Betsy DeVos Stirs Uproar by Saying Schools Can Call ICE on Undocumented Kids

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos provoked an outcry Tuesday when she said schools can choose to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement on potentially undocumented students.

“I think that’s a school decision, it’s a local community decision,” DeVos told the House Education and the Workforce Committee. “I refer to the fact that we have laws and we also are compassionate. I urge this body to do its job and address and clarify where there is confusion around this.”

DeVos was responding to a question from Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.) about whether she thinks school leaders should call ICE on students or their parents.

Advocacy groups immediately protested her answer, pointing out that under the Supreme Court case Plyler v. Doe, all children ― undocumented or not ― are entitled to a free public education. {snip}

Elizabeth Hill, press secretary for the U.S. Department of Education, provided HuffPost with a clarification of DeVos’ remarks on Wednesday. “Her position is that schools must comply with Plyler and all other applicable and relevant law,” said Hill.

{snip}

MALDEF, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, issued a statement saying that DeVos should resign for “abject incompetence” if she does not “issue an immediate clarification that emphasizes the holding in Plyler.” The organization also said it “stands ready to hold accountable through legal challenge anyone in public education who attempts to report a student to ICE.”

{snip}

The American Civil Liberties Union also blasted DeVos’ comments at the hearing.

“Let’s be clear: Any school that reports a child to ICE would violate the Constitution. The Supreme Court has made clear that every child in America has a right to a basic education, regardless of immigration status{snip} ,” said Lorella Praeli, director of immigration policy and campaigns for the ACLU, in a statement,

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Immigration Showdown Over Pathway to Citizenship for Dreamers Gets Closer to Forced Vote

The House is whipping itself closer to a forced vote on immigration better than Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy have been able to recently. A discharge petition has nearly gathered the critical number of signatures to make it happen and leadership is scrambling for them to hold off.

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Canada’s longest serving immigration detainee appeals his five-year detention

Superior Court Justice Alfred O’Marra ruled in October that the federal government could continue to jail failed refugee claimant Ebrahim Toure, who had already spent more than four years in indefinite detention, because there was still a reasonable prospect he could be deported to his native Gambia. The judge based his decision in large part on what federal immigration authorities described as a “pending” interview with Gambian officials, which O’Marra said could conceivably lead to a “breakthrough” in the case and Toure’s removal.

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Immigration Showdown Puts Ryan’s Job in Peril

Paul Ryan is struggling to stop an immigration showdown in the House, as his Republican Conference spirals into an all-out war that could put his speakership on the line.

{snip}

But that call to unity fell on deaf ears.

A group of moderates frustrated with the lack of action to protect Dreamers from deportation is expected to collect enough signatures to force bipartisan immigration votes in the coming days, according to lawmakers and aides tracking the effort. And conservatives who oppose those bills are threatening to hold Republican leaders — starting with Ryan — responsible if they don’t stop it.

“If we run an amnesty bill out of a Republican House, I think all options are on the table,” Freedom Caucus member Scott Perry (R-Pa.) told reporters Monday night when asked whether Ryan could remain speaker if the so-called discharge petition succeeds.

“If leadership doesn’t stop it, they would be violating their own word, which was the Hastert rule, majority of the majority,” agreed Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), referring to an unofficial Republican policy of not holding votes on matters that aren’t backed by more than half of the conference.

Conservatives are so desperate to stop the discharge petition that they’re suggesting Ryan strong-arm moderates to get them to back down {snip}, Such a move would be devastating for those centrists, many of whom hail from swing districts targeted by Democrats.

“I know when I voted against a rule, [leadership] threatened to take away all travel, they threatened to take away NRCC contributions,” said Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.). “Most of those people who are on the discharge petition are very much closer to leadership than members of the Freedom Caucus, so I don’t see them” defying leadership.

One conservative lawmaker who was kicked off the whip team several years ago for defying leadership told Ryan, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) that they should remove moderates who support the discharge petition from the current whip team. GOP leaders said nothing in response, according to a lawmaker in the room.

{snip}

The clash comes as Republicans face a daunting election this fall. {snip}

Ryan also has found himself inside a pressure cooker, with a small faction of Republicans on the Hill and in the White House whispering that he should step down now rather than serve out his term as speaker. If the discharge petition succeeds, it would only further weaken Ryan’s hand.

That’s one of the reasons some Republicans who support the idea in theory have held back from signing the petition. Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) told Politico on Monday that he didn’t want to put Ryan in a bad situation so was unlikely to join his colleagues in forcing the issue. At this moment, however, no other lawmaker would likely have the 218 votes it would take to become speaker.

Ryan, who opposes the discharge petition because he says it empowers Democrats, was close to halting it last week. On Thursday, several moderates agreed that they would hold off on collecting the final signatures to force the issue. In return, the speaker would work with them and the Freedom Caucus to allow a vote on a conservative immigration bill in addition to a measure more palatable to moderates.

But Freedom Caucus members, while claiming they want to negotiate, have said they would not allow such a process unless the second bill meets their own parameters and is supported by a majority of Republican lawmakers. A bipartisan bill like the one moderates are seeking, they argue, runs counter to the results of the 2016 election.

{snip}

At the same time, leaders have not reached out to moderates to clarify what the second bill would look like, making them feel as though the pitch for a two-vote deal was disingenuous. And during a whip meeting Monday night, Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said the House would certainly vote on the conservative immigration bill sought by conservatives in June but did not affirm that legislation backed by the moderates would also get a vote, raising skepticism among centrists.

That lack of a plan has led moderates to forge ahead with their discharge petition. Several who are about to sign on said they want to speak personally with Ryan first to give him a heads-up.

One of those leaning toward signing this week is Rep. Tom Reed of New York, a staunch leadership ally.

Conservatives, meanwhile, have continued to say they’re willing to work with moderates to come up with an immigration bill that would get a majority of the conference’s backing. But GOP leaders and moderates don’t believe them, because negotiations have been ongoing for months without a breakthrough.

To beat back the petition, conservatives have suggested GOP leaders put the far right’s immigration proposal on the floor. That plan procedurally would squash the petition for a time. But GOP leaders note that moderates could — and have vowed to — block any standalone vote on a conservative bill that doesn’t also include a vote on their own ideas. Procedurally, all that moderates would have to do is vote with Democrats to kill the rule governing debate for the conservatives’ bill.

Conservatives, however, don’t believe the moderates and are encouraging GOP leaders to call their bluff.

{snip} Following Ryan’s plea for unity, Meadows has gone out of his way to tell members, aides and reporters that conservatives are not talking about a “motion to vacate the chair” against Ryan, a procedural move that would force a vote on whether he should remain speaker. {snip}

If it came to that, however, most of the conference would probably back Ryan, his allies say. Most of the conference understands that the speaker is in an impossible position, they argue.

{snip}

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Caucus using bill to derail DACA vote

The conservative House Freedom Caucus is pushing hard for an immigration bill despised by many advocates for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals participants – an effort that has a chance of getting a House vote as soon as next week. If that vote occurs, it would make it far more difficult for DACA backers to get votes on legislation they’ve been seeking.

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ACLU: DeVos ‘Wrong’ on Ratting Out Illegal Students

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was off-base when she said Tuesday that schools should decide whether to report undocumented students to immigration officials, The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says.

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House GOP Seeks Last-Ditch Immigration Agreement Amid Rebellion

House Republican leaders are making a last-ditch effort to work out an agreement on immigration legislation as GOP hardliners conceded Tuesday that moderates would otherwise be able to force a vote on bipartisan proposals the conservatives oppose.

Representative Dennis Ross of Florida, a member of the Republican vote-counting team, said he was asked by party leaders to delay signing a petition that — with support from virtually all Democrats and a few dozen Republicans — would force Speaker Paul Ryan to hold votes on four immigration bills that he doesn’t want to bring to the floor.

{snip}

House Freedom Caucus leader Mark Meadows acknowledged that he expects moderate Republicans and Democrats can gather enough signatures to force a vote on the bipartisan proposals, including one to grant a citizenship path to young undocumented immigrants.

“They’ll get to 218” signatures, a majority of House members, said Meadows of North Carolina.

Still, he said that if the House passes a bill to protect the young immigrants known as dreamers, “it’s not going to become law so I’m not sitting here with fear and trembling.”

{snip}

Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, a Florida Republican who has signed the petition, expressed confidence that it’ll succeed.

“There’s no doubt that there are enough Republicans who will sign on,” he said in an interview. “This one’s done to bring out four different diverse solutions. It was done in a way not to be disruptive or for political grandstanding.”

Conservative House Republicans are seeking an immediate vote instead on a bill that would put new restrictions on legal immigration, sponsored by Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia. Last week, members of the Freedom Caucus blocked a GOP farm bill on the House floor because they didn’t trust assurances from GOP leaders that the Goodlatte measure would get a vote.

Regarding the Freedom Caucus, Ross said, “I’m tired of the tail wagging the dog.” He said he had been told that GOP leaders are trying to negotiate an immigration bill with Democrats.

{snip}

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A South African Tragedy

Martin Bossenbroek, The Boer War, Seven Stories Press, 2018, 464 pp., $24.00.

The Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) was a tragedy—even a “white-on-white crime.” The world’s greatest military power, the British Empire, waged war on a force of 60,000 South African Boer militiamen. Haughty British officers who had won renown fighting the Pathans in the Northwest Frontier or Madhi fanatics in Sudan thought the Boers were a similarly uncouth force that could never defeat a professional British Army. The initial successes of the Boers proved them wrong, and the British should have known better. During the First Boer War of 1880 to 1881, the South African Republic (also known as the Transvaal) and the Orange Free State won the right to self rule without interference from Cape Town, the base of British operations in South Africa.

As the Dutch historian Martin Bossenbroek explains in The Boer War, the second conflict was largely an attempt by the British to win control over the natural resources of the South African Republic. After the discovery of gold in Witwatersrand in 1885, the city of Johannesburg sprung up almost overnight. It became a boom town right out of the American Wild West, with bordellos and gambling dens. President Paul Kruger of the South African Republic and his fellow Boers despised Johannesburg and the foreigners who were drawn to it by the gold rush. Kruger, Prof. Bossenbroek writes, was a veld-bred farmer who came from the proud Voortrekker and epitomized Old Testament zeal.

Johannesburg reminded Boers of what they had left behind when they trekked out of Cape Colony in 1835. The liberty-loving Boers—a mix of Dutch, Huguenot, German, and Portuguese—resisted when the British first declared the Cape a “protectorate” before soon turning it into a colony. Boers moved eastward into the high veld, defeated several African tribes, and established the two republics—the South African Republic and the Orange Free State—that Britain sought to dominate in the war of 1899.

The Boer War is a wonderful throwback to the days of heroic history. First published in Dutch in 2012 and only recently translated into English, it divides the story into three parts. The first sets the scene with an account of South African politics and economics. The chief character is Cecil Rhodes, the brilliant mining magnate who established the colony of Rhodesia and envisioned all of South Africa as a British confederation. The Boers stood in the way of this Cape-to-Cairo vision.

The second part is about the war. It is filled with tales of battle, commando raids, and guerrilla warfare, and takes as its main character the former British Army officer and war correspondent Winston Churchill. Prof. Bossenbroek provides details about the divisions within the British Army (mainly between officers from the “Indian” vs. “the African” services) and about divisions within the Boer camp.

The final section deals with the guerrilla phase of the war. When the British could not decisively defeat the highly mobile and well-armed Boer commandos, they put Boer women and children in concentration camps so as to deprive the men of the support they needed. These filthy, disease-ridden camps became the great scandal of the early 20th century; today it is thought that some 26,000 inmates died. Despite this cruelty, some Boers fought alongside the British during the First World War.

Boer guerrillas during the Second Anglo-Boer War.

It is easy for Americans to identify with the Boers. Like the whites of North America, they are an ethnic hodgepodge, united by their Christian faith and shared experiences in the wilderness. In 1899, they wanted to be left alone in their republics; millions of white Americans feel the same way today.

Britain justified meddling in Boer affairs because of the non-Boer immigrants—mostly British—who rushed into the Transvaal during the gold rush. By the late 1890s, the Uitlanders, as the Afrikaners called them, were a majority in the cities of the Transvaal. Before long, these economic immigrants demanded voting rights and legal protection, but the South African Republic would not treat them like Boer citizens. Uitlanders then organized political action committees and even tried sabotage. In 1895, in one of the most disgraceful episodes in British imperial history, Cecil Rhodes tried to foment an Uitlander revolt that would give the British an excuse the come to the rescue of their persecuted citizens and take over the goldfields. The Jameson Raid of 1895  failed to stir up the expected rebellion, but was a sign of how seriously the British coveted South African resources.

Today, Mexico justifies agitating for anti-white, pro-Hispanic causes by claiming it is protecting its citizens. Often it doesn’t even try to hide its motivations, and groups such as La Raza make it clear that the goal of illegal immigration is Reconquista. Present-day America is no different from Victorian South Africa; demography is destiny.

Also, like the British of the 19th century, today’s egalitarians claim to have charitable motives. British do-gooders often criticized the Boers for failing to live up to their Christian duty to black and colored neighbors. The Boers understood very well whom they were dealing with and, unlike the British, actually knew how to make peace with African tribes. A similar cultural ignorance was repeated during the Apartheid era, when left-wing British governments and their allies harassed, boycotted, and harangued the Boers into giving blacks the right to vote. Since then, South Africa has spiraled into a chaos of corruption, rape, and murder. The commandos of 1900 could have predicted the consequences of black rule.

The Boer War makes for grim reading, but the conflict it describes was fought in an age of true manliness. Readers will be moved by the audacity and courage of both the British and the Boers.

It is terrible that the great British Empire that conquered Africa and India and established Singapore and Hong Kong arrayed its forces against the tiny but resolute republics of the Boers. These two people should never have fought each other. The Boer War is yet another warning to our people: European brotherhood and the future of the West are far more important than any temporary conflict or disagreement.

British casualties after the Battle of Spion Kop, January 24, 1900.

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