Patterico's Pontifications


Trump’s EO to Obtain Data on Everyone’s Status (UPDATED)

Filed under: Government,Immigration — DRJ @ 6:40 am

[Headlines from DRJ]

Following up on Trump Surrenders on Census Change, NPR reports:

President Trump announced Thursday he would sign an executive order to obtain data about the U.S. citizenship and noncitizenship status of everyone living in the United States.

In a Rose Garden ceremony, Trump said he would drop efforts to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census. Instead, his executive order will direct all U.S. agencies to provide the Department of Commerce all information they have on U.S. citizenship, noncitizenship and immigration status.

Might this data include driver’s license photos?

Civil rights activists complained Monday of the potential for widespread abuse following confirmation that at least three states have scanned millions of driver’s license photos on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement without the drivers’ knowledge or consent.

Public records obtained by the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy and Technology provided the first proof that ICE had sought such scans, which were conducted in Utah, Vermont and Washington.

All three states — which offer driving privileges to immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally — agreed to the ICE requests, according to documents shared with The Associated Press on Monday and first reported by The Washington Post.

Twelve states and the District of Columbia allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.

In addition:

Twenty-one states and Washington, D.C., let the FBI access their drivers’ license and identification photos, according to a Government Accountability Office report published last month. The report said the FBI currently has access to 640 million photos — including for U.S. visa applicants — with more than 390,000 photos searched for matches since 2011, the year the agency augmented its fingerprint database with facial analysis.

What other information does the government already have, and do you think there should be a limit on the government using this information?

UPDATE: Asking a Census question may or may not have been the best way to get answers:

The Census Bureau currently asks about citizenship status on the American Community Survey, a yearly survey involving about one in 38 households. But research by the bureau suggests asking all U.S. households about citizenship status could discourage noncitizens from taking part in the national head count and harm the accuracy of the population counts used to redistribute congressional seats and Electoral College votes among the states once a decade.

Still, Ross overruled those warnings, as well as a suggestion by Census Bureau officials to forgo the question and instead compile existing government records about citizenship status. In a memo prepared for Ross, the bureau’s chief scientist said that alternative would be less expensive and produce more accurate citizenship data for Voting Rights Act enforcement.

The memo reviews three possible approaches — no change, adding a Census question, or obtaining existing data from government records — and discusses the costs and benefits of all three.



Follow Up on the Census Case: DOJ Lawyers Replaced (UPDATED by Patterico)

Filed under: Government,Law,Politics — DRJ @ 6:11 am

[Headline from DRJ:]

DOJ replaces legal team handling cases related to census:

The Justice Department has decided to shake things up for the 2020 census — appointing a new team of Civil Division lawyers to handle all census-related cases, including President Trump’s push to have a citizenship question added to next year’s survey.

Agency officials confirmed the move in a statement Sunday.

“As will be reflected in filings tomorrow in the census-related cases, the Department of Justice is shifting these matters to a new team of Civil Division lawyers going forward,” said DOJ spokesperson Kerri Kupec. “Since these cases began, the lawyers representing the United States in these cases have given countless hours to defending the Commerce Department and have consistently demonstrated the highest professionalism, integrity, and skill inside and outside the courtroom.”

The new team includes political appointees.

My thought — and it’s just a guess — is that the old team wouldn’t sign the pleadings, fearing sanctions if the government continues to change its position.



Here is the WaPo take:

The Justice Department is swapping out the lawyers who had been representing the administration in its legal battle to put a question about citizenship on the 2020 Census, possibly signaling career attorneys’ legal or ethical concerns over the maneuvering ordered by President Trump.

The department announced the move in a statement, which was issued after The Washington Post inquired about whether the career lawyers on the team planned to withdraw. A person familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said that at least some of the career attorneys harbored concerns about the administration’s handling of the case — although the nature of those concerns and how widespread they were could not immediately be learned.

This is not surprising. I’m not sure how lawyers can deal with representing the interests of an administration that does not keep them informed but changes its mind on a whim in a presidential tweet:

When Trump tweeted Wednesday that the case was “absolutely moving forward,” some lawyers on it were blindsided.

Appearing that day before a federal judge in Maryland, Justice Department attorney Joshua Gardner explained how he had always “endeavored to be as candid as possible with the Court” but that he did not know what was on Trump’s mind.

“The tweet this morning was the first I had heard of the President’s position on this issue, just like the plaintiffs and Your Honor,” Gardner said to the judge, a transcript shows. “I do not have a deeper understanding of what that means at this juncture other than what the President has tweeted. But, obviously, as you can imagine, I am doing my absolute best to figure out what’s going on.”

I could not continue to represent a client who acted like that.

UPDATE x2 FROM PATTERICO: Judge Hazel will be familiar to longtime followers of the Kimberlin saga as the long-suffering judge tasked with dealing with all of Kimberlin’s nonsense.

UPDATE 3 by DRJ: AG Barr sees a way for census to legally ask about citizenship

Attorney General William Barr said Monday that he sees a legal path to adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census, despite a Supreme Court ruling that blocked its inclusion, at least temporarily.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Barr said the Trump administration will take action in the coming days that he believes will allow the government to ask the controversial question. Barr would not detail the administration’s plans, though a senior official said President Donald Trump is expected to issue a presidential memorandum to the Commerce Department instructing it to include the question.

UPDATE 4 by DRJ– The new York Judge (not Judge Hazel) refused to allow a change in the DOJ lawyers:

A federal judge in New York on Tuesday blocked the Department of Justice (DOJ) from changing its entire legal team handling a case on the census citizenship question in federal court in the state.

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman found that DOJ’s motion did not address a procedural rule requiring them to provide a reason for the attorneys’ withdrawal from the case.

Plaintiffs in the New York case had filed a motion late Monday opposing the withdrawal of the DOJ lawyers.

UPDATE 5 by DRJ — Judge Hazel in Maryland has joined NY Judge Furman in rejecting “a Department of Justice request to replace its legal team.”


The Census Question goes back to Court (UPDATED)

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 7:47 am

[Headline from DRJ]

ReutersWhite House faces court deadline to reveal U.S. census citizenship plan:

The White House faces a Friday afternoon court deadline to reveal whether it intends to follow through on U.S. President Donald Trump’s pledge to press ahead with his fight to add a contentious citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Maryland-based U.S. District Court Judge George Hazel wants the administration to state its intentions by 2 p.m.

A White House spokesman said on Thursday that officials are examining “every option” available to add the query to the decennial population survey.

Donald Trump has made some lawyers’ jobs easier this week. Unfortunately, it is the lawyers who oppose the Administration.

UPDATE on the hearing before Judge Hazel 7/5/2019 at Law & Crime. IMO the DOJ attorneys are in a nightmare scenario and they can’t escape because they can’t fire their client.



Federal Judge Enjoins Trump on Wall

Filed under: Government,Immigration — DRJ @ 9:19 am

[Headline from DRJ]

The HillJudge blocks Trump from using billions in military funds for border wall:

A federal judge on Friday issued a ruling blocking the Trump administration from tapping billions of dollars in military funds to construct a wall on the United States’s southern border.

U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam issued the permanent injunction in a California federal court, after initially ruling last month to temporarily halt the administration’s use of military funds for the border wall.

President Trump declared a national emergency earlier this year in order to divert roughly $6 billion in Defense Department funds toward border wall construction. Friday’s ruling blocks the administration from using $2.5 billion in military funds for a border wall.



“Worst I’ve Ever Seen”

Filed under: Government,Immigration — DRJ @ 6:30 pm

[Headline from DRJ]

Houston Chronicle: Worst I’ve ever seen’, claims Texas Republican congressman about conditions for detained migrants

In recent days, there has been increased attention to the living, health and safety conditions at migrant detention facilities located near the U.S.-Mexico border. On Sunday, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) stated that the conditions were the worst he’s ever seen.

“I’ve been down there throughout my 15 years in Congress and before that, as a federal prosecutor. This is the worst I’ve ever seen it, and it has to be taken care of,” McCaul said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”



Mexico Releases “the Letter”

Filed under: Government,International — DRJ @ 7:11 am

[Headline from DRJ]

The HillMexico releases copy of letter touted by Trump:

Mexico’s government on Friday released a copy of a letter that President Trump touted in front of cameras earlier this week in teasing additional details of a deal reached with the country to stem the flow of migrants heading toward the U.S.

The letter, first published by the Mexican newspaper Reforma, states that the U.S. and Mexico “will immediately begin discussions to establish definitive terms for a binding bilateral agreement to further address burden-sharing and the assignment of responsibility for processing refugee claims of migrants.”

The document, signed and dated June 7, states that under such an agreement both countries would commit to “accept the return and process refugee status claims, of third-party nationals who have crossed that party’s territory to arrive at a port of entry or between ports of entry of the other party.”

Trump had described the one page letter as a “very long and very good agreement.”

RELATED: For U.S.-bound Central American migrants, better to stay in Mexico than be sent home:

Many of the Central Americans who lined up for papers at an asylum office in southern Mexico said they could abandon plans to reach the United States and remain in Mexico if U.S. President Donald Trump clamps down further on migration.



AP: Mueller to make 1st public statement on Russia probe

Filed under: Government,Law,Politics — DRJ @ 7:30 am

[Headline from DRJ]

APMueller to make 1st public statement on Russia probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — Special counsel Robert Mueller is set to make his first public statement on the Russia investigation Wednesday, the Justice Department said.

Mueller will speak at the Justice Department at 11 a.m. and won’t take any questions.

Should be an interesting day to read @RealDonaldTrump.

Update: Various media are live-streaming this. Here is a link to The Hill TV.



Treason Headlines

Filed under: Government,Law — DRJ @ 8:23 am

[Headlines from DRJ]

Washington MonthlyThe President Accused the FBI of Treason:

On Friday morning, the president of the United States tweeted this.

Donald J. Trump

My Campaign for President was conclusively spied on. Nothing like this has ever happened in American Politics. A really bad situation. TREASON means long jail sentences, and this was TREASON!

6:11 AM – May 17, 2019

The HillLiz Cheney: Statements by agents investigating Trump ‘could well be treason’:

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said on Sunday that statements by FBI agents investigating President Trump sounded “an awful lot like a coup, and it could well be treason.”

Law professorAmericans have forgotten what Treason actually means – and how it can be abused:

Treasonous acts may be criminal, but criminal acts are almost never treason. As Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution specifies, “Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.” The Founders went out of their way to define treason narrowly because they knew how it had been repeatedly abused in the past.

For much of the pre-revolutionary period in England, the accusation was a means of suppressing political dissent and punishing political opponents for crimes as trivial as contemplating a king’s future death (what was known as “compassing”), or speaking ill of the king (“lèse majesté”). King Henry VIII even had two of his six wives executed for alleged adultery on the ground that such infidelity was, of itself, “treason.” The English abuse of treason was anathema to a nascent republic dedicated to the rule of law and the right of peaceful dissent.

Thus, to ensure that treason could not likewise be co-opted for political or personal purposes, the Constitution’s drafters not only defined it precisely (it’s the only offense specifically defined in that document), but also specified that “No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.” (Article III also limits the punishment that can be inflicted, even with a conviction.)

PS – Vox did not forget: Even if Trump’s team coordinated with Russia, it’s still not treason. (Treason” has a specific definition.)



REUTERS: Defying Congress, Trump sets $8 billion-plus in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE

Filed under: Government,International — DRJ @ 2:10 pm

[Headline from DRJ]

Reuters – Defying Congress, Trump sets $8 billion-plus in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE:

U.S. President Donald Trump, declaring a national emergency because of tensions with Iran, swept aside objections from Congress on Friday to complete the sale of over $8 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.

Another national emergency.



REUTERS: Walmart says higher China tariffs will increase prices for US shoppers

Filed under: Economics,Government — DRJ @ 8:05 pm

[Headline from DRJ]

Walmart says higher China tariffs will increase prices for U.S. shoppers:

Walmart Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs said in an interview that higher tariffs will result in increased prices for consumers. He said the company will seek to ease the pain, in part by trying to obtain products from different countries and working with suppliers’ “costs structures to manage higher tariffs.”


“It’s not just tariffs. Transportation costs are up, labor costs are up. It’s an inflationary environment,” Del Monte CEO Greg Longstreet told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference. “A lot of that’s going to have to be passed on. The consumer is going to have to pay more for a lot of critical goods.”


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