Immigration

Biden Gets It Right Finally, Raises Refugee Cap

GOOD.

President Joe Biden announced yesterday that he was raising the number of people the US would admit under its refugee resettlement program, eliminating the record-low Trump limits on refugee admissions. The new refugee cap of 62,500 for the rest of fiscal 2021, Biden said, "erases the historically low number set by the previous administration of 15,000, which did not reflect America's values as a nation that welcomes and supports refugees."

The new refugee goal should have been a routine announcement that the White House was following through on a campaign promise to return US refugee admissions to pre-Trump levels. Back in February, the administration had said it intended to admit up to 62,500 refugees this year, then in 2022 boost that to 125,000 a year going forward. But then a lot of unaccompanied minors began showing up at the southern border, Republicans treated it like the biggest disaster in history, and the media bought into all the "crisis" talk. And apparently, so did Biden, briefly; in April, the administration announced that it would actually keep Trump's 2021 cap until the end of the fiscal year (September 30), but would adjust the limit upward if more than 15,000 refugees were actually ready to come to the US.

That seeming abandonment of the promise to do better than Trump lasted only a few hours, which was long enough to cause some refugees to cancel flights to the US, and to piss off pretty much all the refugee advocates. Not long after, the administration said it would announce a new, higher refugee ceiling in May, and here we are with that announcement. Good. Sometimes presidents need to be reminded of their commitments.

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Immigration

If We’re Stuck With ICE, Then Sheriff Ed Gonzalez Is Solid Choice To Lead It

Biden nominates someone who'll make Stephen Miller real mad.

We've discussed the many positive changes at Immigrations and Customs Enforcement for the Department of Homeland Security after President Joe Biden replaced the former White House squatter. Now Biden's announced a big change at the top: He's nominated Texas sheriff Ed Gonzalez to lead ICE, which hasn't had a permanent director since 2017. The former guy's party controlled the Senate, but he still preferred to have a revolving door of “acting" ICE directors during his horror show administration.

Gonzales was elected sheriff of Harris County (that's Houston) in 2016 and won re-election last year. Harris is the largest sheriff's office in Texas and the third-largest in the country. He'd previously risen to rank of sergeant during his 18 years with the Houston Police Department. He's been a consistent critic of President Klan Robe's grotesque immigration policies.

From the Texas Tribune:

In 2019, when Trump tweeted that his administration would be deporting "millions of illegal aliens," Gonzalez posted on Facebook that the "vast majority" of undocumented immigrants do not pose a threat to the U.S. and should not be deported.

"The focus should always be on clear & immediate safety threats," he said.
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Congress

Census Results Only Horrible-ish. Nice ... Time?

We don't yet know how Trump may have screwed things up, natch.

After months of delays, mostly due to the pandemic, the US Census released its first data chunks from the 2020 count of the US population yesterday, delivering the state population counts that will be used to reapportion seats in the House of Representatives. The big surprise in the data is that the US population grew at its lowest rate since the 1930s, increasing just 7.4 percent since the 2010 Census. There are now 331,449,281 of us, at least officially, and since the first Census in 1790, that's the second-lowest population increase ever.

As the Brookings Institution points out, that's just a teensy bit more than the 7.3 percent increase during the Great Depression, and "roughly half the 13.2% growth rate of the 1990s, when immigration was high and the last part of the millennial generation was born."

Politically, the state-by-state population shifts means seven seats in the House will be moving, mostly from the Northeast to the Sun Belt, as this handy-dandy map from the Associated Press shows:

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Considering that some experts had predicted even larger shifts of congressional seats from blue states to states with Republican-leaning voters, this is actually better news than it might have been. Texas is picking up two seats, and one seat each will go to GOP-leaning Florida, Montana, and North Carolina. The other two seats will go to very blue Oregon and purple-y Colorado.

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Media/Entertainment

Fox News: Why Would Kamala Harris Write Nice Thing For Kids? Must Be Some Kinda *Racket*!

New York Post has memory-holed their fake news story, but that's not stopping the Friends!

With the Biden administration walking softly and carrying a big reconciliation stick, the rightwing ecosystem is bereft of any real scandal to howl about. Lesser figures, cursed with pesky integrity or journalistic ethics, might be forced to report the actual news. But not these plucky underdogs! They will cover seven Biden outrages a day, even if they have to make them up out of whole cloth.

And so it was that we'd barely finished with the abject lie about Biden coming for your burgers — be very angry, Grandma! — when it was on to the next pile of nonsense. Today's White House fanfic involves the United States government buying up copies of Vice President Kamala Harris's children's book Superheroes Are Everywhere to give to migrant children at the border.

This particular bullshit appears to have originated with a New York Post story claiming that "Unaccompanied migrant kids brought from the U.S.-Mexico border to a new shelter in Long Beach, Calif., will be given a copy of her 2019 children's book, "Superheroes are Everywhere," in their welcome kits." The story has been memory-holed, along with the follow-up piece on Jen Psaki fielding a question from Fox about it at yesterday's press briefing, but the internet is forever, assholes.

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