Yemen war ‘unconstitutional,’ says trio of US lawmakers

Yemen war ‘unconstitutional,’ says trio of US lawmakers
A group of Congressmen from both major parties is hoping to force a vote over Washington’s involvement in Yemen, with a resolution invoking the War Powers Act to force the US to stop aiding the Saudi-led coalition in its bombing campaign.

Three members of the US House of Representatives tried to illustrate the horrors of the Yemen conflict by comparing it to a hypothetical war affecting the US state of Washington ‒ with a population of 7.3 million ‒ “on the brink of starvation, with the port city of Seattle under a naval and aerial blockade, leaving it unable to receive and distribute countless tons of food and aid that is waiting offshore.”

“This nightmare scenario is akin to the obscene reality occurring in the Middle East’s poorest country, Yemen, at the hand of the region’s richest, Saudi Arabia, with unyielding support from the US military that Congress has not authorized and therefore violates the Constitution,” wrote Representatives Ro Khanna (D-California), Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin) and Walter Jones (R-North Carolina) in a New York Times op-ed Tuesday.

In March 2015, the Obama administration began aiding the coalition led by Saudi Arabia in its war against the Houthis, a rebel group that took control of Yemen’s capital Sanaa. Since then, Washington has supported the coalition’s military campaign in Yemen, by providing the Saudis with logistical support, intelligence and ammunition used in airstrikes.

This has led to the deaths of over 10,000 civilians and has plunged much of Yemen into a humanitarian crisis.

The three lawmakers teamed up with colleague Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) to introduce House Resolution 81, invoking the War Powers Act to guarantee a full House vote to withdraw US armed forces from the unauthorized war.

“We believe that the American people, if presented with the facts of this conflict, will oppose the use of their tax dollars to bomb and starve civilians,” the three representatives wrote.

Several more lawmakers have expressed support for the proposal as well.

Good morning. Good news on the Yemen debate in Congress. (1/x)

5 more Members of Congress are backing the bill to end US involvement in ‘s  War. ().

Here’s who they are:

Under the 1973 law, any proposed Congressional resolution regarding an unauthorized use of force is considered a priority, meaning that the foreign affairs committee must report on it within fifteen days and a vote must be held within three days thereafter.

“It will sit with the Foreign Affairs Committee for 15 calendar days and will then be discharged for consideration by the full House. At that point, any member of Congress can call the resolution up for a debate and floor vote,” Kate Khizer, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Yemen Peace Project told The Intercept.

Courtesy: DW

Trump’s DACA demands met with outrage from ‘Chuck and Nancy’

President Trump’s political dalliance with “Chuck and Nancy” already is running into problems, as the top congressional Democrats balk at the president’s new terms for a deal to help the roughly 800,000 young illegal immigrants known as ‘Dreamers.’

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“This proposal fails to represent any attempt at compromise,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement, after the administration announced the demands Sunday night.

The friction comes roughly three weeks after Pelosi and Schumer left a White House dinner with Trump saying they’d agreed to a framework deal to help the young illegal immigrants, as Trump moves to end their protections under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).

The Trump administration outlined an extensive list of conditions late Sunday.

“The administration can’t be serious about compromise,” Pelosi, of California, and Schumer, of New York, also said in their Sunday night statement. “We told the president at our meeting that we were open to reasonable border security measures … but this list goes so far beyond what is reasonable.”

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, on Monday questioned what Schumer thinks is “reasonable.”

“You have people who are losing loved ones because they are killed by an illegal immigrant,” Conway said on “Fox & Friends.” “What’s reasonable is to stop the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs over the border. I’d like to know what Chuck Schumer thinks is reasonable.”

Trump Schumer Pelosi FBN

President Trump’s dealings with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are running into complications over his new DACA deal terms.  (AP)

Trump in recent weeks has turned to Schumer and Pelosi amid frustration with Senate Republicans, after they repeatedly failed to repeal and replace ObamaCare, denying him a major legislative victory and the ability to fulfill a top campaign promise.

Trump left the earlier meeting touting his efforts with “Chuck and Nancy” but was not specific about whether wall funding was a necessity.

The administration’s requirements announced Sunday include additional crackdowns on “sanctuary cities” that protect illegal immigrants; reducing the number of incoming refugees; 10,000 more Customs and Border Patrol agents; and new initiatives curbing the number of unaccompanied immigrants who come to the U.S. illegally as children.

“Over the last several decades, respect for the rule of law has broken down and immigration enforcement has been sacrificed for the sake of political expediency,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said after the announcement. “This plan will work.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s spokesman Doug Andres said the GOP-controlled chamber’s immigration working group would review the roughly 70-point White House list, then consult with the entire Republican caucus and the administration.

The White House plan is considered a starting point for congressional negotiations.

While the plan is already being embraced by Capitol Hill’s most conservative members, including a number of immigration hawks, backlash is growing among Democrats.

“It is immoral for the president to use the lives of these young people as bargaining chips in his quest to impose his cruel, anti-immigrant and un-American agenda on our nation,” said New Mexico Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

The House Freedom Caucus, the chamber’s most conservative wing, is backing the plan.

“We applaud the administration’s leadership on principles that will be critical to any immigration policy changes,” said caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C. “We look forward to the administration’s insistence on these principles in any deal that is signed into law.”

In dismantling DACA, the administration has argued it was forced to act because federal courts were ready to rule the program was unconstitutional, which would have put the Dreamers’ future in jeopardy.

Trump, in announcing the end of DACA, gave Congress six months to find a legislative alternative.

The White House on Sunday night also asked to limit family-based green cards to spouses and the minor children of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, in addition to creating a point-based system.

And it called for boosting fees at border crossings, making it easier to deport gang members and unaccompanied children, and overhauling the asylum system.

Conway also said Monday that the White House requests are the result of collaborations with such agencies as the departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services as well as Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol.

Fox News’ Jennifer Bowman, Mike Emanuel, Jason Donner, Jake Gibson, Serafin Gomez, Chad Pergram and Joseph Weber and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Courtesy: Fox News

US lawmakers want commission to look at Iran’s compliance with nuclear deal

US lawmakers want commission to look at Iran’s compliance with nuclear deal
Two congressmen have introduced legislation seeking to create a bipartisan commission to verify whether Iran is complying with the 2015 nuclear deal before President Donald Trump can make good on his campaign promise to scrap it.

Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-Virginia) and Francis Rooney (R-Florida) are seeking to set up a commission that would include 16 members of Congress and four representatives of the executive branch – of departments of State, Energy, Treasury and Defense – who would together examine intelligence data and draw a conclusion regarding Iran’s compliance with the agreement.

The landmark nuclear deal with Iran was negotiated by US, Russia, France, Germany, China, the United Kingdom and the European Union two years ago to ensure that Iran does not build a nuclear weapon.

“Increasing public transparency surrounding the Iran deal’s implementation is a critical priority. Congress has a role to play in effective oversight of this agreement, and we must assert that role regardless of whether the president certifies Iran’s compliance,” Connolly said Wednesday.

The proposal comes amid reports that Trump may decertify Iran’s compliance with the deal next month, when Washington’s certification deadline matures. CBS News reported last week that the president is leaning toward the decision.

Trump said he had made a decision regarding the deal, but declined to say what that decision was. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump has not shared his decision “externally.”

However, Tuesday, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford told Congress that Iran is complying with the agreement. The UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), announced a similar assessment three weeks ago.

‘Concise’  won’t tell allies his decision on Iran nuclear deal’ – Tillerson https://on.rt.com/8nr4 

Photo published for 'Clear & concise' Trump won't tell allies his decision on Iran deal – Tillerson — RT America

‘Clear & concise’ Trump won’t tell allies his decision on Iran deal – Tillerson — RT America

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson insists that Iran is only in “technical compliance” with its nuclear deal, following President Donald Trump’s cryptic announcement that he has reached a decision on…

rt.com

Last week, Trump declared the deal with Iran an “embarrassment to the US” and threatened to quit the agreement if the IAEA is not granted full access to all Iranian military sites.

In July, his administration certified that Iran was in compliance and lifted the nuclear-related sanctions against Iran under the agreement. However, US officials have said that despite “technically complying” with the nuclear agreement, Iran remains a “destabilizing” force in the region.

“We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities,” Trump told the UN General Assembly last week, citing Tehran’s support for Hezbollah, the Syrian government as well as for Shia Houthis in the Yemeni civil war.

Iran could pull out of the 2015 agreement and bolster its nuclear program at a “greater speed,” should President Trump decertify the pact, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif warned this week.

Zarif underlined that Iran’s nuclear program “will remain peaceful,”but “will not address and accept the limitations that we voluntarily accepted.”

Zarif also noted that certification is not part of the deal and is only “US internal procedure.”

“It doesn’t absolve President Trump and the administration of the responsibility because the only authority that has been recognized in the nuclear deal to verify [compliance with the deal] is the IAEA,” the minister pointed out.

The nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has to be re-assessed every 90 days by the US president in accordance with a Congress-created mechanism. The next deadline is set for October 15. If Trump decides to decertify, Congress will have 60 days to vote on re-imposing sanctions lifted under the pact in exchange for Tehran capping its nuclear program.

Under the terms of the deal, Iran agreed to reduce the number of its uranium enrichment centrifuges by two-thirds; cap its enrichment below the level needed for weapons-grade material; reduce its enriched uranium stockpile by 98 percent from around 10,000kg for 15 years; and allow international inspections.

Courtesy, RT

President Trump’s statement on DACA

The following is a statement issued by President Trump on the administration’s decision to wind down the Obama-era DACA program: 

As President, my highest duty is to defend the American people and the Constitution of the United States of America.  At the same time, I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents.  But we must also recognize that we are nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws.

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The legislative branch, not the executive branch, writes these laws – this is the bedrock of our Constitutional system, which I took a solemn oath to preserve, protect, and defend.

In June of 2012, President Obama bypassed Congress to give work permits, social security numbers, and federal benefits to approximately 800,000 illegal immigrants currently between the ages of 15 and 36.  The typical recipients of this executive amnesty, known as DACA, are in their twenties.  Legislation offering these same benefits had been introduced in Congress on numerous occasions and rejected each time.

In referencing the idea of creating new immigration rules unilaterally, President Obama admitted that “I can’t just do these things by myself” – and yet that is exactly what he did, making an end-run around Congress and violating the core tenets that sustain our Republic.

Officials from 10 States are suing over the program, requiring my Administration to make a decision regarding its legality. The Attorney General of the United States, the Attorneys General of many states, and virtually all other top legal experts have advised that the program is unlawful and unconstitutional and cannot be successfully defended in court.

There can be no path to principled immigration reform if the executive branch is able to rewrite or nullify federal laws at will.

The temporary implementation of DACA by the Obama Administration, after Congress repeatedly rejected this amnesty-first approach, also helped spur a humanitarian crisis – the massive surge of unaccompanied minors from Central America including, in some cases, young people who would become members of violent gangs throughout our country, such as MS-13.

Only by the reliable enforcement of immigration law can we produce safe communities, a robust middle class, and economic fairness for all Americans.

Therefore, in the best interests of our country, and in keeping with the obligations of my office, the Department of Homeland Security will begin an orderly transition and wind-down of DACA, one that provides minimum disruption.  While new applications for work permits will not be accepted, all existing work permits will be honored until their date of expiration up to two full years from today.  Furthermore, applications already in the pipeline will be processed, as will renewal applications for those facing near-term expiration.  This is a gradual process, not a sudden phase out.  Permits will not begin to expire for another six months, and will remain active for up to 24 months.  Thus, in effect, I am not going to just cut DACA off, but rather provide a window of opportunity for Congress to finally act.

Our enforcement priorities remain unchanged. We are focused on criminals, security threats, recent border-crossers, visa overstays, and repeat violators.  I have advised the Department of Homeland Security that DACA recipients are not enforcement priorities unless they are criminals, are involved in criminal activity, or are members of a gang.

The decades-long failure of Washington, D.C. to enforce federal immigration law has had both predictable and tragic consequences: lower wages and higher unemployment for American workers, substantial burdens on local schools and hospitals, the illicit entry of dangerous drugs and criminal cartels, and many billions of dollars a year in costs paid for by U.S. taxpayers.  Yet few in Washington expressed any compassion for the millions of Americans victimized by this unfair system.  Before we ask what is fair to illegal immigrants, we must also ask what is fair to American families, students, taxpayers, and jobseekers.

Congress now has the opportunity to advance responsible immigration reform that puts American jobs and American security first.  We are facing the symptom of a larger problem, illegal immigration, along with the many other chronic immigration problems Washington has left unsolved.  We must reform our green card system, which now favors low-skilled immigration and puts immense strain on U.S. taxpayers.  We must base future immigration on merit – we want those coming into the country to be able to support themselves financially, to contribute to our economy, and to love our country and the values it stands for.  Under a merit-based system, citizens will enjoy higher employment, rising wages, and a stronger middle class.  Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue have introduced the RAISE Act, which would establish this merit-based system and produce lasting gains for the American People.

I look forward to working with Republicans and Democrats in Congress to finally address all of these issues in a manner that puts the hardworking citizens of our country first.

As I’ve said before, we will resolve the DACA issue with heart and compassion – but through the lawful Democratic process – while at the same time ensuring that any immigration reform we adopt provides enduring benefits for the American citizens we were elected to serve.  We must also have heart and compassion for unemployed, struggling, and forgotten Americans.

Above all else, we must remember that young Americans have dreams too. Being in government means setting priorities. Our first and highest priority in advancing immigration reform must be to improve jobs, wages and security for American workers and their families.

It is now time for Congress to act!

Courtesy, Fox News

Trump administration ends DACA, with 6-month delay

The Trump administration on Tuesday announced the “orderly wind down” of the Obama-era program that gave a deportation reprieve to illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children – putting pressure on Congress to come up with a replacement.

“I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents. But we must also recognize that we are a nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws,” President Trump said, in a lengthy written statement explaining the decision.

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The Department of Homeland Security formally rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, with a six-month delay for current recipients. According to Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, the interval is meant to give Congress “time to deliver on appropriate legislative solutions.”

“However, I want to be clear that no new initial requests or associated applications filed after today will be acted on,” Duke said in a written statement.

READ TRUMP’S DACA STATEMENT

The decision touched off a firestorm on Capitol Hill, where Democrats blasted the president and Republicans blamed the prior administration for putting Trump in a legal bind.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, speaking to reporters, decried what he called the Obama administration’s “disrespect for the legislative process” in enacting the 2012 policy. He said the “unilateral executive amnesty” probably would have been blocked by the courts anyway.

“The executive branch, through DACA, deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch specifically refused to authorize on multiple occasions,” Sessions said, blaming the policy for the recent “surge” at the border. “Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the executive branch.”

The Trump administration was facing a Tuesday deadline to make a decision on DACA or face legal action by Republican state AGs who hoped to force the president’s hand in discontinuing the program. A day earlier, Sessions sent Duke a letter with his legal determination that the 2012 executive action was unconstitutional.

Administration officials cast their approach Tuesday at the least disruptive option.

In his statement, Trump stressed that while new applications for work permits won’t be accepted, “all existing work permits will be honored until their date of expiration up to two full years from today.”

Trump also said applications in the pipeline will be processed.

“This is a gradual process, not a sudden phaseout,” he said. “Permits will not begin to expire for another six months, and will remain active for up to 24 months. Thus, in effect, I am not going to just cut DACA off, but rather provide a window of opportunity for Congress to finally act.”

Trump vowed to resolve the issue “with heart and compassion,” only this time working through Congress.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump had promised to terminate DACA, though he appeared to soften his stance since taking office. In ending the program with a six-month delay, Trump put the onus on Congress to pass a legislative fix.

According to DHS, no current beneficiaries will be impacted before March 5, 2018.

“Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.

While some Republicans support the goals of the DACA program, many opposed the use of executive action to institute it, describing the move as a presidential overreach.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is among those who now support the call to protect so-called “Dreamers” with legislation.

“I have always believed DACA was a presidential overreach,” he said in a statement. “However, I equally understand the plight of the Dream Act kids who — for all practical purposes — know no country other than America.”

On a conference call, administration officials said Tuesday they are still prioritizing criminal aliens for deportation. But they described the original DACA criteria as very broad and cited the legal determination of the Justice Department.

During the presidential campaign, Trump referred to DACA as “illegal amnesty.” However, he seemed to edge away from that stance in April when he told the Associated Press that DACA recipients could “rest easy.”

WHAT IS DACA AND WHY WOULD TRUMP DISMANTLE IT?

The DACA program was formed through executive action by former President Barack Obama in 2012, allowing recipients to get a deportation reprieve – and work permits – for a two-year period subject to renewal. Under the program, individuals were able to request DACA status if they were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012, came to the U.S. before turning 16 and have continuously lived in the country since June 15, 2007. Individuals must also have a high school diploma, GED certification, been honorably discharged from the military or still be in school. Recipients cannot have a criminal record.

Congress had been considering legislation to shield young illegal immigrants from deportation for years, dating back to the George W. Bush administration. Lawmakers tried again to pass a bill during the Obama administration, but couldn’t muster the votes amid flagging Republican support before Obama formed the program in 2012.

Nearly 800,000 undocumented youth are currently under the program’s umbrella.

HILL REPUBLICANS REVIVE ‘DREAM ACT’ TALKS AS TRUMP DECIDES FATE OF OBAMA PROGRAM

On Friday, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said he supported a legislative solution to protect undocumented minors, but also urged the president to reconsider scrapping DACA.

Following Tuesday’s announcement, however, Ryan called DACA a “clear abuse of executive authority” and urged Congress to act.

“Congress writes laws, not the president, and ending this program fulfills a promise that President Trump made to restore the proper role of the executive and legislative branches. But now there is more to do, and the president has called on Congress to act,” he said in a statement. “At the heart of this issue are young people who came to this country through no fault of their own, and for many of them it’s the only country they know.”

But opposition to the DACA termination is already fierce.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said in a statement that, with the decision, “Donald Trump has secured his legacy as a champion for cruelty.”

“President Trump’s decision to end DACA is a deeply shameful act of political cowardice and a despicable assault on innocent young people in communities across America,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement

Even as they blasted the president, Democrats called for legislative action, leaving open the possibility that the two parties could pass a bill in the coming months.

Fox News’ John Roberts, Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Brooke Singman and Alex Pappas contributed to this report.

Courtesy, Fox News

Trump Supports Plan to Cut Legal Immigration by Half

Photo

President Trump just before an announcement about immigration legislation with Senator Tom Cotton, second from right, and Senator David Perdue, far right, at the White House on Wednesday.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Trump embraced a proposal on Wednesday to slash legal immigration to the United States in half within a decade by sharply curtailing the ability of American citizens and legal residents to bring family members into the country.

The plan would enact the most far-reaching changes to the system of legal immigration in decades and represents the president’s latest effort to stem the flow of newcomers to the United States. Since taking office, he has barred many visitors from select Muslim-majority countries, limited the influx of refugees, increased immigration arrests and pressed to build a wall along the southern border.

In asking Congress to curb legal immigration, Mr. Trump intensified a debate about national identity, economic growth, worker fairness and American values that animated his campaign last year. Critics said the proposal would undercut the fundamental vision of the United States as a haven for the poor and huddled masses, while the president and his allies said the country had taken in too many low-skilled immigrants for too long to the detriment of American workers.

“This legislation will not only restore our competitive edge in the 21st century, but it will restore the sacred bonds of trust between America and its citizens,” Mr. Trump said at a White House event alongside two Republican senators sponsoring the bill. “This legislation demonstrates our compassion for struggling American families who deserve an immigration system that puts their needs first and that puts America first.”

In throwing his weight behind a bill, Mr. Trump added one more long-odds priority to a legislative agenda already packed with them in the wake of the defeat of legislation to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s health care program. The president has already vowed to overhaul the tax code and rebuild the nation’s roads, airports and other infrastructure.

Continue reading the main story

But by endorsing legal immigration cuts, a move he has long supported, Mr. Trump returned to a theme that has defined his short political career and excites his conservative base at a time when his poll numbers continue to sink. Just 33 percent of Americans approved of his performance in the latest Quinnipiac University survey, the lowest rating of his presidency, and down from 40 percent a month ago.

Democrats and some Republicans quickly criticized the move. “Instead of catching criminals, Trump wants to tear apart communities and punish immigrant families that are making valuable contributions to our economy,” said Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. “That’s not what America stands for.”

The bill, sponsored by Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia, would institute a merit-based system to determine who is admitted to the country and granted legal residency green cards, favoring applicants based on skills, education and language ability rather than relations with people already here. The proposal revives an idea included in broader immigration legislation supported by President George W. Bush that died in 2007.

More than one million people are granted legal residency each year, and the proposal would reduce that by 41 percent in its first year and 50 percent by its 10th year, according to projections cited by its sponsors. The reductions would come largely from those brought in through family connections. The number of immigrants granted legal residency on the basis of job skills, about 140,000, would remain roughly the same.

Under the current system, most legal immigrants are admitted to the United States based on family ties. American citizens can sponsor spouses, parents and minor children for an unrestricted number of visas, while siblings and adult children are given preferences for a limited number of visas available to them. Legal permanent residents holding green cards can also sponsor spouses and children.

In 2014, 64 percent of immigrants admitted with legal residency were immediate relatives of American citizens or sponsored by family members. Just 15 percent entered through employment-based preferences, according to the Migration Policy Institute, an independent research organization. But that does not mean that those who came in on family ties were necessarily low skilled or uneducated.

The legislation would award points based on education, ability to speak English, high-paying job offers, age, record of achievement and entrepreneurial initiative. But while it would still allow spouses and minor children of Americans and legal residents to come in, it would eliminate preferences for other relatives, like siblings and adult children. The bill would create a renewable temporary visa for older-adult parents who come for caretaking purposes.

Video

Stephen Miller Jousts With Reporters Over Immigration

Exchanges between the senior White House adviser and Glenn Thrush of The New York Times and Jim Acosta of CNN became combative at a news briefing on Wednesday.

By THE NEW YORK TIMES on Publish DateAugust 2, 2017. Photo by Doug Mills/The New York Times. Watch in Times Video »

The legislation would limit refugees offered permanent residency to 50,000 a year and eliminate a diversity visa lottery that the sponsors said does not promote diversity. The senators said their bill was meant to emulate systems in Canada and Australia.

The projections cited by the sponsors said legal immigration would decrease to 637,960 after a year and to 539,958 after a decade.

“Our current system does not work,” Mr. Perdue said. “It keeps America from being competitive and it does not meet the needs of our economy today.”

Mr. Cotton said low-skilled immigrants pushed down wages for those who worked with their hands. “For some people, they may think that that’s a symbol of America’s virtue and generosity,” he said. “I think it’s a symbol that we’re not committed to working-class Americans, and we need to change that.”

But Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, noted that agriculture and tourism were his state’s top two industries. “If this proposal were to become law, it would be devastating to our state’s economy, which relies on this immigrant work force,” he said. “Hotels, restaurants, golf courses and farmers,” he added, “will tell you this proposal to cut legal immigration in half would put their business in peril.”

Cutting legal immigration would make it harder for Mr. Trump to reach the stronger economic growth that he has promised. Bringing in more workers, especially during a time of low unemployment, increases the size of an economy. Critics said the plan would result in labor shortages, especially in lower-wage jobs that many Americans do not want.

The National Immigration Forum, an advocacy group, said the country was already facing a work force gap of 7.5 million jobs by 2020. “Cutting legal immigration for the sake of cutting immigration would cause irreparable harm to the American worker and their family,” said Ali Noorani, the group’s executive director.

Surveys show most Americans believe legal immigration benefits the country. In a Gallup poll in January, 41 percent of Americans were satisfied with the overall level of immigration, 11 percentage points higher than the year before and the highest since the question was first asked in 2001. Still, 53 percent of Americans remained dissatisfied.

The plan endorsed by Mr. Trump generated a fiery exchange at the White House briefing when Stephen Miller, the president’s policy adviser and a longtime advocate of immigration limits, defended the proposal. Pressed for statistics to back up claims that immigration was costing Americans jobs, he cited several studies that have been debated by experts.

“But let’s also use common sense here, folks,” Mr. Miller said. “At the end of the day, why do special interests want to bring in more low-skill workers?”

He rejected the argument that immigration policy should also be based on compassion. “Maybe it’s time we had compassion for American workers,” he said.

2649COMMENTS

When a reporter read him some of the words from the Statue of Liberty — “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” — Mr. Miller dismissed them. “The poem that you’re referring to was added later,” he said. “It’s not actually part of the original Statue of Liberty.”

He noted that in 1970, the United States allowed in only a third as many legal immigrants as it now does: “Was that violating or not violating the Statue of Liberty law of the land?”

Correction: August 2, 2017 
An earlier version of this article misstated part of President Trump’s effort to stem the flow of immigrants into the United States. He has increased immigration arrests, not deportations.

 Courtesy: The New York Times

Senate panel questions Lynch over ‘political interference’ in Clinton probe

The Senate Judiciary Committee has formally asked ex-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and others to respond to allegations of “political interference” in the FBI’s Hillary Clinton email probe, according to a letter released Friday.

The inquiry was prompted, in part, by a series of media reports raising questions about whether Lynch tried to stifle the investigation into former Secretary of State Clinton’s use of a private email server. Fired FBI Director James Comey also suggested in recent Senate testimony that Lynch sought to downplay the investigation.

“The reports come amidst numerous allegations of political inference in controversial and high-profile investigations spanning the current and previous administrations,” Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley’s office said in a statement.

While Democrats have questioned whether President Trump tried to interfere in the probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign, Republicans have countered by stepping up scrutiny of Lynch’s actions.

The letters released Friday, though, were bipartisan. Grassley, R-Iowa; ranking Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., penned letters to Lynch and others seeking documentation and other details.

Graham already had expressed interest in Lynch testifying before the committee in the wake of Comey’s testimony.

In the latest letters, the senators sought information that might determine the veracity of media reports suggesting Lynch may have offered assurances to the Clinton campaign about the probe.

Those articles are based on hacked documents whose authenticity has not been confirmed.

The letter cited an April New York Times article about a batch of hacked files obtained by the FBI, including one reportedly authored by a Democratic operative who voiced confidence Lynch would keep the Clinton probe from going too far.

Lynch and others who received the committee’s letters have until July 6 to comply with the request.

The senators also refer to concerns stemming from Comey’s testimony about being uncomfortable with Lynch’s tarmac meeting last summer with Bill Clinton.

Comey also told Congress “the attorney general directed me not to call it an investigation and call it a matter — which confused me.”

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