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Immigration looms as critical issue

Building the ‘wall,’ funding ‘sanctuary cities,’ saving DACA about to explode



Rep. Judy Chu at Save DACA news conference. (Photo courtesy CHIRLA)

The nation is about to convulse as President Trump presses forward with his anti-immigration campaign promises. Undocumented LGBT immigrants face particularly high risks since most of the countries from which they fled have brutal attitudes, harsh penalties, even death, for being LGBT or HIV-positive and the asylum process is too complicated and culturally incompetent to complete.

In a campaign rally speech in Phoenix, Ariz. on Tuesday, Trump threatened to shut down the federal government if he does not get federal funding to build the border wall along the U.S. southern border, even though he pledged repeatedly that Mexico would pay for it.

This comes as Congress returns from its summer recess and faces a new budget debate, raising the debt ceiling, a long-promised tax reform bill and Trump’s push to kill Obamacare. “If we have to close down that government,” President Trump said as if he was still a campaigning outsider, “we are going to build that wall.”

Meanwhile, the City of Los Angeles is fighting back against Trump’s threats to sanctuary cities. In the beginning of August, the Department of Justice sent threatening letters to the cities of San Bernardino and Stockton in California, as well as Albuquerque, New Mexico and Baltimore, warning them that federal funding will be withheld if they refuse to give federal immigration officials access to detention facilities, according to The Hill newspaper. Additionally, those cities must alert Homeland Security 48 hours before releasing an immigrant from custody.

“[A] commitment to reducing crime stemming from illegal immigration” is now a prerequisite to receive funding through the DOJ’s Public Safety Partnership Program, the letters said, thus compromising those cities’ ability to fight violent crime through federal training and technical assistance.

“By protecting criminals from immigration enforcement, cities and states with so-called ‘sanctuary’ policies make all of us less safe,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement.

The DOJ has not yet targeted Los Angeles, which Mayor Eric Garcetti has proudly proclaimed is a sanctuary city. Nonetheless, on Tuesday, City Atty. Mike Feuer joined a lawsuit filed earlier by San Francisco in U.S. District Court asking the judge to strike down those DOJ rules. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra previously announced that the state is joining the lawsuit, as well.

Feuer argues that the DOJ rules “violate the separation of powers laid out in the country’s Constitution, which give Congress, not the executive branch, control of government purse strings,” according to the LA Times. “The Trump administration is overreaching, and we’re going to fight it,” Feuer told reporters at a City Hall news conference. “We’re going to fight because the administration would put Los Angeles to the untenable choice of risking a key public safety grant or making the LAPD an arm of federal immigration policy.”

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck has publicly committed to continuing a policy started by former chief Bill Bratton to not cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or do their jobs for them. The LAPD policy is to promote community policing which encourages all people—regardless of their immigration status—to report crimes as victims or witnesses.

LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell asserted a similar policy. “Enforcement of immigration laws is the responsibility of the federal government,” McDonnell said in a statement. “The men and women of the Sheriff’s Department are focused on keeping our local communities safe, and will not detain or arrest any individual solely on suspicion of illegal presence in the United States.”

Several LGBT community organizations met with Sheriff’s Department officials on August 22 to discuss the department’s immigration policies and a pro-immigration bill passing through the state legislature now, SB 54, known as the California Values Act.

“Many LGBT immigrants have found a safe haven in California after experiencing persecution and physical abuse in their own countries,” Dave Garcia, LA LGBT Center’s Director of Policy and Community Building, said in a statement before the community forum. “For that reason, we stand not only with our LGBT brothers and sisters, but with all immigrants who have come here to escape poverty, discrimination, and violence in their homelands.”

Also on the political horizon is a confrontation over Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Last June—before the explosion of white supremacy in Charlottesville and Trump’s controversial response—officials from 10 Republican states sent a letter to Sessions to end the DACA program by Sept. 5 or risk a federal lawsuit.

“We respectfully request that the Secretary of Homeland Security phase out the DACA program,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wrote.
“I think we have to prepare for the worst and get ready to fight mass deportation,” Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois said in a statement before being arrested during a Save DACA demonstration in Washington DC on August 15, the 5th anniversary of the DACA immigration program.

“DACA has been one of the most beneficial immigration programs in decades, saving over 800,000 young immigrants from deportation. A significant number of these young DACA recipients are LGBT leaders in their communities and national vocal advocates,” Jorge-Mario Cabrera, the out Director of Communications for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), told the Los Angeles Blade before demonstrations in LA. “The contributions of these young people are numerous and President Trump must stand up against those bullying immigrants and keep DACA until Congress enacts a permanent solution for these young people and their families.”

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President Biden endorses Trans Virginia lawmaker for re-election

Roem, a former journalist, in 2018 became the first openly transgender person seated in any state legislature in the nation



Virginia state Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas) (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Tuesday endorsed Virginia state Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas) for re-election. Roem, a former journalist, in 2018 became the first openly transgender person seated in any state legislature in the nation.

Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax County) is among the other Democratic members of the Virginia House of Delegates who Biden backed. Biden in his tweet also stressed his support of Terry McAuliffe, who is running against Republican Glenn Youngkin to succeed Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam.

“Building back better starts in the states,” tweeted Biden. “Since flipping the legislature in 2019, Virginia Democrats have been a model of progress—including helping us vaccinate folks to beat the pandemic. To keep our progress, we must elect Terry McAuliffe and Democrats up and down the ballot.”

Biden called Roem on the night she defeated then-state Del. Bob Marshall and congratulated her. A Washington Post picture that showed Roem crying moments later went viral.

The Manassas Democrat who represents the 13th District in 2019 easily won re-election. Christopher Stone, the Republican who is running against Roem in this cycle, opposes marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples.

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Anti-gay Daily Wire host says 2 men shouldn’t be allowed to adopt babies

” […] because babies need mothers. They also need fathers, which is why two women shouldn’t be allowed either.”



Screenshot of Matt Walsh via YouTube (Blade file photo)

NASHVILLE – Anti-LGBTQ Daily Wire podcast and YouTuber Matt Walsh joined the growing chorus of far-right and conservative voices outraged that U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg went on paternity leave from his job in August after he and his husband Chasten had adopted two children.

On his show Monday Walsh not only criticized Buttigieg, but he attacked same-sex couples adopting children altogether.

It’s absurd for any public employee, paid on taxpayer dime, to be given that much time off. Now, you can make an argument for women on maternity leave but not for men. Paternity leave is a nice luxury for private companies that can afford it. The U.S. government is not a private company – it’s a public institution, deeply in debt, failing in just about every way and everywhere. So this is not a time and not the place for those kinds of luxuries. But that’s the somewhat safer point to make, right? You are in a much more hazardous place, you are in more hazardous waters when you go away from that and, instead, you start saying mildly critical things about paternity leave in general as a concept.”

I also didn’t say that there’s nothing at all for a man to do for his family after a child is born. I said that as far as caring for the newborn himself, most of that is going to be done by the mother. She, in most cases, will be feeding the child. The child also needs and wants his mother’s presence, his mother’s touch, her voice. The father should be interacting with the baby also, obviously, but the infant is far more focused on his mother at that age. And needs his mother more. There is no mother in the Buttigieg household, but that doesn’t change the point here.”

Babies need their mothers, which is why two men shouldn’t be allowed to adopt babies in the first place. And the outrage mob can now start a secondary campaign over that comment. But I’ll say it again. Two men should not be allowed to adopt babies because babies need mothers. They also need fathers, which is why two women shouldn’t be allowed either.

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Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell dies at 84

Powell, leaving mixed legacy on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ was key figure once opposed gays in military, then backed review



President Barack Obama & former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Oval Office, Dec. 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

BETHESDA, Md. – General Colin Powell, the nation’s first Black U.S. Secretary of State, who served in the top diplomatic and military leadership roles in the presidencies of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. and George W. Bush died Monday at Walter Reed National Medical Center at age 84.

“We want to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their caring treatment,” the Powell family said in its statement. “We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American.”

Secretary Powell is the first high-profile public figure to die as a result of a so-called breakthrough infection of the novel (COVID-19) coronavirus. Powell was fully vaccinated, according to Peggy Cifrino, Powell’s longtime aide, who posted the family’s statement to social media after his death. Powell reportedly suffered from multiple myeloma, a condition that hampers an individual’s ability to combat blood infections.

For the LGBTQ+ community, Powell leaves a mixed legacy. Rising to the top of the military as chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Powell supported in 1993 Congress moving forward with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a law that barred openly gay people from serving in the U.S. military.

During a key moment congressional testimony, Powell and other top military officials were asked whether or not allowing gay people in the military would be compatible with military readiness. Each official, including Powell,” responded “incompatible.” Congress would enact “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” that year.

Things changed when President Barack Obama took office 15 years later and advocates for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” were eager to claim Powell’s voice among their ranks. After all, Powell was highly respected as a bipartisan voice after having served as secretary of state in the administration of George W. Bush and endorsing Obama in the 2008 election.

In October 2008, he endorsed Barack Obama as he was weeks away from being elected the nation’s first African-American president. “I think he is a transformational figure,” Powell said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

After the Obama administration in 2010 announced it would conduct a review of the idea of allowing gay people to serve openly in the military, Powell came out in support of that process. Advocates of repeal called that a declaration of reversal, although the statement fell short of a full support for gay people serving openly in the military.

“In the almost 17 years since the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed,” Powell said in a statement issued by his office, adding, “I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week by Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen.” He added, “I will be closely following future hearings, the views of the Service Chiefs and the implementation work being done by the Department of Defense.”

Congress acted to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the policy was lifted in 2011. At the time, Powell was widely considered a supporter of ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and publicly counted among supporters of repeal.

In 2012, Powell had similar vaguely supportive words on same-sex marriage, saying he had “no problem with it” when asked about the issue.

“As I’ve thought about gay marriage, I know a lot of friends who are individually gay but are in partnerships with loved ones, and they are as stable a family as my family is, and they raise children,” Powell said. “And so I don’t see any reason not to say that they should be able to get married.”

The White House released a statement from President Joe Biden reacting to the news of Powell’s death, The President also ordered the flag of the United States be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset on October 22, 2021 as a mark of respect for Powell.

Jill and I are deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend and a patriot of unmatched honor and dignity, General Colin Powell.  
The son of immigrants, born in New York City, raised in Harlem and the South Bronx, a graduate of the City College of New York, he rose to the highest ranks of the United States military and to advise four presidents. He believed in the promise of America because he lived it. And he devoted much of his life to making that promise a reality for so many others.
As a Senator, I worked closely with him when he served as National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as Secretary of State. Over our many years working together – even in disagreement – Colin was always someone who gave you his best and treated you with respect.
Colin embodied the highest ideals of both warrior and diplomat. He was committed to our nation’s strength and security above all. Having fought in wars, he understood better than anyone that military might alone was not enough to maintain our peace and prosperity. From his front-seat view of history, advising presidents and shaping our nation’s policies, Colin led with his personal commitment to the democratic values that make our country strong. Time and again, he put country before self, before party, before all else—in uniform and out—and it earned him the universal respect of the American people.
Having repeatedly broken racial barriers, blazing a trail for others to follow in Federal Government service, Colin was committed throughout his life to investing in the next generation of leadership. Whether through his care for the women and men serving under his command and the diplomats he led, or through the work he shared with his wife Alma at the America’s Promise Alliance to lift up young people, or through his years leading the Eisenhower Fellowships, Colin’s leadership always included a focus on future.
Above all, Colin was my friend. Easy to share a laugh with. A trusted confidant in good and hard times. He could drive his Corvette Stingray like nobody’s business—something I learned firsthand on the race track when I was Vice President. And I am forever grateful for his support of my candidacy for president and for our shared battle for the soul of the nation. I will miss being able to call on his wisdom in the future.
Jill and I are sending all our love and strength to Alma, their children, Linda, Annemarie, and Michael, their grandchildren, and the entire Powell family.  Our nation mourns with you.
Colin Powell was a good man.
He will be remembered as one of our great Americans.

Former President Obama noted;

“General Powell was an exemplary soldier and an exemplary patriot. He was at the center of some of the most consequential events of our lifetimes…. And although he’d be the first to acknowledge that he didn’t get every call right, his actions reflected what he believed was best for America and the people he served.

“Along the way, General Powell helped a generation of young people set their sights higher. He never denied the role that race played in his own life and in our society more broadly. But he also refused to accept that race would limit his dreams, and through his steady and principled leadership, helped pave the way for so many who would follow.”

Former President George W. Bush in a statement said:

He was a great public servant, starting with his time as a soldier during Vietnam. Many presidents relied on General Powell’s counsel and experience.

He was such a favorite of presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom – twice. He was highly respected at home and abroad. And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend.”

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