Obama administration plans appeal (Quote by Jenny Beth)

“…But it remains to be seen if the decision will provide a way out of a Homeland Security budget impasse that comes to a head on Feb. 27. While the court order remains under review, hard liners on illegal immigration have been pressuring congressional Republicans to permanently pull the funding from an executive order they see as illegal amnesty. Many see Hanen’s order not as an exit ramp, but as a vise grip to exact concessions from Democrats. “We’re hopeful this will be a wake-up call to Senate Democrats,” said Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin. GOP House Speaker John Boeher indicated over the weekend that he would be willing to let funding for the Homeland Security Department lapse if Senate can’t pass a funding bill that came out of the GOP-led House…”



After Judge’s Ruling, Obama Delays Immigration Actions (Quote by Jenny Beth)

“Jenny Beth Martin, a founder of the Tea Party Patriots, said in a similar statement that the ruling “points out the lawless, overreaching nature of President Obama’s actions.” “We’re hopeful this will be a wake-up call to Senate Democrats,” she added, “and that they will allow a vote on funding for critical DHS funding as soon as they return from the recess.” Senate Democrats have used a procedural maneuver three times to prevent their Republican colleagues from taking up the spending bill that the House sent last month. The House legislation would fund the Department of Homeland Security, but it would also undo legal protections for as many as 5 million unauthorized immigrants, including children – something Democrats, and some Republicans, say is unacceptable.”




“Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin said, too, that it’s time for the Senate Democrats to drop their obstruction. “We commend Judge Hanen for his ruling, which restores the rule of law to America’s immigration system, and we thank the 26 attorneys general for bringing the case,” Martin said in a statement. “The ruling also points out the lawless, overreaching nature of President Obama’s actions. We’re hopeful this will be a wakeup call to Senate Democrats, and that they will allow a vote on funding for critical DHS funding as soon as they return from the recess.” Conservative Review senior editor Daniel Horowitz concurred.”



Activists say they’re not intimidated by Judge’s ruling on immigration relief (Quote by Jenny Beth)

““We commend Judge Hanen for his ruling, which restores the rule of law to America’s immigration system, and we thank the 26 attorneys general for bringing the case,” said Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots. “The ruling also points out the lawless, overreaching nature of President Obama’s actions. We’re hopeful this will be a wakeup call to Senate Democrats, and that they will allow a vote on funding for critical DHS funding as soon as they return from the recess.” But the immigration activists think differently.”



The New York Times



GOP presidential hopefuls coming to Riverside (TPP-sponsored event)





White House: 11.4 million Obamacare enrollees

“About 11.4 million Americans have enrolled in health insurance through the marketplaces set up under the Affordable Care Act, the White House announced in a video posted to Facebook Tuesday evening. That’s a “preliminary estimate,” according to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell. The 2015 enrollment period officially ended on Sunday but the Obama administration hadn’t yet released final results. The total includes both new enrollees and people who re-enrolled in both healthcare.gov and the 14 marketplaces being run by individual states. In the two-minute clip, Burwell is seen telling the president the final results. She said that on Sunday — the final day of open enrollment — more consumers signed up then any other day either this year or last year. “It gives you some sense of how hungry people were for affordable, accessible health insurance,” Obama said.”



Obamacare enrollment this year hits 11.4 million, White House says



White House Estimates 11.4 Million Signed Up For Obamacare



White House touts 11.4 million Obamacare signups-and-counting after deadline

“More than 11 million people selected a health plan under Obamacare during the enrollment period that ended Sunday, the White House announced Tuesday in the first peak at how many customers flocked to the exchanges in the law’s second round. In a video released by the White, House, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell divulges to President Obama that 11.4 million people signed up for private coverage under the law, although it is unclear how many customers will effectuate enrollment by paying their first premiums. “That’s great,” President Obama says in the clip. Mr. Obama then extolls his overhaul, saying enrollment exceeded his expectations. The administration set a modest goal of 9.1 million enrollees for 2015, or short of congressional budget estimates that put the target at 12 million. This year’s enrollment season began Nov. 15 and lasted half as long as last year’s signup period. And unlike last time around, the session included both new and returning customers.”



ObamaCare enrollment beats administration goal

“This year’s ObamaCare enrollment officially beat expectations with at least 11.4 million Americans signing up in the second year, the White House announced late Tuesday. The new estimates put the Obama administration ahead of its target of 9 million signups for 2015 and far ahead of its totals from the marketplace’s first year — though well below initial predictions. The most recent enrollment period officially ended on Sunday – a day that saw the most signups than any other day in ObamaCare history, officials said. More than 1 million people picked plans in the final nine days of the enrollment period. “The Affordable Care Act is working. It’s working a little bit better than we anticipated. Certainly, it’s working a lot better than any of the critics talked about,” President Obama said in a video released first on Twitter and Facebook. “It gives you a sense of how hungry people were for affordable and accessible health insurance,” he added.”



California Fails To Hit Obamacare Enrollment Goal

“The country’s most populous state isn’t pulling its weight in sign-ups for Obamacare enrollment this year. California officials said Tuesday the exchange had 1.4 million people sign up for health coverage so far, falling short of its goal of 1.7 million. More may sign up in the next several days, however — like the federal government and most other states, California extended open enrollment past Sunday’s deadline. Those who started to sign up before last Sunday’s deadline initially had until Feb. 20 to complete enrollment, so long as they go through a certified enrollment counselor or insurance agent, but the exchange pushed the deadline back again on Tuesday to Feb. 22 to match the federal government’s enrollment extension. Of last year’s 1.2 million enrollees, 944,000 people had their coverage renewed for Obamacare’s second year — many due to California’s autoenrollment policy, which automatically signed up all of last year’s customers that didn’t actively cancel their coverage or qualify for Medicaid. Covered California director Peter Lee said this year’s lower-than-expected enrollment total is partially due to the exchange’s projections for how many people would sign up for coverage again was too high. Lee explained the disparity by arguing that Californians were getting health coverage at new jobs or through Medicaid, which California expanded under the health care law.”



California falls short of ObamaCare sign-up goal

“California has enrolled 1.4 million people through its ObamaCare insurance marketplace, the state announced Tuesday, falling short of its goal of 1.7 million. The announcement follows the passing of Sunday’s deadline to sign up for ObamaCare. However, the story is not completely finished, as California, like the federally run exchanges in roughly three dozen other states, has extended the deadline until next Sunday for people who have started an application but did not finish it. The 1.4 million people includes 474,000 who are new enrollments and did not have insurance through the exchange last year. The goal had been 500,000 new enrollments, and officials say they expect to beat that number by Sunday. Peter Lee, the executive director of the state’s marketplace, praised the sign-up number despite falling short of the goal, saying 1.4 million is “a huge number, a number we’re proud of.” “What we saw over the last week was incredible momentum that peaked with over 36,000 people enrolling on Sunday alone,” Lee said.”



Covered California cuts a little slack on enrollment deadline



Some Floridians Get Another Week To Buy Health Insurance



Obamacare enrollment deadline gets winter weather extension

“First it was man-made website glitches, and now it’s Mother Nature’s wrath that have given Obamacare supporters the excuse to extend application deadlines in the second open enrollment for the health exchanges. Two northeastern states buried under winter’s assault pushed the Feb. 15 deadline back to Feb. 23, while officials in the District of Columbia on Tuesday delayed a special enrollment session by 24 hours after a snowstorm closed federal and city offices. Massachusetts, which has seen near-record snowfall this season, has closed state offices four times, resulting in reduced staffing at the state’s Obamacare exchange and long wait times at its call centers, even as potential enrollees put their lives on hold to dig themselves out and deal with kids home from school. “It’s all very time-consuming, and we thought it would be helpful to give people extra time to complete an application and get help if they need it,” Massachusetts Health Connector spokesman Jason Lefferts said. HealthSource Rhode Island announced a similar extension for customers who were prevented from signing up because of snow-related closures Sunday at enrollment centers in Providence and Warwick, the state’s largest cities. It’s not unprecedented for government agencies to grant deadline relief to Americans reeling from acts of God.”



Dems want special ObamaCare enrollment period

“A group of Democratic senators is calling on the Obama administration to offer the public another chance to sign up for ObamaCare, in an effort to help people avoid paying penalties for lacking insurance.  The 11 lawmakers, led by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), wrote to Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell to encourage the creation of a special enrollment period around tax season. They argue that many Americans won’t realize they will have to pay a penalty under the law for not having insurance until they get around to filing their taxes. If there is no extra enrollment period, they will be unable to sign up at that point, because the enrollment deadline already passed, on Sunday.  “Such a special enrollment period would increase coverage in affordable private health insurance and reduce the costs that the uninsured pass along to the insured,” the senators wrote. “We are confident that this special enrollment period would build on the success of the law by allowing even more uninsured Americans to benefit from the health and financial security provided by the Affordable Care Act.” A Harris poll in September found that 46 percent of uninsured people were unaware of the mandate to buy insurance.”



Administration weighs special ObamaCare enrollment period

“The Obama administration is closely considering whether to give the public another chance to sign up for ObamaCare after the deadline, as calls from allies grow for a special enrollment period. The Department of Health and Human Services says it is weighing whether to allow an enrollment period around tax filing season. Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said on Friday that the decision would come within two weeks. Proponents say that many people will not realize until tax-filing time that they have to pay a penalty for not having health insurance. Without an extra enrollment period, they would be unable to sign up at that point, because the deadline passed on Sunday. HHS officials had previously said that they were focused on signing up people before the Feb. 15 deadline. Now that the date has come and gone, the possibility of an extra period is gaining attention. This week, 10 Democratic senators, along with Independent Sen. Angus King (Maine) released a letter to Burwell calling on the administration to create the extra period.”



ObamaCare exchanges weigh extending deadline for insurance sign-ups

“Washington state on Monday became the first state to extend the sign-up deadline for health insurance until mid-April, allowing uninsured people to get health plans while filing their tax returns. Other states and the federal government’s HealthCare.gov insurance exchange, which serves 37 states, said they, too, are considering extending through the tax season the sign-up period that officially ended Sunday night. Washington state’s move followed short-term extensions of a few days to a week by a number of state insurance exchanges as well as HealthCare.gov, for reasons including harsh winter weather in some regions and a technical glitch that sidelined some consumers on Saturday. Some states said they would allow consumers who hadn’t completed applications by Sunday to finish them but didn’t stipulate a cutoff date. Washington state said it extended its deadline until April 17 for residents who hadn’t realized they would face tax penalties under the Affordable Care Act for going without insurance in 2014 and 2015…”



Enrollment Period for Health Insurance Ends; Now the Tax Penalties Start

“The Affordable Care Act’s second open enrollment period ended on Sunday. Well, almost. Some computer problems over the weekend have led the administration to give a one-week extension to people who tried and failed to sign up. But its tax penalty season has just begun. For people who didn’t sign up for coverage last year, and didn’t qualify for a special exemption, the consequences are starting to become clear. As people file their taxes, people who remained uninsured will be hit with penalties of either $95 or 1 percent of their income — whichever is higher. Those fines rise for people who don’t sign up this year, though they won’t feel the pain of that decision until next year. The tax penalties are a key feature of the law, devised as an extra encouragement for reluctant people to enroll in health insurance before they become sick. But awareness remains low among the uninsured, about both signup deadlines and the penalties. For those who know the trade-offs, the mismatch between the sign-up period and the penalty period doesn’t matter much. But for people who don’t understand how Obamacare works, unpleasant surprises are likely. Say you didn’t buy insurance last year, because you missed the deadline or you were unaware that subsidies would help make it affordable. You let this year’s enrollment period slide by for similar reasons. Only after it’s too late to sign up will you learn that you’ve been hit with a hefty fine for last year and will face a bigger one for next year…”



Democrats are bracing for another Obamacare backlash

“The Obamacare window technically just closed this weekend, but a new round of political headaches could just be beginning for the administration. That’s because it’s tax season, and many Americans could soon be getting an unwelcome surprise that they owe the government a penalty for skipping health insurance coverage. Up to 6 million Americans are expected to pay a penalty for not having coverage in 2014, according to recent Obama administration projections. The 2014 penalty for this tax season is $95, or 1 percent of family income — purposefully on the weaker side to let people adjust to this new coverage scheme. Most of the uninsured won’t actually face the penalty because they’ll qualify for an exemption, either related to their inability to afford coverage or some other hardship. But it’s likely that a lot of people who will have to pay don’t know it yet. Despite the unpopularity of the individual mandate and the high-stakes Supreme Court case over it three years ago, there’s still limited awareness of the penalty among those who could risk triggering it. Nearly half of uninsured Americans weren’t aware of the penalty, and almost as many don’t realize the law offers financial help to purchase coverage, according to a Harris Poll survey in the fall. That means millions of people won’t learn they’ll have to pay the penalty until they file taxes this year, and at that point, it will have been too late to buy 2015 coverage since the enrollment deadline was Feb. 15. The minimum individual mandate penalty more than triples this year, rising to $325, or to 2 percent of income…”



How Many Obamacare Taxes Are There?

“The Affordable Care Act is looking more and more burdensome to millions of Americans hunched over their tax returns. So just how many Obamacare taxes are there? It depends how you count, and we’ll come back to that question. First, let’s note the obvious. This has already been a bad tax season opener, with new and widespread fears about tax fraud and identity theft. Tax filing season arrived with a bang, and now the FBI is investigating fraudulent tax returns filed through TurboTax. Some taxpayers claim their federal refunds are in jeopardy. Taxpayers interviewed about fraudulent tax filings said their IRS data was compromised and returns were filed in their names. Some speculate the fraudulent returns were based on leaks of their 2013 tax return data. In past years, it seemed stressful to collect W-2s and 1099s, and discover you are missing a Form 1099 or K-1. This year makes the usual stresses seem like the good old days… For that ‘how many taxes’ question, it depends how you count and what you regard as a tax. But here’s my tally:

–2.3% Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers (this doesn’t hit you directly, but indirectly it sure can).

–3.8% Net Investment Income Tax. This one is a big one. Depending on your income, it adds a 3.8% tax on top of your interest, dividends and capital gains.

–Employer Mandate on business with over 50 full-time equivalent employees to provide health insurance to full-time employees. $2000 per employee $3000 if employee uses tax credits to buy insurance on the exchange.

–40% Excise Tax on high-end (Cadillac) Health Insurance Plans (40% excise tax on the portion of employer-sponsored health coverage that exceeds $10,200 a year and $27,500 for families).

–Medical Deduction Threshold tax increase (threshold to deduct medical expenses as an itemized deduction increases to 10% from 7.5%).

–Individual Mandate (a tax for not purchasing insurance, though the tax penalty is called a Shared Responsibility Payment, the greater of 1% of your income above the filing threshold of $10,150 for singles and $20,300 for married couples filing jointly or $95 per adult ($47.50 per child), with a maximum of $285 for a family, whichever is higher. It goes up in 2015.

–Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals which fail to comply with the requirements of ObamaCare.

–Elimination of tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D.

–Medicare Part A Tax increase of .9% over $200k/$250k.

–An annual $63 fee levied by ObamaCare on all plans (decreased each year until 2017 when pre-existing conditions are eliminated) to help pay for insurance companies covering the costs of high-risk pools.

–Medicine Cabinet Tax (over the counter medicines no longer qualify as medical expenses for flexible spending accounts (FSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), health savings accounts (HSAs), and Archer Medical Saving accounts (MSAs).

–Additional Tax on HSA/MSA Distributions

–Health savings accounts or Archer medical savings accounts, penalties for non-qualified medical expenses of 10% to 20% in the case of a HSA and from 15% to 20% for an MSA.”



Access to Obamacare isn’t the same as access to healthcare

“With the administration subsidizing insurance for millions, let’s remember there’s a difference between health insurance and healthcare access.The second annual open enrollment period for Obamacare has officially concluded, though in typical fashion, the supposedly hard deadline of Feb. 15 has been extended for those who claim to have had trouble enrolling due to long waits and a technical glitch as the deadline approached. With the administration declaring victory because the law is now subsidizing health insurance for millions of Americans, it’s a good opportunity for a reminder that there’s an important distinction between health insurance and healthcare access. Obamacare expands insurance coverage in two main ways — by broadening eligibility for Medicaid and by providing subsidies for individuals to purchase insurance on government-run exchanges. But just because new enrollees have something that can be called health insurance, it doesn’t mean they can rely on it when they want to see their preferred doctor or local hospital…”



A Few More Arguments Against Obamacare



Hillary Clinton: Save the Children — from Obamacare

“That’s not the headline on her New York Times op-ed with Bill Frist, but that’s what her message boils down to. Congress should increase funding for the children’s health insurance program, they write, because–well, they’re a little vague about just why so many families will face “higher costs,” “fewer health care benefits,” and so forth. The answer is that two of the methods by which Obamacare attempts to control costs are 1) not funding the children’s program past this year and 2) withholding premium subsidies from a lot of families. This second feature of the law is often called the “family glitch.” Republicans are willing to extend funding for the children’s insurance program but want to reduce the percentage of the program that the federal government funds. Democrats (and Bill Frist) want to spend $10 billion more on the program to avoid cutting the match rate; they are not suggesting ways to pay for it. The Congressional Budget Office has told Republicans on the Hill that spending the extra money will not increase coverage rates.”



Abbott takes strong stand against ObamaCare in first year

“Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is taking a strong stand against ObamaCare about two months after reports surfaced that he was mulling an expansion of Medicaid under the law. Abbott made it clear Tuesday that Texas would not be accept new federal dollars for Medicaid expansion, which has become the most controversial pieces of ObamaCare for state leaders. “Medicaid is broken and on a path to bankruptcy, which is why Texas cannot expand Medicaid coverage under Obamacare,” the Republican governor wrote in his budget proposal released Tuesday. Abbott, who replaced longtime ObamaCare foe Gov. Rick Perry this year, is reaffirming his stance as one of the strongest opponents of ObamaCare.”



Gov. Walker faces growing pressure over Medicaid expansion

“Wisconsin could save $400 million over two years if state officials agree to expand Medicaid, raising pressure on Republican Gov. Scott Walker to move forward with the politically divisive ObamaCare policy. The estimates released Tuesday indicate that Wisconsin could benefit even more than expected from the Medicaid expansion, according to research from the state’s budget office. The new figures – which are $84 million more than an estimate last fall – come at a crucial time for Walker, who has adamantly refused to expand the federal program but now faces a $2 billion budget hole. The Wisconsin legislature is just beginning to dive into a debate over the state’s budget, of which healthcare spending eats up a growing portion.

Democratic lawmakers launched an effort Monday to move forward with Medicaid expansion, which would cover all adults under the age of 65 living at or below 133 percent of the poverty level. It would be based off the model recently approved by Iowa’s Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, which required approval from the Obama administration because it veers slightly from federal guidelines for expansion. Wisconsin’s budget office estimated that 152,000 people would be added to Medicaid’s rolls under the expansion, 12 percent more than its last estimate in August – which would mean a total of $1.2 billion in matching dollars from the federal government.”



Alexander Hamilton, Statutory Construction, and King v. Burwell



If administration loses looming Supreme Court case on ObamaCare, what’s next?





U.S. Expects to Quadruple the Number of Syrian Refugees Brought Here

“The United States has “a long tradition of welcoming refugees,” and it expects to welcome thousands more of them from Syria in 2015 and 2016, despite concerns about foreign fighters, the State Department said. “The United States has admitted 524 Syrians since 2011. We’re likely to admit 1,000 to 2,000 Syrian refugees for permanent resettlement in Fiscal Year 2015 and a somewhat higher number, though still in the low thousands, in Fiscal Year 2016,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters on Friday. But at a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee last week, Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) said it would be a “huge mistake” to bring refugees from Syria and Turkey into the United States where they “could potentially be radicalized.” Psaki told reporters on Friday that national security “is absolutely a priority” in the decision to admit refugees….”




‘Barbarians are at the gate,’ says congressman

“A senior FBI official has admitted the United States is finding it virtually impossible to screen out terrorists that could be hiding among the thousands of Syrian “refugees” heading soon to American cities. The U.S. simply does not have the resources to stop Islamic radicals in Syria from slipping into the country through the State Department’s refugee-resettlement program, said Michael Steinbach, deputy assistant director of the FBI’s counter terrorism unit. Separating legitimate refugees from terrorists was difficult enough in Iraq, where the U.S. had a large occupation force. Even then, the U.S. government’s vetting process missed “dozens” of Iraqi jihadists who slipped into the country posing as refugees and took up residence in Kentucky, according to a November 2013 ABC News report. In Syria, the challenges are much greater. That’s why Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, held hearings this week on the process of vetting refugees and sent a letter to the White House voicing the committee’s “serious national security concerns.” “We learned our lessons with the Iraqi refugee population. We put in place a USIK-wide background and vetting process that we found to be effective,” Steinbach told the committee Wednesday. “The difference is that in Iraq we were there on the ground collecting (information), so we had databases to use,” he added. “The concern is that in Syria, the lack of our footprint on the ground in Syria, the databases won’t have the information we need. So it’s not that we have a lack of a process, it’s that there is a lack the information.” Separating the wheat from the tares – Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., asked Steinbach if he could suggest ways to go about getting this vital background information that would separate legitimate refugees from those who may be seeking to enter the U.S. to harm Americans. “I just don’t think you can go and get it,” Steinbach said. “You’re talking about a country that’s a failed state, does not have any infrastructure so to speak. So all the data sets, the police, the intel services, that you would normally go to and seek that information, don’t exist.” “And that obviously raises a grave concern of being able to do proper background checks on individuals coming into the country?” Katko asked. “Yes,” Steinbach responded.”



U.S. Congress questions plan to admit Syrian refugees



US Officials Admit Concern Over Syrian Refugee Effort



Judge Napolitano: Obama Executive Amnesty ‘Absolutely Dead’ After Texas Judge Blockade

“Reacting on “The Kelly File” Tuesday to a federal judge’s blocking of President Obama’s executive action on immigration, which was set to award work permits to four million illegals, Judge Andrew Napolitano called the court’s decision “devastating” for the Obama administration’s agenda. Napolitano also told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly that “the Obama amnesty plan is dead,” explaining that he does not believe that the conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will interfere with the federal judge’s decision. The Fox News judicial analyst added that the Supreme Court will probably not take up the case.  “This is devastating for the administration,” Napolitano said. “This is a preliminary injunction which means the court viewed the court’s documents and challenger’s documents…and he made two conclusions. 1) At the end of the case, the challengers will probably prevail, meaning the president probably overstepped his bounds and he has ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create new law. “And 2) if he does not impose the temporary restraints that he imposed last night, actually, irreparable harm will be visited upon the 26 states,” Napolitano explained. “In my opinion, the Obama amnesty plan is dead. Absolutely dead,” Napolitano told Kelly. “I don’t think the appeals court will interfere with this decision, And I think it will take this trial judge for the duration of President Obama’s term to rule on this with finality.”






Texas Gov. Greg Abbott: ‘Federal Judge Just Granted My Request to Halt Obama’s Executive Amnesty Order Nationwide’

“Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Monday night that a federal judge has “granted” his request to “halt” President Barack Obama’s “Executive Amnesty Order” across the country. Time reporter Zeke Miller later published the temporary injunction order handed down by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas online. The order of temporary injunction states: “The reasons for this injunction are set out in detail in the accompanying Memorandum Opinion and Order, but, to summarize, it is due to the failure of the Defendants to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act.” The order continues: “The Court having found that at lest one Plaintiff has satisfied all the necessary elements to maintain a lawsuit and to obtain a Temporary Injunction hereby grants the Motion for Temporary Injunction. … The United States of America, its departments, agencies, officers, agents and employees…are hereby enjoined from implementing any and all aspects or phases of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (“DAPA”) program as set out in the Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson’s memorandum dated November 20, 2014 (“DAPA Memorandum”), pending a final resolution of the merits of this case or until a further order of this Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit or the United States Supreme Court.” Read the entire temporary injunction order below:…”



Federal judge stalls Obama’s executive action on immigration

“In a memorandum accompanying his order, Hanen said the lawsuit should go forward and that the states would “suffer irreparable harm in this case” without a preliminary injunction. “The genie would be impossible to put back into the bottle,” he wrote, adding that he agreed that legalizing the presence of millions of people is a “virtually irreversible” action. In a statement early Tuesday, the White House defended the executive orders issued in November as within the president’s legal authority, saying the U.S. Supreme Court and Congress have said federal officials can establish priorities in enforcing immigration laws. The White House said the U.S. Department of Justice will file an appeal, which will be heard by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department was reviewing the ruling and was confident the matter would ultimately be taken up by a higher court, possibly the U.S. Supreme Court. “We have to look at this decision for what it is: It is a decision by one federal district court judge,” Holder said. The first of Obama’s orders – to expand a program that protects young immigrants from deportation if they were brought to the U.S. illegally as children – was set to start taking effect Wednesday. The other major part of Obama’s order, which extends deportation protections to parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have been in the country for some years, was not expected to begin until May 19. Joaquin Guerra, political director of Texas Organizing Project, called the ruling a “temporary setback.” “We will continue getting immigrants ready to apply for administrative relief,” he said in a statement. The nonprofit says it promotes social and economic equality for low to moderate income Texans. The coalition of states, led by Texas and made up of mostly conservative states in the South and Midwest, argues that Obama has violated the “Take Care Clause” of the U.S. Constitution, which they say limits the scope of presidential power, and that his executive actions would be difficult to undo once immigrants started to apply for deferred action. They also say Obama’s order would force increased investment in law enforcement, health care and education. House Speaker John Boehner said Monday’s ruling wasn’t a surprise and underscores that Obama acted beyond his authority. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell echoed the sentiments, adding that Obama has repeatedly acknowledged “he doesn’t have the authority to take the kinds of actions he once referred to as ‘ignoring the law’ and ‘unwise and unfair.’” Both called on Senate Democrats to relent in their opposition to a Homeland Security Department spending bill that overturns Obama’s action. The department’s funding expires Feb. 27 and Congress has only a few legislative days to act.”



Federal judge in Texas blocks Obama immigration orders



Federal Judge Blocks Obama’s Amnesty

“…The late-night injunction will scramble the Senate’s immigration stand-off, and could help conservative Republicans push confident Democrats on the defensive — if it is not quickly reversed by appeals court judges. The lawsuit was filed by 26 states, and is expected to be decided by the Supreme Court in 2016. “President Obama abdicated his responsibility to uphold the United States Constitution when he attempted to circumvent the laws passed by Congress via executive fiat, and Judge Hanen’s decision rightly stops the president’s overreach in its tracks,” reads a statement from Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. “We live in a nation governed by a system of checks and balances, and the president’s attempt to bypass the will of the American people was successfully checked today,” he continued. The 123-page judgment ruled that Obama’s November amnesty violated the Administrative Procedure Act by ignoring Congress’s laws. The amnesty also improperly imposed burdens on the states, ruled Judge Andrew S. Hanen, of the Federal District Court in Brownsville. ”The court finds that the government’s failure to secure the border has exacerbated illegal immigration into this country. … The record supports the finding that this lack of enforcement, combined with the country’s high rate of illegal immigration, significantly drains the states’ resources.” Hanen was nominated in 2002 by then-President George W. Bush. The injunction is needed, Hanen declared, to stall the amnesty while the lawsuit is debated by various appeals courts. “The court agrees … any subsequent ruling that finds DAPA unlawful after it is implemented would result in the states facing the substantially difficult — if not impossible — task of retracting benefits or licenses already provided” to beneficiaries, he wrote. Obama’s executive order is intended to award work permits, tax rebates, Social Security cards, and a quick route to citizenship to four million of the 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States. The process would have helped the four million — and their children and spouses — gain deeper roots in the United States.  The Department of Homeland Security was supposed to begin the amnesty process on Feb. 18. The decision also blocked Obama’s announced expansion of his 2012 policy of awarding work permits to younger illegal immigrants. So far, Obama’s 2012 amnesty has allowed almost 700,000 illegals to compete against Americans for jobs in a lagging economy. But the judge’s decision didn’t reverse Obama’s effort to largely end repatriation of illegal immigrants. The decision “does not enjoin or impair the [Department of Homeland Security] secretary’s ability to marshal his assets or deploy the resources of the DHS,” wrote the judge. The judge’s decision could scramble the political standoff over the 2015 budget for the DHS….”




Federal Judge in Texas Blocks President Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration

“A federal judge in Texas has blocked President Obama’s executive action on immigration, giving Texas and 25 other states time to pursue a lawsuit that aims to permanently stop the orders. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen’s decision comes after a hearing in Brownsville, Texas, in January and puts on hold Obama’s order, which could protect millions of immigrants who are here illegally from being deported. Hanen wrote in a memorandum accompanying his ruling that the lawsuit should go forward and that without a preliminary injunction the states will “suffer irreparable harm in this case.” “The genie would be impossible to put back into the bottle,” he wrote, adding that he agreed with the plaintiffs’ argument that legalizing the presence of millions of people is a “virtually irreversible” action. The ruling will remain in place until a trial before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. The White House released a statement Tuesday criticizing the judge’s decision. “The Supreme Court and Congress have made clear that the federal government can set priorities in enforcing our immigration laws—which is exactly what the President did when he announced commonsense policies to help fix our broken immigration system. Those policies are consistent with the laws passed by Congress and decisions of the Supreme Court, as well as five decades of precedent by presidents of both parties who have used their authority to set priorities in enforcing our immigration laws,” the statement reads. “The Department of Justice, legal scholars, immigration experts, and the district court in Washington, D.C. have determined that the President’s actions are well within his legal authority. Top law enforcement officials, along with state and local leaders across the country, have emphasized that these policies will also benefit the economy and help keep communities safe. The district court’s decision wrongly prevents these lawful, commonsense policies from taking effect and the Department of Justice has indicated that it will appeal that decision.” Cesar Vargas and Erika Andiola, co-directors of the Dream Action Coalition, a political and lobbying voice in immigration issues, also issued a statement saying they weren’t surprised by the judge’s decision. “The injunction is clearly based more on politics than law, and is now part of an aggressive effort by the rightward fringe of the GOP to scare Dreamers and parents from applying,” the statement reads. “Nevertheless, we will not let this temporary obstacle stop us from holding forums, encouraging people to collect their paperwork and eventually apply; this injunction is only temporary after all.” The first of Obama’s orders protecting young undocumented immigrants was set to start taking effect Wednesday.”



Judge orders halt to Obama immigration plan



Federal judge blocks Obama’s executive action on immigration



Judge blocks Obama’s immigration moves, for now



Court issues injunction against administration’s immigration policies

“Although the court sided with the states, the court did not declare the substance of the policy itself unlawful — at least not yet.  According to the lengthy ruling by Judge Andrew Hanen, the administration failed to comply with the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act.  According to Judge Hanen, the policy announced and detailed in the November 2014 memorandum issued by the Secretary of Homeland Security was a substantive rule subject to the procedural requirements of the APA; procedural requirements the administration did not follow.  In other words, the court rejected the administration’s claim that its expansion of the populations eligible for deferred action was an unreviewable exercise of enforcement discretion.  Although Judge Hanen rejected some of the administration’s claims of executive authority, he did not reach the broader statutory or constitutional issues underlying the states’ complaint. When the administration first announced this policy, many speculated that it would be difficult to find plaintiffs who had standing to challenge the immigration policy reforms.  This had been my initial thought as well.  Judge Hanen had little difficulty finding that at least one of the plaintiff states (Texas) had standing, however.  Specifically, Judge Hanen noted that the new policy would impose costs on Texas by, among other things, increasing the number of people eligible to apply for various state benefits and privileges, such as driver’s licenses.  Such costs, Judge Hanen concluded, were sufficient to establish standing for Texas…”



Obama’s Immigration Rebuke

A federal court says he can’t rewrite the law by himself.



Federal Judge Blocks Implementation of Obama’s Executive Amnesty, For Now

“…Whatever the final decision is, this ruling should a bit of ammunition for Republicans who are currently trying to force some Democrats into agreeing to a government-funding bill in Congress that blocks the implementation of the order, which many Democrats once opposed. Such an injunction isn’t granted unless the judge feels the plaintiffs have “a substantial likelihood of success on the merits.” Hanen’s ruling offers analysis of whether the states have standing to sue (on a number of grounds, he says they do), and whether they have a good chance at success. The basic argument from the states that Hanen favors isn’t one about constitutional improprieties (he doesn’t get to that question, which the states have raised); it’s that the Department of Homeland Security has effectively created a whole new program and procedure without following any of the legally necessary steps. The Obama administration’s use of deferred action amounts to new rulemaking, Hanen suggests, because there’s so little evidence that the system, based on DACA, involves case-by-case discretion, as the feds claim it does. Josh Blackman, a professor at the South Texas College of Law who’s written about the executive-amnesty issue for NR, has analysis of the full ruling here. The ruling is certainly exciting for those who were troubled by the president’s actions, but a few reasons why not to get too excited:

–The Fifth Circuit, the federal-court region that includes Texas, could stay the injunction relatively soon, though, allowing the granting of legal status to go forward. (Although the program could, in theory, eventually still be struck down.)

–Hanen is not necessarily anything but a mainstream judge, but he is a Bush appointee who, the Times notes, has a record of hawkish immigration opinions. That has no bearing on the logic of his decision, but it might suggest other judges won’t necessarily agree with Hanen’s reasoning.

–Whether states even have the right to challenge the president’s action isn’t entirely clear, partly because immigration enforcement is almost exclusively a federal domain. Attorney Ian Smith laid out the states’ case for standing on NRO here. Congressional Republicans have said they’d like to challenge the president’s order in court, too; their case for standing is considered more far-fetched. On the upside, the judge’s decision in Texas grants standing to the states on multiple grounds where they argue they have it, though not all of them.

–Relatedly, courts are just pretty deferential when it comes to fights between the other two branches. Hanen’s ruling notes this repeatedly, maintaining that in order for the courts to halt the executive branch, it has to be actively, affirmatively doing something unauthorized, rather than just overstepping its bounds or abdicating its powers.

–An Obama-appointed federal judge ruled in December that Sheriff Joe Arpaio didn’t have standing to sue over the president’s actions — a different case, for sure, but not entirely separate, since the 26 states involved in this case are alleging that legalized immigrants pose a law-enforcement threat, as Arpaio argued, too. The other case that has gone against Obama on this issue, a Pennsylvania federal judge’s ruling that the amnesty is unconstitutional, has been considered flimsy and overreaching; Blackman notes that Hanen’s decision is much better reasoned.​

The lawsuit just challenges the executive action announced in November, which offers “deferred action” status, a form of theoretically temporary legal residency and work authorization, to illegal immigrants with specific ties to the U.S. — the parents of citizens, etc. The categories in all add up to 4 to 5 million eligible illegal aliens.”



Texas District Court Enjoins Immigration Nonenforcement Order



Obama’s Amnesty Hits a Legal Roadblock

If a Texas judge’s temporary stay against it is upheld, it could be headed to the Supreme Court.



Federal judge temporarily blocks Obama’s immigration executive action



Federal judge temporarily blocks Obama’s executive amnesty



Why Obama’s Immigration Order Was Blocked

The injunction isn’t about prosecutorial discretion. It is about granting illegal aliens benefits not allowed by law.



Judge cites executive overreach, burden on states in halting Obama amnesty

“Judge Andrew S. Hanen ruled that President Obama’s policies have left the border less secure and invited illegal immigrants into the U.S., but the judge said it was the administration’s own attempts at slicing and dicing convoluted immigration laws that left him with no choice but to halt the president’s deportation amnesty. The 123-page ruling, issued late Monday, did not reach the weighty constitutional issues that congressional Republicans were seeking. Judge Hanen instead ruled that he never needed to decide on those matters because he was able to conclude that Mr. Obama broke a regular law, the Administrative Procedures Act, by creating a major policy without following all the steps for public review and comment. Just as critical, Judge Hanen ruled that Texas and more than two dozen other states had standing to bring the lawsuit in the first place because of the burdens they would face, including millions of dollars spent issuing driver’s licenses and other public benefits to illegal immigrants. Without standing, the entire case would have been moot….”



Texas Judge Uses Liberal Supreme Court Rulings To Block Obama’s Immigration Plans

“The federal judge in Texas who blocked President Obama’s plans to grant residency status to millions of illegal immigrants laced his 123-page ruling with citations to U.S. Supreme Court decisions that upheld cherished liberal positions, including the rights of states to be free from the effects of global warming and the rejection of Arizona’s attempt to enforce immigration laws. In his order, U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen cites Massachusetts vs. EPA, for example, the 2007 decision giving states the right to sue the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to treat atmospheric carbon as “pollution.” The 27 states suing over the White House’s immigration policy say they will be forced to expend additional tax dollars to accommodate illegal immigrants because of the government’s refusal to enforce the law; in Massachusetts vs. EPA, coastal states argued they would bear the brunt of global warming if the EPA refused to regulate carbon emissions. “No matter how one reads Massachusetts vs. EPA, it strengthens the conclusion that the States do have standing to sue for direct damages,” wrote Hanen, a George W. Bush appointee. He nevertheless said he was skeptical they could win on that basis alone. One of the most prominent citations is Plyler v. Doe, a 1982 chestnut from the pen of Justice William J. Brennan that struck down a Texas law prohibiting illegal aliens from attending public schools. In that decision, Brennan and the court’s four other liberals traced a path through a thicket of precedent that seemed to work against them, including decisions that refused to uphold a constitutional right to public education, refused to award federal benefits like Medicare and food stamps to illegal aliens, and even upheld higher college tuition charges for out-of-state residents. While none of those constituted violations of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, the Brennan court held it was unconstitutional to bar children without U.S. citizenship from public school. The court’s then-minority conservative wing, led by Justice Warren Burger, rebelled at the stretching of civil-rights law to include children whose parents transported them illegally into the country. “The Constitution does not provide a cure for every social ill, nor does it vest judges with a mandate to try to remedy every social problem,” Burger wrote then, but he was on the losing side. And under Plyler, Texas is definitely responsible for the cost of educating the children of illegal aliens…”



Judge who blocked immigration action had criticized policy

“The federal judge in South Texas who temporarily blocked President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration once accused the Obama administration of participating in criminal conspiracies to smuggle children into the U.S. by helping reunite them with parents who live here illegally. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, who regularly handles border cases but wasn’t known for being outspoken on immigration until that previous case, on Monday granted a request by a coalition of 26 states led by Texas to block Obama’s action on immigration while a lawsuit to permanently stop the order goes through the courts. Obama’s executive action could spare from deportation as many as 5 million people who are in the U.S. illegally. Hanen, who’s been on the federal court since 2002 after being nominated by President George W. Bush, spent several years handling the federal government’s land condemnation cases to build the border fence, many times compelling government lawyers to slow down and take necessary procedural steps. He expressed frustration, however, in a December 2013 order in an immigrant-smuggling case that he’d had four situations in a month in which children who arrived in the U.S. illegally alone were reunited with parents who were themselves in the country illegally. Hanen sentenced a smuggler to 10 months in prison in that case but saved his most withering words for the U.S. government for not arresting and deporting the mother who hired the smuggler to get her 10-year-old daughter into the U.S. from El Salvador. The government has generally been temporarily reuniting such children with their relatives inside the United States pending deportation proceedings. “Instead of arresting (the child’s mother) for instigating the conspiracy to violate our border security laws, the (Homeland Security Department) delivered the child to her – thus successfully completing the mission of the criminal conspiracy,” Hanen wrote.”



Obama disagrees with judge’s ruling on immigration plan

“President Obama said Tuesday he disagrees with a Texas judge’s ruling that he exceeded his authority with his immigration actions last year and that his administration will appeal. “The law is on our side and history is on our side,” Obama told reporters in the Oval Office, saying his actions to defer deportations for potentially millions of migrants will improve a broken immigration system. Until an appeal is decided, however, the administration is suspending its plans to allow undocumented immigrants to apply for legal status, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said. “In the meantime, we recognize we must comply with” the ruling, he said. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen’s decision late Monday blocked implementation of Obama’s policy that would have granted legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants, allowing them to get driver’s licenses, work permits and other government benefits. Hanen’s ruling late Monday came just as one of those executive actions was set to take effect Wednesday. That’s when an estimated 300,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the United States before age 16 — and who have lived in the United States since 2010 — were eligible to apply for legal status. Another 4 million or more who came to the United States as adults would become eligible in May. Hanen issued a preliminary injunction blocking those programs, which were part of a series of executive actions on immigration Obama announced last November. Other parts of those executive actions are not affected by the ruling. The 2012 program to legalize immigrants who arrived in childhood will continue, and Homeland Security will still defer the deportation of undocumented immigrants considered a low priority by the administration. A visa modernization initiative will continue….”



Obama rips immigration ruling

“President Obama cited both history and the law as being on his side Tuesday as he criticized a federal judge’s ruling that temporarily halts his executive action which spares 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation. Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, the president said, “I disagree with the Texas judge’s ruling. The Justice Department will appeal. This is not the first time where a lower court judge has blocked something … that was shown to be lawful.” U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in a ruling late Monday effectively put Obama’s latest immigration action on hold, saying the president’s unilateral action should not go forward until a lawsuit filed by Republican attorneys general is heard. The Obama administration already announced that it would not accept certain applications for deportation relief on Wednesday, as scheduled. The president remained defiant Tuesday in the face of the judicial setback. “I disagree with [the judge’s ruling]. I think the law is on our side. And history is on our side,” he said…”



Federal judge halts Obama amnesty; White House to appeal

“A federal judge late Monday halted President Obama’s deportation amnesty, ruling he overstepped his powers in trying to grant legal status and “benefits and privileges” to millions of illegal immigrants, in a stunning decision that chides the president and throws the White House’s plans into disarray just a day before applications were to be accepted. The White House said it will appeal Judge Andrew S. Hanen’s decision, but it’s unclear whether the case could reach the circuit court in New Orleans or even the Supreme Court before Wednesday, which is when the Homeland Security Department had planned to begin accepting the first applications under the new amnesty. “The DHS was not given any ‘discretion by law’ to give 4.3 million removable aliens what the DHS itself labels as ‘legal presence,’ ” Judge Hanen wrote in issuing an injunction. “In fact, the law mandates that these illegally-present individuals be removed. The DHS has adopted a new rule that substantially changes both the status and employability of millions. These changes go beyond mere enforcement or even non-enforcement of this nation’s immigration scheme.”



US to appeal ruling blocking Obama immigration plan

“The Justice Department will appeal a federal judge’s ruling that temporarily blocked President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration, the White House said Tuesday. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Texas issued a temporary injunction, giving a coalition of 26 states time to pursue a lawsuit that aims to permanently stop the orders. The ruling puts on hold Obama’s orders that could spare more than 4 million people who are in the U.S. illegally from deportation. In a statement, the White House said Monday’s ruling “wrongly prevents” the president’s “lawful, commonsense policies” from taking effect. The Justice Department, legal scholars, immigration experts and the federal district court in Washington have determined that Obama’s actions are well within his legal authority, the White House said. The first of Obama’s orders – to expand a program that protects young immigrants from deportation if they were brought to the U.S. illegally as children – was set to start taking effect Wednesday. The other major part of Obama’s order, which extends deportation protections to parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have been in the country for some years, was not expected to begin until May 19…”



Obama Admin. Will Appeal Federal Judge Ruling Blocking Immigration Executive Action



WH weighs emergency request to block judge’s immigration ruling

“The White House is weighing its legal response to a federal judge’s decision to block President Obama’s unilateral moves on immigration, including the option of asking a separate court to nullify the ruling, a top official said Tuesday. Administration officials, who have vowed to appeal the decision, may ask an appellate court to issue an emergency order undoing Monday’s decision by U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen to halt Obama’s executive actions, said Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. If the court granted such an emergency stay it would allow the new immigration programs to proceed while the courts weigh a final verdict on the state lawsuits filed against them. Munoz said officials will decide whether to request an emergency stay “in the next couple of days.” “The DOJ has already determined that it will appeal. It’s going to determine within the next couple of days any additional steps that they might take, that could include a stay, but they haven’t made that determination,” Muñoz said on a conference call with reporters. “They will do it shortly.” The comments come as defiant White House officials are downplaying Hanen’s decision, saying the executive actions will ultimately overcome the legal challenges to the benefit of millions of undocumented immigrants. The officials emphasized that the administration will comply with the decision by delaying the launch of the programs in question, but vowed they’ll be prepared to push forward after the legal fight is resolved – a fight they’re confident they’ll win. “At the end of the day, we expect to prevail legally and we expect that this will be a successful process,” said Muñoz.  White House spokesman Josh Earnest said legal experts “were not surprised” that Hanen, a long-time critic of the administration’s immigration policies, ruled to block Obama’s unilateral move halting deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants. “This is something that we are prepared for,” Earnest said. “And we have a very good track record in dealing with these kinds of rulings and ensuring that we pursue a legal strategy that will allow this to be implemented.” The legal challenge, filed by Texas and 25 other states, came in response to two new administration programs launched by Obama in November. The first, known as DAPA, would halt deportations and offer work permits to the parents of U.S. citizens and permanent legal residents. The second would expand Obama’s 2012 program – the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative – to a greater number of undocumented immigrants brought to the country as kids….”



Obama: Law is ‘on our side’ in immigration debate

“President Obama downplayed Tuesday a judge’s ruling that invalidated his immigration executive action, saying “the law is on our side and history is on our side.” “This is not the first time where a lower court judge has blocked something or attempted to block something that ultimately is going to be lawful and I’m confident that it is well within my authority” to execute this policy, Mr. Obama told reporters during a meeting in the Oval Office. A federal judge in Texas late Monday halted the president’s temporary deportation amnesty, saying Mr. Obama overstepped his legal authority. The White House said it will appeal. Mr. Obama said deporting 11 million illegal immigrants is unrealistic, so this “is something that we that we necessarily have to make choices about.” The president also said he held off taking the action until the White House exhausted all possibilities of enacting comprehensive immigration reform with Congress. “With a new Congress my hope has been that they now get serious in solving the problem,” he said. “Instead, what we’ve had is a series of votes to kick out young people who have grown up here and who everybody recognizes are part of our community, and threats to defund the Department of Homeland Security which would make it even harder for us to protect our borders and keep our people safe.” Mr. Obama added: “My strong advice right now to Congress is, if they are seriously concerned about immigration, about our borders, about being able to keep criminals out of this country then what they should be doing is working together and working with the administration for a comprehensive immigration policy that allows us to be both a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.”



What Obama Administration Will and Won’t Do After the Federal Court Ruling Halting Immigration Action




“On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it will not accept new applications for President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty until the lawsuit against it is resolved. The day after a federal judge issued an injunction against Obama’s executive amnesty, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said though he “strongly” disagreed with the ruling, the Obama administration will comply with it. Illegal immigrants would have been eligible to apply for the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on Wednesday while Obama’s temporary amnesty program for the parents of U.S. citizens was set to go into effect later in the year. “The Department of Justice will appeal that temporary injunction; in the meantime, we recognize we must comply with it,” Johnson said in a statement. “Accordingly, the Department of Homeland Security will not begin accepting requests for the expansion of DACA tomorrow, February 18, as originally planned. Until further notice, we will also suspend the plan to accept requests for DAPA.” Johnson said he believed the Obama administration will “ultimately prevail in the courts, and we will be prepared to implement DAPA and expanded DACA once we do.” He noted that the court’s decision “does not affect the existing DACA” or renewals and does not “affect this Department’s ability to set and implement enforcement priorities.” Because of the Obama administration’s lax enforcement priorities, Judge Andrew Hanen noted in his opinion that “there is no reason to believe” illegal immigrants waiting for Obama’s executive amnesty will be deported. But he said it would be “virtually impossible” to put the executive amnesty genie back in the bottle if he did not issue an injunction and a court later determined Obama’s executive amnesty to be illegal or unconstitutional. “The situation is not such that individuals are currently considered ‘legally present’ and an injunction would remove that benefit; nor are potential beneficiaries of DAPA–who are under existing law illegally present–entitled to the benefit of legal presence such that this court’s ruling old interfere with individual rights,” Hanen reasoned. “It is far preferable to have the legality of these actions determined before the fates of over four million individuals are decided. An injunction is the only way to accomplish that goal.”



Feds halting preparations for challenged immigration program

“The Homeland Security Department will cease preparations for a program intended to protect millions of immigrants from deportation in the wake of a federal court ruling halting it, Secretary Jeh Johnson said Tuesday. Johnson said U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will stop working on plans to launch a program to protect parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents from deportation until further notice….”



DHS Secretary: Yeah, we have to put off our executive amnesty for now

“Looks like DHS will be a little less busy than planned tomorrow after all. The injunction issued by a federal court in Texas has blocked Barack Obama’s attempt at executive amnesty, and DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson says his office will not ignore the order: The Obama administration will not accept applications for legal status from undocumented immigrants on Wednesday after a federal judge in Texas blocked implementation of President Obama’s policy deferring the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said the administration would appeal the court ruling. “in the meantime, we recognize we must comply with it,” he said. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen’s ruling late Monday came just as one of those executive actions was set to take effect Wednesday. That’s the day an estimated 300,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the United States before age 16 — and who have lived in the United States since 2010 — were eligible to apply for legal status. Another 4 million or more who came to the United States as adults would become eligible in May…”



Immigration fight takes a surprise turn after judge blocks program

“The Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday suspended President Obama’s expansion of deportation deferrals, scrambling a congressional debate over how to prevent a shutdown of the agency late next week. The DHS put the brakes on Obama’s executive actions after a Texas federal judge issued a temporary injunction blocking the new program, which could shield up to 5 million immigrants from deportation. How the ruling ultimately affects the Homeland Security debate remains to be seen. Many conservative Republicans, emboldened by the Texas decision, are doubling down on their argument that the funding bill must include provisions undoing Obama’s executive actions on immigration from both late last year and 2012, when the president offered legal status to millions of young people who entered or stayed in the country illegally. “We cannot and must not establish the precedent that we will fund illegal actions on the hope that another branch of government will intervene and strike down that illegal action at some later point,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), an outspoken immigration hard-liner, said Tuesday in a statement. But the ruling could also furnish GOP leaders, who have been at odds over which chamber should take the next step in the stalemate, with a way to fund the agency without abandoning their commitment to dismantling Obama’s executive action. “It could be a face-saving device,” said Stephen Legomsky, a former chief counsel at the DHS’s Citizenship and Immigration Services branch and now a professor at Washington University School of Law. “It could really cut either way.” Republicans in the Senate and House have been stuck over how to fund the DHS. The GOP-led House passed a $40 billion funding bill that included legislative riders dismantling Obama’s immigration actions. That measure has been repeatedly filibustered by Senate Democrats, who want nothing short of a “clean” funding bill free of controversial immigration riders. Several centrist Republicans have argued the House should adopt a different bill. These Republicans worry their party will get the blame if there is a partial shutdown of Homeland Security after Feb. 27, when funding is due to lapse. A CNN/ORC survey out Tuesday revealed that 53 percent of Americans would place blame with congressional Republicans for an agency shutdown, while only 30 percent would point fingers at Obama. In the House, those calls have been rejected as surrender to Obama, and many conservatives say it’s worth risking the  shutdown to take Obama on over the immigration actions. A spokesman for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) wouldn’t comment on whether the ruling handed the GOP an escape hatch.”



White House puts immigration plans on hold after ruling



Indiscretion: Obama Admits Personally Changing the Immigration Law






Will DHS funding dynamics shift after court ruling?

“Now that a preliminary injunction has halted Barack Obama’s unilateral attempt at changing immigration law, what happens to the Republican effort to defund it? It will take several weeks for the Obama administration to have their appeal heard, but the funding for DHS runs out in days, not weeks, and Republicans want to block funding for any operation that will facilitate Obama’s executive actions. Until this morning, it appeared that Republicans might have to go back to the drawing board, thanks to three successful Democratic filibusters. Last night, the Christian Science Monitor noted the impasse: “With that move, the goal was to allow a Congress newly under full Republican control to consider how to challenge Mr. Obama on grounds of both executive overreach and abdication of the president’s duty to enforce immigration laws. However, three times this month in the Senate, Democrats have been able to block the Republican majority from considering the DHS appropriations bill that the House passed. … “The House has acted to fund the department and to stop the president’s overreach when it comes to immigration and his executive orders,” Speaker Boehner said on Fox News. “It’s time for the Senate to act.” But interviewer Chris Wallace responded that Senate Republicans lack a filibuster-proof majority, and he quoted Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell: “It’s clear we can’t go forward in the Senate,” Senator McConnell said last week. “The next move obviously is up to the House.” Boehner, on Sunday, disagreed: “If the Senate doesn’t like [the House bill], they’ll have to produce something that fits their institution.” A DHS shutdown from a rift between a unified Congress and White House would have benefits and drawbacks for both Democrats and Republicans. One created by a rift between Republicans in the House and Senate would be an embarrassment for the GOP — or would have been, before this morning. The inability to coalesce on a strategy would have portended a difficult run-up to a presidential election that will require plenty of teamwork for the GOP to win. Public opinion for the shutdown would have fallen entirely on Republican shoulders in that scenario, even if it wouldn’t really shut down anything critical at DHS anyway.”



John Boehner says judge’s amnesty ruling should end filibuster, clear path for DHS spending

“House Speaker John A. Boehner said Tuesday that a judge’s ruling halting President Obama’s deportation amnesty bolsters the GOP’s push on homeland security funding, which has prompted a Democratic filibuster in the Senate and threatens a possible shutdown of the Homeland Security Department later this month. Congressional Republicans have been trying to halt Mr. Obama’s new deportation policies through the annual appropriations process, but Democrats have balked, arguing what Mr. Obama did was legal. Late Monday, federal Judge Andrew S. Hanen, ruling in Texas, issued an injunction blocking Mr. Obama’s policies, finding they went beyond his powers…”



Boehner: ‘No surprise’ judge blocked Obama on immigration order

“Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) struck a cautious tone Tuesday but said it was “no surprise” that a federal judge in Texas had temporarily blocked President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.  Boehner said in a statement that “at least one court” had agreed with Republicans that the president had overstepped his authority when he took action to shield up to 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. “The president said 22 times he did not have the authority to take the very action on immigration he eventually did, so it is no surprise that at least one court has agreed,” Boehner added. “We will continue to follow the case as it moves through the legal process.” The injunction by U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen halts the first phase of Obama’s actions, which would allow more immigrants who came to the country illegally as children to remain in the U.S. That phase had been expected to take effect Wednesday. The White House quickly vowed to appeal the decision…”



McConnell: Court ruling on immigration bolsters GOP bill to defund executive actions

“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday a federal court injunction against President Obama’s executive action on immigration should send a signal to Democrats to stop blocking legislation that would curb it. “This ruling underscores what the President has already acknowledged publicly 22 times,” McConnell, R-Ky., said in a statement. “He doesn’t have the authority to take the kinds of actions he once referred to as ‘ignoring the law’ and ‘unwise and unfair.’ Senate Democrats, especially those who’ve voiced opposition to the President’s executive overreach, should end their partisan filibuster of Department of Homeland Security funding.” A bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security has stalled in the Senate, thanks to a Democratic filibuster. The Democrats oppose a provision in the bill that would defund Obama’s immigration directives that allow millions of people living here illegally to obtain work permits and some federal benefits…”



Sessions: Congress Must Not Fund an Executive Amnesty That’s Been Blocked by a Federal Judge

“Alabama senator Jeff Sessions says Congress must respect the injunction that blocks President Obama’s executive amnesty, which was issued by a federal judge for the Southern District of Texas. Sessions, the Republican chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, says he believes the court’s ruling is an affirmation that the president’s executive actions on immigration are illegal. “The President has acted unconstitutionally, and it is the President — not Congress — who must back down,” Sessions says in a statement. “We cannot and must not establish the precedent that we will fund illegal actions on the hope that another branch of government will intervene and strike down that illegal action at some later point.” Sessions adds that the GOP should remain committed to passing legislation that funds the Department of Homeland Security, while withholding funding for enforcement of the executive amnesty. He claims that Obama has already shut down DHS by ordering immigration officers to disobey the law, and adds that a Democratic filibuster is the only thing preventing Republicans from restoring proper order. He is calling on Congress to reassert its authority as a coequal branch of government, and use its power of the purse to stand up to Obama.”



Judge’s ruling spurs legitimacy fight on immigration

“A federal judge’s decision blocking President Obama’s executive action to shield up to 5 million immigrants from deportation undercuts a White House push to play down concerns about the legitimacy of the directive. Regardless of whether the temporary injunction late Monday by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen stands — the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans will soon decide how to proceed — it did lasting damage to a sales pitch already met with suspicion from illegal immigrants who would qualify for new protections. The administration has been scrambling in recent weeks to convince those living in the U.S. illegally to come “out of the shadows.” The White House had planned on launching sign-ups Wednesday for the expansion of Obama’s program granting deportation deferrals to illegal immigrants who moved to America as children…”



GOP Pushes DHS/Immigration Linkage Despite Judge’s Ruling



Immigration ruling hardens lines in DHS fight

Rather than making the funding fight moot, conservatives argue, the ruling shows why Congress can’t let Obama’s policies stand.

“A Texas judge’s rejection of President Barack Obama’s immigration actions has strengthened conservatives’ resolve to use the Department of Homeland Security funding bill to oppose his moves — potentially complicating efforts for a quick end to the partisan standoff just 10 days before the clock runs out. Rather than defusing the conflict on Capitol Hill by making it moot, conservative lawmakers and senior aides said Tuesday, the ruling by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen makes it even clearer that Congress cannot allow Obama’s actions to stand. “The president has acted unconstitutionally, and it is the president — not Congress — who must back down,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), an immigration hard-liner. Instead, Republicans said, it’s the Senate Democrats who need to give in by allowing a vote on a House-passed DHS bill that would block the president’s efforts to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. “This court ruling certainly does provide us with an important, I think, a helpful argument to fund everything but what a federal district court has ruled as unlawful or unconstitutional,” Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, a vulnerable Republican and chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “We all want to keep this nation safe and secure, so let’s do that. Let’s not fund what’s in dispute.” “This gives momentum to the position that we’ve taken and the majority of Americans have [taken] that what the president did is wrong,” said conservative Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan. He added, “It just helps our case all the more.” But Democrats showed no signs of conceding, and circulated new CNN/ORC poll results showing that 53 percent of voters would blame Republicans if the department shuts down, compared with 30 percent who would point the finger at Obama. Two conservative Democrats — Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota — said through aides Tuesday that they would continue to stick with the Senate Democratic position of demanding a “clean” spending bill free of immigration riders.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that “regardless of the outcome” of the legal battle, “Democrats remain united in our belief that funding for the Department of Homeland Security should not be used as ransom by Republicans, period.”…”



Judge’s immigration order leaves Congress in a tougher spot as Homeland Security shutdown looms



Poll: GOP is losing the messaging war over DHS funding

“…Perhaps it is attributable to the media’s reporting, or maybe the public associates all talk of “shutdowns” with the unpopular government shutdown of 2013. In either case, a new poll suggests that the GOP is losing the messaging war over DHS funding. “The survey finds 53% of Americans would blame the Republicans in Congress if the department must shut down, while 30% would blame President Barack Obama,” read a CNN report on its latest poll of the public. “Another 13% say both deserve the blame.” A majority says a shutdown at DHS, even if it’s just for a few days, would be a crisis or a major problem. Republicans are less likely to see a shutdown as a big problem, 46% say so compared with 66% among Democrats. Among all adults, slightly fewer see a DHS shutdown as a problem or crisis than said so in November when asked about a possible shutdown of the whole government, 55% now vs. 59% in that poll.

Given the increasingly unstable international security environment, and the proliferation of attacks attributable to ISIS-inspired militants in the West, it’s understandable that the public would be apprehensive about a DHS “shutdown.” Again, it is incumbent on the press to correct the public’s apparent misapprehension that national security is, in the near-term, jeopardized as a result of an impasse over DHS funding. But few in the media appear inclined to correct the record…”



The shutdown blame game favors Democrats — again




“Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV), a conservative freshman Congressman, tells Breitbart News that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is in effect voting in support of President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty by continuing to back Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s filibuster of the House-passed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill. Mooney’s pressure on Manchin comes after a federal judge, Andrew S. Hanen, ordered the Obama administration to immediately halt implementation of its executive amnesty, something the administration has now reluctantly agreed to do. “Yeah, yeah that would be true,” Mooney said in a phone interview on Tuesday when asked if Manchin’s backing of Reid’s filibuster of the House-passed bill is a vote for Obama’s executive amnesty. “I’m hoping that in the coming days, he and the others will drop the filibuster,” Mooney said of Manchin. What President Obama is doing on these executive actions, not just on immigration but also in the war on coal as I mentioned before, those things are very unpopular in West Virginia. I do think the voters of this state—the ones I’m hearing from and talking to—want us to stand up to Obama. [Mitt] Romney won this state by 26 percentage points over Obama. Clearly, the voters of this state want to see a different direction. We have two U.S. Senators. Obviously one [Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)] is voting not to filibuster. The other one is. So, we have an issue there. Despite Manchin’s voting pattern in support of Obama’s executive amnesty, he has been publicly saying he opposes Obama’s move. “I disagree with the President’s decision to use executive action to make changes to our immigration system,” Manchin said in November, according to West Virginia’s Metro News. In the statement, Manchin also called out congressional Republicans for blocking congressional amnesty—which he supports, as he voted for the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” bill last Congress—by saying also: “I disagree with the House’s decision to not even take a vote on the bipartisan Senate legislation that overwhelmingly passed in June 2013.”



Is Schumer Caving On Budget Filibuster Fight?

“New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer is still demanding that the GOP allow funding for President Barack Obama’s amnesty, even though the amnesty has been stopped by a federal judge’s 123-page order. But Schumer did not promise to filibuster the budget bill for a fourth time when the Senate votes again next week. “This procedural ruling, in our opinion, is very unlikely to be upheld,” Schumer said in a Feb. 17 statement, which hinted that Democrats might stop their filibuster. “Regardless of the outcome Democrats remain united in our belief that funding for the Department of Homeland Security should not be used as a ransom by Republicans, period,” said Schumer, who ranks second among the 46 Democrats in the Senate, and is the strongest advocate of amnesty for 12 million illegal immigrants. Schumer has repeatedly said the GOP’s popular opposition to Obama’s unpopular amnesty is akin to a murder threat. So far, he rallied all Democrats to filibuster the border agency’s budget three times….”



Republicans welcome court decision in immigration lawsuit

“House Speaker John Boehner says a federal judge’s ruling temporarily blocking President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration underscores that he acted beyond his authority. In a statement Tuesday, the Ohio Republican said the ruling by a Texas judge was no surprise, citing Obama’s repeated comments about the limits of his authority. Boehner said he hoped that Senate Democrats will relent in their opposition to a Homeland Security Department spending bill that overturns Obama’s actions to spare millions of immigrants from deportation. The department’s funding expires Feb. 27 and Congress has only a few legislative days to act. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said in a statement that he hoped Obama obeys the court’s ruling. The Justice Department has said it would appeal.”



Republicans hail court ruling on immigration

“Republicans hailed a Monday court ruling as proof that President Obama overstepped his authority on immigration while Democrats predicted the president’s power to grant temporary legal status to some undocumented immigrants would be upheld on appeal. A federal judge in Texas temporarily stopped the administration from implementing Obama’s executive orders to protect about 4 million undocumented immigrants from deportation and allow them to work legally in the United States. The first phase of those orders had been set to take effect Wednesday but has now been delayed… Some analysts said the court ruling could give Republicans a way out of the current impasse over Homeland Security funding by handing them a big win that allows them to drop their insistence on defunding Obama’s immigration actions. “On the one hand, some Republicans might see this as an opportunity to declare victory and pull out (of the funding battle),” said Jack Pitney, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College in California. “Others, however, will see it as an opportunity to declare war and press ahead harder than ever. The question is which sentiment will prevail in Republican ranks.” Republican leaders on Tuesday continued to place the blame on Democrats for blocking the funding bill. “Hopefully, Senate Democrats who claim to oppose this executive overreach will now let the Senate begin debate on a bill to fund the Homeland Security department,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said after the ruling.”



Texas GOP officials cheer ruling on Obama immigration orders

“U.S. Sen. John Cornyn has hailed a federal judge’s decision to temporarily block President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration. Cornyn issued a statement Tuesday saying Obama acted outside the law and went around Congress to unilaterally change U.S. immigration laws. Another Texas Republican, Attorney General Ken Paxton, says Monday’s decision by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Brownsville is a win for the rule of law in America. Hanen’s order gives a coalition of 26 states led by Texas time to pursue a lawsuit that aims to permanently stop the orders, which could spare up to 5 million people in the U.S. from deportation. Gov. Greg Abbott, who as former attorney general led Texas into the lawsuit, said Hanen’s decision rightly stops the president’s overreach in its tracks…”



Oklahoma attorney general praises immigration ruling

“Oklahoma’s attorney general is praising a ruling by a federal judge in South Texas who has temporarily blocked President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration. Attorney General Scott Pruitt said in a statement Tuesday the judge’s decision will help undo what he called “unlawful actions” on immigration by the president. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen’s decision late Monday puts on hold Obama’s orders that could spare from deportation as many as 5 million people who are in the U.S. illegally. Oklahoma is among a coalition of states- including Texas- that argue Obama has violated a provision of the U.S. Constitution that limits the scope of presidential power. But the White House is defending the executive orders issued in November as within the president’s legal authority…”



Kansas officials call immigration ruling ‘victory’

“Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says that a federal court ruling that blocks an executive order on immigration vindicates his efforts. A federal judge in Texas temporarily blocked executive orders Tuesday that would have protected as many as 5 million people who entered the U.S. illegally from deportation. Kansas is one of 26 states that have challenged the orders as unconstitutional. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt on Wednesday called the ruling a preliminary victory in the case. Kobach said the ruling will boost his state-level efforts to deny benefits to people in the U.S. illegally. Irene Caubillo, president of advocacy group El Centro, said she expected the ruling to be appealed and her organization would continue to aid those in the country illegally to gain legal status…”



Arkansas’ top lawyer applauds immigration ruling

“Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is praising a ruling by a Texas judge that temporarily blocks President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said in a statement Tuesday will reign in what she said is a president who is attempting to bypass Congress. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen’s decision late Monday puts on hold Obama’s orders that could spare from deportation as many as 5 million people who are in the U.S. illegally. Arkansas is one of 26 states – led by Texas- that argue Obama has violated a provision of the U.S. Constitution that limits the scope of presidential power. The White House is defending the executive orders issued in November as within the president’s legal authority….”



South Dakota AG reacts to ruling to block immigration order



Networks Paint Illegal Immigrants as Victims After Judge Halts Obama’s Executive Amnesty

“Just shy of 24 hours after U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen halted President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty, the major broadcast networks displayed their palpable opposition to the ruling during their Tuesday night broadcasts, lamenting that it “dashes American dreams for millions of families under the threat of deportation” after Wednesday was set “to be a historic day for millions of illegal immigrants” when they could apply for legal status.  All told, the “big three” of ABC, CBS, and NBC had full segments on the story with each having individual moments of bias and a minuscule 18 seconds of highlighting those against Obama’s executive action (not including quotes from Hanen’s ruling) throughout their 5 minutes and 58 seconds of coverage.”



Amnesty Advocates React To Court Ruling With Anger, Frustration

“Amnesty supporters reacted with self-righteous sneers, anger and frustration to the late Monday night decision by a federal judge to block Barack Obama’s unilateral amnesty. “Judge [Andrew] Hanen’s decision is an example of judicial vigilantism… we are confident Judge Hanen’s regressive, polemical decision will be humiliated by history’s march toward progress,” said a statement from the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. “The decision is not permanent… We are confident that the higher courts will reject this lawsuit since it has no legal merit and only wastes taxpayer dollars & attack immigrant youth, workers & families,” said another statement by a union-backed group of younger illegals, dubbed United We Dream. The verdict may be reversed by higher courts, but for now, it marks a second major defeat for Obama’s multi-year effort to increase immigration. In 2014, Republican voters pressured GOP leaders to block the Obama-backed amnesty bill that was passed through the Senate in 2013, despite huge pressure from GOP donors, business groups, progressives, the establishment media and progressive foundations. “Undocumented immigrants show Americans what it is to be Americans — we fight for a country that excludes and ignores us,” said Jose Antonio Vargas, a Filipino gay advocate. Frank Sharry, a progressive advocate for greater immigration, predicted the decision would cause GOP infighting over whether to keep a ban on amnesty funding in the pending 2015 budget for the Department of Homeland Security. “GOP abt 2 explode in civil war,” he said in a late-night tweet. GOP “Ldrshp will declare victory, try 2 fund DHS. Hell No right wants shutdown fight. Who wins? Bet on far right.” Currently, the GOP-drafted DHS budget bill is being filibustered by all 46 Democratic senators. They oppose defunding the amnesty. The Democratic senators support Obama’s amnesty,  even though the extra foreign workers would increase job competition facing unemployed and young Americans…”



Immigrants disappointed but not deterred by judge’s ruling

“Immigrants expressed disappointment Tuesday after a federal judge put a hold on President Barack Obama’s plan to protect more than 4 million people living illegally in the U.S. from deportation. But many said they haven’t lost hope. A look at immigrant views of Obama’s programs: Growing up in Guatemala, Keyla Betancurth used to watch her single mother cry at night because she could not afford to buy food for her children. Betancourt left school at 12 to work at a bakery to help. Then, at 17, she took a bigger step, paying a smuggler to get her to the U.S. “I wanted a better future for myself and for my mom,” said the 28-year-old, who wants to apply for Obama’s program for the parents of Americans. “Now, I’m a mother, and I want the best for my kids. I don’t want my kids to suffer like I did.” Betancurth, who has three young children, has been a farmworker in California and Iowa and, since moving to Denver three years ago, a maid. Her husband, who is from Honduras, paints houses. For both, steady, well-paid work is difficult to find because they lack Social Security numbers. She wants to return to school to study hairdressing and, one day, open her own salon…”



Hopes On Hold: Dreamers Vent Anger Over Immigration Ruling



DHS chief: ‘We fully expect to prevail in the courts’ with immigration

“Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Tuesday that his department will comply with a federal judge’s order to halt the controversial immigration actions President Obama announced in November, but he expressed confidence that the administration will win its upcoming appeal. “We fully expect to ultimately prevail in the courts,” Johnson said in a statement, adding that the Department of Homeland Security will, for now, suspend its two new programs for protecting up to 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen filed an order Monday prohibiting the plans from going forward, saying that the administration failed to comply with basic administrative procedures for enacting them. The decision came in response to a lawsuit filed by 26 states…”



Harry Reid: The Federal Judge Is Wrong

“Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) faulted a federal judge who enjoined President Obama not to implement his executive amnesty orders for delaying justice. “President Obama is well within his established Constitutional authority and the legal process will bear that out,” Reid says in a statement. “The only effect of this ruling is to delay justice for thousands of families in Nevada and across the country. Governors, mayors and law enforcement officers have emphasized that these programs are good public policy, help our economy and keep our communities safe.” Reid then complained that “the Senate is mired in a completely avoidable impasse over funding the Department of Homeland Security” — Senate Democrats are filibustering a House-passed DHS funding bill. “Democrats’ offer to first fund Homeland Security and then debate immigration stands,” he said….”



Eric Holder: Judge’s injunction on Obama amnesty an ‘interim step’

“Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that a Texas court’s injunction against President Obama’s immigration executive actions was an “interim step” in the ongoing debate. The final decision is likely to be made by a higher court, Mr. Holder told an audience at the National Press Club. “I think it has to be seen in that context,” Mr. Holder said. “It is a decision by one federal court judge.” Mr. Holder said the administration was “still in the process of looking at the opinion and deciding what steps to take next….”



Eric Holder seeks to downplay court’s immigration ruling



Gutierrez says immigration ruling will delay but not deter

“U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez says a federal judge’s ruling temporarily blocking President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration will delay but won’t deter reform efforts. The Chicago Democrat said Tuesday that Obama’s opponents don’t have a good legal case. The White House has promised to appeal a federal judge’s decision, which puts on hold Obama’s orders that could spare as many as 5 million from deportation. Among other things, Obama’s order extends deportation protections to parents of U.S. citizens, under certain circumstances. Gutierrez and other activists say they’ll continue planned workshops to help those who could have benefited get ready. Chicagoan Mayra Sarabia could potentially benefit. She crossed the border illegally more than two decades ago and has three U.S. citizen children. She says the ruling is just an obstacle…”






Denver mayor expects quick reversal of immigration ruling

“Denver Mayor Michael Hancock predicts the quick reversal of a ruling by a federal judge in Texas that temporarily blocked President Barack Obama’s executive orders easing the threat of deportation for millions of immigrants. Hancock, a Democrat, joined staff of several immigrant advocacy groups, clergy and immigrants at a news conference Tuesday urging immigrants to get their paperwork in order and get ready for reform, because “very soon and inevitably, the decision in Texas will be overturned.” The Obama administration has vowed to appeal the Texas ruling, which was handed down late Monday. One Obama order expanded eligibility for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program first launched in 2012 by eliminating age caps and allowing immigrants who arrived as recently as 2010 to apply. The second extended protections to parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents…”



Immigrants’ hopes dashed by judge’s late-night order



Judge’s immigration ruling adds to Obama’s list of potential legal pitfalls

“President Obama’s new immigration program was supposed to begin accepting applications Wednesday from thousands of illegal immigrants hoping for relief from the threat of sudden deportation. Instead, the administration abruptly postponed its launch plans after a federal judge in Texas temporarily blocked implementation of the new White House initiative. In a decision late Monday, U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen ruled that the deferred-deportation program should not move forward while a lawsuit filed by 26 states challenging it was being decided. Though Hanen did not rule on the constitutionality of Obama’s November immigration order, he said there was sufficient merit to warrant a suspension of the new program while the case goes forward. All told, Obama’s immigration actions are projected to benefit as many as 5 million immigrants, many of whom could receive work permits if they qualified. The effects of Hanen’s procedural ruling rippled through Washington and underscored a broader challenge to the president as he seeks to solidify the legacy of his administration. Along with the immigration action, the fate of two of Obama’s other signature initiatives — a landmark health-care law and a series of aggressive executive actions on climate change — now rests in the hands of federal judges. It is a daunting prospect for a president in the final two years of his tenure who believes he is on the path to leaving a lasting impact on in­trac­table and politically perilous issues, despite an often bitter relationship with Congress…”



Immigration Ruling Casts Shadow on Obama’s Legacy (Updated)

“The third branch of government has entered the immigration debate with a bang — with potentially profound impacts on President Barack Obama’s legacy, the lives of millions and the rest of this Congress. The decision by a federal district judge in Texas late Monday to temporarily halt Obama’s executive actions on immigration could also give Republicans a way out of a shutdown showdown over funding for the Department of Homeland Security. The standoff over the DHS appropriations bill has cast a chill over the start of this Congress, splitting newly empowered Republicans with no easy off-ramp — except, maybe, in the courthouse. Democrats and the White House have had no incentive to cave on an issue they see as a political and policy slam dunk for their side, and one of the most sweeping actions of Obama’s second term. Republicans still aren’t ready to cave either, with Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky pressing Senate Democrats in the wake of the ruling to allow the GOP’s DHS funding bill to go forward. But with Democrats pledging to once again block the bill next week, Republicans will now have to justify potentially shutting down parts of the Department of Homeland Security in an effort to stop a program that already is being blocked by the courts. “It won’t change the vote Monday,” a senior Democratic aide said, adding that Democrats want to fund the DHS before having a debate with Republicans over immigration. “The only difference is that now they have an off-ramp to get out of their political jam,” the aide said. One House senior GOP aide acknowledged the ruling might make it easier to avoid a shutdown. “The judge’s ruling should make a short term funding extension pill marginally easier to swallow,” the aide said. “Like most medicine, it was never a pill anyone actually wants to take, but at least now it wouldn’t taste as bad on its way down.” Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., urged his fellow Republicans not to use the court case as an excuse to punt. “We cannot and must not establish the precedent that we will fund illegal actions on the hope that another branch of government will intervene and strike down that illegal action at some later point,” he said in a statement. Obama predicted his actions would ultimately be upheld. “This is not the first time where a lower court judge has blocked something or attempted to block something that ultimately is going to be lawful and I’m confident that it is well within my authority,” he said, per a pool report. Obama knocked Congress for “votes to kick out young people who have grown up here and who everybody recognizes are part of our community, and threats to defund the Department of Homeland Security. …” “My strong advice right now to Congress is, if they are seriously concerned about immigration, about our borders, about being able to keep criminals out of this country, then what they should be doing is working together and working with the administration for a comprehensive immigration policy that allows us to be both a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.” The potential for a courtroom battle was clear when Obama announced his controversial executive action in November…”



A brief history of United States Courts v. Barack Obama

“The decision released Monday night by a federal judge in Texas to block President Obama’s executive action on immigration is the latest in a long line of court actions halting or amending moves by the administration. But before critics of the president get too excited, it’s worth remembering: Those blockades don’t always last. Here’s a list of the various times the Obama administration and the court system have been at odds….”



Abbott makes border security, ethics bills ‘emergency items’

“Gov. Greg Abbott says finding the funding to train and station 500 new state troopers along the Texas-Mexico border is a top priority for the Texas Legislature. In his first State of the State address Tuesday, Abbott also named stiffening ethics rules and bolstering early public education and higher education research as “emergency items.” And he said increasing state spending for transportation infrastructure was one, too. That means lawmakers can begin debating and passing bills on those topics without waiting for a state constitutionally mandated, 60-day prohibition on approving legislation that doesn’t expire until next month. There were few surprises in the priorities Abbott listed. All were the issues the Republican campaigned on – and bills to make them a reality will likely enjoy broad support in the Republican-controlled Legislature…”



Texas Gov. Abbott says he’s doubling border security spending



Greg Abbott lists 5 emergency items for Legislature

“…Abbott called for more than doubling state spending on a comprehensive border security plan built around recruiting, training and deploying 500 additional state troopers to the border. In the meantime, Abbott said he had met Tuesday morning with the commanding general of the Texas National Guard and the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety and ordered the guard to remain deployed on the border until his new security plan can be implemented. “As governor, I have identified funds to keep the National Guard in place until the Legislature acts,” Abbott said. “As soon as DPS has the permanent resources needed to secure our border, we can bring home our dedicated National Guard troops.” The governor’s speech relied on an agenda he had outlined in his campaign. He described the Texas economy as a continuing wonder to behold and one that could sustain significant new investment alongside meaningful tax relief. “As your governor, I’m proud to report that as the sun rises on 2015, the state of Texas is strong, and together we’re about to make it stronger,” Abbott said. “We are at the pinnacle of America’s economy. Texas has been No. 1 in the nation for creating jobs for so many years, it’s hard to keep count. But in 2014 we literally outdid ourselves. We created more jobs than any year in the history of Texas.”



DHS Funding Inquiry Could Be Used To Delay Obama’s Executive Amnesty

“Obama’s amnesty decree being halted by a federal court in Texas comes at a perfect time. The injunction order will now let a full hearing of the Texas plaintiffs take place just as fresh allegations of more unlawfulness on the part of Obama’s amnesty-enablers begins to surface. Last week, the watchdog group Judicial Watch sent a letter to Congress asking that the Government Accountability Office investigate the Department of Homeland Security for using misappropriated taxpayer funds to pay for Obama’s latest executive actions on amnesty. The concern is certainly well-founded. DHS has paid out nearly $50 million on new hires and office space to process new DACA and DAPA applications despite their funding levels being frozen and having yet to collect any application fees. Understanding how the administration’s most important program-rollout since Obamacare is actually being financed, could reveal yet another set of laws that are being broken in order to push through Obama’s amnesty agenda. Judicial Watch’s letter directs GAO, Congress’s investigative body, to determine “whether USCIS is using funds appropriated, including any monies raised by fees assessed by USCIS, for a different, designated purpose to fund the implementation the plans to extend DACA and establish DAPA.” Further, they note USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) is likely preparing long-term contracts with federal vendors, which would push it “in excess of the amount of government funds available to it.” Both moves they rightly contend would violate the Antideficiency Act, a federal law prohibiting government officials from spending funds and signing contracts before an appropriation is made by Congress or that pushes an agency beyond its available funding. With the amnesty programs being rolled out and new contracts apparently being signed, there’s no reason why GAO shouldn’t be mounting a full and comprehensive inquiry. For immigration enforcement advocates, it’s an open secret that Obama’s DHS has been illegally hoarding funds, most likely from fees skimmed from legal applicants, in order to pay for his new amnesty directives. In a leaked 2010 memo on tactical measures for pushing through administrative amnesty, DHS lawyers advised Obama-appointees that Congress could try to halt such a program through defunding. They warned that “Congress may… seek to undermine [executive amnesty] through legislation or by using its appropriations authority to prohibit the expenditure of funds on such a program.”



Republicans critical of Obama’s ‘amnesty bonuses’






Biden: Including immigrants key to stopping extremism in US

“The United States must ensure that immigrants are fully included in the fabric of American society to prevent violent ideologies from taking root at home, Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday as he opened a White House summit on countering extremism and radicalization. Joining local elected officials, community leaders and religious figures, Biden portrayed the U.S. as far better positioned than Europe, thanks to what he called America’s successful record at cultural integration. He said societies must offer immigrants an “affirmative alternative” to extremism, cautioning that military force alone could not address the threat. Across the Atlantic, deadly terrorist attacks in France, Belgium and Denmark have left Europeans feeling vulnerable to the type of violent ideology promoted by the Islamic State group and once thought to be confined mostly to the Middle East and North Africa. “National security flows from a sense of community,” Biden said, adding that the most important lesson the U.S. can learn is that “inclusion counts.” The White House has sought to use the three-day conference in Washington to stir a sense of urgency about the challenge of preventing home-grown terrorism and the radicalization and recruitment of Americans, particularly disaffected young people. Yet it comes as the Obama administration has struggled to match its stated strategy for fighting IS and other Islamic extremist groups with the realities on the ground in Libya, Yemen and other Mideast hotspots. On Wednesday, President Barack Obama was to address a gathering at the White House examining the response from U.S. cities, then speak at the State Department on Thursday at a gathering of representatives from roughly 60 countries. The United Kingdom, Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and France are expected to attend…”



Biden: America’s immigration ‘melting pot’ may help avoid terrorist attacks



Biden: ‘I Have Great Relationships’ With Somalis Because an ‘Awful Lot of Them’ Drive Cabs



Joe Biden Draws Criticism For Remark About Somali Cab Drivers



Ethics: De Blasio’s ID program for illegal immigrants has self-destruct option if GOP wins in 2016

“This is not how republican democracy is designed to operate. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s controversial program that would create new municipal identification cards for illegal immigrants so they can take advantage of city services just got a touch more scandalous. According to a report in The New York Post, the program would automatically destroy all the information the city collects on illegal immigrants in the event that Republicans win control of the White House in 2016. In order to get an ID, residents must provide their names, addresses, aliases, dates of birth and other information, making it easy for the feds to identify undocumented immigrants. [City Councilman Carlos] Menchaca said the Obama administration has shown no interest in going after the data, but he didn’t want to take any chances on the next administration. “Though we have not seen documents like this get requested at the level of the federal government, that could be a possibility, so that really allows us to protect the data,” he said. Immigrant advocates praised the provision.”



Municipal ID law has ‘delete in case of Tea Party’ clause

“Get the shredders ready — the Tea Party could be coming. The city’s new municipal ID program allows for personal info provided by applicants to be destroyed at the end of 2016, in case a conservative Republican wins the White House and demands the data, the law’s co-sponsor told The Post on Monday. City Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D-Brooklyn) said the measure was crafted so data submitted by those seeking the cards can be destroyed on Dec. 31, 2016.

The cards are aimed at undocumented immigrants. “In case a Tea Party Republican comes into office and says, ‘We want all of the data from all of the municipal ID programs in the country,’ we’re going to take the data,” he explained. The next president assumes office Jan. 20, 2017.

“That date is an important signal to the future of immigration reform. That allows us to prepare for any new leadership,” Menchaca said. In order to get an ID, residents must provide their names, addresses, aliases, dates of birth and other information, making it easy for the feds to identify undocumented immigrants…”



Jose Antonio Vargas and LA Times Set to Launch Immigration-Focused Venture

“Journalist and immigration activist Jose Antonio Vargas has announced the launch of a new, immigration-centric vertical in partnership with the Los Angeles Times, according to CNN. Vargas, who revealed in 2011 that he entered the United States illegally from the Philippines when he was twelve, has become a major voice for immigration reforms that will allow children of immigrants in the country illegally to gain legal status, among other changes to the process. “Emerging US,” the name of the new collaboration with the Times, “will focus on the intersection of race, immigration and identity and the complexities of multiculturalism.” The newspaper insists that the venture is “not meant to be advocacy, and it won’t be advocacy.” CNN reports that Emerging US will be a partnership between Vargas and the Times. The newspaper’s publisher explained that it could not hire Vargas because of his status, ”but we can become a business partner with him.”



Jose Antonio Vargas launches new media venture with LA Times

“Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and immigration activist Jose Antonio Vargas is partnering with The Los Angeles Times to launch a new media venture that will explore race and the evolving American identity. The Times reports (http://bit.ly/1vTSpqf ) #EmergingUS will include commentary, original video, graphics, and digital content and encourage conversations on social media. Some commentary may also run in The Times’ Op-Ed page. Vargas says too often race is talked about in political and cultural terms and framed as black-and-white. The online and print venture is expected begin publishing in the spring. Vargas garnered nationwide attention when he published an essay in the New York Times magazine in 2011 revealing he was brought to the U.S. illegally as a child. He is a former Washington Post and San Francisco Chronicle reporter…”



Ben Carson Suggests Obama Could Be ‘Guilty Of Treason’ If He Blocks National Security Funding [VIDEO]



Jeb Bush: President Obama ‘overstepped’ on immigration

“Jeb Bush criticized President Obama on immigration, saying he “overstepped” his authority and damaged the chances for legislation in Congress. A day after a federal judge blocked Obama’s executive action on immigration, the likely presidential candidate posted his thoughts Tuesday on Facebook. Bush, a former Florida governor, has long been a proponent of overhauling the nation’s immigration laws and giving undocumented immigrants already in the United States a path to legal status. “Last year, the president overstepped his executive authority and, in turn, hurt the effort toward a commonsense immigration solution. That’s not leadership,” Bush said. “Now, more than ever, we need President Obama to work with Congress to secure the border and fix our broken immigration system.” The White House has vowed to appeal Judge Andrew Hanen’s ruling on an Obama order that would defer deportation on millions of undocumented immigrants. The ruling was part of a lawsuit filed by Texas and 26 other states.”



Jeb Bush knocks Obama on immigration



Jeb Bush urges President Obama to work with Congress on immigration reform



Top GOP donors: Be like Bush on immigration

“Top Republican donors and party strategists are urging prospective 2016 GOP candidates to follow former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s lead on immigration reform.  Spencer Zwick, the finance chairman for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential run, was among the GOP heavyhitters on a conference call Tuesday who praised Bush for taking a stand on the issue.  “Gov. Bush has decided to lead on this issue,” said Zwick. “It’s very early in the campaign process. We have not yet heard from every potential or likely presidential candidate [but…] I give Gov. Bush a lot of credit.”



GOP Donors Provide Cover for Bush on Immigration

A powerful trio warns that 2016 candidates who expect big checks should advocate for reform.



Former Romney finance chair praises Bush’s immigration policy








“A VERY expensive getaway: The First Family’s Valentine’s Day apart cost the taxpayer at least $2.5m as Barack golfed in California while Michelle went on secret ski trip to Aspen

“–President Barack Obama flew to California for a fundraiser and a speech

–He then spent the next three days playing golf at an exclusive resort

–At the same time Michelle and Malia and Sasha were skiing in Aspen

–Figures show that Air Force One costs $228,288 per hour to run

–As a result, the ten-hour return trip to California would cost almost $2.3m

–It is estimated that Mrs Obama’s skiing trip cost a further $100,000

–With accommodation and car rental, the weekend break would cost $2.5m”



How much debt does your state have?

“Massachusetts has more outstanding debt per capita than any other state government. The state is $76 billion in the red, or $11,379 per person, or $2,000 more than the next highest state, Rhode Island. Tennessee has only $953 of debt per person, or 8 percent of Massachusetts’ debt per person. Next at the low-end is Nebraska, with only $988 in debt per person. States that had Republican governors in 2013 averaged $2,902 of debt per person, while states led by Democratic governors averaged $5,131. State government debts have been amassed over time, so it would be an oversimplification to blame a state’s current administration for its debt levels. Nationwide, state governments owe $1.1 trillion in debt, or $3,597 per person. In 2013, federal government debt stood at $37,860 per person. That’s more than 10 times higher than state government debts nationwide, and 3.3 times higher than Massachusetts…”



US House builder Confidence Declines in February: Housing Recovery Remains Stable

“In some negative news for the US economy it was reported that the US homebuilder confidence fell in the month of Febuary which is being seen as a huge negative. The report is being viewed as one which is raising questions about the US housing recovery, a sector which played a pivotal role in leading up to the financial crisis of 2008. According to a report released by the National Association of Home Builder/ Well Fargo builder sentiment index slipped to 55 in February. It is imperative to state that the reading had come in at 57 in the previous month.”



Large student debt load limits young Americans’ home-buying

“Younger Americans are struggling to keep up with steadily-rising student debt loads, a burden that is limiting their ability to buy homes. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said Tuesday that the percentage of student loans 90 days or more overdue rose to 11.3 percent in the final three months of last year, up from 11.1 percent in the previous quarter. That’s the highest in a year. Total student borrowing now stands at $1.16 trillion, the most on record and 7.1 percent higher than 12 months earlier. Previous research by the New York Fed has found that younger Americans with student loans are less likely to take out mortgages than those without student debt. That’s a reversal from the pre-recession pattern. Before the 2008-09 downturn, 30 year-olds with student debt were more likely to have mortgages because of their higher levels of education and higher potential incomes, the New York Fed says. Now they are slightly less likely to have mortgages than 30-year olds without student debt. “Student loan delinquencies and repayment problems appear to be reducing borrowers’ ability to form their own households,” said Donghoon Lee, a research officer at the bank. Americans are also struggling with auto loans, the report showed, but are doing a better job keeping up with all their other debts. Just 7.3 percent of credit card balances are 90 days or more overdue, down from 7.5 percent in the previous quarter. Credit card delinquencies have fallen sharply since the Great Recession after reaching a peak of nearly 14 percent 4 ½ years ago. The current level is near the lowest since the New York Fed began tracking the data in 1999. Delinquency rates for mortgages and home equity lines of credit also fell in last year’s fourth quarter from the previous three months. About 3.1 percent of mortgages are delinquent, down from nearly 9 percent in early 2010. That’s still higher than the 1 percent to 1.5 percent that was typical before the recession…”



Why The IRS Doesn’t Deserve A Bigger Budget

“The IRS is pleading poverty. Commissioner John Koskinen claims that under current funding levels, the agency will be forced to not answer the phone, to send out refunds more slowly, and to even shut down for several days over the coming year. The agency says it is “struggling to keep the lights on,” however its record of allocating taxpayer resources has ranged from poor to abysmal. According to the recently released National Taxpayer Advocate’s Annual Report to Congress, the IRS has failed to properly prioritize past budget decisions. As the report states: “The IRS lacks a principled basis for making the difficult resource allocation decisions necessitated by today’s tight budget environment.” This has not stopped the IRS from asking Congress for almost $2 billion in new funding. But lack of money is not the reason for the agency’s current predicament. The IRS has never bothered to use available data to evaluate the merits of spending decisions. As the report explains: “While IRS collected some data that it could use to evaluate effectiveness, it did not develop plans to analyze the data or track it in a way that would allow officials to draw causal connections and develop valid conclusions about the effectiveness of its 2014 service changes.” Despite these findings, the IRS continues to claim it has spent its funding efficiently. In congressional testimony early this month, Koskinen said, “The IRS has for several years been working hard to reduce costs and find efficiencies in our operations.” The NTA and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration disagree. The IRS has not even attempted to properly ensure that scarce taxpayer funds are allocated effectively and is unable to justify its decisions. As the report notes:..”



Bernie Sanders’s claim that 99 percent of new income is going to top 1 percent of Americans





Why I once liked Common Core but changed my mind — one principal’s view

“The debate over the Common Core State Standards has become so polarized that it is hard to get people who disagree to have reasonable conversations about it. This is the first of what will be a continuing series of letters that two award-winning principals with differing views on the Core will write to each other (a concept that Education Week once used with Diane Ravitch and Deborah Meier as the authors). The new iteration is being undertaken by the Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news Web site focused on inequality and innovation in education, and each piece will be published there first. The Report’s editors as well as both principals have given me permission to republish each letter. Who are the principals? One is Carol Burris of New York, who was once a strong Core supporter but underwent a change, and who has written posts published frequently on this blog. The other is Jayne Ellspermann of Florida. This is the introduction to the new series of letters from the Hechinger Report, and following that is the first letter, from Burris to Ellspermann:…”



New Jersey Teachers Make The Case For Having Kids Skip Tests [VIDEO]

“The largest teachers union in New Jersey has launched an aggressive six-week ad campaign against the state’s new Common Core-aligned standardized tests, just weeks before those same teachers are supposed to start administering the tests to their students. The campaign’s timing could fuel the burgeoning movement among parents in the state to have their children opt out of tests entirely. New Jersey is one of 10 states participating in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, a consortium that has crafted a set of Common Core-based exams that will allow member states to directly compare the performance of their students on the shared standards. While supporters say the new tests, which will begin in New Jersey in March, will be more rigorous and provide better data about student academic gains, the New Jersey Education Association believes that far too much is riding on an imperfect exam, and now it’s bankrolling a big ad campaign to convince parents of the same. The campaign’s four different ads feature the testimony of various parents and teachers in the state speaking about the toll taken by high-stakes testing on children…”



Common Core Has a Central Problem

There is no evidence that raising standards produces better academic outcomes. What does work? Having a good teacher.

“Russ Whitehurst has a question for the Obama administration and other proponents of the Common Core education reforms: Where is your evidence that national standards in reading and math will produce better academic outcomes? Mr. Whitehurst, an education scholar at the Brookings Institution, has been asking this question for some time. “The lack of evidence that better content standards enhance student achievement is remarkable given the level of investment in this policy and high hopes attached to it,” he wrote in 2009….”



Oklahoma might ban AP tests. But why?

“Oklahoma lawmakers are considering dumping the Advanced Placement program because of its similarities to Common Core, but they might not have an easy time convincing voters of precisely why. A bill introduced Friday by Rep. Dan Fisher (R) would replace the AP History course and exam with a state-specific program, and during debate over that bill, the House Common Education Committee discussed whether AP was a national standard imposed on the state which could violates a state law passed last year that repealed Common Core and mandated education standards and assessment are tot be set by the state, according to Tulsa World. Common Core is a divisive topic for parents of public school students. An October Gallup poll found a 33 percent three-way split between parents who view them negatively, those who viewed them positively, and those that have no opinion. It’s more controversial in a red state like Oklahoma that’s more distrustful of federal standards being imposed; the poll found Republicans are more likely to view Common Core negatively than Democrats, 58 percent to 23 percent. But there are some major differences between AP and Common Core. For one, schools aren’t required to offer AP courses and students aren’t required to take them to graduate. Even without banning the program statewide, AP can be a local community decision…”



Where Do the Potential GOP 2016 Candidates Stand on Common Core?



Christie goes from Common Core supporter to critic, blames Obama





Dictators Love the FCC’s Plan to Regulate the Internet

The Obama administration’s efforts to treat the Web like a utility has fans from Saudi Arabia to Putin’s Kremlin.

“On Thursday the Federal Communications Commission will stop accepting public comments on the divisive plan to regulate the Internet as a public utility before bringing the matter to vote on Feb. 26. The latest lunge at more Web regulation puts global Internet freedom and prosperity in jeopardy and fatally undermines decades of bipartisan consensus on America’s foreign policy for the Internet. Some proponents of more Internet regulation—for instance, President Obama—maintain that “the strongest possible” laws are needed to…”



Beck Breaks Down What He Believes the ‘Real Goal’ of Net Neutrality Is

“Glenn Beck on Tuesday said the “real goal” of the upcoming FCC vote on net neutrality is to control the flow of information over the Internet. “It’s minorly about taxes. They’ll come after you with taxes on everything,” Beck said on his radio program. “But this is truly about control. … They’ve tried to take away your guns. They’re trying to take away your voice. They need control of the Internet.” Beck said proponents of net neutrality are describing it as a way to implement “Internet fairness,” but that is “bull crap.” “[It] is nothing more than a play for the federal government to be able to clamp down on the Internet,” Beck said. “Like all innovation, the Internet wasn’t created by the government, and the government has no power to control it…”



Obama AG Nominee Spars With Senators Over Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

“Even before she takes office, US Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch is facing a public kerfuffle—she’s been forced to blast the views of the Department of Justice’s (DoJ) fraud chief who has criticized aggressive enforcement of the US anti-corruption law. In a written exchange with senators, Lynch had to contrast the Obama administration’s goal of tough enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) with the views of Andrew Weissmann, who was appointed in January as chief of the DoJ’s Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, which oversees that law. In 2010, Weissmann, then an attorney with Jenner & Block, produced a report commissioned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that attacked FCPA enforcement as overly aggressive. The report was part of a Chamber push to force legislative changes to the law. Weissmann expanded on those sentiments when he later testified before a House Judiciary Committee subcommittee describing some DoJ and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement actions as “not commensurate with the original goals of the law.” In addition, he said the government’s “more expansive interpretations of the statute” may have punished corporations that had not violated the law and also made US companies less competitive. However, Lynch insists that Weissmann produced the paper while in private practice and representing the Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform.”



Ash Carter Sworn In Tuesday As 25th Secretary Of Defense

“Ash Carter was sworn in as the 25th Secretary of Defense Tuesday morning, taking over from his predecessor, Chuck Hagel, who was forced out by President Barack Obama. According to Obama, Carter is expected to “hit the ground running.” Speaking of hitting the ground, on their way to the nation’s capital, Carter’s wife Stephanie “slipped and fell on the icy pavement” according to a report from The Associated Press. However, Stephanie indicated to officials she was not hurt by the fall. Despite heavy snow which closed the rest of the federal government, Ash Carter was able to make it to the White House Ceremony with Vice President Joe Biden where he finally took the oath office as Obama’s fourth Secretary of Defense in just 6 years, according to a press release from the Department of Defense. “If anyone is made for this job, if there’s a job description that fits a person, this is the guy that fits the job description,” Biden stated at the ceremony, according to The Hill. In a message to DOD personnel after being sworn in, Carter described military service as the highest calling before immediately transitioning to the threats the nation faces…”



Ash Carter, new defense chief, makes Pentagon debut; wife slips on ice



Obama administration to allow sales of armed drones to allies

“The Obama administration will permit the widespread export of armed drones for the first time, a step toward providing allied nations with weapons that have become a cornerstone of U.S. counterterrorism strategy but whose remotely controlled power to kill is intensely controversial. The new policy, announced Tuesday after a long internal review, is a significant step for U.S. arms policy as allied nations from Italy to Turkey to the Persian Gulf region clamor for the aircraft. It also is a nod to U.S. defense firms scrambling to secure a greater share of a growing global drone market. But in a reflection of the sensitivity surrounding sales of the lethal technology to allied countries, some of which have troubling records on human rights and political freedoms, the new policy lays out principles that foreign governments must embrace to receive the aircraft. “The technology is here to stay,” said a senior State Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the regulations. “It’s to our benefit to have certain allies and partners equipped appropriately.”



Pelosi Leads House Democratic CODEL to Cuba (Updated)

“As congressional Republicans continue to slam the White House for overreaching on immigration and promising to veto Iran sanctions, House Democrats traveled to Cuba in celebration of another Obama administrative initiative much-derided by the GOP: the recent normalization of ties between the United States and the long-marginalized country. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and eight colleagues were in Havana Tuesday to meet with government officials, Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino, local community leaders and American representatives from the U.S. Interests Section. It was the first House-led delegation to Cuba since President Barack Obama announced the new policy in December. “This delegation travels to Cuba in friendship,” Pelosi said in a statement. “[It] will work to advance the U.S.-Cuba relationship and build on the work done by many in the Congress over the years, especially with respect to agriculture and trade.” In addition to Pelosi, participants in the all-Democratic delegation include three ranking members of relevant House committees: Agriculture’s Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota, Foreign Affairs’ Eliot L. Engel and Small Business’s Nydia M. Velázquez, both of New York. Along for the trip are Reps. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, who serves as co-chairwoman of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, and Steve Israel of New York, the recently-appointed chairman of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. The other members of the delegation are Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, the co-chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, and Rhode Island’s David Cicilline, a member of both the Foreign Affairs and Judiciary committees. Over the weekend, Senate Democrats also made a trip to Havana to build support for legislation ending the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba. Mark Warner of Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota were in Havana talking up a bill Klobuchar is sponsoring to lift the U.S. trade embargo….”



Nancy Pelosi leads House Democratic visit to Cuba



Obama, Reid to meet at White House

“President Obama and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will meet at the White House on Wednesday. Reid missed a meeting between Obama and other congressional leaders last month as he recovered from injuries sustained in an exercise accident. The administration, which included the meeting as part of the president’s schedule, didn’t say what the two would discuss. But, the ongoing fight over how to fund the Department of Homeland Security is likely to be high on the list. The stalemate over the department comes as Republicans seek to deny funding for Obama’s executive actions on immigration. Democrats, including Reid, want to pass a “clean” spending bill to fund the department, which runs out of money on Feb. 27. Reid, in a statement Tuesday, called the current battle over how to fund DHS “a completely avoidable impasse.” “Democrats’ offer to first fund Homeland Security and then debate immigration stands. All Republicans have to do is say yes,” Reid said.  But House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said during an interview with “Fox News Sunday” that if the department runs out of money, Senate Democrats would get the blame. “The House has done its job under the Constitution,” he said during the interview. Senate Democrats have blocked a House-passed bill rolling back Obama’s immigration actions, and Republicans don’t have the votes to overcome a filibuster….”



Are private unions cooling toward Democrats?

“President Obama has long been a friend of organized labor, wholeheartedly supported by unions that helped boost him to victory in both his presidential campaigns.But increasingly, there now is a divide between unions in the public and private sector when it comes to supporting him. According to James Sherk, a labor policy analyst with the Heritage Foundation, government employee unions want “bigger and more expensive government,” in contrast to private sector unions. Sherk added those private groups are “pushing back” and speaking out more publicly about things like the Keystone XL Pipeline, which they believe will benefit their members. That has put them on a collision course with Obama, who last summer proclaimed, “We should do everything we can to strengthen unions in this country.” “The president’s insistence on vetoing this pipeline is directly taking away income from these union members, and they, understandably, don’t like it,” Sherk said. Congress has passed a measure to expedite the Keystone project, although Obama has vowed to veto it. Just days ago, Sean McGarvey, president of North America’s Building Trades Unions, made a direct appeal. “We urge the president of the United States to put our men and women back to work across the length of this pipeline as soon as possible,” McGarvey said, adding, “We urge the president to sign the bill.” Union leaders also have a long-standing beef with the administration over the Affordable Care Act’s enormous tax on so-called Cadillac health insurance plans.The plans offer high dollar benefits and are used as a recruiting tool. Although the tax doesn’t kick in for several more years, as far back as 2013 union leaders were making public pleas to Democratic lawmakers. In a letter written in July of that year, union officials, including James Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, urged congressional Democrats to drop the tax saying, “We voted for you.We have a problem; you need to fix it.” Analysts say the issue may present an opportunity for GOP leaders to build some good will with unions. Just days ago, Rep. Frank Guinta, R-N.H., introduced a measure he’s calling “Ax the Tax.”A similar measure didn’t get far in the Senate last year, but may have a better chance with the GOP now in control of both the House and Senate.”



President Obama: Very polarizing, but very consistent (chart)



David Axelrod: ‘Proud’ That the White House Has Gone Six Years ‘in Which There Hasn’t Been a Major Scandal’

“Former senior Obama adviser David Axelrod told an audience at the University of Chicago that he’s “proud” that the White House has gone six years “without a major scandal.” Axelrod was responding to a question about the so-called “revolving door” between government officials and lobbyists and said that the Obama administration has largely steered clear of such entanglements. “I’m proud of the fact that basically you’ve had an administration in place for six years in which there hasn’t been a major scandal,” said Axelrod, who advised President Barack Obama both in the White House and on the campaign trail. “And I think that says a lot about the ethical strictures, you know, of this administration.” BuzzFeed reported the comments Tuesday. Asserting no “major scandal” provides at least a qualifier, but Axelrod does seem to dismiss controversies that have plagued the administration, including the IRS targeting of conservative groups; the 2012 Benghazi attacks; Operation Fast and Furious; revelations about the National Security Agency and a bad government loan to the politically connected solar panel company Solyndra.”



Axelrod: No ‘Major Scandal’ For Obama In Past Six Years



Take David Axelrod’s word for it: Obama’s White House remains untouched by any ‘major scandals’




“Is Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the current DNC Chair, considering a bid for U.S. Senate? A Politico report claims she’s thinking about it. “Of course she’s considering it,” claims a source in a position to know. “Open Senate seats are pretty rare,” long time supporter Andrew Weinstein told the magazine. One can almost hear the “year of the woman” calls from Wasserman Schultz now, what with Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket. Add to that Rubio’s potential run for the GOP nomination, and it is possible to envision what to many on the right is the unthinkable, Senator Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Driving Wasserman Schultz’s interest: the increasing likelihood that Sen. Marco Rubio will run for the White House and that he ultimately won’t seek reelection in 2016, Democratic insiders familiar with her thinking say. Her office wouldn’t discuss her interest in the Senate….”



Jon Huntsman not interested in challenging Sen. Mike Lee

“Jon Huntsman may one day run again for public office, but a primary challenge against Sen. Mike Lee in Utah apparently isn’t on his 2016 to-do list. “Bottom line, not likely,” Huntsman told the Salt Lake Tribune in an e-mail. “Maybe next time!!” Lee, a Tea Party favorite, angered some establishment Republicans when he won the GOP Senate nomination in 2010. Bob Bennett, an 18-year Senate veteran, came in third at the state convention that year and lost his re-election bid in what was an early sign of the Tea Party’s strength in 2010. Lee also faced a backlash back home when he sided with Sen. Ted Cruz during the government shutdown in 2013. Huntsman, a former Utah governor who ran for president in 2012, confirmed a CNN report that he had been approached to run against Lee next year. He recently called Lee, who served as his general counsel during his first term as governor, a “brilliant” man who understands the Constitution and knows how to legislate. Huntsman’s assessment of the Utah senator differed sharply from that of his father. Jon Huntsman Sr. told Politico that Lee is “an embarrassment to the state of Utah.”






Are you ready for … Senator Jon Huntsman? Update: Not in 2016, Huntsman says



Jeb Bush speaks at Republican fundraiser in Richmond

He said the party should seek out people who are interested in the American Dream.



Scott Walker emerging as main challenger to Jeb Bush in Republican field

The little-known governor of Wisconsin is building quiet momentum in the race to become the Republicans’ 2016 presidential candidate




“Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker leads another very early Iowa poll. A Gravis Marketing poll conducted after Mitt Romney announced he would not make a third White House run found Walker in the lead with 24%. Fifteen percent of Iowa Republicans are undecided and, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) are tied in second with 10% each. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is next with 9%, followed by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) with 7%; Mike Huckabee with 7%; former Sen. Rick Santorum with 6%; Ben Carson with 5%; Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) with 4%; and Carly Fiorinia with 3%. The poll was conducted February 12-13 and has a four-percent margin of error. Walker also had the lead in a Des Moines Register poll conducted earlier in the month.”



Christie pledges tax code overhaul if president



State Department spokeswoman floats jobs as answer to ISIS

“What the West really needs to take on the Islamic State is … a jobs program.  That’s what a top State Department spokeswoman suggested when asked in a TV interview Monday night about what the U.S.-led coalition is doing to stop the slaughter of civilians by Islamic State militants across the region.  “We’re killing a lot of them, and we’re going to keep killing more of them. … But we cannot win this war by killing them,” department spokeswoman Marie Harf said on MSNBC’s “Hardball.” “We need … to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs, whether –”  At that point, Harf was interrupted by host Chris Matthews, who pointed out, “There’s always going to be poor people. There’s always going to be poor Muslims.”  Harf continued to argue that the U.S. should work with other countries to “help improve their governance” and “help them build their economies so they can have job opportunities for these people.”



Obama Admin. Spokeswoman Says This Is the Key to Defeating Islamic State — and It’s Not ‘Killing Them’



Ralph Peters: Terrorists Aren’t Saying “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs,” They’re “Screaming Allahu Akbar”

“SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Among all the stupid things that I think I have heard about radical Islam, the State Department jobs program has to be ranked the highest among them. Because if that’s their mentality, Colonel, then maybe we should give people free housing, terrorist housing, and maybe we should give them Ferraris, and Obamacare. I’ve seen a lot of terrorists on TV that need dental work. Maybe free dental care. Maybe that will make them like us because that seems to be the mindset. What’s your reaction to that comment?

  1. COL. RALPH PETERS, FOX NEWS: Let’s really unpack what Marie Harf said. Marie Harf is Exhibit A for the comprehensive failure of the U.S. educational system. That woman has a Master’s Degree in international relations from the University of Virginia. Moms and Dads, save your money. Now, what she was saying about jobs, terrorists need jobs? Then we give them a union card and path to citizenship?  I mean, Osama bin Laden was wealthy. Major [Nidal] Hasan, the Fort Hood butcher, he had a job as I recall. He was a major in the Army. Do you think the guy in Copenhagen this last weekend, when he pulled the trigger, trying to kill a cartoonist and as many other Danes as he could, was he screaming jobs, jobs, jobs? No, he was screaming Allahu Akbar. I mean this is sheer idiocy.  The other thing she said, in the same interview, is we can’t kill our way out of a war. Hey, Marie! War is about killing! You get out of wars by killing enough of the other guys until they either quit, or they’re gone. They’re dead, they’re gone, they’re finished. I mean she heard somebody somewhere say we can’t kill our way out of this.”



The “Jobs for Jihad Delinquents” Program



Majority Dissaprove of Obama’s Islamic State Approach



Even MSNBC hosts agree with majority who say Obama being too soft on ISIS



Holder: ‘We’re Not in a Time of War’



Holder fires back at Fox News over term ‘Islamic extremists’



As Jordan, Egypt bomb ISIS, Obama holds a summit on extremism; He plans 2 speeches

“Whenever Barack Obama needs the appearance of taking action on some hot issue in the news, he calls for a summit of some kind. Gun violence. Bullying. Healthy eating. Oh, look! Another one begins today in Washington: The White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism. It’s so very important that Obama will throw not one but two speeches at it during the next three days. Two weeks ago when ISIS burned a Jordanian pilot alive, Jordan launched an increased round of bombing attacks. Sunday when an ISIS affiliate, newly-emerged in Libya, beheaded 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians, Egypt’s Muslim President al-Sisi launched air attacks there. When news of the mass executions on a Libyan beach emerged on another gruesome video Sunday, Obama was enjoying a long holiday golfing excursion with Hawaii Choom Gang pals in Palm Springs. This was after his orgy of selfies for BuzzFeed. So, it was left to Press Secy. Josh Earnest to launch not a speech but a 192-word barrage denouncing the slaughter.

It began: “The United States condemns the despicable and cowardly murder of twenty-one Egyptian citizens in Libya by ISIL-affiliated terrorists.” Notice anything missing in this official White House document? The fact that every single one of the victims was Christian. Pope Francis, whose moral authority and support Obama proudly cited when restoring relations with Cuba, had no problem identifying the faith of the victims: “Today I read about the execution of those twenty-one or twenty-two Coptic Christians. Their only words were: ‘Jesus, help me!’ They were killed simply for the fact that they were Christians…. It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same.”



George Will: Obama Has ‘Pathological, Clinical’ Inability To Describe Terror






Obama avoids Islam focus in ‘extremism’ summit, teams with mosque with past terror ties




“The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) posted a picture on Twitter confirming that its President, Salam Al-Marayati, is in attendance at the White House’s Countering Violent Extremism Summit, which kicked off on Tuesday.”






Obama Alone In Ignoring Roots Of Islamist Terror



Muslim NGOs could help counter violent extremism



ISIS militants reportedly burn to death 45 people in western Iraqi town



Top GOP senators blast Obama admin’s waffling on arming Ukraine military