Connect with us

Politics

Illegal Immigrants Seek Governor’s Pardon Over Deportation

Published

on

(Via LA Times)

The two Cambodian refugees living in Northern California had been convicted of crimes years ago and, under the Trump administration’s more aggressive immigration enforcement policies, those offenses had placed them on a path toward deportation.

But on Saturday, Gov. Jerry Brown announced the pardons of both men — Mony Neth of Modesto and Rottanak Kong of Davis — saying they had paid their debts to society and now lived honest and upright lives.

Immigration is a federal, not state, responsibility, but attorneys for the men hope the pardons will eliminate the rationale for deporting them. Across the country, immigration attorneys are doing the same: seeking gubernatorial pardons in last-ditch attempts to forestall deportations or allow the deported to return to the U.S.

Targeting convicted criminals for deportation isn’t a new idea; it was a priority under President Obama, who deported more people than any of his predecessors. But during the Obama administration, only those with serious crimes on their records were targeted for removal. President Trump has cast a much wider net.

Shortly after his inauguration, Trump signed an executive order directing the Department of Homeland Security to prioritize the removal of people in the U.S. illegally who have criminal convictions. In addition to speeding up the deportation of convicts, Trump’s orders also called for quick removal of people in the country illegally who are charged with crimes and waiting for adjudication.

And federal officials began to act swiftly.

In June, immigration authorities in Michigan rounded up more than 100 Iraqi nationals with criminal backgrounds. A month later, about 40 of them asked Republican Gov. Rick Snyder for pardons.

Among those seeking a reprieve was Usama Hamama, 54, who co-owns a market in the Detroit area. Hamama, who came to the United States as a refugee when he was 11, was convicted of felony assault and carrying a gun in a vehicle in 1988. He was sentenced to two years in prison. Since 1992, he has faced the threat of deportation, but that hadn’t been a real possibility until the Trump administration.

Hamama’s attorney, Bill Swor, who works closely with the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, described his client’s crime as a low-level road rage incident. Since then, he said, Hamama has raised a family and opened his small business.

“A pardon would wipe clean this offense and his record,” Swor said of Hamama, who is being held in a federal immigration detention facility in Michigan. “He was in the country legally when the offense occurred, so a pardon takes us back to that status.”

Last month, Hamama’s 12-year-old daughter, Lindsey, wrote a letter to a federal judge overseeing her father’s case. She also sent a copy to the governor.

“All I want for Christmas,” she wrote, “is my dad home and nothing else.”

The governor’s office has not made a decision on a pardon.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican, received a similar plea — this one from an Army veteran with a felony drug conviction. Miguel Perez Jr., 39, joined the military in 2001 as a legal permanent resident and served two tours in Afghanistan.

In 2008, he was convicted of distributing less than 100 grams of cocaine. Perez, a native of Mexico, served half of his 15-year prison sentence but had his residency revoked as a result of the conviction and is being held in a detention center in Wisconsin.

Rauner hasn’t decided whether he’ll grant the pardon.

Gubernatorial pardons don’t guarantee an immigrant facing deportation could remain in the U.S., but they might have an effect, said Jason Cade, an associate professor of law at the University of Georgia, who characterized it as a case-by-case issue.

For example, Cade said, if an immigrant has a drug conviction that makes them subject to deportation and that conviction is pardoned, then deportation should no longer be an option.

“The bottom line is that full and unconditional pardons should absolutely be effective as a defense against deportation in cases where the conviction triggers certain removal categories — specifically those targeting aggravated felonies … or multiple criminal convictions,” said Cade, who has written extensively on immigration law.

Though the federal government may still have grounds to deport someone, Cade said, a pardon might lead authorities “to exercise favorable discretion.”

But that hasn’t always happened.

This year, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, pardoned Liliana Cruz Mendez, a mother of two who lived in the suburbs outside Washington. Cruz Mendez, who was in the country illegally from El Salvador, was stopped for a minor traffic infraction in 2014; her car had a blown-out headlight.

George Escobar, senior director at CASA — an immigrant rights group in the Washington area — called McAuliffe’s pardon “a show of solidarity for her cause and the belief she should not have to leave this country.”

“We had hoped that it would sway” Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said Escobar, who had worked to secure her pardon. “Unfortunately that was not the case.”

Federal immigration officials deported Cruz Mendez this summer.

But for others, especially people with green cards or other legal status, pardons have helped. Another common thread: living in a state with a Democratic governor who perhaps is looking to push back against the Trump administration.

In May, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, pardoned Rene Lima-Marin, who in 2008 was mistakenly released early from prison, where he was serving time for a robbery conviction. Lima-Marin, who had fled Cuba in the 1980s, got married, had a son and started working. Six years later, in 2014, Colorado officials realized the mistake and took him back into custody.

This year, days after a judge released Lima-Marin, Hickenlooper pardoned him. Even so, Lima-Marin sits in an immigration detention center, though his attorneys are hopeful he will be released.

“In terms of rehabilitation, he demonstrated an ability to contribute to the fabric of his community and Colorado,” Hickenlooper said during a news conference around the time of the pardon. “He rebuilt his life. He’s become a law-abiding, productive member of his community.”

But in a different case this fall, Hickenlooper denied a pardon request from Ingrid Encalada Latorre, who has found sanctuary in churches throughout Colorado for much of the last year. Latorre, a native of Peru, has been living in the United States illegally for 15 years.

“We carefully look at each case and take a holistic approach when considering an application,” Hickenlooper said in an email. “Clemency is not the solution to our country’s broken immigration system.”

In California, Brown, a Democrat, has issued pardons that touched the lives of those facing deportation as well as those already removed from the country.

In 2015, Brown pardoned Eddy Zheng, an immigrant fighting deportation after spending more than two decades in prison for a robbery conviction. Zheng and his family immigrated to the U.S. in the 1980s from China. He remains in the U.S. and became a naturalized citizen in this year.

The pardons announced Saturday were granted to Neth, who was convicted on a felony weapons charge in 1995, and Kong, who was convicted on felony joyriding in 2003. In his pardon message, among several dozen issued, Brown said that since Neth and Kong left prison, both had gone on to become “law-abiding citizens.”

Of Kong, he added, “Indeed, several individuals wrote in support of Mr. Kong, describing him as kind and generous, and as a role model to those who face insurmountable challenges in their lives.”

Last spring, Brown pardoned two former Marines, Erasmo Apodaca Mendizabal and Marco Antonio Chavez, as well as former soldier Hector Barajas Varela. All three had received honorable discharges from the military but later were convicted of crimes and eventually deported.

An immigration judge reinstated Chavez’s green card in November after Brown’s pardon. On Thursday, after 15 years in Mexico, Chavez returned to the U.S.

Moments after walking across the border near San Diego, he told reporters that he could hardly believe that this year his Christmas morning would begin with a hug from his relatives.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Politics

WATCH: President Trump Condemns White Supremacy And Racism

Published

on

President Donald Trump speaks about the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump condemned white supremacy, racism, and bigotry in an address to the nation Monday at the White House following a series of mass shootings across the nation during the weekend, which left 20 people dead in El Paso, Texas and 9 more dead in Dayton, Ohio.

The president specifically condemned white supremacy and other hateful ideologies and called for red-flag laws which would allow law enforcement officials and family members of an unstable individual to petition state courts to have firearms removed from a household.

“The shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online consumed by racist hate,” President Trump said Monday at The White House. “In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America.”

Prior to his speech on Monday, President Trump took to Twitter to slam the mainstream media and accused them of inciting domestic terror attacks.

“The Media has a big responsibility to life and safety in our Country,” he wrote on Twitter. “Fake News has contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years. News coverage has got to start being fair, balanced and unbiased, or these terrible problems will only get worse!”

A 21-year-old man opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas early Saturday morning, killing 20 people and injuring 26 others — in what federal and state investigators labeled a “domestic terror case.” Crusius posted a racist, hate-filled manifesto on 8-chan, a message board frequented by white supremacists hours before the shooting, federal investigators confirmed Sunday.

Texas state prosecutors took the lead on the case, charging Crusius with capital murder on Sunday. Crusius will likely receive the death penalty if convicted.

Federal prosecutors, meanwhile, are considering charging Crusius with hate-crimes and domestic terror-related charges — each of which is eligible for the death penalty.

“I’ve been in close consultation with US Attorney General [William] Barr,” U.S. Attorney John Bash said on Sunday. “We are conducting a methodical investigation with our partners, a careful investigation but with a view towards bringing federal hate crimes charges and federal firearms charges that carry a penalty of death.”

“We are treating it as a domestic terrorism case, and we’re gonna do what we do to terrorists in this country which is deliver swift and certain justice,” he added.

This is a developing news story. Please refresh the page for updates.

 

Continue Reading

Opinion

News flash! Women’s Lives Now More Than Bearable

Published

on

This is a contentious time for feminism. In the age of #MeToo, Time’s Up, and the Weinstein effect, just a few of the many products of the fourth-wave feminist movement, women are continuing to push forward a certain narrative about men and the Western culture’s effect on women in general. It seems as if the conversation surrounding women and gender equality has seeped into virtually every realm of life: politics, culture, religion, and even medicine and technology. Fourth-wave feminists are expressing their distrust in men in many ways…celebrities are calling out sexual predators in front of public audiences, politicians are using sexual assault as a political tool, and students are marching and demonstrating. Corporations, eager to jump on the “let’s make a political statement” bandwagon, are even using sexual assault as a marketing tool, spouting controversial messages about toxic masculinity and the like. A prime example is the recent Gillette ad, which garnered more than 19 million views on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

Many women are also writing about feminism. One example of this is an article, written last year in celebration of International Women’s Day, that has been circulating on social media for the past few months. The article, entitled “100 Easy Ways to Make Women’s Lives More Bearable” and authored by Dani Beckett, has been shared more than 300,000 times since its publication in March 2018. While we would not exactly call it “viral,” it is no secret that the article’s contents are becoming increasingly normalized, currently believed by a meaningful number of female millenials. Beckett’s article was published in Broadly, a subset of Vice Media, a digital media and broadcasting company that launched Vice, the Canadian-American print magazine that gave rise to Broadly. Broadly, a heavily leftist channel catering to women and designed to “provide a space for us to understand, express, and navigate our identities as we define who we are and where we’re headed next,” has quite a solid readership.

After I kept encountering the article on Facebook for several months, I figured it was probably worth a read, but before reading it, I could not help but linger on the title. How to make women’s lives more…bearable? Bearable means tolerable, able to be endured, not even touching the realm of pleasurable or happy. The title implies that women in this country are struggling so much that someone desperately needs to make their lives “more bearable.” In a country where the vast majority of workplace fatalities befall men, the chief victims of non-fatal violence are men, men make up three quarters of all murder victims, women are outperforming men at all levels of education (they even outnumber men at most medical schools), women win custody battles, and women legally win half the earnings and belongings in a household, apparently women’s lives are not yet bearable enough. I was confused, but intrigued, and proceeded to make my way down the long list of male-targeted demands, some of which are too good not to highlight.

The article is written in an incredibly patronizing tone, as if men in America need to be taught that forcing sex upon a woman is probably not a good idea, as if they apparently grew up in a society that conditioned them to rape. The first item on Beckett’s list is, “Before explaining something to a woman, ask yourself if she might already understand. She may know more about it than you do.” Well, is that not general logical advice for anyone? I know the point is to call men out for supposedly always trying to explain things to a woman, but if you are versed in the basic tenets of communication, then it must be the case that you know not to prematurely lecture someone on a topic you suspect they are already well-versed in, regardless of their gender. And let us suppose this is not the case and you have a habit of being didactical when not needed. Well, then this advice should certainly go for everyone, not just men. The point is, gender has nothing to do with it. There is no evidence that men are somehow more likely than women to try to explain something to women, simply because they are women, before considering whether those women might actually understand the topic. Fourth-wave feminists are pushing the narrative that men inherently feel entitled and better than women, so they feel it necessary to always explain things to a woman without thinking if she might already understand. It is a dangerous and baseless narrative to push forward. While it was certainly true fifty years ago when male professors would not even call on their female students in lecture, today, men DO listen to women, whether they like it or not. By virtue of the professional empowerment of women, which has become normalized in Western society, men listen to women explain things to them every single day. Consider this: women now hold 49% of total faculty positions in American colleges and universities. Women lecture, and men listen.

Beckett then states, “Related: Never, ever try to explain feminism to a woman.” Well, what if she’s wrong? Beckett would tell you, “Trust women. When they teach you something, do not feel the need to go and check for yourself. And especially do not Google it in front of them.” So, if she’s wrong, it doesn’t matter. No one cares about facts anyway. Women are so privileged that they now also have the right to be wrong and to lie without getting called out. This is an important reminder of “Believe all women,” the Left’s mantra during the infamous Kavanaugh controversy. If you feel the need to check something JUST because the person who explained it to you is a woman, then maybe you need to treat your misogyny and perhaps Beckett’s list is actually for you. But we live in a society where women are leaders in every sphere – politics, business, medicine, science, the law. At this point, men get it. The need to overpower women, of which remnants will perhaps always exist, has largely dissipated through the years as evidenced by the fact that women now control 60% of the wealth in the United States, for example. If men are such misogynists, why are they collectively not fighting tooth and nail to tear down successful women? Certainly some are, but it’s virtually impossible to prove patriarchy-enforcing men outnumber matriarchy-enforcing women. Instead of acknowledging that, fourth-wave feminists are resorting to feelings, as opposed to facts, to craft their man-hating narrative. What’s more, they are lowering their standards for women.

Clearly, men and women are different, no matter what radical feminists want you to believe. But even though they are different, every society is founded upon a standard set of basic principles and values that every human, regardless of identity, should be obligated to follow in order to preserve civility. Lying does not all of a sudden become okay for a woman if it’s not okay for a man because women should not get special privileges. That is why Dani Beckett is also mistaken in suggesting “Be kind to women in customer service positions. Tip them extra.” Because they are a woman? This sentiment points directly to the pinnacle of feminists’ hypocrisy. Feminists want women to be treated equally, which naturally entails holding them to the same standards as men. Regardless of whether you are a woman or a man, if you don’t do your job well, then you should not be tipped extra. Regardless of whether you are a woman or a man, your customers should be nice to you if you do your job well because that’s the right thing to do.

Next on Beckett’s list is a whole compilation of demands centered around how to describe women. She states, “Examine your language when talking about women. Get rid of ‘irrational, dramatic, bossy, and badgering immediately.” This implies that women cannot be any of these things, which they most certainly can. Or perhaps it implies that they can be some or all of these things but they should not be called out for it, which once again, means that according to Beckett, we should hold women to a lower standard. Let’s be clear, women should not get free passes just because they are women and their ancestors have suffered through years of misogyny and oppression. If feminists want true equality, then they should not be cutting women slack and lowering their standards for women out of pity. Women are perfectly capable of meeting those standards. Pushing forward women’s rights legislation should not be done out of a need to prop up identity politics. Women deserve equal rights not because they are women, but because they are humans.

If that was not enough, Beckett certainly has more! “Never comment on a woman’s body,” she says. When describing women positively, men should say she is “talented,” “clever” or “funny,” but not “gorgeous” “sweet” or “cute.” Men also cannot call her unique, and “unlike other girls” because all girls are awesome. Long gone are the days when it was flattering for a woman to be told she has a nice physical appearance. And long gone are the days when men were allowed to make their physical attraction, the very basis of biological reproduction, known to women. I am assuming Beckett wants men to assign more value to women than their physical appearance, which is understandable, but assigning more value to personality and assigning some value to physical appearance are not mutually exclusive acts. A 2017 study published in Evolutionary Psychological Science found that most women are likely to choose physical attractiveness over personality and intelligence in potential partners. For a group of people who supposedly hate double standards, fourth-wave feminists sure do love double standards.

And now we arrive at the scariest portion of Beckett’s list: the postgenderism demands. Beckett states, “If you read stories to a child, swap the genders. Cast women in parts written for men. We know how to rule kingdoms, go to war, be, not be, and wait for Godot.” Right, and that is exactly why the parts of Katniss Everdeen, Hermione Granger, Wonder Woman, Lara Croft, Daenerys Targaryen, Mulan, and many, many more have been written. To show that women can indeed rule kingdoms, go to war, and do pretty much anything. Fourth-wave feminists are called “fourth-wave” because they are not the first. The women of the past have already proven that women are powerful and can rule kingdoms. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel by going to extreme measures (i.e. swapping genders) to show something that everyone, barring exceptions, already knows. Perhaps, then, the point of swapping genders is not so much to normalize powerful, masculine women. It is, in fact, to get rid of gender roles altogether. My prediction is that postgenderism will pave the way for fifth-wave feminism.

So why is one article like this one so important? It’s maybe just the opinion of one woman. Except it’s not. Between 70 and 80 percent of college women currently identify as feminists. The contents of Beckett’s article are at least somewhat representative of the mentality of young women in America today, even if some shy away from the label “feminist.” I fear that this association we have started to develop between feminism and fourth-wave values, some of which are exemplified in this article, will only become stronger until, eventually, first and second-wave feminists are shut out entirely. Women who are pro-life are shut out entirely. Women who want other women to be held accountable are shunned and considered anti-feminist. Criticizing obesity, pointing to false allegations of sexual assault, challenging the misconceptions surrounding the pay gap, holding conservative views about female sexuality, and acknowledging core differences between men and women will become wholly incompatible with any definition of feminism. Women should be encouraged to be strong, not feed their victimization complexes. Women should be encouraged to listen to other women, even if they disagree. Fourth-wave feminist indoctrination should not be something we stand for if we want to actually help gender equality.

Continue Reading

Politics

Trump to Enact Massive Change to Prescription Drug Pricing, Sources Say

Published

on

President Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar before announcing a plan to overhaul how Medicare pays for certain drugs during a speech at HHS headquarters October 25, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration late Thursday afternoon proposed an effort to increase transparency  when it comes to prescription drug pricing by cutting the widely used practice of middlemen — one of the major cost-drivers of drug prices.

President Donald Trump is strongly considering signing an executive order to do just that, according to four people inside the administration who asked for their identities to be withheld for various reasons.

The executive order which has already been drafted by White House counsel Pat Cipollone, would allow manufacturers of drugs to offer discounted pricing to customers, but would legally, stop them from giving rebates to pharmacy benefit managers.

Continue Reading

Trending

    Donate to Populist Wire

    *Note: Every donation is greatly appreciated, regardless of the amount.