Call Your Members of Congress · Call Your Senators · Support Immigrants and Refugees

Call Your MoCs to Support the Keep Families Together Act, S.3036–June 19, 2018 Edition

Call your MoCs to support Dianne Feinstein’s Keep Families Together Act (S.3036), which would stop the Trump administration from separating immigrant families who arrive at American borders. 

 

So! We ran this yesterday, but things are so damn insane that we’re running it again, and adding some extra scripts from Celeste Pewter, who you should be following on Twitter (@Celeste_Pewter. Scroll down for more ways to support her work.)

 

But! If you haven’t yet called your Senators to support Feinstein’s bill, do that first. Since yesterday, all 47 Democrats and both Independents in the Senate confirmed their support for S.3036. As of 7:30 pm on June 18, 2018, no Republicans had joined them.

 

Are your Senators Republican? Then it’s extra-important for them to call.

 

Now here are the other updates that led to this update:

 

Since yesterday, all five living First Ladies have decried Team Trump’s family separation policy. Laura Bush lead the charge with this Washington Post Op-Ed:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/laura-bush-separating-children-from-their-parents-at-the-border-breaks-my-heart/2018/06/17/f2df517a-7287-11e8-9780-b1dd6a09b549_story.html?utm_term=.a7bc535f465c

 

 

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, cancelled plans to send National Guard troops from his state to the U.S.-Mexico border because of Team Trump’s policy:

https://www.nbcboston.com/news/local/Gov-Charlie-Baker-Wont-Send-National-Guard-to-Border-Citing-Cruel-and-Inhumane-Actions-of-Trump-Administration-485838361.html

 

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, signed an executive action to that effect:

https://www.denverpost.com/2018/06/18/immigrant-family-separation-colorado-stance/

 

Later that day, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, followed Baker’s lead on deploying National Guard troops:

http://thehill.com/latino/392840-cuomo-will-not-deploy-national-guard-to-border-over-trump-family-separation-policy

 

 

And yesterday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen held an absolute shitshow of a press conference. Here’s a story on it from CBS:

https://www.cbsnews.com/amp/news/dhs-sec-kirstjen-nielsen-denies-family-separation-policy-exists-blames-media/

 

And here is a piece from Washington Post‘s analytical column, The Fix, on what Nielsen’s been up against. It doesn’t appear to reflect the events of the press conference, however. (At least it didn’t as of 7:30 pm EST on June 18, 2018.)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/06/18/the-grim-desperation-of-kirstjen-nielsen/?utm_term=.f9fb5ba689d1

 

So! Here are some good and useful scripts from the fundamentally awesome Celeste Pewter to reference if you’ve already called your Senators about this or if you want other avenues to consider.

 

First, you can ask your governor to follow the leads of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper:

 

 

Second, you can contact the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) directly to complain.

When you do this, please be unfailingly polite. You can be forceful and firm AND mannerly. If you can’t manage that, please leave this task be and tackle another one instead–you have many other options for pushing back.

Pewter also notes, and we agree, that calling your Senators is best for getting actual results with regard to ending Team Trump’s policy. Contacting these departments will largely succeed in gumming up their works.

 

Contact info for the DOJ:

Department Comment Line: 202-353-1555

Department of Justice Main Switchboard: 202-514-2000

Link to the DOJ comments form:

https://www.justice.gov/doj/webform/your-message-department-justice

 

Complaints email for DHS: crcl@dhs.gov,

Phone lines for DHS: 202-401-1474; 866-644-8360

 

 

And here is a third script from Celeste Pewter, if you’d like to call your MoCs to ask for Nielsen’s resignation. Yesterday, California Senator Kamala Harris called for the DHS secretary to resign  over her garbage performance at the press conference:

 

It’s time for Secretary Nielsen to resign. The government should be in the business of keeping families together, not tearing them apart. And the government should have a commitment to transparency and accountability. Under her tenure, DHS does not have a track record of either.

 

 

Original text of the post follows, which focuses on calling your Senators about Feinstein’s bill. If you haven’t had a chance to do this yet, do it FIRST and then tackle the other stuff listed above:

 

The Trump administration is pursuing increasingly sick and disgusting acts. Its policy of separating families arriving at the border–even those who are applying for asylum–has sickened damn near everyone, and rightly so.

 

Team Trump has doubled down on the zero-tolerance policy by wrongly claiming that Democrats are responsible for it (they’re not, it’s a Trump thing), and used passages from the Bible to justify enforcing it. This last is nested fuckery in that a) the Bible has many more passages imploring Christians to do right by immigrants; b) it uses a particular passage that Nazis and slave owners parroted to justify their sick, immoral actions; and c) it points to Bible passages as justification for enforcing a sick, immoral government policy when our government is, you know, secular.

 

California Senator Dianne Feinstein is attacking the first part of that fetid tangle of nonsense. On June 7, 2018, she introduced S.3036, the Keep Families Together Act. It would only allow separation of families in cases where the children are being abused or trafficked.

 

 

Here are some pointed tweets that Feinstein issued on the matter between June 15 and 16:
President Trump was wrong again this morning when he said the law requires children to be taken from their parents at the border. To blame Democrats for this policy is a lie. This is the Trump administration’s policy, period. And President Trump could and should end it NOW!

 

News reports indicate that nearly 2,000 children have been taken from their parents in six weeks—about 50 per day. This is an immoral, horrific policy. President Trump could stop this on his own. If he won’t, Congress MUST pass our bill to .

 

UPDATE: 43 senators now support our bill to bar children from being taken from their parents at the border. We still need a Republican senator to join. If you’re represented by a Republican senator, please ask them to cosponsor S.3036.

 

 

Celeste Pewter has been on the case as well. Her scripts are below, and she’s urging the importance of following through and calling your MoCs. You should call your Senators and then your House Rep.

 

First, it’s wise to check both of your Senators’ Twitter feeds to see what they’ve said about Feinstein’s bill. Feinstein has earned the support of 43 Senators so far, none of them Republicans. If you have Democratic Senators, odds are they’ve already signed on. When you call about this, you should thank them. [As noted above, all 47 Democratic Senators and both Independents are officially on board as of 7:30 pm EST. Not one Republican has joined them yet.]

 

Pewter is also encouraging us to ask our Senators to visit Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facilities, as Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley did recently.

 

We need to shine a fierce, unrelenting light on this bullshit until Team Trump backs down. Yes, there are multiple Dumpster fires blazing away. Yes, you called to yell about this policy before, not that long ago. But if you haven’t called yet to specifically voice support for the Feinstein bill, please do.

 

Right now, GovTrack shows the bill with a Skopos prognosis of a three percent chance of being made law. Calling will help increase its odds.

 

Here’s Celeste Pewter’s calling script for your Senators (again, call them first):

 

And here is Celeste Pewter’s script for your House rep:
Here is the link to S.3036, the Keep Families Together Act, on GovTrack:
You can monitor #FamiliesBelongTogether on Twitter for news and to retweet to raise
awareness.

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the

page. And tell your friends about the blog!

In addition to following Pewter on Twitter (again, her handle is @Celeste_Pewter) you

can support her in other ways.

 

 

After you call your elected representatives on these two topics, tweet about the

experience using the #ICalledMyReps hashtag.

 

 

 

Call Your Senators · Support Immigrants and Refugees · Uncategorized

Call Your MoCs to Support the Keep Families Together Act, S.3036

Call your MoCs to support Dianne Feinstein’s Keep Families Together Act (S.3036), which would stop the Trump administration from separating immigrant families who arrive at American borders. 

 

The Trump administration is pursuing increasingly sick and disgusting acts. Its policy of separating families arriving at the border–even those who are applying for asylum–has sickened damn near everyone, and rightly so.

 

Team Trump has doubled down on the zero-tolerance policy by wrongly claiming that Democrats are responsible for it (they’re not, it’s a Trump thing), and used passages from the Bible to justify enforcing it. This last is nested fuckery in that a) the Bible has many more passages imploring Christians to do right by immigrants; b) it uses a particular passage that Nazis and slave owners parroted to justify their sick, immoral actions; and c) it points to Bible passages as justification for enforcing a sick, immoral government policy when our government is, you know, secular.

 

California Senator Dianne Feinstein is attacking the first part of that fetid tangle of nonsense. On June 7, 2018, she introduced S.3036, the Keep Families Together Act. It would only allow separation of families in cases where the children are being abused or trafficked.

 

Here are some pointed tweets that Feinstein issued on the matter between June 15 and 16:
President Trump was wrong again this morning when he said the law requires children to be taken from their parents at the border. To blame Democrats for this policy is a lie. This is the Trump administration’s policy, period. And President Trump could and should end it NOW!

 

News reports indicate that nearly 2,000 children have been taken from their parents in six weeks—about 50 per day. This is an immoral, horrific policy. President Trump could stop this on his own. If he won’t, Congress MUST pass our bill to .

 

UPDATE: 43 senators now support our bill to bar children from being taken from their parents at the border. We still need a Republican senator to join. If you’re represented by a Republican senator, please ask them to cosponsor S.3036.

 

 

Celeste Pewter has been on the case as well. Her scripts are below, and she’s urging the importance of following through and calling your MoCs. You should call your Senators and then your House Rep.

 

First, it’s wise to check both of your Senators’ Twitter feeds to see what they’ve said about Feinstein’s bill. Feinstein has earned the support of 43 Senators so far, none of them Republicans. If you have Democratic Senators, odds are they’ve already signed on. When you call about this, you should thank them.

 

Pewter is also encouraging us to ask our Senators to visit Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facilities, as Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley did recently.

 

We need to shine a fierce, unrelenting light on this bullshit until Team Trump backs down. Yes, there are multiple Dumpster fires blazing away. Yes, you called to yell about this policy before, not that long ago. But if you haven’t called yet to specifically voice support for the Feinstein bill, please do.

 

Right now, GovTrack shows the bill with a Skopos prognosis of a three percent chance of being made law. Calling will help increase its odds.

 

Here’s Celeste Pewter’s calling script for your Senators (again, call them first):

 

And here is Celeste Pewter’s script for your House rep:
Here is the link to S.3036, the Keep Families Together Act, on GovTrack:
You can monitor #FamiliesBelongTogether on Twitter for news and to retweet to raise
awareness.

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the

page. And tell your friends about the blog!

In addition to following Pewter on Twitter (again, her handle is @Celeste_Pewter) you

can support her in other ways.

 

 

After you call your elected representatives on these two topics, tweet about the

experience using the #ICalledMyReps hashtag.

 

 

 

Action Alerts · Community Activism · Marches and Protests · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Save These Tools · Social Media · Support Immigrants and Refugees

Fight Back Against Trump’s Policy of Separating Migrant Families At the Border: Resources Gathered by Activist Alida Garcia, the Today Show, Celeste Pewter, and More

Fight back against the sick, immoral Trump administration policy of separating migrant families at America’s borders with these resources gathered by organizer Alida Garcia and the Today show.

 

Since news broke about the effects of Team Trump’s unspeakable zero-tolerance stance, many good tweets, posts, and stories have gone up that detail things you can do to help.

 

In noting these resources, we at OTYCD have realized that almost all of them come from a pair of Twitter threads by activist Alida Garcia.

 

Here are the two resources that are not from her.

 

First is a fine backgrounder from Politifact that explains what Team Trump’s policy is and isn’t, explains how the government behaved before, and delineates important nuances, such as how the almost 1,500 kids that the government can no longer track arrived here alone, as unaccompanied minors:

 

Read the Politifact article, which dates to June 6, 2018:

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2018/jun/06/what-you-need-know-about-trump-administrations-zer/

 

 

Second is a page from the Today show website that includes links to five organizations that help immigrant kids:

https://www.today.com/parents/how-help-immigrant-children-separated-families-t129923

 

Third is a Medium post on how to help from our friend Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter). Because WordPress doesn’t seem to like Medium for some unknown reason, we’ve hyperlinked it. Pewter’s story also includes ways for Americans overseas to help.

 

Fourth is Slate’s contribution, Here’s How You Can Fight Family Separation at the Border:

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/06/how-you-can-fight-family-separation-at-the-border.html

View at Medium.com

 

 

In case you’re not on Twitter or can’t find the tweet now, Garcia (@leedsgarcia) detailed several useful options in a thread she tweeted on June 9, 2018, and in a second thread sent on June 16, 2018.

 

We’re reproducing both here while omitting actions that have since expired, and adding a boldface note on the one that happens today (June 17, 2018). We’ve also reproduced the tweets as they were written.

 

One last note before you read the Garcia threads: You are seeing comparisons between these camps and Nazi concentration camps for a reason. This is how concentration camps start. The Nazis did not start with the goal of working and starving to death any groups who displeased or threatened them. That happened over time.

 

If German citizens had pushed back early, before the concentration camps became death camps, many, many lives could have been saved.

 

Now–right now–is the time to get loud, get mad, and get active. We don’t have concentration camps yet. But if we don’t push back firmly, fiercely, and relentlessly until Team Trump backs down and abandons its family separation policy, these places could devolve into concentration camps.

 

Here are the Garcia threads, which are excellent and crammed with resources:

 

I’m on a plane, so might as well do this. Feeling helpless about the family separations at the border? Guess what, there are many people & organizations who need your help & electeds who need to do more. Things you can do to help parents & kids at the border thread below. 1/

 

Let’s start w/ Texas: One organization that could use your help is – who are they? Well, they are some of the best story-tellers of the border region, however, they are also kind souls taking donations for families sleeping outside of ports of entry in extreme heat 2/

 

Here’s ‘s fundraiser to help volunteers who go to Mexico to assist these families outside. My friend went down there last week & met a family who had been outside for 17 days. They need Diapers, Underwear, Bras, Baby wipes, etc.

( Here is the Netargv link that she included with the tweet: https://netargv.com/2018/06/06/take-action-help-asylum-seekers-at-the-us-port-of-entries-rio-grande-valley/ )

 

But if you think border voices and what’s happening in the region are important to be amplified during this time, please consider donating to generally at: – let’s stay in the RGV for a bit…. /4

 

Reason why “the RGV [Rio Grande Valley] sector” is so important is that the volume of prosecutions of parents being separated in McAllen a& Brownsville is quite high in comparison to other places. Brownsville is also ground zero on the attack on – & when there are multiple fights you need /5

 

Organized local power to build accountability & organizing around these systems & services. 1 of the most powerful & inspirational organizations I’ve worked w/ in my lifetime is – if you want to help people power grow in this region donate here:

 

& of course we can create more accountability if immigrant-supporting civil rights impact litigators have the resources they need to try to intervene in this process in as many ways as possible. One TX based organization doing amazing work is – in the last 2 wks 7/

 

The Texas Civil Rights Project has been able to try to bring some oversight into the separations/prosecutions in the Rio Grande Valley – they’ve put out stories of parents who have been separated & have been reporting the volume of separations. They need help to cover more 8/

 

…proceedings in more courthouses so that litigators trying to stop this have a better sense as to what is happening as this process lacks transparency across the board. You can help do more by supporting them here (also follow them) 9/ :

( Here is the donation link she included: https://texascivilrightsproject.org/donate/)

 

Once parents are separated and prosecuted some move back over into DHS custody and get moved around to other detention centers. This is where having more lawyers who work inside detention centers to help figure out how to get these parents back w/ their kids is important 10/

 

One organization that works with parents in detention centers in Texas is – they have a bond fund to help reunited families and fight their cases from the outside. You can support that bond fund here: 11/

 

Okay let’s pivot to state & local advocacy a bit – because enforcement is increasing and the system is being jammed in different ways, including the admin’s 0 tolerance policy, there just aren’t enough lawyers to advocate on behalf of individuals & families facing deportation 12/

 

What u actually can do is run campaigns in your cities, counties & states demanding your government(s) fund legal services for people going through the deportation process. Many cities & states have invested in this over the last few yrs, so this isn’t a pie in the sky thing 12/

 

It’s like the general concept of access to counsel, and due process, & trying to be a good locality that doesn’t want to just give a green light to the increased enforcement of this admin. Winning these campaigns can help get more lawyers in more detention centers. 13/

 

And let’s pivot to Congress – while these bills don’t necessarily provide vehicles for easy passage, they help create momentum for concrete policy ideas where pieces of the language in these bills can be inserted into other negotiations like appropriations, etc. Main thing 14/

 

Okay sorry plane was landing, So, Bill #1: Fair Day In Court for Kids Act! Please see if your 2 senators are on it! If not, get them on? How do you know if they’re on? I got you:

( Here is her link to the bill, S.2468, on GovTrack. Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono is the sponsor: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/s2468 )

 

Here’s a fact sheet, but basically 85% of kids not represented by counsel are deported….because kids should have lawyers and 3 yr olds shouldn’t advocate asylum law in court houses, but read more here:

( Here’s a link to an ACLU fact sheet on the bill: https://www.aclu.org/fact-sheet/fair-day-court-kids-act-factsheet )

 

Okay next bill to make sure your 2 Senators and house member are on: The Help Separated Children Act – this is sponsored by Smith in he Senate and Roybal Allard in the House, here is a list of who is on it so far:

 

Next bill – hot off the presses yesterday from Senator Feinstein – the Keep Families Together Act, this would define when children can be separated from their parents – here is more, make sure both your Senators are on it:

 

& then very wonky, but a very defined group of people to influence is to financially starve the beast that is causing this harm in the appropriations process. Rep. Jayapal led a call this week to stop the finding of the operations doing this:

( Here’s a link to Rep. Jayapal’s tweet: https://twitter.com/RepJayapal/status/1004766949937594369 )

 

 

Decisions like this are negotiated within the Homeland Security subcommittees of both

chambers who negotiate how much funding goes into those bills. Here are their rosters

so you know who to call….

SENATE:

HOUSE:

 

Everything I said in Texas is needed basically everywhere else right now, so check out plug in your zip code find out what orgs are near you & help by volunteering there!

 

Sorry I’m back one more really important tangible TX thing – you can raid your closet & supplie cabinets and send the below items to Catholic Charities RGV’s shelter for refugees. People arrive with nothing this place helps clean, feed, clothe them. Items they need: (She linked to a screenshot, so it can’t be cut and pasted, but you can go to Amazon and find the Wish List for the Catholic Charities of Rio Grande Valley Humanitarian Respite Center.)

 

My friend just sent me this – for those who are interested in helping the children & families separated by the recent raid in Sandusky Ohio, here are a bunch of tangible ways to help those families in middle America:

( She included this link: https://americasvoice.org/uncategorized/advocates-for-basic-legal-equality-able-call-to-action-donate/ )

 

And if you want to do one thing today to help a military family from being separated please call the Miami ICE office for my friend Alejandra today (with a kind & loving & respectful voice) – this link gives instructions, takes 1 minute

( She included this link: https://www.fwd.us/keepalejandra )

 

If folks want to help get the final 3 signatures on the discharge petition to force a vote to someone just sent me which helps focus on who to call today & ask to sign!

[Trump has since said he would not sign a bill of this sort, but here’s the link anyway: https://www.dialingfordreamers.com ]

 

 

That’s her first thread. On June 16, 2018, Alida Garcia tweeted a second thread with still more resources to help combat the Team Trump policy:

 

Hi Pals – I’m on another plane, and posted some additional ways to help in a thread here – happy helping! :

 

One opportunity to help is to volunteer w/ – they are in need of Spanish, Mam, Q’eqchi’ or K’iche’ and have paralegal or legal assistant experience to help w/ their legal intake process in McAllen, TX – here is the volunteer form:

( She included this link: https://texascivilrightsproject.org/keepfamiliestogether-volunteer/ )

 

TCRP is also in need of full time volunteers to help lead a parallel process of intake efforts in Brownsville, Laredo, El Paso, and Alpine, Texas. They can help you with training and capacity to organize legal intake in these cities. Here is the form: 3/

 

If you are in California, is in need of volunteers they need immigration attorneys, paralegals, doctors, nurses, EMTs, social workers, mental health professionals, art therapists, & nice people who want to help out! Here’s the vol form:

(She included this link: https://alotrolado.org/take-action/volunteer/)

 

If you are in Pennsylvania, needs volunteer interpreters, vol attorneys/legal assistants, on the ground advocates for help at the Burkes Family Detention center. Here is their vol form: 5/

 

In Arizona? seeks volunteers as a pro bono attorney, an interpreter, researcher, medical professional, expert witness, or to offer administrative assistance. You can e-mail gmillard@firrp.org for volunteer opportunities & donate here: 6/

( She included this link: https://firrp.org/donate/donate-2/ )

 

Want to help, but can’t travel? My friend has pulled together this Amazon list of specific things that the Sacred Heart Respite Center is in need of for families seeking asylum. I can confirm this is real & going to the right place: 7/

 

In Texas & want to be in community? Come to Father’s Day Vigil tomorrow in McAllen, here is the Facebook event link: 8/

 

In Washington State? has a volunteer form for translators & interpreters & has offices in Granger, Seattle, Tacoma or Wenatchee, over 200 of the parents have been transferred here – 9/

(She included this link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1CxLlhNYDRXSK-WC_FHgQiAqluOApG9kimV9uD2y_1gM/viewform?edit_requested=true )

 

In the El Paso area? is holding a March to Tornillo – where the tent city for children was built tomorrow [She means June 17, 2018. Note also that there could be other Father’s Day-themed protests relating to these issues happening near you. Check the #FamiliesBelongTogether hashtag for likely leads on local events]. Here is the sign-up link & details for this march: 10/

 

An update on ‘s Keep Families Together Act – below find the current cosponsors. Don’t see your two Senators on there? Call them: (202) 224-3121 11/

(She included a screenshot that we can’t easily reproduce. Check your Senators’ Twitter feeds for statements about the bill.)

 

In Chicago? Flexible volunteering, M-F, at immigration court to provide presence & watch the process & more opportunities w/ the Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants – form here: 12/

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

Follow Alida Garcia on Twitter for more info and insights on this issue:

@leedsgarcia

Action Alerts · Call Your Members of Congress · Health Care

Call Your MoCs and Make It Damn Clear You Support the ACA and the 16 State AGs (Plus the District of Columbia) Who Are Countersuing to Defend It

Call your Members of Congress and make it damn clear to all three that you support the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and you support the 16 state attorneys general (plus the District of Columbia) who are countersuing to defend it. 

 

Having failed to get Congress to kill the ACA, the Trump administration is trying a ridiculous, bullshit move. On June 7, the Department of Justice stated it would not defend the law against a suit brought by 20 state attorneys general.

 

To quote from a June 7, 2018 story in the Washington Post:

In a brief filed in a Texas federal court and an accompanying letter to the House and Senate leaders of both parties, the Justice Department agrees in large part with the 20 Republican-led states that brought the suit. They contend that the ACA provision requiring most Americans to carry health insurance soon will no longer be constitutional and that, as a result, consumer insurance protections under the law will not be valid, either.

 

Full story is here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/trump-administration-wont-defend-aca-in-cases-brought-by-gop-states/2018/06/07/92f56e86-6a9c-11e8-9e38-24e693b38637_story.html?utm_term=.f3b0215d68fe

 

The same night, Topher Spiro, who has done consistently great work with defending the ACA, CHIP, and GOP assaults on health care, tweeted the following:

 

Trump’s Justice Department just refused to defend the ACA and asked a court to invalidate protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Luckily, Democratic states have intervened and will defend the law.

 

This is an open and shut case. It is frivolous, a truly wacko claim. Texas argues that because Congress repealed the individual mandate, the pre-existing condition protections must also go. Congress obviously disagreed.

 

The judge is right-wing and unpredictable. So he could very well strike down the protections. But the circuit court would reverse.

This development is important because 1) Trump is thoroughly politicizing the DOJ and refusing to defend the law of the land and 2) this creates some degree of uncertainty that contributes to GOP sabotage.

Three respected career DOJ attorneys withdrew from the case in protest just before this brief was filed. That tells you how politicized this is. This is a political attack on the ACA and people with pre-existing conditions.

I don’t believe people should worry too much about this court case. Nothing we can do about it anyway. I believe people should worry about repeal if they keep the House. THAT we can do something about.

One thing is clear: Trump made a BIG mistake attacking pre-existing condition protections tonight. He may have awakened a sleeping giant.

Conservative constitutional law scholar (who believed the individual mandate was unconstitutional!) says this latest case is “cynical-squared” and “absurd” =>

…and he cited these two Adler tweets, one a main tweet, one a reply:

The problem with the Trump Administration’s response to the latest ACA suit is not its refusal to defend the mandate so much as its adoption of problematic (and quite cynical) approach to severability.

Then the arguments here are cynical-squared. No matter how one conceives of severability doctrine, the underlying premise here is absurd.

…Back to Topher Spiro. He cited the fact that 16 other state attorneys general, plus the District of Columbia, had filed a countersuit. And while he did state he felt people shouldn’t worry about the court case, he did recommend that folks call their MoCs:

The average number of people with pre-existing conditions is about 300,000 per congressional district. Find your district. Get the number. Hold Republicans accountable.

We agree with him. Even though he’s right, and legal scholars from across the spectrum affirm that the state AGs’ anti-ACA lawsuit is wack (scroll down for a link), we at OTYCD think it’s worth it to call your MoCs and make it completely and utterly clear that You Are Not On Board With This Shit.

Suggested script: “Hello (Senator/House Rep Lastname,) I am (Firstname Lastname of town, zip code). I realize this is a Department of Justice matter at the moment but I wanted to call and make it absolutely clear that I support the Affordable Care Act and I oppose any attempt to undercut it or its key provisions. The lawsuit that was brought by the 20 state attorneys general, and which the DOJ has essentially backed by refusing to enforce the law, is crap. Most legal scholars agree that it’s crap. But if the DOJ does not wise up and do the right thing, there is a chance that the suit will advance, and the protections the ACA grants to people with pre-existing conditions will be threatened.

It’s estimated that at least 52 million non-elderly Americans have pre-existing conditions. If you don’t have one, you love someone who does. We cannot go back to the bad old days when health insurers would only cover you without bankrupting you if you’d never been sick in your life, at all, ever. That would be cruel and insane. And I am putting you on notice: If any representative of mine votes to cripple or kill the ACA, I will work to throw that person out of office. Thank you for listening.”

Follow Topher Spiro on Twitter:

@TopherSpiro

Read a June 8, 2018 Vox piece in which a range of legal scholars smack down the anti-ACA lawsuit that the DOJ is rolling over for:

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/6/8/17441512/obamacare-lawsuit-texas-trump

Read a June 8, 2018 piece from the Washington Post that claims that 52 million Americans younger than 65 have pre-existing conditions and would be hurt if the ACA is destroyed:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/06/08/aca-lawsuit-could-jeopardize-52-million-americans-access-to-health-care/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.70f79d9a202b

Read yet another June 8, 2018 piece on California AG Xavier Becerra leading a countersuit to defend the ACA:

California’s Attorney General Vows National Fight To Defend The ACA

Community Activism · Marches and Protests · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Support Immigrants and Refugees

Join a Families Belong Together Event Near You on Thursday, June 14, 2018

Join a Families Belong Together event near you on Thursday, June 14, 2018, and protest the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families at the border.

 

Trump has done a lot of horrible things since he took office. But one of the most horrible, if not the most horrible, is his administration’s new policy of separating migrant families when they arrive at the U.S. border.

 

Past administrations have had to separate families sometimes, but they did what they could to avoid it. Trump, despite his protestations that he’s enforcing what he calls a “Democrat” policy, is pursuing a new, sick invention from his own sick-minded minions.

 

If you read OTYCD, you’ve already called your members of Congress to demand action. If you feel the need to muster–and believe us, we feel it too–mark Thursday, June 14 on your calendar.

 

Families Belong Together is planning protests in Washington, D.C. and several states to call attention to the flagrantly immoral and pointlessly cruel policy that the Trump administration is pursuing through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), among others.

 

To find an event near you, plug your zip code into this search engine:

http://map.familiesbelong.org/search.php

 

Know, however, that the search function does not allow you to include a mile span. If you get no results, you’ll need to scroll down and see the “All Events” list.

 

As of June 5, 2018, the organizers were working on events in about 50 cities across the country.

 

 

See the homepage for Families Belong Together:

https://familiesbelong.org

 

 

See information for the main event in Washington, D.C.:

https://actionnetwork.org/events/families-belong-together-rally-dc

 

 

Donate to the Families Belong Together event:

https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/families-belong-together-familias-unidas-no-divididas

 

 

Like it on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/familiesbelong

 

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@familiesbelong

 

 

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Action Alerts · Call Your Members of Congress · Community Activism · Fighting Bigotry, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Transphobia... · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Support Immigrants and Refugees · Vote with your Dollars

Call Your MoCs and Raise Hell Over How ICE Is Treating Migrant Families and Children

Call your members of Congress (MoCs) and raise absolute holy hell over how Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is treating migrant families and children their care.

 

Holy crap. I mean, holy crap. The Trump administration has done a lot of hideously beyond-unacceptable things since it took office. The latest news about how ICE is treating migrant families represents a new low.

 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is pursuing a policy of separating parents and children who arrive in America after fleeing their home countries. According to a New York Times article, more than 700 children have been forcibly parted from their parents since October 2017, and more than 100 of those kids were four years old or younger.

 

Cites are at the tail of this post, but do we need to tell you how utterly disgusting this is? ‘Disgusting’ doesn’t even cover it. All the words that leap to our minds are forceful swears.

 

And that’s before we get to the fact that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly defended the policy on the notion that it could serve as a deterrent, and claiming that the separations would be OK because “the children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever”.

 

Since Kelly made that jaw-droppingly cavalier statement, news broke more widely that the government has somehow “lost” 1,475 kids who came to America as unaccompanied minors (so, to be clear, they came here alone, and the government did not separate them from their parents) and were subsequently placed with sponsors.

 

In Congressional testimony given on April 26, 2018 by Steven Wagner, acting assistant secretary for administration for children and families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said that the agency tried to reach 7,635 children between October 2016 and December 2017 who had arrived as unaccompanied minors. The 1,475 it failed to contact represent 19 percent of the total.

 

Worse, the PBS show Frontline has since confirmed that at least a few of those “lost” children who arrived unaccompanied were released to human traffickers.

 

So, to sum up: The Trump administration thinks it’s A-OK to force families who have fled to America to part, holding the parents in one venue and the kids in another that could be thousands of miles away. The administration is OK with this despite the fact that they know the system is horrifically broken–they know they’ve lost track of about 1,500 migrant kids who came here alone and were placed in care while waiting for their cases to be heard.

 

It might surprise you to learn that President Trump realizes, at least on some level, how fucked-up his administration’s family-separating policy is. It won’t surprise you to learn that he’s trying to blame it on the Democrats rather than kill the policy. See this Factcheck.org piece for clarification:

https://www.factcheck.org/2018/05/trump-blames-own-border-policy-on-democrats/

 

Oh! And that policy he’s blaming on the Democrats? He wants to expand it. Because of course he does.

 

We’ll wait for you to finish throwing up.

 

Done? Ok. Here’s what you can do to fight back.

 

You can call your members of Congress and demand action. Unsurprisingly, Celeste Pewter got there first with a fine script, which we are reproducing here. Note, however, that during the week of May 28, 2018, your MoCs are most likely in their home districts. Please go to their Congressional websites and pull up numbers for their state offices and call those rather than the D.C. switchboard number given in the script.

 

If you’re not following Celeste on Twitter, please do: @Celeste_Pewter. Also, scroll down for more ways to support her work.

 

 

 

You can also visit the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) page on Immigrants’ Rights, read up, and donate to their lawyers, who are fighting this nonsense:

https://www.aclu.org/issues/immigrants-rights

 

 

In addition, there are several charities that help migrants that would welcome your support.

 

The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights advocates for unaccompanied minors who have fled to the United States to escape abuse, human trafficking, crippling poverty, and other unlivable situations. Its webpage is here:

https://www.theyoungcenter.org

 

 

Donate to the Young Center:

https://www.theyoungcenter.org/donate-to-the-young-center/

 

 

Here is the Young Center’s statement on the Trump administration’s policy to forcibly separate migrant parents and children:

https://www.theyoungcenter.org/stories/2018/5/8/breaking-attorney-general-sessions-announces-policy-to-prosecute-parents-and-forcibly-separate-their-children

 

 

Follow the Young Center on Twitter:

@TheYoungCenter

 

 

The Alitas program, run by Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona, helps migrants who ICE delivers to the Alitas Hospitality Center. Read more about their efforts and how you can help:

https://www.ccs-soaz.org/agencies-ministries/detail/alitas-aid-for-migrant-women-and-children

 

 

Here is a longer list of charities, organizations, and humanitarian groups who assist migrants and fight for their rights:

http://www.nnirr.org/drupal/border-groups

 

 

Lastly, you can follow #WhereAreTheChildren on Twitter for news and updates.

 

 

And here are the promised cites:

 

Read a February 27, 2018 NPR story about the DHS separating parents and children at the border:

https://www.npr.org/2018/02/27/589079243/activists-outraged-that-u-s-border-agents-separate-immigrant-families

 

 

Read an April 20, 2018 New York Times piece that states that more than 700 kids, including more than 100 very small children, have been separated from their parents since October 2017:

 

Read a May 11, 2018 Business Insider piece in which White House Chief of Staff John Kelly defends the cruel policy by claiming it’s not cruel and the separated kids will be put ‘in foster care or whatever’:

http://www.businessinsider.com/john-kelly-family-separation-policy-illegal-border-crossing-2018-5

 

 

Read a May 16, 2018 Arizona Central article in which Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defends the policy of separating immigrant parents and children:

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/nation/2018/05/16/homeland-security-chief-defends-policy-separates-families-entering-u-s/614505002/

 

 

Here’s an article explaining how the government “lost” almost 1,500 unaccompanied minors seeking asylum:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/nation-now/2018/05/25/immigration-children-separated-families-lost-column/643793002/

 

 

Here’s a written version of the Frontline story that shows that at least some of the “lost” unaccompanied children were released to human traffickers:

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/hhs-official-says-agency-lost-track-of-nearly-1500-unaccompanied-minors/

 

 

Here is the official write-up of HHS official Steven Wagner’s April 26, 2018 testimony to Congress:

Click to access Wagner%20Testimony.pdf

 

 

Here is that Factcheck.org piece again that shows that Trump is lying when he claims the Democrats are forcing the government to separate parents and children at the border:

https://www.factcheck.org/2018/05/trump-blames-own-border-policy-on-democrats/

 

 

In addition to following Pewter on Twitter (again, her handle is @Celeste_Pewter) you can support her in other ways.

 

After you call your elected representatives on these two topics, tweet about the experience using the #ICalledMyReps hashtag.

 

Pewter founded The Road to 2018, an organization devoted to defending Democratic Senators who are vulnerable and up for re-election this year. See our post on it:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/02/25/support-the-road-to-2018-which-defends-democratic-senators/

 

Subscribe to Pewter’s peerless newsletter, It’s Time To Fight:

http://itstimetofight.weebly.com

 

 

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Elections · Save These Tools

Learn How Every Member of the House of Representatives Voted on the GOP Tax Bill

Bookmark this New York Times article, which shows how all 435 members of the House of Representatives voted in November 2017 on the GOP tax bill.

 

We at OTYCD included a link to this article in one of the daily updates we did on the GOP tax bill in the leadup to the vote. We wanted to break it out in a separate post, with a dedicated headline, so you can find it and reference it more easily.

 

The story spotlights the votes of 28 Republican house members who represent districts in states with relatively high state and local taxes (these taxes are sometimes identified with the acronym SALT). Since the article appeared on November 16, 2017, Ed Royce, a California Republican who voted yes on the bill, has decided not to run again. Another California Republican, Darrell Issa, has also declared plans to retire from his seat, but he voted against the bill.

 

If you’re wondering how the Senate voted and why it didn’t get its own article–that body voted in favor on party lines, 51-48. If your senators are Republicans, they voted yes. If yours are Democratic or Independents, they voted no.

 

Only one Republican House Rep changed his position between the November vote and the final approval in December 2017–Republican Tom McClintock, representative of California’s 4th District, went from a No in November to a Yes in December. GOP leadership evidently pressured New Jersey Republican Rodney Frelinghuysen to flip to a yes, but he resisted.

 

See the New York Times piece detailing how every House member voted on the GOP tax bill:

 

Read also about how California House Rep Tom McClintock was the only Republican to change his vote on the GOP tax bill, switching from no to yes. It also mentions the pressure that New Jersey Republican House Rep Rodney Frelinghuysen faced, but resisted:

https://www.rollcall.com/news/policy/house-passes-tax-overhaul-members-change-november-vote

 

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Call Your House Rep · Health Care · House Bills, Federal · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Check Out These Bills That Would Loosen Marijuana Laws, and Call Your MoCs to Support Them

Call your MoCs to support bills that would loosen marijuana regulations, such as H.R. 1227, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017, and S. 1689, the Marijuana Justice Act.

 

As intoxicants go, marijuana is pretty tame. It’s nowhere near as addictive as opioids or meth. Alcohol probably has a worse impact on society, all told, than marijuana does. But our laws don’t reflect reality. It’s classified as a Schedule I drug, which means it’s considered dangerous, with no medical use.

 

Worse still, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is convinced that marijuana is a scourge and wants to go back to a more punitive approach on the federal level just as the states are legalizing medical and recreational use.

 

A law in the House of Representatives could change things for the better. Republican Tom Garrett, who represents Virginia’s 5th District, introduced H.R. 1227 in late February, 2017.

 

Dubbed the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, it would amend the Controlled Substances Act to remove most penalties associated with the drug. Knowingly shipping or moving marijuana to a state where it’s illegal would still be a crime punishable by a fine, a prison term of one year at most, or both. It would also remove marijuana and related psychoactive chemicals from schedule one.

 

According to GovTrack, the bill has a Skopos Labs rating of a 15 percent chance of passage. Unfortunately, it hasn’t gone anywhere since Garrett introduced it early in his first term in Congress.

 

A note: Since we prepped this post, you might have heard about Congressfolk introducing or gaining coverage for more bills that loosen regulations on marijuana.

 

On April 19, New York Senator Chuck Schumer announced he’s preparing a bill that would take marijuana off the federal schedule of controlled substances. This is one of the things that H.R. 1227 would do if passed.

 

The other bill is the Marijuana Justice Act, which was introduced in the Senate (S. 1689) last year by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and in the House (as H.R. 4815) in January by California Representative Barbara Lee.

 

The Marijuana Justice Act would not only take the substance off the federal schedule, it would attempt to address how non-whites have been disproportionately affected by marijuana laws. (Scroll down to read about it.)

 

Among other things, the bill would allow judges to review sentences for marijuana-related crimes in the interest of making things fairer and more just.

 

Skopos considers H.R. 1485/S.1689 a longer shot than H.R. 1227, giving it a two percent chance of passage. FWIW we at OTYCD would prefer a law that addresses the historic injustices inflicted on people of color.

 

Sample script: “Dear [House Rep/Senator Lastname], I am [Firstname Lastname, from town, state.] I am calling to ask you to support and think about supporting bills that would loosen regulations on marijuana. One is H.R. 1227, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017. Another is H.R. 1485/S.1689, the Marijuana Justice Act. Both would remove marijuana from the federal schedule of controlled substances. The Marijuana Justice Act would go further and address the ways in which marijuana laws have disproportionately punished people of color. Regardless of which you prefer, our marijuana laws are antiquated and do not reflect reality. We cannot go back to the wrong-headed outlook of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who favors a punitive approach. I hope you will look into these bills and consider supporting or cosponsoring one or more of them. Thank you.”

 

 

See the GovTrack page on H.R. 1227, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr1227

 

 

See the GovTrack pages on S. 1689 and H.R. 4815, the Marijuana Justice Act:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/s1689

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr4815

 

 

Visit the GovTrack homepage:

https://www.govtrack.us

 

 

Become a GovTrack Patreon:

https://www.patreon.com/govtrack

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

See a March 2017 Forbes blog post on Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/janetwburns/2017/03/13/a-house-republican-has-revived-bernies-bill-to-end-federal-ban-on-weed/#7803cb30559e

 

 

Read about Democrats’ renewed interest in loosening federal laws on marijuana:

http://www.businessinsider.com/marijuana-justice-act-marijuana-legalization-bill-introduced-in-house-2018-1

 

 

Read about the Marijuana Justice Act in particular:

http://www.businessinsider.com/cory-booker-introduced-a-bill-to-end-the-federal-ban-on-marijuana-2017-8

Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare

Stoke Your Enthusiasm for 2018 By Reading These Stories

This OTYCD entry originally posted in January 2018.

 

Stoke your enthusiasm for the 2018 election season by reading these articles.

 

2018 is going to demand a lot of all of us. We have to track and support more than one campaign at a time, and all will finish on November 6, 2018.

 

The stakes are high. If Democrats can claim control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, we can seriously frustrate Trump’s legislative agenda, we can release his tax returns, and the chances of successfully impeaching him get a lot better.

 

It will be difficult. Pro-Democratic voters have to turn out in large-enough numbers to overcome the effects of gerrymandering. But, as we saw in Virginia, it’s doable.

 

When you find yourself getting down or feeling like it can’t be done, read the stories linked below and get your mojo back.

 

 

Special Elections So Far Point to a Democratic Wave in 2018, FiveThirtyEight, December 13, 2017:

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/special-elections-so-far-point-to-a-democratic-wave-in-2018/?ex_cid=story-twitter

 

 

Republicans Fear Deep Losses in 2018 Elections, The Hill, December 13, 2017:

http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/364576-republicans-fear-deep-losses-in-2018-elections

 

 

One Chart Shows Democrats Are Now More Eager Than Ever To Run for Office, Vox, December 11, 2017:

https://www.vox.com/2017/12/11/16748716/chart-democrats-2018-midterms-elections

 

 

Republicans Shouldn’t Assume Roy Moore Was an Outlier, FiveThirtyEight, December 13, 2017:

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/republicans-shouldnt-assume-roy-moore-was-an-outlier/

 

 

Republicans Warn Trump of 2018 Bloodbath, Politico, December 21, 2017:

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/21/2018-midterms-republicans-trump-warning-312404

 

 

The Political Lesson of 2017: Resistance Works, Vox, December 28, 2017:

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/12/28/16812036/resistance-gop-tax-plan-obamacare

 

 

Republicans Control Washington. Progressives Are Trying to Reclaim the Rest of America, Vox, December 29, 2017:

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/12/29/16677002/progressives-america-local-elections

 

 

How to Make the Candidates Squirm in 2018, The Washington Post, December 27, 2017:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/12/27/how-to-make-the-candidates-squirm-in-2018/?tid=ss_tw&utm_term=.8b5950417df7

 

 

Women Line Up to Run for Office, Harnessing Their Outrage at Trump, The New York Times, December 4, 2017:

 

Got all that? Now do The Most Important Thing You Can Do (there are four, #sorrynotsorry):

https://onethingyoucando.com/the-most-important-thing-you-can-do/

 

 

…and choose your Core Four for 2018 if you haven’t yet:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/24/choose-your-core-four-for-2018/

 

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Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause

Remember: Even If He Ends Up Working with Democrats to Pass Good Legislation, Trump Himself Needs to Go

This OTYCD entry originally posted in November 2017.

 

Remember: Even if Trump carries through and works with the Democrats to pass genuinely good legislation, Trump still needs to go.

 

We at OTYCD are skeptical this will actually happen but we’re going to write this post anyway.

 

It also feels weird to preventatively write a post that basically says, “Hey, don’t forget, but Trump is bad, mmmmmkay?”

 

We’re moved to do this based on this October 7, 2017 Vox story based around a Trump tweet with the same date that said:

 

I called Chuck Schumer yesterday to see if the Dems want to do a great HealthCare Bill. ObamaCare is badly broken, big premiums. Who knows!

 

 

See the Vox story here:

https://www.vox.com/2017/10/7/16440920/trump-tweet-schumer-health-care

 

 

This isn’t the first time Trump has worked with Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. Back in mid-September there were mutterings about Trump striking a deal with Schumer and Pelosi on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program:

 

 

Trump is doing this because he values wins, period, full stop, and he does not care who gets them for him.

 

If Republican leaders Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan can’t give him the wins that he craves, Trump has no problem turning to the Democrats for help instead.

 

So let’s say Trump works with the Dems and gets his wins–things that the Dems would regard as wins as well.

 

And let’s say things stay on track for 2018, and we get the blue wave that has been widely predicted, and the Democrats retake the House of Representatives. As of October 2017, it looks unlikely for the Dems to take the Senate, but hey, who knows? Maybe they’ll succeed in defending all their seats and picking up a few.

 

If by then the Democratic leadership and Trump are–we know this is hard to imagine, but hey, indulge us–chummy, and legitimately useful stuff is getting done, we still need to press for Trump’s removal.

 

He will have become no less incompetent, unfit, or dangerous.

 

Even if Trump becomes “useful” to the Democratic Party, he still needs to go, for the good of the nation.

 

What form Trump’s departure should take is debatable. Maybe Mueller’s probe will reach maturity by or just after the midterms, and it’ll deliver thumpingly clear evidence for impeachment. Maybe Trump’s flouting of the Constitution’s emoluments clause will become too obvious for even the most thick-headed Republican to ignore. Maybe he’ll try to drop nukes on North Korea and is stopped only by John Kelly tackling him, and that leads to invoking the 25th amendment. (Please oh please let it not come to that.)

 

Regardless, we have to hold firm on Trump’s fundamental unfitness to serve as the president of the United States, and hold firm on the need for his removal.

 

We cannot bend on this, or be seen as bending on this, if Trump starts doing things that the Democratic Party wants.

 

Just sayin’.

 

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