Linda Chavez from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Sun, 18 Nov 2018 00:03:35 -0800 Linda Chavez from Creators Syndicate e02d1fa59c655c68a660febf5694df2d We Need to Believe Election Results for 11/16/2018 Fri, 16 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Democracy is a fragile thing. Ours has lasted nearly 250 years, but there is no guarantee that it will last forever. One thing is certain, however. If the people's trust is undermined, democracy cannot survive.</p> <p>President Donald Trump has done much to sow seeds of doubt among his followers. The most recent example was his claim that people who are ineligible to vote routinely do so: "People get in line that have absolutely no right to vote, and they go around in circles. Sometimes they go to their car, put on a different hat, put on a different shirt, come in and vote again. Nobody takes anything. It's really a disgrace what's going on." It is the same point he has made many times, even creating a commission to investigate the millions of votes he claimed were cast by noncitizens in the 2016 election. The commission dissolved when it could find no evidence that such massive election fraud had occurred. Indeed, there have been only a handful of cases brought throughout the country against people for voting while ineligible. But the effect of the president's words and actions is to make many of his supporters distrust the outcome of elections.<p>Updated: Fri Nov 16, 2018</p> 9ec26abcd78734bc0b88aaa817fa0b22 Americans Don't Like Mobs for 11/09/2018 Fri, 09 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>The midterm elections proved one thing definitively: We are a deeply divided country. Though the Democrats' victory in flipping the House of Representatives was significant, it might have been even bigger had President Donald Trump not been able to use the caravan of Central American migrants to stir fear and motivate his base. The left doesn't get it, blaming unalloyed racism. No doubt, there was plenty of racism to point to in the president's ads and his invocation of an "invasion," but the truth is that the hard-line restrictionists who were motivated by Trump's rhetoric about the caravan aren't all racists.</p> <p>I am an unabashed advocate for immigrants and immigration reform that would make it easier to come to the United States. That has been my position for more than 30 years. But I also understand the anxieties that large-scale immigration provokes among many Americans. Some fear competition from immigrants, who will often work for less (which is what a free market allows and capitalism encourages, to the benefit of the larger economy). Others worry that immigrants will change the culture, feeling pressure to accommodate new languages and customs rather than seeing newcomers being expected to adapt to the common culture. And no amount of evidence that immigrants of this generation and their children are doing what every group before them has done &#8212; learning English, improving their educational and economic statuses, and intermarrying with those outside their own group &#8212; can convince these skeptics when they have to "push 1 for English" on the phone or show up to vote and see ballots printed in Spanish. <span class="column--highlighted-text">Until Democrats recognize that the multiculturalism they have pushed for a generation actually hurts their case for remaining a country that welcomes large numbers of immigrants, they will have a hard time broadening their appeal to blue-collar and rural Trump voters.</span><p>Updated: Fri Nov 09, 2018</p> 1992bbbcc2056db1cbf064934f207473 The President and the Constitution for 11/02/2018 Fri, 02 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>In the days leading up to Tuesday's midterm elections, President Donald Trump has chosen to wheel out the boogeyman that helped him win the presidency: immigration. It is an act of desperation that will only work if it motivates people to vote on the basis of ignorance, fear and hatred. There is no immigration crisis facing America right now; illegal immigration is at a 50-year low, with the population of undocumented immigrants down 1 million from its high and remaining steady. Nonetheless, a caravan of would-be asylum-seekers hundreds of miles away from the border has garnered attention recently. The president hopes to convince his base that we are about to be invaded by criminals, "Middle Easterners," gang members and disease-ridden women and children. In response, <span class="column--highlighted-text">he has ordered the Pentagon to dispatch as many as 15,000 active-duty troops to the border, the worst abuse of the military for political purposes in my lifetime</span>.</p> <p>Not content to make illegal immigration the focus of his scaremongering, Trump has also announced that he will issue an executive order to deny birthright citizenship to millions of Americans. Let's be clear: The president does not have the authority to do this. Birthright citizenship is enshrined in our Constitution. The 14th Amendment reads, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside." Executive orders cannot overrule the Constitution; it takes an amendment passed by two-thirds of each house of Congress and ratified by three-fourths of state legislatures to change the Constitution. Imagine the uproar if a Democratic president decided to limit the Second Amendment in a similar fashion.<p>Updated: Fri Nov 02, 2018</p> f2f93cf69f195bf0c072e17fad86e549 The Dystopian Election for 10/26/2018 Fri, 26 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Having just returned from a three-week trip to Asia, I feel as if I've landed in the middle of a dystopian nightmare. Some maniac is mailing pipe bombs to President Donald Trump's enemies list: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, George Soros, John Brennan, Eric Holder and Robert De Niro. In the past few weeks, the stock market, which the president touts as proof that he is good for the economy, has seen almost all of its gains from 2018 wiped out. And the president is deploying 800 more troops to the Mexican border (joining the 1,600 National Guard members already in border sectors), claiming a "National Emergency," as a caravan of families, still about 1,000 miles away, treks on foot across Mexico seeking asylum from the violence in their home countries and better lives for their kids. It's enough to make me wonder whether we've all lost our minds.</p> <p>Americans, who have never had to deal with deep ideological divides in our history, have always been mostly centrist on policy issues. We believe in capitalism and the free market, but we've ensured a safety net for those who fall through the cracks, hoping it will be temporary until they get back on their feet. We register as Republicans or Democrats or independents, but we've never before made those identifications paramount in how we regard and treat one another. Now, thanks in large part to what has happened at both ends of the ideological spectrum, partisans loathe and mistrust one another.<p>Updated: Fri Oct 26, 2018</p> 75d02cae87d52cacf9cfc8c736d1ddf6 The Saudi Challenge for 10/19/2018 Fri, 19 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Jamal Khashoggi's murder &#8212; and no one now questions whether the Washington Post contributor was killed by Saudi agents in the kingdom's consulate in Turkey &#8212; has far-reaching implications for the Trump administration. President Donald Trump appears to want to help sweep the incident under the rug, providing cover for the Saudis' ludicrous suggestion that the killing was a rogue operation or an interrogation gone awry. And he's enmeshed the highest officials of his administration in the mess by sending Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Riyadh, where the secretary was photographed, all smiles, sitting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who most likely ordered Khashoggi's murder. The administration is giving itself little leeway to take serious measures to protest the killing, signaling to the world that the U.S. cannot be counted on to stand up against bloodthirsty autocrats, even when a U.S. resident and member of the American press is the victim.</p> <p>I doubt that Trump understands &#8212; or cares about &#8212; what message he's sending. Wealthy Saudis, including members of the extended royal family, have been his patrons for years, buying his distressed properties when he needed money. In the early 1990s, a Saudi prince purchased Trump's flashy yacht so that the then-struggling businessman could come up with cash to stave off personal bankruptcy, and later, the prince bought a share of the Plaza Hotel, one of Trump's many business deals gone bad. Trump also sold an entire floor of his landmark Trump Tower condominium to the Saudi government in 2001. During the campaign, the Trump Organization registered more than a half-dozen limited liability companies in the kingdom, in anticipation of cashing in on Trump's enhanced renown. When Trump actually won (which apparently he didn't think he would at the time), someone must have explained he couldn't move ahead with new business there as president, because he withdrew the registrations. Of course, <span class="column--highlighted-text">a little thing like benefiting from the office of the presidency hasn't stopped the Trump Organization, run by the president's two eldest sons, from accepting Saudi largesse since the election. With many Trump properties and brands losing customers in today's highly polarized political atmosphere, Saudis are spending lavishly on Trump properties in Washington, New York and even Chicago as many others avoid them.</span><p>Updated: Fri Oct 19, 2018</p> 008d380d73539997306abc4a54cc9ece Enemy of the People for 10/12/2018 Fri, 12 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>When President Donald Trump called the press the "enemy of the people," he wasn't only speaking to his pep rally audience. Autocrats and despots around the world were listening. Right-wing governments from Poland and Hungary to Turkey and the Philippines have cracked down on freedom of the press over the past two years, with little worry that the Trump administration would raise a fuss. But last week's disappearance and presumed murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by a Saudi hit squad in Turkey should alarm even this tone-deaf White House that words have consequences.</p> <p>Khashoggi, a U.S. resident who was born in Saudi Arabia, wrote frequently about his native country with the fearlessness any opinion writer for an American newspaper enjoys. He called shots as he saw them. When Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the heir apparent to his father, King Salman, led economic reforms and lifted barriers to female driving, Khashoggi praised the moves. But he was also a critic of the crown prince's autocratic methods. Writing in the Post last year, Khashoggi said, "The crackdown on even the most constructive criticism &#8212; the demand for complete loyalty with a significant 'or else' &#8212; remains a serious challenge to the crown prince's desire to be seen as a modern, enlightened leader." Such criticism of your country's leader might get you disinvited from dinner parties in Washington but can get you killed in many places in the world. What is unusual about this case is that the assassins thought they could act with impunity against a permanent U.S. resident who expressed his views in an American paper.<p>Updated: Fri Oct 12, 2018</p> 34939f0e482a3063021f4a4e69341899 I Believe Judge Kavanaugh for 09/28/2018 Fri, 28 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Thursday's hearing with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, was an almost perfect Rorschach test: Democrats and much of the mainstream media saw Ford's testimony as credible, authentic and emblematic of the mistreatment of women by privileged men. Republicans saw a decent man with an unblemished record being accused of the most heinous criminal acts in a last-minute attempt to derail his confirmation.</p> <p>I watched the hearings transfixed. I am a conservative who generally supports Kavanaugh's judicial philosophy, but I also believe the GOP bungled this process. I would like to have heard, in person, from Mark Judge, who Ford claims was in the room when the alleged attack took place. I believe it was in everyone's interest &#8212; including Kavanaugh's &#8212; to ask the FBI to reinterview witnesses after the allegations were made. <p>Updated: Sat Sep 29, 2018</p> bf6bcb2a5114fd71d567a55bbf59fe9c Kavanaugh Hearing Should Go Forward for 09/21/2018 Fri, 21 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The great psychodrama playing out in the Senate this week over the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court has riveted Washington. The revelation of a psychologist in California alleging that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were both teenagers in suburban Maryland now threatens to derail the judge's confirmation. We don't yet know whether the accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, will appear at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for Monday. Initially, she agreed to testify and said what she was seeking was a chance to be heard. Kavanaugh has agreed to come before the committee and testify under oath about the alleged incident. Democrats, however, have said that the hearing itself is premature, should follow an investigation into Ford's allegations and should include other witnesses. The Republican leadership says the nomination will go forward to a vote, with or without Ford's testimony. </p> <p>As usual these days, both sides have dug in. The Democrats want to delay the confirmation &#8212; for partisan as well as substantive reasons. Republicans want Kavanaugh in place by the time the Supreme Court's new session begins on Oct. 1. Republicans say they are accommodating Ford by agreeing to have her testify under whatever circumstances she chooses, including allowing her to do so in private and in California. They claim they aren't trying to shut her up or ignore her serious allegations; they also want to be fair to Kavanaugh and move his nomination along for a vote.<p>Updated: Fri Sep 21, 2018</p> 79d3cbcce12e72ff5dbb08ab56fc4edf Humility In the Face of Nature for 09/14/2018 Fri, 14 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>With rain inundating the mid-Atlantic states and a hurricane barreling down on the Carolinas, President Donald Trump took the occasion to pat himself on the back for his handling of Hurricane Maria, which hit Puerto Rico last year. It was an "underappreciated great job," he said in an Oval Office interview, giving himself an A+ for the "incredible, unsung success." Not content with bragging about an event that cost an estimated 3,000 lives, the president then took to Twitter to question the death toll, blaming Democrats for inflating the numbers: "This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico. If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!"</p> <p>Those with memories longer than the president's last tweet may remember that he claimed Maria was nowhere near a "real catastrophe like Katrina," which inundated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005. Sitting next to Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rossello two weeks after Maria hit, Trump said only 16 people had died. He might be forgiven for not having accurate information at the time &#8212; Puerto Rican officials were loath to admit they had no handle on how many people had died as a direct result of the storm or its aftermath, which cut off whole communities from emergency health care, clean water and electricity. But there is little excuse today for the president's willful ignorance.<p>Updated: Fri Sep 14, 2018</p> 28c526ff3a4cc1da04cc49b8c3c4238d Mutiny on the Ship of State for 09/07/2018 Fri, 07 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Bob Woodward is the gold standard in investigative journalism. For the past 45 years, his byline has ensured the accuracy of whatever story has followed. His reporting has not been free from controversy over the years, but no one in the national media has a better record of getting it right. So, what to make of Woodward's new book about the Trump presidency, "Fear," which has yet to be released but excerpts of which have leaked into stories this week?</p> <p>The reaction in the White House was predictable. The president wants Congress to rewrite libel laws. Some figures who appear in the book (based on first-person accounts of people who witnessed the events) have denied they said the words quoted. And some administration and White House officials have taken to calling the book fiction.<p>Updated: Fri Sep 07, 2018</p> a33fbe19f63775349316700f78d2d7fc Don't Like What I Write? Deport Me for 08/31/2018 Fri, 31 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The email looked innocuous enough, sent to my personal account and with a real name attached to the sender: Asher Thompson. But the first few sentences told me that something was awry: "Israel is building a wall, refusing refugees, deporting Africans. Yet, you are silent about this. You only demand Third World immigration and refugees for the USA and Europe. Why not demand the same for Israel? We both know why."</p> <p>The why, no doubt, is that I am a longtime supporter of Israel and I happen to be married to a Jew, something my alt-right critics often point to in questioning my allegiance to the United States. But Asher &#8212; if that is his real name &#8212; added another explanation: "Your hatred of whites and Western Civilzation (sic) really shows through." Right. That would be a surprise to my critics on the left, who often accuse me of being Eurocentric, and Latino radicals, who often describe me as a coconut. But it was the writer's last sentence that I found most chilling: "I just wrote Trump a letter asking that he arrest and deport you."<p>Updated: Fri Aug 31, 2018</p> 28018805e91a7777aebd52420120e105 Toady's Revenge for 08/24/2018 Fri, 24 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Hell hath no fury like a toady scorned. Michael Cohen, to all appearances, seems a hapless sort &#8212; a lawyer with no clients, a millionaire whose wealth from New York taxi medallions faced diminishing in the Uber age, a Donald Trump loyalist who received no appointment to a government job, a fixer who would "take a bullet" for a man who disdained and finally discarded him. You can feel almost sorry for the fellow &#8212; until you remember what he's done to others on Trump's behalf. Now he's willing to own up to some of his misdeeds and point the finger at his unindicted co-conspirator, the president of the United States.</p> <p>There has been nothing quite like this week in U.S. history, with two of the president's men, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, guilty of crimes growing out of an investigation into the Trump campaign. And I say that as someone who lived through Watergate, having worked as a young staffer at the Democratic National Committee at the time of the break-in (even encountering one of the burglars earlier in the day) and as a member of the professional staff of the House Judiciary Committee during Richard Nixon's impeachment hearings. The difference between then and now says much about our politics, leaders and culture.<p>Updated: Fri Aug 24, 2018</p> b5074c4f361950fe96391a4d1a1fced0 Time for Another Reformation for 08/17/2018 Fri, 17 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Few words can describe the horror that comes from reading a Pennsylvania grand jury report on sexual abuse by Catholic priests in state dioceses over a 70-year period. At least 300 priests used their roles within the church to prey on the innocent. They groomed their victims with special favors, sometimes mixing church ritual with their depravity, passing around their child victims to other priests, even recording sex acts to create pornography they could share and indulge in long after. One priest targeted an entire large family of young girls, raping siblings successively over the years. These priests were men respected in their religious communities, welcomed into the homes of the faithful, entrusted with the spiritual care of believers. But most importantly, they never were punished, even when their transgressions became known. When their superiors learned of the priests' behavior, many bishops sought ways to cover up the criminal acts. Because our criminal justice system imposes limitations on how long after crimes are committed the acts can be prosecuted, nearly all of the men who are still alive face nothing more than embarrassment for the destruction they wreaked. The church will face financial penalties, robbing the contributions of the faithful to pay settlements to victims. But no matter how large the sum, settlements will never undo the harm done. Can the Roman Catholic Church survive this crisis?</p> <p>The Pennsylvania story of priestly abuse is only the latest scandal to rock the church. In the United States alone, the church paid out some $4 billion between 1950 and 2015 to victims of sexual abuse. And it's not only here but around the world that these cases have come to light; Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Ireland and other countries have experienced major scandals involving Catholic clergy. Meanwhile, the Vatican has done little but issue condemnations and occasionally remove bishops and cardinals who either covered up or were participants in the abuse, the most striking case involving Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., who resigned from the College of Cardinals after allegations that he had abused both minors and several seminarians over the course of decades. Pope Francis, who has a mixed history in terms of how he has handled abuse cases, has so far remained silent about the Pennsylvania study.</p> <p>Something must change &#8212; and it must happen soon, or the church risks losing its flock and its influence. It may well be time for another Reformation. It has been more than 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the cathedral in Wittenberg. What followed was not just a schism in the church that created Protestantism; the Counter-Reformation of the Catholic Church itself came, too.<p>Updated: Fri Aug 17, 2018</p> 3464584ff4d94f06a9ce792ed93894f4 The First Family's Chain Migration for 08/10/2018 Fri, 10 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Given the foolish consistency that comes with being the hobgoblin of little minds, there was no chance that our big-brained president would be consistent on the issue of "chain migration." In November, President Donald Trump decried the practice of immigrants sponsoring other family members for permanent residency: "CHAIN MIGRATION must end now! Some people come in, and they bring their whole family with them, who can be truly evil. NOT ACCEPTABLE!" When the White House released its proposed framework for immigration reform in January, the president's sentiments were clear: In the future, immigrants would be able to sponsor only spouses and minor children for permanent residency. No more parents or siblings. But the president's distaste for "chain migration" apparently doesn't apply to his extended family.</p> <p>On Thursday, the president's in-laws, Amalija and Viktor Knavs, became naturalized U.S. citizens, thanks to the sponsorship of their immigrant daughter, first lady Melania Trump. Good for them &#8212; and good for Melania for bringing her parents to America and helping them become Americans. This is the story of our great country &#8212; generations of immigrants looking for better lives in a land of opportunity and then helping parents, sisters and brothers, and others to join them.<p>Updated: Fri Aug 10, 2018</p> 47199d119fca95603b2f6bdbe13335c0 There Is No Russia Witch Hunt for 07/27/2018 Fri, 27 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>We should all breathe a collective sigh of relief that Vladimir Putin will not be coming to Washington this year, despite President Donald Trump's invitation issued just last week. Why the about face? According to the president's national security adviser, John Bolton: "The president believes that the next bilateral meeting with President Putin should take place after the Russia witch hunt is over, so we've agreed that it will be after the first of the year." The statement is ludicrous &#8212; and wrong on several counts.</p> <p>There is no "Russia witch hunt," despite President Trump's and his minions' repeated efforts to convince Americans otherwise. What there is is incontrovertible evidence that Russia intervened in the 2016 election by using fake social media accounts to spread disinformation and hacking the Democratic National Committee's servers and the personal email account of Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta. We don't yet know the full extent of Russia's activities or whether anyone in the Trump campaign wittingly or unwittingly assisted in those activities &#8212; which is what the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller is intended to uncover. Nor do we know how extensive Russia's current activity is in the upcoming congressional election. President Trump urged us to believe that any Russian interference is intended to help Democrats. "They will be pushing very hard for the Democrats," he said this week. <p>Updated: Fri Jul 27, 2018</p> fa5cabec922d1e675106818e75f04b9d How to Explain Trump's Behavior for 07/20/2018 Fri, 20 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>We may never know what took place behind closed doors in Helsinki between President Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, but we know enough from public pronouncements on both sides to be worried. Very worried. For perhaps the first time in U.S. history, we have a president whose loyalty the American people cannot trust, even in dealing with an adversary. I know there are many conservatives who distrusted President Barack Obama &#8212; and I was one who believed that Obama lacked the visceral belief that America has been an unequivocal force for good in the world. But until Trump took office, we'd never had a president who was willing to take the word of a murderous thug over that of his own intelligence community and advisers. Trump has repeatedly done so, and this week's performance was the most blatant.</p> <p>The president, under nearly universal pressure from his own appointees and Republican members of Congress, has tried to walk back some of his most egregious statements backing Putin's denials of interference in U.S. elections in 2016 and currently, but Trump's efforts have been as laughable as Putin's lies were transparent. As many commentators have noted, Trump's Cabinet room reading of a script that attempted to gloss over as a mere misstatement his acceding to Putin's denials looked and sounded like a hostage tape. It reminded me, as a study in contrasting motives, of former Sen. Jeremiah Denton's televised interview as a POW in North Vietnam during the war. Denton, who was held for eight years, blinked out a message to the world &#8212; "T-O-R-T-U-R-E" &#8212; in Morse code to alert viewers that he was being forced to condemn U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Trump made sure his body language, stiff delivery and asides telegraphed to Putin that despite the words he was reading, he doesn't believe that Russia tampered with our elections, regardless of the evidence. Denton loved his country; Trump loves himself.<p>Updated: Fri Jul 20, 2018</p> 476a86b0760a04f0df4415b9ef0ff26c Don't Play Politics With Kavanaugh Appointment for 07/13/2018 Fri, 13 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court is a welcome move. As readers of my column know, I am no Donald Trump fan, but in this instance, the president has done well. Kavanaugh, whom I've worked with in the past, is a serious jurist with one of the most impressive backgrounds of any Supreme Court nominee in recent history. His record speaks for itself, and senators will have ample opportunity to question his past opinions and decipher his legal doctrine before confirming him to the high court. But <span class="column--highlighted-text">what they should not do is attempt to play politics with the nomination. Unfortunately, Democrats are doing just that in a tit-for-tat attempt to stop Kavanaugh's appointment.</span></p> <p>Their first line of attack was to claim that President Trump should not have the right to get his choice confirmed before the midterm elections, claiming the same logic employed by Republicans when President Barack Obama tried to get Judge Merrick Garland appointed before the 2016 election after Justice Antonin Scalia's death. I didn't agree with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's refusal to bring up the nomination of Garland for a vote. In my view, presidents should be given maximum leeway in appointing justices, provided they are qualified, and the Senate has an obligation to act on a nomination and vote to confirm or deny the appointment. But even though the Republicans' pausing because of a pending presidential election was a thin reed, that is no justification for not voting in advance of a midterm election, especially in a year in which control of the Senate is exceedingly unlikely to change.<p>Updated: Fri Jul 13, 2018</p> 8fccedd65d1137175511f39582200413 How to Protect Democracy for 07/06/2018 Fri, 06 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>There was a time in recent history when conservatives understood the dangers of an imperial presidency. I, along with most conservative commentators, railed against the overreach of the Obama administration in everything from health care to environmental policy. Even when I agreed with the goal, e.g., giving protections to undocumented immigrants who had come to the United States as children, I argued that the method President Barack Obama used &#8212; an executive memorandum, in this case &#8212; was flawed.</p> <p>Like most conservatives, I support separation of powers and believe that neither presidents nor the courts should try to legislate. Today, unfortunately, all too many conservatives have given up on the idea that Congress makes laws, the president's role is to implement them and the courts are charged with ensuring that laws enacted conform to the Constitution and are implemented as written.<p>Updated: Fri Jul 06, 2018</p> a9a2222ee2389dc9bdbafb4c54c00096 Trump's Executive Order Doesn't Solve the Problem for 06/22/2018 Fri, 22 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Apparently, the pictures and audio of crying babies, toddlers and older children separated from their parents at the border was too much even for Donald Trump's rock-solid base of supporters. Many religious leaders &#8212; from Franklin Graham, son of the late evangelical minister Billy Graham, to Jentezen Franklin, a megachurch pastor from Georgia &#8212; condemned the administration's policy of taking children away from asylum-seekers and immigrants alike when they crossed the southern border illegally. Finally, President Trump succumbed to pressure and signed an executive order to change direction going forward. He still plans on prosecuting as criminals those individuals who cross the border without permission &#8212; which is a misdemeanor civil offense unless the person has been caught doing so previously &#8212; but now his administration will detain parents and children together.</p> <p>It isn't immediately clear whether this practice will be deemed legal. After a suit filed in 1985, the government agreed in a federal court settlement in 1997 to release juveniles caught at the border to relatives or legal guardians or to place them in facilities that provided the least restrictive conditions. The Trump administration abandoned this practice by detaining and charging the parents as if they were serious criminals and placing their children in federally supervised custody. The better approach now would be to go back to what the government has been doing for years &#8212; quickly processing asylum-seekers and immigrants who have crossed the border illegally, jailing dangerous gang members and drug and human traffickers, and releasing others until their cases can be heard by a judge, attaching monitoring devices to keep track of them.<p>Updated: Fri Jun 22, 2018</p> 0eddf9c83750e8c11cf7d9c16ac6824c Don't Make Matters Worse When Fixing DACA for 06/15/2018 Fri, 15 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>For more than a decade, Congress has refused to deal with a broken immigration system. Year after year, members of Congress complain that our immigration laws are outdated, are poorly enforced and no longer serve our needs as a nation. But despite repeated efforts to pass bills to fix the problem, nothing happens. Although illegal immigration to the U.S. has been very low over the past few years &#8212; down to a level not seen since the early 1970s &#8212; it has shot up again in the past few months as the U.S. economy has gone into high gear. We currently have more open jobs than workers willing and able to do them, which is why we are seeing a flood of new migrants trying to cross the border. So what are the Trump administration and Congress doing to solve the problem? All the wrong things.</p> <p>The administration's entire focus has been on eliminating illegal immigration and limiting legal immigration. Unable to get his "big, beautiful wall" and make Mexico pay for it, President Donald Trump has instead turned his attention to removing as many immigrants who came here illegally &#8212; and even some who came here legally &#8212; as he can. First he announced that he was ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gave temporary protection from deportation and permission to work to those whose parents brought them here illegally as children and who are currently in school, working or in the military. Although the courts have put on hold Trump's plans to remove the protections and ultimately deport DACA recipients en masse, Congress has failed to act, so their status remains precarious. The administration has also announced it will remove temporary protected status to some Haitians, Salvadorans, Nicaraguans and Sudanese who are here because of natural disasters or war, so they, too, will be subject to deportation. In all, we are talking about well over a million people.<p>Updated: Fri Jun 15, 2018</p>