of political give and take, i.e., legislation. It’s just that instead of the people’s elected representatives debating and compromising and finally approving a measure, it is Obama’s staff that debates and compromises and finally approves something. Because Congress is now an advisory body with some residual powers, like the British House of Lords. Real law emanates from the White House.”


Republican Congressman: Executive Amnesty ‘A Threat To Democracy Itself’ [VIDEO]

“Appearing on Fox’s “Happening Now,” Republican Texas Rep. Michael McCaul said that President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty represents a “threat to democracy itself.” “Well, the ball is in our court. We have tools under the Constitution to stop what the president is trying to do. You know, he said over 20 times over the last year that he doesn’t have the authority to do this and that that’s not how democracy works. I would argue that what he’s doing now is really a threat to democracy itself by going against the will of the American people, circumventing the Congress, not working with Congress to get this done.”




Obama Puts The Republic Out Of Its Misery

All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress – unless the President says otherwise



“As “Emperor Obama”—to cite a title applied to Barack Obama by House Speaker John Boehner, Senator Jeff Sessions, and others—proceeds with his plan to trample the Constitution by issuing an Executive Order on amnesty for illegals, perhaps it’s worth looking back to see how the authors of the Constitution might have reacted to such a crisis.  The short answer is that the Founders worried about presidential power-grabbing, and so wrote a proper response into the Constitution. However, the longer answer is that Emperor Obama might be setting in motion a process that actually undermines the Constitution. Although he was defeated at the polls in 2014, Obama could be initiating a process that consolidates Democratic power for the rest of the century. In Philadelphia, in 1787, Benjamin Franklin was asked what sort of government the just-completed Constitutional Convention, presided over by George Washington, had created. “A republic,” he replied. Then the great patriot quickly added, “If you can keep it.”  And that was the key point: If Americans can keep it. The following year, 1788, James Madison wrote in Federalist #51, arguing for the ratification of the Constitution, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” But since men are not angels, Madison continued, it was necessary to create a Constitutional system of checks and balances; as Madison put it, “divide and arrange the several offices in such a manner as that each may be a check on the other.”

Yet where would ultimate power reside? In any kind of Constitutional showdown which of the “several offices” would be decisive? Would it be the executive branch? The judicial branch? The legislative branch? In the same Federalist #51, Madison had a ready answer: “In republican government, the legislative authority necessarily predominates.” The Founders were quite deliberate in their determination to restrict executive power, and for a very good reason: They knew their history. They fully expected that some future American president would seek to upend the Constitutional order by seeking to concentrate power in the executive branch.

The Founders had a word for it: Caesarism.”


‘We Are Now Living in the Shadow of a King’: Without the Rule of Law, Beck Says ‘There Is No United States’


Krauthammer: James Madison ‘Is Turning Over In His Grave’ Following Obama’s Executive Amnesty [VIDEO]




Obama’s Forging His Own Reality

By issuing his sweeping order on immigration, the president has decided to view political failure as a mandate for pushing through Democratic priorities.




I Dare You to Impeach Me

“It isn’t what the Founders had in mind, but “I dare you to impeach me” is being normalized as both a governing strategy and a political tactic. We stand on the threshold of a new era of post-constitutional governance, not simply because of the sweeping executive order on immigration President Obama announced last night, but because of what Hillary Clinton just said about it. Waving aside the cautious stance she’s adopted since stepping down as Secretary of State, Hillary swiftly endorsed Obama’s executive action. The contrast with her waffling on the issue of drivers licenses for illegal immigrants in 2008 is striking.”


Announcing His Lawless Executive Action on Immigration, Obama Takes Aim at Straw Men

“Yesterday, President Obama called for reasonable debate while attacking an army of straw men: those who want to rip children out of the arms of parents, deport college graduates, close off the country to immigration and those who want to do nothing to fix our broken immigration system. There’s just one catch: Nobody is calling for those policies. What is broken about our immigration system?Top of FormBottom of Form We could streamline legal immigration and encourage more high-skilled immigration, no doubt. But the biggest problem is lack of law enforcement. Instead of addressing that issue, Obama’s order doubles down on our lawless system by granting a new, temporary status for millions of illegal immigrants. Congress should do everything in its power to stop the president’s lawless and inappropriate amnesty. Trying a mass amnesty might have more merit if it had not been tried before. In 1986, Congress passed, and President Ronald Reagan signed, a bill granting a “one-time only” mass amnesty to 3 million along with promises of law enforcement and border security. We’re still waiting for those later promises to be fulfilled, but now we have 11 million or more illegal immigrants. Even Obama once understood this: “I believe such an indiscriminate approach would be both unwise and unfair … this could lead to a surge in more illegal immigration,” he said. Congress and the American people oppose trying this same unfair policy without first ensuring our border is secure and our laws are enforced. Instead of working with Congress on areas in which there is agreement—like reforming our legal immigration system—the president continues to insist on an amnesty-first policy.”


Jay Carney Makes Big Admission About Obama

“Former White House press secretary Jay Carney said President Barack Obama is “literally” doing the opposite of what he once said he couldn’t with his executive action to halt deportations of some 5 million illegal immigrants. Appearing on CNN after Obama’s prime-time address Thursday, Carney said he thought Obama would like to “have those words back” when he said he does not have the authority to halt deportations unless Congress passes a law. “I think if he could have those words back, especially the first clip where he specifically talked about suspending deportations — that is literally what he is doing today,” Carney said. “In later instances, including when I was there, he would speak carefully about what he could not do as president. He can’t change the law. He can’t provide a path to citizenship.” The White House and proponents of Obama’s executive action say it does not bestow legal status but rather prioritizes who — like felons — will be deported.”


Should President Obama Offer Amnesty For Legal Residents Behind On Taxes?


Why President Obama Had to Act on Immigration

“For President Barack Obama, Thursday night’s address to the nation was about much more than changing immigration policy. It was about changing a narrative that has recently defined his presidency: that he draws red lines and doesn’t follow through.”


Post, Journal, USA Today reject Obama’s solo immigration action, NYT applauds it


Democratic Senators Come Out Against Obama’s Immigration Order



“Friday while speaking at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, NV, President Barack Obama mocked Republicans for saying his executive action amnesty sabotaged the democratic process.

“Why I didn’t dissolve the parliament,” he said. “That’s not how our system works. I didn’t steal way the various clerks in the Senate and House who manage bills. They can still pass bills.”


Earnest: If Obama Were King, He Would Have Unilaterally Implemented The Senate Immigration Bill



“House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) may miss former President George W. Bush as it pertains to amnesty. At a Thursday press conference, Pelosi declared that there was “nobody better” on amnesty than George W. Bush.  “He was absolutely great,” Pelosi said of Bush, who tried to pass comprehensive amnesty legislation the last decade with the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA).  Bush’s embrace of comprehensive amnesty legislation led many conservatives to think twice about big-government Republicans who had supposedly come to Washington to change Washington, as the saying goes, but let Washington change them, instead.”



“Dana Perino, the Fox News co-cost and former spokeswoman for George W. Bush’s White House, said that President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty is well within the law.

She admitted on Thursday’s The Five that though she “might be an outlier on this,” she believed “Republicans are really boxed in” on Obama’s amnesty. “I don’t think that we’ll have the answer to the constitutional question for years,” she said. “And at this point, I think the President has the prosecutorial discretion to do what he’s doing.” Hours before Obama formally announced his executive amnesty, Perino said Republicans “cannot stop the President from doing this.”


CNN: If you oppose Obama on immigration, you’re probably old and a little racist


Andrea Mitchell: Obama Executive Order ‘Not Amnesty’; Puts ‘Burden’ on GOP



“President Obama’s unilateral action on immigration, which is expected to give legal status to some 5 million illegal aliens, will likely be a significant burden to American taxpayers. Many illegal immigrants makes such a low income, they they will not pay income taxes. Rather, many these individuals will start collecting government checks, in the form of “Earned Income Tax Credits” (EITC), and could be eligible for other transfer payments such as ObamaCare.

Although tracking the incomes of illegal immigrants is no easy task, the Century Foundation released a study which found that “we can be virtually certain that illegal immigrants earned less than $24,000 per year, on average, probably much less.” The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) released a report with similar findings — according to that study, almost 50 percent of illegal immigrant families live in or near poverty.  American workers who make under $30,000 per year pay very little in federal taxes. In fact, they are eligible to collect anywhere from $9,000 to $15,000 per year in EITC payments, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Theoretically speaking, if all 5 million of Obama’s newly legalized migrants made such a low income, American taxpayers could be on the hook for up to $5 billion per year in EITC payments alone.  But Obama would have Americans believe that his amnesty will do just the opposite. During his Thursday night announcement, he said, “If you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes, you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country.” According to a recent report by Forbes, many of the immigrants that Obama’s action targets are likely of an older age since they are parents of U.S. citizens. “If so, they will gain access not only to Obamacare, but also to Social Security and especially Medicare,” Forbes columnist Avik Roy wrote.”



“President Barack Obama unilaterally ordered the most comprehensive overhaul of the immigration system, granting five million of the nation’s 11.4 million undocumented immigrants in the United States legal status. In his November 20 address, he effectively told illegal immigrants that they can “come out of the shadows” but his call for transparency is railroaded by federal laws and Obama administration add-ons that will keep the impact of his executive amnesty on K-12 public education, including pre-kindergarten, buried deep in the shadows.

Unlike the student recipients of the DREAM Act moving onto higher education, the landmark 1982 Supreme Court ruling on Plyler v. Doe prohibited outing the illegal status of K-12 aged minors or denying their enrollment in any American public school. “In a vote of 5-to-4, the Court found the Plyler v. Doe in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, ruling that undocumented immigrant children had protection from discrimination unless a substantial state interest could be shown to justify it,” Breitbart Texas reported. The resulting reality is what Texas Education Agency (TEA) spokeswoman Lauren Callahan told Breitbart Texas is that “Our school districts are not allowed to ask about immigration status.”

This is not just Texas. It is nationwide. Heaped on top of the federal law were Obama administration letters jointly issued by the US Department of Education and the US Department of Justice during a smaller 2011 influx of illegal immigrants crossing over into the United States, revised for 2014’s border surge of Central American unaccompanied alien children (UAC) flooding through Texas. The letter further extended to illegal immigrant families with children in public school, the hard fought after protections intended for Black American citizens during the Civil Rights movement. Additionally, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), responsible for the National School Lunch Program for K-12 and the Child and Adult Care Food Program which services publicly funded pre-K, extends Civil Rights discrimination protections. This, too, is a national policy.”


Immigration laws to double New York Medicaid costs

“President Obama’s executive order on immigration could result in a flood of Medicaid applications in New York state — with most coming from city residents, officials said ­Friday.

Immigration experts predict that more that 250,000 of the state’s undocumented immigrants who weren’t previously eligible for free government health insurance could now get coverage.

New York is one of the few states that grants free health coverage to non-citizens who meet eligibility requirements. By allowing access to Social Security cards and work permits to hundreds of thousands of undocumented New Yorkers, Obama has qualified them for Medicaid.

But there’s a catch. The feds typically pay 50 percent of the cost of Medicaid. But because the newly protected immigrants are not eligible for federal benefits, New York state will have to pick up the entire tab for the new enrollees. That will force the state to make some hard choices if the rolls swell beyond the budget. New York has enacted a $17.1 billion cap on the Medicaid program for the 2014-15 fiscal year. So existing programs might have to be cut to meet the cap.

State health and budget officials “will develop and implement a plan of actions (known as the “Medicaid Savings Allocation Plans”) to bring spending in line with the cap,” according to the state Department of Health Web site. A department spokesman declined to comment Friday on how the state was preparing for the possible influx, saying only, “The DOH is reviewing the president’s executive order.” The city also contributes toward Medicaid. Its share is capped at $5.4 billion under the current budget, and the state is responsible for any costs beyond that, according to a city spokeswoman. Advocates praised opening access to Medicaid, saying that indigent immigrants who lack documentation or insurance often forgo medical care, or seek free treatment at hospital emergency rooms. “Right now, the [undocumented] parents of children who were born in the US have to rely on charity care at hospitals,” said immigration lawyer Eva Kozlowska. “A lot of times they cannot pay for doctors visits.”



“President Obama’s executive action on immigration will have a “dramatic impact” on Border Patrol agents, the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) told Breitbart Texas.  Shawn Moran, Vice President of the NBPC, told Breitbart Texas, “This issue will obviously have a dramatic impact on rank-and-file Border Patrol agents.” Obama’s order will directly affect some 5 million migrants currently in the United States. These illegal aliens will not only be protected from deportation, but will also be allowed to work and entered into the U.S. tax system. Obama’s announcement applies to immigrant with U.S. citizen children, and also to many who entered the nation as a minor. Moran said that NBPC needs more time to analyse the executive order before discussing, specifically, how it will affect Border Patrol agents and the way they do their jobs. “We are reserving in-depth comment at this time,” he said. “The National Border Patrol Council is currently analyzing the Executive Order and until we receive guidance from the administration and Customs and Border Protection, it would be premature for us to comment.”



“As the news of President Barrack Obama’s executive action on immigration spreads, the Texas border could see a new immigration surge in the near future. One of the concerns of law enforcement is criminal aliens trying to hide within the surge.  “That is a given, human smugglers will see the opportunity to spin the message and lure their victims into making the journey,” Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio. “We have had a strong law enforcement presence and agency cooperation in South Texas so I’m not too worried, but I am concerned about the counties in Arizona, New Mexico and California where they don’t have the manpower and cooperation or the infrastructure. Here we have a river and a fence; over there they have some areas where the only border is a marker.” In preparation for the a new surge, law enforcement agencies have been working their intelligence channels and preparing their task forces to address any new spikes, said Juan Gonzalez the Police Chief in San Juan and the commander of a regional tactical team called LEERT.  Gonzalez has had his investigators targeting a surge in human stash houses, a term used to describe properties where human smugglers hide illegal aliens in preparation for their trip north. “We will continue to work in identifying and targeting criminals trying to hide in those houses,” Gonzalez said. “We are looking for gang members, felons, cartel members; they try to camouflage themselves with the families. We will identify them and arrest them.”



“On the day after U.S. President Barack Obama announced his immigration executive action, some of the top law enforcement officials on the Texas border say that the key to avoiding a new immigration crisis lies on the message that gets taken back to other countries.

“If the message taken back to those countries gets warped into ‘hey come on the gates are open’ we will see a new surge,” said Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra. “If Washington is not clear the human smuggling organizations will take advantage of that to warp the message and entice people to come.”  The executive action announced by Obama allows for those in the country illegally for several years to avoid deportation however it does not appear to grant a path to citizenship and it does not grant any status to those who have just arrived, if that message remains intact there should not be a surge, said McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez.

McAllen made national news over the summer when a shift in human smuggling routes led to thousands of illegal aliens being detained by federal law enforcement creating a humanitarian crisis. Despite the surge, the citizens of McAllen were not effected by it since the area was primarily a transit area and not their final destination.  “These people are not sitting at home wanting to come to McAllen, Texas, they want to go to Job City USA,” Chief Rodriguez said.




Cuban migrants head off from Caymans, bound for Honduras


ICE readies 2,400 beds for new spring surge of illegal immigrants through Texas



“Nearly 5 million illegal immigrants are expected to be eligible for paperwork allowing them to remain and work in the U.S. But many of the remaining illegal immigrants who were not granted legal status will also likely benefit from the executive actions President Obama announced Thursday night.  “[T]he bottom line is that nearly every illegal alien who arrived here before January 1, 2014 will be exempt from deportation. Potentially about half of them will be able to get work permits, unless Congress takes action to block or blunt that,” Center for Immigration Studies expert Jessica Vaughan explained to Breitbart News.  “It’s hard to predict how many people will actually apply for the work permits, but the reality is that nearly all of them will face no threat of deportation,” she added.  According to the administration’s new removal priorities, a consequence of Obama’s executive actions, the Department of Homeland Security is focusing its attention on immigrants deemed to be national security threats, illegal immigrants apprehended at the border, gang members, and convicted felons. A second tier of removal priorities, under the revised policies, are those who have been convicted of three or more misdemeanors, convicted of a “significant misdemeanor,” and those who entered or re-entered the U.S. after Jan. 1, 2014. The third priority, under the new guidelines, are those illegal immigrants who have been issued a final order for removal on or after Jan. 1, 2014. Further, the executive order eliminates the Secure Communities Act, and replaces it with the Priority Enforcement Program which greatly limits the kinds of illegal immigrants ICE can seek to transfer from local law enforcement.“[U]nless the alien poses a demonstrable risk to national security, enforcement actions through the new program will only be taken against aliens who are convicted of specifically enumerated crimes,” DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson described in his memo to agency heads about the end of Secure Communities program Thursday. Further, ICE will no longer be requesting state and local law enforcement to detain illegal immigrants but rather asking they notify ICE of an upcoming release of a deportable alien. Vaughan notes the elimination of Secure Communities will make it even more difficult to accomplish what the administration says is its main priority for deportation. “The President implies that ICE will now focus on deporting criminals, but that will become much more difficult for them to do because he is gutting the Secure Communities program, which enables them to learn which illegal aliens have been arrested – and since they won’t be able to detain most of them, it is guaranteed that many more illegal alien criminals will escape prosecution and go on living here as before,” Vaughan explained. An interesting note to the changes in priority deal with the surge in unaccompanied illegal immigrant minors and family units. Much of the spike in apprehensions in the Unaccompanied Alien Children and family unit categories occurred in 2014, however border apprehensions of UACs from Central America actually began to rise in 2012, the year Obama announced his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.”


Andrea Mitchell: Obama ‘Awakening A Sleeping Giant’ of Illegal Immigrants


Arizona Sheriff Arpaio sues over Obama’s immigration order

“Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona’s Maricopa County has filed a lawsuit challenging President Obama’s unilateral action on immigration. The outspoken lawman calls the president’s move “unconstitutional” and says it will “have a serious detrimental impact on my carrying out the duties and responsibilities.” Arpaio said the president’s action will significantly strain his department’s resources, both in manpower and financially, because it will release “criminal aliens back onto streets of Maricopa County, Ariz., and the rest of the nation.” “I am not seeking to myself enforce the immigration laws as this is the province of the federal government,” he said. “Rather, I am seeking to have the president and the other defendants obey the U.S. Constitution, which prevents this executive order from having been issued in the first place.” The president on Thursday night announced an executive action to shield more than 4 million illegal immigrants from deportation, marking the most sweeping changes to the nation’s fractured immigration laws in almost three decades.”



“Strong law enforcement presence and close cooperation in response to the recent immigration surge in the South Texas Border has been running cartel smugglers out of business, and forcing them to engage in common crime such as store robberies and theft. Two years ago, U.S. Border Patrol in the area were severely understaffed and their cooperation with Texas DPS and sheriff’s deputies was not significant. However, the recent immigration surge has brought the agencies together allowing them to target drug and human smuggling routes, said Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra in an exclusive interview with Breitbart Texas. The criminal organizations have smaller relatively independent cells that smuggle humans and drugs in the United States, those are the individuals that have been largely affected by the increase in law enforcement and have had to resort to other crimes, Guerra said mentioning a series of intelligence briefings that he has been to where the shift in trends had been a primary topic.  “All of the operations and the law enforcement presence has slowed down their activities and hurt their pocketbook basically leaving them out of a job,” the sheriff said. With more cops on the roads patrolling the brush areas the smugglers have to work harder and take longer to get to the northern cities making their journeys more expensive and thus draining their finances, he said.”


The States With The Highest Share Of Unauthorized Immigrants [Infographic]


Obama fundraises off immigration speech, seeks $1,000 contributions

“President Obama is fundraising off his controversial immigration decision Thursday night, dispatching an email that steers readers to a “Donate Today” page that seek contributions up to $1,000. That page reads, “Thanks — now, we need to fight back. President Obama is taking action. The other side wants nothing more than to tear this progress down. Help fight back — make a donation today.” What’s more, in his email from his Organizing for Action, he claims that he is just like every other president in taking action on issues where Congress failed to act.”




U.S. business tax burden ranks 126th globally

“U.S. business tax rates rank 126th in the world, according to a report released Thursday by PricewaterhouseCoopers. With an average total tax rate of 43.8 percent, the U.S. is far behind many of its economic competitors, including, Canada (21 percent), Hong Kong (22.8 percent), and the United Kingdom (33.7 percent). The U.S. ranks 47th in ease of paying taxes, based on the compliance required in 2013 from a standardized two year-old, limited liability, medium-sized business in each economy’s largest city. Beyond corporate income taxes, the report accounted for sales, payroll, property and capital gains taxes, among others. Such a business would spend approximately 175 hours, or over a week, filing their taxes in the U.S., tied for 64th lowest in the world. Globally, the report showed positive news for tax rates, with the average amount paid in taxes declining for the 10th year in a row. A standard company paid, on average, 40.9 percent of commercial profits in taxes. The average length of time spent complying was 264 hours, but this was driven up by Brazil’s outlying 2,600 hours for compliance. Median time spent complying with the tax code is a significantly lower 209 hours.”


House Foreign Affairs Chairman Introduces Bill to Arm the Kurds to Fight Islamic State

“House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce on Friday introduced legislation to arm Kurdish fighters who are being outgunned by Islamic State fighters, after the disparity of force between the two sides has resulted in enormous loss of life and continues to threaten the newly formed Iraqi government. Royce (R-Calif.) said in a statement the bill would establish a policy to “provide direct support assistance to the Kurdistan Regional Government to combat” the Islamic State group.”


Feds spending $191,995 on ‘farm theater’


Figures on government spending and debt




How Common Core affects uncommon schools


The Common Core conundrum for 2016


Bush seeks common ground with education critics

Jeb Bush Extends Olive Branch to Common Core Critics


Jeb Bush begins to pivot away from Common Core


Jeb Bush: Debate on Common Core ‘troubling’


Jeb Bush Not Backing Down on Common Core

Jeb Bush defends Common Core standards


Jeb Bush: Common Core education standards should be “new minimum”


Common Core Foes See Long-Term Plot


Dismissal sought of Jindal’s anti-Common Core suit


Tennessee lawmakers, governor move closer to Common Core repeal


Common Core Takes Centerstage At RGA Annual Meeting In Florida




Thousands of ‘Lost’ Lois Lerner Emails Suddenly Found by IRS Watchdog

“As many as 30,000 emails from former IRS official Lois Lerner have reportedly been found, which could give House Republicans another chance to examine Lerner’s precise role in the IRS targeting scandal. The Washington Examiner reported Friday that as many as 30,000 emails from Lerner have been recovered by Treasury’s Inspector General for Tax Administration.”

30,000 missing emails from IRS’ Lerner recovered

“Up to 30,000 missing emails sent by former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner have been recovered by the IRS inspector general, five months after they were deemed lost forever. The U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) informed congressional staffers from several committees on Friday that the emails were found among hundreds of “disaster recovery tapes” that were used to back up the IRS email system. “They just said it took them several weeks and some forensic effort to get these emails off these tapes,” a congressional aide told the Washington Examiner. The IRS, in a statement provided to the Examiner, said the agency and IRS Commissioner John Koskinen is fully cooperating with the investigation. “As Commissioner Koskinen has stated, the IRS welcomes TIGTA’s independent review and expert forensic analysis.” The IRS statement said. “Commissioner Koskinen has said for some time he would be pleased if additional Lois Lerner emails from this time frame could be found.”

30K Lois Lerner emails recovered in IRS Tea Party controversy


10 of the Worst School Lunches From the #ThanksMichelleObama Hashtag

“It seems teenagers across the country are unhappy with some of their new lunch menus and are blaming First Lady Michelle Obama’s push for federally mandated “healthy” lunches. Using the hashtag #ThanksMichelleObama, teens and some parents tweeted photos of some of the meals currently being served in America’s high schools. We warn you, some of them might make you lose your appetite. Here are 10 of the most unappetizing, some of which were chronicled first by BuzzFeed:”




EPA delays decision on ethanol in gas


‘Interstellar’s’ Rejection of Climate Change Hysteria

“Earlier in the week I joked with a couple of friends in separate conversations that, based on a few observations about plot points and names in Interstellar (which I’ll get to in a bit), I wanted to write a semi-trollish post arguing that the movie was an esoteric denunciation of climate change fearmongering. You know, something along the lines of “Elysium is actually an anti-Obamacare parable” or “Star Trek: Into Darkness is actually pro-drone strike.” But then I started reading Interstellar‘s script, and I realized it wasn’t actually a trollish idea at all. Screenwriters Christopher and Jonathan Nolan seemed to have had the idea of climate change hysteria firmly in mind while working on the screenplay.”


MSNBC Gets a New Vice President — Can You Guess What Her Last Job Was?

“MSNBC announced Friday that it is bringing on a new vice president of communications. Rachel Racusen, currently an associate communications director for the White House, will fill the role. Racusen, who starts her new position on December 8, will arrive at MSNBC with experience at the White House, President Barack Obama’s campaign and FEMA. She served as the deputy communications director for the president’s 2012 re-election campaign, according to Politico. “I’m thrilled to add Rachel to our senior team. She has great experience, she’s creative, strategic and passionate about our brand,” MSNBC President Phil Griffin said in a statement. Racusen is not the only one with White House connections to assume a role in the media. CBS News President David Rhodes is the brother of Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security advisor for strategic communications.”


Republican Governors Pick Haslam as Chairman, Martinez as Vice Chairman

“Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam was chosen Thursday to be chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association, succeeding Chris Christie at the helm of a political group that helped give the New Jersey governor new prominence as he considers a possible 2016 presidential bid. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, a rising figure in the Republican Party who has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential pick in 2016, was elected RGA vice chairman.”


Here’s a key source of the K Street vs. Tea Party fight: Lobbyists’ personal wealth


FBI Arrests Alleged New Black Panther Members for Attempting to Purchase Explosives for Ferguson Protests: CBS News

“Two men were arrested by the FBI in a sting operation for allegedly attempting to purchase explosives to be used in Ferguson protests, CBS News reported Friday night. According to CBS News, the men were arrested Thursday for attempting to purchase the materials for pipe bombs. The individuals were arraigned Friday and are allegedly members of the New Black Panthers, according to CBS News.”