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Danger list: A look at the Republican agenda for 2017

Republicans emerged from the November elections holding their greatest level of power in decades. Not only will Republicans control the White House and Congress, but the GOP also will hold 33 governors’ offices and have majorities in 33 state legislatures. A look at the GOP agenda for state legislative sessions.

ABORTION

• Ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

• Ban dilation and extraction abortions, a procedure more commonly used in the second trimester.

• Lengthen the time women must wait to have an abortion after receiving counseling about its effects.

• Block government funding from going to abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood.

BUSINESSES

• Reduce or eliminate corporate income taxes.

• Relax business regulations and professional licensing requirements.

EDUCATION

• Expand the availability of vouchers, scholarships or tax credits that allow taxpayer money to cover K-12 tuition costs at private schools.

• Expand opportunities for charter schools.

GUNS

• Allow people with concealed gun permits to carry weapons on college campuses.

• Reduce the costs for concealed gun permits and ensure that permits from one state are recognized elsewhere.

•  Allow people to carry concealed guns without needing permits or going through training.

LAWSUITS

• Limit how much money plaintiffs can win in medical malpractice and personal injury cases.

• Restrict where lawsuits can be filed in an attempt to prevent plaintiffs from bringing suit in jurisdictions perceived to be favorable.=

• Restrict who can qualify to provide expert witness testimony.

• Reduce the rates used to calculate interest on monetary judgments.

UNIONS

• Enact right-to-work laws, which prohibit workplace contracts that have mandatory union fees.

• Restrict the collective bargaining powers of public employee unions.

• Require members of public employee unions to annually affirm their desire for dues to be deducted from paychecks.

• Curtail or repeal prevailing wage laws, which set minimum pay scales on public construction projects.

On the Web

Pew’s Stateline reports.

 

 

What the 114th Congress did and didn’t do

Congress has wrapped up the 114th session, a tumultuous two years marked by the resignation of a House speaker, a fight over a Supreme Court vacancy, bipartisan bills on health care and education and inaction on immigration and criminal justice.

The new Congress will be sworn-in Jan. 3.

What Congress passed or approved

  • A hard-fought budget and debt agreement that provided two years of relief from unpopular automatic budget cuts and extended the government’s borrowing cap through next March.
  • The end of a 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports.
  • A rescue package for financially strapped Puerto Rico, creating an oversight board to supervise some debt restructuring and negotiate with creditors.
  • A sweeping biomedical bill that would help drug and medical device companies win swifter government approval of their products, boost disease research and drug-abuse spending and revamp federal mental health programs. It would also include money for preventing and treating abuse of addictive drugs like opioids.
  • The first overhaul of the Toxic Substances Control Act since it was approved in 1976.
  • A sweeping rewrite of education law, giving states more power to decide how to use the results of federally mandated math and reading tests in evaluating teachers and schools.
  • An aviation bill that attempts to close gaps in airport security and shorten screening lines.
  • An extension of a federal loan program that provides low-interest money to the neediest college students.
  • The USA Freedom Act, which extends some expiring surveillance provisions of the USA Patriot Act passed after the 9/11 attacks.
  • A bipartisan measure that recasts how Medicare reimburses doctors for treating over 50 million elderly people.
  • Legislation reviving the federal Export-Import Bank, a small federal agency that makes and guarantees loans to help foreign customers buy U.S. goods.
  • $1.1 billion to combat the threat of the Zika virus.
  • Defense legislation rebuffing President Barack Obama’s attempts to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and blocking the Pentagon from starting a new round of military base closings.
  • Legislation authorizing hundreds of water projects, including measures to help Flint, Michigan, rid its water of poisonous lead, and to allow more of California’s limited water resources to flow to Central Valley farmers hurt by the state’s lengthy drought.
  • Expanded law enforcement tools to target sex traffickers.
  • Legislation that would tighten several security requirements of the visa waiver program, which allows citizens of 38 countries to travel to the U.S. without visas.
  • Cybersecurity legislation that would encourage companies to share cyber-threat information with the government.
  • A renewal of health care and disability payments to 9/11 first responders who worked in the toxic ruins of the World Trade Center.
  • A bill allowing families of Sept. 11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. courts for its alleged backing of the attackers, enacted in Obama’s first veto override.
  • A permanent ban on state and local government Internet taxes.
  • A bill that boosts government suicide prevention efforts for military veterans.
  • Confirmation of Eric Fanning to be Army secretary, making him the first openly gay leader of a U.S. military service.
  • The election of a new House speaker, Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

What Congress did not pass or approve

  • Confirmation of Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland.
  • Confirmation of 51 federal judges nominated by Obama, including 44 district court nominees and seven appeals court nominees.
  • Gun control legislation.
  • Bills that would have halted federal payments to Planned Parenthood.
  • Comprehensive or incremental changes to immigration law.
  • $1 trillion worth of agency budget bills that will be kicked into next year, complicated by a familiar battle over the balance between Pentagon spending and domestic programs and a desire by Republicans to get a better deal next year from the Trump administration. Congress passed a four-month extension of current spending instead.
  • A bipartisan criminal justice bill that would have reduced some mandatory sentences for low-level drug offenders and increased rehabilitation programs.
  • The first comprehensive energy bill in nearly a decade, which would speed exports of liquefied natural gas and create a new way to budget for wildfires.
  • War powers for Obama to fight Islamic State militants.
  • A bill forcing the president to allow construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada. Obama rejected the pipeline in 2015 after seven years of indecision.
  • The Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multinational trade agreement involving 11 other Pacific Rim countries. Congress did give the president Trade Promotion Authority, allowing Congress to ratify or reject trade agreements negotiated by the executive branch, but not change or filibuster them.
  • Child nutrition bills that would have scaled back the Obama administration’s standards for healthier school meals.

Defiant San Francisco vows to remain sanctuary city

A large crowd cheered as Mayor Ed Lee vowed that San Francisco will remain a sanctuary city for immigrants, gays and lesbians and religious minorities despite the election of a president who strikes fear into many of those communities.

President-elect Donald Trump has promised to cancel federal funding for any sanctuary city such as San Francisco that decline to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. He also said he plans to deport millions of criminals who are living in the country illegally.

“We will always be San Francisco,” said Lee from the Rotunda of City Hall as dozens of people roared with approval at an event that featured the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and a host of public elected officials.

“I know that there are a lot of people who are angry and frustrated and fearful, but our city’s never been about that. We have been and always have been a city of refuge, a city of sanctuary, a city of love.”

Lee said the city receives between $500 million and $1 billion a year from the federal government, largely for health and human services to homeless, veterans and others. It’s uncertain how the city would recoup that money should Trump make good on his promise to cut off sanctuary city funding,

Trump excoriated San Francisco last year when 32-year-old Kate Steinle was shot and killed by a Mexican native who said he had found a gun and it accidentally fired.

Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez had a federal detainer on him, but he was released from San Francisco’s jail after the district attorney declined to prosecute a decades-old marijuana sales charge. The sheriff at the time freed Lopez-Sanchez in keeping with city laws not to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

San Francisco’s sanctuary policy, which was tweaked and re-affirmed earlier this year, bars city employees from cooperating with federal immigration officials in deportation efforts. The law dates to 1989.

The current sheriff, Vicki Hennessy, also supports sanctuary policy as a public safety tool. Sanctuary advocates say people who live in the country illegally are more likely to report crimes to local police if they know they won’t be deported.

She said that she’s concerned but taking a wait-and-see approach to a Trump presidency

“I’m following Hillary Clinton’s advice in her concession speech, which was to give the new president a chance to lead, and hopefully he’ll lead with compassion and understanding, as well as making sure our cities are safe for everybody,” Hennessy said.

San Francisco mayor vows to remain sanctuary city

A large crowd cheered earlier this week as San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee vowed that the city will remain a sanctuary for immigrants, gays and lesbians and religious minorities despite the election of a president who strikes fear into many of those communities.

President-elect Donald Trump has promised to cancel federal funding for sanctuary cities such as San Francisco that decline to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. He also said he plans to deport millions of criminals who are living in the country illegally.

“We will always be San Francisco,” said Lee from the rotunda of city hall as dozens of people roared with approval at an event that featured the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and a host of public elected officials.

“I know that there are a lot of people who are angry and frustrated and fearful, but our city’s never been about that. We have been, and always have been, a city of refuge, a city of sanctuary, a city of love.”

San Francisco receives roughly $480 million directly from the federal government and more than $900 million from the state, much of it pass-through federal money, city Controller Ben Rosenfield said.

The largest share goes toward health care, but federal dollars also fund public assistance and infrastructure, he said. The city’s budget is $9.6 billion.

It’s uncertain how the city would recoup that money should Trump make good on his promise to cut off sanctuary cities.

Also reacting to Trump’s statements on deportations, Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck said his officers will stay out of immigration issues as they have for decades. “I don’t intend on doing anything different,” Beck told the Los Angeles Times on Monday.

“We are not going to engage in law enforcement activities solely based on somebody’s immigration status. We are not going to work in conjunction with Homeland Security on deportation efforts. That is not our job, nor will I make it our job,” Beck said.

Trump excoriated San Francisco last year when 32-year-old Kate Steinle was shot and killed by a Mexican native who said he had found a gun and it accidentally fired.

Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez had a federal detainer on him, but he was released from San Francisco’s jail after the district attorney declined to prosecute a decades-old marijuana sales charge. The sheriff at the time freed Lopez-Sanchez in keeping with city laws not to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

San Francisco’s sanctuary policy, which was tweaked and re-affirmed earlier this year, bars city employees from cooperating with federal immigration officials in deportation efforts except in rare situations. The law dates to 1989.

The current sheriff, Vicki Hennessy, also supports sanctuary policy as a public safety tool. Sanctuary advocates say people who live in the country illegally are more likely to report crimes to local police if they know they won’t be deported.

She said Monday that she’s concerned but taking a wait-and-see approach to a Trump presidency

“I’m following Hillary Clinton’s advice in her concession speech, which was to give the new president a chance to lead, and hopefully he’ll lead with compassion and understanding, as well as making sure our cities are safe for everybody,” Hennessy said.

Voces de la Frontera: We must now redouble our efforts

The immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera announced a series of community forums throughout Wisconsin following the victory of Donald Trump, who has vowed to build a wall on the Mexican border, conduct mass deportations and institute a ban on certain types of people coming to America.

The first forum will be at St. Rafael Catholic Church, 2059 S. 33rd St., Milwaukee, at 1 p.m. on Nov. 13.

The second forum will be at the Racine Labor Center, 2100 Layard Ave., Racine, at 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13.

Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera, issued this statement after the election:

“For 15 years, Voces de la Frontera has fought to defend immigrant workers and their families. With every organizing tool available, our community has ceaselessly protected itself from the same xenophobia that has now risen to power in the government. We’ve done it through marches, rallies, civil disobedience, lawsuits, building electoral power and more. With Trump’s election, we must now redouble our efforts.”

She continued, “The immigrant rights movement is resilient, militant and rooted in working class identity. Our movement has broad experience mobilizing strikes, walkouts, boycotts, and economic action when political action has not been possible, as we did in Wisconsin when we defeated anti-immigrant state legislation earlier this year by organizing a Day Without Latinxs and Immigrants. If we see any movement to erode what our movement has won, like DACA, we will do whatever is needed to protect it. We are committed to organizing nationally with our networks and broadening the struggle to include other groups of workers and people who have been threatened by Trump.

“Trump’s message of fear and division unfortuantely resonated with white blue collar voters, who have suffered economic hardship similar to African Americans and Latinos. In the decimation of union organization, they don’t feel there’s a voice for them. But I do not believe that the majority of those people represent the worst elements of the Trump camaign – the far-right, white supremacist ideology we’ve seen. I think that most Trump voters want the same things that people of color want and need. And the promise they hoped to see in Trump will be betrayed, because he never ran on a platform that supported working people.”

The day after the election, Voces de la Frontera held a news conference where members spoke about how they are responding to Trump’s victory.

“I’m scared,” said Valeria Ruiz, 20, a DACA beneficiary from Racine. “From one day to another, my future, my 9-year-old sister’s future and that of more than 9 million undocumented immigrants in this country, is suddenly less certain. It’s terrifying. But we will do what we’ve always done – unite and fight.”

“I have a beautiful family,” said Lola Flores, an undocumented mother of four and Voces de la Frontera member from Waukesha. “Today my daughter called me from her middle school and told me that her Latino classmates were crying. It’s heartbreaking. But I will never stop fighting for the future of my children.”


 

La elección de Trump significa que tenemos que defendernos sin descansar

MILWAUKEE, WI – Después de la elección de Donald Trump como Presidente, Voces de la Frontera anunció una serie de foros comunitarios a en el estado de Wisconsin. El primer foro será en la Iglesia Católica San Rafael (2059 S 33rd St en Milwaukee) a la 1pm el domingo 13 de noviembre (más información aquí). El segundo foro será en Racine Labor Center (2100 Layard Ave en Racine) a las 5pm el domingo, 13 de noviembre (más información aquí).

En respuesta a los resultados electorales, Voces de la Frontera publicó la siguiente declaración:

“Por 15 años, Voces de la Frontera ha luchado para defender a los trabajadores inmigrantes y sus familias,” dijo Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Directora Ejecutiva de Voces de la Frontera. “Con todas las herramientas de organizar disponibles, nuestra comunidad se ha protegido sin cesar de la misma xenofobia que ahora () ha subido al poder de los Estados Unidos al gobierno. Lo hemos hecho a través de marchas, manifestaciones, desobediencia civil, luchas, representación del poder electoral y más. Ahora, tenemos que redoblar nuestros esfuerzos.

“Nuestro movimiento tiene una amplia experiencia movilizando huelgas, boicots y la acciones económicas cuando la acción política no ha sido posible, como lo hicimos en Wisconsin cuando derrotamos a las propuestas de ley anti-inmigrantes anteriormente este año al organizar un Día sin Latinxs e Inmigrantes. “Este movimiento basado en los derechos de los inmigrantes es resistente, militante y basado con la identificación de la clase trabajadora. Si vemos que cualquier de nuestros esfuerzos están siendo amenazados para ser elimanados, como DACA, vamos a hacer lo que sea necesario para protegerlos. Estamos comprometidos a organizar a través de nuestros redes nacionales y ampliaremos nuestra lucha para incluir a otros grupos de trabajadores y personas amenazadas por Trump.

“El mensaje de miedo y división de Trump resonó con los trabajadores blancos, que han sufrido dificultades económicas similares a los afroamericanos y a los latinos. Con la decadencia de las uniones, no sienten que hay una voz para ellos. Pero yo no creo que la mayoría de esas personas representan a los peores elementos de la campaña de Trump – la ideología de la extrema derecha, la supremacía blanca que hemos visto. Pienso que la mayoría de los votantes por Trump quieren las mismas cosas que la gente de color quiere y necesita. Sus esperanzas en Trump serán traicionadas, porque Trump nunca creó en una plataforma que apoyaba a la gente trabajadora.”

El miércoles, Voces de la Frontera tuvo una conferencia de prensa donde unos miembros de la organización hablaron sobre cómo están respondiendo a la victoria de Trump.

“Tengo miedo,” dijo Valeria Ruiz, de 20 años, una beneficiaria de DACA de Racine.”De un día para otro, mi futuro, el futuro de mi hermana de 9 años y el futuro de de más de 11 millones inmigrantes indocumentados en este país es de repente menos seguro. Es aterrador, pero haremos lo que siempre hemos hecho: unirnos y luchar.”

“Tengo una hermosa familia,” dijo Lola Flores, una madre indocumentada de cuatro hijos y miembra de Voces de la Frontera de Waukesha. “Hoy mi hija me llamó de su escuela media y me dijo que sus compañeros de clase latinos estaban llorando. Es desgarrador, pero nunca dejaré de luchar por el futuro de mis hijos.”

A Trump presidency? Reactions to the election results

We face a starkly different America when President-elect Donald Trump takes the oath of office in January. Reactions to the election results:

Greenpeace USA executive director Annie Leonard:

Our hearts go out today to the millions of people who voted against bigotry and hate and now have to accept the fact that the man who ridiculed and threatened them for months is the President-elect of the United States. Fear may have won this election, but bravery, hope and perseverance will overcome.

Greenpeace and millions of people around the world have all the power we need to combat climate change and create a just world for everyone. Let’s use this moment to reenergize the fight for the climate and the fight for human rights around the world.

Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union:

For nearly 100 years, the American Civil Liberties Union has been the nation’s premier defender of freedom and justice for all, no matter who is president. Our role is no different today.

President-elect Trump, as you assume the nation’s highest office, we urge you to reconsider and change course on certain campaign promises you have made. These include your plan to amass a deportation force to remove 11 million undocumented immigrants; ban the entry of Muslims into our country and aggressively surveil them; punish women for accessing abortion; reauthorize waterboarding and other forms of torture; and change our nation’s libel laws and restrict freedom of expression.

These proposals are not simply un-American and wrong-headed, they are unlawful and unconstitutional. They violate the First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. If you do not reverse course and instead endeavor to make these campaign promises a reality, you will have to contend with the full firepower of the ACLU at every step. Our staff of litigators and activists in every state, thousands of volunteers, and millions of card-carrying supporters are ready to fight against any encroachment on our cherished freedoms and rights.

One thing is certain: we will be eternally vigilant every single day of your presidency and when you leave the Oval Office, we will do the same with your successor.

Destiny Lopez, co-director, All* Above All:

During this campaign, Donald Trump played to the darkest impulses and prejudices of the American people. This outcome sends a frightening message to women, people of color, immigrants, Muslims, and others looking for their place in the American family. We are deeply concerned about the implications for women’s health and rights, but we–women, people of color, immigrants–know what it’s like to fight impossible odds. Our communities still need access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion, and so we will keep fighting to protect and preserve that right.

May Boeve of 350.org:

It’s hard to know what to say in a moment like this. Many of us are reeling from the news and shaken to the core about what a Trump presidency will mean for the country, and the difficult work ahead for our movements.

Trump’s misogyny, racism and climate denial pose a greater threat than we’ve ever faced, and the battleground on which we’ll fight for justice of all kinds will be that much rougher.

The hardest thing to do right now is to hold on to hope, but it’s what we must do. We should feel our anger, mourn, pray, and then do everything we can to fight hate.

Our Revolution:

Tonight’s election demonstrates what most Americans knew since the beginning of the primaries: the political elite of both parties, the economists, and the media are completely out of touch with the American electorate.

Too many communities have been left behind in the global economy. Too many young people cannot afford the cost of the college education. Too many cannot afford basic necessities like health care, housing, or retirement.

Those of us who want a more equitable and inclusive America need to chart a new course that represents the needs of middle income and working families. The most important thing we can do is come together in unity and fight to protect the most vulnerable people of this country. Just like we did yesterday, Our Revolution will be on the front lines of the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal tomorrow morning. We will do everything in our power to ensure that the president-elect cannot ignore the battles Americans are facing every single day.

Tonight Donald Trump was elected president. Our job is to offer a real alternative vision and engage on the local and national level to continue the work of the political revolution in the face of a divided nation.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign:

Throughout our nation’s history, we’ve faced devastating setbacks in our pursuit of a more perfect union. But even in the darkest of moments, Americans have summoned the courage and persistence to fight on. The results of tonight’s presidential election require us to meet tomorrow with the same resolve and determination.

This is a crucial moment for our nation and for the LGBTQ movement. The election of a man who stands opposed to our most fundamental values has left us all stunned. There will be time to analyze the results of this election, but we cannot afford to dwell. We must meet these challenges head on.

Over the last 18 months, Donald Trump and Mike Pence have intentionally sowed fear and division for cynical political purposes. They now face a decision about whether they will also govern that way. We hope, for the sake of our nation and our diverse community – which includes women, people of color, those with disabilities, immigrants, and people of all faiths and traditions – they will choose a different path.

Gay Men’s Health Crisis/GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie:

We have finally come to the end of a long and grueling election cycle, which has dominated everything from social media and television news to conversations around the dinner table. What did not change after the results came in is that GMHC still has clients to serve this morning and we still have an AIDS epidemic on our hands. With Election Day behind us, the work of running a country must continue, which is why today, I call upon the President-elect to start leading on the critical, national fight to end the AIDS epidemic within his first year in office.

Some communities and regions are losing ground in the fight, with tragically increasing rates of new infections in the Southern United States, among young men who have sex with men, women of Trans experience, and within low-income communities of color. In the coming days, weeks, and months, GMHC will continue to fight and care for those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, just as we have since this agency was founded in Larry Kramer’s living room in 1981. We will continue to organize around modernization of the Ryan White Care Act, removing the ban on federal funding for syringe exchange programs, ensuring funding for comprehensive sexual health education, and addressing outdated HIV-criminalization laws across the United States.

As President Obama observed in his final State of the Union address, ‘we’re on track to end the scourge of HIV/AIDS. That’s within our grasp.’ The next U.S. President has an urgent opportunity and responsibility to take historic action with a more aggressive response to the epidemic. In the coming months, we will be pushing for the action, commitment and leadership needed to combat this public health crisis.

Wilfred D’Costa from the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development:

For communities in the global south, the U.S. citizens’ choice to elect Donald Trump seems like a death sentence. Already we are suffering the effects of climate change after years of inaction by rich countries like the U.S., and with an unhinged climate change denier now in the White House, the relatively small progress made is under threat. The international community must not allow itself to be dragged into a race to the bottom. Other developed countries like Europe, Canada, Australia, and Japan must increase their pledges for pollution cuts and increase their financial support for our communities.

Jean Su from California-based Center for Biological Diversity:

The Paris Agreement was signed and ratified not by a President, but by the United States itself. One man alone, especially in the twenty-first century, should not strip the globe of the climate progress that it has made and should continue to make. As a matter of international law, and as a matter of human survival, the nations of the world can, must, and will hold the United States to its climate commitments. And it’s incumbent upon U.S. communities to unite and push forth progressive climate policies on a state and local level, where federal policy does not reign.

Becky Chung from the youth network SustainUS:

As a young woman and first-time voter I will not tolerate Trump’s denialism of the action needed for climate justice. Our country must undergo a systemic change and just transition away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy within my lifetime. The next four years are critical for getting on the right pathway, and the disastrous election of Trump serves as a solemn reminder of the path ahead of us. As young people and as climate justice movements we will be demanding real action on climate for the sake of our brothers and sisters around the world and for all future generations.

Geoffrey Kamese from Friends of the Earth Africa:

Africa is already burning. The election of Trump is a disaster for our continent. The United States, if it follows through on its new President’s rash words about withdrawing from the international climate regime, will become a pariah state in global efforts for climate action. This is a moment where the rest of the world must not waver and must redouble commitments to tackle dangerous climate change.

Jesse Bragg, from Boston-based Corporate Accountability International:

Whilst the election of a climate denier into the White House sends the wrong signal globally. The grassroots movements for climate justice — native american communities, people of color, working people – those that are at this moment defending water rights in Dakota, ending fossil fuel pollution, divesting from the fossil fuel industry, standing with communities who are losing their homes and livelihoods from extreme weather devastation to creating a renewable energy transformation – are the real beating heart of the movement for change. We will redouble our efforts, grow stronger and remain committed to stand with those on the frontline of climate injustice at home and abroad. In the absence of leadership from our government, the international community must come together redouble their effort to prevent climate disaster.

League of Women Voters president Chris Carson:

The League of Women Voters congratulates the American people for turning out in record numbers to participate in our democracy.

Unfortunately, in too many cases, voters had to overcome significant barriers that were erected by elected officials and other political operatives. These ongoing threats to voters’ rights are unacceptable.

This is the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act. Thousands of eligible voters were purged from the rolls. Onerous voter ID laws prevented eligible voters from casting their ballots. We saw cases of misinformation and intimidation at the polls.

We can and must do better. All year the League has worked in more than 700 communities, in every state, to register and help eligible Americans get ready to vote. In the 2016 election, more than 4 million people used our digital voter resource, VOTE411.org to find the election information they needed.

The League of Women Voters will continue our work to expand participation in the election process and work to give a voice to all Americans.

NAACP president and CEO Cornell William Brooks:

“This beautiful fall morning represents the end of a long night filled with many midnight moments of uncertainty, voter intimidation and suppression, campaigns founded on bigotry and divisiveness as an electoral strategy.

And yet, despite the moments of ugliness, this election season has reminded us of the beauty and strength of both the nation and of the NAACP.

This was the first presidential election in more than 50 years where voters did not have the full protection of the Voting Rights Act. We confronted all manners of ugly, unconstitutional voter suppression, including voter purging, long lines and intimidation and misinformation.  When white nationalists bragged about dispensing malt liquor and marijuana in African-American communities to suppress the vote, we were neither distracted nor dissuaded from our work. When campaign operatives and candidates alike openly called for voter suppression in broad daylight and on camera, we neither flinched nor flagged in our efforts.

The NAACP prevailed in the federal courts against voter suppression no less than nine times in recent months.  In Texas, our state conference saved 608,470 votes with a victorious decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. In North Carolina, our state conference saved nearly five percent of the electorate when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that the state legislature had enacted discriminatory voting laws that intentionally targeted and disenfranchised black voters. And, just days ago, the NAACP saved nearly 4,500 voters from being purged from the North Carolina rolls.

The last five days of the campaign, after many months in planning, we formally launched our Selma Initiative, to protect the right to vote. We targeted 6,022 precincts in 17 states, dispatching both lawyers and laypeople alike to guard the ballot box and safeguard the rights of voters standing in long lines through our national command center.

Altogether, we mobilized our two million digital activists, nearly half million card-carrying members, 2,200 local units, and more than a hundred partner organizations to both protect and get out the vote through the Selma Initiative.

History will judge not only the courage of our volunteers but also the cowardice of those who chose again and again to suppress the vote rather than listen to the voice of democracy this year.  History may take note of the Selma Initiative, but let us all now remember Shena Goode, a 79-year-old NAACP volunteer who not only organized a virtual phone bank in her apartment complex, but also made more than 200 calls in a single day to get out the vote. Her story is the story of the NAACP and the nation. When civil rights are threatened, we are as persistent as we are determined.

Now that the election is over, the first priority for a new Congress and a new president must be restoring the badly-broken Voting Rights Act.  We cannot afford to send untold teams of lawyers to court and spend incalculable sums of money to defend our right to vote in the courts and in the streets again and again and again.

Any effort to suppress the vote, whether at the hands of lawmakers, judges or everyday people, is and must continue to be considered unjust, un-American and utterly unacceptable. The NAACP will not rest until full and equal voting rights are restored for each and every American citizen.

Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this page throughout the day. And we welcome your reaction.

WHERE THEY STAND: A checklist of Clinton, Trump on issues

By now, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have taken a stab at all sorts of issues and an actual stand on many.

Election Day won’t settle what gets done over the next four years — only who gets to try. Nearly all their ideas require Congress to go along, a tall order.

Even so, they’ve presented voters with distinct choices and sketched out the opening act for an administration that will be engaging lawmakers across the policy landscape.

A checklist of where the Democratic and Republican candidates stand on a selection of issues:

ABORTION: Nominate Supreme Court justices who support abortion rights?

CLINTON: Yes

TRUMP: No

CHILD CARE

CLINTON: 12 weeks of government-paid family and medical leave. Double the child tax credit for families with children 4 and younger, to $2,000 per child.

TRUMP: 6 weeks of leave for new mothers, with the government paying wages equivalent to unemployment benefits. New income tax deduction for child care expenses, other tax benefits and a new rebate or tax credit for low-income families.

CLIMATE CHANGE

CLINTON: $60 billion to switch to cleaner energy. Maintain Obama administration commitment to cut emissions of heat-trapping gasses by up to 30 percent by 2025.

TRUMP: Calls attempts to remedy global warming “a very, very expensive form of tax.” Previously called global warming a hoax.

DEBT

CLINTON: Tax increases on wealthy would help pay for programs, but the extra revenue would not go to bringing down the debt.

TRUMP: Promises massive tax cuts, without proposing curbs in expensive benefit programs; analysts forecast debt would rise more than under Clinton.

EDUCATION

CLINTON: Universal pre-kindergarten within 10 years, to be achieved by giving money to states.

TRUMP: $20 billion in first year to help states expand school choice.

EDUCATION-COLLEGE

CLINTON: Government-paid tuition at in-state, public colleges for students from families making less than $85,000. Income threshold to rise to $125,000 by 2021.

TRUMP: Cap student loan payments at 12.5 percent of a borrower’s income, with loan forgiveness if they make payments for 15 years.

ENERGY

CLINTON: Generate enough renewable energy to power every home in U.S. within 10 years. Measured support for hydraulic fracturing.

TRUMP: “Unleash American energy” by stripping regulations to allow unfettered production of oil, coal, natural gas and other sources. Rescind Clean Power Plan, an Obama administration strategy to fight climate change.

FOREIGN POLICY

CLINTON: Sees international partnerships as essential for using U.S. influence and lessening chances of war.

TRUMP: “America First” policy means alliances and coalitions would not pass muster unless they produced a net benefit to the U.S.

GUNS

CLINTON: Renew ban on assault-type weapons, ensure background checks are completed before a gun sale goes forward, mandate such checks for gun-show sales and repeal law that shields gun manufacturers from liability.

TRUMP: Nominate Supreme Court justices who favor Second Amendment gun rights; says public safety is enhanced by gun ownership.

HEALTH CARE

CLINTON: Build on Obama health care law, with federal spending to help with rising out-of-pocket costs. Repeal a tax on generous coverage that was instituted to help pay for the law’s benefits.

TRUMP: Seek to repeal the law and replace it. Studies say his plan would make up to 20 million uninsured.

IMMIGRATION

CLINTON: Provide a path to citizenship, not just legal status, for many people in the country illegally. Expand programs that protect some groups of immigrants from deportation, including those who arrived as children and parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.

TRUMP: Deport people in the country illegally who have committed serious crimes, build a wall along Mexico border at Mexico’s expense. No longer proposing to deport all who are illegally in the U.S., but has not proposed steps to give them legal status.

INFRASTRUCTURE

CLINTON: Spend $250 billion over next five years on public infrastructure and direct an additional $25 billion to a new infrastructure bank to help finance local projects.

TRUMP: Has said he would double Clinton’s infrastructure spending, financing with bonds.

IRAN: Support the deal freezing Iran’s nuclear development program in exchange for relief of international sanctions?

CLINTON: Yes

TRUMP: No

ISLAMIC STATE MILITANTS

CLINTON: Mostly would stay the course from the Obama administration.

TRUMP: Vows relentless bombing; has expressed support for outlawed interrogation techniques.

JOBS

CLINTON: Spend more on roads, tunnels, and other infrastructure. Make government-paid tuition available to most students, enabling more Americans to qualify for higher-paying jobs.

TRUMP: Cut taxes and regulation to spur hiring. Vows manufacturing revival through restrictive practices on imports and improved business climate.

MINIMUM WAGE

CLINTON: At least $12 an hour, from the current $7.50.

TRUMP: $10.

REFUGEES

CLINTON: Expand Syrian refugee program to let in as many as 65,000 over an unspecified time. About 10,000 came in first year of program.

TRUMP: Halt the Syrian refugee program; “extreme” vetting of arrivals from places known for extremism.

SOCIAL SECURITY

CLINTON: Expand benefits for widows and family caregivers, require wealthy people to pay Social Security taxes on more of their income

TRUMP: No cuts to Social Security.

TAXES

CLINTON: Tax increases for the wealthy, such as minimum 30 percent tax on incomes over $1 million and higher taxes on big inheritances. Little if any change for other taxpayers.

TRUMP: Collapse the seven income tax brackets, which peak at 39.6 percent, into three, with a top rate of 33 percent. Slice corporate income tax and eliminate estate tax. Analysts say the wealthy would benefit disproportionately. Tax Policy Center says middle fifth of taxpayers could save an average of $1,010.

TRADE

CLINTON: Opposes Trans-Pacific trade deal, after championing the agreement as secretary of state. Mixed record of support and opposition to free trade.

TRUMP: Impose hefty tariffs on countries judged to be trading unfairly, a step that would suppress their exports and increase costs of goods imported into U.S. Renegotiate or withdraw from North American Free Trade Agreement. Opposes Trans-Pacific trade deal.

WALL STREET REGULATION

CLINTON: More.

TRUMP: Less.

‘High threat’ Texas border busts aren’t always

Drivers in Texas busted for drunken driving, not paying child support or low-level drug offenses are among thousands of “high-threat” criminal arrests being counted as part of a nearly $1 billion mission to secure the border with Mexico, an Associated Press analysis has found.

Having once claimed that conventional crime data doesn’t fully capture the dangers to public safety and homeland security, the Texas Department of Public Safety classified more than 1,800 offenders arrested near the border by highway troopers in 2015 as “high threat criminals.”

But not all live up to that menacing label or were anywhere close to the border — and they weren’t caught entering the country illegally, as Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who is Texas’ chairman for GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, has suggested.

In response to the AP’s findings, the Department of Public Safety said it will recommend removing child support evaders from the list and signaled a willingness to stop classifying other arrests as “high threat.”

However, it defended the data overall, saying it isn’t intended to measure border security, even though the figures are included in briefings to lawmakers.

“It’s deceptive to say the least,” Democratic state Rep. Terry Canales, from the border city of Edinburg, said of the data. “I would say it’s shocking that a person arrested with a small amount of cocaine in Odessa is used to show supposedly high-threat criminal arrests on the Texas-Mexico border.”

The AP used open records laws to obtain a list of 2015 Texas Highway Patrol arrests classified as “high threat” in a broad 60-county area that the DPS has defined as the border region, then reviewed online court and jail records for cases in Hidalgo and El Paso counties, which had the most such arrests.

Among the “high threat” incidents was a trailer that unlatched from an RV and rolled into oncoming traffic, killing another driver in a town more than 150 miles from the border. Other crimes lumped in with suspected killers and human traffickers were speeding teenagers and hit-and-runs that caused no serious injuries.

Republican leaders have used crime, smuggling and immigration data to justify an intensified deployment of troopers, armored boats and spy planes to the border since 2014. And Trump’s promises to wall off the border with Mexico resonate with many in Texas, where Republican lawmakers tripled border security spending last year, and in 2017 will consider approving another $1 billion.

A threat overview published by DPS in 2013 defined high-threat criminals as “individuals whose criminal activity poses a serious public safety or homeland security threat.” But about 40 “high threat” offenses can be overly broad. For instance, nearly half the 2015 arrests were for possession of a controlled substance, but DPS doesn’t distinguish between a gram of cocaine and a drug smuggler’s 50 pounds of marijuana. And failure to pay child support is included with sex crimes under offenses against the family.

High-threat arrests, which are tracked statewide, are among nearly three dozen “border security related” metrics collected by DPS, according to agency briefings given to lawmakers.

But DPS Director Steve McCraw told the AP that high-threat data isn’t used to assess border security but rather is included in briefings for the sake of transparency. McCraw said the term “high threat” was never meant to suggest only the worst of the worst, but rather to distinguish more serious crimes.

“I don’t care, we can change the name,” McCraw said. “Just so long as, internally, we have a way of differentiating.”

Hidalgo County, in the Rio Grande Valley, is one of the busiest corridors for drug and human trafficking in the U.S., and where Texas deployed an influx of troopers, National Guard patrols and camera surveillance. While dozens of 161 high-threat arrests for drug possession were alleged pot smugglers, about 1 in 5 were charged with having less than a gram or other low-level drug charges. Drunken drivers who didn’t pull over are also counted the same as fleeing traffickers.

In El Paso County, more than half of 190 high-threat arrests last year were for drug offenses. Of those, about three in 10 were arrests for less than a gram of drugs such as cocaine or small amounts of marijuana.

Some lawmakers, including members of Texas’ House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety, said they didn’t pay attention to high-threat arrests and that the data isn’t included in high-level briefings.

But following a border visit in March, Patrick incorrectly tweeted that DPS had arrested about 14,000 high-threat criminals in the previous year. Patrick senior adviser Sherry Sylvester said the lieutenant governor had been “unintentionally unclear,” but then herself falsely described the arrests as “criminal illegal aliens” who she said pose a “serious threat to public safety in Texas.”

Refugee debate hits home for Hmong family in Appleton

Pang and Chia Lee Xiong, among the first Hmong refugees to be settled in the Fox Cities as they fled their war-torn homeland nearly four decades ago, cannot read or write.

But their nine children? They all hold college degrees — a doctor, a nurse and teachers among them — and they say they’re a family that stands as a shining example of refugees finding a better tomorrow, a story that resonates amid today’s often heated debates regarding refugees and immigration in the United States.

Eight of those nine children came home recently to celebrate their parents, who despite their own limited education hammered home over and over again the message that education and hard work can still make the American dream a reality.

With their own children in tow, they flooded into St. Pius X Catholic Church on a Wednesday afternoon to surprise their father, who at age 70 was retiring after 38 years as a custodian in Appleton Catholic schools.

Up until two years ago, Pang Lee Xiong held two full-time custodial jobs, often working 16 hours a day.

“My mom and dad are both hard workers,” daughter Kathy Xiong said. “They’ve always talked about taking pride in who we are, honoring our heritage and our ancestors; but at the same time making sure that we do what we can to be a value to others in our community, and that we’re giving to our community.”

Neither Pang, nor his wife, Chia, received an education, but they could work and did so tirelessly to ensure their two sons and seven daughters would have a path to success.

It took hard work but also patience and endurance after arriving in Appleton as outsiders, family members said. Their experiences provide a glance into how Appleton has evolved since the first of the Hmong refugees arrived here in the late 1970s.

Yet as some things change, others remain the same.

The Xiongs’ celebration unfolded as refugee resettlement remains a hot-button political issue.

The Fox Cities, to the delight of some and disdain of others, has had mostly open arms for refugees.

In recent years, hundreds afforded refugee status have arrived from a number of nations including Somalia, Iraq, Burma, Cuba and the Congo.

The last major Hmong resettlement in the Fox Valley came in 2004.

Community leaders said those wary of the vulnerable arriving can look to this Appleton family as an example of the great things that can happen when rolling out the welcome mat.

Refugees arrive with a mind on building better lives, Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna said.

“There’s such a passion, and they’re fighting for their families,” he said.

Pang held his composure as 20 of his 28 grandchildren streamed into the room and waited their turns for hugs and kisses. He finally broke into tears when asked to muster up a few words about retirement and his long hours of janitorial work.

“I knew that I had to support my kids,” he said.

His son, Bon Xiong, said it’s difficult to comprehend his father’s efforts working two full-time jobs.

“I couldn’t do it,” he said. “I’ve thought about it, but I couldn’t do it.”

The Xiongs were just the third Hmong family to settle in Appleton after arriving from a refugee camp in September 1978.

Today, it’s Syrian refugees who are drawing the greatest debate, though contemporary wrangling over whether or how much we should support helps explain what the Xiong family faced in their early years here.

A 2015 Gallup poll found 60 percent disapproval for bringing 10,000 Syrian refugees into the United States. In 1979, the polling organization found 57 percent disapproval for taking in refugees from Southeast Asia.

“I remember the talk around town being skeptical,” Hanna said of the late 1970s.

Pang had fought on behalf of the CIA during the secret war in Laos, and he and his family were forced to flee to avoid persecution and likely death.

The family made its way through three refugee camps before arriving in America. They were sponsored by St. Mary Parish, and its leaders and parishioners taught the family how to live here — right down to the simple things such as trips to the grocery store.

Their children attended Catholic schools. Pang began his custodial duties within days of settling into his new environment.

Daughter ThaoMee Xiong remembered being riled up by the prejudiced words she’d hear from her classmates. She said her father, a janitor at her school, let it roll off his shoulders and encouraged her to brush it off as well.

“He never took that personally, although it probably doesn’t feel good as a grown man being taunted by young boys,” she said.

Today, about 4,700 Hmong residents call the Fox Cities home. Back then, Pang, Chia and their children stood out.

Bon Xiong said he’s long past any hard feelings, knowing much of the poor treatment they received was born of resentment from the Vietnam War, and the Korean conflict before it. He said he is proud to see that as the Hmong population grew, so did acceptance.

In 1997, he was elected to the Appleton Common Council, and the following year became an Outagamie County Board supervisor. He was the first Hmong American in either of those roles in Wisconsin.

“There was a lot of prejudice,” he said. “Prejudice out in the streets, in the schools — a lot of name calling. I couldn’t really comprehend it. But as time went by, all of that kind of just disappeared. The diversity here in Appleton now — it’s awesome.”

Daughter Anne Vang-Lo said the messages she and her siblings received from their parents were simple, repetitive and carried big expectations — all based on their refugee struggles.

“Coming to America, my mom and dad always said, ‘Make sure you go to school, make sure you go to school. Make sure you work hard, make sure you work hard.””

Now that Pang has retired, he and Chia will move to Minnesota to be closer to many of their children and grandchildren.

Despite all of the uncertainty that existed when the family first settled here, Pang is now a bit overwhelmed by the prospect of leaving, ThaoMee said. Appleton has become home.

Hanna issued a proclamation that declared Wednesday Pang Lee Xiong Day in Appleton, noting his “tenacity to survive the trauma of war and displacement and the audacity to encourage his children to reach and obtain the American dream.”

Today, new families continue to arrive and take the first steps on that path, often with similar challenges.

Jean Long Manteufel, a member of the Appleton Fox Cities Kiwanis Club, said she’s been impressed by the response of the Fox Cities as new neighbors arrive. She took part in community collections to set up homes for hundreds of Hmong refugees in 2004, and again for the new wave of refugees in 2014.

Some communities reject them.

“I was so proud of the Fox Cities that our choice was, ‘Let’s help them,”” Manteufel said.

It’s never been a greater issue, and the rhetoric has remained heated.

A June report from the United Nations said 65.3 million people were displaced from their homes either from war or persecution at the end of 2015. That was up from 59.5 million the year before.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has pointed to Syrian resettlement as a national security issue. Last year, Gov. Scott Walker was among 15 governors who asked the federal government not to place Syrian refugees in their states after attacks from the Islamic State in Paris.

Manteufel suggests we judge people on their individual merits rather than place of origin.

Kathy Xiong has full confidence that refugees arriving to skepticism today can ultimately make their communities stronger, just as her family has done.

“He really had to leave to make sure he was safe and my family was safe,” she said of her father. “But we’ve given back in so many ways.”

An AP member exchange.

Transgender man sues Gov. Mike Pence over Indiana’s prohibition on name change

A transgender man prohibited from changing his legal name because of his immigration classification is suing Indiana state officials, including Gov. Mike Pence.

Pence is Donald Trump’s running mate.

The lawsuit, filed by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Transgender Law Center on behalf of a 31-year-old Indiana resident, alleges that a 2010 state law requiring proof of citizenship to obtain a change of legal name is unconstitutional.

“I want to use a name that is in line with my true identity,” said the plaintiff, who was granted asylum in the U.S. last year. “Without a legal name change, I am forced to use an I.D. that is inconsistent with who I am and puts me in danger of harassment, violence, and being outed as transgender whenever I present it. I am simply asking for equal treatment under the law.”

The plaintiff, listed as “John Doe” in the complaint, was born in Mexico and raised in Indiana, where he moved with his family when he was six years old. He has lived his adult life as a man and is recognized as a male on all official U.S. documents and his Indiana state ID.

However, he remains unable to change his legal name in Indiana because of the 2010 state law that precludes non-citizens, including legal residents, from petitioning the state for a change.

“There is no legitimate reason for Indiana to prevent non-citizens from living consistently with their gender identity,” said Matthew Barragan, a staff attorney with MALDEF. “Each of us should have the right to be known by the name of our choice.”

The suit alleges the citizenship provision of the Indiana law is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause that guarantees individuals will not be discriminated against based on their alienage. Additionally, it violates the First Amendment right to freedom of speech by compelling speech from the plaintiff that betrays and falsely communicates the core of who he is, according to the complaint.

“Everyone should be able to live as their authentic selves no matter their gender identity or immigration status,” said Kris Hayashi, executive director of Transgender Law Center. “Transgender immigrants already experience disproportionate violence without the government further jeopardizing their safety and privacy with this unnecessary and discriminatory rule.”

“This law is a Catch-22 for the plaintiff and other transgender individuals in Indiana who are not yet able to become citizens. Their immigration status should not prevent them from obtaining a change of legal name so that they can safely navigate their daily lives with identity documents that are consistent with their gender,” said local counsel Barbara J. Baird.