Trump Rescinds DACA: 800,000 Recipients at Risk

September 5, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Southland Democratic leaders and immigrant advocates lashed out harshly today at the Trump Administration decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has protected an estimated 800,000 people – including more than 242,000 in California – who were brought to the country as children from deportation.

Activists immediately planned to take to the streets to protest the move, which was announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on behalf of President Donald Trump.

Trump Terminates DACA: Protesters begin to gather at L.A. City Hall for march to federal building. (EGP photo by Fred Zermeno)

Trump Terminates DACA: Protesters begin to gather at L.A. City Hall for march to federal building. (EGP photo by Fred Zermeno)

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Los Angeles, called the president’s decision to rescind the program “outrageous.” This is a “heartbreaking day for the US and the bright young DACA recipients who know no home but America,” she said on Twitter.

Under the action by the Trump Administration, Congress will be given six months to attempt to pass legislation addressing DACA before the program is phased out.

Congresswoman Grace Napolitano, D-El Monte, also on Twitter, urged all her “Republican colleagues to join us & take action to #ProtectDreamers! #DefendDACA!”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said, “President Trump’s action on DACA is cruel — it threatens to tear families apart, put our economy at risk, and will do nothing to unify America or make us more secure.”

“Today’s decision is a giant setback for America, because all our children should feel safe and accepted in a country that belongs to them,” Garcetti said. “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals has allowed close to 800,000 ambitious, patriotic young people to start careers, stay in school, and
give back to our communities without fear of being torn from the people they love.”

The mayor also urged congress to act quickly on legislation: “… They belong here. And we’ll fight for them to stay.”

In defending the decision, Trump said President Barack Obama over-stepped his authority in creating the DACA program.

“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,” Trump said. “The typical recipients of this executive amnesty, known as DACA, are in their 20s. Legislation offering these same benefits had been introduced in Congress on numerous occasions and rejected each time.”

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

He noted that officials from 10 states are suing over the program, and his legal advisers have determined that it is “unlawful and unconstitutional and cannot be successfully defended in court.”

Those arguments did little to appease Democratic lawmakers.

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, said DACA recipients “make our nation strong and represent the best of America” and rescinding the program “undermines our nation’s values and is a cruel betrayal” of DREAMers. Rep.Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, criticized the “cruel and arbitrary attack” on them.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, urged Congress to move forward with legislation known as the DREAM Act that would provide a path to citizenship for DREAMers — the term used for DACA recipients.

“Failure to protect young people who have come out of the shadows would constitute an abject moral failure,” Feinstein said.

Officials with the Service Employees International Union decried what it called a “shameful attack” against DACA beneficiaries.

The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles said members were ready to gather at the offices of Republican legislators, including Rep. Steven Knight in Santa Clarita and Rep. Mimi Walters in Irvine, as well as Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s office in Bakersfield.

Additionally, scores of workers and community members planned a midday march through downtown L.A. from the steps of City Hall to the federal building on the 200 block of east Temple Street.

Introduced by Obama in 2012, DACA allows people who were brought into the United States illegally as children to work and study in the country without fear of being deported. DACA has been available to immigrants without criminal records who were brought to the country when they were younger than 16 years old. Work permits issued under DACA must be renewed every two years.

Trump has taken a hard stance against illegal immigration, but until recently had not given a strong indication of whether he would keep DACA in place.

Asked over the weekend whether DACA recipients should be worried, Trump responded, “We love the DREAMers. We love everybody. … We think the DREAMers are terrific.”

Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, is one of many elected officials of both parties who have criticized the president’s plans.

“Trump’s cowardly decision to end DACA goes against the very forces that have made America an exceptional country,” Lieu said. “Deporting hundreds of thousands of Asians and Latinos — nearly half of whom were brought to the U.S. before the age of 7 — is not only cruel, it will hurt our economy.”

EGP staff writers contributed to this report.

San Gabriel Mountains’ Monument Status In Danger

August 23, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Democratic elected officials and activists gathered Tuesday in support of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, expressing concern that the 346,000-acre expanse of land northeast of Los Angeles could be threatened under a pending review ordered by President Donald Trump.

“We want our San Gabriel Monument to stay as it is, and we want outdoor spaces, nature

At a news conference in Los Angeles Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (center) called on the Trump administration to keep in place the monument status of 346,000-acres of the San Gabriel Mountains. Chu was joined at Los Angeles Historic Park by fellow Congressmen Adam Schiff and Jimmy Gomez, and local activists who questioned the singling out of some monuments but not others. (Photo courtesy Office of U.S. Rep. Judy Chu)

At a news conference in Los Angeles Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (center) called on the Trump administration to keep in place the monument status of 346,000-acres of the San Gabriel Mountains. Chu was joined at Los Angeles Historic Park by fellow Congressmen Adam Schiff and Jimmy Gomez, and local activists who questioned the singling out of some monuments but not others. (Photo courtesy Office of U.S. Rep. Judy Chu)

and fresh air for the people of Los Angeles County,” Rep. Judy Chu, D-Pasadena, said at a news conference at Los Angeles Historic Park.

The monument is one of more than four dozen placed under scrutiny by Trump, who issued an executive order in April calling for a review of monuments designated under the Antiquities Act of 1906, which grants the president authority to declare federal lands of historic or scientific value as national monuments.

Trump said his executive order would “end another egregious abuse of federal power” and “give that power back to the states and to the people, where it belongs.”

He also said the Antiquities Act “unilaterally put millions of acres of land and water under strict federal control … eliminating the ability of the people who actually live in those states to decide how best to use that land.”

The San Gabriel Mountains monument was created by President Barack Obama by executive order in 2014. Some Republican lawmakers criticized the move at the time, saying it would restrict access to public land and have a negative impact on water resources, flood control facilities and roads.

Chu was a major proponent of the monument designation. She had originally pushed to have 600,000 acres of the mountain range declared a national monument.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, also spoke in favor of maintaining the monument in its current form, and criticized Trump’s order mandating the review.

“We also don’t know why specific monuments, including the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, were targeted and not others,” Schiff said. “Our guess is simple — President Trump, in his zeal to be against anything President Obama did, no matter what it is, is against this too.”

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is expected to announce the results of his review and any recommendations this week, no later than Thursday.

Zinke has already concluded his review of several other monuments, recommending no changes. Among those was the Sand to Snow National Monument, a 154,000-acre expanse in the San Gorgonio wilderness area of the San Bernardino National Forest, stretching into both Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Schiff to Propose Federal Ban on Keeping Orcas in Captivity

November 6, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

In what could be another major blow to SeaWorld, Rep. Adam Schiff announced today he plans to introduce federal legislation that would ban the captivity of orcas.

“The evidence is very strong that the psychological and physical harm done to these magnificent animals far outweighs any benefits reaped from their display,” said Schiff, D-Burbank. “We cannot be responsible stewards of our natural environment and propagate messages about the importance of animal welfare when our behaviors do not reflect our principles.”

Schiff said his proposed Orca Responsibility and Care Advancement (ORCA) Act would phase out the captivity of orcas, so no future generations of killer whales can be kept on display.

The legislation would effectively end the famed Shamu killer whale shows at SeaWorld parks in San Diego and around the country.

Jill Kermes, senior corporate affairs officers for SeaWorld Entertainment, said the proposed legislation is misguided, saying SeaWorld and other science-based groups “are part of the solution, not the problem.”

“Killer whales at SeaWorld are healthy and thriving and through conservation and rescue efforts as well as significant work to advance the scientific understanding of orcas and other marine mammals, SeaWorld is a leader in protecting and preserving these species,” Kermes said.

“We have not captured a whale in the wild in 35 years — and we will not do so,” Kermes said. “Through our work with scientists, conservation leaders and the government, SeaWorld is ensuring that all animals in human care are treated with the dignity and respect they require and deserve.”

The San Diego theme park already took a hit last month when the California Coastal Commission approved an expansion of its killer whale exhibit but ordered an end to the breeding of captive orcas at the park. That ban would also eventually phase out the Shamu exhibit.

SeaWorld plans to challenging the commission’s ruling.

SeaWorld has suffered dipping attendance since the release of the documentary film “Blackfish,” which focused on the treatment of orcas at the park.

On Monday, SeaWorld Entertainment CEO Joel Manby is expected to announce plans for a new attraction designed to boost attendance — possibly using some of the $100 million the park planned to spend on the expanded orca tanks.

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