Posts tagged with "Immigrants"

Trump aides see personal malice, not political strategy, in Twitter attacks on Baltimore, Cummings

August 2, 2019

After a week during which President Donald Trump was labeled a “racist” and a “white supremacist” for his affronts to “The Squad” of women of color in the House, the activist Reverend Al Sharpton, CNN anchor Don Lemon, Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland—and the latter’s home district, Baltimore, which Trump described as “rat-infested and  a “living hell”— the POTUS was asked by the media to explain his strategy.

“There’s no strategy. I have no strategy. There’s zero strategy,” he told reporters on July 30. “It’s very simple.”

However, most political pundits believe that he did have two underlying reasons for the attacks. First, he believes that his denigration of Puerto Ricans, immigrants, blacks, and others of color builds the loyalty of his largely white base nationwide.

Second, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal,  Trump was “set off by last week’s decision by the House Oversight Committee,” which Cummings chairs, to subpoena top White House aides, including Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, for its probe into official emails and texts sent from personal accounts.

The news outlet also pointed to Cummings’ remarks at a news conference last week, at which he suggested further action against the administration was imminent. “There comes a point when silence becomes betrayal,” Cummings said, quoting Martin Luther King, Jr.

“People know this is the president. He’s going to fight back,” said one campaign adviser. “It’s not a surprise to anyone as much as it was before.”

Cummings responded on Twitter: “I will continue to do every day what I am duty-bounded to do—help my constituents to live their best lives and serve as a check on the Executive Branch.”

While Trump’s supporters have not come out in defense of the president’s remarks, they also have not criticized him to any great degree. Indeed, the Journal reports, Trump campaign officials do not view the gibes against Cummings as damaging to the president’s odds of re-election. The campaign sees the president’s polling numbers as most vulnerable when voters perceive the White House to be in chaos, when Mr. Trump’s base of supporters dislike legislation he signs, and when the president is perceived as “punching down,” one adviser told the news outlet.

In direct opposition to what he, himself, has said publicly, the president repeatedly has  bragged about his record on behalf of African-Americans. On Tuesday, he said African-Americans had “been calling the White House” and were “happy as hell.”

Research contact: Rebecca.Ballhaus@wsj.com

Paper vs. plastic: Philadelphia to become first U.S. city to ban cashless stores

March 8, 2019

Starting July 1, Philadelphia will become the first major U.S. city to ban cashless stores—putting it at squarely in the middle of a debate that is pitting retail innovation against consumers who either want to keep their options open or who don’t have a payments card.

According to a March 7 report by The Wall Street Journal, legislation just passed in Philadelphia will require most retail stores to accept cash. With the exception of some businesses, the ordinance will prohibit most retail locations from refusing to take cash or charging cash-paying customers a higher price. Those who violate the law will face fines of as much as $2,000.

Proponents of the new ban argue that cashless stores effectively discriminate against poor consumers who do not have access to credit or bank accounts. Indeed, Philly.com reports, nearly 6 % of residents in the Philadelphia region were unbanked in 2017;  and roughly 22% were considered “underbanked,” according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Of course, there will be some exceptions: JDSupra notes that businesses not subject to the new rules include parking lots and garages; wholesale clubs (e.g., BJ’s and Costco); stores that exclusively sell using a “mobile device application” through a “membership model” (will cashierless Amazon Go convenience stores qualify?); certain rentals where “collateral or security is typically required;” and sales exclusively to employees on an employer’s premises. None of these terms are defined and don’t hold your breath until regulations are promulgated.

And Philly is not the only locale thinking that paper money is not going out of style anytime soon:  A New York City councilman is pushing similar legislation there, and New Jersey’s legislature recently passed a bill banning cashless stores statewide. A spokesperson for New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, a Democrat, declined to comment on whether he would sign it.

What’s more, Massachusetts has gone the furthest on the issue and is the only state that requires retailers to accept cash.

Businesses that have gone cashless to date point to greater efficiency for employees, who don’t have to make change or count cash at closing time, and improved safety because workers don’t have to carry large bank deposits, The Wall Street Journal says.

Philadelphia City Councilman William Greenlee, a Democrat, said he was inspired to introduce the bill after noticing that some Center City sandwich shops had gone cashless.

“Most of the people who don’t have credit tend to be lower income, minority, immigrants. It just seemed to me, if not intentional, at least a form of discrimination,” he told the Journal. Now, he said, stores will be required “to do what businesses have been doing since Ben Franklin was walking the streets of Philadelphia.”

Sylvie Gallier Howard, a top official in the city’s Commerce Department, told City Council members last month she hoped the ban proves to be temporary. “Modernization is going to happen with or without Philadelphia, and we want to be part of it,” she said.

The National Retail Federation, a trade group that represents the retail industry, opposes the new Philadelphia law and proposals like it, saying businesses should be able to choose which payment methods to accept. Cashless stores are uncommon in the United States and many businesses prefer cash payments because they avoid the credit-card transaction fees, it said.

The measure also has been opposed by the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association, while the city’s Commission on Human Relations and a number of community groups support it.

Research contact: @scottmcalvert

Judge: Airplane deporting asylum-seekers must be ‘turned around’

August 13, 2018

On August 9, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan of the District of Columbia heard about something that the Trump administration had just done that clearly angered him: The government, he learned, had deported an immigrant mother and daughter who were plaintiffs in a lawsuit that the judge had been hearing over asylum restrictions, NBC News reported.

Judge Sullivan was presiding over a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Center for Gender and Refugee Studies on August 7. Earlier, he had been assured by the government in open court that no plaintiffs in the suit would be deported before midnight on August 10.

The ACLU said in a statement on its website, “Judge Sullivan was outraged, saying ‘it was unacceptable’ that someone who had alleged a credible fear and was ‘seeking justice in a U.S. court’ would be ‘spirited away’ while her attorneys were literally arguing on her behalf.”

So the judge took action: He demanded that the administration turn around the airplane carrying the plaintiffs to Central America and bring them back to the United States. And he ordered the government to stop removing plaintiffs in the case from the country who are seeking protection from gang and domestic violence.

What’s more, the jurist did something else out of the ordinary: He stated that if the government did not comply, “Attorney General Jefferson Sessions, III; Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service Director Lee Francis Cissna; and Executive Office of Immigration Review Director James McHenry, preferably accompanied by their attorneys, shall be ORDERED to appear in Court to SHOW CAUSE why they should not be held in CONTEMPT OF COURT … ”

The plaintiffs on the plane are identified in the lawsuit as Carmen and her minor daughter J.A.C.F., although Carmen is a pseudonym, an attorney told NBC.

The plane was not able to turn around en route, but a Department of Homeland Security official told NBC News that the mother and daughter did not disembark in El Salvador Thursday evening and were being brought back to the United States.

“Carmen and her daughter are right now somewhere in the air between Texas and El Salvador,” ACLU’s lead attorney in the case, Jennifer Chang Newell, told NBC News just after the hearing.

If the ACLU succeeds in the lawsuit, the asylum restrictions ordered by Sessions could be deemed unlawful.

The ACLU commented, “What happened to Carmen embodies exactly why the stay [of such deportations] is necessary: This administration has shown time and time again that in its rush to deport as many immigrants as possible, they will flout the law and callously put the most vulnerable people’s lives in danger.”

Fifty percent of voters polled recently by Quinnipiac University said they thought the administration is too aggressive in carrying out deportations, while 33% said it is acting in an appropriate manner.

Research contact: @ACLU