Physicians vs Homeland Security
Immigration advocates say they’ve noticed more infants under the age of 1, most of them sick, are being held at Dilley’s family detention center. Eleven mothers with babies ranging from 5 to 11 months old have arrived at the South Texas Family Residential Center since last week, according to the Dilley Pro Bono Project. Two were released this week.
On Thursday, Feb 28, the Dilley facility and Physicians for Human Rights sent a formal complaint to the Department of Homeland Security and Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties over infants being held in a family detention center.
RAICES, a statewide nonprofit that advocates for immigrants, said in the last five months, it has documented more than 24 clients that were under 3 years old at the Karnes Detention Center, the only other family detention center in the country. Most were under 18 months, and two were 1 year of age.
PHR and RAICES say that many of the babies are losing weight, sick and that the facilities are ill-equipped to meet their needs.
The DHS said in a statement to the Express-News that “comprehensive medical care is provided to all individuals in ICE custody. Staffing includes registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, licensed mental health providers, mid-level providers that include a physician’s assistant and nurse practitioner, a physician, dental care, and access to 24-hour emergency care.”
Hopefully, the issue is resolved as fast as possible and the answers are given as to the state of these children and how they are being treated.
Taxpayer Funded Lobbying
On Wed, Feb 27, a bill was heard in the Texas House State Affairs Committee that would bring an end to taxpayer-funded lobbying.
Freshman State Rep. Mayes Middleton (R–Wallisville) filed House Bill 281, which would ban the practice in Texas, just days before 86th legislative session gaveled in.
“This legislation levels the playing field between urban and rural Texas in the legislature. It also levels the playing field between the taxpayers and those who are often paid to work against them,” Middleton told the committee in his opening remarks.
“The funds that are used to pay lobbyists divert money away from important community services and instead line the pockets of Austin lobbyists,” Middleton added. “House Bill 281 encourages direct communication between local communities and state legislators by removing this costly taxpayer-funded middleman.”
Middleton was not only in his remarks though as droves of citizens came to speak in support of the bill.
Those representing local officials and taxpayer-funded lobbying organizations predictably testified against the reform, claiming it would all but bar them from keeping up with the legislature and engaging with their lawmakers.
The Texas Legislature should pass this bill as this can act as a way to have politicians listening more often to their constituents instead of lobbyists in the capital. It would also save taxpayers millions of dollars that can be better spent on education, healthcare, etc.
Trump Demands Free Speech on College Campuses
President Trump announced during the Conservative Political Action Conference that he would soon be signing an executive order mandating colleges and universities take steps to guarantee free speech to attain federal research grants.
“We reject oppressive speech codes, censorship, political correctness and every other attempt by the hard left to stop people from challenging ridiculous and dangerous ideas. These ideas are dangerous,” Trump said. “Instead we believe in free speech, including online and including on campus.”
“Today I’m proud to announce that I will be very soon signing an executive order requiring colleges and universities to support free speech if they want federal research grants.”
It was also stated that colleges and universities that refused to follow the mandate would face heavy burdens on their budgets.
“If they want our dollars, and we give it to them by the billions, they’ve got to allow people like Hayden and many other great young people and old people to speak. Free speech. If they don’t, it will be very costly,” he warned.
Hayden Williams, who was brought to the stage before the speech, is a conservative activist who was punched in the face at the University of California at Berkeley last month while assisting the university’s chapter of Turning Point USA.
This is almost certainly federal overreach by the president and I would heavily advise Trump to not go along with this executive order unless he has the legal team prepared to defend it. Trump should instead turn to Congress and have them pass a law protecting free speech on college campuses.
It wasn’t a good week for US stocks, with a few gains in the stock market. The Dow Jones decreased to 26,026.32 on Friday, decreasing by -5.49 points, or -0.02 percent under its Fed 22 close of 26,031.81. The S&P 500 increased by +11.02 points or +0.39 percent on Friday. In addition, the Nasdaq decreased on Friday by +0.90 percent.
However, the 4th quarter GDP report for 2018 also came out this week and points to some good news for the US economy. The Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that the US economy grew by 2.6% in the fourth quarter, above the expected 2.4%. This means that from where the US GDP was at in the 2017’s fourth quarter, GDP grew by 3.1%. This gives a big boon to Trump as he wanted a return to the US having 3% GDP growth or more a year.
On Thursday, Feb 28, President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un had their second face-to-face meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam.
During the meeting, Trump presented Kim with a similar deal to what had been offered to North Korea by the past few administrations: North Korea would trade all its nuclear weapons, material, and facilities for an end to the American-led sanctions squeezing its economy.
Despite warnings from several of Trump’s aides telling him that Kim would never accept total nuclear disarmament, Trump disagreed. He believed that because of the relations Trump and Kim had been building up for the past year, as well as the two leaders personalities, he could get Kim to agree.
Ironically though it would be Trump who would eventually walk away from the deal. Kim believed he could get a more modest deal from the US and had negotiated for an end to the sanctions most harmful to its economy, those enacted since 2016 in exchange for the dismantlement of the Yongbyon nuclear complex.
With advice from Sec. Pompeo, Trump opposed and walked away from the deal on grounds that it would make it look like he had been duped and that Kim’s offer “still leaves missiles, still leaves warheads and weapons systems,” in North Korea’s hands.
Whether you were expecting Trump and Kim to come to a deal or not, the fact that President Trump was willing to walk away should be applauded. North Korea has already made a guarantee that there will be a third meeting and now know the president will not be short-changed out of a mutually-beneficial deal.