Fox News released a poll Wednesday showing that not only do a majority of Americans oppose the changes to immigration law President Obama made in November, but an overwhelming majority of Americans also oppose the way he made those changes.
Specifically, when asked, "Do you approve or disapprove of the recent changes Barack Obama made to how the United States government will handle illegal immigrants currently living in this country, including allowing more than four million illegal immigrants to remain temporarily in the United States to work," 51 percent of Americans said they disapproved while only 43 percent approved.
Then when asked, "Barack Obama issued an executive order to make the recent changes to how the United States handles illegal immigrants. Setting aside how you feel about the changes in policy, do you approve or disapprove of Obama bypassing Congress to make the changes," 60 percent of Americans said they disapproved of Obama's action while just 38 percent said they supported the move.
These results mirror a CNN poll which also show that Americans oppose both the substance and the procedure of Obama's executive amnesty.
The Fox poll also found that 68 percent of Americans are concerned "that Barack Obama’s use of executive orders and acting withoutCongressional approval may be permanently altering our country’s system of checks and balances."
On Thursday, CIA Director John Brennan delivered a 15-minute-long statement defending the agency and addressing the partisan Senate Intelligence report released this week.
He began by providing some context for why enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) were adopted -- and ultimately approved -- in the first place.
“In the short span of 77 minutes four terrorist attacks would forever change the history our country,” he said, referring to the tragic events of 9/11/2001. “It would rob us of nearly 3,000 lives. It would ultimately cost us trillions of dollars. And it would plunge us into a seemingly never-ending war against a globally dispersed collection of terrorists with a murderous agenda.”
“The events of 9/11 will forever be seared into the memories of all Americans who bore witness to the single greatest tragedy to befall our homeland in recent history,” he continued. “Not only were our consciences shocked, and our hearts and souls ripped open, so too our collective sense of national security was shattered -- much like the steel, concrete, flesh, bone, and lives during those fateful 77 minutes.”
Where, he suggested, did the nation turn? In part, he said, to the intelligence community.
“CIA was looked to for answers,” he intoned. “Indeed, there were numerous, credible and very worrisome reports about a second and third wave of major attacks against the United States. And while we grieved….we feared more blows from an enemy we couldn’t see and an evil we couldn’t fathom. This is the backdrop against which the agency was directed by President Bush to carry out a program to detain terrorist suspects around the world.”
Nevertheless, he bluntly admitted that the CIA was “not prepared” to implement such a specialized program.
“We had little experiences housing detainees and precious few of our officers were trained interrogators,” he admitted. “But the president authorized the effort six days after 9/11 and it was our job to carry it out.”
He subsequently added that the Department of Justice and the Bush administration approved such techniques. It was only later, he emphasized, after President Obama took office, that the new commander-in-chief “unequivocally banned their use.”
Most significantly, however, he addressed the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s (SSCI) controversial and one-sided findings.
He began by reiterating the “unusual” way in which it was published.
“Unfortunately, the committee could not agree on a bipartisan way forward and no CIA personnel were interviewed by the committee during the course of the investigation,” he said, confirming numerous reports that CIA agents were never consulted before the report was even written. “This was unusual.”
“Even on politically sensitive matters such as the SSCI’s investigation into the intelligence failures regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq,” he continued, “the committee succeeded in producing a report that was supported unanimously.”
Obviously, that didn’t happen in this instance. Nonetheless, he said, the report itself didn’t preclude him from accepting some of its findings.
“In a limited number of cases, agency officers [used] interrogation techniques that had not been authorized, were abhorrent, and rightly should be repudiated by all,” he declared. “And we fell short when it came to holding some officers accountable for their mistakes.”
The most significant admission, however, was when he addressed the charge that ETIs did not directly and single-handily lead to “useful intelligence.”
“I have already stated that our reviews indicate that the detention and interrogation program produced useful intelligence that helped the United States thwart attack plans, capture terrorists, and save lives,” he said. “But let me clear: we have not concluded that it was the EITs within that program that allowed us to obtain useful information from detains subjected to them. The cause and effect relationship between the use of EITs and useful information subsequently provided by the detain is in my view unknowable.”
He also stated that “the record simply does not support the study’s inference that the agency repeatedly, systematically, and intentionally misled others on the effectiveness of the program.”
"Your state isn't mentioned one time in [the oath of office]. Your whole goal is to protect the United States of America, its Constitution and its liberties. It's not to provide benefits for your state. That's where we differ."
After the Ferguson Grand Jury decided not to charge then-Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, the city erupted in a torrent of looting, vandalism, and arson. Businesses in the surrounding areas were destroyed and livelihoods shattered. Yet, it’s not all doom and gloom; Katie wrote abut how a concerted crowdfunding effort that allowed small business owner Natalie Dubose to get back on her feet. Dubose lost her cake shop, in which she invested all her resources, in the riots.
Yet, not everyone was lucky. Recently, Corwin Parks and Brittany Hughes of CNSNews.com went down to Ferguson after the riot had subsided to get other business owners’ views on the matter. In all, they felt abandoned by the government–and most have yet to be contacted by the governor’s office or the city regarding financial assistance to relieve them of their staggering losses (via CNSNews):
“We haven’t received one call from the state or the governor’s office at all -- not one,” said Kurt Barks, owner of Complete Auto Body and Repair in Ferguson, one of dozens of businesses that were trashed and robbed in the hours following the grand jury’s decision.
Another store owner, Nigerian immigrant Idowu Ajibola, told CNSNews.com, “This is ground zero. This is where the first violence happened. I would have assumed, I would have thought it would have been the first place they would have tried to protect.”
But “the government, they weren’t there for us,” he said. “They weren’t there for us at all -- not the first time around, not the second time around, even after they promised that they would.”
As the grand jury’s announcement grew closer and closer, Ajibola told CNSNews.com he was given reassurances by state and local officials that his business would be protected if violence broke out once again.
“They told us we were well prepared for the second time around,” he said. “We went to a series of meetings.”
But as anger gave way to chaos following the grand jury’s announcement that fateful Monday night, Ajibola said he watched with fear and anxiety as store after store was destroyed before his eyes on television, including his own shop. The help he was promised never came, he said.
Two weeks later, Ajibola, who estimates he’s sustained about $500,000 in losses and damages from the riots, said he still hasn’t heard from the state government or local officials about any offers to help rebuild.
As businesses take stock of the damage, the latest document dump on the shooting hasn’t revealed any new developments, although; the federal autopsy noted that the “chest injury might have been an exit wound from a shot that entered Brown's arm,” as reported by the Associated Press. The interview with Dorian Johnson, who plead guilty to filing a false police report in the summer of 2011, is being withheld.
It was a controversial topic, but Fusion/Univision anchor Jorge Ramos didn’t shy away from asking President Obama about his failure to ease racial tensions in America after becoming the nation’s first African-American president.
Here’s how Ramos opened the heated conversation:
On another issue, the killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, clearly shows that we don’t live in a post-racial society as many expected when you were elected.
Obama was immediately defensive and defiant, saying he, at least, “didn’t expect that.”
Ramos continued to press Obama, wondering if he was angry about the current race relations in America. Yet, the only thing the president seemed to be frustrated about, was the anchor’s tough questions. When Ramos insisted there has not been much improvement in the country in regards to race, Obama responded:
Well, but, you know, the folks who say there’s not a lot of improvement I don’t think were living in the ‘50s and remember what it was like to be black or Hispanic and interacting with the police then. They don’t even remember what it was like 20 years ago. There has been improvement. The question is what more do we need to do, and what’s clear, when you look at some of the reports that have occurred around the country, is that not only is there still a lot of suspicion and mistrust between police officers and communities of color. But what’s also true is that there are still instances in which a young black boy or brown boy is not being evaluated, in terms of risk, precisely in the same way as a white young person might be by the police. Now, that can be solved through better training, better accountability, better transparency, and so the task force we’ve put together is designed to do precisely this.
Clearly, America’s race relations have improved since the 1950s. Yet, that’s not what Ramos was asking.
He may not have expected race relations to improve while in office, but a lot of his voters did – 70 percent, to be exact. Certainly, with an African-American president, citizens were justified to think that race relations would improve. As we’ve witnessed, especially this last year, that has certainly not been the case. If anything, they’ve gotten worse.
The cases of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner – if not the incidents themselves, then certainly the corresponding protests – have proven that racial tension is still an unfortunate and dangerous presence in our country. Yes, it’s true the president could not have predicted these incidents while he was in office. Yet, Noah Rothman at Hot Air explains how Obama is not “blameless” for current racial animosity:
When it served his campaign, his political operatives incubated a toxic form of victimhood in 2012. The president did nothing to tamp down poisonous concept of coded racism, a practice in which liberals parse ordinary comments with the aim of divining latent racism. The willow witching of prejudice from everyday occurrences and statements became a favored pastime for Obama supporters during his campaign, and it was irresponsible to allow this rampant practice to continue. But the Obama campaign did nothing to stop it.
It seems, as long as Obama is in office, we won’t see any responsibility coming from the White House.
My response: So what?
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton mows down New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie and other Republican 2016 presidential contenders in the Garden State, as voters say Gov. Christie would not make a good president, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.
New Jersey voters say 53 - 40 percent that Christie would not make a good president, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds. Republicans say 70 - 21 percent that their governor would do well in the White House, but every other party, gender or age group listed disagrees.
American voters are not ready for a "Jersey Guy" president such as Christie, Garden State voters say 49 - 43 percent. There are gender and age gaps: Men are divided 46 - 47 percent, but women say 51 - 41 percent America is not ready. Voters 18 to 34 years old say 54 - 38 percent the U.S. is ready for a "Jersey Guy," but voters 35 years old and older disagree.
"Even Jersey guys, actually Jersey girls, don't think the nation will go for a Jersey guy like Gov. Christopher Christie," said Maurice Carroll, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
If Christie runs, he loses to Clinton 50 - 39 percent, winning only among Republicans...
Forgive me, but I fail to see the real significance of this poll. After all, is it any surprise that every Republican surveyed, including Gov. Christie, is getting smoked by Hillary Clinton in the Garden State?
Frankly, if Christie or any other GOP candidate was ahead right now, that would be a strong indication Democrats are headed for a devastating defeat in 2016. No one anticipated or expected Mitt Romney to win his home state of Massachusetts in 2012; why then is it suddenly newsy that Gov. Christie is hypothetically trailing Hillary Clinton -- years before a presidential election -- in one of the bluest states in America?
I’ll tell you why: Because not too long ago the Republican governor somehow boasted surreal and truly dizzying approval ratings in the state. Remember last year when 56 percent of New Jersey Democrats gave him positive marks? Bridgegate, of course, damaged him greatly, even though he was fully exonerated. But does that mean he should kiss any presidential ambitions he might have goodbye? Hardly:
All things considered, I’d say he’s doing just fine. He’s very popular among Republicans, above water with Independents, and performing respectfully among Democrats -- just in New Jersey. Thus, these numbers suggest he’s weathered a terrible scandal in many ways politicized by the media. And he's still standing.
We’ll see what he ultimately decides to do.
The White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy today in favor of the 1,600 omnibus spending bill that funds the entire federal government through September except for the Department of Homeland Security which is only funded through the end of February.
"The Administration appreciates the bipartisan effort to include full-year appropriations legislation for most Government functions that allows for planning and provides certainty, while making progress toward appropriately investing in economic growth and opportunity, and adequately funding national security requirements," the statement reads in part. "However, the Administration objects to the inclusion of ideological and special interest riders in the House bill," the statement continues."
Specifically, the White House objects to two policy riders attached to the bill. One, which modifies the Dodd-Frank law making it easier for banks to buy and sell certain financial products, and a second which increased the amount of money individuals are allowed to give to parties for national conventions.
A procedural vote on the spending bill narrowly passed this afternoon by a 214-212 vote without any Democratic support. If no Democrat votes for final passage this afternoon, it is very likely the bill will fail. Republican leaders hope this White House statement will help them get some Democrats to vote for final passage.
You can read the entire White House statement below:
The Administration supports House passage of H.R. 83, making appropriations for fiscal year (FY) 2015, and for other purposes. The Administration appreciates the bipartisan effort to include full-year appropriations legislation for most Government functions that allows for planning and provides certainty, while making progress toward appropriately investing in economic growth and opportunity, and adequately funding national security requirements. The Administration also appreciates the authorities and funding provided to enhance the U.S. Government's response to the Ebola epidemic, and to implement the Administration's strategy to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, as well as investments for the President's early education agenda, Pell Grants, the bipartisan, Manufacturing Institutes initiative, and extension of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program.
However, the Administration objects to the inclusion of ideological and special interest riders in the House bill. In particular, the Administration is opposed to the inclusion of a rider that would amend the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and weaken a critical component of financial system reform aimed at reducing taxpayer risk. Additionally, the Administration is opposed to inclusion of a rider that would amend the Federal Election Campaign Act to allow individual donors to contribute to national political party committee accounts for conventions, buildings and recounts in amounts that are dramatically higher than what the law currently permits.
Furthermore, the Administration is disappointed that the bill would fund the Department of Homeland Security through February 27, 2015, at last year's levels. Short-term continuing resolution funding measures are disruptive, create uncertainty, and impede efficient resource planning and execution.
The Administration urges the Congress to enact comprehensive full-year appropriations legislation for all Government functions free of provisions that have no place in annual appropriations bills.
During last year's government shutdown when Republicans and Democrats couldn't come to a compromise on spending provisions to continue to fund the government, the media portrayed it as Ted Cruz's fault - Ted Cruz's shutdown, because he wanted to defund Obamacare. This year, Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants to reject the bipartisan spending compromise to get rid of business-friendly deregulatory provisions.
But this year, it's not about "Elizabeth Warren's plan to shut down the government."
No, the media can't bring themselves to go there. Instead of "Why Democrats Want to Shut Down the Government," we get "Warren tells House Dems not to support omnibus." Instead of "Elizabeth Warren and the shutdown caucus," we get "Spending bill teeters amid Democratic discontent." Instead of "Elizabeth Warren Is Protesting the Shutdown She Asked For" we have "Elizabeth Warren Joinse Revolt Against Wall Street Deal In Government Shutdown Talks.
Last year, Ted Cruz's push against the government spending deal was all about how Ted Cruz wants a shutdown. But when Elizabeth Warren threatens to torpedo a spending deal that will result in a shutdown, it's all about her courage in standing up to Wall Street and her populist movement against fat cats. Everyone loves a good story about intrapartisan fighting on Capitol Hill, but only the media wants to hide that what's behind Elizabeth Warren's crusade is that she wants to shut down the government to achieve her goals.
And let's not get started on the flurry of media hyperventilating about how terrible a government shutdown would be when it's Republicans' fault, yet not a peep now that a Democratic hero is leading the charge.
President Obama did not sign an executive order directing government officials to implement his November 20, 2014 immigration amnesty plan, but contrary to what some are claiming, that is completely irrelevant.
“He just wrote a memo instructing Homeland Security not to deport 5 million people. There is no actual executive order, Limbaugh correctly noted Tuesday. “The reason for this is abundantly clear. If anybody wants to prosecute this, what do you prosecute? There’s no executive order. There’s no person to go focus on," Limbaugh continued.
It is this second claim, the assertion that since there is no executive order there is "no person to focus on" that is false.
Just look at the complaint filed by Texas Attorney General and governor-elect Greg Abbott seeking to stop Obama's amnesty before it starts. It names Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Deputy Chief Ronald Vitiello, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Thomas Winkowski, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Leon Rodriguez as defendants.
Obama is never mentioned in the Texas suit as a defendant because he doesn't need to be named. These are the government officials that will be implementing Obama's amnesty and a court order enjoining them from doing so would be all that is necessary to stop the program.
Below is video of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt telling Fox News' Bret Baier the exact same thing:
Baier: Now I've read, and we can't seem to get a straight answer on this, that he hasn't really signed an executive action or order per se. What is the straight answer on that?
Pruitt: That is correct. The straight answer is that he has a series of memos that has been prepared for him by various components of the executive branch. They are acting on that. Field offices and individuals in ICE are acting on the authority of those memos. There isn't an executive order per se.
Baier: Now wouldn't there have to be?
Pruitt: No. I mean I think that as far as the action the president has taken, we know what his instructions have been to those agencies. We know the violations that have occurred by virtue of those instructions, but it is not in the form of an executive order. It is not necessary for a legal challenge. I think it is only necessary to provide a summary of what the president has done. But here we don't have an executive order specifically. ... There is no executive order but it doesn't effect the ability of the states to bring the action.
Pruitt is exactly right. Whether Obama used an executive order, or a memo, is irrelevant. His administration's policies have been clearly spelled out and that is all the states, or anyone else that can establish standing, needs to sue and stop this executive amnesty.
As the debate rages on Capitol Hill about how to defund President Obama's executive action that gives legal status to 5 million illegal immigrants, it's important to take a look at where the funding for his new amnesty program is coming from.
The funding for Obama's executive action is coming through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, a fee, not tax based agency under the jurisdiction of Homeland Security. Because the USCIS is a fee based agency, many have argued Congress cannot defund it. According to the Congressional Research Service, Congress does in fact have the ability to defund the agency through the appropriations process.
A fee-funded agency or activity typically refers to one in which the amounts appropriated by Congress for that agency or activity are derived from fees collected from some external source. Importantly, amounts received as fees by federal agencies must still be appropriated by Congress to that agency in order to be available for obligation or expenditure by the agency. In some cases, this appropriation is provided through the annual appropriations process. In other instances, it is an appropriation that has been enacted independently of the annual appropriations process (such as a permanent appropriation in an authorizing act). In either case, the funds available to the agency through fee collections would be subject to the same potential restrictions imposed by Congress on the use of its appropriations as any other type of appropriated funds.
But lets put that aside for a minute. The larger question is, who is paying these fees? Millions of legal immigrants are paying these fees, which are now being reallocated by the executive branch to legalize millions of illegal immigrants who have been living in the United States for years while failing to go through proper and long established legal channels to obtain citizenship or other legal status. From the USCIS.gov website:
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is funded largely by application and petition fees. Recognizing that some applicants cannot pay the filing fees, USCIS established a fee waiver process for certain forms and benefit types. Demonstrated inability to pay is the only reason USCIS will approve a fee waiver.
Waiving a fee for one applicant transfers the cost of processing their application to other applicants through higher fees. Therefore, USCIS carefully considers the merits of each fee waiver request before making a decision.
If you are immigrating to the United States as a lawful permanent resident, you must pay the $165 USCIS Immigrant Fee, unless you meet one of the exemptions.
USCIS uses this fee to process and maintain your immigrant visa packet and to produce and deliver your Permanent Resident Card (commonly known as a Green Card).
Once you receive your immigrant visa packet from a U.S. embassy or consulate, we strongly encourage you to pay the fee before you depart for the United States.
You must pay the fee online, using USCIS ELIS, the USCIS Electronic Immigration System. We will send your Green Card to you after you pay the fee.
You can pay the fee after you immigrate. However, paying before you leave for the United States will help ensure that you receive your Green Card without delay and have been admitted to the U.S.
On average legal immigrants wait ten years to fully obtain citizenship (and only after they've had a green card for five years) and they must pay thousands of dollars to USCIS in the process. Again, that money is now being used to give millions of illegal immigrants a free, expedited pass to legal status. Adding insult to injury, millions of green cards for illegals means longer wait times for legal immigrants.
At current staffing levels, USCIS issues about 1 million green cards per year. And when Obama enacted his first executive amnesty, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals in 2012, wait times for legal immigrants to get their visas tripled from under five months to over 15 months.
Only about 1 million illegal immigrants were eligible to apply for DACA amnesty and only about 600,000 were given amnesty. Obama's next amnesty, however, will reportedly allow up to 5 million illegal immigrants to apply and no one knows how many will take him up on the offer.
But assuming the turnout for Obama's next amnesty is bigger than DACA, we can safely assume that legal immigration delays will get much much worse.
Meanwhile in case you missed it last week, USCIS issued a memo detailing the immediate opening of 1,000 permanent federal employee positions at a new operational facility that will open soon in Crystal City, Virginia.
Newly hired employees will be tasked with approving applications submitted by illegal immigrants taking advantage of President Obama's recently announced executive amnesty program.
“USCIS is taking steps to open a new operational center in Crystal City, a neighborhood in Arlington, Virginia, to accommodate about 1,000 full-time, permanent federal and contract employees in a variety of positions and grade levels. The initial workload will include cases filed as a result of the executive actions on immigration announced on Nov. 20, 2014. Many job opportunities at the operational center will be announced in the coming days and please continue to monitor USAJOBS if you are interested," the USCIS bulletin reads, urgently listing the availability of jobs in red.
These new government positions will no doubt come complete with generous benefits, i.e. retirement, healthcare, vacation, etc. courtesy of the American taxpayer. Further, based on the positions posted as available in the USCIS bulletin, many of them (the GS-13/14/15 positions shown above) are at the top of the government pay scale.