Archive for the ‘Obama Administration’ Category

ZILLAMOD -This is the god’s to honest truth. At the end of the day – it’s not a partisan matter. It’s a family matter. You use whatever you have to protect your family from harm. I am the same. This is my story as well.

This is a repost by Linda Vega.

Being an American citizen is one of the most powerful manifestations of our constitutional tradition as a nation and as a government. These constitutional rights and obligations reserved strictly for citizens have made man want to die to protect our nation, because they know that as citizens they have unalienable rights. However, the Department of Homeland Security under the Obama Administration is now stripping American citizens of their citizenship. More importantly, these attacks on a population where American citizens are being denied their constitutional rights are mainly aimed at a group: elder Latino Texans who were too poor to go to a county hospital and opted, instead, to use a midwife because there was no hospital in the poor rural areas of Texas. As a result, the Obama Administration is now incarcerating and stripping some seniors of their citizenship because they are unable to “properly” prove their birth occurred on U.S. soil.

According to immigration attorney Jaime Diez, along the Rio Grande River in Texas, there are cases where Elderly Latinos have to relinquish their U.S. Citizenship because they cannot provide enough evidence to substantiate their birth on U.S. soil by either a hospital or a credible midwife.

Prior to 2009, a few cases of maybe 20-30 would arise where elderly Latinos had to produce evidence of their U.S. Citizenship. Usually a baptismal record or a birth certificate would suffice to prove their U.S. citizenship birth. However, under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, (“WHTI”), which came into full force and effect on June 1, 2009, changes implemented under this new law, have caused overzealous U.S. agents and officers to litigate case after case that seeks to strip U.S. Citizenship from Latinos that now number over 1000.

With only limited exceptions, WHTI makes it illegal for U.S. citizens to “depart from or enter the United States” without a valid U.S. passport. 8 U.S.C. §1185(b); 22 C.F.R. §53.1(a). While this may be a necessary application of law, for a group of people who did not have the conveniences of modern day hospitals or record keeping when they were born, it has become a nightmare and a loss of identity.

Long before there was a dispute regarding the demarcated boundary that separates the U.S. and Mexico, descendants of Mexicans lived along the border on the U.S. side for years without fear of having to leave their country of choice. When Texas became the 28th state under the Presidency of Polk in 1845, those who lived along the border were annexed into the U.S.

Additionally, when the two countries were unwilling to reach a compromise as to where the boundary would be set, the Mexican-American war broke out on April 25, 1846. The result of that war fixed the southern boundary between the two countries at the Rio Grande River. For generations, the people living along the Rio Grande River into Mexico where their relatives were left in their undisturbed Mexican residency and those in the U.S. were granted U.S. Citizenship. It was a matter of convenience and understanding that those U.S. Citizens who were instantly acquiesced into the U.S. territory had travel privileges back and forth between the two countries. In the years that followed, children were born through midwives and clinics who would record the births as credible state records. In 1925, more than 50 percent of babies born in Texas were delivered by midwives. However, by 2004, the number had dropped to 6.6%. Much of the change was brought about because as rural areas integrated more clinics into the area, many along the border were receiving more prenatal care and healthcare during births.

The earliest known hospital in the valley was in Harlingen, Valley Baptist medical Center, founded in 1925. Surrounded by rural areas and colonias, the hospital is at least a 25 mile distance to these areas. At present, it is not uncommon for women to give birth to children in clinics or hospitals as these facilities are not as scarce as previous years prior to 1950. The births were not the problem, it was an industry norm for registering births that had unintended consequences on what the government is now terming, “delayed birth certificate” fraud.

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), many of these births recorded by midwives are either fraudulent or not legal as they were not recorded according to standards. Those affected by this new application of law, now find themselves having to defend their birth certificate and passports granted to them by the U.S. State Department.

Additionally, those affected are between the ages of 60 and older born in the 1940-50s. This is the age group that is most affected as they were more likely to be born by the assistance of a midwife and at home.

While Texas is approximately 25 million in total, it is populated by a large Latino community in the rural areas, and in South Texas where about 90% of the total population is Latino.

Texas and South Texas Population by Ethnicity, 2007

When broken down into the counties most affected by the passport requirement see the following:

Consequently, immigration attorneys in the Rio Grande Valley have noticed that these cases requiring elderly Latinos to prove their citizenship has spiked within the last two years. Attorney Jaime Diez argues that over 1000 cases have been reported but many more are not for the sake of keeping the peace. However, these are only the cases of those with financial resources to fight DHS, or USCIS in court; but many more surrender their citizenship fearing a long battle in a court that is estimated to cost between $15,000 to $20,000. Many of the elderly, living on a fixed income cannot imagine this long battle or the expense, and instead relinquish their U.S. Citizenship and leave for Mexico, a land not their home.

Immigration Attorneys, like Jaime Diez, in the Rio Grande Valley accept the cases on a pro bono capacity, but have been overwhelmed recently with unnecessary discovery requests by the government and oftentimes face over 5 U.S. attorneys for a simple case of birth certificate verification. In one such case, Jaime Diez in Brownsville. States that five U.S. Attorneys were flown in from Washington D.C. to appear in Federal District Court to ask women questions regarding her childhood in the valley. The U.S. Attorneys asked to be taken to the many places the woman played as a child and other places where she and her brother remembered family gatherings. This was not only inefficient use of government money and resources, it provided little if any comfort thinking that securing the border means stripping Latinos of their U.S. Citizenship rather than apprehending those who are “terrorists” in all aspects at the border crossing.

In 2008, Obama promised Latinos change. Unfortunately, one of these promised changes includes having to lose your birthright identity because you were born at a time when a system was inefficient and antiquated. According to the present Obama policies, if you were born in 1950 and beyond, you are expendable in the U.S. Your absence, along the Rio Grande Valley where you have lived most of your life, will be overlooked. According to this Administration, Latinos have an apathy and will not participate in elections, and so invalid deportations and stripping on U.S. Citizenship will go unnoticed because no one will dare to speak up to this injustice. It is a quiet secret that many will chose to ignore. But Latinos are strong in family ideals and are compassionate protectors for the less fortunate. And now that many do know about what is happening to the elderly along the border, I hope that this Administration is placed on alert to immediately cease and desist this action. It is a shameful way to protect the border, and frankly this behavior is anything but American or decent, it is Mr. President, monstrous.

By Sheila Dean 


What would life be like in America if a political group could simply doubt you out of your citizenship and subsequently, your rights? What would happen if they didn’t like: your race, your parents, your State of origin or who you were married to? If the Birthers were a smashing success, you could share President Obama’s fate.


Currently, anyone born in the United States is a citizen by right of the 14th Amendment. 
The Birther movement has exhibited relentless challenge to President Obama’s U.S. citizenship. The strategy of the Birther movement has been to displace the current United States President by annulling his birth records. A successful PR campaign has driven doubt about Obama’s birth certificate into many AmericansThe Birthers reject Obama’s current electronic birth record held by the State of Hawaii.   In a worst case scenario, if Obama’s citizenship was disproven, the Birther movement might call for an ex-officiated President to be expediently deported for being an “illegal alien immigrant”.  We can not speculate where he would be sent, since he is an American. 
According to CNN, Obama’s birth documents pre-date the electronic records system in Hawaii.  Obama’s mother is also a US citizen, born in the Continental United States. This is still not good enough for Donald Trump and the Birthers he serves. 
Obama’s birth record contest mimics a nightmare trip to and from a Florida DMV window; where it seems no amount of identity proof will ever be enough.
The Florida DMV has become notorious for turning away women and the elderly from attaining drivers licenses or ID cards because they can’t substantiate “adequate” documentation. The State of Florida is adherent to Real ID requirements for very specific citizenship articles and identity documentation, as well as mountains of supplemental information as proof of residency.  Often proof of citizenship and marriage records pre-date acknowledgement by “updated” systems, if you have been around long enough.  Residency? Birth Certificate? Marriage Certificate? Soldier? At times this is not nearly enough for the State of Florida to give you a license to drive.
An American birth certificate is also a private identity document. Posting a copy online is not something most of us would do; yet the President has indulged the Birther community by doing so.  If the US President’s identity is compromised, stolen or misappropriated by common criminal identity thieves, the matter becomes an issue of national security.  The common risk remains.  If you repeatedly flash certain documentation enough, it will inevitably tempt identity thieves. There is risk to you through over-exposure or repeated sharing through insecure DMV databases in Real ID compliant states
In a best case scenario, you hope having a birth certificate and a social security card are enough to procure the gold standard for national-to-international passage, the US Passport. Surely, this would ensure your ability to sail through all inquiry into your legal identity.  However, right now, a birth certificate alone will not relieve you from the run on proof of private information to gain a passport.  The TSA and the US State Department have teamed up on an exhaustively intrusive questionnaire for passport applicants.  This may require you to prove the last 7 years of employment and status of circumcision if you are male.   
Not everyone who wants identity information deserves an answer.  It’s bizarrely disenchanting see the POTUS cave in to an incessant demand for birth certificate verification by a politically motivated group bent on his displacement.  Why would Obama go along with this type of juvenile ultimatum?  Birthers are the same type of  people who can’t be satisfied with enough evidence of ANY US citizenship- no matter how much or how often you prove it to them.
Americans aren’t required to agree, or even like, Obama’s policies or his politics. In fact, he is responsible for backing over his own civil liberties by signing the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act and continued warrantless data gathering efforts.  His Administration has a lot in common with the Birthers nipping at his heels afterall.
However, if the Birther movement were allowed to displace a US President for “inadequate documentation”, wouldn’t it force a weird new standard of subjectivity into the handling of United States citizenship?  What if a group of US residents decided you shouldn’t have rights?  Could they could simply launch a private campaign effort to dispell your citizenship as if it were a myth and then expect the State’s highest offices play along with it? 
Don’t be a fool.  American citizenship should not be reduced to some blithe Statist game of,“I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours”.
Just because Obama put his birth certificate online, does not mean we should give the Administration unlimited access to our private identity articles.  The President waiving his rights, doesn’t require you to waive yours.

 by Jim Babka


Statists constantly tell us that we need a huge government to protect us from business monopolies. But they fail to notice that The State is the biggest, baddest monopoly of them all, as well as a major reason why some companies grow so monstrously large.

Just consider the recent economic crisis. The politicians have raged against the banks, but government bailouts, regulations, and shot-gun mergers, have caused the banking industry to become more concentrated rather than less. This is standard operating procedure. Politicians and bureaucrats constantly speak with a forked tongue . . 

* They claim they’re protecting “the little guy” from “the fat cats,” when in reality . . .

* The State actually works for the fat cats (though in an unreliable Mafia kind of way).

A huge part of the business of politics involves conferring subsidies and special protections on favored companies and industries, making many of them near (or actual) monopolies that also happen to be “too big to fail.” Now here comes the latest example of monopoly creation by The State . . .

The Feds want to monopolize the user names and passwords that you employ on the Internet!


That sounds ominous, and it is. Will you be a “trusted entity,” or a distrusted one?

Of course, the Federal Statists claim that this “strategy” is for your own good. It’s supposed to protect you from identity theft, but it also exempts companies like Microsoft from the burden of creating safe products, while laying yet another brick in the wall of an embryonic police state.

President Bush and the Republicans started this criminal game of monopoly by passing the REAL ID Act, and by tapping all international U.S. phone and Internet communications without a warrant. Now President Obama and the Democrats are giving us NO CHANGE in any of these polices. Instead, they’re working hard to make things worse. This so-called “trusted entities strategy” is the latest example. And here’s more bad news . . .

The “strategy” was unveiled practically on the eve of our 4th of July (ironic), and the deadline for public comment was set for July 19th. You were on holiday. Congress was out of session for half of the comment period as well. This strikes us as a deliberate attempt to avoid scrutiny.

After that deadline Congress will likely defer to the Department of Homeland Security, because of their supposed expertise, and the wheels of bureaucracy will begin to grind you into assimilation. Next stop, one Internet password for you, imposed and controlled by The State. Is this what you want? If not, please act now. Two things are needed . . .

FIRST, we need to make our presence felt at the DHS comments page. Here is what I wrote, on the DHS comments page, under the headline, “NSTIC Should Have a 90 Day Comment Period” . . .
You unveiled the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace scheme practically on the eve of the July 4th holiday, when few would be paying attention, and then set an early deadline of July 19th for public comments. Did you want only a little, or perhaps no public scrutiny of this plan? Were you disinterested in public comments? You can disabuse me of these concerns by immediately extending the comment period to 90 days. At least that much time is required for public review of such a far reaching plan.
Your action is SIMPLEVOTE FOR my statement, and while you’re there . . .  



A) “Like” my statement on your Facebook page and/or Tweet it, and if you can, please . . .




B) Consider leaving a firm, but polite remark in the Comments section, beneath my statement, demonstrating your support.

Registration at their site is required, but you can comment anonymously.

OUR GOAL is to get this comment ranked the highest on the page! 
. . . by a wide margin!   
  
Right now, the favored companies are stuffing the ballot box, and they may even vote our idea down, so we need everyone — we need YOU.


You can borrow from or copy my sample letter . . .
I also object to the DHS scheme called a “National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace.” DHS snuck-out this plan right before the July 4th holiday, and then only allowed until the 19th for public comment. Please represent me by calling the DHS and asking them to extend the comment period to 90 days. Creating a monopoly identity system for the Internet is a very serious and frightening thing. It deserves serious scrutiny and time for debate. Please represent me in this matter.
END LETTER

Remember, first vote for my comment the DHS feedback page: http://tinyurl.com/26ow7j8
  
And then, use DownsizeDC.orgs Educate the Powerful System to send a letter to 


Please forward this to others and get them to take action too. Remember, July 19th is Monday!

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

c/o Los Angeles Times

Suppose Congress created a board to protect the privacy of Americans and no one showed up. That’s the bizarre reality of the five-member Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, all of whose five seats have been vacant since 2008. Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice) is pressing the Obama administration to fill the vacancies. In doing so, the president should choose individuals of sufficient experience and stature to act as watchdogs over the intelligence community and the Justice Department.

The board was originally established by Congress in 2004 and was raised to the status of an independent agency within the executive branch in 2007. Its mandate is to advise the administration when anti-terrorism policies threaten to trample civil liberties, and it has access to both public and classified information. It’s meant to complement, not replace, congressional oversight and investigations by the inspectors general of the Justice Department and the CIA. It also makes an annual report to Congress — or would, if it were reconstituted with new appointments.

Although it was the George W. Bush administration that inaugurated the illegal wiretapping of Americans suspected of being in contact with foreign terrorists, invasions of privacy are a constant danger in any intelligence program empowered to collect and scrutinize the personal and electronic records of U.S. citizens. The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is designed to help protect against abuses in advance so that we don’t have to conduct inquests after the fact.

Appropriately, anti-terrorism measures constantly are being refined to address new challenges. In a letter to Obama, Harman and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, cite policy changes proposed after the attempted destruction of an airliner on Christmas, including expanded watch lists and increased use of body-scanning technology at airports.

It would be naïve to think that the board always will prevail in its recommendations to Congress or the administration. Nor is it the only brake on ill-considered or legally dubious anti-terrorism initiatives. In addition to various inspectors general, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel is supposed to advise the administration and federal agencies of the legal limits on counter-intelligence operations and other tactics in the war on terrorism.

Stung by criticism of its inaction, the administration insists that it is considering candidates for the three Democratic seats on the board and expects congressional Republicans to recommend nominees for the other two seats soon. Better late than never, but the empty seats at the table more than a year into the Obama administration are an embarrassment.

Eloisa Tamez brought a class-action lawsuit against Homeland Security through which she hopes to force the government to pay a fair price for her property. But if she harbored any illusions that a change of administration in Washington would help resolve the issue, nearly a year of non-action on immigration and border justice by Obama has disabused her for such notions.

“Obama and [Homeland Security Secretary Janet] Napolitano have done nothing but take the place of the previous administration. It’s just a new name with the same policies. We have been totally abandoned,” she said.

Now the Good Neighbor Environmental Board has come up with some ideas for Obama.

In a December 2 letter, the advisory board dedicated to matters pertaining to U.S.-Mexico borderlands environmental justice wrote that while the wall was “mandated” by Congress and had “some positive outcomes” that “the construction has caused negative impacts on natural and cultural resources. For instance, the wall has been blamed for flooding on the Mexican side of the river in cities such as Nogales, Sonoyta, and Palomas. Construction also unearthed Native American burial sites of both the Tohono O’odham and the Kymeyaay, and failed to allow room for migration wildlife.

In a series of recommendations to the President, the group urged that those elements of the REAL ID Act that had allowed former Homeland Secretary Michael Chertoff to waive dozens of other federal laws to build the wall be repealed and that future “border security infrastructure” conform to federal environmental laws under the National Environmental Policy Act.

Border Wall activist Scott Nicol of the No Border Wall Coalition said repealing the REAL ID Act section is critical.

“Much of the environmental damage that the Environmental Board wants to address would never have occurred if DHS was required to obey all of nation’s laws. It is because DHS failed to act responsibly from the beginning that there is now a need for monitoring and mitigation of the severe damage that they have inflicted upon border communities and refuges,” Nichol wrote in an email to the Current. “Border walls in Texas are in clear violation of the endangered species act, and DHS never released any studies proving that the walls stuffed into the Rio Grande’s flood control levees do not put communities at risk. Hopefully President Obama will reverse the Bush-era policies, and implement the Board’s recommendations.”

Will actually grasping the Nobel Peace Prize on Thursday convert Obama into a border-loving justice hound? We can only hope.

CLG>>By DEVLIN BARRETT (AP) – 2 days ago

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder says a lawsuit in San Francisco over warrantless wiretapping threatens to expose ongoing intelligence work and must be thrown out.

In making the argument, the Obama administration agreed with the Bush administration’s position on the case but insists it came to the decision differently. A civil liberties group criticized the move Friday as a retreat from promises President Barack Obama made as a candidate.

Holder’s effort to stop the lawsuit marks the first time the administration has tried to invoke the state secrets privilege under a new policy it launched last month designed to make such a legal argument more difficult.

Under the state secrets privilege, the government can have a lawsuit dismissed if hearing the case would jeopardize national security.

The Bush administration invoked the privilege numerous times in lawsuits over various post-9/11 programs, but the Obama administration recently announced that only a limited number of senior Justice Department officials would be able to make such decisions. It also agreed to provide confidential information to the courts in such cases.

Under the new approach, an agency trying to keep such information secret would have to convince the attorney general and a panel of Justice Department lawyers that its release would compromise national security.

Holder said that in the current case, that review process convinced him “there is no way for this case to move forward without jeopardizing ongoing intelligence activities that we rely upon to protect the safety of the American people.”

The lawsuit was filed by a group of individuals who claimed the government illegally monitored their communications. To proceed with the case, Holder said, would expose intelligence sources and methods.

Holder said U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, who is handling the case, was given a classified description of why the case must be dismissed so that the court can “conduct its own independent assessment of our claim.”

The attorney general said the judge would decide whether the administration had made a valid claim and “we will respect the outcome of that process.”

That is a departure from the Bush administration, which resisted providing specifics to judges handling such cases about what the national security concerns were.
Kevin Bankston, a lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group in San Francisco that is pursuing a similar lawsuit against the government, called Holder’s decision “incredibly disappointing.”

“The Obama administration has essentially adopted the position of the Bush administration in these cases, even though candidate Obama was incredibly critical of both the warrantless wiretapping program and the Bush administration’s abuse of the state secrets privilege,” said Bankston.