Nel's New Day

February 23, 2020

‘Zero’ Immigration Hurts Economy

“We are desperate” for immigrants was part of the message by Mick Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), in a speech at Oxford Union while Mulvaney was in England. (That was after he said that Republicans care only about huge deficits when there is a Democratic president. Mulvaney and DDT have managed to increase the national deficit by $3 trillion in three years.)  About the U.S. need for immigrants, Mulvaney said:

“We are running out of people to fuel the economic growth that we’ve had in our nation over the last four years. We need more immigrants.”

Immigrants contributed 15 percent of U.S. economic growth between 1990 and 2014. They provide taxes to support domestic programs for U.S. children and seniors as well as tending to be better educated. They founded 30 percent of U.S. firms that have gone public and more than 50 percent of startups valued at over $1 billion that have yet to go public. They generally do not speak English as well as native-born citizens so they don’t compete for jobs in communication, concentrating more on scientific and technical employment. Others work in fields sometimes rejected by native-born citizens; immigrants comprise 36 percent of workers in the farming, fishing, forestry, building and grounds cleaning, and maintenance workers; 27 percent of hotel workers; and 21 percent of home health care industry workers. Their mobility fills in gaps for labor market efficiency.

As DDT does in the U.S., Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson (nicknamed BoJo), with the help of his home secretary Priti Patel, is imposing a rigid points-based system to deny most immigrants the right to live and work in Britain. They get their points by proving they speak English, are educated, and have a job offer paying a middle-class wage. BoJo hopes his white nationalism will appeal to older and wealthier conservative voters.  Like in the United States, BoJo’s system will result in a massive shortage of workers in healthcare, home care, lodgings, restaurants, farming, and other areas relying on low-paid employees. The government estimates that 70 percent of immigrants from the EU since 2004 would not have qualified.

DDT is going to be more desperate to find immigrants after his conservative Supreme Court ruled to lift stays on the wealth test—that immigrants even on the path to citizenship will be deported if they receive public benefits for 12 of 36 months. Justice Sonia Sotomayor stated the court was violating its own rules about when to step into the legal process. Until DDT’s election, the Court did not typically grant stays while cases were in the lower courts. Sotomayor pointed out that this “extraordinary act” now seems to be the “new normal.” Of the 23+ applications for “extraordinary” stays since DDT’s inauguration, 12 were this year compared to a total of eight requests during the 16 years of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. DDT’s government also wins two-thirds of the requests, showing that his Supreme Court bends the law in his favor.

“It is hard to say what is more troubling: that the government would seek this extraordinary relief seemingly as a matter of course, or that the court would grant it.”

Sotomayor also argued that “this Court is partly to blame for the breakdown in the appellate process … because the Court … been all too quick to grant the Government’s ‘reflexiv[e]’ requests.”

Immigrants already in the U.S. use public benefit programs less than U.S.-born citizens. In 2013, 32.5 percent of the latter received SNAP benefits compared to 25.4 percent of naturalized citizens and 29 percent of noncitizens. Immigrants also receive lower benefit values. Having jobs such as child care, home care, and fast food employment doesn’t keep people from needing these benefits

The Supreme Court decision impacts millions of immigrants; at least 69 percent of the over 5 million people receiving green cards during the past five years have at least one “negative” factor that could deport them. Even applying for a green card is counted against applicants. Other factors counting against applicants:

  • Not having an income that is 250% of the poverty line ($76,700 for a family of five).
  • Being unemployed.
  • Dropping out of high school.
  • Lacking English fluency.
  • Being older than 61 or younger than 18.
  • Having medical issues, especially if uninsured.
  • Not having private health insurance.
  • Having a mortgage, car loan, or credit card debt.

A missing piece in DDT’s budget, however, seems to reinforce the hiring of undocumented immigrants, perhaps again at his own businesses. The use of E-Verify, a program that checks new hires for undocumented immigrants, is no longer mandatory although it was part of his campaign promises. Jared Kushner, DDT’s son-in-law and adviser, has been working on a 600-page immigration proposal that makes immigration more business friendly, and the budget cuts $3.7 million from E-Verify’s funding.

Big employers don’t use E-Verify “Because I don’t have to,” according to their interviews with Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies.  The Trump Organization didn’t use E-Verify until a scandal about DDT’s undocumented workers erupted over two years after his inauguration. In May 2019, DDT told Fox that his business tried to use E-Verify while building his hotel in Washington, D.C. but the program blocked them from hiring “qualified” people. Florida’s biggest businesses—including agriculture, tourism, and construction—opposed the mandatory use of E-Verify because it was a threat to their workforce. Twenty-four states, including Florida, require E-Verify only for some government employers, but only eight states mandate the program’s use for all businesses.

The shortage of immigrants comes from far-right, racist, anti-immigrant Stephen Miller who persuaded DDT that a white country is a good country. In The New Yorker, Jonathan Blitzer wrote a profile of Miller and his steps to turn the United States white.  

After 9/11, Congress created the Department of Homeland Security, the third largest federal department with a $50 billion budget and a staff of about 200,000 employees, combined a number of protective agencies for disaster recovery, cybersecurity, infrastructure, the Coast Guard, and immigration. Miller’s focus was only on the last one: he ignored policy-making and requires lower-level officials to answer directly to him without the knowledge of their high-up’s.

Under the auspices of Director of Domestic Policy Council, Miller eliminated decades of immigration policies and precedent while using law to reduce legal immigration. His ten-point list includes an “end to catch and release,” “zero tolerance for criminal aliens,” penalties for sanctuary cities, a vow to reverse Obama’s executive orders, and a “big-picture” vision for reforming the immigration system “to serve the best interests of America and its workers”—meaning no one but white. Because of Miller, DDT revoked DACA to rid the U.S. of a “foreign-born” workforce before Miller guaranteed that Congress wouldn’t find a bipartisan solution for its reinstatement.  

Miller led a meeting with DOJ officials to push them into prosecuting border crossers as criminals so that families could be separated. Parents received criminal charges; children were considered unaccompanied minors. DHS wasn’t ready to implement the program and had no system for reuniting families, but Miller forced the agency into taking 2,500 children, including 102 under the age of five, from their parents. Hundreds of parents were deported without their children.  

Almost a year ago, DHS began the great DHS purge, beginning with firing Kristjen Nielsen and moving on to dumping the head of ICE and the DHS top lawyer. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said that DDT “pulling the rug out from the very people that are trying to help him accomplish his goal.” Miller moved in his own loyalists such as Matthew Albence as head of ICE who compared detention facilities to “summer camp.” But Kevin McAleenan, DHS fourth DHS head under DDT quit. He said:

“What I don’t have control over is the tone, the message, the public face and approach of the department in an increasingly polarized time.”

Miller refused to accept the resignation, but McAleenan left anyway. His replacement, Chad Wolf, is another acting appointee not confirmed by the Senate for that position. To get Wolf into that position, DDT pushed him through as Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Strategy, Policy, and Plans. Wolf could not be an agency director without being Senate-confirmed for another agency position.

Although he denied involvement in the “zero tolerance” immigration policy, Wolf helped develop the concept of separating families at the southern border as punishment and said, “My job wasn’t to determine whether it was the right or wrong policy.” He is also architect of the “Remain in Mexico” policy which forces almost 50,000 migrants caught in dangerous conditions while awaiting refugee asylum.

Last fall, hundreds of Miller’s emails exchanged between 2015 and 2016 with Breitbart were made public. They included links to articles on the white-supremacist Web site vdare, as well as an enthusiastic reference to The Camp of Saints, a racist anti-immigration French novel. One email forwards an article arguing that the U.S. should deport immigrants on trains “to scare out the people who want to undo our country.” Miller’s policies have almost completely sealed the southern border and has moved on to ordering DHS to send armed agents from Border Patrol swat teams to so-called “sanctuary cities” such as New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. He also wans ICE officers to pull children out of school. A senior DHS official told Blitzer that “there’s no one left at DHS to say ‘No’ to Miller anymore.” With Miller, DDT and the United States won’t have the workers they need to grow the economy.

February 16, 2017

Trump Surrounds Himself with White Supremacists

It’s the 21st century, and white supremacists are controlling the White House. After World War II, the nation was “great” because the United States had defeated Nazism during World War II. Less than a century ago, neo-Nazis are a key component in leading the country.

steve-bannonSteve Bannon, de facto president, has received a great deal of press, including posts in this blog. Readers of Breitbart.com learned about the high “black crime” and the “Muslim hordes” beating down the gates of “Western civilization.” Readers also learned that women who use contraceptives are ugly, but that’s another story.

stephen-millerSenior advisor Stephen Miller made a huge name for himself on last Sunday’s talk shows by explaining that the supreme power of and last word in U.S. government is DDT—a position of czar. College roommate of Richard Spencer, a major white supremacist leader, Miller fiercely advocates for “ethno-nationalism,” a way of claiming the superiority of whites and the belief that U.S. culture needs to force out anyone not believing in the nation’s “Judeo-Christian values.” Miller communicated this on the talk shows in his falsehood that “millions” of “illegal aliens” voted against DDT. [Above photo by Jabin Botsford]

Miller was behind DDT’s anti-Muslim rhetoric, probably writing DDT’s speech that “complained darkly that Muslim communities within the United States were sheltering terrorists.” He wrote other strident speeches, including DDT’s declaration that “nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.” In Miller’s view, immigration is one of the greatest “existential issues” in the nation, according to a former Miller colleague. Mostly behind the scenes until last Sunday, Miller is equally instrumental as Steve Bannon to DDT’s agenda of exclusion and white hegemony.

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 09:  U.S. President Donald Trump (C) put his hand on the shoulder of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R) after introducing him before Sessions's swearing in ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House February 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump also signed three executive orders immediately after the swearing in ceremony. Also pictured is U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L).  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

 (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Well-known racist, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions the Third has just been anointed Attorney General after Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his minions blocked Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) from reading a Coretta Scott King letter about Sessions’ racist behavior. As DDT’s lap dog, he will protect all the president’s illegal actions. Sessions is now the leading law enforcement official of the entire nation, charged with protecting civil rights for racial minorities and other vulnerable populations. We can look forward to Sessions’ protecting the Ku Klux Klan and other white populations.

gorkaSebastian Gorka, DDT’s deputy assistant and former “national security” editor for Breitbart.com, is rabidly Islamophobic and a promoter—perhaps creator—of the term “fake news” for anyone who criticizes DDT. He also strongly supported the omission of any reference to Jews in the Holocaust remembrance statement, possibly because he’s also anti-Semitic.

medalA medal he sports in photographs, the Order of Vitéz, belongs to a Hungarian group identified in the State Department as collaborator with the Nazis during World War II. [visual] The medal of the “vitézi rend,” established by virulently anti-Semitic Miklós Horthy in 1920, was used to “knight” military members and could be inherited. The medal could be inherited, in Gorka’s case most likely from his grandfather. As a Nazi Germany ally, Hungary passed anti-Semitic legislation in 1938 and sent 100,000 Jewish men to forced labor in 1941.

In 1944, Hungary first put 440,000 Jews into ghettos and then deported 425,000 of them to Auschwitz-Birkenau where three-fourths of them were gassed on arrival. The others died from disease, starvation, and other brutal treatment. By the end of the Holocaust, 75 percent of Hungarian Jews were dead. The “knightly order” was banned after the war, but right-wing émigrés kept the organization alive. Anti-Semites again brag about predecessors being a “vitéz.”

michael-antonDDT has added another white supremacist to his team on the National Security Council. Michael Anton, aka Publius Decius Mus, wrote “The Flight 93 Election” for racist Trump supporters, comparing Trump’s campaign to the hijacked plane on 9/11 that passengers took back by force. As a communications aide for the National Security Council in 2001, he participated in preparing the case for invading Iraq that included the myth that Saddam Hussein wanted uranium from Africa. Like DDT, Anton has later disavowed that he supported the Iraq War. [Photo: AP/Carolyn Kaster]

Anton’s essay “Toward a Sensible, Coherent Trumpism” defended pre-world War II anti-Semitism:

“Diversity” is not ‘our strength’; it’s a source of weakness, tension and disunion. America is not a ‘nation of immigrants’; we are originally a nation of settlers, who later chose to admit immigrants, and later still not to, and who may justly open or close our doors solely at our own discretion, without deference to forced pieties.”

Even neoconservative Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, is critical, comparing Anton to the Nazi political theorist Carl Schmitt. Kristol wrote:

“The Bannon-Anton wing of the Trump White House has a penchant for semi-conspiratorial analyses and semi-kooky prescriptions. And for them, being responsible isn’t a virtue. Which is worrisome.”

As Heather Digby Parton wrote for Salon, DDT found his supporters among those who “see the Obama years as a conscious destruction of civil society through politically correct racial McCarthyism, confiscatory taxes, overbearing regulation, religious oppression, rampant crime and disarmament of the populace” that they learned “on Fox News, heard about from Rush Limbaugh and read about on Breitbart News for nearly a decade.”

DDT’s minions reported what was being pushed on these sources of lies, that Common Core is a disaster, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl “traitorous,”  DDT looks down from his plan and sees the nation as a “war zone” with high crime where all blacks live in violent, squalid ghettos. DDT pictures the U.S. on the edge of social and economic collapse. And these falsehoods are pushed by the white supremacists who DDT has selected to surround him.

“White nationalism” means hostility to Muslims, racial stereotypes of Hispanics, and contempt for blacks. Bannon recently wrote, “In America and Europe, working people are reasserting their right to control their own destinies.” “Working” is dogwhistle for “white” in the same way that Bannon meant Jews and other minorities when he denigrated “cosmopolitan elites.”

Neither Miller nor Bannon supported Andrew Puzder, accusing him of not being strong enough on anti-immigration. After wife-abusing Steve Bannon got rid of wife-abusing Puzder, who withdrew his nomination for Labor Department secretary, conservative Alex Acosta has appeared as a nominee for that position. Acosta’s resume includes clerking for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, confirmation to the National Labor Board, and top federal prosecutor in Miami.

acostaIt was his position on the DOJ Civil Rights Division during George W. Bush’s first term that led to his problems. Acosta’s oversaw the official with hiring authority who allowed employment of only conservative lawyers opposed to civil rights, including police abuse and voting rights violations. A report found that “Acosta took no action to alert those in his chain of command.” As a DOJ official, Acosta participated in Bush’s efforts to win Ohio by telling a judge to side with GOP attorneys when Democrats tried to reinstate the purged names of 23,000 voters. Acosta’s action caused him to lose out in his application to be the law school head at the University of Florida. A question is how Bannon and Miller will cope with Acosta’s pro-Muslim testimony in a congressional hearing.

The last two years have seen a rise in anti-Muslim hate groups in the United States with an almost three-fold increase just last year from 34 to 101. “As the radical right was energized by the candidacy of Donald Trump,” the overall number of domestic hate groups is now 917 in a “resurgence of white nationalism.” The report added that the new groups “were almost entirely focused on Trump and seemed to live off his candidacy.” The FBI reported a 67-percent surge of hate crimes against Muslims in 2015.

Today DDT again called himself  “the least racist [person you have seen in your entire life].” These are the people he chooses to “make America great again.”

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