DACA Disgrace

New Orleans   When Jeff Sessions was a Senator in Alabama, he was pretty easy to ignore. Just one of a hundred, a voice in the back of the room where he could be easily ignored, especially if you didn’t live in Alabama. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the other hand is a very, very scary dude and impossible to overlook.

He didn’t announce the new Trump administration policy on the Dreamers and DACA so much as he spit it out. These were no longer children brought unwittingly to the United States by their parents from other countries who had no say in the matter, hardly knew their birthplaces, and did their best to love America and make it their home. In Sessions snarl, these were “illegal aliens.” They were potential terrorists. The program was unconstitutional. Hundreds of thousands of them were stealing jobs from the native born, real Americans.

It hardly matters that none of what he was saying is substantiated or really true. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA is currently covering 800,000 young people. Potential security risks and terrorists? In order to win DACA status all of these young people had to go through rigorous scrutiny, have degrees, be in school, and have job prospects. Unconstitutional? No court has so ruled, and the Justice Department offered no brief to support the claim. Taking jobs from the native born? Really, you think the DACA folks are pushing people aside to be chicken pluckers and farm hands? The estimated adverse economic impact of ejecting the promise of the Dreamers is $400 billion! These are not free loaders or job thieves, but good, solid young men and women trying to make America great again.

Speaking of chicken brings us to President Trump of course. You can hear him clucking far behind Sessions that he “loves” the Dreamers. He kicked the can over to Congress for six-months, because he is one President where the “buck never stops here” at his desk, if he can duck and cover beneath it and point the finger elsewhere. If this is what it means to be loved by the President, like his ex-wives, we should not want any of it but the alimony payments.

The DACA fight is not over. The Dreamers and all of us who support them won’t walk away or hide behind the door. They may end up in the shadows, but they are not there now. They are at risk absolutely, but their addresses and personal information are protected by privacy guarantees.

There will be consequences for Trump and his administration though. It has become clearer and clearer, despite any last hopes any of us might have had, that this is an administration willing to govern by only appealing to the 30 to 40% of the American people willing to support them. That may seem plausible in the first year of an administration, but just as winter is coming, so are elections in 2018 and 2020, and that base isn’t big enough to allow an administration and its policies to be sustainable.

We’ve got some tragically rough days ahead, but mark the calendar, our day is coming as one shameful decision after another is announced from the White House.

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Please enjoy Braindrain by SUN Parade.

Thanks to KABF.

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Sessions and Republicans’ ACORN Obsession Blocks DOJ Settlement Funds to Nonprofits

New Orleans   The clock may be ticking on Jeff Sessions, the former Alabama Senator, as Attorney General. Reportedly he offered his resignation to the President in recent days as Trump tweeted his displeasure at the Justice Department’s modifications of his travel ban. Nonetheless, an order from his office seemed to come out of nowhere last week barring nonprofits and third-party groups from participating in any implementation and remediation ordered as part of financial and other settlements approved by lawyers with the Justice Department. Who saw this coming?

Well, anyone who has followed the obsessions that Sessions and his old Republican colleagues continue to have with all things ACORN and nonprofits as a whole, that’s who.

What is Sessions talking about? Frequently settlements with big companies include provisions for remediation that can only be appropriately implemented by nonprofits. The Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal included a requirement that the company invest $2 billion to fund zero-emission technology and the related support to achieve zero-emission cars in the future. Settlements from the banking catastrophes that triggered the Great Recession also routinely included remediation by nonprofits involved in financial education or housing counseling involving groups as disparate as the American Bankruptcy Institute, La Raza, NeighborWorks, and the Urban League, all of whom have long standing programs in these areas. Republicans see this as unrelated and a siphoning off of money to create slush funds to support the nonprofits.

And, here’s where the ACORN obsession comes in. The Nonprofit Quarterly quoted one of its late columnists, saying….

Subcommittee chairman Tom Marino (R-PA) grilled a Justice Department witness over whether anyone from the White House or some unknown outside group had guided Justice and the banks on the selection of the third-party implementers—again, the specter of the hand of ACORN all but flowing from Marino’s lips. Rep. David Trott (R-MI) concluded that the settlement agreement process “looks and smells a little bit like a slush fund” and raised suspicions about how the banks got access to the list of HUD-approved nonprofit counseling agencies (apparently unaware that they are on the HUD website). Marino then observed that the Justice Department’s prosecution of the banks on mortgage lending issues amounted to “using extortion to make banks appropriate funds to left-leaning organizations.”

Or as reported by the Huffington Post…

.as part of Bank of America’s $16.65 billion settlement with the Department of Justice in 2014 (a former subsidiary of the company, Countrywide Financial, was one of the most toxic subprime mortgage lenders), the bank could donate $100 million to community and legal groups. Such donations to approved groups would then count toward the settlement’s total value. Conservative groups portrayed the Obama administration as a shadowy slush fund for leftist organizations, hyping connections of the groups that received funding to ACORN, the Republican boogieman that was defunded after false accusations of wrongdoing.

You get it now?

No matter the fact that ACORN and other groups working in lower income communities saw their neighborhoods, families, and work thwarted by these nefarious corporate practices, the key issue for the Republicans is making sure that these communities remain impoverished and continue to be feeding grounds for corporate vultures.

Thank Jeff Sessions for keeping hate and harm alive and well.

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