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The Pronk Pops Show 1276, June 18, 2018, Story 1: President Trump Orders Rounding Up The 30-60 Million Illegal Aliens In The United States Starting Soon — Trump Supporters Still Waiting For Trump’s Promise To Be Kept By Rolling Back The 33 Year Invasion of United States — Enforce Immigration Laws — Deport and Remove All Illegal Aliens — It Is The Law — Send Them Home — Videos — Story 2: Tension Mount Between United States and Islamic Republic of Iran — Neocons Banging The War Drums — Trump’s War? — Videos — Story 3: President Trump Press Opportunity on Way To Orlando, Florida Rally Starting 2020 Presidential Re-Election Campaign — Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan Resigns and Army Secretary Mark Esper Named Acting Secretary of Defense — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1276 June 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1275 June 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1274 June 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1273 June 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1272 June 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1271 June 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1270 June 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1269 June 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1268 June 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1267 May 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1266 May 29, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1265 May 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1264 May 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1263 May 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1262 May 22, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1261 May 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1260 May 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1259 May 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1258 May 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1257 May 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1256 May 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1255 May 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1254 May 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1253 May 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1252 May 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1251 May 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1250 May 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1249 May 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1248 May 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1247 April 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1246 April 29, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1245 April 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1244 April 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1243 April 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1242 April 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1241 April 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1240 April 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1239 April 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1238 April 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1237 April 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1236 April 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1235 April 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1234 April 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1233 April 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1232 April 1, 2019 Part 2

Pronk Pops Show 1232 March 29, 2019 Part 1

Pronk Pops Show 1231 March 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1230 March 27, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1229 March 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1228 March 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1227 March 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1226 March 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1225 March 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1224 March 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1223 March 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1222 March 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1221 March 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1220 March 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1219 March 4, 2019

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Story 1: President Trump Orders Rounding Up The 30-60 Million Illegal Aliens In The United States Starting Soon — Trump Supporters Still Waiting For Trump’s Promise To Be Kept By Rolling Back The 33 Year Invasion of United States — Enforce Immigration Laws — Deport and Remove All Illegal Aliens — It Is The Law — Send Them Home — Videos —

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President Trump outlines four-pillar immigration plan

Trump: Illegal immigrants must leave and apply for entry

Donald Trump on illegal immigration in the U.S.

Trump vows to deport criminal illegal immigrants

Dobbs: Illegal immigrants are a ‘preferred group’ in the US

Trump: Deport immigrants without ‘judges or court cases’

Trump Doubles, Triples Down on Immigration Plans

Trump: It is realistic to deport all illegal immigrants

Trump: Undocumented immigrants ‘have to go’

Donald Trump explains his immigration plan

How to solve the illegal immigration problem

 

 

Trump says US will begin deporting millions

Trump says US will begin deporting millions

an hour ago

President Donald Trump is threatening to deport millions of people living in the United States illegally, heralding a plan that could help energize his supporters just ahead of formally announcing his reelection bid .

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement next week will “begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States,” Trump said in a pair of tweets Monday night.

“They will be removed as fast as they come in,” he wrote.

An administration official said the effort would focus on the more than 1 million people who have been issued final deportation orders by federal judges but remain at large in the U.S. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to explain the president’s tweets.

Other U.S. officials with knowledge of the preparations have said the operation was not imminent, and that ICE officials were not aware the president would make public sensitive law enforcement plans on Twitter. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

It is unusual for law enforcement agencies to announce raids before they take place. Some in Trump’s administration believe that decisive shows of force — like mass arrests — can serve as effective deterrents, sending a message to those considering making the journey to the U.S. that it’s not worth coming.

Mexico deployed more troops to its southern border with Guatemala on Monday amid growing evidence that the heightened military presence was deterring some migrants from trying to cross the border. (June 18)

The acting head of ICE Mark Morgan said in an interview with journalists earlier this month that there would be enforcement action coming that would include deporting families, and that it would be done humanely.

Trump has threatened a series of increasingly drastic actions as he has tried to stem the flow of Central American migrants crossing the southern border, which has risen dramatically on his watch. He recently dropped a threat to slap tariffs on Mexico after the country agreed to dispatch its national guard and step-up coordination and enforcement efforts.

A senior Mexican official said Monday that, three weeks ago, about 4,200 migrants were arriving at the U.S. border daily. Now that number has dropped to about 2,600.

Immigration was a central theme of Trump’s 2016 campaign and he is expected to hammer it as he tries to fire up his base heading into the 2020 campaign.

Trump will formally launch his re-election bid Tuesday night at a rally in Orlando, Florida — a state that is crucial to his path back to the White House.

https://apnews.com/e32b4a65baf74afab5bb5b2aa061f734

 

 

Trump says U.S. agency will begin removing millions of illegal immigrants

President Donald Trump said on Monday that U.S. authorities would begin next week removing millions of immigrants who are in the United States illegally.

“Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States,” Trump tweeted, referring to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. “They will be removed as fast as they come in,” he said. He did not offer specifics.

There are an estimated 12 million immigrants who are in the United States illegally, mainly from Mexico and Central America.

Under a deal reached earlier this month, Mexico has agreed to take Central American immigrants seeking asylum in the United States until their cases are heard in U.S. courts.

The agreement, which included Mexico pledging to deploy National Guard troops to stop Central American immigrants from reaching the U.S. border, averted a Trump threat to hit Mexican imports with tariffs.

Trump also said in the tweet that Guatemala “is getting ready to sign a Safe-Third Agreement.”

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence suggested last week that Guatemala could receive asylum seekers from its neighbors as a so-called safe third country.

Details of the plan have not been made public, and Guatemala has not publicly confirmed talks that the U.S. State Department said were taking place in Guatemala on Friday.

U.S. rights group Human Rights First said, however, it was “simply ludicrous” for the United States to assert that Guatemala was capable of protecting refugees, when its own citizens are fleeing violence.

Mexico has agreed that if its measures to stem the flow of migrants are unsuccessful, it will discuss signing a safe third country agreement with the United States.

(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Peter Cooney)

 

Story 2: Tension Mount Between United States and Islamic Republic of Iran — Neocons Banging The War Drums — Trump’s War? — Videos

 

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Trump orders 1,000 more troops to Middle East over Iran fears

Trump: I don’t want war with Iran

Iran says it will breach nuclear deal ‘in days’ as its uranium stockpile limit nears

CrossTalk BULLHORNS: ‘Iran Mania’

US-Iran: “Trump has already parted ways with Bolton”

President Trump condemns Iran for suspected attack on oil tankers | 5 News

Trump’s war whisperer John Bolton | The Weekly with Wendy Mesley

John Bolton Beats War Drums Again In US-Iran Standoff | Hardball | MSNBC

John Bolton says “hell to pay” if Iran crosses US

Trump threatens Iran with retaliation if attacked | DW News

Is The U.S. Going To War With Iran? | AJ+

Trump’s Iran War? | Bigger Than Five

 Iran’s Zarif warns US of ‘consequences’ over oil sanctions | Al Jazeera English

Bolton: My view of America’s greatest threat

U.S. sending aircraft carrier, bomber to Middle East to warn Iran

 Iran: US naval deployment is “psychological warfare” | Al Jazeera English

Tucker: An Iran war would destroy Trump’s presidency

U.S vs IRAN – WHY IRAN WON’T LAST EVEN A FEW DAYS IN A WAR WITH THE U.S ?

HOW THE U.S. MILITARY WOULD STRIKE IRAN: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW || RHINO 2019

The State Department’s War On Americans Against War On Iran

Who is John Bolton? Trump’s 3rd National Security Advisor | NowThis

This Is What a Nuclear War Would Actually Look Like (HBO)

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“American neoconservatives: a history and overview” Jim Lobe

War Party : Documentary on the Neoconservative War Party

The Neoconservative Agenda | John F. McManus

The Neocons: Who They Are, and What They’re Up To

Intro to Neoconservatism

Neocons: Who They Are and Why It Matters

NEOCONS – Who are they? – Ryan Dawson

Congressman Ron Paul, MD – We’ve Been NeoConned

US to send 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East as tensions escalate with Iran

The United States is sending 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East, amid rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran. The decision follows last week’s attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman that the U.S. blamed on Tehran, with the Pentagon releasing new images on Monday that officials said show Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) members removing an unexploded mine from one of the ship’s hulls.

Interested in Iran?

Add Iran as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Iran news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

“In response to a request from the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) for additional forces, and with the advice of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and in consultation with the White House, I have authorized approximately 1,000 additional troops for defensive purposes to address air, naval, and ground-based threats in the Middle East,” acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said in a statement on Monday.

The additional personnel are mostly part of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and force protection units, a U.S. official told ABC News.

PHOTO: Airmen conduct flight control checks during preflight of a Reaper drone launch at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Feb. 21, 2019.Staff Sgt. Arielle Vasquez/U.S. Air Force
Airmen conduct flight control checks during preflight of a Reaper drone launch at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Feb. 21, 2019.more +

The U.S. has already accelerated the deployment to the Middle East of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and sent B-52 bombers after what it said were credible threats by Iran against U.S. forces and interests in the region. Since then, the U.S. has sent an additional 1,500 troops and increased defensive capabilities to continue to help deter Iran.

“The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region,” Shanahan said.

“The United States does not seek conflict with Iran,” the statement continued. “The action today is being taken to ensure the safety and welfare of our military personnel working throughout the region and to protect our national interests. We will continue to monitor the situation diligently and make adjustments to force levels as necessary given intelligence reporting and credible threats.”

Iran attempted to shoot down a U.S. drone that was surveilling the attack on one of two tankers hit in the Gulf of Oman last week, CENTCOM said. The attempt missed the MQ-9 Reaper by “approximately one kilometer.”

The U.S. has also blamed Iran for an attack on four commercial vessels off the coast of the United Arab Emirates in May.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that Congress must be briefed on the plans.

“Americans must have no illusions about the Iranian regime, and must remain committed to holding Iran accountable for its dangerous activities in the region. But we must be strong, smart and strategic – not reckless and rash – in how to proceed,” Pelosi said in a statement. “The Congress must be immediately briefed on the Administration’s decisions and plans”

“This deeply concerning decision may escalate the situation with Iran and risk serious miscalculations on either side. Diplomacy is needed to defuse tensions, therefore America must continue to consult with our allies so that we do not make the region less safe,” the statement added.

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/us-send-1000-additional-troops-middle-east-tensions/story?id=63772858

 

 

Key events raising tensions in the Persian Gulf

FILE - In this May 29, 2019 file photo released by the U.S. Air Force, United Arab Emirates Air Force Desert Falcons fly in formation with U.S. F-35A Lightning IIs in an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. Tensions between the United States and IThe Associated Press
FILE – In this May 29, 2019 file photo released by the U.S. Air Force, United Arab Emirates Air Force Desert Falcons fly in formation with U.S. F-35A Lightning IIs in an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. Tensions between the United States and Iran have soared in recent weeks, with Washington dispatching warships and bombers around the Persian Gulf, and Tehran threatening to resume higher uranium enrichment. The tensions come a year after President Donald Trump withdrew from Iran’s 2015 nuclear accord with world powers and restored crippling sanctions. (Staff Sgt. Chris Drzazgowski/U.S. Air Force via AP, File)more +

Tensions between the United States and Iran have soared in recent weeks, with Washington dispatching warships and bombers around the Persian Gulf, and Tehran threatening to resume higher uranium enrichment. The tensions come a year after President Donald Trump withdrew from Iran‘s 2015 nuclear accord with world powers and restored crippling sanctions.

A timeline of recent events:

May 5: John Bolton, the White House national security adviser and a longtime Iran hawk, announces the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force in response to “a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings,” without providing details. He threatens “unrelenting force” in response to any attack.

———

May 8: Iran vows to enrich its uranium stockpile closer to weapons-grade levels, starting July 7, if world powers fail to negotiate new terms for its nuclear deal. The U.S. responds by imposing sanctions on Iran’s metal industry.

———

May 9: The European Union urges Iran to respect the nuclear deal and says it plans to continue trading with the country despite U.S. sanctions. Trump says he would like Iran’s leaders to “call me.”

———

May 10: The U.S. says it will move a Patriot missile battery into the Middle East to counter threats from Iran.

———

May 12: The United Arab Emirates says four commercial ships off its eastern coast “were subjected to sabotage operations,” just hours after Iranian and Lebanese media outlets air false reports of explosions at a nearby Emirati port.

———

May 13: European foreign ministers urge the United States and Iran to show restraint, while U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefs his counterparts on the alleged threats from Iran. Trump warns that if Tehran does “anything” in the form of an attack, “they will suffer greatly.”

———

May 14: Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi rebels launch a drone attack on Saudi Arabia, striking a major oil pipeline and taking it out of service.

— The New York Times reports the White House is reviewing military plans that could result in sending 120,000 U.S. troops to the Middle East if Iran attacks American forces or steps up work on nuclear weapons. Trump says it’s “fake news,” but that he would “absolutely” be willing to send troops if necessary.

— Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says “no one is seeking war,” but that it wouldn’t be difficult for Iran to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels.

— A senior military officer in the U.S.-backed coalition fighting the Islamic State group says “there’s been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria.” In a rare public rebuttal, U.S. Central Command says his remarks “run counter to the identified credible threats.”

———

May 15: The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad orders all nonessential government staff to leave Iraq immediately. The Netherlands and Germany say they are suspending their training of Iraqi forces.

———

May 16: Saudi Arabia blames Iran for the drone attack on its pipeline and an English-language newspaper close to the palace calls for the U.S. to launch “surgical” strikes in retaliation.

—Trump says he hopes the U.S. is not on a path to war with Iran amid fears that his two most hawkish advisers could be angling for a conflict with the Islamic Republic. Asked if the U.S. was going to war with Iran, the president replied, “I hope not” — a day after he repeated a desire for dialogue, tweeting, “I’m sure that Iran will want to talk soon.”

———

May 19: A rocket lands near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, without harming anyone. It’s not clear who is behind the attack, but after the initial reports, Trump tweets: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!” Iran’s foreign minister responded by tweeting that Trump had been “goaded” into “genocidal taunts.”

———

May 20: Semi-official media in Iran report that it has quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium, which is used for civilian applications but not nuclear weapons. Iran is allowed to enrich uranium to the low level of 3.67%, but increased production could lead it to exceed the stockpile limits in the nuclear deal.

———

May 24: Trump says the U.S. will bolster its military presence in the Middle East with an additional 1,500 troops. He says the troops will have a “mostly protective” role.

— Senior Pentagon officer Vice Admiral Michael Gilday says the U.S. has a high degree of confidence that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard was responsible for the explosions of the four tankers in the Gulf of Oman, and that Iranian proxies in Iraq fired rockets into Baghdad.

———

May 31 and June 1: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman hosts three high-level summits in Mecca, drawing heads of state from across the Middle East and Muslim countries to present a unified Muslim and Arab position on Iran. The monarch calls on the international community to use all means to confront Iran and accuses the Shiite power of being behind “terrorist operations” that targeted Saudi oil interests.

———

June 12: Saudi Arabia says 26 people were wounded in an attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels targeting an airport in kingdom’s southwestern town of Abha. The Houthis claim they’d launched a cruise missile at the airport.

———

June 13: Two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz are hit in an alleged assault that leaves one ablaze and adrift as 44 sailors are evacuated from both vessels and the U.S. Navy rushes to assist. America later blames Iran for the attack, something Tehran denies.

———

June 17: Iran says it will break the uranium stockpile limit set by Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers in the next 10 days.

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/key-events-raising-tensions-persian-gulf-63758209?cid=referral_taboola_feed

THE NEOCONS

WAR WITH IRAN WOULD BECOME ‘TRUMP’S WAR’

Pat Buchanan identifies usual suspects pushing for military action against Tehran


Read more at https://www.wnd.com/2019/06/war-with-iran-would-become-trumps-war/#g2uQZVM20y58K1f0.99

President Donald Trump cannot want war with Iran.

Such a war, no matter how long, would be fought in and around the Persian Gulf, through which a third of the world’s seaborne oil travels. It could trigger a worldwide recession and imperil Trump’s reelection.

 

It would widen the “forever war,” which Trump said he would end, to a nation of 80 million people, three times as large as Iraq. It would become the defining issue of his presidency, as the Iraq War became the defining issue of George W. Bush’s presidency.

And if war comes now, it would be known as “Trump’s War.”

For it was Trump who pulled us out of the Iran nuclear deal, though, according to U.N. inspectors and the other signatories – Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China – Tehran was complying with its terms.

Trump’s repudiation of the treaty was followed by his reimposition of sanctions and a policy of maximum pressure. This was followed by the designation of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a “terrorist” organization.

Then came the threats of U.S. secondary sanctions on nations, some of them friends and allies, that continued to buy oil from Iran.

U.S. policy has been to squeeze Iran’s economy until the regime buckles to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s 12 demands, including an end to Tehran’s support of its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Sunday, Pompeo said Iran was behind the attacks on the tankers in the Gulf of Oman and that Tehran instigated an attack that injured four U.S. soldiers in Kabul, though the Taliban claimed responsibility.

The war hawks are back.

“This unprovoked attack on commercial shipping warrants retaliatory military strikes,” said Sen. Tom Cotton on Sunday.

But as Trump does not want war with Iran, Iran does not want war with us. Tehran has denied any role in the tanker attacks, helped put out the fire on one tanker and accused its enemies of “false flag” attacks to instigate a war.

If the Revolutionary Guard, which answers to the ayatollah, did attach explosives to the hull of the tankers, it was most likely to send a direct message: If our exports are halted by U.S. sanctions, the oil exports of the Saudis and Gulf Arabs can be made to experience similar problems.

Yet if the president and the ayatollah do not want war, who does?

Not the Germans or Japanese, both of whom are asking for more proof that Iran instigated the tanker attacks. Japan’s prime minster was meeting with the ayatollah when the attacks occurred, and one of the tankers was a Japanese vessel.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal Monday were Ray Takeyh and Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a neocon nest funded by Paul Singer and Sheldon Adelson.

In a piece titled, “America Can Face Down a Fragile Iran,” the pair make the case that Trump should squeeze the Iranian regime relentlessly and not fear a military clash, and a war with Iran would be a cakewalk.

“Iran is in no shape for a prolonged confrontation with the U.S. The regime is in a politically precarious position. The sullen Iranian middle class has given up on the possibility of reform or prosperity. The lower classes, once tethered to the regime by the expansive welfare state, have also grown disloyal. The intelligentsia no longer believes that faith and freedom can be harmonized. And the youth have become the regime’s most unrelenting critics.

“Iran’s fragile theocracy can’t absorb a massive external shock. That’s why Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has, for the most part, adhered to the JCPOA (the nuclear pact) and why he is likely angling for negotiation over confrontation with the Great Satan.”

This depiction of Iran’s political crisis and economic decline invites a question: If the Tehran regime is so fragile and the Iranian people are so alienated, why not avoid a war and wait for the regime’s collapse?

Trump seems to have several options:

  • Negotiate with the Tehran regime for some tolerable detente.
  • Refuse to negotiate and await the regime’s collapse, in which case the president must be prepared for Iranian actions that raise the cost of choking that nation to death.
  • Strike militarily, as Cotton urges, and accept the war that follows, if Iran chooses to fight rather than be humiliated and capitulate to Pompeo’s demands.

One recalls: Saddam Hussein accepted war with the United States in 1991 rather than yield to Bush I’s demand he get his army out of Kuwait.

Who wants a U.S. war with Iran?

Primarily the same people who goaded us into wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, and who oppose every effort of Trump’s to extricate us from those wars.

Should they succeed in Iran, it is hard to see how we will ever be able to extricate our country from this blood-soaked region that holds no vital strategic interest save oil, and America, thanks to fracking, has become independent of that.

 

https://www.wnd.com/2019/06/war-with-iran-would-become-trumps-war/

Story 3: President Trump Press Opportunity on Way To Orlando, Florida Rally Starting 2020 Presidential Re-Election Campaign — Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan Resigns and Army Secretary Mark Esper Named Acting Secretary of Defense — Videos

ILLEGALS MUST GO: President Trump Says Millions Of Illegals Will Be Removed

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Tucker Carlson Tonight 6/18/2019 – FOX NEWS TODAY JUNE 18,2019

Patrick Shanahan drops out of running to be defense secretary

Shanahan out at Pentagon, Mark Esper named new acting defense secretary

Army Secretary Mark Esper on 2020 budget

Trump campaign gives sneak peek to official 2020 campaign ad

Ingraham: The president’s relaunch

Newt Gingrich breaks down Trump’s reelection chances in 2020

As Trump’s defense pick withdraws, he addresses violent domestic incidents

June 18 at 1:15 PM

Shanahan: ‘I’d be happy to serve’

Asked Feb. 12 if he would keep his post “for the long run,” acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan said he would act “in any capacity” Trump asked him to do. 

In the months that he has served as President Trump’s acting secretary of defense, Patrick Shanahan has worked to keep domestic violence incidents within his family private. His wife was arrested after punching him in the face, and his son was arrested after a separate incident in which he hit his mother with a baseball bat. Public disclosure of the nearly decade-old episodes would re-traumatize his young adult children, Shanahan said.

On Tuesday, Trump announced in a tweet that Shanahan would not be going through with the nomination process — which had been delayed by an unusually lengthy FBI background check — “so that he can devote more time to his family.”

Shanahan spoke publicly about the incidents in interviews with The Washington Post on Monday and Tuesday.

 

“Bad things can happen to good families . . . and this is a tragedy, really,” Shanahan said. Dredging up the episode publicly, he said, “will ruin my son’s life.”

In November 2011, Shanahan rushed to defend his then-17-year-old son, William Shanahan, in the days after the teenager brutally beat his mother. The attack had left Patrick Shanahan’s ex-wife unconscious in a pool of blood, her skull fractured and with internal injuries that required surgery, according to court and police records.

Two weeks later, Shanahan sent his ex-wife’s brother a memo arguing that his son had acted in self-defense.

“Use of a baseball bat in self-defense will likely be viewed as an imbalance of force,” Shanahan wrote. “However, Will’s mother harassed him for nearly three hours before the incident.”

Details of the incidents have started to emerge in media reports about his nomination, including a USA Todayreport Tuesday about the punching incident in 2010.

In an hour-long interview Monday night at his apartment in Virginia, Shanahan, who has been responding to questions from The Post about the incidents since January, said he wrote the memo in the hours after his son’s attack, before he knew the full extent of his ex-wife’s injuries. He said that it was to prepare for his son’s initial court appearance and that he never intended for anyone other than his son’s attorneys to read it.

“That document literally was, I sat down with [my son] right away, and being an engineer at an aerospace company, you write down what are all of the mitigating reasons something could have happened. You know, just what’s the list of things that could have happened?” he said.

As he wrote in an ongoing custody battle stemming from their divorce, Shanahan said Monday that he does not believe there can be any justification for an assault with a baseball bat, but he went further in the interview, saying he now regrets writing the passage.

“Quite frankly it’s difficult to relive that moment, and the passage was difficult for me to read. I was wrong to write those three sentences,” Shanahan said.

“I have never believed Will’s attack on his mother was an act of self-defense or justified. I don’t believe violence is appropriate ever, and certainly never any justification for attacking someone with a baseball bat,” he said.

Kimberley Shanahan, who has since changed her name to Kimberley Jordinson, has not responded to repeated efforts by reporters since January to contact her via email, text, phone and social media seeking comment about the incidents.

Patrick Shanahan’s response when his family was split by acts of domestic violence — including steps he took to manage his son’s surrender to police and attempt to keep him out of jail — is detailed in court filings that have not been previously reported. Court records also contain an earlier episode in which both Shanahan and his wife alleged they were assaulted by one another, and she was arrested.

The Defense Department has long struggled with its own responses to domestic violence, and it has faced a fresh wave of criticism since shortly after Shanahan became deputy secretary of defense in July 2017.

In November of that year, an airman who had been court-martialed for assaulting his wife and stepson killed 26 people and wounded 22 others in a Texas church. A Defense Department investigation later faulted the Air Force for repeatedly failing to submit the serviceman’s fingerprints to a civilian database, which it said should have prevented him from purchasing the firearms used in the mass shooting.

Last month, the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General admonished the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, saying they failed for decades to consistently follow policies requiring military police to thoroughly process crime scenes and interview witnesses following allegations of nonsexual domestic abuse. The watchdog said that in 180 of 219 cases it reviewed, the branches failed to submit criminal histories and fingerprints of offending servicemen to civilian authorities.

Shanahan said his personal experience with domestic violence has taught him there are no simple policy prescriptions. He said domestic violence rates in the military will improve only if the services can change the way they talk about the stresses of serving in the armed forces in a more honest and natural way.

“There’s not one size that fits all — I mean, it’s a very complicated issue,” he said. “It’s not as simple as take this training class or apply these resources or, you know, look for these kinds of symptoms. I mean, it’s not that simple. There are all sorts of dimensions, whether it’s mental health or addiction or stress in the home. It’s a very toxic concoction.

“The thing that’s probably, like a lot of other issues . . . is having a buddy system of people who really care about you and can intervene,” he said. “What I’ve learned is extremely important.”

‘I was seeing stars’

Patrick Shanahan, 56, climbed the ranks at Boeing over more than two decades, becoming vice president and general manager of the corporation’s commercial airplane program in 2008. An exacting, hard-charging executive who worked grueling hours, he earned the sobriquet “Mr. Fix It” for his ability to turn around sputtering projects worth billions of dollars, such as the aerospace giant’s delayed 787 Dreamliner program. 

By 2010, Shanahan was earning more than $935,000 annually in salary and bonuses, court records show. 

But there was turbulence in Shanahan’s personal life with his wife of 24 years. Shanahan and two of his children interviewed by The Post said Kimberley Shanahan was growing more erratic. One Thanksgiving, she threw the entire dinner on the floor, saying the family did not appreciate her efforts, they said. A birthday cake his daughter baked for Patrick Shanahan was similarly destroyed, they said.

Things culminated with a physical dispute in August 2010. According to Patrick Shanahan, the incident began when he was lying in bed, following an argument with his wife about their oldest child.

Shanahan said he had his eyes closed, trying to fall asleep, when his wife entered the bedroom and punched him in the face before landing blows to his torso.

“I was seeing stars,” Shanahan said, but he didn’t react, saying he believes that only further enraged his wife.

She then began throwing her husband’s clothes out of a window, according to police and court records, and tried to set them on fire with a propane tank she couldn’t dislodge from a barbecue grill, attempting again later by burning paper towels.

Another physical altercation ensued, with police records indicating that Kimberley Shanahan swung at Patrick Shanahan. She called the police and claimed he punched her in the stomach, an allegation he denies.

When officers arrived, they found him with a bloody nose and scratches on his face, police records show. Authorities charged his wife with domestic violence.

Patrick Shanahan soon filed for divorce and dropped the charges. The file would grow to more than 1,500 pages.

‘It was a hard time to see your son’

Kimberley Shanahan won custody of the children and moved to Florida. Patrick Shanahan remained in Seattle, but the couple’s eldest daughter would soon rejoin him to attend college.

Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011, Kimberley Shanahan and William got into “a verbal dispute” over her suspicion that the 17-year-old was in a romantic relationship with a 36-year-old woman, according to a police report.

According to police, just after 1:30 a.m., William “shoved and pinned his mother against a bathroom wall” before grabbing a $400 Nike composite baseball bat “to swing at her head,” striking her multiple times.

“I attempted to run away from Will, but as I reached the laundry room, he struck me with the bat in the back of my head,” Kimberley Shanahan wrote in a court filing in the custody case. “The last thing I remember from before I lost consciousness is the impact of the bat, and blood gushing everywhere.”

William, Sarasota police wrote, struck several blows to his mother’s head and torso and left her “to lie in a pool of blood” and then “unplugged the landline phone cord depriving the victim and [the younger brother] the use of 911 to render aid.”

As William fled the home, situated in an exclusive barrier-island development called Bird Key just outside Sarasota, he “tossed a bottle of rubbing alcohol” to his younger brother and told him “you clean her up,” according to the police report.

The younger brother called 911 from a neighbor’s phone, according to police records.

Within hours, William contacted his father, who immediately booked a predawn flight to Florida, according to court records and documents provided by Shanahan.

Kimberley Shanahan was hospitalized early that morning and later required surgery, she wrote in a filing. Among her injuries were a fractured skull and elbow, according to the police report.

While she was in the hospital, authorities began to search for William, according to records released to The Post by Sarasota police.

Police distributed a photo of William to patrol cars on Bird Key. They tried to track the young man’s cellphone, but it appeared to be turned off, police wrote. They canvassed a local park and bridges to the mainland. They searched a local yacht club. But there was no trace of him, according to records.

Patrick Shanahan landed in Florida just before 5 p.m. on Wednesday. He arranged to stay with William in a hotel.

“Mr. Shanahan’s response when he learned of the assault was to book Will a hotel room,” Kimberley Shanahan wrote.

Patrick Shanahan said it’s a bit of a blur.

“It was a hard time to see your son — hopefully you’ll never be in that spot someday,” he said. “I wasn’t hiding. We got a hotel and talked to the attorney, and we just camped out.”

Shanahan did not visit the hospital where his ex-wife was taken, she later wrote in a custody filing. Instead, over four days that included Thanksgiving, he worked to assemble a defense team and enlist family members and friends to attend an initial hearing to try to persuade a judge to let his son stay out of jail while he fought the charges.

Derek Byrd, head of a well-known Sarasota defense firm hired by Patrick Shanahan to represent his son in the criminal case, said in an interview that the elder Shanahan acted appropriately by not contacting police until his son could consult a defense attorney, a process that was delayed by the Thanksgiving holiday.

Byrd also said that Patrick Shanahan was not aware that police were searching for his son in the days after the attack.

“I don’t think Pat handled that time frame inappropriately,” Byrd said in an interview. “I think he was just doing what a reasonable dad should probably do. I’m sure the timeline looks bad on paper, but he didn’t do anything that I consider out of the ordinary, and he wasn’t hiding Will.”

Byrd said Patrick Shanahan first contacted his firm within a day of arriving in Florida, either Wednesday night or Thursday, which was Thanksgiving. He said a lawyer from the firm could not meet with the Shanahans until Friday morning, after the holiday.

Later on Friday, another attorney from the firm contacted the detective handling the case, Kenneth Halpin.

According to the detective’s report, the attorney said he would arrange for the younger Shanahan to turn himself in — after two more days, on Sunday evening, Nov. 27.

“Detective Halpin trusted us to do that,” Byrd told The Post. “He said, ‘Fine.’ ”

Halpin told The Post that he could not recall the conversation but probably would have cast it differently:

“If someone calls and says they’re going to turn in a suspect on a Sunday night, and he’s already lawyered up with someone who has a reputation like Byrd, for being on TV, what can you do? You can’t force an attorney to turn in his client,” Halpin said, adding: “I’m sure I would have also told him that there’s paper out for him, so they’re still going to snatch him up if he’s found.”

That Sunday night, Patrick Shanahan drove William to a police station to surrender, according to police records and a timeline of events prepared by a Shanahan spokesman.

His mother attended his court appearance the next morning.

“My neighbor took me to the court hearing, and both of us were shocked to see Pat in the courtroom,” she wrote in the filing, saying she had believed until then that he had been in Seattle.

‘He doesn’t believe in violence’

Patrick Shanahan and Byrd came to the hearing prepared to plead for the younger Shanahan to remain out of custody, citing his baseball career at an exclusive youth sports academy and prep school attended by sons and daughters of major league athletes.

“He’s a college baseball prospect. He has dreams. He has a future. His father is an executive of Boeing,” Byrd said, according to an audio recording that the court released to The Post. “If he has to sit in jail for 21 days, not only is that going to traumatize him, he’s not going to finish the semester, probably get kicked off the baseball team . . . everything is going to be over for him.”

Patrick Shanahan also vouched for his son.

“He doesn’t believe in violence,” he told the judge. “I’ve never seen him act aggressively toward his brother or any other family members, so it’s a shock to me what has happened.”

The judge declined to release William Shanahan, calling pictures of the crime scene “horrendous.”

He was initially charged with two felonies, aggravated battery and tampering with a victim, and faced up to 15 years in prison.

In the custody filing is the four-page memo Patrick Shanahan wrote at the time.

It lists “mitigating circumstances” that should be considered in evaluating the alleged assault.

A Shanahan spokesman provided a copy of the email containing the memo retained by Shanahan’s brother-in-law, showing it had been sent on Dec. 8, 2011, two weeks after the attack, and 10 days after Patrick Shanahan was present at the court hearing with his injured ex-wife.

First, Patrick Shanahan wrote, his 17-year-old son had “acted in self-defense.”

“She fueled the situation by berating him repeatedly in his room in a manner that escalated emotionally and physically,” he wrote.

The memo continues, alleging a history of substance abuse, emotional abuse and violent tendencies by Kimberley Shanahan. “Over the last 7+ years I have worked as much as possible, partially out of a desire to avoid inevitable conflicts with Kim,” Shanahan wrote. It casts his ex-wife as the instigator in conflicts with him and their children. “It appears that when I was not around to yell at, she started becoming intensely focused on berating, terrorizing and beat them down emotionally.”

Kimberley Shanahan disputed those characterizations.

“I have always been a very loving and dedicated mom,” she wrote in a court filing responding to the memo, “and I have never emotionally abused any of my children for any period of time.”

Kevin Cameron, Kimberley Shanahan’s brother, said he was not bothered by Patrick Shanahan’s memo because he believed Shanahan wrote it before he had all of the facts about the assault.

“If anything, I believe Pat fully understands and is better equipped to deal with domestic violence than most people,” Cameron wrote in a letter to The Post. “He has seen it. He has lived it. He understands that domestic violence is real and prevalent. He understands that it can impact anyone of any age, gender, race and socioeconomic status.”

‘We moved on’

Kris Roberts, a police officer who assisted in the search for William Shanahan, recalled that after the arrest, his father was a “hindrance” in a follow-up matter, as police investigated whether there had been an inappropriate relationship between the adult woman and William. Under Florida law, William was too young at the time to have had a consenting sexual relationship with the woman. Roberts, a retired detective with the Longboat Key Police Department, said the father, whom she could not remember by name, would not turn over his son’s cellphone.

After the surrender to police, “his father would not talk to me; he wasn’t helping,” Roberts said. “I remember he had a West Coast address, Seattle maybe, and when he left, the son’s cellphone was just gone.” Roberts said she believes Patrick Shanahan took his son’s cellphone back to Seattle with him.

Roberts said that without the cooperation of the father, the investigation fell apart. “We only had one love letter between them, but it didn’t speak to anything sexual,” Roberts said. The adult woman “soon lawyered up, too, and we moved on.”

Byrd, the attorney for William Shanahan; an attorney who represents Patrick Shanahan in Seattle; and a Shanahan spokesman said they were not aware of a formal request for the cellphone.

Prosecutors would go on to charge William as an adult with one felony: aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. He pleaded down to a third-degree felony, and in 2012, a state prosecutor agreed to a “withhold of adjudication,” curtailing the length of the sentence and probation. The post-sentencing maneuver is not recognized outside of Florida, and William’s record could not be sealed or expunged in the state because it involved a violent domestic assault.

William was ordered to spend 18 months at a Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranch and sentenced to four years’ probation. Both penalties were later reduced.

The following year, in 2013, William enrolled at the University of Washington, according to his LinkedIn page. His father had recently joined the university’s board of regents. The family had other ties to the school. Patrick Shanahan’s father, Michael, had served as police chief for the university for more than two decades.

William graduated last June with a degree in political science, a university spokesman said.

Kimberley Shanahan lost custody of the couple’s youngest child in 2014, when a judge wrote that she had “engaged in abusive use of conflict that is seriously detrimental” to the child. According to multiple accounts, she is now estranged from all three of her children. At his last confirmation hearing, to become deputy secretary of defense in June 2017, all three children were sitting behind Patrick Shanahan.

None of the senators asked him about domestic violence.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/06/18/troubling-questions-raised-by-patrick-shanahans-pulled-nomination/?utm_term=.3210169d99a0

The troubling questions raised by Shanahan’s aborted nomination

June 18 at 4:31 PM

Patrick Shanahan’s bid to become defense secretary has been withdrawn, and The Washington Post’s Aaron C. Davis and Shawn Boburg have the big story about why. Reports about two incidents of domestic violence — one in which Shanahan’s then-wife was charged with assaulting him and another in which his then-teenage son hit her with a baseball bat in the head — have led President Trump to announce Shanahan’s withdrawal.

The first, inescapable emotion one has to have while reading the story is sadness. It’s an extremely messy family situation that sounds awful and painful.

But thing I felt is curiosity: How is it possible Shanahan thought he could become secretary of defense without this being publicized and litigated? And beyond that, how was he picked for the job in the first place, and how was he previously confirmed as deputy secretary of defense?

There are certainly many questions here — regarding Shanahan, the White House that picked him, the FBI that conducts background checks, and the Senate, which confirmed him in the deputy position.

From Shanahan’s perspective, it’s important to emphasize that he was never charged with becoming violent himself, though his wife did accuse him of that. But in interviews with The Post, he admitted fault for having suggested his son’s assault of his mother was justified as an act of self-defense. He had initially suggested she had drawn the attack by harassing the teenager over a period of hours. “I was wrong to write those three sentences,” he said of a memo in which he made that case.

Shanahan would surely have been forced to account for that situation and others. Now, he has pulled out before he could even really attempt to.

But why was he in contention in the first place? In the vetting process, the first things to check are divorce records, police records and court records. The Post’s reporting relied upon all three. The White House has never been big on actually vetting its nominees — even for top Cabinet posts — but is it really possible it didn’t check these very basic boxes? And it would seem very likely that an FBI background check was conducted that would provide such information to the White House counsel. Was that done? Either someone was negligent, or someone turned a blind eye.

And even setting that aside, did the GOP-controlled Senate dig into these things when it was confirming Shanahan as deputy defense secretary in July 2017? Shanahan was confirmed 92 to 7, despite some concerns about installing a former Boeing executive as a top Pentagon official. As Davis and Boburg noted, all three of his children sat behind him at the hearing; domestic violence didn’t come up once.

At least one Democratic senator, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, is already raising the prospect that Shanahan might have withheld this information on his disclosure forms.

“I feel there was a deliberate concealment here,” Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Armed Service Committee, told reporter Matt Laslo. “This is potentially a violation of criminal law.”

Matt Laslo

@MattLaslo

“I feel there was a deliberate concealment here,” Armed Services member Sen. Blumenthal says of Shanahan. “This is potentially a violation of criminal law” by Shanahan for lying on disclosure forms, he adds

113 people are talking about this

This is merely the latest vetting failure from the White House. It previously employed Rob Porter as staff secretary despite two ex-wives having accused him of physical abuse. It nominated and then withdrew Ronny L. Jackson for Veterans Affairs secretary despite some very serious accusations that quickly came to light. Trump’s first labor secretary nominee, Andy Puzder, quickly succumbed to accusations of domestic violence and employing an undocumented worker. And you could even throw now-Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh in there; even though he wound up winning confirmation, it was made much more difficult by sexual assault allegations against him.

In some of these instances, it’s perhaps somewhat understandable how these things could have slipped through the cracks; Kavanaugh had never been accused publicly, for example, and Jackson’s reputation was solid from when he served in the Obama White House. In the case of Shanahan, these are public records. The Washington Post has been asking Shanahan about these incidents since January, when he became acting secretary, and he was still nominated last month.

It’s a remarkably sad story — and one that many people involved probably should have prevented from ever needing to be told in the context of a Cabinet nomination.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/06/18/troubling-questions-raised-by-patrick-shanahans-pulled-nomination/?utm_term=.3210169d99a0

 

 

 

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Story 1: Trump In Iowa Pandering to Corn Farmers With Ethanol Subsidies and Mandates — End All Subsidies and Mandates — Repeal The Reusable Fuel Standard — Videos

See the source image

President Trump visiting Iowa ethanol plant

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The Renewable Fuel Standard – What is it?

 

The Renewable Fuels Standard

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, created under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, established the first mandatory blend levels for renewable fuel in the United States. The RFS2 encompasses all renewable fuels and requires 4 billion gallons of renewable fuel be blended into transportation fuel in 2006, increasing to 36 billion gallons by 2022 (Figure 1). Most of this is corn-based ethanol, but fuels that reduce more greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), like biodiesel, require 9 billion gallons to be blended into transportation fuel in 2008, increasing to 21 billion gallons by 2022.

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Renewable Fuel Standard (United States)

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The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is an American federal program that requires transportation fuel sold in the United States to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuels. It originated with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and was expanded and extended by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Research published by the U.S. GAO in November, 2016 found the program unlikely to meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions due to limited current and expected future production of advanced biofuels[1]

History[edit]

The RFS requires renewable fuel to be blended into transportation fuel in increasing amounts each year, escalating to 36 billion gallons by 2022. Each renewable fuel category in the RFS must emit lower levels of greenhouse gases relative to the petroleum fuel it replaces.[2]

The first RFS, usually referred to as RFS1, required that 4 billion gallons of biofuel be used in 2006. This requirement was scheduled to rise to 7.5 billion gallons in 2012. These requirements were passed as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 changed and broadened these rules. EISA was signed into law by President George W. Bush and the bill was overwhelmingly supported by members of congress from both parties.[3]

The changes required by the 2007 legislation are usually referred to as RFS2. RFS2 required the use of 9 billion gallons in 2008 and scheduled a requirement for 36 billion gallons in 2022. The quota for 2022 was to allow no more than a maximum of 15 billion gallons from corn-starch ethanol and a minimum of 16 billion gallons from cellulosic biofuels.[3]

In reaction to the implementation of the RFS, passage of EISA, and other measures to support ethanol, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) expressed alarm. In 2007, OPEC’s secretary general, Abdalla El-Badri, said that increased use of biofuels by the United States could cause OPEC to decrease production. Other OPEC leaders openly worried about “security of demand.”[4]

Enforcement and administration[edit]

The Renewable Fuel Standard Program (RFS) was introduced as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.[5] The Act passed both the House and Senate with strong support, including 275 votes in the House and a remarkable 74 votes in the Senate.[6] The legislation required that certain minimum levels of biofuels be produced and used in the United States by designated dates. The initial RFS, referred to as RFS1 contained in the 2005 Act, mandated that a minimum of four billion gallons of renewable fuel be used in the nation’s gasoline supply by 2006 and that the minimum usage volume rise by 3.5 billion gallons by 2012.[7] In 2007, The RFS program was expanded under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, known as EISA. EISA expanded the mandate, now known as RFS2, to require 36 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022.[8]>

After passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the EPA was delegated the responsibility of developing a regulatory framework to implement the RFS.[9] To establish this framework, EPA initiated a formal rulemaking process. A federal agency rule-making procedure must follow the process set out in the Administrative Procedures Act.[10] This requires government agencies to formulate a proposed rule and then submit that proposed rule for public comment. Once this comment period ends, agencies may or may not modify the proposed rule after which they issue a final rule. The RFS rulemaking took place between May 26th 2009 and July 27th 2009 with the final rule being announced by EPA on March 26th 2010 via the Federal Register.[11]

Under the final RFS Rule, the program is administered by the Office of Transportation and Air Quality within the Office of Air and Radiation (OAR) under the EPA.[12] Each year, by November 30, the OAR is required to establish, via rulemaking, the volumes of biofuel that must be blended with transportation fuels during the following calendar year known as the Renewable Volume Obligation or RVO.[13] An RVO is determined by multiplying the output of the producer by the EPA’s announced blending ratios for each of the four standards described above. The producer has to show compliance through the RIN system. It can purchase RINs to makeup for any shortfall in production. Surplus RINs can be sold. This is done through the EPA’s Moderated Transaction System.[3] The EPA established an RVO of 18.11 billion gallons total for 2016.[14]

On May 29, 2015, the EPA set an RVO lower than the benchmarks established by Congress. This generated criticism from all sides of the issue. The EPA was also blamed for missing legal deadlines to revise the RVO targets. Some say this introduced market uncertainty, harming both consumers and producers. The EPA made this announcement in May to meet a June 1, 2015 deadline established by the settlement to a lawsuit brought by fossil fuel and chemical trade associations. The EPA defended the targets calling them “ambitious but responsible” and arguing that “Biofuels remain an important part of the overall strategy to enhance energy security and address climate change.” The EPA announcement called for a 27-percent increase in the use of advanced biofuels from 2014 to 2016. Most gasoline used in the United States is blended to E10, which contains only 10% ethanol. The May 2015 rule changes thus created modest incentives to make greater use of E85 and E15, which contain more ethanol.[15]

Three categories of fuel (Cellulosic biofuel, biodiesel and advanced biofuel) were identified and EPA is responsible for establishing an annual target RVO for each. Recognizing that implementing the program would take time because the US lacked sufficient manufacturing capacity to produce large volumes of biofuels when the rule was finalized, the initial targets were low. However, in the period since the RFS rule went into effect, the amount of renewable fuel that must be produced for US usage has risen significantly as the following chart covering recent years indicates[16]:

Fuel 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Cellulosic biofuel 33 123 230 331 288 418 n/a
Biomass-based diesel 1.63 1.73 1.9 2.0 2.1 2.1 2.43
Advanced biofuel 2.67 2.88 3.61 4.28 4.29 4.92 n/a
Renewable fuel 16.28 16.93 18.11 19.28 19.29 19.92 n/a

To determine whether the goals for each year are met, EPA created the system of “credits” that would be issued each time a gallon of biofuel was produced. Each such gallon would be assigned a Renewable Identification Number or RIN.[17] Refiners, not those who blend the renewable fuel, are required to acquire and submit the amount of RINs that represent their share of the total amount of renewable fuel that EPA has set as the annual production level.

Many in the biofuel industry argue that the EPA abused its waiver authority by setting RVOs lower than the statutory minimums. They say Congress clearly intended for the law to apply according to supply that could be available rather than demand. They contend that the EPA has conflated the two. Under EISA, the statutory standard for 2017 is 24 billion gallons. On May 19, 2016, the EPA proposed an RVO of 18.8 billion gallons of biofuel for 2017. This was up from 18.4 billion gallons in 2016. Ethanol supporters and oil companies alike criticized this target.[18] On July 28, 2017, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals rejected the EPA’s 2015 waivers.[19]

On June 22, 2016, the EPA announced that it was considering changes to the enforcement of blending standards. The agency has received petitions calling for compliance to be shifted away from refiners to blenders or “the entity that holds title to the gasoline or diesel fuel, immediately prior to the sale from the bulk transfer/terminal system … to a wholesaler, retailer or ultimate consumer.”[20]

After 2022, the EPA has wide discretion to set RVOs in accordance with the goals outlined under EISA.[21] According to the EISA, “the applicable volumes of each fuel specified in the tables in clause (i) for calendar years after the calendar years specified in the tables shall be determined by the Administrator, in coordination with the Secretary of Energy and the Secretary of Agriculture, based on a review of the implementation of the program during calendar years specified in the tables…”[22]

Independent Refiners Efforts to Reform the RINs Program[edit]

Although the survival of the RFS seems certain, the program’s implementation has resulted in significant adverse side effects for certain members of the US refining industry. As a result, an effort has emerged to revise, rather than eliminate, the RFS. The impetus for change has come from the independent/merchant refining sector which has faced dramatic increases in operating costs as a result of their efforts to comply with RFS.

As previously noted, RINs are generated when a gallon of renewable fuel is created by companies who blend ethanol and other renewable fuels. However, to demonstrate compliance with the annual RFS targets it is refiners, not blenders, who are required to provide the government with the RINs. By separating the generation of the RIN from the point of government obligation, the Rule set in motion a process that has triggered a major policy debate.

While many large refiners also blend renewable fuels and thus generate their own RINs, smaller merchant/independent refiners must obtain the RINs necessary to meet their obligations by purchasing them.[23] This has created a commodity market for RINs which has brought speculators into the market who have no obligation to the government, but are simply seeking to profit by buying RINs from blenders and reselling them to refiners. Since refiners must provide sufficient RINs to satisfy their obligation under the RFS, buying them has become a major cost for refiners that do not also blend renewable fuels.[24]

The situation has been made more complicated because EPA has not always met their requirement of announcing the following year’s RFS by November 30th of the preceding year. During the Obama Administration EPA did not produce its RVO targets for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 until June 10th 2015.[25] As a result, refiners did not know how many RINs they would need and either found themselves short or long in terms of meeting their obligations. Those who were short were then forced to incur great cost buying inflated-priced RINs to meet their obligations and those who had over-purchased RINs had spent too much to protect their position.

The cost to independent refiners who lack blending capabilities has continued to grow. In 2016 the RIN price was over 85 cents per gallon.[26] This compares to 2012 when RIN prices were only a few cents per gallon.[27] To put this into perspective, Valero of Texas, the world’s biggest independent refiner, projected that RINs credits would cost the company as much as $850 million in 2016, which was 100% higher than what they paid in 2015.[28] These costs have been hard for companies to sustain. Hence, they have attempted to seek relief. It is on this battleground that the RFS is currently being challenged.

Pursuit of Compromise[edit]

It is believed that the White House is pushing both sides to work out a compromise. Several proposals have been discussed with two receiving the most attention. Under the first, RINs associated with exported ethanol could be used for compliance. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the U.S. exported one billion gallons of ethanol in 2016.[29] EPA’s regulations currently require that RINs associated with these biofuel gallons be retired upon export and even set up an “export RVO” to ensure such retirements occur. Because this system results in the disqualification of ethanol exports, it significantly constrains the RIN market. Refiners argue that the EPA should eliminate the export RVO and allow RINs associated with exported ethanol be made available for RFS compliance. Such a policy would significantly increase the number of RINs, thereby partially alleviating RINs costs. The EPA would have the authority under the statute to make this change.

Another potential alternative would be to allow EPA to create and make available for sale to obligated parties a “government RIN” to use for compliance with the basic ethanol mandate. Under this approach, the government could sell these government-generated RINs to obligated parties at a low, fixed price that they could use for compliance if they are unable to obtain affordable RINs in the marketplace. Refiners would then have the option of obtaining RINs through blending, buying it off the market, or buying the “government RIN” from the EPA. The government RIN would be available at all times with no restriction on the number of credits. This change would also be within the powers of EPA.

The Trump Administration and the two sides are looking at these options in pursuit of a course that would keep the basic RFS program in place while providing some relief to independent refiners. For RFS advocates the decision will come down to a choice between their long-held resistance to allowing any alteration in the RFS program (for fear that those who desire complete elimination of RFS will try to take advantage of any apparent weakening of their previous position) and the potential to satisfy the RFS opponents who have the strongest argument in favor of change. For refiners the decision will come down to whether RIN price certainty is more attractive than continuing to pursue options that could eliminate RIN costs altogether. For the Trump Administration the challenge will be to not alienate two of the lynchpin constituencies that made the President’s victory possible. Given the political clout of the parties involved, the most likely outcome at this stage is a compromise along the lines of one of the two most recent refiner proposals, accompanied by a very high-profile pledge from the President that RFS will otherwise be retained in full. However, given the stakes and the historic intransigence of the parties, there is no guarantee that they will find common ground.

Feedstock[edit]

EISA defined “renewable fuel” as being made from biomass but also restricted the type of land on which permissible feedstock could be grown. Land put into cultivation after December 13, 2007 was excluded. Tree crops, tree residues, and biomass grown on federal land were all excluded as permissible feedstock.[3]

Pollution standards[edit]

EISA defined air pollution standards that require various levels of greenhouse gas reductions according to the type of biofuel used and the fuel being displaced. Cellusoic biofuels must have emissions that are at least a 60 reduction relative to gasoline or diesel fuel that would be used in its place. Biomass and sugarcane ethanol must have 50 percent reductions. Research at Argonne National Laboratory sponsored by the Department of Energy demonstrated that, on average, corn ethanol reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 34 percent over gasoline.

“Blend wall”[edit]

The amount of ethanol used in the United States is capped by a limit of 10% ethanol content for most gasoline and diesel sales. This limit is often referred to as the “blend wall.” Raising the blend wall to 15% could help meet the statutory minimums set out in EISA.[4]Increasing ethanol content in gasoline beyond 15% would require modifications to the fuel systems of a conventional engine. The amount of ethanol used in the United States is also limited by the number of Flex Fuel vehicles available which are capable of operating on ethanol blends as high as 85% (E85) and the relative pricing of E85 as compared to regular gasoline (E10).

Other alternative fuels may have higher functional “blend walls”. Biobutanol may be legally blended up to 16%, operating as an E10 equivalent,[30] though it is possible to operate at as high as 20% butanol without engine modification.

Food prices[edit]

According to research sponsored by the United States government, the World Bank, and other organizations, there is no clear link between the RFS and higher food prices. Ethanol critics contend that RFS requirements crowd out production that would go to feed livestock.[4][31]

The 2008 financial crisis illustrated corn ethanol’s limited impact on corn prices, which fell 50% from their July 2008 high by October 2008, in tandem with other commodities, including oil, while corn ethanol production continued unabated. “Analysts, including some in the ethanol sector, say ethanol demand adds about 75 cents to $1.00 per bushel to the price of corn, as a rule of thumb. Other analysts say it adds around 20 percent, or just under 80 cents per bushel at current prices. Those estimates hint that $4 per bushel corn might be priced at only $3 without demand for ethanol fuel.”[32]

References …

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_Fuel_Standard_(United_States)

 

 

Trump’s ethanol move delivers gift to corn country

Updated 

President Donald Trump ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to expand sales of corn ethanol on Tuesday, delivering a gift to farm state Republicans a month before the midterm elections.

The move ends months of bitter behind-the-scenes fighting between corn backers and the oil industry over Trump’s calls to increase ethanol sales, and it could benefit Iowa’s Republican governor, who is trailing her Democratic challenger in the polls, as well as at least two Iowa House incumbents who are also vulnerable. But the oil industry’s most powerful trade group immediately said it will fight to block the action.

“We want to get more fuel into the system,” Trump told reporters before boarding Marine One to travel to a rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa. “This is great for our farmers, and it’s a promise I made during the campaign, and as you know I keep my promises.”

EPA expects to finish a rule by the beginning of June to allow year-round sales of gasoline with 15 percent ethanol content, an increase over the 10 percent blends that are sold at most gas stations around the nation. The sale of the blends, known as “E15,” is currently prohibited during the summer months in several states because of Clean Air Act restrictions, and corn growers have long sought to expand sales of the higher concentrations.

“This is a big deal,” said Jeff Navin, a Democratic former aide to ex-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota and former chief of staff in the Obama administration’s Energy Department. “It’s not something that makes a front page of East and West Coast newspapers, but it’s something that farmers watch closely. I’m sure the political team and elected officials in Iowa told [Trump] he has to do something to staunch bleeding.”

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and John Thune (R-S.D.), along with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Rep. David Young (R-Iowa) joined Trump in the Oval Office for his announcement, which the White House did not publicly broadcast.

“This is a very good victory for agriculture, a very good victory for workers at our 50 ethanol plants in Iowa and other states. it’s a very good victory for the environment and everything about this is good, good, good,” Grassley said in a video posted on Instagram.

Trump has previously called for increased sales of ethanol, which consumes about 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop. He strongly backed the biofuel during the 2016 campaign, a stance that appealed to Midwestern farmers who helped carry him to victory but who have been battered by his trade war and retaliatory tariffs from countries angry over his steel and aluminum tariffs.

But the U.S. oil industry has staunchly opposed increasing ethanol sales, and it has pressed for EPA and Congress to overhaul the federal biofuels mandate that Congress first created in 2005 to help reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil. The mandate requires oil refiners to blend specified volumes of biofuels into the nation’s gasoline supply, and to purchase biofuels credits that are traded in a market that has been plagued by fraud.

Trump has personally sought to mediate the dispute, which has pitted ethanol backers like Iowa Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst against Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who has pressed the president to grant concessions to the oil industry. But despite a half dozen Oval Office meetings with Trump and several months of study by EPA and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, oil refiners will receive only modest changes in how regulators handle the biofuel credits.

“The president has repeatedly stated his support for the [ethanol program],” the White House official told reporters Monday. “He thinks that it’s good to have domestically produced energy here and he thinks it will be good for the agriculture industry as well as the economy overall.”

The oil industry had benefited from the more than two dozen waivers that former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt granted to refineries that allowed them to ignore the mandate that they blend the corn-based fuel with gasoline. But that angered farm groups, who said it reduced the requirement for ethanol by billions of gallons.

Now, Trump may be trying to make it up to Iowans and come to the aid of a friendly governor before the 2020 Iowa caucuses. Gov. Kim Reynolds, who took the post after Gov. Terry Branstad became Trump’s ambassador to China, is currently trailing her Democratic challenger, businessman Fred Hubbell, by 3.5 points, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average.

Trump has twice before promised to expand E15 sales, most recently in July, and Tuesday’s move was warmly welcomed by the industry.

“It’s hard to find the proper adjectives to describe how exciting it is to see year-round E15 move forward,” said Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. “We have worked non-stop on this issue for seven years while the unjustified restrictions hampered retailers from offering E15.”

Most U.S. gasoline sold in the U.S. is E10, meaning it contains 10 percent ethanol, though the 15 percent ethanol is sold by many retailers, particularly in big corn-producing states. Trump, who cannot change the policy through an executive order, has now ordered acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to issue a waiver to the rules specifically for E15 to allow year-round sales.

The White House sought to mollify refiners by ordering Wheeler to alter the trade of biofuels credits, called Renewable Identification Numbers, that oil processors must purchase to show they are complying with the law. Independent refiners have long looked for ways to lower the cost of compliance and to increase transparency in that market. The new measures include limiting the credit purchases to refiners and ethanol importers, as well as requiring individuals holding more than a certain number of credits to disclose their holdings publicly.

Refiners will also now have to prove compliance with the program quarterly rather than annually, and EPA will limit how long companies other than refiners and importers can hold credits.

“President Trump has made strengthening the Renewable Fuel Standard an important priority of this administration,” EPA spokesman John Konkus said in a statement, referring to the ethanol program by its formal name. “He is fulfilling his promise by providing clear policy direction that will expand opportunities for our nation’s farmers, provide certainty to our refiners and bolster the United States’ role as a biofuels powerhouse. EPA will follow the president’s direction and proceed as expeditiously as practicable.”

Ethanol proponents say the rule will give gas station owners the incentive to install the equipment to sell the higher biofuel blends, which would increase sales of ethanol.

“We’re very excited to hear the president’s upcoming announcement,” Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy, an ethanol trade association, said in a statement. “He knows farmers are hurting and they want action on E15 in time for the next summer driving season. Year-round sales of E15 nationwide could deliver demand for two billion bushels of American corn and help restore growth in rural communities.”

Oil companies, who would prefer to see congressional efforts led by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) develop a comprehensive legislative overhaul to the mandate, believe Trump’s new policy is “wrongheaded” and the transparency policies don’t compensate them enough.

“We just don’t think it rises to the significance of issuing the E15 waiver, and therefore it’s no deal at all, from our standpoint,” said Frank Macchiarola, vice president of downstream and operations for the American Petroleum Institute. “From a legal standpoint, we don’t think EPA has the authority to issue the E15 waiver, [and] we will aggressively be looking at all of our potential options moving forward with respect to challenging this decision.”

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/10/08/trump-ethanol-corn-831493

 

 

Time to Repeal Ethanol Subsidies

The federal government provides an array of subsidies to increase the consumption of biofuels such as corn ethanol. The subsidies include tax breaks, grants, loans, and loan guarantees. The government also imposes a mandate to blend biofuels into gasoline and diesel fuels.

A new study at DownsizingGovernment.org describes the damage caused by these policies. Subsidies and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) harm taxpayers, motorists, consumers, and the environment.

The study by Nicolas Loris argues that Congress should end its intervention in the biofuels industry. It should terminate subsidies and repeal the RFS. Individuals and markets can make more efficient and environmentally sound decisions regarding biofuels without subsidies and mandates.

Investor Carl Icahn said that the RFS has created a bureaucratic market in tradable credits full of “manipulation, speculation and fraud” with the potential to “destroy America’s oil refineries, send gasoline prices skyward and devastate the U.S. economy.”

That language is probably too strong, but federal ethanol policies really are stupid. President Trump says that he wants to cut unneeded regulations and wasteful subsidies. The RFS and biofuel hand-outs would be good policies to target.

So for an interesting read illustrating the craziness of special-interest policies in Washington, check out “Ethanol and Biofuel Policies.” The next time you are at the gas station and see that “E10” sticker on the pump, remember that a tag team of D.C. politicians and corn farmers are picking your pocket.

https://www.cato.org/blog/time-repeal-ethanol-subsidies

Downsizing the Federal Government

YOUR GUIDE TO CUTTING FEDERAL SPENDING

Ethanol and Biofuel Policies

  • Nicolas Loris
February 9, 2017

The federal government provides an array of subsidies to increase the consumption of biofuels such as corn ethanol. The subsidies include tax breaks, grants, loans, and loan guarantees. The government also imposes a mandate to blend biofuels into gasoline and diesel fuels. Biofuel supporters said that these policies would reduce gas prices, strengthen the economy, and benefit the environment, but none of those promises have turned out to be true.

The problem is not with the voluntary use of biofuels in the marketplace, but rather policies that mandate and subsidize biofuels. That top-down approach has harmed consumers, damaged the economy, and produced negative environmental effects. Even within the agricultural community, federal biofuel policies have adversely affected livestock producers and other businesses.

Congress should end its intervention in the biofuels industry. It should terminate subsidies and repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard. Individuals and markets can make more efficient and environmentally sound decisions regarding biofuels without subsidies and mandates.

What Are Biofuels?

Biofuels are derived from biological matter. Producers ferment sugar (sugarcane and sugar beets) and starch products (corn and potatoes) to create bioalcohols, and they ferment oilseed crops (soybeans and sunflower seeds) and animal fats to create biodiesel.

Ethanol, the most common biofuel, is mainly made from corn in the United States. Before federal subsidies and mandates were put in place, ethanol was already used as an additive to gasoline, allowing it to burn cleaner and more efficiently. The use of biofuels is not new, and it did not originally stem from government policies. A century ago, Henry Ford had planned for the Model T to run on ethanol, and Rudolf Diesel showcased a diesel engine that ran on peanut oil.1

Today, fuel suppliers mix biofuels into gasoline and diesel at blending stations. Most vehicles can handle gasoline blended with at most 10 percent ethanol (E10). In 2011 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved a blend of up to 15 percent ethanol (E15) for vehicles in model year 2001 and newer, but that mix is damaging to engines in older vehicles.2 Possible engine harm, automobile warranty concerns, and a lack of infrastructure have delayed adoption of E15.3 A further concern is that higher ethanol blends are harmful to the smaller engines in lawnmowers, motorcycles, and boats.4Another fuel blend is E85, which contains from 51 percent to 83 percent ethanol and is used in flexible-fuel vehicles.5

The federal government distinguishes between conventional (first-generation) biofuels and advanced (second-generation) biofuels, including cellulosic ethanol. Producers create advanced biofuels from nonfood parts of crops and other biomass such as leaves, switchgrass, algae, and woodchips. However, developing commercially viable fuel from these sources has proven to be very difficult.

Federal Biofuel Policies

The federal government has supported biofuels for decades. Republican and Democratic administrations and congresses have put in place a variety of subsidies—including tax credits, import tariffs, grants, loans, and mandates—to increase the production, sale, and use of biofuels.

In response to the oil crisis of the 1970s, Congress passed the first ethanol tax credit in the Energy Tax Act of 1978. Later legislation, including the Biomass Research and Development Act of 2000, the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003, and the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, introduced or expanded subsidies for biofuels. Farm bills in 2002, 2008, and 2014 also added and expanded biofuel programs. Today, there are at least 11 different federal subsidy programs for biofuels providing loans, grants, and other benefits.6

However, the most important component of federal biofuel policy is the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). It mandates that billions of gallons of ethanol be blended into gasoline and diesel fuel each year. The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 mandated the sale of oxygenated fuels in some regions of the country, and that “kicked off the modern U.S. ethanol industry growth.”7 Then the Energy Policy Act of 2005 mandated that increasing amounts of renewable fuels be mixed into America’s fuel supplies over time, primarily corn-based ethanol. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 greatly increased the mandated quantities.

Under the 2007 law, there must be 36 billion gallons of biofuels blended into the nation’s fuel supplies by 2022. No more than 15 billion gallons of that can be corn-based ethanol, and 21 billion gallons must be from advanced biofuels. After 2022 the EPA is granted authority to set annual targets.

The RFS is causing major economic and compliance problems. One problem is that cellulosic biofuel is supposed to be 44 percent of the total mandate by 2022, but actual production of these advanced fuels is far below expectations and running into major technical setbacks.8 In 2017 production of cellulosic biofuel will be just 1.6 percent of the 19 billion gallons of the overall biofuels mandated under the RFS.9

A broad range of groups oppose the RFS mandate, including environmental groups, anti-poverty groups, most economists, energy companies, and many farm groups. The RFS is opposed by the National Chicken Council, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council, National Turkey Federation, Milk Producers Council, and others.10It is also opposed by the American Petroleum Institute, National Resource Defense Council, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, Environmental Working Group, and Oxfam.11

Despite the opposition, the biofuel lobbies have so far held sway in Congress. Over time, however, opposition to the RFS has increased as the negative economic, technical, and environmental effects have become more obvious. The RFS is a failed experiment. Congress should recognize its mistake before more damage is done and repeal the mandate.

Such a reform would not end the biofuels industry. Some biofuels are cost competitive with traditional fuels and make a useful addition to gasoline mixed in at small levels. In the year before the government mandated ethanol use, American companies produced more than 81 million barrels of ethanol.12 Used at a modest level, ethanol is a cost-effective oxygenate for gasoline, meaning an additive that improves efficiency and helps meet fuel emissions requirements. A study by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture estimated that with no RFS and no ethanol tax credit, demand for corn ethanol would have been 4.3 billion gallons in 2014, or about 30 percent of actual corn ethanol production that year.13

By ending federal subsidies and mandates, biofuels use would decline to efficient levels that maximized consumer benefits. Agriculture and food markets would benefit from the elimination of distortions that biofuel mandates are creating. The most competitive elements of the biofuels industry would survive and thrive in a free market.

The following sections discuss how current biofuels policies increase costs for drivers, raise food prices, and harm the environment.

Increase Costs for Drivers

Ethanol is not a good substitute for regular gasoline because it contains less energy. Ethanol has only two-thirds the energy content of regular gasoline.14 Drivers get fewer miles per gallon the higher the share of ethanol and other biofuels mixed into their tanks.

During times of high gas prices, ethanol may appear less expensive. But after adjusting for the energy content difference, higher concentrations of ethanol in fuel costs more. As an example, the national average price of regular gasoline in February 2016 was $1.71 per gallon and E85 was $1.52 per gallon.15 But adjusting for E85’s lower energy content pushed the price up to the equivalent of $1.99 per gallon at the time. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that the overall energy content of fuel at the pump fell 3 percent between 1993 and 2013 as mandated ethanol use increased.16

The additional cost of ethanol varies depending on current ethanol and gasoline prices. But, in general, the higher the ethanol content, the lower is gas mileage, and the more drivers must spend to go the same distance. Motorists can spend hundreds of dollars more per year running common flexible-fuel vehicles on E85 instead of regular gasoline blended with E10.17

Raise Food Prices

Ethanol production uses a large share of America’s corn crop and diverts valuable crop land away from food production. The resulting increases in food prices have hurt both urban and rural families. Families with moderate incomes are particularly burdened by the higher food prices created by federal biofuel policies. Higher corn prices also hurt farmers and ranchers who use corn for animal feed. Higher food prices caused by biofuel policies also hurt low-income families in other countries that rely on U.S. food imports. U.S. corn accounts for more than half of the world’s corn exports.18

Almost 40 percent of the entire U.S. corn crop has been used for ethanol in recent years, up from about 13 percent when Congress mandated the original quota in 2005.19 The remaining 60 percent is used for food, animal feed, and exports. In 2012 the amount of corn used to produce ethanol in the United States exceeded the entire corn consumption of the continent of Africa and of any single country except China.20

The U.S. Department of Agriculture noted that “increased corn prices draw land away from competing crops, raise input prices for livestock producers, and put moderate upward pressure on retail food prices.”21 These negative effects were particularly apparent during the 2012 drought in the United States, which destroyed crops, drove corn prices up 33 percent, and heightened concerns that the RFS was diverting food to fuel.22Since corn is an ingredient in many foods, and an important feedstock for animals, many in the food industry (from cattle and chicken farmers to restaurant associations) complained about the mandate’s effect on food prices.

In 2012 the governors of Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming petitioned the EPA for a waiver of the RFS in order to reduce corn prices, but the EPA denied the request.23 Yet according to a study by economists at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, the drought’s impact on corn prices could have been “fully negated” by reducing the RFS by 23 percent that year.24

A number of studies have examined the link between biofuels policies and global food prices, as well as the adverse consequences on the world’s poorest citizens. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, ActionAid, World Resources Institute, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the World Bank have all identified higher food prices as a negative effect of biofuel policies.25

The magnitude of the RFS’s effect on the prices of corn and other farm products is difficult to determine precisely, but the direction of the impact is clear. The RFS has increased demand for corn and pushed up prices. One study by University of California at Davis economists found that the RFS increases corn prices by 30 percent, while a Heritage Foundation study found the increase to be 68 percent.26 The Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports that economists “are nearly universally agreed that the strong, steady growth in ethanol demand for corn has had an important and sustained upward price effect, not just on the price of corn, but in other agricultural markets including food, feed, fuel, and land.”27

Proponents of the RFS and biofuel subsidies argue that the policies support economic growth in rural communities. Actually, the policies support corn growers at the expense of other rural industries such as livestock production, which use corn as animal feed.

In the future, biofuels may make more economic sense than they do today and become a preferred fuel choice by Americans in open markets. But current policies that mandate the increasing use of biofuels are imposing large costs on motorists, harming food consumers and livestock producers, and damaging the overall economy.

Harm the Environment

Supporters of biofuel subsidies and the RFS claim that the policies create environmental benefits, including a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. But most evidence now indicates that biofuel policies do not reduce such emissions or benefit the environment overall.

Here are some of the factors to consider regarding biofuels and the environment:

  • Biofuel policies draw additional land into agricultural production. After accounting for this land-use conversion, the additional use of fertilizers, insecticides, and pesticides, as well as the fossil fuels used for production and distribution, biofuel production is quite carbon intensive.28
  • The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization found that converting noncropland to production of corn ethanol released at least 17 times more emissions than the amount of reduced carbon dioxide emissions by the use of biofuels.29
  • University of Michigan Professor John DeCicco found that even without accounting for indirect land use changes, biofuels increase the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere compared to regular gasoline.30
  • Despite once hailing biofuels as a tool to mitigate climate change, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change now acknowledges that biofuels policies negatively affect the lives of the poor, distort land use, and may have negative environmental consequences.31
  • A study by Iowa State University researchers concluded that the increased production of biofuels generated by government policies has led to environmental harm from the use of fertilizers and land-use conversion for agricultural production, which can result in increased soil erosion, sedimentation, and nitrogen and phosphorous runoff into lakes and streams.32

Ethanol does have benefits as a fuel additive to help gasoline burn more cleanly and efficiently. However, in a report to Congress on the issue, the EPA projected that nitrous oxides, hydrocarbons, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, ground-level ozone, and ethanol-vapor emissions, among other pollutants, would increase at different points in the production and use of ethanol.33

Many types of agricultural production affect the natural environment, both positively and negatively. Almost all industrial output has some unwanted effects, whether air pollutants or discharges into water systems. But those effects are not a reason to eliminate market activities that generate net value overall. The problem with biofuel policies is that they are both harmful to the economy and they have negative environmental effects. Biofuel policies were sold as being “green,” but today’s high levels of subsidized biofuel use does not benefit the environment.

Renewable Fuel Standard

The RFS illustrates the folly of trying to centrally plan energy markets. Current rules require a steadily increasing share of biofuels in gasoline until 2022. In 2016 ethanol exceeded 10 percent of all U.S. gasoline sales for the first time. Petroleum refiners are now coming up against a “blend wall” such that further biofuel increases will begin causing harm to vehicle performance and damage to engines and catalytic converters.

The RFS is also a bureaucratic nightmare. The 2007 law created separate requirements for different classes of biofuels, including conventional, advanced, cellulosic, and biomass. It also created a greenhouse gas accounting system because each fuel generates different lifecycle emission amounts. There are special rules for crops on forested areas and federal land, and there are complex procedures for the EPA to follow in setting each year’s mandated amounts.

For fuel refiners, the RFS has created a complicated system of credits and credit trading. Each refiner in the United States must have a certain percentage of its domestic sales contain blended ethanol, called a renewable volume obligation (RVO).34 But refiners have an option to meet part of their requirement by buying credits rather than blending more ethanol. In order to track this, the EPA requires a renewable identification number (RIN) to account for the amount of biofuel reaching the market and to make sure refiners blend enough ethanol. Refiners can hold on to these credits to meet their RFS requirement or they can purchase RIN credits from other refiners. Different RIN prices exist for different forms of biofuels.

Since refineries now face the blend wall, increased trading for RIN credits has caused the price of the credits to spike from pennies previously to more than a dollar in 2013 and then back up to nearly a dollar in 2016.35 The system also generates abuse as refineries buy fake credits with made-up RINs. Investor Carl Icahn says that “RINs have turned into a $15 billion market full of manipulation, speculation and fraud.”36 A report by a former head of EPA’s criminal investigations, Doug Parker, found that fraud in the RINs market could be as high as $1 billion.37 Parker concluded that the RFS program was “a ripe target for massive fraud and illicit gain.”38

Overmandating—requiring the use of more ethanol than can be blended—and forcing the purchase of RINs, could cost consumers billions of dollars at the pump.39 The consulting firm NERA warned that attempting to hit the original RFS targets in 2022 would result in severe economic harm:

When the required biofuel volume standards are too severe, as with the statute scenario, the market becomes disrupted because there are an insufficient number of RINs to allow compliance. “Forcing” additional volumes of biofuels into the market beyond those that would be “absorbed” by the market based on economics alone at the levels required by the statute scenario will result in severe economic harm.40

Federal mandates to continually increase biofuel use make no sense partly because we do not know the overall level of fuel demand in the future. If fuel demand is flat due to higher vehicle fuel efficiency, the blend wall problem will persist. Flexible-fuel vehicles capable of using E85 offer little economic relief for the blend wall. Demand for these vehicles is very low, and drivers who own flexible-fuel vehicles often fill their tanks with E10 because the energy content is higher than E85.

Proponents of the RFS pointed to oil price volatility as a reason to support federal policies. But in free markets there is nothing wrong with energy price changes, which work to balance supplies and demands. Besides, the passage of the RFS has done little to curb the effects of oil price volatility. And furthermore, ethanol is subject to its own price volatility. As CRS noted of a 2008 price spike, “The experience of $7.00-per-bushel corn, albeit temporary, shattered the idea that biofuels were a panacea for solving the nation’s energy security problems and left concerns about the potential for unintended consequences from future biofuels expansion.”41

While corn-based ethanol has kept up with mandates so far, the production of other biofuels has not. The production of cellulosic ethanol, made from nonfood sources, is nowhere near meeting targets, even though the RFS mandates 16 billion gallons to be used by 2022. High capital costs and difficulty in scaling up cellulosic biofuel conversion plants have prevented advanced biofuels from becoming economically viable.

The EPA has had to reduce Congress’s original annual quotas for cellulosic ethanol because not enough was available on the market. The EPA adjusted Congress’s first cellulosic target from 100 million gallons in 2010 to just 6.5 million. However, even the adjusted mandate was a stretch compared with reality; in fact, zero gallons were produced that year and the following one.42 For 2017 the EPA has set the target for cellulosic ethanol at 311 million gallons and total advanced biofuels at 4.28 billion gallons.43

Refiners have had to pay millions of dollars in waiver credits or surcharges for failure to comply with the EPA’s minimum volume requirements. Refiners pass these costs onto consumers. In January 2013 the Washington, D.C., Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the EPA “let its aspirations for a self-fulfilling prophecy divert it from a neutral methodology,” and that the RFS target was an “unreasonable exercise of agency discretion.”44 It vacated the cellulosic ethanol requirement required by the RFS for the year 2012. The EPA has since proposed future cellulosic mandates that are equally out of touch with market realities.

The Wall Street Journal reported in 2016 that the RFS was creating big winners and big losers among companies because of the buying and selling of RINs:

Environmental regulations designed to boost the amount of ethanol blended into the U.S. gasoline supply have inadvertently become a multibillion-dollar windfall for some of the world’s biggest oil companies.

Companies including Chevron Corp., Royal Dutch Shell PLC, and BP PLC could reap a total of more than $1 billion this year by selling the renewable fuel credits associated with the ethanol program…

For other companies, especially smaller refiners, the rules have had the opposite effect, forcing them to spend hundreds of millions to buy credits to comply.45

Carl Icahn, who is a part owner of a refinery that is bearing heavy costs, complained that “a shadowy, unregulated trade in electronic credits called Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) threatens to destroy America’s oil refineries, send gasoline prices skyward and devastate the U.S. economy.”46 Icahn wants policymakers to reform the RFS, but for all the reasons discussed here, it should be completely repealed.

Policy Reforms  

The political tide is turning against ethanol and biofuels as more experts and policymakers are recognizing the shortcomings of federal policies. Biofuel policies promised a lot of benefits, but they have delivered more harm than good. While some farmers and agribusinesses gained, taxpayers, motorists, food consumers, livestock producers, and the environment have been harmed. Furthermore, the federal mandate is generating vast bureaucracy, imposing major losses on some refiners, and generating widespread fraud and abuse.

The administration should work with Congress to:

  • Repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard. Biofuels existed before the RFS, and biofuels would remain after repealing it to the extent that they were economically viable. Repealing the mandate would create a more efficient biofuels market based on entrepreneurial initiative rather than government dependence.
  • Eliminate biofuels subsidy programs. Congress should repeal all the biofuels spending programs that have been included in farm bills and other bills, including grant and loan programs.
  • Allow producers and consumers to drive innovation. Make broad reforms to the energy sector to level the playing field between producers, fuels, and technologies. Congress should allow consumers to choose their favored fuels for transportation and other uses within open and competitive markets.

 


Nicolas Loris is an economist at the Heritage Foundation.

https://www.downsizinggovernment.org/ethanol-and-biofuel-policies

Ethanol fuel in the United States

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Blender fuels pump in 2012 selling the standard E10 ethanol blend together with E15, E30 and E85 in East Lansing, Michigan

Ethanol fuel production by state

The United States became the world’s largest producer of ethanol fuel in 2005. The U.S. produced 13.9 billion U.S. liquid gallons (52.6 billion liters) of ethanol fuel in 2011,[1] an increase from 13.2 billion U.S. liquid gallons (49.2 billion liters) in 2010, and up from 1.63 billion gallons in 2000.[2] Brazil and U.S. production accounted for 87.1% of global production in 2011.[1] In the U.S, ethanol fuel is mainly used as an oxygenate in gasoline in the form of low-level blends up to 10 percent, and to an increasing extent, as E85 fuel for flex-fuel vehicles.[3]

The ethanol market share in the U.S. gasoline supply grew by volume from just over 1 percent in 2000 to more than 3 percent in 2006 to 10 percent in 2011.[1][4][5] Domestic production capacity increased fifteen times after 1990, from 900 million US gallons to 1.63 billion US gal in 2000, to 13.5 billion US gallons in 2010.[4][6] The Renewable Fuels Association reported 209 ethanol distilleries in operation located in 29 states in 2011, and 140 under construction or expansion as of December 2011, that upon completion, would bring U.S. total installed capacity to 15.0 billion US gallons. Most expansion projects are aimed to update the refinery’s technology to improve ethanol production, energy efficiency, and the quality of the livestock feed they produce.[1]

By 2011 most cars on U.S. roads could run on blends of up to 10% ethanol(E10), and manufacturers had begun producing vehicles designed for much higher percentages. However, the fuel systems of cars, trucks, and motorcycles sold before the ethanol mandate may suffer substantial damage from the use of 10% ethanol blends. Flexible-fuel cars, trucks, and minivans use gasoline/ethanol blends ranging from pure gasoline up to 85% ethanol (E85). By early 2013 there were around 11 million E85-capable vehicles on U.S. roads.[7][8] Regular use of E85 is low due to lack of fueling infrastructure, but is common in the Midwest.[9][10] In January 2011 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted a waiver to allow up to 15% of ethanol blended with gasoline (E15) to be sold only for cars and light pickup trucks with a model year of 2001 or later. The EPA waiver authorizes, but does not require stations to offer E15. Like the limitations suffered by sales of E85, commercialization of E15 is constrained by the lack of infrastructure as most fuel stations do not have enough pumps to offer the new E15 blend, few existing pumps are certified to dispense E15, and no dedicated tanks are readily available to store E15.[11][12][13]

Ethanol production was expected to continue to grow over the next several years, since the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 required 36 billion US gallons of renewable fuel use by 2022. The target for ethanol production from cellulosic feedstocks was 16 billion US gallons a year. The corn ethanol target was 15 billion US gallons by 2015.[14][15] Ethanol industries provided jobs in agriculture, construction, operations and maintenance, mostly in rural communities.[16]

In early 2009 the industry experienced financial stress due to the effects of the economic crisis of 2008. Motorists drove less, gasoline prices dropped sharply, capacity rose and less financing was available.[17][18][19]

Historically most U.S. ethanol has come from corn and the required electricity for many distilleries came mainly from coal. Debate ensued about ethanol’s sustainability. The primary issues related to the large amount of arable land required for crops and ethanol production’s impact on grain supplyindirect land use change (ILUC) effects, as well as issues regarding its energy balance and carbon intensity considering its full life cycle.[20][21][22][23][24][25] Recent developments with cellulosic ethanol production and commercialization may allay some of these concerns.[26]

Contents

History

Typical label at the gas pumps warning drivers of ethanol content up to 10%, used as oxygenate additive instead of MTBEMiamiFlorida.

In 1826 Samuel Morey experimented with an internal combustion chemical mixture that used ethanol (combined with turpentine and ambient air then vaporized) as fuel. At the time, his discovery was overlooked, mostly due to the success of steam power. Ethanol fuel received little attention until 1860 when Nicholas Otto began experimenting with internal combustion engines. In 1859, oil was found in Pennsylvania, which decades later provided a new kind of fuel. A popular fuel in the U.S. before petroleum was a blend of alcohol and turpentine called “camphene“, also known as “burning fluid.”[citation needed] The discovery of a ready supply of oil and unfavorable taxation on burning fluid made kerosene a more popular fuel.

In 1896, Henry Ford designed his first car, the “Quadricycle” to run on pure ethanol.[27] In 1908, the revolutionary Ford Model T was capable of running on gasolineethanol or a combination.[27][28][29] Ford continued to advocate for ethanol fuel even during the prohibition, but lower prices caused gasoline to prevail.[27]

Typical manufacture’s warning placed in the fuel filler of U.S. vehicles regarding the capability of using up to E10, and warning against the use of blends between E20 and E85.

Gasoline containing up to 10% ethanol began a decades-long growth in the United States in the late 1970s. The demand for ethanol produced from field corn was spurred by the discovery that methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) was contaminating groundwater.[27][30] MTBE’s use as an oxygenate additive was widespread due to mandates in the Clean Air Act amendments of 1992 to reduce carbon monoxide emissions. MTBE in gasoline had been banned in almost 20 states by 2006. Suppliers were concerned about potential litigation and a 2005 court decision denying legal protection for MTBE.[citation needed] MTBE’s fall from grace opened a new market for ethanol, its primary substitute.[27] Corn prices at the time were around US$2 a bushel.[citation needed] Farmers saw a new market and increased production. This demand shift took place at a time when oil prices were rising.

The steep growth in twenty-first century ethanol consumption was driven by federal legislation aimed to reduce oil consumption and enhance energy security. The Energy Policy Act of 2005required use of 7.5×109 US gal (28×106 m3) of renewable fuel by 2012, and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 raised the standard, to 36×109 US gal (140×106 m3) of annual renewable fuel use by 2022. Of this requirement, 21×109 US gal (79×106 m3) had to be advanced biofuels, defined as renewable fuels that reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50%.[15][31][32]

Recent trends

U.S. fuel ethanol
production and imports
(2000–2011)[1][33]
(Millions of U.S. liquid gallons)
Year Production Imports Demand
2000 1,630 n/a n/a
2001 1,770 n/a n/a
2002 2,130 46 2,085
2003 2,800 61 2,900
2004 3,400 161 3,530
2005 3,904 135 4,049
2006 4,855 653 5,377
2007 6,500 450 6,847
2008 9,000 556 9,637
2009 10,600 193 10,940
2010 13,230 10 13,184
2011 13,900 160 n/a(1)
Note: Demand figures includes stocks change and
small exports in 2005.
(1) Exports in 2011 reached a record 1,100 billion gal.[1]

Graph of monthly production and net imports of fuel ethanol in the U.S. 1993–2012. Data from EIA

The world’s top ethanol fuel producer in 2010 was the United States with 13.2 billion U.S. gallons (49.95 billion liters) representing 57.5% of global production, followed by Brazil with 6.92 billion U.S. gallons (26.19 billion liters), and together both countries accounted for 88% of the world production of 22.95 billion U.S. gallons (86.85 billion liters).[2] By December 2010 the U.S. ethanol production industry consisted of 204 plants operating in 29 states,[4][6] and 9 plants under construction or expansion, adding 560 million gallons of new capacity and bringing total U.S. installed capacity to 14.6 billion U.S. gallons (55.25 billion liters).[6] At the end of 2010 over 90 percent of all gasoline sold in the U.S. was blended with ethanol.[4]

Production[edit]

Most of the ethanol consumed in the US is in the form of low blends with gasoline up to 10%. Shown a fuel pump in Maryland selling mandatory E10.

Beginning in late 2008 and early 2009, the industry came under financial stress due to that year’s economic crisis. Motorists drove less and gasoline prices dropped sharply, while bank financing shrank.[17][18][19] As a result, some plants operated below capacity, several firms closed plants, others laid off staff, some firms went bankrupt, plant projects were suspended and market prices declined.[17][18][19] The Energy Information Administration raised concerns that the industry would not meet the legislated targets.[17][34]

As of 2011, most of the U.S. car fleet was able to run on blends of up to 10% ethanol, and motor vehicle manufacturers produced vehicles designed to run on more concentrated blends. As of 2015, seven states – MissouriMinnesotaLouisianaMontanaOregonPennsylvania, and Washington – required ethanol to be blended with gasoline in motor fuels.[35] These states, particularly Minnesota, had more ethanol usage, and according to a source at Washington University, these states accumulated substantial environmental and economic benefits as a result.[36] Florida required ethanol blends as of the end of 2010,[37] but has since repealed it. Many cities had separate ethanol requirements due to non-attainment of federal air quality standards.[38] In 2007, Portland, Oregon, became the first U.S. city to require all gasoline sold within city limits to contain at least 10% ethanol.[39][40] Chicago has proposed the idea of mandating E15 in the city limits, while some area gas stations have already begun offering it.[41][42]

Expanding ethanol (and biodiesel) industries provided jobs in plant construction, operations, and maintenance, mostly in rural communities. According to RFA the ethanol industry created almost 154,000 U.S. jobs in 2005, boosting household income by $5.7 billion. It also contributed about $3.5 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues.[16]

The return on investment (ROI) to upgrade a service station to sell E15 is quick given today’s markets. Given ethanol’s discount to gasoline and the current value of RINs, retailers offering mid-level ethanol blends like E15 can quickly recoup their investments in infrastructure. Federal, state and local incentives and grant programs are available in most areas, and would further help reduce the cost of equipment and installation. E15 is a higher octane fuel, it is currently available in 29 states at retail fueling stations. E15 was approved for use in model year 2001 and newer cars, light-duty trucks, medium-duty passenger vehicles (SUVs), and all flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2012.

E85 vehicles

Typical labeling used in the US to identifyE85 flexible-fuel vehicles. Top left: a small sticker in the back of the fuel filler door. Bottom left: the bright yellow gas cap used in newer models. E85 Flexfuel badging used in newer models from Chrysler (top right), Ford(middle right) and GM (bottom right).

E85 fuel dispenser at a regular gasoline station, Washington, D.C..

FordChrysler, and GM are among many automobile companies that sell flexible-fuel vehicles that can run blends ranging from pure gasoline to 85% ethanol (E85), and beginning in 2008 almost any type of automobile and light duty vehicle was available with the flex-fuel option, including sedansvansSUVs and pickup trucks. By early 2013, about 11 million E85 flex-fuel cars and light trucks were in operation,[7][8] though actual use of E85 fuel was limited, because the ethanol fueling infrastructure was limited.[43]

As of 2005, 68% of American flex-fuel car owners were not aware they owned an E85 flex.[9][10] Flex and non-flex vehicles looked the same. There was no price difference. American automakers did not label these vehicles.[10][44] In contrast, all Brazilian automakers clearly labeled FFVs with text that was some variant of the word Flex. Beginning in 2007 many new FFV models in the US featured a yellow gas cap to remind drivers of the E85 capabilities.[45][46] As of 2008, GM badged its vehicles with the text “Flexfuel/E85 Ethanol”.[47][48] Nevertheless, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimated that in 2009 only 504,297 flex-fuel vehicles were regularly fueled with E85, and these were primarily fleet-operated vehicles.[49] As a result, only 712 million gallons were used for E85, representing just 1% of that year’s ethanol consumption.[50]

During the decade following 2000, E85 vehicles became increasingly common in the Midwest, where corn was a major crop.

Fueling infrastructure has been a major restriction hampering E85 sales.[43] As of March 2013, there were 3,028 fueling stations selling E85 in the U.S.[14] Most stations were in the Corn Belt states. As of 2008 the leading state was Minnesota with 353 stations, followed by Illinois with 181, and Wisconsin with 114. About another 200 stations that dispensed ethanol were restricted to city, state and federal government vehicles.[43]

E15 blend[edit]

E15 warning sticker required to be displayed in all fuel dispensers selling that blend in the U.S.

2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid fuel filler cap showing a warning regarding the maximum ethanol blend allowed by the carmaker, up to E10 gasoline. The warning label indicates that ethanol blends between E15 to E85 shall not be used in this vehicle.

In March 2009 Growth Energy, a lobbying group for the ethanol industry, formally requested the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow the ethanol content in gasoline to be increased to 15%, from 10%.[51] In October 2010, the EPA granted a waiver to allow up to 15% blends to be sold for cars and trucks with a model year of 2007 or later, representing about 15% of vehicles on the roads.[11][12] In January 2011 the waiver was expanded to authorize use of E15 to include model year 2001 through 2006 passenger vehicles. The EPA also decided not to grant any waiver for E15 use in any motorcycles, heavy-duty vehicles, or non-road engines because current testing data does not support such a waiver. According to the Renewable Fuels Association the E15 waivers now cover 62% of vehicles on the road in the country.[13][52] In December 2010 several groups, including the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the American Petroleum Institute, the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, filed suit against the EPA in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.[53] In August 2012 the federal appeals court rejected the suit against the EPA ruling that the groups did not have legal standing to challenge EPA’s decision to issue the waiver for E15.[54][55] In June 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from industry groups opposed to the EPA ruling about E15, and let the 2012 federal appeals court ruling stand.[56]

According to a survey conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA) in 2012, only about 12 million out of the more than 240 million light-duty vehicles on the U.S. roads in 2012 are approved by manufacturers are fully compliant with E15 gasoline. According with the Association, BMWChryslerNissanToyota, and Volkswagen warned that their warranties will not cover E15-related damage.[57] Despite the controversy, in order to adjust to EPA regulations, 2012 and 2013 model year vehicles manufactured by General Motors can use fuel containing up to 15 percent ethanol, as indicated in the vehicle owners’ manuals. However, the carmaker warned that for model year 2011 or earlier vehicles, they “strongly recommend that GM customers refer to their owners manuals for the proper fuel designation for their vehicles.” Ford Motor Company also is manufacturing all of its 2013 vehicles E15 compatible, including hybrid electrics and vehicles with Ecoboost engines.[8] Also Porsches built since 2001 are approved by its manufacturer to use E15.[57] Volkswagen announced that for the 2014 model year, its entire lineup will be E15 capable.[58] Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced in August 2015 that all 2016 model year Chrysler/FiatJeepDodge and Ram vehicles will be E15 compatible.[59]

Despite EPA’s waiver, there is a practical barrier to the commercialization of the higher blend due to the lack of infrastructure, similar to the limitations suffered by sales of E85, as most fuel stations do not have enough pumps to offer the new blend, few existing pumps are certified to dispense E15, and there are no dedicated tanks readily available to store E15.[11][12] In July 2012 a fueling station in Lawrence, Kansas became the first in the U.S. to sell the E15 blend. The fuel is sold through a blender pump that allows customers to choose between E10, E15, E30 or E85, with the latter blends sold only to flexible-fuel vehicles.[60] This station was followed by a Marathon fueling station in East Lansing, Michigan.[citation needed] As of June 2013, there are about 24 fueling stations selling E15 out of 180,000 stations operating across the U.S.[56]

As of November 2012, sales of E15 are not authorized in California, and according to the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the blend is still awaiting approval, and in a public statement the agency said that “it would take several years to complete the vehicle testing and rule development necessary to introduce a new transportation fuel into California’s market.”[61]

Legislation and regulations

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, directed DOE to assess the feasibility of using intermediate ethanol blends in the existing vehicle fleet.[62] The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) evaluated the potential impacts on legacy vehicles and other engines.[62] In a preliminary report released in October 2008, NREL described the effects of E10, E15 and E20 on tailpipe and evaporative emissions, catalyst and engine durability, vehicle driveability, engine operability, and vehicle and engine materials.[62][63] This preliminary report found that none of the vehicles displayed a malfunction indicator light; no fuel filter plugging symptoms were observed; no cold start problems were observed at 24 °C (75 °F) and 10 °C (50 °F) under laboratory conditions; and all test vehicles exhibited a loss in fuel economy proportional to ethanol’s lower energy density. For example, E20 reduced average fuel economy by 7.7% when compared to gas-only (E0) test vehicles.[62]

The Obama Administration set the goal of installing 10,000 blender pumps nationwide by 2015. These pumps can dispense multiple blends including E85, E50, E30 and E20 that can be used by E85 vehicles. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a rule in May 2011 to include flexible fuel pumps in the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). This ruling provided financial assistance, via grants and loan guarantees, to fuel station owners to install E85 and blender pumps.[64][65]

In May 2011 the Open Fuel Standard Act (OFS) was introduced to Congress with bipartisan support. The bill required that 50 percent of automobiles made in 2014, 80 percent in 2016, and 95 percent in 2017, be manufactured and warrantied to operate on non-petroleum-based fuels, which included existing technologies such as flex-fuel, natural gashydrogenbiodieselplug-in electric and fuel cell. Considering the rapid adoption of flexible-fuel vehicles in Brazil and the fact that the cost of making flex-fuel vehicles was approximately $100 per car, the bill’s primary objective was to promote a massive adoption of flex-fuel vehicles capable of running on ethanol or methanol fuel.[66][67][68]

In November 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency opened for public comment its proposal to reduce the amount of ethanol required in the US gasoline supply as mandated by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The agency cited problems with increasing the blend of ethanol above 10%. This limit, known as the “blend wall,” refers to the practical difficulty in incorporating increasing amounts of ethanol into the transportation fuel supply at volumes exceeding those achieved by the sale of nearly all gasoline as E10.[69][70]

Contractual restrictions

Gasoline distribution contracts in the United States generally have provisions that make offering E15 and E85 difficult, expensive, or even impossible. Such provisions include requirements that no E85 be sold under the gas station canopy, labeling requirements, minimum sales volumes, and exclusivity provisions. Penalties for breach are severe and often allow immediate termination of the agreement, cutting off supplies to retailers. Repayment of franchise royalties and other incentives is often required.[71]

Energy security

Ethanol fuel plant in West Burlington, Iowa.

One rationale for ethanol production in the U.S. is increased energy security, from shifting supply from oil imports to domestic sources.[31][72] Ethanol production requires significant energy, and current U.S. production derives most of that energy from domestic coal, natural gas and other non-oil sources.[73] Because in 2006, 66% of U.S. oil consumption was imported, compared to a net surplus of coal and just 16% of natural gas (2006 figures),[74] the displacement of oil-based fuels to ethanol produced a net shift from foreign to domestic U.S. energy sources.

Effect on gasoline prices

The effect of ethanol use on gasoline prices is the source of conflicting opinion from economic studies, further complicated by the non-market forces of tax credits, met and unmet government quotas, and the dramatic recent increase in domestic oil production.[75] According to a 2012 Massachusetts Institute of Technology analysis, ethanol, and biofuel in general, does not materially influence the price of gasoline,[76] while a runup in the price of government mandated Renewable Identification Number credits has driven up the price of gasoline.[77] These in contrast to a May, 2012, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development study which showed a $0.29 to $1.09 reduction in per gallon gasoline price from ethanol use.[78]

The U.S. consumed 138.2×109 US gal (523×106 m3) of gasoline in 2008, blended with about 9.6×109 US gal (36×106 m3) of ethanol, representing a market share of almost 7% of supply by volume. Given its lower energy content, ethanol fuel displaced about 6.4×109 US gal (24×106 m3) of gasoline, representing 4.6 percent in equivalent energy units.[15]

The EPA announced in November, 2013, a reduction in mandated U.S. 2014 ethanol production, due to “market conditions.” [79][80]

Tariffs and tax credits

Since the 1980s until 2011, domestic ethanol producers were protected by a 54-cent per gallon import tariff, mainly intended to curb Brazilian sugarcane ethanol imports. Beginning in 2004 blenders of transportation fuel received a tax credit for each gallon of ethanol they mix with gasoline.[81][82] Historically, the tariff was intended to offset the federal tax credit that applied to ethanol regardless of country of origin.[83][84] Several countries in the Caribbean Basin imported and reprocessed Brazilian ethanol, usually converting hydrated ethanol into anhydrous ethanol, for re-export to the United States. They avoided the 2.5% duty and the tariff, thanks to the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) and free trade agreements. This process was limited to 7% of U.S. ethanol consumption.[85]

As of 2011, blenders received a US$0.45 per gallon tax credit, regardless of feedstock; small producers received an additional US$0.10 on the first 15 million US gallons; and producers of cellulosic ethanol received credits up to US$1.01. Tax credits to promote the production and consumption of biofuels date to the 1970s. For 2011, credits were based on the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, and the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008.[31]

A 2010 study by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that in fiscal year 2009, biofuel tax credits reduced federal revenues by around US$6 billion, of which corn and cellulosic ethanol accounted for US$5.16 billion and US$50 million, respectively.

In 2010, CBO estimated that taxpayer costs to reduce gasoline consumption by one gallon were $1.78 for corn ethanol and $3.00 for cellulosic ethanol. In a similar way, and without considering potential indirect land use effects, the costs to taxpayers of reducing greenhouse gas emissions through tax credits were about $750 per metric ton of CO2-equivalent for ethanol and around $275 per metric ton for cellulosic ethanol.[31]

On June 16, 2011, the U.S. Congress approved an amendment to an economic development bill to repeal both the tax credit and the tariff, but this bill did not move forward.[81][82] Nevertheless, the U.S. Congress did not extend the tariff and the tax credit, allowing both to end on December 31, 2011.[86][87] Since 1980 the ethanol industry was awarded an estimated US$45 billion in subsidies.[86]

Feedstocks

Corn

Corn is the main feedstock used for producing ethanol fuel in the United States.[27][88] Most of the controversies surrounding U.S. ethanol fuel production and use is related to corn ethanol’s energy balance and its social and environmental impacts.[citation needed]

Cellulose

Cellulosic sources have the potential to produce a renewable, cleaner-burning, and carbon-neutral alternative to gasoline.[citation needed] In his State of the Union Address on January 31, 2006, President George W. Bush stated, “We’ll also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn, but from wood chips and stalks or switchgrass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years.”

On July 7, 2006, DOE announced a new research agenda for cellulosic ethanol. The 200-page scientific roadmap cited recent advances in biotechnology that could aid use of cellulosic sources. The report outlined a detailed research plan for additional technologies to improve production efficiency. The roadmap acknowledged the need for substantial federal loan guarantees for biorefineries.

The 2007 federal budget earmarked $150 million for the research effort – more than doubling the 2006 budget. DOE invested in enzymaticthermochemicalacid hydrolysis, hybrid hydrolysis/enzymatic, and other research approaches targeting more efficient and lower–cost conversion of cellulose to ethanol.

The first materials considered for cellulosic biofuel included plant matter from agricultural waste, yard waste, sawdust and paper. Professors R. Malcolm Brown Jr. and David Nobles, Jr. of the University of Texas at Austin developed cyanobacteria that had the potential to produce cellulose, glucose and sucrose, the latter two easily converted into ethanol. This offers the potential to create ethanol without plant matter.[citation needed]

Sugar

United States fuel ethanol
imports by country (2002–2007)[89]
(Millions of U.S. liquid gallons)
Country 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003
Brazil 188.8 433.7 31.2 90.3 0
Jamaica 75.2 66.8 36.3 36.6 39.3
El Salvador 73.3 38.5 23.7 5.7 6.9
Trinidad and Tobago 42.7 24.8 10.0 0 0
Costa Rica 39.3 35.9 33.4 25.4 14.7

Producing ethanol from sugar is simpler than converting corn into ethanol. Converting sugar requires only a yeast fermentation process. Converting corn requires additional cooking and the application of enzymes. The energy requirement for sugar conversion is about half that for corn.[citation needed] Sugarcane produces more than enough energy to do the conversion with energy left over. A 2006 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report found that at market prices for ethanol, converting sugarcane, sugar beets and molasses to ethanol would be profitable.[90] As of 2008 researchers were attempting to breed new varieties adapted to U.S. soil and weather conditions, as well as to take advantage of cellulosic ethanol technologies to also convert sugarcane bagasse.[91][92]

U.S. sugarcane production occurs in FloridaLouisianaHawaii, and Texas. The first three plants to produce sugarcane-based ethanol were expected to go online in Louisiana by mid-2009. Sugar mills in LacassineSt. James and Bunkie were converted to sugarcane ethanol production using Colombian technology to enable profitable ethanol production. These three plants planned to produce 100×106 US gal (380×103 m3) of ethanol per year within five years.[92][93][94]

By 2009 two other sugarcane ethanol production projects were being developed in Kauai, Hawaii and Imperial Valley, California. The Hawaiian plant was projected to have a capacity of between 12–15 million US gallons (45×103–57×103 m3) a year and to supply local markets only, as shipping costs made competing in the continental US impractical. This plant was expected to go on line by 2010. The California plant was expected to produce 60×106 US gal (230×103 m3) a year and it was expected in 2011.[91]

Presidents George W. Bush and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva during Bush’s visit to Brazil, March 2007.

In March 2007, “ethanol diplomacy” was the focus of President George W. Bush’s Latin American tour, in which he and Brazil’s president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, promoted the production and use of sugarcane ethanol throughout the Caribbean Basin. The two countries agreed to share technology and set international biofuel standards.[95] Brazilian sugarcane technology transfer was intended to permit various Central American, such as HondurasEl SalvadorNicaraguaCosta Rica and Panama, several Caribbean countries, and various Andean Countries tariff-free trade with the U.S., thanks to existing trade agreements. The expectation was that such countries would export to the United States in the short-term using Brazilian technology.[96]

In 2007, combined exports from Jamaica, El Salvador, Trinidad & Tobago and Costa Rica to the U.S. reached a total of 230.5×106 US gal (873×103 m3) of sugarcane ethanol, representing 54.1% of imports. Brazil began exporting ethanol to the U.S. in 2004 and exported 188.8×106 US gal (715×103 m3) representing 44.3% of U.S. ethanol imports in 2007. The remaining imports that year came from Canada and China.[89]

Other feedstocks

Cheese wheybarleypotato waste, beverage waste, and brewery and beer waste have been used as feedstocks for ethanol fuel, but at a far smaller scale than corn and sugarcane ethanol, as plants using these feedstocks have the capacity to produce only 3 to 5 million US gallons (11×103 to 19×103 m3) per year.[88]

Comparison with Brazilian ethanol

Sugarcane ethanol has an energy balance 7 times greater than corn ethanol.[97] As of 2007, Brazilian distiller production costs were 22 cents per liter, compared with 30 cents per liter for corn-based ethanol.[98] Corn-derived ethanol costs 30% more because the corn starch must first be converted to sugar before distillation into alcohol.[83] However, corn-derived ethanol offers the ability to return 1/3 of the feedstock to the market as a replacement for the corn used in the form of Distillers Dried Grain.[27] Sugarcane ethanol production is seasonal: unlike corn, sugarcane must be processed into ethanol almost immediately after harvest.[99]

Comparison of key characteristics between
the ethanol industries in the United States and Brazil
Characteristic Brazil U.S. Units/comments
Main feedstock Sugar cane Corn Main cash crop for ethanol production, the US has less than 2% from other crops.
Total ethanol fuel production (2011)[1] 5,573 13,900 Million U.S. liquid gallons
Total arable land[100] 355 270 Million hectares. Only contiguous U.S., excludes Alaska.
Total area used for ethanol crop (2006)[27][100] 3.6
(1%)
10
(3.7%)
Million hectares (% total arable)
Productivity[27][97][100][101] 6,800–8,000 3,800–4,000 Ethanol yield (liter/hectare). Brazil is 727 to 870 gal/acre (2006), US is 321 to 424 gal/acre (2003–05)
Energy balance (input energy productivity)[27][27][83][102] 8.3 to 10.2 1.3 to 1.6 Ratio of the energy obtained from ethanol/energy expended in its production
Estimated greenhouse gas emission reduction[20][24][27] 86–90%(1) 10–30%(1)  % GHGs avoided by using ethanol instead of gasoline, using existing crop land, without ILUC effects.
EPA‘s estimated 2022 GHG reduction for RFS2.[103] 61%(2) 21% Average % GHGs change as compared to gasoline and considering direct and indirect land use change effects.
CARB‘s full life-cycle carbon intensity[21][104] 73.40 105.10(3) Grams of CO2 equivalent released per MJ of energy produced, includes indirect land use changes.[24]
Estimated payback time for greenhouse gas emission[22] 17 years(4) 93 years(4) Brazilian cerrado for sugar cane and US grassland for corn. Land use change scenarios by Fargione et al.[23]
Flexible-fuel vehicles produced/sold
(includes autos, light trucks and motorcycles)[105][106][107]
16.3 million 10 million All fleets as of December 2011. The Brazilian fleet includes 1.5 million flex fuel motorcycles.[108][109][110]
USDOE estimates that in 2009 only 504,297 flex-fuel vehicles were regularly fueled with E85 in the US.[49]
Ethanol fueling stations in the country 35,017
(100%)
2,749
(1.6%)
As % of total gas stations in the country. Brazil by December 2007,[111] U.S. by May 2011.[14] (170,000 total.[44])
Ethanol’s share within the gasoline market[5][112][113][114] 50%(5) 10% As % of total consumption on a volumetric basis. Brazil as of April 2008. U.S. as of December 2010.
Cost of production (USD/US gallon)[97] 0.83 1.14 2006/2007 for Brazil (22¢/liter), 2004 for U.S. (35¢/liter)
Notes: (1) Assuming no land use change.[24] (2) Estimate is for U.S. consumption and sugarcane ethanol is imported from Brazil. Emissions from sea transport are included. Both estimates include land transport within the U.S.[103] (3) CARB estimate for Midwest corn ethanol. California‘s gasoline carbon intensity is 95.86 blended with 10% ethanol.[21][104] (4) Assuming direct land use change.[23] (5) If diesel-powered vehicles are included and due to ethanol’s lower energy content by volume, bioethanol represented 16.9% of the road sector energy consumption in 2007.[115]

Environmental and social impact

Environmental effects

Energy balance and carbon intensity

Until 2008, several full life cycle (“Well to Wheels” or WTW) studies had found that corn ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions as compared to gasoline. In 2007 a team led by Farrel from the University of California, Berkeley evaluated six previous studies and concluded corn ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by only 13 percent.[116][117][118] However, a more commonly cited figure is 20 to 30 percent, and an 85 to 85 percent reduction for cellulosic ethanol.[117][119] Both figures were estimated by Wang from Argonne National Laboratory, based on a comprehensive review of 22 studies conducted between 1979 and 2005, and simulations with Argonne’s GREET model. All of these studies included direct land use changes.[118][120]

The reduction estimates on carbon intensity for a given biofuel depend on the assumptions regarding several variables, including crop productivity, agricultural practices, and distillery power source and energy efficiency. None of these studies considered the effects of indirect land-use changes, and though their impact was recognized, its estimation was considered too complex and more difficult to model than direct land use changes.[117][121]

Effects of land use change

Summary of Searchinger et al.
comparison of corn ethanol and gasoline GHG emissions
with and without land use change
(CO2 release rate (g/MJ))[24][122]
Fuel type
(U.S.)
Carbon
intensity
Reduction
GHG
Carbon
intensity
ILUC
Reduction
GHG
Gasoline 92 92
Corn ethanol 74 -20% 177 +93%
Cellulosic ethanol 28 -70% 138 +50%
Notes: Calculated using default assumptions for 2015 scenario for ethanol in E85.
Gasoline is a combination of conventional and reformulated gasoline.[122]

Two 2008 studies, both published in the same issue of Scienceexpress, questioned the previous assessments.[23][24][123] A team led by Searchinger from Princeton University concluded that once direct and indirect effect of land use changes (ILUC) are considered, both corn and cellulosic ethanol increased carbon emissions as compared to gasoline by 93 and 50 percent respectively.[24] The study limited the analysis to a 30-year time horizon, assuming that land conversion emitted 25 percent of the carbon stored in soils and all carbon in plants cleared for cultivation. Brazil, China and India were considered among the overseas locations where land use change would occur as a result of diverting U.S. corn cropland, and it was assumed that new cropland in each of these regions correspond to different types of forestsavanna or grassland based on the historical proportion of each natural land converted to cultivation in these countries during the 1990s.[24]

A team led by Fargione from The Nature Conservancy found that clearing natural lands for use as agricultural land to produce biofuel feedstock creates a carbon debt. Therefore, this carbon debt applies to both direct and indirect land use changes. The study examined six scenarios of wilderness conversion, Brazilian Amazon to soybean biodiesel, Brazilian Cerrado to soybean biodiesel, Brazilian Cerrado to sugarcane ethanol, Indonesian or Malaysian lowland tropical rainforest to palm biodiesel, Indonesian or Malaysian peatland tropical rainforest to oil palm forest, and U.S. Central grassland to corn ethanol.[23]

Low-carbon fuel standards

On April 23, 2009, the California Air Resources Board approved specific rules and carbon intensity reference values for the California Low-Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) that was to go into effect on January 1, 2011.[124][125][126] The consultation process produced controversy regarding the inclusion and modeling of indirect land use change effects.[127][128][129][130][131] After the CARB’s ruling, among other criticisms, representatives of the ethanol industry complained that the standard overstated the negative environmental effects of corn ethanol, and also criticized the inclusion of indirect effects of land-use changes as an unfair penalty to home-made corn ethanol because deforestation in the developing world had been tied to US ethanol production.[125][132][133][134][135][136][137] The emissions standard for 2011 for LCFS meant that Midwest corn ethanol would not meet the California standard unless current carbon intensity is reduced.[124][135][137][138]

A similar controversy arose after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published on May 5, 2009, its notice of proposed rulemaking for the new Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).[139][140][141] EPA’s proposal included the carbon footprint from indirect land-use changes.[142][143] On the same day, President Barack Obama signed a Presidential Directive with the aim to advance biofuel research and commercialization. The Directive asked a new Biofuels Interagency Working Group comprising the Department of Agriculture, EPA, and DOE,[144][145] to develop a plan to increase flexible fuel vehicle use, assist in retail marketing and to coordinate infrastructure policies.

The group also was tasked to develop policy ideas for increasing investment in next-generation fuels, and for reducing biofuels’ environmental footprint.[144][145][146]

In December 2009 two lobbying groups, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and Growth Energy, filed a lawsuit challenging LCFS’ constitutionality. The two organizations argued that LCFS violates both the Supremacy Clause and the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution, and “jeopardizes the nationwide market for ethanol.”[147][148] In a press release the associations announced that “If the United States is going to have a low carbon fuel standard, it must be based on sound science and it must be consistent with the U.S. Constitution…”[149]

On February 3, 2010, EPA finalized the Renewable Fuel Standard Program (RFS2) for 2010 and beyond.[150] EPA incorporated direct emissions and significant indirect emissions such as emissions from land use changes along with comments and data from new studies.[151] Adopting a 30-year time horizon and a 0% discount rate[103] EPA declared that ethanol produced from corn starch at a new (or expanded capacity from an existing) natural gas-fired facility using approved technologies would be considered to comply with the 20% GHG emission reduction threshold.[151] Given average production conditions it expected for 2022, EPA estimated that corn ethanol would reduce GHGs an average of 21% compared to the 2005 gasoline baseline. A 95% confidence interval spans a 7-32% range reflecting uncertainty in the land use change assumptions.[103]

The following table summarizes the mean GHG emissions for ethanol using different feedstocks estimated by EPA modelling and the range of variations considering that the main source of uncertainty in the life cycle analysis is the GHG emissions related to international land use change.[152]

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Life cycle year 2022 GHG emissions reduction results for RFS2 final rule[152]
(includes direct and indirect land use change effects and a 30-year payback period at a 0% discount rate)
Renewable fuel pathway
(for U.S. consumption)
Mean
GHG emission
reduction(1)
GHG emission
reduction
95% confidence
interval(2)
Assumptions/comments
Corn ethanol 21% 7–32% New or expanded natural gas fired dry mill plant, 37% wet and 63% dry DGS it produces, and employing corn oil fractionation technology.
Corn biobutanol 31% 20–40% Natural gas fired dry mill plant, 37% wet and 63% dry DGS it produces, and employing corn oil fractionation technology.
Cellulosic ethanol from switchgrass 110% 102–117% Ethanol produced using the biochemical process.
Cellulosic ethanol from corn stover 129% No ILUC Ethanol produced using the biochemical process. Ethanol produced from agricultural residues does not have any indirect land use emissions.
Notes: (1) Percent reduction in lifecycle GHG emissions compared to the average lifecycle GHG for gasoline or diesel sold or distributed as transportation fuel in 2005.
(2) Confidence range accounts for uncertainty in the types of land use change assumptions and the magnitude of resulting GHG emissions.

Water footprint

Water-related concerns relate to water supply and quality, and include availability and potential overuse, pollution, and possible contamination by fertilizers and pesticides. Several studies concluded that increased ethanol production was likely to result in a substantial increase in water pollution by fertilizers and pesticides, with the potential to exacerbate eutrophication and hypoxia, particularly in the Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.[153][154][155][156]

Growing feedstocks consumes most of the water associated with ethanol production. Corn consumes from 500–2,000 litres (110–440 imp gal; 130–530 US gal) of water per liter of ethanol, mostly for evapotranspiration.[153] In general terms, both corn and switchgrass require less irrigation than other fuel crops. Corn is grown mainly in regions with adequate rainfall. However, corn usually needs to be irrigated in the drier climates of Nebraska and eastern Colorado. Further, corn production for ethanol is increasingly taking place in areas requiring irrigation.[153] A 2008 study by the National Research Council concluded that “in the longer term, the likely expansion of cellulosic biofuel production has the potential to further increase the demand for water resources in many parts of the United States. Biofuels expansion beyond current irrigated agriculture, especially in dry western areas, has the potential to greatly increase pressure on water resources in some areas.[154]

A 2009 study estimated that irrigated corn ethanol implied water consumption at between 50 US gal/mi (120 L/km) and 100 US gal/mi (240 L/km) for U.S. vehicles. This figure increased to 90 US gal/mi (210 L/km) for sorghum ethanol from Nebraska, and 115 US gal/mi (270 L/km) for Texas sorghum. By contrast, an average U.S. car effectively consumes between 0.2 US gal/mi (0.47 L/km) to 0.5 US gal/mi (1.2 L/km) running on gasoline, including extraction and refining.[155]

In 2010 RFA argued that more efficient water technologies and pre-treated water could reduce consumption.[88] It further claimed that non-conventional oil “sources, such as tar sands and oil shale, require far more water than conventional petroleum extraction and refining.[88]

Dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

U.S. standard agricultural practices for most crops employ fertilizers that provide nitrogen and phosphorus along with herbicidesfungicidesinsecticides, and other pesticides.

Some part of these chemicals leaves the field. Nitrogen in forms such as nitrate (NO3) is highly soluble, and along with some pesticides infiltrates downwards toward the water table, where it can migrate to water wells, rivers and streams. A 2008 National Research Council study found that regionally the highest stream concentrations occur where the rates of application were highest, and that these rates were highest in the Corn Belt. These flows mainly stem from corn, which as of 2010 was the major source of total nitrogen loading to the Mississippi River.[154]

Several studies found that corn ethanol production contributed to the worsening of the Gulf of Mexico dead zone. The nitrogen leached into the Mississippi River and out into the Gulf, where it fed giant algae blooms. As the algaedied, it settled to the ocean floor and decayed, consuming oxygen and suffocating marine life, causing hypoxia. This oxygen depletion killed shrimpcrabsworms and anything else that could not escape, and affected important shrimp fishing grounds.[153][154][156]

Social implications

Effect on food prices

Some environmentalists, such as George Monbiot, expressed fears that the marketplace would convert crops to fuel for the rich, while the poor starved and biofuels caused environmental problems.[123][157][158][159][160] The food vs fuel debate grew in 2008 as a result of the international community‘s concerns regarding the steep increase in food prices. On April 2008, Jean Ziegler, back then United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, repeated his claim that biofuels were a “crime against humanity“,[161][162] echoing his October 2007 call for a 5-year ban for the conversion of land for the production of biofuels.[163][164] Also in April 2008, World Bank President Robert Zoellick stated that “While many worry about filling their gas tanks, many others around the world are struggling to fill their stomachs. And it’s getting more and more difficult every day.[165][166][167]

Corn is the main feedstock for the production of ethanol fuel in the U.S.

A July 2008 World Bank report[168] found that from June 2002 to June 2008 “biofuels and the related consequences of low grain stocks, large land use shifts, speculative activity and export bans” accounted for 70–75% of total price rises. The study found that higher oil prices and a weak dollar explain 25–30% of total price rise. The study said that “…large increases in biofuels production in the United States and Europe are the main reason behind the steep rise in global food prices.”[169][170] The report argued that increased production of biofuels in these developed regions was supported by subsidies and tariffs, and claimed that without such policies, food price increases worldwide would have been smaller. It also concluded that Brazil’s sugarcane ethanol had not raised sugar prices significantly, and recommended that both the U.S. and E.U. remove tariffs, including on many African countries.[168]

An RFA rebuttal said that the World Bank analysis was highly subjective and that the author considered only “the impact of global food prices from the weak dollar and the direct and indirect effect of high petroleum prices and attribute[d] everything else to biofuels.”[171]

A 2010 World Bank study concluded that its previous study may have overestimated the impact, as “the effect of biofuels on food prices has not been as large as originally thought, but that the use of commodities by financial investors (the so-called ”financialization of commodities”) may have been partly responsible for the 2007/08 spike.”[172]

A July 2008 OECD economic assessment[173] agreed about the negative effects of subsidies and trade restrictions, but found that the impact of biofuels on food prices was much smaller. The OECD study found that existing biofuel support policies would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by no more than 0.8 percent by 2015. It called for more open markets in biofuels and feedstocks to improve efficiency and lower costs. The OECD study concluded that “…current biofuel support measures alone are estimated to increase average wheat prices by about 5 percent, maize by around 7 percent and vegetable oil by about 19 percent over the next 10 years.[174]

The 2008 financial crisis illustrated corn ethanol’s limited impact on corn prices, which fell 50% from their July 2008 high by October 2008, in tandem with other commodities, including oil, while corn ethanol production continued unabated. “Analysts, including some in the ethanol sector, say ethanol demand adds about 75 cents to $1.00 per bushel to the price of corn, as a rule of thumb. Other analysts say it adds around 20 percent, or just under 80 cents per bushel at current prices. Those estimates hint that $4 per bushel corn might be priced at only $3 without demand for ethanol fuel.“.[175]

See also

Further reading

  • Duffield, James A., Irene M. Xiarchos, and Steve A. Halbrook, “Ethanol Policy: Past, Present, and Future,” South Dakota Law Review, 53 (no. 3, 2008), 425–53.

References …

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol_fuel_in_the_United_States

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The Pronk Pops Show 1253, May 8, 2019, Breaking News: Story 1: House of Representatives Holds Attorney Bar In Contempt — American People Hold Congress in Contempt For Wasting Money and Time on Big Lie Smear Campaign of President Trump — Waiting For Attorney Barr Investigating, Indicting, and Prosecuting The Clinton, Obama and Democratic Criminal Conspiracy — Videos — Story 2: A Massive Illegal Alien Invasion At The Border — Build 1500 Miles of Additional Border Barrier To Stop The Invasion and Deport The 30 to 60 Million Aliens Already Living and Working in United States — Enforce Immigration Laws — Videos

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Breaking News: Story 1: House of Representatives Holds Attorney Bar In Contempt — American People Hold Congress in Contempt For Wasting Money and Time on Big Lie Smear Campaign of President Trump — Waiting For Attorney Barr to Investigate, Indict, and Prosecute The Clinton, Obama and Democratic Criminal Conspiracy — Videos

 

Trump asserts executive privilege to keep full Mueller report SECRET from Congress as his AG Bill Barr is held in CONTEMPT for refusing to hand it over

  • House Democrats voted to find Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to hand over the material
  • The vote in the House Judiciary Committee was along partisan lines: 24 to 16
  • The final vote came after a 6 and a half hour hearing on the contempt citation
  • It now goes to the House floor for a vote by the full chamber 
  • President Donald Trump claimed executive privilege over the full, unredacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller 
  • ‘The President has no other option than to make a protective assertion of executive privilege,’ White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said
  • House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler slammed the move, calling it ‘a clear escalation in the Trump administration’s blanket defiance’ of Congress  

President Donald Trump on Wednesday claimed executive privilege over the full, unredacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report and House Democrats found Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to hand it over. 

The vote to on contempt charges, held in the House Judiciary Committee, was along partisan lines – 24 Democrats versus 16 Republican – and now goes before the full House chamber for a vote, where Democrats hold a 38-seat majority.

After the full House votes the issue is expected to end up in the courts.  

Lawmakers debated the contempt charge for six and half hours before holding a final vote on the matter with Democrats arguing they needed the full Mueller report for their congressional oversight responsibilities and Republicans charging a political dog-and-pony show. 

‘We are now in a constitutional crisis,’ House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said after the vote.

‘This was a very grave and momentous step we were forced to take today to move a contempt citation against the attorney general of the United States. We did not relish doing this but we have no choice,’ he added.

House Democrats on Wednesday voted to find Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt of Congress

House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler said he was bringing up the contempt citation because of the Justice Department's refusal to comply with a subpoena for the full version of Robert Mueller's report

Judiciary Committee holds AG William Barr in contempt

The Justice Department slammed the vote, saying Congress could not force them to break the law.

‘The attorney general could not comply with the House Judiciary Committee’s subpoena without violating the law, court rules, and court orders, and without threatening the independence of the Department’s prosecutorial functions,’ said Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec in a statement.

‘It is deeply disappointing that elected representatives of the American people have chosen to engage in such inappropriate political theatrics. Regrettably, Chairman Nadler’s actions have prematurely terminated the accommodation process and forced the president to assert executive privilege to preserve the status quo. No one, including Chairman Nadler and his committee, will force the Department of Justice to break the law.’

The White House moved to pre-empt the vote by invoking executive privilege over the Democrats’ demands.

‘Faced with Chairman Nadler’s blatant abuse of power, and at the Attorney General’s request, the President has no other option than to make a protective assertion of executive privilege,’ White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.  

‘The Attorney General has been transparent and accommodating throughout this process, including by releasing the no-collusion, no-conspiracy, no-obstruction Mueller Report to the public and offering to testify before the Committee. These attempts to work with the Committee have been flatly rejected. They didn’t like the results of the report, and now they want a redo,’ she added.

The hearing offered members of the committee a chance to vent their opinion on the Russia investigation – an opportunity many lawmakers took advantage of.

Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries slammed President Trump for embarrassing former FBI agent Peter Strzok and bureau attorney Lisa Page with his critical tweets.

The New York Democrat also slammed Republicans for holding their own ‘witch hunt’ when it came to their pursuit of Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

‘Reputational interests? Really? Many of my colleagues on the side of the aisle actually perpetrated a witch hunt as it relates to securing more than 800,000 documents from the very same Department of Justice without regard to the reputational interests of Americans that serve this country,’ Jeffries said.

‘You were not concerned about the representational interest of Hillary Clinton,’ he added, speaking of the president. ‘In fact, the top Republicans said the sole objective was to undermine her, the former first lady and Secretary of State. You weren’t concerned with the reputational interest of Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. In fact, you embarrassed those two. They made mistakes, but you embarrassed those two.’

Texts between Strzok and Page, who worked on the Clinton email investigation, revealed the two agents, who were having an affair, were against Trump being elected.

And Republicans countered by accusing Democrats of trying to harm Barr’s reputation.

GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, one of Trump’s biggest defenders on Capitol Hill, said Democrats were really worried about what the attorney general would find in his investigation of whether or not the FBI spied on Trump’s campaign during the 2016 election.

‘Bill Barr is following the law and what’s his reward? Democrats hold him in contempt,’ Jordan said. ‘I don’t think today’s actually about getting information. I don’t think it’s about getting the un-redacted Mueller report.’

‘I think it’s all about trying to destroy Bill Barr because Democrats are nervous he’s going to get to the bottom of everything. He’s going to find out how and why this investigation started in the first place,’ he added.

And Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell, who is running for president, urged his fellow committee members to impeach Barr if he won’t meet their demands.

‘Then you move to impeach him,’ Swalwell said. ‘And you do the same thing to anyone else who doesn’t want to follow the law.’

‘This is not about executive privilege,’ the California Democrat added. ‘This is about burying the evidence, Mr. Chairman.’

Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries slammed President Trump for holding a witch hunt against Hillary Clinton

While GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, one of Trump's biggest defenders on Capitol Hill, said Democrats were trying to destroy Barr's reputation

While GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, one of Trump’s biggest defenders on Capitol Hill, said Democrats were trying to destroy Barr’s reputation

Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell, who is running for president, urged his fellow committee members to impeach Bill Barr if the attorney general won't meet their demands

House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler said he was bringing up the contempt citation because of the Justice Department’s refusal to comply with a subpoena for the full version of Mueller’s findings.

‘Today, we consider a report recommending that the House of Representatives hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for defying a valid subpoena issued by this committee. This is not a step we take lightly. It is the culmination of nearly three months of requests, discussions and negotiations with the Department of Justice for the complete, unredacted report by special counsel Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 election along with the underlying evidence,’ Nadler said.

And he slammed the White House for invoking privilege, charging it was ‘a clear escalation in the Trump administration’s blanket defiance’ of the Democrats’ investigations in the administration.

‘Since the White House waived these privileges long ago and the department seemed open to sharing these materials with us just yesterday, this decision represents a clear escalation in the Trump administration’s blanket defiance. I hope the department will think better of this last-minute outburst and return to negotiations. As a co-equal branch of government we must have access to the documents we need to fulfill our responsibilities in a manner consistent with past precedent. This is information we are legally entitled to receive and we are constitutionally obligated to review,’ he said.

He also argued the White House’s move ‘has the effect of aiding and abetting of total blanket and unprecedented obstruction.’

‘When the administration says it will oppose all subpoena, regardless of its merits, it is saying it does not recognize Congress having a constitutional oversight authority over the executive branch. And to those who consider the matter case closed in the words of some of our leaders and urge us simply to move on, I would say to do so is to announce loud and clear that such a course of action has the effect of aiding and abetting of total blanket and unprecedented obstruction,’ Nadler said.

‘Our fight is not just about the Mueller report. Our fight is about defending the rights of congress as an independent branch to hold the president, any president accountable,’ he added.

Late Tuesday evening, in a last-ditch move to try and prevent the contempt vote, the Justice Department said it would ask President Trump to invoke executive privilege in order to withhold the unredacted Mueller report from Congress.

The contempt citation against Attorney General Bill Barr now goes before the full House for a vote

The contempt citation against Attorney General Bill Barr now goes before the full House for a vote

‘In the face of the Committee’s threatened contempt vote, the Attorney General will be compelled to request that the President invoke executive privilege with respect to the materials subject to the subpoena,’ assistant attorney general Stephen Boyd wrote in a letter to Nadler.

‘I hereby request that the committee hold the subpoena in abeyance and delay any vote on whether to recommend a citation of contempt for noncompliance with the subpoena, pending the president’s determination of this question,’ he added.

Boyd sent another letter to Nadler on Wednesday, announcing the use of executive privilege and blaming Democrats for it being invoked.

‘This is to advise you that the President has asserted executive privilege over the entirety of the subpoenaed materials,’ he wrote.

‘Regrettably, you have made this assertion necessary by your insistence upon scheduling a premature contempt vote.’

The Justice Department had tried to pre-empt a contempt vote by offering Democrats a less-redacted version of the report, which they refused.

Democrats argue they do not want Barr to break the law and release grand jury information, merely to join their effort to ask the courts to unseal material for the grand jury for committee use.

But Democrats point out Congress has managed twice to obtain federal grand jury information in prior special counsel investigations – Watergate and Ken Starr’s probe.

Barr offered to let a select group of Democrats view the entire report except for the grand jury information – but Democratic lawmakers denied his offer, saying they wanted to see it all.

Sanders slammed Democrats for not taking Barr up on his offer.

‘I think it’s so absurd this idea that Congress doesn’t get to see the Mueller report. In fact, there’s a less redacted version of the Mueller report sitting there waiting on them to come and look at it,’ she told reporters at the White House on Wednesday.

‘Not a single Democrat has even taken the time to go and look at it. They’re asking for information they know they can’t have. The attorney general is actually upholding the law,’ she added.

‘The attorney general is protecting information, grand jury information, confidential information, that he cannot release. But the fact that the chairman knows that and he continues to ignore it, is absolutely absurd,’ she noted.

Republicans reminded Democrats that Mueller’s report found no evidence of collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia in the 2016 election.

‘I feel compelled to remind everyone the report found despite offers to do so, no one from the Trump campaign knowingly conspired with the Russian government. You can’t help but notice that Russian collusion has left the narrative,’ Republican Rep. Doug Collins said in the Judiciary Committee hearing.

‘Democrats have decided to try to neutralize Bill Barr by attacking him, his integrity and career. What a mean spirited step it is,’ he added.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders slammed Democrats for not taking up Bill Barr's offer to view all of Mueller's report except for the grand jury information

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders slammed Democrats for not taking up Bill Barr’s offer to view all of Mueller’s report except for the grand jury information

Republican Rep. Doug Collins reminded Democrats that Mueller found no evidence of collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia in the 2016 election

Republican Rep. Doug Collins reminded Democrats that Mueller found no evidence of collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia in the 2016 election

While Mueller’s report found no evidence of collusion, it left the decision to charge Trump with obstructing the investigation into Barr’s hands. Barr, in conjunction with then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, decided not to pursue obstruction charges.

However, Mueller’s report made it clear that Congress still has the oversight authority to investigate the president on the matter.

‘The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law,’ the report stated.

Democrats have latched on to that and asked for the full Mueller report as part of that probe.

‘If it weren’t for him being president, he would be in prison with Michael Cohen today as individual one and he obstructed justice, as the Mueller report says so,’ Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen said at Wednesday’s hearing.

Nadler said earlier Wednesday his panel had no choice but to proceed with the contempt vote.

‘Attorney General Barr has made the entire Justice Department an agency for enabling the president to defy the law, to defy and kind of accountability and to act as a monarch,’ he said on CNN’s ‘New Day.’

Nadler said the citation was necessary because the attorney general was protecting President Trump from congressional oversight.

The Justice Department, Nadler said, has ‘made it twice as necessary to proceed with this contempt, because you cannot have a government in which the president can conceal all information about his own wrongdoing and about anything else.’

And Trump ‘wants to make himself a king, and Congress cannot permit that, nor can the American people abide that,’ he added.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress should find Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt of Congress

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress should find Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt of Congress

The action comes after Speaker Nancy Pelosi said earlier on Wednesday that Congress should find Barr in contempt for with holding the full version of Mueller’s report.

‘Yes, I think that the attorney general should be held in contempt,’ she said during a Washington Post interview.

‘This contempt is about the withholding of the Mueller report in an unredactive way,’ she added.

Pelosi has led the charge on the Democrats’ argument it greater issue is Congress’ right to investigate and oversee the executive branch – as outlined in the constitution – and not a partisan attack.

She said the attorney general skipping out on last week’s hearing is not the solo reason he should be held in contempt.

‘Now that doesn’t include is not showing up to testify before the House Judiciary Committee,’ she said.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said Wednesday morning the committee has 'no choice' but to proceed with the contempt vote

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said Wednesday morning the committee has ‘no choice’ but to proceed with the contempt vote

‘That’s a crime,’ Pelosi accuses AG Barr of lying to Congress

‘It doesn’t include a misrepresenting withholding the truth from the Congress, some would call that lying. I don’t like that word, but you can’t do that – you cannot lie under oath to Congress because you’re lying under oath to the American people. So that’s a whole other thing but, for the purpose of the course we’re on right now, in terms of withholding information: the unredacted version of the Mueller report for the American people to see and to know,’ she said.

Pelosi was asked if Barr should be impeached.

‘Nothing is ever off the table,’ she responded but added the situation needs to work its way through the committee process before any stronger steps are taken.

A contempt citation could lead to a civil court case against Barr, raising the possibility of fines and even imprisonment for failure to comply.
Pelosi jokingly reminded people there is a jail in the basement of the Capitol but added: ‘If we were arresting all the people in the administration we would have an overcrowded jail situation and I’m not for that.’
Democrats want the full, unredacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report

Democrats want the full, unredacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said  the Russia report was 'case closed'

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said  the Russia report was ‘case closed’

Sarah Sanders says Trump and Putin had a ‘very good discussion’

Barr released a redacted version of the report last month but the Democrats also want to see the full report and underlying evidence that informs it.

They formally issued a subpoena for it but the Justice Department has not handed it over, arguing the grand jury evidence Democrats want should be with held to protect those investigations.

 ‘The attorney general’s failure to comply with our subpoena … leaves us no choice but to initiate contempt proceedings,’ Nadler said in a statement last week.

Republicans reject Nadler’s efforts as political theater, which they say is intended to satisfy the Democrats’ voters.

Also on Tuesday, the White House invoked executive privilege to block former White House Counsel Don McGahn from complying with Democrats’ subpoena for him to turn over documents related to the Russia investigation.

White House Counsel Pat Cipollone says the man who formerly held his position does not have the legal rights to the documents Democrats in Congress are demanding he produce.

McGahn was a star witness in Mueller’s probe.

The White House also invoked executive privilege to block former White House Counsel Don McGahn from testifying

The White House also invoked executive privilege to block former White House Counsel Don McGahn from testifying

House Judiciary panel prepare to hold Bill Barr in contempt

Pelosi declined to say if McGahn should also be held in contempt, saying Congress should wait and see what happens.

Nadler’s committee views the full Mueller report as vital to its own corruption and obstruction of justice investigation of Trump. The chairs of five other House committees investigating the president have also called for its release.

The Mueller report details extensive contacts between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Moscow, but did not find that there was a conspiracy between Moscow and the campaign. The report also describes actions Trump took to try to impede Mueller’s investigation.

If lawmakers established that Trump obstructed justice by seeking to impede Mueller, Nadler’s panel could move to impeachment proceedings against the president for high crimes and misdemeanors.

The White House has declared the matter closed and Trump has repeatedly pointed out the report found no collusion.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders argued Tuesday the investigation is ‘case closed.’

‘We consider this to be a case closed and we’re moving forward to do the work of the American people,’ Sanders told ABC News’ ‘The Investigation’ podcast.

‘This is nothing more than a big dog-and-pony show.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7006385/House-Judiciary-Committee-votes-hold-Bill-Barr-CONTEMPT-Congress.html

Story 2: A Massive Illegal Alien Invasion and Crisis At The Border With Release of 168,000 Illegal Aliens Released Into U.S. Communities in April — Fraudulent Families on The Rise — Build 1500 Miles of Additional Border Barrier To Stop The Invasion and Deport The 30 to 60 Million Aliens Already Living and Working in United States — Enforce Immigration Laws — Videos

Ingraham: If Dems take the White House

What It’s Really Like At The US-Mexico Border

Maria Bartiromo joins Border Patrol for first-hand look at crisis

Border Wall Crisis Exclusive Interview Border Patrol Says ‘Kids Are Being Rented’

Laura Ingraham gets a first-hand look at the border crisis in Texas

Texas Lt. governor: Cartels use migrant families to distract border agents from drug trafficking

Trump WINS Appeal Requiring Migrants To “Remain In Mexico”

Trump administration’s controversial “Remain in Mexico” policy will be allowed to continue for now

Inside Mexico’s Migrant Houses

New tent cities housing migrants at southern border

Vigilante Justice on the US-Mexico Border

David Bier discusses the migrant crisis at the US-Mexico border

Pima County Sheriff Describes Border Crisis

At U.S.-Mexico border, migrants seeking legal entry are stranded in hazardous ‘limbo’

Border Patrol Chief testifies on the border crisis in front of the Senate

Migrant Children in Custody: The Long Battle for Protection | Retro Report

How Anti-Immigrant Sentiment Gave Birth to a New Democratic Party | Retro Report

Grassley Statement on Stopping Family Separation by Repealing the Flores Settlement

Senator Lankford Questions Witnesses on the Flores Settlement Agreement

Tucker on what DC cares more about than our border

Central American migrants
The latest ruling keeps “remain in Mexico” in effect while the case continues before the appeals court. | Herika Martinez/AFP/Getty Images

EMPLOYMENT & IMMIGRATION

Appeals court allows Trump to keep asylum seekers in Mexico, for now

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the Trump administration may, for now, require certain non-Mexican asylum seekers to wait in Mexico pending resolution of their cases.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit cited different reasons for permitting the “remain in Mexico” initiative to move forward after a lower court blocked it last month. The appeals court allowed the policy to continue only on a temporary basis, while the court considers broader issues in the case.

Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, an appointee of former President Ronald Reagan, authored the 11-page opinion and wrote that the administration was likely to succeed on legal challenges to the policy under federal immigration and regulatory law.

O’Scannlain also said the Homeland Security Department could face harm if a federal court order freezes one of its enforcement tools.

The other two judges — Obama and Clinton appointees — also backed allowing the policy to stay in effect, but raised questions about it in concurring opinions.

Judge William Fletcher, the Clinton appointee, argued that existing federal statute did not allow DHS to send migrants to Mexico under the program.

“The government is wrong,” he wrote. “Not just arguably wrong, but clearly and flagrantly wrong.“

A San Francisco-based district court judge first blocked the “remain in Mexico” policy in April. The judge said the initiative, formally known as the “Migrant Protection Protocols,” likely violated federal regulatory law. The Trump administration appealed the case to the 9th Circuit, which allowed the policy to be implemented immediately while it considered the issue.

The latest ruling keeps “remain in Mexico” in effect while the case continues before the appeals court.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen first announced the measure in late December, moments before she was set to testify before the Democrat-controlled House Judiciary Committee.

“Aliens trying to game the system to get into our country illegally will no longer be able to disappear into the United States,” Nielsen said in a written statement at the time.

The Mexican government agreed to accept the asylum seekers for humanitarian reasons, but described the policy as a unilateral move by the U.S.

Trump has portrayed the arrival of migrants at the border as an “invasion” and suggested many asylum seekers don’t have valid claims. In late April, he issued a memorandum that called for top immigration officials to develop several regulations to toughen and accelerate the asylum process.

The April memo urges administration officials to impose a fee on asylum applications, bar certain asylum seekers from obtaining work authorization while their applications are pending, speed up court decisions and limit other avenues of relief.

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/05/07/trump-asylum-seekers-immigration-1412997

Feds released 168,000 illegal immigrant family members into communities

A Honduran migrant grabs his son as they climb the U.S. border fence before jumping into the U.S. to San Diego, Calif., from Tijuana, Mexico, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018. Discouraged by the long wait to apply for asylum through official ports of entry, many Central American migrants from recent caravans are choosing to cross the U.S. border wall and hand themselves in to border patrol agents. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

 

– The Washington Times – Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The government is so overwhelmed by the border surge that it’s already released 168,000 illegal immigrant family members directly into communities, the government said Wednesday.

An ICE official made the revelation at a Senate hearing where she and other top immigration officials pleaded with Congress to do something to stop the surge of migrants that’s overwhelming the system.

April set new records, with the Border Patrol nabbing more than 58,000 illegal immigrants traveling as families in that month alone.

That was part of more than 109,000 illegal immigrants nabbed border wide, including at or between the ports of entry.

And for the first time in history, nearly half of the adults arriving are bringing children with them, looking to take advantage of the loopholes in U.S. policy that they believe — usually correctly — will earn them a foothold in the U.S.

“They have received the message loud and clear — bring a child, you will be released,” Carla Provost, chief of the Border Patrol, told Congress.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/may/8/feds-release-168k-illegal-immigrant-family-members/

The History of the Flores Settlement

How a 1997 agreement cracked open our detention laws

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By Matthew Sussis on February 11, 2019

Download a PDF of this Backgrounder.


Matt Sussis is the assistant director of communications at the Center for Immigration Studies.


In April 2018, the Trump administration implemented new guidelines as part of its “zero tolerance” policy toward illegal entry, in response to the rising number of illegal aliens showing up with their children at the southern border. Under these guidelines, the Justice Department prosecuted every border infiltrator for the crime of entry without inspection.

After detaining the parents, the government could either put the children in a shelter (due to legal prohibitions on keeping children in detention for over 20 days), or release the entire family into the interior of the country — “catch-and-release” — and hope that they don’t simply disappear into the illegal immigrant population. The first of these two options has been decried by critics as one of “family separation”.

To understand how this conundrum arose, one must learn the history of the Flores settlement agreement.

Digging into its history bolsters the theory that the Clinton administration was well aware of what it was doing when it signed the agreement, and may have shared more in common with the activist plaintiffs than originally thought with regard to loosening the rules governing asylum.

Key takeaways:

  • The consequences of the Flores settlement, a 1997 agreement between immigration activist groups and the government, have been central to the debates over President Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy at the border and accusations of family separations. A full understanding of this agreement requires understanding its history.
  • Beginning in 1985, the activist groups began a series of lawsuits against the federal government over its perceived mistreatment of alien minors in detention facilities (notably a 15-year-old Salvadoran girl named Jenny Flores), culminating in a consent decree, the Flores settlement, more than a decade later.
  • This 1997 settlement led to the government agreeing to set immigration detention standards for unaccompanied alien children (UACs), particularly regarding facility conditions and the timing and terms of the UACs’ release.
  • When the government entered into the Flores settlement agreement, its stated intention was to finally resolve years of litigation against the INS, but this is only partially true. Recent comments and actions by Clinton administration officials indicate that they were at least partially motivated by a desire to cooperate with the activist plaintiffs to loosen asylum rules.
  • Since 1997, Flores has been significantly expanded upon by federal judges with loose border proclivities, and is now interpreted to mean that all minors in detention — accompanied by their parents or not — cannot be held for more than 20 days.
  • Partially driven by Flores, the number of apprehended aliens who claim credible fear (the first step in applying for asylum) has soared — up 67 percent in FY 18 vs. FY 17, and up over 10-fold from a decade ago. Moreover, only 3.5 percent of UACs are ever removed, according to DHS.
  • Congress could pass a law superseding Flores, but has yet to do so.

The Path to Flores: 1985-1997

Flores Settlement Timeline

The immigration laws and regulations of the United States were administered by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) before Congress passed the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and President George W. Bush transferred that agency’s responsibilities to what are now three agencies — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), each located in the Department of Homeland Security.

It was during the time that INS had jurisdiction over immigration that Carlos Holguin, an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles, received a call from a Hollywood actor about that actor’s housekeeper, an illegal Salvadoran immigrant.1 Her daughter, Jenny Flores, was being detained by INS. Jenny’s mother didn’t want to pick her up, as she feared bringing herself before INS would result in her deportation. INS would not release Flores to her cousins — they said that only legal guardians, for the sake of the child’s safety, could pick her up. Jenny Flores later alleged that the conditions of her detention were substandard.

Eventually, this led to a 1985 class-action lawsuit on behalf of illegal immigrant children headed by several activist groups: The Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, to which Holguin belongs; the National Center for Youth Law; the ACLU; and the law offices of Streich Lang, which has since merged to become Quarles & Brady LLC.2

The lawsuit sought to establish standards for how INS handles detained minors, and specifically expressed concerns that Jenny Flores was strip-searched, that she shared living quarters and bathrooms with male adults, and that she couldn’t be released to non-guardian relatives.

In 1988, Judge Robert Kelleher of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, who had been appointed by President Nixon, delivered a win to these groups. He ruled that the INS policy of strip-searching children was unconstitutional because the “defendants have failed to establish a plausible, much less compelling, need to routinely strip search detained juveniles.” He also removed the restrictions that INS had in place regarding to which adults the detained minors could be released.3

However, in 1990, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Kelleher’s decision, and instead sided with the government. Judge John Clifford Wallace and Judge Lloyd D. George (both appointed by Republican presidents) wrote in their majority opinion that “it is clear that Flores’ substantive due process challenge to the regulation must be rejected. To the extent the district court based its ruling on this prong of due process law, it must be reversed.”4

This victory for the INS was short-lived. One year later, the Ninth Circuit en banc (a full 11-judge court) reversed its prior ruling, and in a 7-4 decision affirmed Judge Kelleher’s 1988 ruling.

On October 13, 1992, the Supreme Court began to hear oral arguments in the case. A year later, the Supreme Court delivered a significant win to the government, voting 7-2 in favor of reversing the lower court’s decision. Justices Scalia, Rehnquist, White, O’Connor, Kennedy, Souter, and Thomas all held that there was no constitutional right for unaccompanied alien children to be released to someone other than a close relative, and further held that these minors could be kept in detention centers if they lacked a close relative or guardian in the United States to take them in.5 Scalia wrote: “Where the Government does not intend to punish the child, and where the conditions of Governmental custody are decent and humane, such custody surely does not violate the Constitution.”

And yet, even after this sweeping victory, the lawsuits and pressure from activist groups did not abate. For example, a 1997 book penned by Human Rights Watch titled Slipping Through the Cracks alleged that the INS was still not complying with the terms of the Supreme Court’s decision in Reno v. Flores. Following interviews with INS officials and tours of facilities, the authors argued that INS agents’ attitudes ranged from being apathetic to harboring “ill will” toward detained UACs, and that the conditions of UAC detention were still poor.6

That year, in what was seen as an attempt to end the ongoing criticism and litigation by the government, INS Commissioner Doris Meissner signed the Flores settlement agreement. The agreement included several major concessions from the government:

  1. The government would release children “without unnecessary delay” to (in order of preference) the children’s parents, legal guardians, other adult relatives, or another individual designated by the parents/guardians.
  2. The government would put children in the “least restrictive” setting appropriate.
  3. The government would create and implement standards for the care and treatment of immigrant children in detention.7

That settlement laid the groundwork for the current asylum crisis at the border and extends well beyond its initial mandate.

Why Did the Government Sign Flores?

Why, just a few years after a sweeping Supreme Court victory, did the Clinton administration agree to the Flores settlement? The stated reason was that the government was looking to finally put an end to over a decade of litigation that began in 1985, and certainly there may be some truth to that. The settlement, however, seemed like a major concession by the winning side, and certainly one that could (and later did) crack the door open further for open-borders groups to exploit asylum laws for minors.

A 2018 NPR interview with former INS Commissioner Doris Meissner provides insight into that action. When asked by NPR’s “All Things Considered” host Michel Martin about the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, Meissner had the following response:

Well, so here is the situation. What — the reference that they’re making is to a court settlement called the Flores decision, which took place in 1997. I’m very familiar with it because I signed it. And it was a settlement of a long-standing piece of litigation that said that children would be detained in the least restrictive setting possible and for the shortest period of time in order to be placed with either a family member or another care situation.

That law — that — and that’s not a law. It’s a court settlement, but it has the force of law. And it has been expanded by another court judgment just a few years ago to apply both to children and to families with children. So it is valid to say that it has the force of law. It is not actually a law. It would have — to change it would require legislation, which is what the Congress is talking about.

However, it is a judgment on the part of the administration how to implement that court decision. And this implementation of the court decision that says children need to be separated from their parents because their parent is being prosecuted — that has never happened before in the past from the time that this settlement took place through other administrations — both Democratic and Republican administrations.

Everybody has recognized that this issue is a balancing act — that we, of course, have a responsibility to enforce the laws at the border. But to those who are especially vulnerable — young people and families — there are other measures that can be taken that, of course, enforce the law but are not so excessively harsh as to violate a principle so fundamental as young children being in detention for long periods of time. [Emphasis added.]8

Meissner appears to be making a new admission here: Her decision to sign Flores was guided by humanitarian considerations for the children, rather than simply a concern about the risks of further litigation. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, of course, but it is curious that the 1997 defendant — the INS — didn’t appear to think of detention reform much differently than did the activist plaintiffs. And, if the then-INS believed that these changes were necessary, it could have simply made them itself, without binding future administrations to its policies.

This view is reinforced by other INS actions under the Clinton administration during that same time period. Most notable is the decision of INS General Counsel Paul Virtue a year later, in 1998, to implement “parole in place”, allowing the INS to grant parole to any alien applying for admission for humanitarian or “public benefit” purposes that further helped facilitate the vision of groups like the ACLU that were seeking significantly looser asylum policies.9

Certainly, President Clinton, Meissner, and Virtue (among others who supported the agreement at the time) could not have predicted the ways in which Flores would be even further contorted in the years to come. Nonetheless, Occam’s razor states that the simplest answer tends to be the correct one. The simplest explanation for the actions of the Clinton administration around the signing of Flores in 1997 is that it held the same views on asylum laws that the activist groups did — namely, that they ought to be looser.

Developments Since Settlement, 1997-2019

In 2003, as part of a major government re-organization following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Congress abolished the INS, and transferred its responsibilities to several entities within the Department of Homeland Security. The responsibility for transferring alien minors to their parents, however, was shifted to the Department of Health and Human Services, with the Office of Refugee Resettlement handling both care and custody of unaccompanied children.

Meanwhile, activists continued to allege that the terms of Flores were not being fully met by DHS/HHS. In 2008, Congress passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), which codified parts of Flores into federal law in what are called “savings clauses”, preserving certain rights for alien children.

The next major change to Flores, and almost certainly the most significant, came in 2015. An Obama-appointed federal district court judge in California, Dolly Gee, ordered that the Obama administration must release detained children and their mothers who were caught crossing the border illegally, saying that detention centers in Texas had failed to meet the Flores standards.

This was a major development — Gee had now expanded Flores to cover not only unaccompanied children, but also accompanied children.10

In fact, Judge Gee even went a step further. Flores calls on the government to release children “without unnecessary delay”. Gee interpreted that to mean 20 days. In other words, now all minors in detention, whether or not they were with their parents, couldn’t be detained for more than three weeks. This ruling laid the groundwork for the current crisis at the border, in which children are released while their parents can still be detained awaiting hearings — hence, the “separation” of families. The alternative is simply releasing the entire family after three weeks or less. In other words, “catch-and-release”.

The next year, in 2016, Ninth Circuit Judge Andrew Hurwitz, joined by judges Michael Melloy and Ronald Gould, reaffirmed that Floresapplies to all children, regardless of whether they’re accompanied — although they did reverse the notion that parents have an affirmative right of release.11

Graph: Total Claims of Credible Fear Apprehensions and Inadmissibles

In the past few years, the number of aliens who have sought to initiate the asylum process by claiming “credible fear” of persecution during expedited removal — either at ports of entry or between them — has soared, in large part owing to the Flores settlement agreement and to Judge Gee. Aliens have clearly gotten the message that if they ask to be put into asylum proceedings, their children — and often if not usually the adults, too — will be released into the country shortly after they are apprehended as they await their removal proceedings. In fact, in FY 2018 alone, the number of aliens apprehended by Border Patrol claiming credible fear was 10-fold higher than a decade before, and 67 percent above the FY 2017 figure, reaching a staggering 92,959 claims. (See Figure 1.)

Aliens respond to incentives, and Flores remains a strong one. After all, if a Central American mother knows that bringing her child means that she can simply show up at a port of entry, claim credible fear, and then quickly be released from detention into the country regardless of the actual validity of her asylum claim, why wouldn’t she do so?

There have been discussions in Congress about passing a law that would supersede Flores and finally settle the issue. Several Republicans, mostly notably Ted Cruz (R-Texas), called on Congress to fix Flores in order to resolve the related issue of child-parent separations and catch-and-release. As of early 2019, however, such a fix has yet to pass Congress, and doesn’t look likely to any time soon.


End Notes

1 See “The History Of The Flores Settlement And Its Effects On Immigration”, NPR, June 22, 2018.

2 See the websites for The Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, the National Center for Youth Law, and the law offices of Streich Lang, which has since merged to become Quarles & Brady LLC.

3 Flores v. Meese, 681 F. Supp. 665 (C.D. Cal. 1988).

4 Flores v. Meese (1990).

5 See Linda Greenhouse, “Detention Upheld on Alien Children”The New York Times, March 24, 1993.

6 “Slipping Through the Cracks: Unaccompanied Children Detained by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service”, Human Rights Watch Children’s Rights Project, April 1997.

7 Flores settlement agreement.

8 “Barbershop: Border Separations”All Things Considered, NPR, June 16, 2018.

9 Paul Virtue 1998 memorandum.

10 See Julia Preston, “Judge Orders Release of Immigrant Children Detained by U.S.” The New York Times, July 25, 2015.

11 Flores v. Lynch (2016).

https://cis.org/Report/History-Flores-Settlement

What Is the Flores Agreement, and What Happens If the Trump Administration Withdraws from It?

by 

October 18, 2018

f the Trump administration succeeds in ending a decades-old court decision governing the treatment of migrant children, it will be able to detain migrant children indefinitely before they receive immigration court hearings. This 1997 decision, Flores v. Reno,(now known as the “Flores agreement”), resulted in a court-supervised settlement that lays out a set of strict regulations for the detention of immigration children and it has governed their treatment up until now.

The Trump administration’s attempt to end the Flores agreement comes as it still holds about 350 separated children in federal custody who have yet to be reunified with their parents, and as Congress has failed to pass a legislative fix to the ongoing child separation crisis.

What is Flores?

The U.S. government and the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law (CHRCL) reached the Flores agreement in 1997 after lawyers filed a class-action lawsuit in 1985 against the U.S. government on behalf of immigrant children in detention. Plaintiffs included a 15-year-old girl named Jenny Lisette Flores, who became the namesake of the case. Flores had been detained for two months in an Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) facility in substandard conditions, where she was housed alongside adults and was subject to regular strip searches. The CHRCL alleged that the federal government’s treatment of migrant children like Flores violated their due process rights.

Under the supervision of the U.S. District Court of the Central District of California, the Clinton administration reached an agreement with the CHRCL to set up rules governing the treatment of children in detention. This agreement was set to terminate 45 days after the federal government published regulations implementing Flores, freeing the federal government’s juvenile immigrant detention from court supervision. But the federal government never passed regulations doing so and so the Flores agreement continues to apply.

The main issue of contention is the length of time for which children can be detained pending a hearing before an immigration court. By subsequent courts’ interpretations of the Flores Agreement, the federal government is not permitted to detain children under the age of 18 for more than 20 days, and therefore they, along with their families, must be released at that time.

The 20-day restriction had first been introduced through a federal court ruling resulting from the Obama administration’s violation of the Flores agreement. The Obama administration had attempted to address an influx of family migration at the Southern border in 2014 by building family detention centers — a move that was met with litigation that resulted in the Ninth Circuit’s ruling that the Flores agreement applied to families with children as well as unaccompanied minors.

The Ninth Circuit stipulated 20 days was a sufficient amount of time for the federal government to adjudicate families’ asylum claims, after that, children had to be released. There was no specific rule that families had to be released together, but as a matter of practice, the federal government released the whole family after 20 days of detention rather than releasing children separately and keeping their parents in detention.

Critics on the right derisively refer to this policy as “catch and release,” arguing that it allows immigrants to flee rather than attend their immigration court hearing.

How does Flores fit into the family separation crisis?

The Flores Agreement plays a large role in the Trump administration’s implementation of its “zero-tolerance” policy and the resulting family separations. The Trump administration tried to get around Flores by taking children away from their parents, thereby allowing their parents to be held indefinitely, while their children were housed separately. Reporting shows the administration also intended family separations to act as a deterrent against immigrants attempting to cross the U.S. border.

In an interview with Frontline, Cecilia Munoz, the Director of the Domestic Policy Council under the latter half of the Obama administration, said that the Obama administration had briefly considered using family separations as a deterrent but then discarded the idea.

“I do remember being struck that that was a pretty extreme proposal, and that it wasn’t considered for very long because it was a terrible idea,” she explained.

Public outcry forced President Donald Trump to halt his administration’s practice of family separations, so now, it wants to find a way to detain parents indefinitely while they await their court hearing and to keep their children with them in detention, rather than be bound by the terms of the consent decree.

In September, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen saidthat withdrawing from the Flores Agreement was necessary to end one of the “primary pull factors for illegal immigration.” DHS officials argue that the limited detention for minors permitted by the Flores Agreement creates an incentive for undocumented immigration — claiming it’s easier for immigrants to just wait out the 20 days in detention and then flee into the U.S. without attending their immigration court hearing.

Policy experts disagree, saying that the the indefinite detention of children and families is not the way to compensate for the few cases where families disappear after release. Nor would the detention of families act as a deterrent, it is argued.

In an issue brief in June 2017, a coalition of immigrants’ rights groups, including the American Immigration Lawyers Association, argued that detention would “traumatize vulnerable populations, jeopardize the basic health and safety of those detained, and undermine meaningful access to counsel in isolated, remote facilities.” Instead, the solution was to find alternatives to detention, including providing legal counsel to those in the process.

“When people are given lawyers, they show up for court. It’s shown that people who are given lawyers and are given counsel show up at much higher rates,” said Stephen Kang, detention counsel at the ACLU. “We think that counsel and providing due process protections for families is eventually the way to ensure that they show up, not to lock them up unnecessarily.”

Sarah Pierce, policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, said that regardless of what steps are taken to implement Flores by regulation, the indefinite detention would not deter forced family and juvenile migration. For those who are migrating for humanitarian reasons like fleeing violence, families are willing to make the trek to the United States in search of safety, regardless of deterrents.

“When it comes to families and humanitarian flows that are being pushed out of their homes, [deterrence] doesn’t work quite as well, or maybe not at all,” she said. “The reality is that we just need to find different tools to work on this problem with.”

A legal challenge would almost certainly follow if the federal government passed regulations without ensuring safeguards for children. After the public comment period ends on November 6, the plaintiffs from the original settlement have a 45-day period during which they can challenge the federal government’s new regulation before the Ninth Circuit. Kang said that “the issue will be litigated” over the degree to which it actually implements the spirit of the Flores Agreement and protects vulnerable children.

Congressional Republicans, for their part, have introduced legislation that would end the Flores Agreement through legislative means. When Senate Republicans released their legislative fix in September for the child separation crisis (S. 3478, the “FAMILIES Act”), one provision would have prevented the DHS secretary  from using any funds to implement Flores.

In a statement released when Republicans introduced the legislation, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said that the legislation “addresses this specific problem by overriding the court decision that has produced the current lose-lose situation and by providing the resources to expeditiously adjudicate asylum claims.” The bill hasn’t made its way out of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

What happens next?

So, what’s really at stake as the Trump administration pursues its “zero-tolerance” immigration policy is the future treatment of children by the federal government. Although  family separations have technically ended with the issuing of Executive Order 13841 in June, per Border Patrol statistics, 13,000 “family units” still came across the border in August 2018. Any changes to the Flores Agreement would definitely affect them, but until the regulation is passed, they will still be released after 20 days in detention.

DHS issued a notice of proposed rulemaking on September 7, and citizens now have until November 6, 2018 to comment on it under the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act, after which the original parties of the Flores Agreement will have 45 days to evaluate the federal government’s actions before a judge on the Ninth Circuit.

Over 5,000 comments have already been received on the proposed rule. They are mostly negative. One comment from a retired psychologist and psychoanalyst implored the federal government not to implement the new rule.

“As a clinician who has devoted 40+ years to work with traumatized children, I urge you to treat children who seek asylum with the care and concern you would give to your own children, were they caught in such awful circumstances,” wrote Paul Brinich. “The world has enough suffering without our adding to it.”

The federal government wants to be able to prosecute every single irregular border crossing, and this in turn means detaining people for long periods of time before they receive a court date. To achieve this, the Trump administration is willing to detain both adults and children indefinitely, despite warnings from experts about the impacts of long-term detention on a child’s physical and psychological health. And they might just be able to do that. Children would no longer be separated from their parents, but they’d be held in detention centers together instead.

What Is the Flores Agreement, and What Happens If the Trump Administration Withdraws from It?

 

Story 3: Communist Chinese Vice Premier Liu Hu Coming To Make A Trade Deal — Videos

China confirms Vice Premier Liu He will join trade delegation in Washington

The Point: China’s Liu He will visit U.S. soon to talk trade

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[NEWS IN-DEPTH] Perspectives on re-escalating U.S.-China trade tensions

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Trump threatens to increase tariffs on China ahead of trade talks

Trump says China’s vice premier is coming to the US ‘to make a deal’

  • President Trump announces in a tweet that China’s top trade representative is “coming to the U.S. to make a deal.”
  • Dow futures cut losses following the president’s tweet.
  • Trump declared on Sunday that he would hike tariffs on China to 25% if an agreement was not met before Friday.

 

 

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders

White House: Indications China wants to make a deal  

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that China “just informed” the White House that its vice premier will lead a delegation “coming to the U.S. to make a deal” on trade.

Dow futures cut losses but major indexes still opened lower following the president’s tweet, which added that “we’ll see” what comes of the negotiations because “I am very happy with over $100 billion a year in Tariffs filling U.S. coffers,” Trump said.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

The reason for the China pullback & attempted renegotiation of the Trade Deal is the sincere HOPE that they will be able to “negotiate” with Joe Biden or one of the very weak Democrats, and thereby continue to ripoff the United States (($500 Billion a year)) for years to come….

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

….Guess what, that’s not going to happen! China has just informed us that they (Vice-Premier) are now coming to the U.S. to make a deal. We’ll see, but I am very happy with over $100 Billion a year in Tariffs filling U.S. coffers…great for U.S., not good for China!

23.7K people are talking about this

The president’s declaration followed a tweet a few minutes earlier, which proclaimed why Trump believes China backed away from the negotiating table. He said China’s “attempted renegotiation” is on the “sincere” hope that, if a Democrat is elected president in the 2020 election, the Chinese will “continue to ripoff the United States … for years to come.”

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders affirmed Trump’s statement a couple hours later, telling reporters that the White House has received “indications” from the coming delegation that China wants to reach an agreement. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed after Sanders spoke, with major indexes hitting highs of the day.

Trump’s tweet said Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will be a part of the delegation coming to Washington. There was speculation that, if China sent a delegation at all, the group would consist of low-ranking officials.

U.S. stock markets dropped this week after Trump on Sunday shattered hope that the U.S. was nearing a trade deal with China. The president threatened to impose 25% tariffs on an additional $325 billion of Chinese goods this Friday. Robert Lighthizer, the top U.S. official on trade, confirmed on Monday the increase will come if an agreement is not made before Friday.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/08/trump-says-chinas-vice-premier-is-coming-to-the-us-to-make-a-deal.html

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1206, February 12, 2019, Story 1: A Bad Deal Is No Deal — Permanently Downsize Federal Government — Balanced Budgets — Finish  1500 Miles of New Big Beautiful Border Barrier By July 4, 2020 — Videos — Story 2: Trump Rally Rocks in El Paso — A Great Romance With Texas — Finish The Wall — Videos — Story 3: Dirty Dozen Democrats — Running For President — Radical Extreme Democrats (REDs) — Videos — Story 4: National Debt Exceeds $22,000,000,000,000 or $22 Trillion and Climbing — Videos

Posted on February 13, 2019. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

 

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See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageImage result for trump finish the wallSee the source image

 

Story 1: A Bad Deal Is No Deal — Permanently Downsize Federal Government — Balanced Budgets — Finish 

1500 Miles of New Big Beautiful Border Barrier By July 4, 2020 — Videos

MUST WATCH: President Trump “Not Happy” With Border Security Deal

Trump ‘not happy’ with congressional border deal

Stockman: The Crashing Economy Is Going to Bring Down Trump

Recession Is Written All Over the U.S. Economy, Ex-Budget Director Stockman Says

Hannity: Hating Trump is more important to Dems than safety of Americans

WATCH: Republican Senators Discuss Border Wall Security Funding Deal

WATCH: Democrat Senators Discuss Border Wall Security Funding Deal

Border wall going up in Calexico to replace aging structure | ABC7

New Border wall construction zone Santa Teresa New Mexico 2018

Verify: Border Wall

Building Trump’s Wall (Part 1)

Building the Border Wall

El Paso Border Fence

Looking for places where the border wall works

Story 2: Trump Rally Rocks in El Paso — A Great Romance With Texas — Finish The Wall — Videos

LIVE: President Trump in El Paso, TX

ULL MAGA RALLY: President Donald Trump in El Paso, Texas (FNN)

Trump goes one-on-one with Laura Ingraham at El Paso rally

Trump vs. Beto: Competing rallies in El Paso, Texas

Trump wins the battle for El Paso with a 16,000-strong rally crowd – twice as big as Beto O’Rourke’s (but no way near as huge as his 35,000 estimate)

  • Unofficial estimates from El Paso indicate that President Trump drew thousands more people to his rally than Beto O’Rourke
  • At least 16,000 people – 6,500 inside the arena and 10,000 outside – are believed to have attended Trump’s rally at El Paso County Coliseum
  • Unofficial estimates for O’Rourke range from 7,000 to as many as 15,000 – although organizers expected no more than 9,000
  • Trump falsely claimed that there were 35,000 people at his event
  • President also said that the fire department allowed 10,000 people into the arena, which was not true 

President Trump drew an estimated 16,000 people to his rally in El Paso on Monday – claiming victory in his battle with Democratic upstart Beto O’Rourke. 

Trump, who chose the border town as the venue for a rally to drum up support for his promised wall along the frontier with Mexico, spoke at the El Paso County Coliseum on Monday.

O’Rourke held his counter-rally a few hundred yards away at Chalio Acosta Sports Center.

An unofficial estimate of Trump’s crowd size puts the number at 6,500 inside the arena and between 10,000-12,000 outside, according to MSNBC.

As for O’Rourke’s rally, MSNBC reported that an estimated 7,000 people attended, while Bloomberg News reported that El Paso police estimated a crowd of between 10,000 and 15,000.

President Trump drew an estimated 16,000 people to his rally in El Paso on Monday - claiming victory in his battle with Democratic upstart Beto O'Rourke. The arena held 6,500, but there was a large crowd outside which saw the speech on big screens

President Trump drew an estimated 16,000 people to his rally in El Paso on Monday – claiming victory in his battle with Democratic upstart Beto O’Rourke. The arena held 6,500, but there was a large crowd outside which saw the speech on big screens

Trump, who chose the border town as the venue for a rally to drum up support for his promised wall along the frontier with Mexico, spoke at the El Paso County Coliseum on Monday

Trump, who chose the border town as the venue for a rally to drum up support for his promised wall along the frontier with Mexico, spoke at the El Paso County Coliseum on Monday

An unofficial estimate of Trump’s crowd size puts the number at 6,500 inside the arena and between 10,000-12,000 outside, according to MSNBC

An unofficial estimate of Trump’s crowd size puts the number at 6,500 inside the arena and between 10,000-12,000 outside, according to MSNBC

Fox News host Laura Ingraham tweeted a photo of the overflow crowd outside

Fox News host Laura Ingraham tweeted a photo of the overflow crowd outside

O’Rourke rally organizers initially expected between 6,000 and 9,000.

O’Rourke, who represented El Paso in Congress during the previous term, held a counter-rally denouncing the president’s plans for a wall.

Early in the rally, Trump claimed that ‘69,000 signed up to be here’ even though ‘the arena holds about 8,000.’

Trump also thanked the fire department for allowing 10,000 people into the coliseum.

‘Tens of thousands of people are watching the screens outside,’ Trump bragged.

But none of these claims were true, according to the El Paso Times.

‘A young man who’s got very little going for himself except he’s got a great first name,’ Trump told his supporters, referring to O’Rourke.

As for O’Rourke’s rally, MSNBC reported that an estimated 7,000 people attended, while Bloomberg News reported that El Paso police estimated a crowd of between 10,000 and 15,000

O’Rourke, who represented El Paso in Congress during the previous term, held a counter-rally denouncing the president's plans for a wall

O’Rourke, who represented El Paso in Congress during the previous term, held a counter-rally denouncing the president’s plans for a wall

O’Rourke rally organizers initially expected between 6,000 and 9,000

O’Rourke rally organizers initially expected between 6,000 and 9,000

‘He challenged us. We have say 35,000 people tonight, and he has, say, 200 people, 300 people.

‘Not too good. In fact what I would do, that may be the end of his presidential bid.’

Trump later claimed that although the coliseum holds a capacity of 6,500, the local fire department gave him special permission to allow 10,000 inside.

But the El Paso Fire Department said this was incorrect, according to the El Paso Times.

The department said that while the coliseum was at full capacity, thousands more watched outside on a large screen.

In total, there may have been 10,000 people, according to Enrique Aguilar, the fire public information officer.

O’Rourke, whose unexpectedly close but ultimately unsuccessful campaign for U.S. Senate generated buzz about a 2020 presidential bid, said last week he will decide by the end of the month whether to run.

In a taped interview with Oprah Winfrey in New York, O’Rourke, 46, appeared to be leaning toward a 2020 campaign for the White House but said he would make his decision after consulting his wife and three children.

‘I have been thinking about running for president,’ he said, prompting wild applause.

‘I’m so excited at the prospect of being able to play that role.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6694153/Trump-wins-battle-El-Paso-16-000-strong-crowd-size-twice-great-Betos.html

 

Story 3: Dirty Dozen Democrats — Running For President — Radical Extreme Democrats (REDs) — Videos

 

Image result for top twenty democrat candidates in 2020

Huckabee on 2020 Hopefuls: Democratic Candidates are Trying to ‘Out-Left’ Each Other

Who Are the Top 10 Democratic Presidential Contenders for 2020?

Joe Biden talks to Democratic donors about 2020 presidential run

CNN poll: Most Democrats want Joe Biden in 2020

Democrats Running For President in 2020

Who Is Amy Klobuchar? | 2020 Presidential Candidate | NYT News

These Democrats Are The Top 2020 Contenders | NBC News Signal

 

 

Story 4: National Debt Exceeds $22,000,000,000,000 or $22 Trillion and Climbing — Videos

U.S. National Debt Clock

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

With US Debt Spiraling Out of Control at Nearly $22 Trillion, This Man Is Tasked With Slashing It

US national debt under Trump climbs $22 trillion

David Stockman – Central Banks Created Fiscal Doomsday Machine

US budget deficit at highest level in six years | Money Talks

US National Debt, Part 1: Fundamentals

US National Debt, Part 2: Accumulation

US National Debt, Part 3: Consequences

Keiser Report: Are We Back on a Gold Standard? (E1342)

National debt tops $22 trillion for the first time as experts warn of ripple effects

https://uw-media.usatoday.com/embed/video/110354208?sitelabel=reimagine&placement=snow-smallarticleattophtml5&keywords=federal-budgets%2Cgovernment-deficit%2Cdissolution%2Coverall-negative%2Cedward-rendell%2Cdonald-trump%2Cjudd-gregg%2Cnational-debt%2Cbusinesses%2Cus-department-of-the-treasury&simpleTarget=&simpleExclusion=&pagetype=story&cst=news%2Fpolitics&ssts=news%2Fpolitics&series=

President Trump is proposing a $4 trillion-plus budget that projects a $1 trillion or so federal deficit. AP’s Economic Reporter Josh Boak says the plan is like a ‘Christmas list, a wish list’ that amounts amounts to a ‘massive bet’. (Feb. 12) AP

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WASHINGTON – The national debt surpassed $22 trillion for the first time on Tuesday, a milestone that experts warned is further proof the country is on an unsustainable financial path that could jeopardize the economic security of every American.

The Treasury Department reported the debt hit $22.012 trillion, a jump of more than $30 billion in just this month.

The national debt has been rising at a faster rate following the passage of President Donald Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax-cut package a little more than a year ago and as the result of congressional efforts to increase spending on domestic and military programs. The nation has added more than $1 trillion in debt in the last 11 months alone.

“Reaching this unfortunate milestone so rapidly is the latest sign that our fiscal situation is not only unsustainable but accelerating,” said Michael A. Peterson, chief executive officer of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a nonpartisan organization working to address the country’s long-term fiscal challenges.

For Americans, the growing debt should be a concern, experts said, because over time it can push up interest rates for consumers and businesses. The higher rates can ripple through the economy, nudging up rates for mortgages, corporate bonds and other types of consumer and business loans.

More: In government shutdown aftermath, federal workers still hurting, survey finds

More: Can the middle-class revival under Trump last?

A big national debt can also make it harder for the government to increase spending to combat the next recession or devote more money to retraining workers and helping the poor, among other programs.

Peterson attributed the growing national debt to “a structural mismatch between spending and revenues.” The biggest drivers are the aging population, high healthcare costs, and growing interest payments, combined with a tax code that fails to generate sufficient revenue, he said.

The debt eclipsing $22 trillion “is another sad reminder of the inexcusable tab our nation’s leaders continue to run up and will leave for the next generation,” said Judd Gregg and Edward Rendell, co-chairmen of the nonpartisan Campaign to Fix the Debt, a project of the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

With deficits rising and gross debt scheduled to jump by more than $1 trillion annually, Congress must take action to put the country on a more sustainable path, Gregg and Rendell said.

“The fiscal recklessness over the past years has been shocking, with few willing to step up with a real plan,” they said. “We need responsible leadership to fix the debt, not a worsening of partisanship.”

Contributing: Paul Davidson

 

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/02/12/national-debt-tops-22-trillion-first-time-ever/2849978002/

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Pronk Pops Show 1191, December 19, 2018, Story 1: 30 Year Invasion of United States By 30 to 60 Million Illegal Aliens Will Only Stop When A Border Barrier Spanning 2000 Miles Is Built — Neither Democrats or Republican Are Listening To Demands of American People for Immigration Law Enforcement — American Independents United To Defeat Big Government Two Party Tyranny — Videos — Story 2: A Day of Reckoning For The Warfare and Welfare State Coming Sooner Than You Think With Unfunded Liabilities and Obligations Already Exceeding $200,000,000,000,000 — Federal Government Spending Is Out-of-Control — Videos — Story 3: The Normalizing of Interest Rates Will Increase Carrying Cost Of U.S. Treasury Debt in Budget — Videos

Posted on December 21, 2018. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Merry Christmas and

A Happy and Prosperous New Year

 

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Story 1: 30 Year Invasion of United States By 30 to 60 Million Illegal Aliens Will Only Stop When A Border Barrier Spanning 2000 Miles Is Built — Neither Democrats or Republicans Are Listening To Demands of American People — American Independents United To Defeat Big Government Two Party Tyranny — Limited Legal Merit Based Immigration Only — Videos —

Updated December 21, 2018

See the source image

Congress searches for budget compromise ahead of shutdown deadline

Trump ‘ready for shutdown’ as Senate struggles over wall

BORDER or SHUTDOWN 🔴 President Trump URGENT Speech Signs First Step Act Following Mattis Quit

House approves bill to avert government shutdown and fund border wall

Trump Tells Rush Limbaugh ‘Secret Plan’ On Border Wall, Pelosi & Schumer Flip Out

With Trump determined to fund the border wall, what will happen next with Congress?

House passes bill to fund government with border funds, setting up showdown with Senate

 

 

Trump: I’m asking Congress to defend our nation’s border

Thomas Sowell On Immigration

Milton Friedman – Illegal Immigration only helps when its Illegal

George H. W. Bush And Ronald Reagan Debate On Immigration In 1980 | TIME

BEST VERSION: Reagan on Amnesty & Illegal Immigration

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

President Reagan’s Remarks at Ceremony for Immigration Reform and Control Act. November 6, 1986

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

Heather Mac Donald, Victor Davis Hanson & Steven Malanga – The Immigration Solution

Ann Coulter Slams Trump for Failure to Fund Border Wall

GUTLESS PRESIDENT IN WALL-LESS COUNTRY

If you were elected president after decades of politicians doing nothing about the millions of illegals pouring into our country every year, committing crimes, dealing drugs, driving drunk, molesting children and killing Americans like Kate Steinle, and your central campaign promise — repeated every day — was to build a wall, wouldn’t you have spent the entirety of your transition period working on getting it done?

Wouldn’t you have been building prototypes, developing relationships with key congressional allies and talking to military leaders about using the Seabees or the Army Corps of Engineers to build the wall?

Wouldn’t you skip the inauguration and take the oath of office in San Diego so you could get started on supervising wall construction immediately after putting your hand on the Bible and being sworn in as the leader of the free world?

You would if you meant it.

Well, Donald Trump didn’t do that.

OK, sure he could have taken the oath in D.C., gone to a few balls, then started the wall on day two of his presidency. But he didn’t do that either.

Maybe I’m a literalist. A zealot. When people kept telling me to be patient — the wall is coming! — I nursed a private hope that I was wrong, and they were right.

It is now crystal clear that one of two things is true: Either Trump never intended to build the wall and was scamming voters all along, or he has no idea how to get it done and zero interest in finding out.

He sacrifices every opportunity to make the wall happen.

For two years, Trump pretended to believe the president of the United States needs express authorization from Congress to defend the nation’s borders and blamed the Republican majority for not “funding” the wall.

In a few weeks, he’ll start blaming the Democratic House.

Last week — several whole days ago — Trump said over and over again that he would shut down the government if he didn’t get funding for the wall — the precise thing he claims he needs. “We need border security. The wall is a part of border security,” he said. “If we don’t have border security, we’ll shut down the government.”

 

Trump wore the shutdown over the wall as a badge of honor: “You want to know something? OK, you want to put that on me. I’ll take it. You know what I’ll say? Yes, if we don’t get what we want … I will shut down the government. Absolutely.”

One week later, The Drudge Report:

WALL FUNDING OFF TABLE

In other words, Trump is doing exactly what I feared he would do in the worst conceivable way. He’s not building the wall, while making ridiculous promises right up until the second before he folds.

The Washington Post loves to find the one crazy, trailer park lady who supports Trump because she’s had religious ecstasies about him, but most people who voted for him did so with a boatload of qualms.

The basic factory setting on the perception of Trump is: gigantic douchebag. This is a man who manufactured fake Time magazine covers featuring himself with the headline, “Donald Trump: The ‘Apprentice’ is a television smash!” so that he could put framed copies of it on the walls of his clubs.

His business is convincing people with lowbrow taste to give him their money.

He’s a vulgar publicity hound who used to call reporters in a fake voice and pretend to be his own PR agent, “John Miller” or “John Barron,” so he could brag that actresses wanted to date him.

On one “Apprentice” episode, the reward for the winning team was: to see Trump’s apartment. Not to eat there or spend the night. They got to see it. “As a little treat,” he said, “you’re gonna see the nicest apartment in New York City.” He added: “I show this apartment to very few people. Presidents, kings …”

It’s not as if a majority of his voters weren’t clear-eyed about what kind of man he is. If anything, Trump’s vulgar narcissism made his vow to build a wall more believable. Respectable politicians had made similar promises over the years — and they always betrayed the voters. Maybe it took a sociopath to ignore elite opinion and keep his word.

On the basis of his self-interest alone, he must know that if he doesn’t build the wall, he has zero chance of being re-elected and a 100 percent chance of being utterly humiliated.

But when Trump is alone with Ivanka, they seem to agree that the wall has nothing to do with it. The people just love him for who he is! In a country of 320 million people, I’m sure there are some, but I have yet to meet a person who said, Yeah, I don’t really care about immigration or trade, I just love his personality!

What else were we going to do? He was the only one talking sense. Unfortunately, that’s all he does: talk. He’s not interested in doing anything that would require the tiniest bit of effort.

In the end, we’ll probably find out “wall” was Trump’s “safe word” with Stormy Daniels. It’s just something he blurts out whenever he’s in trouble.

He’s in trouble now. As absurd as the Russia nonsense is, the details about Trump’s sleazy associates, the porn star, the Playboy playmate and his seedy business practices leave his supporters feeling queasy, even if he hasn’t committed any crimes.

Instead of joining a fight that will make his most ardent supporters cringe no matter how it comes out, why not choose a battleground where he’s guaranteed a win? If Trump used the military to build the wall — actually build it, not keep telling us he’s going to build it — the Democrats will go mad.

They’ll hold impeachment hearings, file a million lawsuits, produce weeping children reading from phony scripts written by immigrant rights groups — and Trump will win. The public will support Trump overwhelmingly, and the left will be forced to keep reminding voters why they hate Democrats.

Instead, what he’s doing now absolutely guarantees that the next president will be a Democrat and, given today’s Democratic Party, that president will be Kamala Harris.

 

Remarks on Signing the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

November 6, 1986

The President. I’m very pleased that you could all be here today. I know how busy you’ve been with events leading up to Tuesday’s election, and I want to congratulate all of you in the House of Representatives who’ve just been reelected.

This bill, the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, that I will sign in a few minutes is the most comprehensive reform of our immigration laws since 1952. It’s the product of one of the longest and most difficult legislative undertakings in the last three Congresses. Further, it’s an excellent example of a truly successful bipartisan effort. The administration and the allies of immigration reform on both sides of the Capitol and both sides of the aisle worked together to accomplish these critically important reforms to control illegal immigration.

In 1981 this administration asked the Congress to pass a comprehensive legislative package, including employer sanctions, other measures to increase enforcement of the immigration laws, and legalization. The act provides these three essential components. Distance has not discouraged illegal immigration to the United States from all around the globe. The problem of illegal immigration should not, therefore, be seen as a problem between the United Statesand its neighbors. Our objective is only to establish a reasonable, fair, orderly, and secure system of immigration into this country and not to discriminate in any way against particular nations or people.

I would like to recognize a few of the public servants whose unflagging efforts have made this legislation a reality. Senator Alan Simpson, Congressman Dan Lungren, Chairman Peter Rodino, and Congressman Rom Mazzoli have long pursued and now have attained this landmark legislation. Important roles were played by Senator Strom Thurmond, Senator Paul Simon, and Congressmen Ham Fish, Bill McCollum, Chuck Schumer, and many others in both Houses of the Congress and in both parties. Additionally, I would like to note the excellent efforts of members of my administration who have worked so hard over the last 6 years to make this bill signing possible today. The long list of those in the executive branch is headed by Attorneys General Edwin Meese and William French Smith, who with Immigration Commissioner Alan C. Nelson have contributed greatly to our efforts to pass meaningful immigration reform.

Future generations of Americans will be thankful for our efforts to humanely regain control of our borders and thereby preserve the value of one of the most sacred possessions of our people: American citizenship. So, now I’ll get on with the signing and make this into law. Hope nothing happens to me between here and the table. [Laughter] And I got my names in the right order there. [Laughter]

Reporter. Mr. President, do we have a deal going with Iran of some sort?

The President. No comment. But could I suggest an appeal to all of you with regard to this: that the speculation, the commenting and all, on a story that came out of the Middle East, and that to us has no foundation — that all of that is making it more difficult for us in our effort to get the other hostages free.

Note: The President spoke at 10:10 a.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. S. 1200, approved November 6, was assigned Public Law No. 99 – 603.

https://www.reaganlibrary.gov/research/speeches/110686a

 

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

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Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
Great Seal of the United States
Acronyms(colloquial) IRCA
Nicknames Simpson–Mazzoli Act
Enacted by the 99th United States Congress
Effective Signed into law by Ronald Reagan on November 6, 1986
Citations
Public law Pub.L. 99–603
Statutes at Large 100 Stat. 3359
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the Senate as S. 1200 by Alan K. Simpson on May 23, 1985
  • Committee consideration by Senate JudiciarySenate Budget
  • Passed the Senate on September 19, 1985 (69–30)
  • Passed the House on October 9, 1986 (voice vote after incorporating H.R. 3810, passed 230–166)
  • Reported by the joint conference committee onOctober 14, 1986; agreed to by the House on October 15, 1986 (238–173and by the Senate on October 17, 1986 (63–24)
  • Signed into law by President Ronald Reagan onNovember 6, 1986

The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), Pub.L. 99–603, 100 Stat. 3445, enacted November 6, 1986, also known as the Simpson–Mazzoli Act or the Reagan Amnesty,[1] signed into law by Ronald Reagan on November 6, 1986, is an Act of Congress which reformed United States immigration law. The Act[2]

  • required employers to attest to their employees’ immigration status;
  • made it illegal to hire or recruit illegal immigrants knowingly;
  • legalized certain seasonal agricultural undocumented immigrants, and;
  • legalized undocumented immigrants who entered the United States before January 1, 1982 and had resided there continuously with the penalty of a fine, back taxes due, and admission of guilt; candidates were required to prove that they were not guilty of crimes, that they were in the country before January 1, 1982, and that they possessed at least a minimal knowledge about U.S. history, government, and the English language.

At the time, the Immigration and Naturalization Service estimated that about four million illegal immigrants would apply for legal status through the act and that roughly half of them would be eligible.[3]

 

Legislative background and description

Romano L. Mazzoli was a Democratic representative from Kentucky and Alan K. Simpson was a Republican senator from Wyoming who chaired their respective immigration subcommittees in Congress. Their effort was assisted by the recommendations of the bipartisan Commission on Immigration Reform, chaired by Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, then President of the University of Notre Dame.

The law criminalized the act of engaging in a “pattern or practice” of knowingly hiring an “unauthorized alien[4] and established financial and other penalties for those employing illegal immigrants under the theory that low prospects for employment would reduce undocumented immigration. Regulations promulgated under the Act introduced the I-9 form to ensure that all employees presented documentary proof of their legal eligibility to accept employment in the United States.[5]

These sanctions would apply only to employers that had more than three employees and did not make a sufficient effort to determine the legal status of their workers.

The first Simpson–Mazzoli Bill was reported out of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. The bill failed to be received by the House, but civil rights advocates were concerned over the potential for abuse and discrimination against Hispanics, growers’ groups rallied for additional provisions for foreign labor, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce persistently opposed sanctions against employers.

The second Simpson–Mazzoli Bill finally passed both chambers in 1985, but it came apart in the conference committee over the issue of cost. The year marked an important turning point for the reform effort. Employer opposition to employer sanctions began to subside, partly because of the “affirmative defense” clause in the law that explicitly released employers from any obligation to check the authenticity of workers’ documents.

Also, agricultural employers shifted their focus from opposition to employer sanctions to a concerted campaign to secure alternative sources of foreign labor. As opposition to employer sanctions waned and growers’ lobbying efforts for extensive temporary worker programs intensified, agricultural worker programs began to outrank employer sanctions component as the most controversial element of reform.

Reagan Executive Action

The Immigration Reform and Control Act did not address the status of children of illegal aliens who were eligible for the amnesty program. In 1987 President Reagan used his executive authority to legalize the status of minor children of parents granted amnesty under the immigration overhaul,[6] announcing a blanket deferral of deportation for children under 18 who were living in a two-parent household with both parents legalizing, or with a single parent who was legalizing.[7] This action affected an estimated 100,000 families.

Impact

On labor market

According to one study, the IRCA caused some employers to discriminate against workers who appeared foreign, resulting in a small reduction in overall Hispanic employment. There is no statistical evidence that a reduction in employment correlated to unemployment in the economy as a whole or was separate from the general unemployment population statistics.[8] Another study stated that if hired, wages were being lowered to compensate employers for the perceived risk of hiring foreigners.[9]

The hiring process also changed as employers turned to indirect hiring through subcontractors. “Under a subcontracting agreement, a U.S. citizen or resident alien contractually agrees with an employer to provide a specific number of workers for a certain period of time to undertake a defined task at a fixed rate of pay per worker”.[9] “By using a subcontractor the firm is not held liable since the workers are not employees. The use of a subcontractor decreases a worker’s wages since a portion is kept by the subcontractor. This indirect hiring is imposed on everyone regardless of legality”.[9]

On illegal immigration

There have been various law changes over the years that encouraged immigrants to enter or exit the United States. With the railroad, World War II, and agricultural work force demands, many immigrants saw the opportunity to come to the United States temporarily for money or a better life. An increase in legal immigrants migrating to the United States also led to an increase of illegal aliens, especially from Mexico. Most of these immigrants searched for and gained jobs where hard labor was needed. As the immigration population increased American citizens started to worry about their impact on the economy.

The reform did not have a lot of impact on decreasing the immigrant population, “Until 2012, there was virtually no movement in Congress to deal with the problem of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States since the passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which granted amnesty to many of the 3.2 million illegal immigrants living in the United States.”[10]

In 1983, the Supreme Court forbade schools and hospitals to deny services based on undocumented immigration status.[11]

On crime

One study finds that the legalization of three million immigrants reduced crime by 3-5%, primarily property crime.[12] The author finds that this is due to greater job market opportunities for the immigrants.[12]

Structure of the Act and relationship to United States Code

Following the Short title, the IRCA is divided into seven Titles (I through VII). Title I is divided into parts A, B, and C, and Title III is divided into parts A and B. The IRCA affects 8 USC 1101. Additional portions of the U.S. Code created or amended by the IRCA include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Parts A and B of Title I: 8 USC 1324, 8 USC 1324a, 8 USC 1324b, 18 USC 1546, 8 USC 1321, 8 USC 1357, 8 USC 1255.
  • Part C of Title I: 42 USC 1320b-7
  • Title II: 8 USC 1255a
  • Title III: 8 USC 1186, 8 USC 1152, 8 USC 1187

See also

References

  1. ^ Fred Lucas (October 8, 2017). “What Trump Could Learn From the Reagan Immigration Amnesty”The Daily Signal. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  2. ^ Coutin, Susan Bibler. 2007. Nation of Emigrants. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY. pg 179
  3. ^ Branigin, William (March 3, 1987). “U.S. Migrant Law Falls Hard On Jobless in Central Mexico”The Washington Post. p. A1.
  4. ^ See section 101 of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, amending the Immigration and Nationality Act to create a new section 274A, codified as 8 U.S.C. section 1324a.
  5. ^ 8 C.F.R. sec. 274a.2.
  6. ^ John Kruzel, “Did Reagan and H.W. Bush issue actions similar to DACA, as Al Franken said?”, Politifact, September 8th, 2017. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  7. ^ Executive Grants of Temporary Immigration Relief, 1956-Present, American Immigration Council, October 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  8. ^ Lowell, Lindsay; Jay Teachman; Zhongren Jing (November 1995). “Unintended Consequences of Immigration Reform: Discrimination and Hispanic Employment”. Demography. Population Association of America. 32 (4): 617–628. doi:10.2307/2061678JSTOR 2061678.
  9. Jump up to:a b c Massey, Douglas S. (2007). “Chapter 4: Building a Better Underclass”. Categorically Unequal: The American Stratification System. New York: Russel Sage Foundation. pp. 143–145. ISBN 0-87154-585-3.
  10. ^ “Immigration Policy”credorefernce.com. Roger Chapman and James Ciment.
  11. ^ Orchowski, Margaret. “How Hispanics Influenced The Law That Changed The Fact Of America”Proquest.comThe Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  12. Jump up to:a b Baker, Scott R. “Effects of Immigrant Legalization on Crime †”American Economic Review105 (5): 210–213. doi:10.1257/aer.p20151041.

External links

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The Pronk Pops Show 1190, December 18, 2018, Story 1: President Trump’s Apparent Surrender To The Washington Establishment — The Democratic and Republican Parties Refusal To Fund $5 Billion of $25 Billion Needed To Build Border Barrier or Trump Wall — Betrayal of The American People By Political Elitist Establishment — 2020 Presidential Race Starts Today — Videos — Story 2: Start A New Viable Limited Government Party of Independents To Replace Big Government Democrats and Republican — Story 3: The Day They Drove Old Dixie Down — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump’s Apparent Surrender To The Washington Establishment — The Democratic and Republican Parties Refusal To Fund $5 Billion of $25 Billion Needed To Build Border Barrier or Trump Wall — Betrayal of The American People By Political Elitist Establishment — 2020 Presidential Race Starts Today — Videos

Updated December 20, 2018

 

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White House suggests it could back down on $5 billion border wall demand

  • The White House could back down from its demand for $5 billion in border wall funding in a year-end spending bill, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says.
  • Parts of the government will shut down on Saturday if lawmakers don’t pass spending bills.
  • Trump has threatened to let funding lapse if he cannot secure money for the border wall.

Trump reportedly agrees to dissolve foundation, signals willingness to avoid government shutdown
Trump reportedly agrees to dissolve foundation, signals willingness to avoid government shutdown  

The White House suggested Tuesday that President Donald Trumpcould back down from his demand for $5 billion to fund his proposed border wall in a year-end spending bill.

Trump’s push for the money has threatened a partial government shutdown when funding for seven agencies lapses after midnight Friday. Last week, the president said he would be “proud” to close parts of the government over border security.

“We have other ways that we can get to that $5 billion” and will “work with Congress” to do so, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Fox News on Tuesday morning. She added that the Trump administration could support $1.6 billion in border security funding proposed by Senate Democrats, as long as it can “couple that with other funding resources” to get to $5 billion.

WATCH: These virtual walls could be the cheaper and more effective alternative to Trump’s $5 billion border wall

These virtual walls could be the cheaper and more effective answer to Trump’s $5 billion border wall  

She added that “at the end of the day, we don’t want to shut down the government. We want to shut down the border.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have cast the potential lapse in funding as the “Trump shutdown.” When Pelosi goaded Trump into an Oval Office fracas last week, the characterization appeared to irritate the president.

Sanders’ comments mark a de-escalation in the White House’s rhetoric about the proposed barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump has repeatedly threatened to force a shutdown if he cannot secure money for the wall. As a candidate, he promised to force Mexico to fund the barrier. Mexico has refused.

Still, Trump himself has not weighed in Tuesday on how much money he would accept. As always, a comment or tweet from the president could trample on the message administration officials try to send. On Tuesday afternoon, Trump told reporters it is “too early to say” if parts of the government will shut down.

Later Tuesday, Sanders put the burden on Congress to find a solution, even though GOP lawmakers have said they do not know what Trump would accept. The White House wants to “see what the Senate can pass” and then the administration will “make a determination” on whether to sign it, she said. Sanders added that Trump has directed agencies to see if they have money to put toward border security, though Schumer flatly said Tuesday afternoon that such an effort would not get congressional approval.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks to the media in the White House driveway after appearing on a morning television show on December 18, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Mark Wilson | Getty Images
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks to the media in the White House driveway after appearing on a morning television show on December 18, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Schumer met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday. The Kentucky Republican proposed an appropriations bill that includes money for border security fencing, as well as what a Senate Democratic aide described as a $1 billion “slush fund” that Trump could use on his immigration policies. Democrats rejected the deal.

A McConnell spokesman later told NBC News that the “hypothetical slush fund” would not go toward a wall. Speaking to reporters Tuesday afternoon, McConnell said he offered a plan to Schumer that he “thought was reasonable to both sides.” He later heard back from the Democratic leader “that the offer was not acceptable,” McConnell said.

On Tuesday afternoon, Schumer told reporters that he thought the “Republican offer today would not pass either chamber.” However, he said Democrats would “very seriously consider” a short-term measure to keep the government open if McConnell offered it.

Despite the lack of a deal, the Senate GOP leader said he is confident the government will not shut down. McConnell said he is consulting the White House on how to move forward, and he hopes to hear more later Tuesday about what the president would support. He called the Trump administration “extremely flexible” on the issue.

In proposing $1.6 billion in border security funding, Schumer has said it would go to building new or repairing existing fences, rather than the wall as Trump has proposed it. The White House appears to want to claim that funding as “wall” money to promote a victory.

Trump has also claimed his administration has built large portions of the wall. But Congress has only authorized money to build fencing similar to existing structures. The president has also contended that the military could build the wall — though the Pentagon has said it has no plans to do so, yet.

On Tuesday, Pelosi told reporters that “we’ll see” if negotiations with the White House make any progress. She said the wall “is not about money,” but rather “about morality.”

“It’s the wrong thing to do. It doesn’t work. It’s not effective. It’s the wrong thing to do and it’s a waste of money,” the California Democrat said, according to NBC News.

The president has already signed spending bills for five government agencies, including the massive departments of Defense and Health and Human Services, into law. Lawmakers still have not passed spending bills for five agencies. Trump’s push for wall money as part of Department of Homeland Security funding has snagged talks to dodge a shutdown.

Schumer said Tuesday morning that he and Pelosi had not heard from the White House on two offers Democrats made to avoid a shutdown. One includes appropriations bills for six agencies and a yearlong continuing resolution to fund DHS. The other would pass a continuing resolution to keep all seven departments running.

Schumer again urged Republicans to support one of those plans on Tuesday afternoon.

Leaving McConnell’s office Tuesday, the New York Democrat said he had not heard a “peep” from the White House, according to NBC News.

As only about a quarter of the government would shut down this weekend, it would have only limited effects. Along with Homeland Security, the unfunded agencies are the departments of Transportation, Commerce, Interior, Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development and Justice.

While some functions like national parks would close down, some employees and law enforcement officers at those agencies would continue working without getting paid temporarily. Those would include employees such as FBI, border patrol and Transportation Security Administration agents.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/18/white-house-suggests-it-will-back-down-on-5-billion-border-wall-demand.html

White House cites ‘options’ for funding U.S. border wall

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House said on Tuesday it was searching for ways to unilaterally fund the building of a controversial wall on the U.S.-Mexico border that Congress is balking at, possibly easing chances of a government shutdown this weekend.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters President Donald Trump has asked his Cabinet agencies to “look and see if they have money that can be used” to begin building the wall.

Previously, Trump had demanded that Congress approve $5 billion in new funds for the wall that he argues is needed to stop illegal immigrants and drugs from entering through the southwest border.

On Tuesday, Trump said it was too early to say whether a partial government shutdown will be averted by a Friday midnight deadline when existing funds for several agencies expire. “We’ll see what happens,” he told reporters.

But some Republican senators said they thought the president could be persuaded to sign a bill that does not fund his wall, and several Republican and Democratic senators spoke of the possibility of a stop-gap funding bill passing this week that would simply extend government operations into the new year.

The new Congress that convenes on Jan. 3 would then have to grapple with the budget impasse.

Given the continued uncertainty, however, federal agencies began publicizing their plans in case of a partial government shutdown.

The State Department, for example, said its consular operations, both domestic and abroad, would continue “as long as there are sufficient fees to support operations.” However, passport agencies might not operate if they are located in government buildings affected by the lapse in appropriations.

Earlier on Tuesday, Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had proposed a plan that would have had Congress approve $1 billion in unspecified money that Trump could use to advance his border security priorities.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer called it a “slush fund” that was promptly rejected.

Previously, Trump had demanded that Congress approve $5 billion in new funds for the wall that he argues is needed to stop illegal immigrants and drugs from entering through the southwest border.

On Tuesday, Trump said it was too early to say whether a partial government shutdown will be averted by a Friday midnight deadline when existing funds for several agencies expire. “We’ll see what happens,” he told reporters.

But some Republican senators said they thought the president could be persuaded to sign a bill that does not fund his wall, and several Republican and Democratic senators spoke of the possibility of a stop-gap funding bill passing this week that would simply extend government operations into the new year.

The new Congress that convenes on Jan. 3 would then have to grapple with the budget impasse.

Given the continued uncertainty, however, federal agencies began publicizing their plans in case of a partial government shutdown.

The State Department, for example, said its consular operations, both domestic and abroad, would continue “as long as there are sufficient fees to support operations.” However, passport agencies might not operate if they are located in government buildings affected by the lapse in appropriations.

Earlier on Tuesday, Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had proposed a plan that would have had Congress approve $1 billion in unspecified money that Trump could use to advance his border security priorities.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer called it a “slush fund” that was promptly rejected.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-taxcuts/middle-class-tax-cut-not-focus-of-trump-administration-efforts-bloomberg-idUSKBN1OH2J3

POLITICS

Immigration Up Sharply as Most Important U.S. Problem

BY JUSTIN MCCARTHY
Immigration Up Sharply as Most Important U.S. Problem

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Mentions of immigration as top problem rise, from 13% to 21%
  • Mentions of healthcare also increase in November, from 6% to 11%
  • 35% are satisfied with how things are going in the U.S.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans’ perceptions of the biggest problem facing the U.S. shifted a bit over the past month, with increased percentages mentioning immigration and healthcare, and fewer citing government leaders or poor government, generally.

Americans’ Views of the Top Problem Facing the U.S.
Problems mentioned by at least 3% of respondents in November
October November Change
% % (pct. pts.)
Immigration/Illegal aliens 13 21 +8
Dissatisfaction with government/Poor leadership 27 18 -9
Healthcare 6 11 +5
Unifying the country 6 9 +3
Race relations/Racism 6 9 +3
Lack of respect for each other 5 6 +1
Ethics/Moral/Religious/Family decline 3 4 +1
Economy in general 3 4 +1
Unemployment/Jobs 3 3 0
Education 2 3 +1
GALLUP

Americans are more likely to name immigration as the top problem facing the U.S. in November than they were in October — it surged to 21% from 13%. Mentions of healthcare as the most pressing issue also increased, from 6% last month to the current 11%. Meanwhile, the proportion who name government and poor leadership decreased by nine percentage points to its current 18%, but this remains among the top problems.

These data are from a Nov. 1-11 poll, which spanned the days before and after the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

The current 21% who cite immigration or illegal aliens is about as high as the record 22% Gallup recorded in July. The issue’s move to the top of the list comes after a large group of Central American immigrants, widely described in the media as a caravan, formed last month with intentions of crossing the U.S. border. It became politicized by President Donald Trump, who declared the caravan a “national emergency” and sent 5,000 troops to the border to try to prevent illegal entries.

Immigration had already ranked among the top-named issues in the months leading up to the caravan’s formation, but the issue’s politicization in the weeks before the midterm elections appears to have elevated it further.

The issue is of particular concern to Republicans, 37% of whom name it as the most important problem — an increase of 17 points from the prior month. This well exceeds the 18% of independents and 10% of Democrats citing immigration as the top issue.

Line chart, June through November 2018. U.S. adults’ view that immigration is the most important problem in U.S., by party.

Another major issue in the midterms, healthcare, also gained prominence in November, with mentions rising to 11% — up from 6% in October. There were small increases in mentions of this problem among all party groups, with 8% of Republicans saying healthcare is the biggest problem, along with 12% of both Democrats and independents.

Meanwhile, nearly one in five Americans (18%), down from 27% in October, cite some aspect of government or poor leadership as the top issue — keeping this near the top of the list of named problems, as it has been for almost a decade. This decrease occurred among all party groups, especially Republicans — 14% of whom name dissatisfaction with government and leadership, compared with 16% of independents and 22% of Democrats.

Satisfaction With the Direction of U.S. Higher in 2018 Than in 2017

Currently, 35% of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. — consistent with the 33% to 38% range for this issue since May. Twin 38% readings, recorded in June and October, marked a 12-year high for the measure. The latest poll shows the typical polarization among partisans, with satisfaction among Republicans (63%) much greater than that of independents (37%) and especially Democrats (8%).

The average level of satisfaction with the country’s direction for 2018 so far is 34%, an improvement from the average of 27% for 2017.

Line chart, January 2017 to November 2018. U.S. adults’ satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S.

Bottom Line

Depending on what the incoming Congress prioritizes after being sworn in on Jan. 3, issues like healthcare — on which the soon-to-be House Democratic majority heavily campaigned and is likely to act first — could remain at the top of Americans’ minds in terms of the most pressing issues facing the country.

It’s possible that immigration could retreat from the top of the list, as the caravan of migrants’ journey becomes arguably more difficult now that it has reached Tijuana, Mexico, and is receiving less news coverage in the U.S. But the issue will likely remain an important one for many — particularly Republicans — as Trump’s pledges on the issue, including a border wall, remain unfulfilled.

Next month’s reading on Americans’ satisfaction with the direction of the country could be more revealing of what the public’s mood will be in 2019, as the current figure is based on responses that were given both before and after the midterm elections. Though the federal government itself remains a commonly named problem, satisfaction with the country’s general direction is relatively high compared with where it was in the recent past.

https://news.gallup.com/poll/244925/immigration-sharply-important-problem.aspx?g_source=link_NEWSV9&g_medium=TOPIC&g_campaign=item_&g_content=Immigration%2520Up%2520Sharply%2520as%2520Most%2520Important%2520U.S.%2520Problem

Officials baffled by large migrant groups at remote crossing

33 minutes ago
Claudia Maquin, 27, shows a photo of her daughter, Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin in Raxruha, Guatemala, on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Oliver de Ros)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Large numbers of Guatemalan families and unaccompanied children are surrendering to U.S. immigration agents in an extremely remote and dangerous stretch of New Mexico desert, a new smuggling route that has baffled authorities.

It is where 7-year-old Jakelin Caal and her father were found Dec. 6 with 161 others near a border crossing in Antelope Wells. Caal started vomiting on the bus ride to the nearest Border Patrol station 94 miles (150 kilometers) away and had stopped breathing by the time she arrived. She died at a hospital in El Paso, Texas.

U.S. authorities this week encountered groups of 257 and 239 people consisting of families and unaccompanied children, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said Tuesday. The Border Patrol found groups of more than 100 people along the entire U.S. border with Mexico about eight times during the budget year that ended Sept. 30 and encountered nearly four times that amount since Oct. 1.

“This is a brand new phenomenon,” McAleenan told reporters in a conference call. “It’s really challenging our resources.”

Antelope Wells is the site of one of about three dozen Border Patrol “forward operating bases” in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas — bare-bones facilities designed to increase enforcement in remote areas. About four agents are assigned to Antelope Wells and they sleep at the base on eight-day shifts to avoid having to drive home every day.

Migrants have told agents that they took commercial buses from Guatemala to New Mexico in four or five days straight, a sharp contrast to the traditional route that can take 25 to 30 days to reach the U.S. border and includes rest stops at “stash houses” along the way, McAleenan said.

It’s unclear why Guatemalans are choosing such a remote spot, but McAleenan said it may be less expensive for smugglers to pay other criminal organizations fees to pass through. The U.S. is working with Mexico to determine the reasons behind it, hoping to redirect traffic to the nearest cities, El Paso and Nogales, Arizona.

Families began arriving in large groups about once or twice a week since mid-October and the trend has accelerated in recent weeks, McAleenan said.

The families are generally seeking out U.S. agents to turn themselves in, raising questions about why they would go to such lengths when they could do so in large cities. All along the border, migrants are increasingly turning themselves in to U.S. authorities to seek asylum or other form of humanitarian protection.

The U.S. has shifted additional medical personnel and more vehicles to Lordsburg and Antelope Wells to help manage.

“In a group as large as 250 you’re going to have medical issues,” McAleenan said. “You’re going to have people that have the flu, and people that have scabies or lice or other skin conditions, and so we are making hospital runs with pretty much every group that arrives at this time.”

Only about 30 vehicles a day enter the U.S. at the Antelope Wells, compared to tens of thousands at San Diego’s San Ysidro crossing, the nation’s busiest. McAleenan said buses typically drop off Guatemalans near Antelope Wells and they cross a barbed-wire fence to reach the U.S.

McAleenan gave a tour of the area to members of the Democratic Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, said the group had seen many young children and their parents in the facility, and called for a congressional investigation into the conditions at the facility and the girl’s death.

Caal’s body was expected to be returned to Guatemala Thursday, and then taken to her hometown of San Antonio Secortez. Her death touched off a firestorm. Border Patrol agents said they did all they could do to help the girl who seemed healthy when she first reached encountered them. But it’s not clear if there was a translation issue. Border Patrol agents were speaking to her father in Spanish, as they are required to do, but his first language is the Mayan tongue known as Q’eqchi’.

Attorneys in Texas representing the girl’s father criticized U.S. officials for asking him to sign a form that asks questions with check boxes of “yes” or “no.” ″Claims good health” was handwritten in the “additional comments” section.

Her cause of death has not been released.

The family also disputed the accounts by U.S. officials that the girl walked for days in the desert without food or water before crossing. The father’s lawyers said Caal took care of his daughter, giving her sufficient water and food, and she appeared to be in good health.

___

Spagat reported from San Diego.

https://www.apnews.com/f3bf396116574f9b9bd0c0f017e39983

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The Pronk Pops Show 1189, December 14, 2018, Story 1: Court Rules Obamacare Unconstitutional — When Will The Republican Party Repeal and Replace Obamacare or Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act? — 2021 or 2019 By Supreme Court Decision — Videos — Story 2: Trump Must Shutdown Government Until He Gets At Least $5 Billion to Fund 300 Miles of Border Wall Between U.S. and Mexico — Both Democratic and Republican Party Leadership Will Not Fund The Wall — Maximum Pressure — Call Their Bluff — Up and Down Party Vote — American People vs. Washington Political Elitist Establishment — 75% of Government Funded — Videos — Breaking News — Story 3: Trump Selects A Temporary “Acting” Chief of Staff — Mick Mulvaney — Too Much On His Plate — Gatekeeper Golfer — Videos

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Story 1: Court Rules Obamacare Unconstitutional — When Will The Republican Party Repeal and Replace Obamacare or Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act? — 2021 or 2019 By Supreme Court Decision — Videos

See the source image

Federal judge strikes down Obamacare

ObamaCare ruling was the right decision: Judge Napolitano

Federal judge rules ObamaCare unconstitutional

Federal Judge Strikes Down Obamacare – What’s Next? | Sunday TODAY

U.S. judge finds obamacare unconstitutional

Fox Report Weekend Fox News 12/15/18 Breaking Fox News December 15, 2018

 

Federal judge rules Obamacare is unconstitutional – and President Trump calls it ‘great news for America’

  • Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth ruled Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional
  • Ruled that a change in tax law last year eliminating a penalty for not having health insurance invalidated the entire law
  • Last year Trump signed a $1.5 trillion tax bill that included a provision eliminating the individual mandate 
  • Trump celebrated the 55-page ruling in two Tweets sent shortly after 9 pm 
  • Obamacare will remain in place pending its expected appeal to Supreme Court 

A U.S. federal judge in Texas ruled on Friday that the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, is unconstitutional, a decision that was likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court.

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth agreed with a coalition of 20 states that a change in tax law last year eliminating a penalty for not having health insurance invalidated the entire Obamacare law.

President Trump responded to the ruling on Twitter with glee.

A federal judge in Texas ruled on Friday that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional, a decision that was likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court. Trump was overjoyed

He first tweeted shortly after 9 pm, ‘As I predicted all along, Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster! Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions. Mitch and Nancy, get it done!’

He followed that up eight minutes later with a second Tweet.

‘Wow, but not surprisingly, ObamaCare was just ruled UNCONSTITUTIONAL by a highly respected judge in Texas. Great news for America!’

Trump issued two celebratory tweets shortly after the ruling

Trump issued two celebratory tweets shortly after the ruling

O’Connor’s decision was issued the day before the end of a 45-day sign-up period for 2019 health coverage under the law.

‘The Individual Mandate can no longer be fairly read as an exercise of Congress’s Tax Power and is still impermissible under the Interstate Commerce Clause — meaning the Individual Mandate is unconstitutional,’ the judge wrote. ‘The Individual Mandate is essential to and inseverable from the remainder of the ACA.’

‘Without [the individual mandate], Congress and the Supreme Court have stated, the architectural design fails,’ according to O’Connor. ‘It is like watching a slow game of Jenga, each party poking at a different provision to see if the ACA falls.’

A year ago, Trump signed a $1.5 trillion tax bill that included a provision eliminating the individual mandate.

In the 55-page opinion, O’Connor ruled Friday that last year’s tax cut bill knocked the constitutional foundation from under ‘Obamacare’ by eliminating a penalty for not having coverage.

About 11.8 million consumers nationwide enrolled in 2018 Obamacare exchange plans, according to the U.S. government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The coalition of states challenging the law was led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, both Republicans.

Republicans have opposed the 2010 law, the signature domestic policy achievement of President Donald Trump’s Democratic predecessor Barack Obama, since its inception and have repeatedly tried and failed to repeal it.

The White House hailed Friday’s ruling, but said the law would remain in place pending its expected appeal to the Supreme Court.

‘Once again, the president calls on Congress to replace Obamacare and act to protect people with preexisting conditions and provide Americans with quality affordable healthcare,’ White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

In June, the Justice Department declared the healthcare law’s ‘individual mandate’ unconstitutional in federal court. 

The decision was a break with a long-standing executive branch practice of defending existing statutes in court.

JUDGE’S PREVIOUS RULINGS

 U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, is no stranger to the conservative resistance to Obama administration policies.

O’Connor, 53, is a former state and federal prosecutor who was nominated to the federal bench in 2007 by President George W. Bush. He has been active in the Federalist Society, which describes itself as ‘a group of conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of the legal order.’

In 2014, the Fort Worth, Texas-based judge upheld the constitutionality of an Arlington, Texas, ordinance that bars people from handing out printed material at busy intersections and roads. The lawsuit had been brought by a gun-rights group called Open Carry Tarrant County. Although he upheld the ordinance, O’Connor ordered the city to pay the group’s coordinator $42,251 in damages.

That same year, he sentenced a man to more than 15 years in federal prison for kidnapping and severely beating a gay man he met through an online service, concluding the assailant kidnapped the man because of his sexual orientation.

In 2016, though, he blocked a federal directive that required public schools to let transgender students use bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. He ruled that Title IX, which the Obama administration cited in support of the directive, ‘is not ambiguous’ about sex being defined as ‘the biological and anatomical differences between male and female students as determined at their birth.’

Also in 2016, he struck down new U.S. Health and Human Services regulations that advised that certain forms of transgender discrimination by doctors, hospitals and insurers violated the Affordable Care Act. He declared that the rules placed ‘substantial pressure on Plaintiffs to perform and cover (gender) transition and abortion procedures.’ A coalition of religious medical organizations said the rules could force doctors to help with gender transition contrary to their religious beliefs or medical judgment.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6498335/U-S-federal-judge-rules-Obamacare-unconstitutional.html

Texas ObamaCare Blunder

A judge’s ruling will be overturned and could backfire on Republicans.

By The Editorial Board
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton PHOTO: TONY GUTIERREZ/ASSOCIATED PRESS

No one opposes ObamaCare more than we do, and Democrats are now confirming that it was designed as a way-station to government-run health care. But a federal judge’s ruling Friday that the law is unconstitutional is likely to be overturned on appeal and may boomerang politically on Republicans.

Judge Reed O’Connor ruled for some 20 state plaintiffs that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate is no longer legal because Republicans repealed its financial penalty as part of the 2017 tax reform. Recall that Chief Justice John Roberts joined four Justices to say ObamaCare’s mandate was illegal as a command to individuals to buy insurance under the Commerce Clause. “The Framers gave Congress the power to regulate commerce, not to compel it,” he wrote.

Yet the Chief famously salvaged ObamaCare by unilaterally rewriting the mandate to be a “tax” that was within Congress’s power. Never mind that Democrats had expressly said the penalty was not a tax. Majority Leader Roberts declared it to be so.

Enter Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who argues in Texas v. U.S. that since Congress has repealed the mandate, the tax is no longer a tax, and ObamaCare is thus illegal. Judge O’Connor agreed with that logic, and he went further in ruling that since Congress said the mandate is crucial to the structure of ObamaCare, then all of ObamaCare must fall along with the mandate.

We’ll admit to a certain satisfaction in seeing the Chief Justice hoist on his own logic. But his ruling in NFIB v. Sebelius was in 2012 and there is more at issue legally now than the “tax” issue in that opinion. One legal complication is that Congress in 2017 repealed the financial part of the individual mandate, not the structure of the mandate itself. Republicans used budget rules to pass tax reform so they couldn’t repeal the mandate’s express language.

The Affordable Care Act has also been up and running since 2014, which means so-called reliance interests come into play when considering a precedent. Millions of people now rely on ObamaCare’s subsidies and rules, which argues against judges repealing the law by fiat.

Judge O’Connor breezes past this like a liberal Ninth Circuit appeals judge handling a Donald Trump appeal. He’s right that Democrats claimed the individual mandate was essential to the Affordable Care Act. But when Congress killed the financial penalty in 2017 it left the rest of ObamaCare intact. When judging congressional intent, a judge must account for the amending Congress as well as the original Congress.

In any case, the Supreme Court’s “severability” doctrine calls for restraint in declaring an entire law illegal merely because one part of it is. Our guess is that even the right-leaning Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals judges will overturn Judge O’Connor on this point.

As for the politics, Democrats claim to be alarmed by the ruling but the truth is they’re elated. They want to use it to further pound Republicans for denying health insurance for pre-existing conditions if the law is overturned. Democrats campaigned across the country against Mr. Paxton’s lawsuit to gain House and Senate seats in November, and they will now press votes in Congress so they can compound the gains in 2020.

President Trump hailed the ruling in a tweet, but he has never understood the Affordable Care Act. His Administration has done good work revising regulations to reduce health-care costs and increase access, but the risk is that the lawsuit will cause Republicans in Congress to panic politically and strike a deal with Democrats that reinforces ObamaCare. This is what happens when conservatives fall into the liberal trap of thinking they can use the courts to achieve policy goals that need to be won in Congress.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/texas-obamacare-blunder-11544996418

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Trump names his budget director Mick Mulvaney as ‘acting’ chief of staff as he FINALLY finds someone to succeed ousted John Kelly – amid new plan to prevent government shutdown

  • President named former congressman Mick Mulvaney his acting chief of staff
  • Trump suggested the role is temporary but a White House official indicated to reporters that Mulvaney will stay in the job indefinitely
  • Mulvaney has a lot on his plate as Office of Management and Budget head 
  • His agency will oversee the government shutdown if Congress and the president cannot agree to a short or long-term spending deal by Dec. 21
  • Trump was said to be shopping an extension on Friday that would delay the battle until after the Christmas holiday
  • Had told congressional leaders on Tuesday that he would ‘absolutely’ shut the government down until they give him his desired funding for a border wall
  • Democrats take over Congress in January and will easily pass legislation averting a fiscal cliff, forcing Republicans in the Senate to make a decision 
  • Mulvaney earlier this year wore two hats as director of OMB and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau until Trump filled an open job  
  • Trump said Thursday he was seriously considering five people for chief of staff
  • Chris Christie took himself out of the running on Friday afternoon
  • Jared Kushner was said to lobbying for the role, but White House officials openly dashed cold water on his ambitions
  • Trump left scrambling after he was unexpectedly turned down by Mike Pence chief of staff Nick Ayers last weekend 

President Donald Trump says his Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney will lead the West Wing until he can find a permanent replacement for John Kelly.

Trump effectively let Kelly off the hook on Friday, saying in a tweet that Mulvaney would serve as ‘acting chief of staff’ once the retired general leaves the administration.

A senior official indicated that Mulvaney’s tenure will be indefinite however, telling reporters at the White House minutes after the announcement, ‘There’s no time limit.’

Just this morning, the White House was claiming that Kelly could stay longer than planned, having already agreed to extend his tenure longer than Trump initially said to ensure a smooth transition.

Trump said in an early evening tweet that he had changed his mind and Kelly would be departing at the end of the year.

‘I am pleased to announce that Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management & Budget, will be named Acting White House Chief of Staff, replacing General John Kelly, who has served our Country with distinction. Mick has done an outstanding job while in the Administration,’ he announced.

Hours later he sent a follow up tweet insisting ‘MANY’ people wanted the job.

President Donald Trump says his Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney will lead the West Wing until he can find a permanent replacement for John Kelly

President Donald Trump says his Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney will lead the West Wing until he can find a permanent replacement for John Kelly

Trump effectively let Kelly off the hook on Friday, saying in a tweet that Mulvaney would serve as 'acting chief of staff' once the retired general leaves the administration

Trump effectively let Kelly off the hook on Friday, saying in a tweet