Speaker Ryan’s Resolution on Defining Power

Pathetic that this has to be done…but it is interesting especially considering what the House has for future legislative action. One significant item where a deadline is looming is the budget and the deportation issue.

Paul Ryan: Resolution on Obama deportation amnesty brief coming Thursday
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan says he’s bringing a resolution to the House floor on Thursday authorizing him to file a brief in the ongoing legal dispute over President Obama’s deportation amnesties.

“If we are going to maintain the founding principle of being a self-governing people, if we’re going to maintain the founding principle of government by consent of the governed, the legislative branch of government needs to be the one writing the laws — not the executive branch,” Mr. Ryan said Tuesday.

Politico: The House Freedom Caucus will oppose a $1.07 trillion budget backed by Republican leaders, likely assuring that the fiscal package will fail if put up for a vote on the House floor.

Leaders of the conservative group said Monday night that they plan to vote against the package because it does not go far enough to cut spending. It’s a crippling blow for GOP leaders, who repeatedly said passing a budget was a major goal for 2016.

“The Freedom Caucus is officially a no,” said Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador. “We’ve been talking to leadership for several weeks, giving them the opportunity to make some good pitches to us, and so far everything we have heard has been less than stellar.”

Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price of Georgia and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) have labored to gain the support of the far-right caucus over the last six weeks but the top-line budget numbers are still too high to pass conservative muster.

Price plans to hold a markup on the budget Wednesday.

Members of the Freedom Caucus have pushed for $30 billion in immediate budget cuts in exchange for their support. Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican, said Monday that the group has offered proposals to Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) that could bring the hardliners on board but those offers were rejected.

Here is the hearing calendar for March.

Speaker Ryan Just Introduced His First Resolution. Here’s Why.

On Monday, Speaker Ryan introduced a resolution that launches an unprecedented defense of Congress’s Article I powers under our Constitution. Read H. Res. 639.

Here’s how he described the resolution—his first as Speaker—at a press conference today:

“We are the branch of government that is closest to the people. We are defending the people not only against executive overreach. We are defending the people of this country against a growing branch of unelected bureaucrats who are writing our laws.

“There is a problem in this country. . . . We have unelected bureaucrats who are writing our laws. That means we the people, through our elected representatives, are not the final arbiters or drafters of the legislation that we have to live under.

“This is very important. If we’re going to maintain the founding principle of being a self-governing people, if we’re going to maintain the founding principle of government by consent of the governed, the legislative branch of government needs to be the one writing the laws—not the executive branch. . . .

“This is why we’re filing an amicus brief—to defend our Article One powers. . . . We’re going to defend Article One, because we believe passionately in the principle of being a self-governing people, of government by consent of the governed, of putting back in the box this growing fourth branch of government that is becoming more and more and more unaccountable to the people of this country. By restoring the separation of powers, we can reclaim these ideals.”

Here’s what you need to know about H. Res. 639, which the House is scheduled to take up on Thursday:

  • Article I vs. Article II. In United States v. Texas, the Supreme Court asked whether the president’s executive amnesty violates the president’s duties under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed”? This is a question the House is uniquely qualified to answer: under Article I, “all legislative powers” are vested in Congress. Neither the president nor unelected bureaucrats are permitted to write laws. Only Congress is.
  • The resolution. H. Res. 639 authorizes Speaker Ryan to file a brief on behalf of the whole House defending Congress’s Article I powers. The decision to file these briefs is usually made by the House’s Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, not the full body. This is the first time any Speaker has taken this step.  Given that this overreach is a direct attack on Congress’s Article I powers, it is essential for the institution to respond as a whole.
  • Next steps. Should the House pass this resolution, outside counsel will draft a brief and ask the Supreme Court for time during oral argument. In addition, Republicans will advance ideas to restore the separation of powers and the Constitution as part of a bold and specific policy agenda.

To cap it off….the other matter with regard to immigration are the ranchers. They are making demands, and should.

‘Almost America’: Ranchers in New Mexico Demand That the Federal Government Provide Protection as Chaos Takes Over the Border Region

More than 700 people showed up to a rally this week at a high school auditorium in Animas, New Mexico, population 237. Speakers stood at a podium decorated with a sign emblazoned with the phrase “A Stolen Life” and a photo of Robert Krentz, murdered by an illegal alien on his nearby ranch in 2010, a crime that remains unsolved.

As their region transforms into a war zone, ranchers along the New Mexico border are fed up with the indifference that Washington has shown to their plight. The recent carjacking and kidnapping of a ranch hand by drug-smuggling thugs served as the latest event to rattle this group of Americans. Exasperated with being ignored, the group resorted to prayer, pleading for some type of intervention to alleviate the attack on their existence.
Amid cries of “walk the border” and “come down here,” the kidnapped ranch hand’s employer, Tricia Elbrock, told the crowd “We got problems here. They don’t want it known. They don’t want people to know.” She spoke about increased insurance premiums as the border descends into lawlessness along with her inability to keep her workers safe under federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration mandates.
Frank Krentz, son of murder victim Robert Krentz, told the crowd a familiar tale: he has had 200 head of cattle and dozens of vehicles stolen and brought into Mexico and his home is routinely ransacked. When he calls his representatives in Washington, they tell him to move, even though his family has been working this land for five generations.
The problem is so out of hand that Loren Cushman, local school superintendent, said his district sometimes has to delay school dismissals due to Border Patrol incidents on local roads and highways. “What are my students learning from people who are allowed to act in a completely lawless nature, with no repercussion or punishment?” he said.
The nature of scofflaws who cross the border is also changing. The number “of people in the area that are smuggling people and drugs seems to be increasing,” said Lawrence Hurt, whose ranch runs for almost 30 miles along the border. “We see a lot less of the people who are looking for a job.”

Susan Tully, national field director at FAIR, attended the rally to support the organizers, the New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association, with whom she has worked for many years to help get their voices heard.
“I am here in solidarity with the ranchers and people of this area, many of whom are our members and associates,” said Tully. “We discussed how FAIR can help them amplify their call for Washington to get engaged in border enforcement that is meaningful and meets the needs of the people.”
Veterinarian Gary Thrasher expressed concern over the spread of Chagas disease, Dengue fever and bovine tuberculosis, which can be passed from animal to human and vice versa, all of which are being brought into the country by illegal aliens who are unscreened by health officials.
The Border Patrol came under fire for pulling back their agents to the main highway, I-10, creating a buffer zone between the thoroughfare and the border, which can be anywhere from 10 to 60 miles inside U.S. territory. The ranchers call this “Almost America.”
The local Border Patrol station at Lordsburg station is understaffed, moreover, and illegal migrants and criminals know that it is easier to cross into New Mexico than other border areas. Attendees urged officials to patrol on horseback and helicopter, the most effective way to cover this rugged terrain.
Sue Krentz, widow of murder victim Robert Krentz, implored the federal government to “secure the border. We’re demanding the right to live free and safe on our own land and in our own homes. Everything is relative – until it’s your relative.”


Operating Military Drone Flights over U.S.

Pentagon admits operating military drone flights over U.S.

WashingtonTimes: The Pentagon has deployed spy drones to fly over U.S. territory for non-military missions over the past decade, but the flights were few and lawful, according to a new report.

The domestic drone flights have occurred less than 20 times between 2006 and 2015 and were always conducted in compliance with existing laws, according to the report by the Pentagon Inspector General which was made public under a Freedom of Information Act request, according to USA today.

The Pentagon did not provide details of the domestic spy missions, but said it takes the issue of military drone flights over America soil “very seriously.”

The list of domestic drone operations was not made public in the report, but some examples were cited.

In one case, an unnamed mayor asked the Marine Corps to use a drone to identify potholes in the mayor’s city. The Marines denied the request because obtaining the required approval from the defense secretary to “conduct a UAS mission of this type did not make operational sense.”

The issue of unmanned aerial surveillance drone flights over the U.S. first arose in 2013 when then-FBI director Robery Mueller told a Congressional committee that the bureau employed spy drones to aid in investigations, but in a “very, very minimal way, very seldom.”

According to the report, which was completed in March 2015, the Pentagon established guidance in 2006 governing when and whether drones could be used domestically.

The interim policy allowed spy drones to be used for homeland defense purposes and to assists civil authorities.

However, the policy said that any use of military spy drones for civilian authorities must be cleared by the Secretary of Defense or someone delegated by the secretary. The report found that the defense secretaries never delegated that responsibility, according to USA Today.


But the desire for domestic drone operations is growing, according to the report. Military units that operate the drones told inspectors that they would like more opportunities to fly them on domestic missions, even just to give pilots more experience.

Shortly before the report was completed a year ago, the Pentagon issued a new policy on the use of spy drones requiring the defense secretary to approve all domestic drone operations.

Unless permitted by law and approved by the secretary, drones “may not conduct surveillance on U.S. persons,” under the new policy.

**** Is it is nefarious? Very doubtful:

Plotted out all the information we’ve (Electronic Frontier Foundation) received about applications to fly domestic drones on our Map of Domestic Drone Authorizations. (Clicking this link will serve content from Google.)

US Federal Agencies:


Not 11 Million but 15.7 Million

Gang of Eight Legislation Includes Amnesty and Massive Increases to Legal Immigration and Guest-Worker Programs

The outline also details significant changes to the legal immigration process that will likely result in millions of additional green cards over the first 10 years. The bill will clear the current backlog of foreign nationals that have been approved for a green card but are years away from receiving them because of annual limits or per-country caps. The goal is to issue green cards to the 4.5 million individuals waiting in line within the first 10 years, so the Gang of Eight can claim that those in the “legal” line will get their green cards before the illegal aliens become eligible.

The bill will also create a new merit-based green cards category where temporary visa holders can earn points based on certain criteria. Visa holders with the most amount of points will receive a green card. The plan calls for up to 250,000 new green cards each year through the merit-based program.

Illegal aliens that are adjusted to RPI status will be allowed to apply for a green card through the merit-based program after 10 years if certain “triggers” are met, however, illegal aliens that qualify for the DREAM Act can receive instant citizenship after 5 years and illegal aliens that work a required number of hours in agriculture can receive a green card in 5 years.

Green cards for the rest of the illegal-alien population will be granted after 10 years if all employers use E-Verify, DHS has completed the entry/exit system at sea and air ports (land ports are excluded), and if DHS is apprehending 90% of illegal border crossers in high risk border sectors.

The bill also creates a new temporary, low-skilled guest-worker program, expands the annual number of H-1B visas issued to high-skilled immigrants, and creates a new guest-worker program for farmers. All temporary visa holders will be eligible for green cards through the new merit-based green card category.

The bill also lifts the annual green card caps on extraordinary workers, multinational executives, and doctoral degree holders in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  Much more here.

Record 61 million immigrants in U.S., 15.7 million illegally

WashingtonExaminer: There are a record 61 million immigrants and their American-born children in the United States, including an estimated 15.7 million illegally here, according to a new analysis of 2015 U.S. Census data.

The estimated number of undocumented immigrants is one of the highest ever.

The analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies found that 45.3 million, or three-fourths of the 61 million, are legal immigrants and their children. The report out Monday notes that the so-called “Gang of Eight” immigration bill supported by GOP presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio would have doubled that number of legal immigrants.

“These numbers raise profound questions that are seldom even asked: What number of immigrants can be assimilated? What is the absorption capacity of our schools, health care system, infrastructure, and labor market? What is the effect on the environment and quality of life from significantly increasing the nation’s population density?” wrote Steven Camarota, the Center’s director of Research.

“With 45 million legal immigrants and their young children already here, does it make sense to continue admitting more than one million new legal permanent immigrants every year?” he added.

His report found that the normal pattern of immigration to the United States changed after 1970. At that time, there were 13.5 million immigrants, or about one in 15 U.S. residents.

But since 2000, the number of immigrants has increased 18.4 million, and now nearly one of every five U.S. residents are immigrants.

“The number of immigrants and their young children grew six times faster than the nation’s total population from 1970 to 2015 — 353 percent vs. 59 percent,” he added.

Camarota dug deep into Census Current Population Survey and other data to determine his estimate of 15.7 million illegals in the United States.

“Our best estimate is that in 2015 there were 5.1 million children with at least one illegal immigrant parent. Taken together, the best available evidence indicates that there were a total of 15.7 million illegal immigrants and their U.S.-born children in the adjusted December 2015 CPS, accounting for 25.7 percent of the 61 million immigrants and their children in the country,” he said.

He broke the figures down state by state and Camarota said that “the number of immigrants and their minor children from 1970 to 2015 has been nothing short of astonishing.” Some examples:

— In Georgia, this population grew 3,058 percent (from 55,000 to 1.75 million), 25 times faster than the overall state population.

— In Nevada, this population grew 3,002 percent (from 26,000 to 821,000), six times faster than the overall state population.

— In North Carolina, this population grew 2,937 percent (from 47,000 to 1.43 million), 30 times faster than the overall state population.

*** In all fairness, Rubio is not the only Senator to hold exclusive blame. Imagine the true negotiations and what was omitted.

Back in 2013: 

Morning Bell:10 Problems with the Gang of Eight Immigration Bill, DailySignal:


Even el Chapo Got into the United States?

Was Border Patrol ordered to deny?

Customs and Border Patrol: Agency has ‘no info’ on report ‘Chapo’ Guzman snuck into U.S.

FoxLatino: Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán allegedly snuck into the United States twice last year while on the run from authorities following his dramatic prison escape.

The cartel boss’s daughter, Rosa Isela Guzmán Ortiz, said that shortly after “El Chapo” sat down for his Rolling Stone Magazine interview with Sean Penn, he escaped capture with the help of corrupt Mexican officials and evaded U.S. Border Patrol to sneak into California.

Guzmán Ortiz would not disclose the location in southern California where the drug lord was holed up, but said he came to visit her at her five-bedroom house which the drug kingpin bought for her and her four children.

“My dad deposited the money in a bank account with a lawyer and a while after he came to see the house, his house. He came twice,” Guzmán Ortiz told the Guardian.

The claims made by Chapo’s daughter cannot be independently verified and are likely to raise concerns among intelligence authorities in both the U.S. and Mexico.

Jacqueline Wasiluk, a Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman, told the Washington Post on Friday that the agency has “no information that substantiates the claims in news reports” about Guzmán.

Guzmán Ortiz said that she doesn’t know specifically how the drug lord arrived in the U.S. but that “El Chapo” allegedly paid off high-level Mexican officials.

“All I know is that my dad told his lawyer to deliver some checks to [a politician’s] campaign, and asked that he respect him,” she said.

The bombshell story from Guzmán Ortiz comes after “El Chapo’s” lawyer said the drug lord asked him to negotiate with U.S. authorities for a lighter sentence and confinement at a medium-security prison.

The cartel boss was recaptured in early January during a raid by Mexican Marines, which took place in the city of Los Mochis. During the raid, five suspects were killed and six – including Guzmán – were arrested. Marines seized two armored vehicles, eight rifles, one handgun and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.

He escaped from incarceration last July through a mile-long tunnel dug to what authorities say was a building in plain sight of the Altiplano prison that was set up specifically for the prison break. The tunnel leading from the drug lord’s cell to the building was equipped with a ventilation system and a customized motorcycle.

Guzmán has been indicted on a number of federal jurisdictions throughout the U.S., among them Brooklyn, Manhattan, Chicago and Miami, as well as other cities where the Sinaloa Cartel operates.

Mexican drug lord Guzman seeks to speed up extradition to U.S.

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Captive Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is attempting to accelerate his extradition to the United States in the hope that he will be treated better in prison there, his lawyers said on Wednesday.

Guzman, who has twice escaped from Mexican maximum security prisons, was captured in Mexico in January, six months after his last jailbreak. The Mexican government quickly said it would initiate extradition proceedings for him to the United States.

The world’s most notorious drug kingpin undertook legal steps to block his extradition, but his lawyers said he was so fed up with his treatment in Mexico that he was looking to move.

“He asked me to do whatever we could to put a stop to the situation he’s in, ‘I just want them to let me sleep,’ he kept saying and told me ‘try to get the quickest extradition possible for me, try and see about speaking to the U.S. government,'” one of the lawyers, Jose Refugio Rodriguez, told local radio.

Guzman has also complained about the amount of communication he is allowed with his family, being excessively cooped up in his cell, and that his cell is too cold, the lawyers said.

A second lawyer, Juan Pablo Badillo, told Reuters by telephone that the process would still take time.

“Since I was able to speak to (Guzman) from Feb. 15, he said he would analyze how we could start this process. It would definitely need to be subject to an agreement with the United States,” Badillo said.

The Court Telling Texas NO on Barring Refugees

Federal Court Declines to Bar the Resettlement of

Syrian Refugees in Texas


FAS: In a decision issued on February 8, 2016, a federal district court denied the State of Texas’s request that the federal

government and a private refugee relief organization be temporarily barred from resettling Syrian refugees within the

state pending resolution of Texas’s challenge to such resettlement. Texas had filed this suit in December 2015, after

terrorist attacks in Paris, France and San Bernardino, California, perpetrated by persons with ties or allegiance to the

Islamic State, due to concerns that terrorists could enter the United States through the refugee resettlement program.

The court’s decision focused on the standards that plaintiffs must meet to obtain a preliminary injunction, discussed

below. However, in so doing, the court construed language in Section 412 of the Immigration and Nationality Act

(INA) requiring the federal government to “consult regularly … with State and local governments” about refugee

placement. The court’s reading of this provision could have implications for certain congressional proposals to give

states greater control over refugee resettlement.

Overview of the Court’s Decision

The court denied the preliminary injunction, in part, because it found that Texas had failed to establish a substantial

threat of irreparable injury if the federal government and the private refugee relief organization were allowed to resettle

Syrian refugees in Texas. Such a showing is required for a preliminary injunction, along with a showing that (A) the

party seeking the injunction has a substantial likelihood of success on the merits; (B) the alleged injury, if the injunction

is denied, outweighs any harm that would result if the injunction is granted; and (C) the grant of an injunction will not

disserve the public interest.

In finding that Texas failed to meet its burden of showing irreparable injury, the court noted that the evidence produced

by Texas showed only that “Syrian refugees pose some risk.” Texas did not, in the court’s view, demonstrate that

terrorists have infiltrated the refugee program, or that the particular individuals whose settlement Texas sought to block

are refugees “intent on causing harm.” It thus found the evidence “insufficient” to establish a substantial risk of

irreparable injury. The court similarly rejected Texas’s argument that it was irreparably harmed because the defendants’

failure to provide Texas with detailed information about any refugees settled in Texas deprived Texas of an alleged

statutory right to foreknowledge” of refugees’ backgrounds that had been created by INA §412’s requirement that

federal agencies consult with state and local governments about refugee placement. The court further found that a

clause in Texas’s contract with the relief organization, which purported to establish a presumption of irreparable harm

if the organization were to breach the contract was immaterial, since the clause is not binding on the court and does not,

in itself, justify the “extraordinary relief” of a preliminary injunction.

The court also found that Texas was unlikely to succeed on the merits of its challenge to the refugee resettlement plans

because “it has no viable cause of action” against the federal government. Texas’s argument here had been based, in

part, on its view that the federal government’s actions in resettling refugees in Texas run afoul of INA § 412, which, in

relevant part, provides that federal officials:

shall consult regularly (not less often than quarterly) with State and local government and private nonprofit

voluntary agencies concerning the [refugee] sponsorship process and the intended distribution of refugees among

the States and localities before their placement in those States and localities.

In particular, Texas took the view that this provision, along with the terms of its contract with private relief

organization, required it to receive detailed demographic, medical, security, and other information about individual

refugees before they are resettled in Texas.

The court did not reach the merits of this argument, instead finding that Texas cannot sue to enforce INA § 412 because

this provision does not create a private right of action. The court based this conclusion on Supreme Court precedents

finding that private rights of action to enforce federal law must be created by Congress, and the “judicial task is to

interpret the statute Congress passed to determine whether it displays an intent to create” such a right. In INA § 412,

the court found no such intent since the provisions of this section do not “confer any rights directly on the States.”

Instead, they are framed as a “general … command to a federal agency” to federal officials to consult with their state

counterparts. Such general prohibitions or commands have been seen as insufficient to create private rights of action in

other cases.

Implications of the Court’s Decision

The court’s finding that INA § 412 does not create a private right of action could have implications for certain proposals

in the 114th Congress to give states and localities greater input in the refugee resettlement process. Many proposed bills

would expressly authorize state officials to decline the resettlement of particular refugees within their jurisdictions, a

power which they lack under current law, as discussed in an earlier Sidebar posting. However, some bills take a

different approach and instead require that the federal government give state and local officials certain notices before

placing refugees within their jurisdiction. If Congress wants to ensure that states and localities can enforce such notice

requirements, it may wish to draft the latter type of measures in such a way that the statute can be seen as conferring

rights directly on the states and local governments, rather than imposing general commands on federal agencies. Only if

measures are so drafted would states and localities potentially be able to enforce the notice requirements (and even then

other limits on the federal courts’ jurisdiction could apply, such as the mootness doctrine, if for example, the refugees

are already settled within the state).