Trump’s Nationwide Immigration Raids Fail to Materialize

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR)

 

Trump’s Nationwide Immigration Raids Fail to Materialize

Hundreds of people march in New York in opposition to the Trump administration’s plans to continue with raids to catch immigrants in the country illegally in Queens on Sunday.

Julius Constantine Motal/AP

President Trump’s threatened roundup of undocumented immigrant families this weekend that sent migrants in many communities on edge showed few signs of materializing on Sunday, the second time rumors of a large-scale immigration enforcement operation failed to come to fruition.

Instead, in the cities where rumors of mass raids swirled, many immigrants stayed inside their homes, as jitters turned typically vibrant migrant markets and commercial corridors eerily quiet.

Immigrant advocates across the country, meanwhile, took to the streets to demonstrate in protest of the promised roundup.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement would not confirm any arrests, nor would immigrant rights activists.

“The ACLU has not heard reports of any raids today,” Ruthie Epstein, the American Civil Liberties Union’s deputy director for immigration policy, told NPR.

Before Sunday, there were weekend reports of attempted arrests by ICE in New YorkNew Jersey and Chicago, where The New York Times reported that a mother and her daughters were apprehended but the family was immediately released. But those actions appeared to be part of routine enforcement activity, not connected to a massive raid operation.

Still, fears of ICE catching migrants by surprise sent many into hiding on Sunday.

In Miami, one of the cities anticipating the crackdown on immigrants, a hush fell over a market usually buzzing with activity among immigrant merchants and shoppers.

“People are clearly hiding. If you look around, it’s the people who are working are basically the only people here. But the majority of our clients are immigrants. Some with papers, others with no papers, but they are all scared,” Yohanna Gomez, a Honduran immigrant who runs a Central American stall at the market, told WLRN.

A similar scene played out in in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood, typically bustling with immigrants from Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. But on Sunday, the streets were noticeably calmer and vendors seemed to have taken the day off due to the threatened raids.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Saturday that ICE had already attempted to make arrests in the city, but they were not successful.

Activists have been spreading the word to migrants to not open their doors if an immigration agents knocks, since they cannot use force to enter a residence.

In Chicago, another city where federal immigrants officials were expecting to conduct raids, streets in immigrant communities were scarcer than on a normal Sunday. Mayor Lori Lightfoot addressed the residents on the north side of Chicago before the raids were supposed to start.

“This is a community that has a diversity of people coming from all over the world,” she said. “There’s been a lot of rumors,” Lightfoot said. “Dangling this sword over peoples’ head is causing great harm and trauma to entire households, entire communities.”

The weekend operation was reportedly supposed to focus on immigrant families who have been sent final orders of removal after failing to appear in court. And top administration officials have argued that many of the estimated 2,000 migrants who fit this category have ignored requests to turn themselves in. President Trump originally set the nationwide raids for June before delaying the planned mass arrests in order to give Congress more time to hammer out changes to federal asylum law.

The American Civil Liberties Union, representing four immigration legal aid nonprofit groups, sued to blocks the raids on Thursday, arguing that while the Trump administration claims the migrants have been given an opportunity to appear in court, many never received the paperwork because of letters being sent to wrong addresses, or when they did arrive, the requests to appear did not contain specific dates and times.

And so, the lawsuit claimed, the families that were expected to be targeted have never received proper notice of removal and did not have their day in court before an immigration judge.

“Unless this Court enforces that requirement, thousands of individuals could be deported without ever receiving a fair opportunity to appear before a judge, as required by the Due Process Clause and the immigration laws,” wrote lawyer Melinda LeMoine in the suit, which is pending a judge’s ruling.

WNYC’s Beth Fertig contributed to this report.

Mexico’s Foreign Minister Say No Such Deal Struck With U.S. (Trump Lying Again?)

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

President Donald Trump on Monday afternoon continued to tease an unannounced agreement between the US and Mexico, despite the Mexican Foreign Minister’s declaration that there was no secret or outstanding deal between the two nations.

“We have an agreement on something that they will announce very soon. It’s all done. They have to get approval,” Trump told reporters Monday at the White House, noting that the approval would come from Mexico’s legislative body.
“They will get approval. If they don’t get approval, we’ll have to think in terms of tariffs,” he said.
Hours earlier, the President had tweeted, “We have fully signed and documented another very important part of the Immigration and Security deal with Mexico, one that the U.S. has been asking about getting for many years.”
In both cases, Trump did not offer details about what was contained in the alleged agreement.
Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, one of the chief negotiators of the deal agreed to on Friday, suggested Monday that he was not aware of another deal.
“Aside from what I’ve explained there is no agreement of any kind, that has been made known,” he told reporters in Mexico City. “Everything I’ve been talking about was known since Friday.”
Asked about the existence of another agreement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was ambiguous.
“As for other agreements, there were a number of commitments made. I can’t go into them in detail here, but each side was committed to a set of outcomes,” he told reporters Monday.
After days of negotiations in Washington, DC, the United States and Mexico on Friday reached an agreement to avert Trump’s tariff threat. As part of the terms of the joint statement, Mexico will take “unprecedented steps” to increase enforcement to curb irregular migration, including the deployment of its National Guard throughout the country — giving priority to Mexico’s southern border — and individuals caught crossing into the US from Mexico seeking asylum will be “rapidly returned” to Mexico where they will await consideration of their asylum claims. The declaration also reiterates the countries’ commitment from last year, which emphasizes US support for development in Central America and southern Mexico.
However, both the US President and Secretary of State raised the prospect of tariffs again on Monday.
“We do not anticipate a problem with the vote but, if for any reason the approval is not forthcoming, Tariffs will be reinstated!” Trump tweeted about the alleged undisclosed deal. Pompeo noted that if sufficient headway is not made on the joint agreement, “there’s risk that those tariffs will go back in place.”
“And as we had these conversations … my counterpart Marcelo, we both understood that. It means that we’re got hard work to do over the coming days and weeks to deliver on those actual outcomes on the ground along our southern border,” Pompeo said, adding that they will evaluate whether progress has been made “literally daily.”

My Thoughts On The Economics Of Americas Slave Systems Past And Present

 

My Thoughts On The Economics Of Americas Slave Systems Past And Present

 

Here in the U.S. if you have gone through the education system and paid any attention to the History of the ‘Americas’ then you should know of our ‘Slave History’. When the Europeans started coming across the Atlantic Ocean looking for land and natural resources they knew they would have to have physical human help to harvest these resources. For the purpose of this letter to you today I am only going to speak of events I know more about so I am only going to be referring to events here in the U.S..

 

When the ‘Settlers’ started coming to North America (U.S.) there were those who sought more than a new start and a couple of Acres of land. Some of these folks had some money along with some big dreams of becoming even richer. Think about it for a moment, you or I are in possession of a thousand acres of prime land in the “New World” in the early 1500’s. We have money or we can get the money to create mass wealth for ourself, if we can find the people needed to do all of the physical labor for us. We would also want to get this labor as cheaply as is possible so that our initial outlay of cash is as low as possible. (This is a basic business reality that still exists today.) So, now, who can we get to do this work for us? Who is going to build our houses and stores for us, who is going to maintain them for us?

 

Our History Books tell us that first the wealthy white men who came to the New World to start their Plantations and the such tried to hire poorer white folks to do their bidding but they couldn’t get anywhere near enough whites who would agree to work for them. So, next they attempted enslavement of the Native Indian Folks, trouble was the ‘Indian Folks’ knew the land well and were always escaping, mostly never to be seen again. Next came ‘indentured’ White people. This system was set up to where if you were a poor white person in Europe and you wanted to leave there and go to the ‘New World’ you still needed to be able to get a ship to take you. If you had no money you tended to be out of luck, unless you would agree to be an indentured slave for a period of seven years. If I was rich and you were poor you would agree to work for me for the first seven years to work off your cost of the ‘passage.’

 

The reality of the situation on the ground was that the land owners couldn’t get enough White folks to accept this ‘indentured’ program. The land owners needed more workers and they needed workers more ‘acclimated’ to that type of hot hard work. So, their logical choice was to kidnap Africans as slave labor. Was this ethical or ‘right’ to do this, my opinion is absolutely not. The wealthy of the time obviously disagreed.

 

Modern day slavery: In the U.S. slavery is not a legal enterprise but it still does exist as an ‘underground’ reality especially in some of our biggest cities. Think about it for a moment, why would ‘Business people’ today still want slavery or at least as close to slavery as possible? The answer is simple, the less overhead you have, the more money you get to put into your own pocket. If I own a business here in the States the less I have to pay to get my product out the door, the better for me. Businesses are supposed to pay at least the Federal Minimum Wage of $7.25 per hour, which has not increased in the past 10 years. Companies want higher profits, employees want to be able to make a ‘livable’ wage. Why do you think that companies hire illegals? Simple they don’t want to pay the minimum wage so they hire or bring in ‘illegals’, pay them even less with no overtime pay, no benefits and if they gripe they get turned over to the authorities to be deported. To me, I personally believe that the world’s Stock Exchanges are the biggest single tool of businesses that is in its design made to starve the ‘lowest caste’ of people around the industrialized world.

 

I am going to finish this letter to you with why I believe it is best for the world’s businesses if they were all forced to pay livable wages to their employees. If a country has no middle class then they are not buying anyone’s products, not even basic things. If the workers don’t get paid enough to supply food and basic housing for their families or themselves they are not buying any other products either. If you are working full-time jobs, and in many cases more than one job and you don’t make enough for the existence of a minimal living you are not buying cars, furniture, clothes, medicine, or anything else. This is why Jesus said that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter into Heaven.” It is called greed folks, pure greed cares about no one but themselves.

 

Trump says ‘good time’ for a government shutdown if no money for border wall

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Trump says ‘good time’ for a government shutdown if no money for border wall

Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House Saturday that this would be a “good time” for a government shutdown if he doesn’t get funding from Congress for his border wall.

“I think probably, if I was ever going to do a shutdown over border security, when you look at the caravans, when you look at the mess, when you look at the people coming in, this would be a very good time to do a shutdown,” Trump said.
Trump added, however, that he didn’t think a shutdown would “be necessary, because I think the Democrats will come to their senses.”
Congress averted a government shutdown in September by passing a massive spending bill to fund a large portion of the government. The package did not, however, include money for Trump’s border wall, and Congress passed a shorter-term spending bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security, among other agencies, until December 7.
With the midterm elections now over, Congress is anticipating returning to a battle over funding for Trump’s promised border wall before the December deadline. Since most of the government is funded, Congress will be trying to avoid a partial shutdown.
Last month, House Speaker Paul Ryan predicted a “big fight” over border security on the horizon, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the GOP is “committed” to working to secure the funding the President wants for his signature campaign pledge.
Congress allocated $1.6 billion for border security in a spending bill enacted in March.
At a White House event in August, Trump said he was looking for about $5 billion for the wall to cover this fiscal year, which some Democrats have already said they would vote against.

Military border mission

Trump also said Saturday that the US military will remain at the US-Mexico border “as long as necessary,” suggesting that the 5,900 troops deployed to the border could stay there past December 15, the scheduled end of the mission.
The President also touted the “tremendous military force” assigned to the border mission in Texas, Arizona and California, lauding the troops for building “great fences.”
“They built great fences. They built a very powerful fence, a different kind of a fence, but very powerful. The fence is fully manned,” he said.
On Tuesday, CNN reported that the troops are expected to finish their assigned task of reinforcing border crossing points, largely with barbed wire, in the coming days. After that, it’s unclear what additional orders they will be given other than putting up more wire, two defense officials told CNN.
Trump ordered the troops to the border to deter a caravan of migrants making its way through Mexico from seeking asylum in the US. Trump has called the caravan a threat and has alleged that gang leaders and criminals are among the migrants.
A senior administration official told CNN that the use of troops at the border is “a paper tiger.”
“A total joke,” the official said. “Of limited operational utility, and a waste of our troops’ time. (Defense Secretary James) Mattis knows it. (Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen) Nielsen knows it. (White House Chief of staff John Kelly)knows it. But that battle was lost with the President. He was hell-bent on troops.”

Trump claims he can defy Constitution and end birthright citizenship

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Trump claims he can defy Constitution and end birthright citizenship

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump offered a dramatic, if legally dubious, promise in a new interview to unilaterally end birthright citizenship, ratcheting up his hard-line immigration rhetoric with a week to go before critical midterm elections.

Trump’s vow to end the right to citizenship for the children of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born on US soil came in an interview with Axios released Tuesday. Such a step would be regarded as an affront to the US Constitution, which was amended 150 years ago to include the words: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.”
Trump did not say when he would sign the order, and some of his past promises to use executive action have gone unfulfilled. But whether the President follows through on his threat or not, the issue joins a string of actions intended to thrust the matter of immigration into the front of voters’ minds as they head to polls next week.
A day earlier, the President vowed in an interview on Fox News to construct tent cities to house migrants traveling through Mexico to the US southern border. His administration announced the deployment of 5,200 troops to protect the frontier as the “caravan” continues to advance. And the President has warned of an “invasion” of undocumented immigrants if the border isn’t sealed with a wall.
Still, the threat of ending birthright citizenship amounts to another escalation in Trump’s hard-line approach to immigration, which has become his signature issue.
“We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in, has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years with all of those benefits,” Trump said in an interview for “Axios on HBO.”
Several other countries, including Canada, have a policy of birthright citizenship, according to an analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for reducing immigration.
“It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end,” he continued.
The step would immediately be challenged in court. Some of Trump’s previous immigration executive orders, including an attempt to bar entry to citizens from some Muslim-majority countries, came under legal scrutiny after a chaotic drafting process. At the same time, the President has derided his predecessor Barack Obama for taking executive actions to block some young undocumented immigrants from deportation, a step Trump said was a presidential overstep.
The American Civil Liberties Union slammed Trump’s proposal Tuesday morning.
“The president cannot erase the Constitution with an executive order, and the 14th Amendment’s citizenship guarantee is clear,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. “This is a transparent and blatantly unconstitutional attempt to sow division and fan the flames of anti-immigrant hatred in the days ahead of the midterms.”
The White House did not provide additional details of the planned executive order on Tuesday morning.
“It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t,” he said, adding that he has run it by his counsel. “You can definitely do it with an act of Congress. But now they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order,” Trump said.
The President didn’t provide any details of his plan, but said that “it’s in the process. It’ll happen.”
The interview is a part of “Axios on HBO,” a new four-part documentary series debuting on HBO this Sunday, according to the news site.

(Humanity/Poem) The Wall

The Wall

(FROM 10-31-2017)

Why do we wish to build, is it to keep out

Was not Berlin’s Wall built to keep citizens in

The Great Wall of China can be seen from space

Decide what is real and what discriminates

Your reflection in the world’s looking glass

Does it show to them and us but one face

 

Division from the South, but not from the North

Do you not see your two faces shining

What do you think your Wall will facilitate

Is this Wall about safety and poor labor jobs

Or is it about your hate of language and race

 

The poor of the South you choose to lock out

Hungry, tired, and scared, they come to your gates

Looking for a safe place to build, to work and pray

You wish to build a higher Wall, are guard towers next

We tell them they have to wait at the River Great

 

From terrorist and drugs, you say your Wall will protect

You wall out your brother, your neighbor, your friends

How can you be so cold yet on Sunday you bend your knees

Do you not know, nor see, nor care that your actions offend

Unless you are Indian your family tree is not from here

 

Do you not think that terrorist or drugs are here

Pro’s take the safest routes like Heaven in the cold

Do not speak to me of family values ye hypocrite

As children and mothers die of hunger and disease

At the foot of this Wall you create from your own hate

 

 

(Humanity/Poem) The Wall

The Wall

(FROM 10-31-2017)

Why do we wish to build, is it to keep out

Was not Berlin’s Wall built to keep citizens in

The Great Wall of China can be seen from space

Decide what is real and what discriminates

Your reflection in the world’s looking glass

Does it show to them and us but one face

 

Division from the South, but not from the North

Do you not see your two faces shining

What do you think your Wall will facilitate

Is this Wall about safety and poor labor jobs

Or is it about your hate of language and race

 

The poor of the South you choose to lock out

Hungry, tired, and scared, they come to your gates

Looking for a safe place to build, to work and pray

You wish to build a higher Wall, are guard towers next

We tell them they have to wait at the River Great

 

From terrorist and drugs, you say your Wall will protect

You wall out your brother, your neighbor, your friends

How can you be so cold yet on Sunday you bend your knees

Do you not know, nor see, nor care that your actions offend

Unless you are Indian your family tree is not from here

 

Do you not think that a terrorist or a drug King Pin

Can’t enter your haven from the cold frozen North

Do not speak to me of family values ye hypocrite

As children and mothers die of hunger and disease

At the foot of this Wall you create from your hate

 

 

Theology Poem: Their Is Only One Thing We Own

Their Is Only One Thing We Own

 

We bought us a Hector of land about 3 yrs ago

It even had a three bedroom planted upon its face

We’re even blessed with two old sleds, but they ride

Could we all be more alive if we just owned more toys

Own the Business, but, do we really ever own the fame

 

There are many generations of those whom have owned this land

How many striped backs have worked this very place that I stand

Grass to timber, back to grass, then back to trees, again and again

Did a Red Man before me own it, if so, which people were they of

Did a Cave Man or maybe a Monkey or even a Chimp lay claim to it

 

Do the Trees think they own the Stars as well as the Ground below

The Skies hold the Rain but are the Skies beholding to the night breeze

How is it that I think to my self, yes I do own this, and I also own that

The Air owns the Man, the Man has never been in control of his Air

The Only Thing that We Own is Our Own Name, waiting in Line Up There

Former Sheriff Arpaio Rightfully Gets A Butt Whooping In Arizona Senate Race

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Well, at Least Sheriff Joe Isn’t Going to Congress

Arpaio’s loss in Arizona’s Senate Republican primary is a fitting end to the public life of a truly sadistic man.

By Michelle Cottle

Ms. Cottle is a member of the editorial board.

Image
Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., campaigned in Tucson on Saturday.CreditCreditCaitlin O’Hara for The New York Times

Let us pause for a moment to mark the loss of a fierce and tireless public servant: Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., who so robustly devoted himself to terrorizing immigrants that he was eventually convicted of contempt of court and would have lived out his twilight years with a well-deserved criminal record if President Trump, a staunch admirer of Mr. Arpaio’s bare-knuckle approach to law enforcement, had not granted him a pardon.

To clarify, Mr. Arpaio the man has not passed. As of Tuesday, he was still very much alive and kicking, the proto-Trumpian embodiment of fearmongering ethnonationalism. Mr. Arpaio’s dream of returning to elective office, however, has been dealt what is most likely a fatal blow by his loss in Arizona’s Republican primary for the Senate. Cast aside and left to wallow in the knowledge that his moment has passed, he has a fitting end to the public life of a true American villain.

This defeat came as a surprise to no one. In the closing weeks of the race, his campaign had begun melting down. His staff was in chaos, and polls showed him trailing both Representative Martha McSally, Tuesday’s victor, and Kelli Ward, an anti-immigration firebrand also courting the right wing of the party.

As “America’s toughest sheriff,” as Mr. Arpaio liked to call himself, prepares to ride off into the sunset, it bears recalling that he was so much more than a run-of-the-mill immigrant basher. His 24-year reign of terrorwas medieval in its brutality. In addition to conducting racial profiling on a mass scale and terrorizing immigrant neighborhoods with gratuitous raids and traffic stops and detentions, he oversaw a jail where mistreatment of inmates was the stuff of legend. Abuses ranged from the humiliating to the lethal. He brought back chain gangs. He forced prisoners to wear pink underwear. He set up an outdoor “tent city,” which he once referred to as a “concentration camp,” to hold the overflow of prisoners. Inmates were beaten, fed rancid food, denied medical care (this included pregnant women) and, in at least one case, left battered on the floor to die.

Indeed, many prisoners died in Mr. Arpaio’s jail — at an alarming clip. The number of inmates who hanged themselves in his facilities was far higher than in jails elsewhere in the country. More disturbing still, nearly half of all inmate deaths on his watch were never explained. Over the years, the county paid out tens of millions in wrongful death and injury settlements.

Related
More on Joe Arpaio
Opinion | The Editorial Board
The Perils of a Pardon for Joe Arpaio

Opinion | Paul Krugman
Fascism, American Style

At the same time, Mr. Arpaio’s department could not be bothered to uphold the laws in which it had little interest. From 2005 through 2007, the sheriff and his deputies failed to properly investigate, or in some cases to investigate at all, more than 400 sex-crime cases, including those involving the rape of young children.

Mr. Arpaio embraced the racist birther movement more energetically than most, starting an investigation aimed at exposing President Barack Obama’s American birth certificate as a forgery. The inquiry ran five years, with Mr. Arpaio announcing his “troubling” findings in December of 2016, just weeks after having been voted out of office. Even many of his own constituents, it seemed, had grown weary of the sheriff’s excesses. No matter, as of early this year, Mr. Arpaio was still claiming to have proved “100 percent” that Mr. Obama’s birth certificate had been faked — to be clear, he has not — and suggesting he would revive the issue if elected to the Senate.

It was no secret that Mr. Arpaio’s methods often crossed the line into the not-so-legal. In 2011, a federal district judge ordered the sheriff to end his practice of stopping and detaining people on no other grounds than suspecting them of being undocumented immigrants. Mr. Arpaio declined to oblige, secure in the rightness of his own judgment. The legal battle dragged on until last summer, when he was found guilty of criminal contempt of court for blatantly thumbing his nose at the law.

Such unwillingness to bow to an uppity judiciary surely impressed Mr. Trump, who sees his own judgment as superior to any moral or legal precept. In this way, Mr. Arpaio was arguably the perfect pick to be the very first person pardoned by this president. The two men are brothers in arms, fighting the good fight against the invading hordes of immigrants — and their liberal enablers, of course. And if that requires dismissing the Constitution and destroying the rule of law, so be it. What true patriot would object to a few tent cities or human rights violations when the American way of life is in mortal peril?

In announcing the pardon last August, Mr. Trump praised Mr. Arpaio as an “American patriot.” The official statement by the White House gushed: “Throughout his time as Sheriff, Arpaio continued his life’s work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration.” To Mr. Trump’s fans, this was another welcome sign of the president’s commitment to keeping them safe from The Other.

Not everyone in the president’s party was pleased. Members of his administration reportedly advised against the pardon as too controversial. It was widely noted that the announcement was made in the hours right before Hurricane Harvey slammed the Gulf Coast, presumably with an eye toward minimizing the negative media coverage of the pardon while journalists were busy reporting on the storm. (For his part, Mr. Trump later claimed that the pardon actually had been timed to take advantage of the higher ratings generated by Harvey watchers.)

Even so, John McCain, the Arizona senator and frequent Trump critic who passed away on Saturday, made his dismay known. “The president has the authority to make this pardon,” he said in a statement, “but doing so at this time undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law, as Mr. Arpaio has shown no remorse for his actions.”

Certainly, Mr. Arpaio showed little sign of remorse on the campaign trail. In a recent interview with The Times, he rambled about all the Mexican rapists and murderers who filled his jails back in the day, and he said the answer to the debate over Dreamers was simple: Deport all 700,000 of them back to their home countries.

The former sheriff also made clear that, despite all the legal drama swirling around the president, his loyalty to Mr. Trump was steadfast. “You can’t support people just because they’re convicted?” he asked rhetorically. “No matter what he’s convicted of, I’m still going to call it a witch hunt, so of course I’ll stand by him.”

Some might consider it ungenerous to celebrate Mr. Arpaio’s electoral failure and continuing slide into irrelevance. But the man has a long and storied history of mistreating people in unfortunate circumstances, so it seems only appropriate to return the favor.

For nearly a quarter-century, Sheriff Joe Arpaio was a disgrace to law enforcement, a sadist masquerading as a public servant. In a just system, we would not see his like again. In the current political climate, it may be enough that Arizona Republicans solidly rejected him.

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Kushner said pushing to close UNRWA, end refugee status for Palestinian millions

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Kushner said pushing to close UNRWA, end refugee status for Palestinian millions

Report quotes Palestinian official saying US peace envoys asked Jordan to move toward halting UNRWA’s operations there as part of wider apparent efforts to shutter agency

Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner in the East Room of the White House in Washington, May 18, 2018. (Susan Walsh/AP)

Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner in the East Room of the White House in Washington, May 18, 2018. (Susan Walsh/AP)

Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, has been pushing to remove the refugee status of millions of Palestinians as part of an apparent effort to shutter the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, a report on Friday said.

Under Trump, the US has frozen hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, with the US president linking the decision to the Palestinians’ refusal to speak with his administration after he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

According to emails published Friday by Foreign Policy magazine, Kushner has been highly critical of UNRWA, with he and other White House officials weighing its closure as part of their peace efforts.

“It is important to have an honest and sincere effort to disrupt UNRWA,” Kushner wrote in an email dated January 11, just days before the US froze $65 million in funding for UNRWA. “This [agency] perpetuates a status quo, is corrupt, inefficient and doesn’t help peace.”

“Our goal can’t be to keep things stable and as they are… Sometimes you have to strategically risk breaking things in order to get there,” he added in the email, according to Foreign Policy.

Uniquely, UNRWA grants refugee status to all descendants of Palestinians who left or fled Israel with the establishment of the state in 1948, swelling the number to an estimated five million at present, when the number of actual refugees from that conflict is estimated to be in the low tens of thousands. In peace talks, the Palestinian leadership has always demanded a “right of return” to Israel for these millions — an influx that, if accepted by Israel, would spell the end of the Israel as a majority Jewish state.

Israel argues that the Palestinian demand is an UNRWA-facilitated effort to destroy Israel by demographic means. The Palestinians also seek an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Months of ongoing violent protests fueled by Hamas at the Gaza border with Israel were initiated under the banner of a “March of the Return,” and encouraged by Hamas leaders with the declared ultimate goal of erasing the border and destroying Israel.

Israel argues that an independent Palestinian state, if agreed upon in negotiations, would absorb Palestinian refugees and their descendants, just as Israel absorbed Jewish refugees from Middle Eastern and north African countries over the decades.

Palestinians collect food aid at a United Nations food distribution center in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on January 28, 2018. (Said Khatib/AFP)

In an email from later in January, an adviser to Jason Greenblatt — Trump’s Middle East peace envoy — suggested UNRWA’s closure as part of the US peace push.

“UNRWA should come up with a plan to unwind itself and become part of the UNHCR [UN High Commissioner for Refugees] by the time its charter comes up again in 2019,” wrote Victoria Coates.

Coates described the proposition as one of the “spitball ideas that I’ve had that are also informed by some thoughts I’ve picked up from Jared, Jason and Nikki,” referring to Haley, the US ambassador to the UN.

Other proposals raised were moving UNRWA to a monthly operating budget and coming up with “a plan to remove all anti-Semitism from educational materials.”

The report also quoted Palestinian officials saying Kushner and Greenblatt in June asked Jordan to remove the refugee status of some 2 million Palestinians in order to end UNRWA’s operations in the country.

“[Kushner said] the resettlement has to take place in the host countries and these governments can do the job that UNRWA was doing,” said Palestinian Liberation Organization official Hanan Ashrawi, according to Foreign Policy.

“They want to take a really irresponsible, dangerous decision and the whole region will suffer,” she added, claiming the White House wanted Gulf states to pick up the tab for whatever this would cost Jordan.

Saeb Erekat, speaks at the Haaretz and New Israel Fund conference at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York on December 13, 2015. (Amir Levy/Flash90)

Shortly after the reported request, top Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat accused Kushner and Greenblatt of seeking the “termination” of the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency.

“They want to terminate the role of UNRWA by proposing direct aid to the countries hosting the Palestinian refugees and sideline the UN agency,” Erekat said at the time. “On top of this, they are planning financial aid to the Gaza Strip worth one billion dollars for projects, also separate from UNRWA and under the title of solving a humanitarian crisis.”

He added: “All this is actually aimed at liquidating the issue of the Palestinian refugees.”

The White House would not directly comment on the Foreign Policy report, though an official told the magazine that the US position on UNRWA “has been under frequent evaluation and internal discussion. The administration will announce its policy in due course.”

Israel, which has also sometimes accused UNRWA of employing Palestinians who support terrorism, says UNRWA’s definition of Palestinian refugees helps to perpetuate the Palestinian narrative of Israeli illegitimacy. It notes that UNRWA’s policy of granting refugee status to the descendants of Palestinian refugees, even when they are born in other countries and have citizenship there, does not apply to the refugees cared for by the UN’s main refugee agency, UNHCR, which cares for all other refugees worldwide. The population of Palestinian refugees thus grows each year, even as other refugee populations in the world shrink with each passing generation.

A spokesman for the Israel Embassy in Washington, Elad Strohmayer, told Foreign Policy: “We believe that UNRWA needs to pass from the world as it is an organization that advocates politically against Israel and perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem.”

US President’s peace process envoy Jason Greenblatt, left, meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the President’s office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Tuesday, March 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

The Foreign Policy report came as US officials say the Trump administration is staffing up a Middle East policy team at the White House in anticipation of unveiling its long awaited but largely mysterious Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

The National Security Council last week began approaching other agencies seeking volunteers to join the team, which will work for peace pointmen Kushner and Greenblatt, according to the officials.

The creation of a White House team is the first evidence in months that a plan is advancing. Although Trump officials have long promised the most comprehensive package ever put forward toward resolving the conflict, the emerging plan has not been described with even a small amount of detail by Kushner, Greenblatt or any other official.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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