Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Trump could wind up billing relatives (sponsors) of immigrants who use government services: could this matter to asylum seekers?

Vox (Dara Lind) has an article today discussing an anticipated Trump Executive Order in which “legal immigrants” might be subject to deportation if they use publicly (or at least federally) funded services.  This matter appears to refer to the I864 process by which people can enter the country legally with family “sponsorship” of sorts (which is not the same thing as Canadian-style refugee sponsorship).

US citizen family relatives could be forced to pay for benefits they have used, even after deportation.
I wonder if this could apply to asylum seekers.  Right now, there is no legal recognition of “sponsorship” for a host (as is possible in Canada).  But if a hosted asylum seeker used publicly funded health care services (like HIV medication, for example) and the host had the assets to pay, could the host be assessed for the benefits, down the road?  Or would this, ironically, argue that the US needs a legal sponsorship process for asylum seekers.

Dave Bier of the Cato Institute has some impressive analysis in the New York Times, Jan. 27, “Trump’s Immigration Ban Is Illegal”  He mentions that the term “immigrant” only properly refers to a legal permanent resident.

Monday, January 30, 2017

The role of Bannon in the immigration order; green card order affects many more tech workers than you would expect; Vox storystream

Vox has a story-stream and video on Trump’s immigration order by Andrew Prokop.

There is a lot of focus on Steve Bannon, who may have written the order, as if he were writing a movie script using FinalDraft.  But this is real life.

Besides the refugee ban for 120 days and the extra ban on any entry from the seven countries, one of the most devastating aspects of the ban is the fact that, as of this writing, it looks as though most green card holders cannot return, from any of the seven countries.   Trump had apparently waffled on this point before finally “denying” everything.

This has led to some tech companies, especially Google, telling their employees from those countries not to travel outside the US if they are here now.

I was surprised at how many employees Google has from these countries.

Here's an article on "Medium" asking if Trump is testing the limits of constitutional checks and balances to see what he can get away with and consolidate power.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Trump's refugee ban strands people with green cards overseas

There is a lot of flurry today about the detention of people trying to return from blacklisted countries (especially Iraq) on green cards.  There is already some litigation, with a complaint published by the Washington Post.

There are protests at Dulles Airport and at JFK (the latter carried live by filmmaker Nev Schulman from “Catflish”.

Google has advised some of its employees not to leave the US, as the ban seems to apply to 500000 green card holders (story).

Vox as a detailed analysis of Trump’s executive order late Friday here.
Look up Kirk Johnson and The List Project.  He was just interviewed on CNN.

Update 2:

The ACLU has won an injunction in NY. and VA has won an injunction at Dulles.  Legal challenges are moving quickly.

California is threatening to withhold federal taxes over the sanctuary city issue.

Airbnb is connecting refugees to hosts overseas (and probably Canada) who will shelter refugees free.  Canada says it can accept stranded refugees because it has a private sponsorship program.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Trump set to suspend refugee immigration from Syria, Iraq, and 5 other Islamist countries; might be temporary; effect on LGBTQ asylum seekers from countries is unclear.

Donald Trump has announced intentions to start building portions of “The Wall” against Mexico soon, and expect reimbursement from Mexico later for some of the cost.

But more controversial is the plan, to be announced Thursday, to stop immigration from up to seven countries, including Syria, Iran, and Iraq, for at least one to four months, as explained, for example, in a Wall Street Journal story here.

It is unclear whether visas already approved would be canceled.

It is also unclear is asylum applications from those already here from those countries can be approved, be delayed, or whether asylum seekers would be sent back.  This might affect some LGBTQ asylum seekers.

President Trump also wants to stop all funding to sanctuary cities, although it’s unclear how to draw the lines.  Wouldn’t police get regular funding?  Advocacy organizations that get funding indirectly could get cut off.

Update: Later Wednesday

Trump has postponed an executive order on the terror-country-list refugee ban apparently until the first of next week.  He appears to be rethinking it.  CNN AC360 aired a report at 8:50 PM tonight about the resettlement in Rutland, VT.  The reporter did NOT believe refugees already settled will be in jeopardy.  Here's another story on Rutland and the refugees.

Apparently all entry will be denied in seven countries (including Syria) and suspend all refugee settlement for four months.

Wikipedia attribution link for picture of Rutland by Shawn Pemrick under CC 3.0.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Trump's aggressive plans on ISIS could lead to more chatter at home

The Pentagon has prepared aggressive new actions against ISIS, according to CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr, as in this story. Trump had said he would demand an aggressive plan against ISIS within 30 days, and it has already been drawn up, but never approved by Obama.

Several combat brigades could be sent to northern Syria, to provide some combat, or combat support, or combat service support to existing forces, especially Kurds, who might actually try to take Raqqa on the ground.  There don’t seem to be any plans to have US forced directly enter Raqqa or ISIS controlled cities.

Still, the escalation could inspire more terror operations in the US, especially attempts at Internet recruiting of loan wolves, which could put social media in a bind.  In the Fort Lauderdale shooting case recently, the man arrested had been talking in :jihadi chatrooms, although he had also claimed he heard voices and was being manipulated as a Manchurian candidate.

There is controversy over whether Trump will continue to use Twitter.  He told CNN he doesn’t like it but needs to reach millions himself.  What if he changes his mind?

Trump has other controversial proposals, like discarding "One China", which could compromise getting China to throttle North Korea, and withdrawing from supporting NATO, especially if other countries don't pay their fair shares.

Monday, January 16, 2017

"Criminals" remaining from Cuban Mariel boatlift in 1980 now can be deported by agreement with Cuba

The New York Times has run several stories about the “long delayed” expulsion or deportation of some Cuban refugees from the 1980 Mariel Boat Lift back to Cuba, those with criminal records.  President Obama has ended the “wet-foot dry-foot” policy and ordered their removal.  The pact with recognizing Cuba means that the US can send them back. The most recent story is here.
Most Cuban refugees were law-abiding, and church groups in the south pressured members to house them, especially in LGBT populations, back in 1980.  At the time, the churches probably were not aware that Castro had released some people from prisons or mental hospitals into the boatlift.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Overseas governments, including Germany, crack down on "fake news" and even censor speech about refugees

Joshua Philipp has a long article about “Fake news, once decried as censorship, spreads around the world” in the Epoch Times, link here.

The story, which I read a lunch in a “faith-owned” rural coffee shop in a rural town today, goes into the way many foreign governments view citizen-spread news as a threat to stability.  Even in some western countries there have been some serious incidents.  In Germany, a couple was taken to court for a Facebook post critical of the immigration policy, where they apparently “falsely” reported crimes committed by Trojan horses among refugees.  I have actually heard that from a personal contact in New York. In some countries, people can be chased for links to fake stories and even Facebook likes.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Would NORAD be able to stop any North Korean or other enemy ICBM's (including EMP)?

The Washington Post has an alarming editorial this morning, Thursday, January 5, 2017, “How will the United States stop North Korea?” The print title, p. A16, is more specific: “North Korea’s ICBM threat: Mr. Trump’s tweets won’t end it”.

The most alarming statement in the editorial is that the U.S. has no defense capacity to shoot down a missile on launch, and that systems deployed in Alaska and California to intercept missiles in flight are “unreliable at best”.  Other statements suggest that North Korea, or DPRK, could be capable of firing such a missile well before the end of Trump's (first and maybe only) term.

The same systems (governed by NORAD) would be used to intercept high altitude missiles from any enemy (which could include radical Islamic terrorism, or iran) with a surreptitious launch from off a coast, of an EMP device, such as in the 2009 novel “One Second After” which might become a film.

So a statement in the Post that NORAD is unreliable is alarming to be sure.  It flies in the face of Mr. Trump’s promise to “make America great again.”

It also contradicts the supposed success of Ronald Reagan’s strengthening of missile defenses in the 1980s, and even of the work I did as a computer programmer for NAVCOSSACT, in the Washington Navy Yard, in 1971-1972 (during the Nixon years) on intercepting missiles.  I guess that’s all classified.  But presumably anti-missile defenses can also be launched from submarines in the Pacific Ocean.  It may indeed become The Day of the Dolphin.

Wikipedia attribution link for picture of Cheyenne Mountain O door, p.d.

Senator Lindsey Graham:  Obama throws pebbles, it's time to throw rocks (CNN this morning).  

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Russia has its own doomsday prepper movement, and targets "unaggressive men" as mooches; Trump finally takes North Korea seriously

Andrew Roth has a long article on p 5 of The Washington Post on Jan. 3 about the cult of masculinity in Russia, “A right wing militia trains Russians to fight the next war, with or without Putin”, link.   Note the quote about “unaggressive vegetables.” Like me?

This sounds like tribalism and old fashioned nationalism on steroids. It does remind me of the doomsday prepper movement in the US in rural areas.   It certainly comports with the Russian anti-gay propaganda law in 2013.

Recently, North Korea announced acceleration of its nuclear weapons testing and miniaturization program, and intelligences authorities are concerned that North Korea is moving a lot of its development underground, away from the visibility to spy satellites.  The upshot is that a missile toward the US from North Korea could appear suddenly, within maybe four more years, giving NORAD just a couple hours to detect it and shoot it down.

But Donald Trump, previously focused on ISIS and radical Islam, to the exclusion of concerns over Russis and North Korea and even Assad, tweeted, “Not going to happen” this morning (CNN story. )  I retweeted that one.