'unambiguously good news'?
On Monday, Director of Homeland Security John Kelly released two “implementation memos” regarding immigration enforcement, based on executive orders signed by President Trump in late January. The memos declare an end to the unofficial “catch-and-release” policy, in which undocumented immigrants are apprehended, given a court date months or sometimes years in the future, and then let go. The memos also announce plans to hire more than 5,000 new border patrollers, to begin allocating funding for the construction of a border wall, and to implement “expedited” removal of undocumented immigrants who “pose a risk” – a significantly vague expansion on the Obama-era policy of focusing deportation efforts exclusively on immigrants who’d committed violent crimes. President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is left in place.
A report made available on the Pew Research Center’s website explains that most undocumented immigrants are located in just twenty highly-urban areas, many of which consider themselves ‘sanctuary cities.’
At The New Yorker, Amy Davidson explains why the two implementation memos seem to point to mass deportation as the Trump administration’s ultimate immigration policy.
New National Security Advisor
Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, described by POLITICO as “one of the Army’s top intellectuals” is tapped to replace Michael Flynn as the National Security Advisor. McMaster is known for “challenging conventional thinking and helping to turn around the Iraq war in its darkest days,” as the New York Times reports: as a young officer, he published Dereliction of Duty, a book critical of military leadership during the Vietnam war – in particular, its failure to stand up to President Johnson – and as a commander in Iraq, he successfully demonstrated the counter-insurgency techniques adopted by Gen. David H. Petreus after other techniques had failed. The choice of McMaster has received praise from Republicans, like John McCain, who’ve been increasingly critical of the Trump administration in the wake of leaks that have re-opened questions about Trump’s ties to Russia.
Fox News reports that Trump would “seriously consider” removing Steve Bannon from the National Security Council, if McMaster asks.
New EPA chief
Longtime EPA opponent Scott Pruitt is confirmed as EPA head in 52-46 Senate vote, despite possible ties to the oil and gas industries. Pruitt, whose own official website calls him a “leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda,” has repeatedly sued the EPA over federal clean air policies. The day before he was confirmed, an Oklahoma court “ordered Pruitt to release thousands of pages of correspondence” between his office and the oil, gas, and coal industries, writing in its decision that Pruitt’s compliance in providing access had been “an abject failure.”
In 2014 the New York Times discovered that a 2011 letter sent by Pruitt to the EPA, arguing that the agency was “significantly overestimating” the pollution caused by the fracking industry in his state, had actually been written by oil-and-gas lobbyists.
In May 2016, Pruitt, along with newly-appointed Alabama Senator Luther Strange, wrote an op-ed for The National Review claiming that “Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.”
At The National Review, Ian Tuttle argues that Pruitt will reduce the EPA’s regulatory overreach and restore it to its proper role.
According to POLITICO, the White House fired senior National Security Council aide Craig Deare after Deare criticized Trump at a public roundtable hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Center. In particular, Deare complained about lack of access to the president for national security aides and “gave a detailed and embarrassing readout of Trump’s call with Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto.” Deare’s dismissal is not the first time Trump has brooked no dissent: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s choice for deputy, Elliot Abrams, was nixed after Trump learned Abrams had spoken critically of him.
Four die after powerful storms pummel California…at a rally in Florida over the weekend, Trump continues his campaign against the media…Milo Yiannoupoulos the ‘alt-right provocateur’, loses his book deal with Simon & Schuster and resigns from Breitbart over a video in which he appeared to speak approvingly of pedophilia…a new Harvard/Harris poll shows that most voters believe local authorities should be required to comply with federal immigration policy…following a number of bomb threats to Jewish community centers around the country, Trump is pressured to denounce anti-Semitism, and is harshly rebuked by the Anne Frank Center…The Economist reports that Russian TV’s mostly positive coverage of Trump has ended following the Trump administration’s increasingly confused signals toward Russia…at town halls across the country, Republican legislators are pressed on Trump Administration actions and policies by angry constituents.
above image: gage skidmore / 2016