Shutdown: Some Senate Dems from Trump states vote with GOP; Florida’s Bill Nelson does not

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio (left) supported a short-term spending measure to avert a federal government shutdown; Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson was opposed. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

Five Democratic senators from states that President Donald Trump carried in 2016 broke with party leadership late Friday and voted for a spending plan to avert a federal government shutdown.

Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson — up for re-election this year in a state Trump carried by 1.2 percentage points over Hillary Clinton — was not among them.

With Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., insisting the measure include protections against deportation for young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. by their parents, Nelson and most of the Democratic caucus voted to block consideration of a stopgap spending measure that would have kept the government running for four more weeks.

With 60 votes needed under Senate rules, the motion fell short with only 50 votes. Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio joined most of the Republican caucus in voting for the measure while four Republicans opposed it. (Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., also cast a “no” vote for procedural reasons to allow him to bring the measure up again.)

Four of the five Democrats who broke ranks — Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Claire McCaskill of Missouri — are up for re-election this year in states Trump won in 2016. The fifth Democrat, Sen. Doug Jones of deep-red Alabama, won an upset special election over Roy Moore last month and faces re-election in 2020.

Said Nelson: “These short-term funding bills are hurting our national security and, at some point, we have a responsibility to say enough is enough. Now efforts have intensified at a bipartisan solution. I am hopeful that an agreement may be reached in the next couple of days.”

Republicans hoping to unseat Nelson this year pounced on his vote.

“Bill Nelson proved yet again tonight that his loyalty lies with Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren, not with Florida,” said Republican National Committee spokeswoman Ellie Hockenbury. “By participating in such blatant political games, Bill Nelson voted against our service members and children’s health care. Floridians won’t forget this betrayal when they go to the polls in November.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also piled on in a statement just before midnight: “Senate Democrats own the Schumer Shutdown. Tonight, they put politics above our national security, military families, vulnerable children, and our country’s ability to serve all Americans. We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands. This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators.”

Nelson’s expected 2018 opponent, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, tweeted late Friday night that “Washington needs to do its job and keep the federal government running. A government shutdown is not fair to Florida taxpayers.”

>>RELATED: Government shutdown – What’s closed and what happens to government checks?

 

DACA: What Reps. Mast, Frankel, Deutch, Hastings say about Trump’s decision

Palm Beach County’s U.S. House delegation for the 115th Congress, clockwise from top left: Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City; Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Delray Beach; Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton; Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach.

The three Democrats in Palm Beach County’s U.S. House delegation blasted President Donald Trump‘s decision to end a program that protects an estimated 800,000 young, foreign-born people who were brought to the U.S. illegally.

The delegation’s lone Republican — U.S. Rep. Brian Mast — said former President Barack Obama was wrong to implement the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, via executive order and Congress now has the chance to address the issue “the right way.”

Here’s what the local members of Congress had to say about DACA:

Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City: “The previous administration was wrong to circumvent Congress and our democratic process on DACA.  For far too long, Congress has ignored it’s responsibility to protect Americans by strengthening our border and reforming our broken immigration system.  We must now take the opportunity to address this issue the right way, including children of immigrants who came to the country through no fault of their own.”

Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach: “We cannot let President Trump’s heartless actions ruin lives, tear apart families, and shatter futures. DREAMers were brought to America through no fault of their own, and contribute to and strengthen our communities. Congress must get to work on legislation to protect DREAMers now.”

Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton: “The President’s plan to end the DACA program is cruel and inhumane.
“The DACA program is not a free government handout, and it’s not an amnesty program. DACA has allowed the estimated 800,000 people in our country, almost 33,000 in Florida, who were brought to the US at young ages through no fault of their own to come out of the shadows and become contributing members of our society. They are hard-working young people who want nothing more than to have all the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
“I’ve heard from many DREAMers in South Florida who have shared how much this program has meant to them and the severe and personal damage revoking DACA will have on their lives and their families. Though they were not born here, America is the country they proudly call home.
“It’s unconscionable that the Trump Administration announced its intention to kick out these hardworking, committed young adults and break up families when these DREAMers have known no other country but the United States. It is inhumane to send these young people to countries they have no connection to, countries where they may not even speak the language.
“President Trump said he would treat DREAMers with heart and with compassion, but this act is heartless and disregards their plight. Congress must finally act to protect these DREAMers by passing bipartisan, comprehensive, and compassionate immigration reform. And the President must show some humanity by signing it.”

Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar: “President Trump’s decision to terminate the DACA program is both illogical and immoral. Just one day after our nation marked Labor Day, the President’s decision will cost our country tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue. More importantly, this decision tells the more than 800,000 DACA recipients that they are neither valued nor wanted, while in truth, they are invaluable.
“DACA recipients are here in search of the American dream: to better their education and to make a better life for themselves and their families. Casting them aside as lawbreakers or criminals is reprehensible.
“In February, President Trump pledged to address DREAMERs and immigration reform ‘with heart.’ He promised that he would ‘take care of everybody.’ Just last week, Vice President Pence reiterated that the President would act with ‘big heart’ to ensure that undocumented immigrants benefiting from DACA would be treated fairly. Regrettably, we have been reminded once again just how heartless this President is.

“President Trump’s about-face means that Congress must get to work at once to protect DREAMERs. My Republican colleagues now have a choice: stand with their President, or stand with their country. It is far past time for Congress to come together and fix our broken immigration system by providing a path to citizenship that is fair to all people – those who already call America home and those who yearn to enjoy our country’s dedication to liberty and freedom for all.”

 

 

 

AG Jeff Sessions visits Miami as mayor blasts Trump’s ‘ambiguity’ on Charlottesville

Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Miami.

MIAMI — Attorney General Jeff Sessions came to town to commend Miami Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez for shedding his county’s “sanctuary city” status and cooperating with the federal government by holding jail inmates who have been targeted for deportation.

But it wasn’t exactly a love-fest. Before Sessions’ arrival, Gimenez issued a statement condemning President Donald Trump for his “ambiguity” about blame for the deadly violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. And while Sessions praised Miami Dade in his remarks, he devoted much of his speech to condemning Chicago and other cities for challenging federal efforts to crack down on illegal immigration.

Trump initially blamed “many sides” for Saturday’s violence in Charlottesville, then specifically called out “the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.” On Tuesday, however, Trump said there was “a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent.”

Said Gimenez: “It was very disappointing to hear President Trump essentially take back his comments from Monday condemning white supremacists and their actions in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend. There should be no ambiguity about what took place in Charlottesville. A young woman lost her life, several others were injured, and hatred and bigotry were on display.”

Sessions also spoke briefly about Charlottesville during his Miami visit.

“In no way can we accept or apologize for racism, bigotry, hatred, violence and those kinds of things that too often arise in our country,” said Sessions, who said the FBI is “aggressively” investigating the matter in cooperation with local law enforcement.

Trump has threatened to withhold federal grant money from “sanctuary cities” that don’t cooperate with federal immigration policies, such as honoring Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests for “detainers” on jail inmates who would otherwise be released but are targeted for deportation. Miami Dade’s government, citing concern about losing a $480,000 federal law enforcement grant, recently reversed its past “sanctuary” policy.

“Miami Dade is an example of what is possible with hard work, professional policing and a rededication to the rule of law,” Sessions said in remarks to more than 100 law enforcement officers and ICE officials at a cruise terminal. “Miami Dade is now in compliance, full compliance, and eligible for all federal law enforcement grant dollars. Thank you, Mr. Mayor. This is good news for law enforcement and for the citizens of Miami Dade. It means more money for crime fighting. It means we’re partners, partners together in keeping everyone safe.”

Chicago and other cities have filed lawsuits calling Trump’s threat unconstitutional. Many argue that local governments shouldn’t be part of immigration enforcement and that cooperation with ICE builds distrust between minority communities and police.

“The Trump Justice Department … is asking the city of Chicago to choose between our core values as a welcoming city and our fundamental principles of community policing,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said at a recent news conference. “It is a false choice and a wrong choice. Chicago will not let our police officers become political pawns in a debate.”

Sessions said Chicago’s political leaders are jeopardizing public safety.

“The leaders in Chicago have made this a political issue… This is a serious problem for the people,” Sessions said.

As for the threatened loss of federal grant money, Sessions said: “If the people in Chicago and these other cities are concerned about losing money, I suggest not calling me but calling your city council and your mayor.”

‘Beleaguered’ or not, AG Jeff Sessions coming to Miami

Attorney General Jeff Sessions at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach in March.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will visit Miami on Wednesday to commend Miami-Dade County for not being a “sanctuary city” and cooperating with President Donald Trump‘s administration by extending detentions of local inmates who are being sought for deportation.

Sessions was a key early endorser Trump’s presidential bid and was rewarded with the AG’s job, but he drew condemnation from the president for recusing himself in the ongoing probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump has called Sessions “weak” and “beleaguered” on Twitter.

The Miami Herald reported this month that the Department of Justice sent Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez a letter telling him the county is in compliance with federal policies and therefore eligible for a federal law enforcement grant of $481,347.

Sessions will appear at PortMiami at 3 p.m. with Acting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Tom Homan to “give remarks highlighting jurisdictions like Miami-Dade that have increased their cooperation and information sharing with federal immigration authorities and have demonstrated a fundamental commitment to the rule of law and lowering violent crime,” according to a DOJ release.

 

Trump’s border wall: What U.S.-Mexico border looks like now

Congress is preparing to pass a budget deal that President Donald Trump said Tuesday includes “enough money to make a down payment on the border wall” between the U.S. and Mexico.

Barriers exist along some of the 2,000-mile border, but challenges remain in evaluating which sections need to be replaced, built or left alone.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: Photos, stories, videos, analysis of Donald Trump’s presidency

These photos taken by Getty Images over the past year provide a look at the structures in place now.

(Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

In several places along the border, artists have added their own touch to the wall. This segment faces Tijuana, Mexico.

(Can’t see the photos? Click here.)

(Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

This mural also appears on the border wall in Tijuana.

Artist Enrique Chiu led part of the mural effort along the border wall between California and Mexico. He told KPBS in San Diego that if Trump’s administration builds more miles of wall, “it’s more canvas for us.”

» Trump’s wall: Why building it would be an engineering marvel

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Along the far western edge of the border at Playas de Tijuana, Mexico, the barrier extends into the Pacific Ocean.

The 18-foot steel fence stretches 300 feet into the water and was approved in 2011, according to the Los Angeles Times.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

People are seen through the U.S. and Mexico border fence from Border Field State Park on Feb. 4 in San Diego, California. Friends and families gather there at Friends of Friendship Park for several hours on weekends.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Friendship Park is one of the few places along the 2,000-mile border where separated families are allowed to meet. Here, people are seen at the beach in Tijuana on Sept. 25.

(Getty Images)
(Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

View of the U.S.-Mexico border wall as seen on Jan. 25 in San Ysidro, California.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A police officer stands near a sign that directs pedestrians to the U.S. border crossing on Jan. 27 in Tijuana, Mexico.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Cars wait in line to enter the United States at the San Ysidro Port of Entry on Jan. 27 in Tijuana, Mexico.

(Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

A pedestrian walks towards the Port of Entry at the U.S.-Mexico border on Jan. 25 in San Ysidro, California.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

A U.S. Border Patrol vehicle waits for undocumented immigrants at a fence opening near the U.S.-Mexico border on Jan. 5 near McAllen, Texas.

Border Patrol officials told TV station KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley that some of the gaps are strategic, designed to funnel immigrants into more rural areas. One Texas mayor said the design works.

“Because of the way the structure in these gaps, the traffic is funneled through these gaps opening right now, and they’re heavily patrolled,” Los Indios Mayor Rick Cavasos told KRGV. Cavasos is a former Border Patrol agent supervisor, the TV station reported.

But others aren’t so sure of the gaps’ effectiveness. One homeowner who lives near a gap told KRGV that he was startled once by the sight of “six kids” walking across the border.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

A crew works to improve a road along the U.S.-Mexico border on March 16 in Hidalgo, Texas. There has been speculation on where a border wall would be built near the Rio Grande, which forms the border between Texas and Mexico.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

U.S. border agents patrol the Rio Grande while searching for undocumented immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border on Jan. 5 near McAllen, Texas.

The Department of Homeland Security said last month that illegal border crossings dropped 30 percent from February to March, while seeing a 64 percent drop from March 2016 to March of this year.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

A U.S. border wall tops a levee near Rio Grande at the U.S.-Mexico border on March 15 near La Grulla, Texas.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

A border fence stops near the U.S.-Mexico border, formed by the Rio Grande, on Jan. 3 near McAllen, Texas.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Surveillance cameras stand above the border fence between the U.S. and Mexico on Jan. 27 in Tijuana, Mexico.

(Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

A Border Patrol vehicle sits along the U.S.-Mexico border wall in San Ysidro, California, on Jan. 25.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection Aerostat surveillance balloon flies near the U.S.-Mexico border on Jan. 5 near McAllen, Texas.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

A U.S. Border Patrol agent walks along the U.S.-Mexico border at the Imperial Sand Dunes on Nov. 17 near Felicity, California. The 15-foot “floating fence” sits on the dunes and shifts as the sand moves. Border Patrol agents say they have caught undocumented immigrants and drug smugglers crossing in from Mexico there daily, despite the terrain.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The border fence between the U.S. and Mexico stands at an international bridge between the two countries on March 14 in Hidalgo, Texas.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

U.S. Border Patrol agents ride ATVs while monitoring the U.S.-Mexico border fence at the Imperial Sand Dunes on Nov. 17 near Felicity, California.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

A barbed-wire fence stands in front of the newer U.S.-Mexico border fence on Oct. 4 in Sunland Park, New Mexico. Border Patrol agents surveil the area to combat undocumented immigrant crossings in the area on the outskirts of El Paso, Texas.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Workers on the U.S. and Mexico side of the border fence talk on Oct. 4 in Sunland Park, New Mexico. The crew was upgrading the chain-link fence in the area, which is on the outskirts of El Paso, Texas.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The border fence stops at a hillside on the U.S.-Mexico border fence in Jacamba Hot Springs, California.

GOP debate: Why immigration matters to Florida

In tonight’s debate, Republican presidential candidates tackled a huge issue for Floridians: immigration.

In last night’s Democratic debate, sponsored in part by Spanish-language TV channel Univision, candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders also took on immigration, discussing deportation and workers’ rights.

» RELATED: Read our full GOP debate coverage

Candidate Marco Rubio noted how his parents immigrated to the United States from Cuba.

But why is immigration so important to Floridians? And why is it such a hot issue in the presidential race?

Rafael Mejia (R) , originally from the Dominican Republic, waves an American flag as he is sworn in as a naturalized U.S. citizen, at the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services office on December 29, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Rafael Mejia (R) , originally from the Dominican Republic, waves an American flag as he is sworn in as a naturalized U.S. citizen, at the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services office on December 29, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Here are three things you should know about immigration in Florida.

1. About 19 percent of Floridians were born abroad.

According to the 2014 American Community Survey, Florida has a population of more than 19 million, and an estimated 3,789,829 of those people were not born in the United States. Of that number, an estimated 1,829,820 are not U.S. Citizens.

2. Even more Floridians speak a second language.

Many job-seekers in Florida will see the phrase “bilingual preferred” on job descriptions — and there’s a reason for that. According to the 2013 ACS, more than 5 million Floridians speak a foreign language.

3. Both Republicans and Democrats have made immigration a cornerstone of their campaigns.

From Marco Rubio touting his past as a child of immigrants, to Donald Trump’s wall along the Mexican border, to Bernie Sanders insisting his campaign “is listening to our brothers and sisters in the Latino community,” immigration is one of the top issues this election year — as it has been for most recent presidential elections.

———

The Palm Beach Post has done extensive reporting on immigration in Florida. Here are some of our top stories:

• Why was Carlitos born this way?

• Pickers wade in pesticides, but training and oversight are lax

• Undocumented immigrants win big with in-state tuition, law license votes

• Case of Lake Worth immigrant teen heads to Florida Supreme Court

Train jumping: A desperate journey

• An immigrant teen’s journey from Guatemala to a West Palm art gallery

Cuba: A people divided yet united

Democratic debate: 3 things to know about immigration in Florida

In tonight’s debate, Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton tackled a huge issue for Floridians: immigration.

But why is it so important to Floridians? And why is it such a hot issue in the presidential race?

Kevin Valazquez,6, (L) and Irma Lopez Aguilar stand with others as they show their support for the Obama administration's immigration reform plan on July 9, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Kevin Valazquez,6, (L) and Irma Lopez Aguilar stand with others as they show their support for the Obama administration’s immigration reform plan on July 9, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Here are three things you should know about immigration in Florida.

1. About 19 percent of Floridians were born abroad.

According to the 2014 American Community Survey, Florida has a population of more than 19 million, and an estimated 3,789,829 of those people were not born in the United States. Of that number, an estimated 1,829,820 are not U.S. Citizens.

2. Even more Floridians speak a second language.

Many job-seekers in Florida will see the phrase “bilingual preferred” on job descriptions — and there’s a reason for that. According to the 2013 ACS, more than 5 million Floridians speak a foreign language.

3. Both Republicans and Democrats have made immigration a cornerstone of their campaigns.

From Marco Rubio touting his past as a child of immigrants, to Donald Trump’s wall along the Mexican border, to Bernie Sanders insisting his campaign “is listening to our brothers and sisters in the Latino community,” immigration is one of the top issues this election year — as it has been for most recent presidential elections.

———

The Palm Beach Post has done extensive reporting on immigration in Florida. Here are some of our top stories:

• Why was Carlitos born this way?

• Pickers wade in pesticides, but training and oversight are lax

• Undocumented immigrants win big with in-state tuition, law license votes

• Case of Lake Worth immigrant teen heads to Florida Supreme Court

Train jumping: A desperate journey

• An immigrant teen’s journey from Guatemala to a West Palm art gallery

Cuba: A people divided yet united

More coverage from the Democratic debate

What color is Bernie Sanders’ suit at the Democratic debate?

Here’s why Bernie Sanders mentioned tomato pickers in Immokalee in the Democratic debate

Why did the Democratic debate moderators speak Spanish?

Why the Democratic candidates are talking about the environment at Florida debate

Hillary team: Sanders “absent” from Florida, Hispanics

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders has been “largely absent” both from Florida and from Hispanics, three surrogates for his opponent, Hillary Clinton, said Tuesday in a conference call.

Gutiérrez
Gutiérrez

“Hillary has fought for Latinos her whole life,” U.S. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, D-Ill., said in the call, made hours before Sanders was set to lead a rally in downtown Miami. And a day before Sanders and Clinton were to debate Wednesday night at Miami-Dade College’s Kendall campus.

Gutiérrez, said in the 13 years he and Sanders both were in the House of Representatives, “he was absent from most of the critical immigration votes.” He said that in 2006, Sanders voted for a bill that would have allowed for indefinite detention of undocumented immigrants.

“It’s clear Hillary is the only person we can trust to lead 12 million people out of the shadows,” the congressman said.

“The people of Florida know Hillary Clinton has been working for us her entire life,” former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz said.

And Millie Herrera, former Southeast Region Representative for the U.S. Department of Labor, said Sanders “has been largely absent from Florida and he has been largely absent from the Latino community until recently.”

The three were asked if Clinton would do more to seal Florida’s version of the border, its 1,300-mile coastline, and prevent people from risking their lives on the seas, and whether she as president would bring more federal money for Florida to help it deal with its stream of immigrants, both legal and otherwise.

None of the three specifically addressed the questions, although Gutiérrez did say, “we need to secure our borders. The way we do it is to have comprehensive reform. It allows people to come legally to the U.S. instead of risking their lives.”

Referring to the nickname for often ruthless human smugglers, the congressman said, “we want people to come not with a coyote, but with a visa.”

And, he said, “the best way to help the economy in Florida is to do exactly what Hillary Clinton is doing.”

By helping immigrants come into the open, he said, “there are tens of thousands of Floridians, dreamers, who are paying taxes. They’re finally a part of the fabric of American life.”

In crackdown on “sanctuaries,” House would bar PBSO policy

Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office has policy targeted by House bill
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office has policy targeted by House bill

The Republican-controlled Florida House is seeking to bar city and county governments from

A measure (CS/HB 675) is poised for a final vote in the House in coming days, after being debated Tuesday.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is among law enforcement agencies in six counties that could be affected by the proposed ban, having said they will limit their cooperation with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when it demands they detain an immigrant.

The Miami-Dade County Commission has formally adopted a similar, countywide policy.

County officials have said they don’t have the time or money to take on the federal responsibility of controlling immigration. But the issue has been framed by the widening political clash over immigration, with many Republican voters call for stricter enforcement.

GOP presidential candidates have steadily criticized so-called “sanctuary cities.”

Rep. Larry Metz, R-Yalaha, sponsor of the House measure (CS/HB 675) said it

Metz, however, had few answers to questions from Democrats opposing the bill, about the scope of the problem in Florida.

But Rep. Hazelle Rogers, D-Lauderdale Lakes, told Metz, “I don’t know what you’re trying to fix.”