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U.S. Supreme Court justices on Tuesday appeared to be inclined to let President Donald Trump terminate the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program, known as DACA, that shields hundreds of thousands of immigrants from deportation and also allows them to get work permits.

The judges heard arguments on Tuesday and at least five of the court’s conservatives are backing the Trump administration, reports said. The Supreme Court hasn’t yet ruled on the case.

Chief Justice John Roberts indicated that he saw DACA as illegal when it was implemented by President Obama, saying it covers more people than prior deferred deportation programs, according to Bloomberg News. The other conservative justices suggested that they would not second-guess the Trump administration’s reasoning and thought its explanations were sufficient, the New York Times reported.

Trump’s Solicitor General Noel Francisco called on the justices to throw out rulings from lower courts to allow the White House to wind down the DACA program, according to the transcript. He also claimed that the program exceeded the power of the president and is, therefore, illegal.

The “Department of Homeland Security reasonably determined that it no longer wished to retain the DACA policy based on its belief that the policy was illegal, its serious doubts about its illegality, and its general opposition to broad non-enforcement policies,” he said.

In 2017, President Donald Trump said that DACA should be undone, and he repeated his criticisms of the program on Tuesday.

Demonstrators march through a tunnel during a demonstration in response to the Trump Administration’s announcement that it would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in Washington on Sept. 5, 2017. (Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

“Many of the people in DACA, no longer very young, are far from ‘angels.’ Some are very tough, hardened criminals. President Obama said he had no legal right to sign order, but would anyway. If Supreme Court remedies with overturn, a deal will be made with Dems for them to stay!” he wrote on Twitter.

The court ruling will affect so-called “DREAMers” who depend on the program, which was created via executive action by former President Barack Obama. The DREAMers were brought into the United States illegally as children.

The move reportedly will affect about 700,000 immigrants, mainly from Mexico and Central America.

Ken Cuccinelli, the Trump administration’s acting director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency, told Reuters that DACA is “a de facto amnesty program for hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens.”

“If Congress wants to shield these aliens from deportation and provide them a legal status, that is its prerogative,” Cuccinelli explained. “In the meantime, DHS (the U.S. Department of Homeland Security) is a law-enforcement agency and nothing should keep it from enforcing the law.”

Trump previously attempted to rescind the program just months after he took office, but the lower courts blocked his action, leading to the current Supreme Court battle. Those courts said that Trump’s move to rescind DACA was possibly “arbitrary and capricious” and violated a U.S. law known as the Administrative Procedure Act.

In 2017, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that the Trump administration would be winding down the program, saying that the president didn’t have the authority to suspend deportations.

At the time, the White House asked why so few politicians had “any compassion for the millions of Americans victimized” by the immigration system. “Before we ask what is fair to illegal immigrants, we must also ask what is fair to American families, students, taxpayers, and job seekers,” Trump said in the statement.

He then called on Congress to “advance responsible immigration reform.”

The program allows eligible immigrants to get renewable two-year work permits and remains in effect for those who are already enrolled. The Trump administration has refused to hand out new applications.

The “DREAMers” moniker was based on the name of a bipartisan bill that was never passed called the DREAM (Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors) Act, which would have granted them legal status.

The Supreme Court cases are Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California, No. 18-587; Donald Trump v. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, No. 18-588; and Kevin McAleenan v. Martin Jonathan Batalla Vidal, No. 18-589.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Author: Jack Phillips

Source: The Epoch Times: Supreme Court Justices Appear Inclined to Allow Trump to Terminate DACA

Billionaire media magnate Michael Bloomberg is running at 4 percent nationally as he reportedly explores a presidential bid for 2020, according to a new poll.

No Democratic contender is viewed more negatively by Democratic voters than Bloomberg, said the poll from Morning Consult.

According to the poll, he sits in sixth-place behind Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).

“Nearly 25 percent of likely primary voters view him unfavorably—the highest unfavorable rating in the field—while about 31 percent view him favorably,” Politico reported. “In contrast, nearly three-quarters of Democratic primary voters view Joe Biden favorably, compared to about 18 percent who hold an unfavorable opinion of him.”

Bloomberg, a former mayor of New York City, has not publicly confirmed whether he will run for president. However, there is no clear Democratic front-runner three months ahead of the crucial Iowa caucuses.

The Morning Consult poll was carried out on Friday and surveyed 5,387 registered voters, including 2,225 Democratic primary voters. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 1 percentage point.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, 76, dismissed the suggestion that Bloomberg, 77, poses a threat to him.

“I welcome him in the race,” he told reporters in New Hampshire. “Michael’s a solid guy, and let’s see where it goes. I have no problems with him getting into the race.”

“In terms of his running because of me, the last polls I looked at, I’m pretty far ahead,” Biden said. “If I’m not mistaken, I’m doing pretty well both relative to [President Donald] Trump and relative to all the people running in the Democratic primary.”

Bloomberg on Nov. 8 filed paperwork in Alabama to appear on the Alabama Democratic primary next year, reported the BBC.

His spokesman, Jason Schechter, said that Bloomberg’s announcement “could come as early as next week.”

On Nov. 7, his adviser, Howard Wolfson strongly suggested on Twitter that Bloomberg was looking to enter the race.

“In 2018, he spent more than $100 million to help elect Democrats to ensure that Congress began to hold the President accountable. And this year he helped Democrats win control of both houses of the Virginia legislature,” he wrote. “We now need to finish the job and ensure that Trump is defeated—but Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well-positioned to do that.”

He added: “If Mike runs he would offer a new choice to Democrats built on a unique record running America’s biggest city, building a business from scratch and taking on some of America’s toughest challenges as a high-impact philanthropist.”

“Based on his record of accomplishment, leadership and his ability to bring people together to drive change, Mike would be able to take the fight to Trump and win,” he added.

On Friday, Trump responded to questions from reporters about Bloomberg’s potential bid.

“I know Michael Bloomberg … He’s not going to do well,” he said. “But I think he’s going to hurt [former Vice President Joe] Biden actually,” Trump, 73, said of the former mayor.

“Little Michael will fail. He’ll spend a lot of money” in the election, but he will ultimately not win the presidency, Trump told reporters.

This is not the first time Trump has used the “Little Michael” moniker.

“‘Little’ Michael Bloomberg, who never had the guts to run for president, knows nothing about me,” Trump wrote on Twitter in July 2016 after Bloomberg criticized Trump’s business credentials at the Democratic National Convention. “His last term as Mayor was a disaster!”

Author: Jack Phillips

Source: The Epoch Times: Poll: Michael Bloomberg’s Potential Run Not Resonating With Voters

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and a delegation of mostly Democratic lawmakers are in Jordan to meet with top Jordanian officials on Syria.

A statement from the Speaker’s office Saturday said Pelosi and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.), Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.), and Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) arrived in the country to meet with King Abdullah II and other officials.

Thornberry, who is not seeking reelection, is the only Republican to join Pelosi. He is a ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee.

“This evening, our bipartisan delegation was honored to meet with His Majesty King Abdullah II, Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II, Prince Feisal bin Al Hussein, Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and senior Jordanian officials,” Pelosi said in a statement.

She said that they “expressed our continued appreciation for the strategic partnership between the U.S. and Jordan and engaged in a constructive dialogue on regional stability, counterterrorism, security cooperation, Middle East peace, economic development and other shared challenges.”

Turkish soldiers and Turkey-backed Syrian fighters gather on the northern outskirts of the Syrian city of Manbij near the Turkish border on Oct. 14, 2019. (Zein Al Rifai/AFP via Getty Images)

She then noted that the delegation is visiting Jordan amid the crisis in Syria and Turkey’s incursion.

“Our delegation has engaged in vital discussions about the impact to regional stability, increased flow of refugees, and the dangerous opening that has been provided to ISIS, Iran and Russia,” Pelosi said.

She also thanked American service members for serving as part of a U.S. Marine detachment.

Jordan is located directly south of Syria, and the two countries share a 233-mile border.

On Friday, President Donald Trump hailed a ceasefire that was brokered between Turkey and Kurdish forces in the region.

Syrian government forces raise a national flag and an image of President Bashar al-Assad at Tabqa air base in norther Syria’s Raqa region on Oct.16, 2019. Assad’s troops have returned to key northern areas for the first time in years in a deal with the Kurds, seeking protection after President Donald Trump ordered the withdrawal of American forces. (AFP via Getty Images)

“We’ve had tremendous success I think over the last couple of days,” Trump said on Friday, reported The Associated Press, adding that “we’ve taken control of the oil in the Middle East.”

At the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said U.S. troops are continuing their withdrawal from northern Syria. He also said no U.S. ground troops will participate in enforcing or monitoring the cease-fire. “The force protection of our service members remains our top priority and, as always, U.S. forces will defend themselves from any threat as we complete our withdrawal from the area,” Esper told reporters.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Author: Jack Phillips

Source: The Epoch Times: Pelosi, Other US Lawmakers in Jordan for Meetings on Syria

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sept. 28 that the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump would still be worth it even if the Democrats lose a majority in the House.

Pelosi (D-Calif.) said it’s more important for Congress to uphold its duty than for the Democrats to control the lower Congressional chamber.

“It doesn’t matter,” Pelosi replied when asked by Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith if she is worried about the Democrats’ ability to keep the House majority if their push for impeachment goes poorly.

“People say you have to take a political risk doing that,” she said.“That doesn’t matter. Because we cannot have a president of the United States undermining his oath of office, his loyalty to his oath of office, undermining our national security, and undermining the integrity of our elections.”

The longtime legislator added that the House’s responsibility is to “protect and defend” the U.S. Constitution.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) departs the Capitol en route to a speaking event in Washington on Sept. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In order to impeach a president, the House would need a simple majority before it is turned over to the Senate, which would need over a two-thirds majority, or 67 percent, to remove a president.

Earlier this week, Pelosi announced that an effort to inquire about impeachment is “moving forward” against Trump after reports of a telephone call between him and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, where he discussed former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

A day later, the White House released a transcript of the phone call showing that Trump had asked Zelensky to look into Biden, but he did not exert any pressure and neither was there any quid pro quo—which had been the center of a controversy.

On Friday afternoon, three House committees announced that one of the committees has issued a subpoena on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over documents relating to Ukraine dealings as well as scheduled dispositions for five state department officials as part of their inquiry.

President Donald Trump disembarks after arriving on Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Md., on Sept. 26, 2019. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

On Saturday, Trump slammed critics of the call on Twitter: “The Whistleblower’s complaint is completely different and at odds from my actual conversation with the new President of Ukraine. The so-called ‘Whistleblower’ knew practically NOTHING in that those ridiculous charges were far more dramatic & wrong, just like Liddle’ Adam Schiff.”

Regarding the impeachment charges, Trump said that it’s a “scam,” adding that Democrats are trying to tear the country apart.

“What’s going on now is the single greatest scam in the history of American politics,” Trump said in a video over the weekend. “The Democrats want to take away your guns, they want to take away your healthcare, they want to take away your vote, they want to take away your freedom, they want to take away your judges, they want to take away everything. We can never let this happen.”

“We are fighting to drain the swamp. And that’s exactly what I’m doing and you see why we have to do it because our country is at stake like never before. It’s all very simple. They’re trying to stop me because I’m fighting for you. And I’ll never let that happen,” he added.

Author: Jack Phillips

Source: The Epoch Times: Pelosi: ‘It Doesn’t Matter’ if Impeachment Costs Democrats the House

President Donald Trump announced on Sunday evening that he has authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve following attacks on Saudi Arabian oil fields and refineries.

“Based on the attack on Saudi Arabia, which may have an impact on oil prices, I have authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve,” he wrote at around 6 p.m. on Sept. 15.

He added that the amount would be “sufficient to keep the markets well-supplied.”

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks during the 2019 House Republican Conference Member Retreat Dinner in Baltimore, Maryland, on Sept. 12, 2019. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

“I have also informed all appropriate agencies to expedite approvals of the oil pipelines currently in the permitting process in Texas and various other States,” the president tweeted.

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, has the world’s most abundant supply of emergency crude oil.

“The federally-owned oil stocks are stored in huge underground salt caverns along the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico,” the agency’s website says.

It added that it has been used three previous times. The most recent time was in 2011 amid unrest in Libya that toppled longtime strongman Moammar Gadhafi.

President Obama at the time “directed a sale of 30 million barrels of crude oil,” it said.

“The Gulf of Mexico was a logical choice for oil storage sites. More than 500 salt domes, known to be an inexpensive and secure means of petroleum storage, are concentrated along the coast. Also, the Gulf Coast is the location of many U.S. refineries and distribution points for tankers, barges, and pipelines. In April 1977, the government acquired several existing salt caverns to serve as the first storage site. Construction of the first surface facilities began in June 1977,” the site says.

Attacks

Saudi Arabia’s national oil company, Aramco, said it will cut oil production by about 5.7 million barrels per day, or nearly 50 percent, after drones hit the kingdom’s oil production, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In August, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated that Saudi Arabia produced some 9.85 million barrels per day.

Saudi officials now are trying to restore about of third of lost oil output by Monday, Sept. 16, the WSJ also reported.

Meanwhile, Iranian officials dismissed any accusation that the regime was behind several attacks targeting oil facilities in Saudi Araba. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Iran was behind the assault.

Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, on Sept.14, 2019. (Stringer/Reuters)

“The Saudi-led coalition has been fueling the flames of war in the region; with recurrent acts of aggression against Yemen, and committing various war crimes for around five years, while Yemenis have proved that they stand against war and aggression,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said, according to to the state-backed Tasnim News Agency.

Despite the denial, a general said the country is ready for a “full-fledged” war with the United States.

“Everybody should know that all American bases and their aircraft carriers in a distance of up to 2,000 kilometers around Iran are within the range of our missiles,” Amirali Hajizadeh, an Iranian commander, told Tasnim.

On Twitter, Pompeo accused Iran of committing “nearly 100 attacks” on a Saudi oilfield and refinery.

“Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen,” he wrote on Twitter.

Later, Pompeo called on every nation to condemn the attacks.

“The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied, and Iran is held accountable for its aggression,” he tweeted.

Author: Jack Phillips

Source: The Epoch Times: Trump Authorizes Release of Oil From US Strategic Petroleum Reserve After Saudi Attacks

Authorities in Philadelphia seized a cargo ship that had 20 tons of cocaine on board, and it was reported that it was owned by a subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase.

JPMorgan Chase doesn’t operate the Liberian-flagged ship run by the Swiss-based Mediterranean Shipping Company, CNN reported on July 10.

Officials boarded the MSC Gayane on June 17, finding the cocaine. It’s estimated that the drugs on board the vessel have a street value of $1.3 billion.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said the cocaine was seized by the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency. It wasn’t until July 4 that a warrant was issued that allowed agents on the ship.

“A seizure of a vessel this massive is complicated and unprecedented—but it is appropriate because the circumstances here are also unprecedented,” said U.S. Attorney William McSwain.

“When a vessel brings such an outrageous amount of deadly drugs into Philadelphia waters, my Office and our agency partners will pursue the most severe consequences possible against all involved parties in order to protect our district—and our country,” McSwain added.

The office didn’t mention that it was owned by the banking giant.

Crew members have been charged with knowingly and intentionally conspiring with each other and others to possess more than five kilograms of cocaine on board a vessel.

The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) said in a statement on June 18 that “unfortunately, shipping and logistics companies are from time to time affected by trafficking problems. MSC has a longstanding history of cooperating with U.S. federal law enforcement agencies to help disrupt illegal narcotics trafficking.”

On July 9, the firm said it is cooperating with U.S. law enforcement. “As a result of that operation, MSC Gayane has been under U.S. government control since 17 June while the authorities conduct investigations. MSC is assisting and cooperating in any possible way with the authorities and is not the target of the investigation,” a statement added.

The MSC Gayane sails under the Liberian flag, making calls in the Bahamas, Panama, Peru, and Colombia before it headed to Philadelphia, NPR reported.

According to The Associated Press, ship’s second mate, Ivan Durasevic, and another crew member, Fonofaavae Tiasage, were charged with conspiracy to possess cocaine aboard a ship. An online court docket did not list attorneys for the defendants. It wasn’t clear whether other crew members would face charges.

An officer with a dog inspects a container along the Delaware River in Philadelphia, on June 18, 2019. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

The drug seizure is the latest in a series of large cocaine busts along the East Coast. In a March bust in Philadelphia, drug dogs sniffed out 1,185 pounds (538 kilograms) of cocaine worth about $38 million—at that time the city’s largest seizure of the drug in more than two decades.

In February, customs agents seized 3,200 pounds (1,451 kilograms) at the Port of New York and New Jersey with a street value estimated at $77 million. That was the largest cocaine bust at the ports since 1994.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Author: Jack Phillips

Source: The Epoch Times: JPMorgan Chase-Owned Ship With 20 Tons of Cocaine on Board Seized by US

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