Calif. Delegation Meets With Dreamers

October 19, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

California members of Congress were in Los Angeles Wednesday where they held a roundtable discussion with young immigrants currently protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and by Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA-12) — joined by Congress members Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Judy Chu (CA-27), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) and other local leaders — said during a post-discussion press conference at the headquarters of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights CHIRLA, that federal lawmakers are working to pass  “clean” legislation that would give the young immigrants, often referred to as “dreamers,” permanent legal status, but not tied to construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Pelosi and the Democrats said by the end of the year they hope to have the votes needed to pass the Dream Act 2017, a bipartisan bill introduced by Roybal-Allard, a Democrat, and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican.

“All we need is to vote,” said Pelosi, adding that “dreamers” have led a dignified crusade to get support for the bill. “The president must support this legislation because the American people are supporting it,” Pelosi said.

Twenty Republican votes are needed to move the Dream Act forward, according to Pelosi, who pointed out that some of the votes belong to Republicans from California. She said it’s a “marathon race” to the goal, suggesting that a vote could come before Thanksgiving Day.

Roybal-Allard said failure to pass the Dream Act would cause dreamers, who “have lived in this country” … and “built their lives here,” to “continue to live in fear of deportation, and … to “live in a world where they will not be able to grow and to contribute to their communities.”

“They gave their information, they signed up for DACA, believing in this country. And to do anything else but to protect them by passing the Dream Act is a betrayal, and would be a disgrace and a very ugly mark on this country,” Roybal-Allard said.

For Congressman Jimmy Gomez, who represents a large number of dreamers, Pelosi’s remarks are not only about a political strategy but also about public opinion in the country, including among conservatives.

“We know that 82 percent of Americans support ‘dreamers’, the debate will not end until this bill has been approved,” Gomez said.

“Definitely, the only weapon is to put pressure on these (Republican) congressmen who have already expressed their support and are repenting,” said DACA recipient and roundtable participant Mariana Villafaña.

Although Villafaña is not completely convinced public opinion can change the minds of Republicans, she believes the key is to target districts whose legislators are at risk of losing their seat to a Democrat.

CHIRLA Executive Director Angélica Salas asked that the immigrant community to not miss this “crucial” moment and to continue the struggle for “dreamers.”

Pelosi said she understands the frustration of dreamers who say they reject any strategy to legalize their status that does not also include legalization for all 11 million immigrants in the country without authorization, but stressed that as of now there is not enough “political capital” to achieve that goal.

“I would have liked to hear a little more force in the demands of the conservatives, but I understand that this is a strategy and we have no choice but to continue this struggle. December is the goal,” said Villafaña.

Democrats have threatened to block in the coming months any legislation Congress needs to keep the government going, such as the new federal budget for which Trump needs the support of Liberals if he wants to avoid a government shutdown.

Pelosi was optimistic Wednesday, going so far as to say she is “confident that President Trump will accept the negotiations and sign the law.”

Officials Lash Out Against Suggestion to ‘Shrink’ Size of Some National Monuments

August 24, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, created by President Barack Obama in 2014 and placed under review in April by President Donald Trump, would likely remain in place, but could potentially shrink, under recommendations submitted to the White House today by U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Zinke did not reveal any specifics about his recommendations on the fate of more than two dozen monuments under review across the country. But he said the recommendations “will maintain federal ownership of all federal land and protect the land under federal environmental regulations, and also provide a much needed change for the local communities who border and rely on these lands
for hunting and fishing, economic development, traditional uses and recreation.”San Gab Mon WEB Featurestelprd3829626

Zinke told the Associated Press earlier Thursday that he was not recommending the elimination of any of the national monuments under review, but some of them might be reduced in size. He did not provide any specifics.

A summary of Zinke’s report released by the Interior Department also did not give any specifics about the recommendations.

His failure to publicly reveal any details of his recommendations earned him rebukes from some Southland Democrats.

“The American people have the right to see his entire report,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said. “A proposal to strip protections from public lands should be made public immediately.”

Trump’s executive order in April demanded the review of monuments designated since 1996 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.”

Zinke’s report concurred with the need for the study, noting that the Antiquities Act had been used by presidents 26 times since 1996 to create monuments more than 100,000 acres in size.

“No president should use the authority under the act to restrict public access, preventing hunting and fishing, burden private land or eliminate traditional land uses, unless such action is needed to protect the object,” according to the report. It goes on to note that the use of “executive power” under the act “is not a substitute for a lack of congressional action on protective land designations.”

Obama created the 346,000-acre San Gabriel Mountains monument northeast of Los Angeles via executive order. Rep. Judy Chu, D-Pasadena, had originally pushed to have 600,000 acres of the mountain range declared a national monument, but never gained traction for the idea in Congress.

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. (Photo courtesy of 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. (Photo courtesy of Office of U.S. Rep. Judy Chu)

Some Republican lawmakers criticized Obama’s action 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 also lashed out at Zinke for failing to publicly disclose specifics of his recommendations, and indicating only that he was suggesting size-reductions for a “handful” of the monuments under review.

“At the behest of oil companies eager to drill in protected lands, Donald Trump ordered a review of 27 of America’s most beloved national monuments,” Chu said. “Now, after visiting just eight of them, Secretary Zinke is ignoring the outpouring of public support from 2.7 million Americans and recommending that an undetermined number be altered.

“The public deserves to see the complete list of recommendations that were sent to the White House,” she said. “That he is not recommending any of the monuments be eliminated, as was intended at the start of the review, is an acknowledgement that these monuments all comport with the Antiquities Act. And so he is seeking to change them to cater to corporate interests instead.”

Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-El Monte, echoed Chu’s sentiments, saying Zinke and the Trump administration “have shut out the voices of the public, turning a review of some of our precious monuments into one of the least transparent and most complicated federal processes.”

Zinke’s recommendations will be reviewed by Trump, who will have the final say over any possible changes. Some environmental groups have already indicated they would file legal challenges to any effort to change the boundaries of any national monuments.

Lucha Por Mantener las Montañas de San Gabriel un Monumento Nacional

August 23, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Los activistas locales su unieron a la Representante de los Estados Unidos Judy Chu (centro) el martes en el Parque Histórico Estatal de Los Ángeles para apoyar el monumento continuo para cientos de miles de acres de las montañas San Gabriel. (Oficina de representante Judy Chu)

Los activistas locales su unieron a la Representante de los Estados Unidos Judy Chu (centro) el martes en el Parque Histórico Estatal de Los Ángeles para apoyar el monumento continuo para cientos de miles de acres de las montañas San Gabriel. (Oficina de representante Judy Chu)

Funcionarios y activistas demócratas se reunieron el martes en apoyo al Monumento Nacional de las Montañas San Gabriel, expresando su preocupación porque la extensión de 346,000 acres de terreno al noreste de Los Ángeles podría ser amenazada bajo una revisión pendiente ordenada por el presidente Donald Trump.

“Queremos que nuestro Monumento a San Gabriel permanezca como esta y queremos espacios al aire libre, naturaleza y aire fresco para la gente del Condado de Los Ángeles”, dijo la representante Judy Chu, D-Pasadena, en una conferencia de prensa en el Parque Histórico de Los Ángeles (Los Angeles Historic Park).

El monumento es uno de los más de cuatro docenas puestos bajo escrutinio por Trump, quien emitió una orden ejecutiva en abril pidiendo una revisión de monumentos designados bajo la Ley de Antigüedades (Antiquities Act) de 1906, que otorga al presidente la autoridad para declarar tierras federales de valor histórico o científico como monumentos nacionales.

Trump dijo que su orden ejecutiva “pondría fin a otro flagrante abuso del poder federal” y “devolvería ese poder a los estados y a la gente, en donde pertenece”.

También dijo que la Ley de Antigüedades “unilateralmente puso millones de acres de tierra y agua bajo estricto control federal…eliminando la habilidad de las personas que viven en esos estados para decidir la mejor manera de usar esa tierra”.

El monumento de las Montañas San Gabriel fue creado por el presidente Barack Obama por orden ejecutiva en 2014. Algunos legisladores republicanos criticaron el movimiento en ese momento, diciendo que restringiría el acceso a tierras públicas y tendría un impacto negativo en los recursos hídricos, las instalaciones de control de inundaciones y las carreteras.

Chu era una defensora importante de la designación del monumento. Ella había empujado originalmente a tener 600.000 hectáreas de la cordillera declarada como un monumento nacional.

El representante Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, también habló a favor de mantener el monumento en su forma actual, y criticó la orden de Trump que ordenaba la revisión.

“También no sabemos por qué monumentos específicos, incluyendo el Monumento Nacional de las Montañas San Gabriel, fueron atacados y no otros”, dijo Schiff. “Nuestra conjetura es simple: el presidente Trump, en su celo de estar en contra de cualquier cosa que el presidente Obama haya hecho, no importa lo que sea, está en contra de esto también”.

El secretario de Estados Unidos, Ryan Zinke, anunciará los resultados de su revisión y las recomendaciones de la semana, a más tardar el jueves.

Zinke ya ha concluido su revisión de varios otros monumentos, recomendando que no haiga cambios. Entre ellos estaba el Monumento Nacional de la Arena a la Nieve (Sand to Snow National Monument), una extensión de 154,000 acres en la zona silvestre de San Gorgonio del Bosque Nacional de San Bernandino, que se extiende en los condados de Riverside y San Bernandino.

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.

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