NEWS AND OPINION:
Law enforcement and lawmakers: 50 sheriffs arrive in the nation’s capital Wednesday to demand that Congress address porous, dangerous U.S. borders — and the woes that go with them.
“Never before in our nation’s history has it been so important for the American sheriffs to stand united and speak with one voice to secure our nation’s borders. No longer can we site idle while the inaction of our federal government marginalizes our ability to preserve public safety, enforce our laws and protect the Constitutional rights of all who legitimately reside and work in our communities,” declared Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson of Bristol County, Massachusetts, in an open invitation to fellow officers.
They have a ready audience. The group joins Republican Sens. Jeff Sessions of Alabama and David Vitter of Louisiana for a bodacious Capitol Hill press conference Wednesday to cite the ill effects of President Obama‘s amnesty proposal, the challenges to local law enforcement, and the likely new wave of illegal immigration that could result.
“Sheriffs have become increasing active and vocal in recent years in expressing their concerns about the Obama administration’s refusal to enforce U.S. immigration laws. These law enforcement officials, who are directly accountable to the voters, have been forced to deal with the consequences of the administration’s willful disregard for the safety and security of the American people. Their voices, and their presence in Washington this week belie administration claims that their actions have the backing of law enforcement officials,” Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, tells Inside the Beltway.
“The sheriffs, like the people who elected them, are alarmed at the administration’s unconstitutional use of executive action to grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. Given the volume of people who will be eligible for the president’s amnesty program and the resources available to carry it out, it will be virtually impossible to give adequate scrutiny to applicants to ensure that people who pose a danger to the American public are not granted legal presence in this country,” Mr. Mehlman continues. “Under policy memos issued by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, virtually all enforcement of illegal aliens who were living here prior to Jan. 1, 2014 will cease. In addition, only criminal aliens who have been convicted of a short list of serious felonies will be subject to removal.”
THE GRUBER PRESS
It was political theater — and media theater too. Jonathan Gruber‘s appearance before a House Committee on Tuesday was difficult for him, but a most fruitful and productive moment for the press and their well-developed headline muscles. Among the hundreds of offerings in the aftermath:
“Obama’s naughty economist” (The Atlantic); “Gruber: I was not the architect” (Fox News); “Here’s what Washington agrees on: Jonathan Gruber was being stupid” (Washington Post); “Chairman Issa needles Gruber: Are you stupid?” (The Hill); “Gruber gets Gowdy-ed” (LegalInsurrection.com); “The three-pronged, four hour grilling of Jonathan Gruber” (Bloomberg News); “Jonathan Gruber is sorry he called you stupid” (American Spectator); and “In defense of Jon Gruber” (Forbes).
Those who enjoy watching the incredible finesse of Rep. Trey Gowdy when he is in investigative mode are in luck. He will be chairman at the second hearing Wednesday before the House Select Committee on Benghazi. There to testify about security at U.S. diplomatic facilities: Greg Starr, assistant secretary for diplomatic security at the State Department; and Steve Linick, inspector general at the federal agency. And course good old C-SPAN is there. See live coverage on C-SPAN 3 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST.
RUN BEN RUN
The same group that has already rounded up 23,000 volunteers for Ben Carson and raised $10.5 million for a potential White House campaign are upping their ante. The National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, an independent political action committee formed to draft the retired neurosurgeon and author, has opened a 1,700-square-foot “Draft Ben Carson for President Victory Center” in Manchester, New Hampshire.
“New Hampshire will be a key early proving ground for Dr. Carson should he answer the American people’s call for him to run for president,” says national chairman John Philip Sousa IV, adding that the new center will serve as a home base. They appear to be just getting started, though.
“The New Hampshire Victory Center is just the beginning,” says campaign director Vernon Robinson. “We have plans to continue to open offices across the country focusing on early primary states.”
HERE COME THE MOMS
Following the Ferguson-inspired rallies and marches, there’s more activism to come: the fierce ladies at Code Pink have organized a vigil outside the Justice Department on Wednesday for mothers who have lost children “to police brutality” - accompanied by a coalition that includes the DC Hands Up Coalition, Mothers Against Police Brutality and the National Congress of Black Women. The group will also stage a press conference with Democratic Reps. John Conyers, Hank Johnson, Sheila Jackson Lee, Keith Ellison and Charles Rangel.
“I’m coming to DC for several reasons,” said Reverend Wanda Johnson, the mother of Oscar Grant, who was killed in Oakland, California five years ago. “First, I want to get the laws changed about racial profiling. Second, I want to change the law that allows the District Attorney to try the indicted officer, which I believe is a conflict of interest. Third, I want officers to have to wear body cameras. Lastly, I want officers to be trained not to shoot to kill.”
HERE COMES THE REVEREND
Scheduled for high noon Saturday: The National March Against Police Violence, at Freedom Plaza in the nation’s capital, two blocks from the White House; organized by the National Action Network. “Join the families of Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Akai Gurley, the mother of Tamir Rice, the family of Trayvon Martin and Reverend Al Sharpton,” the New York based group founded by Mr. Sharpton in 1991 advises in their public outreach.
“Do not be silent. Do not be complacent. Do not continue to live with police misconduct and violence as somehow acceptable. We are not anti-police; we are anti-police-brutality. And today we challenge Congress to follow in the president’s footsteps and take legislative action to protect us, the citizens,” Mr. Sharpton notes in a message to participants.
POLL DU JOUR
• 87 percent of Americans say body cameras for police officers is a “good idea”; 79 percent of Republicans, 88 percent of independents and 90 percent of Democrats agree.
• 57 percent overall say the grand jury decision not to charge police in the Eric Garner choke-hold death in New York was “wrong”; 31 percent of Republicans, 58 percent of independents and 77 percent of Democrats agree.
• 22 percent overall say the decision was the right one; 42 percent of Republicans, 20 percent of independents and 12 percent of Democrats agree.
• 50 percent overall say the grand jury decision not to charge police in the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson was “right”; 76 percent of Republicans, 54 percent of independents and 27 percent of Democrats agree.
• 37 percent say it was the wrong decision; 12 percent of Republicans, 34 percent of independents and 60 percent of Democrats agree.
• 21 percent overall say relations between local police and minorities will improve in the next year; 17 percent of Republicans, 20 percent of independents and 24 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A Pew Research Center/USA Today poll of 1,507 U.S. adults conducted Dec. 3-7.
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