How Do The Plans For Replacing Obamacare Measure Up?

The repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act is one of the most hotly debated items on the Trump administration’s agenda. While some insist there must be a full repeal now, others maintain that there should be no repeal until there is something in place to go into effect immediately upon repeal.

While Republicans hash out the best course of action, regarding implementation, they are not without plans.

The problem remains with which plan would serve American citizens best.

Currently, plans put forth by House Speaker Paul Ryan and Trump’s Health and Human Services pick, Rep. Tom Price, seem to be the top draws in the debate.

The Ryan plan, dubbed “A Better Way,” has been around since last year, and is mapped out in this manner:

  • Americans without employer coverage: provides a refundable tax credit, based on age, to buy coverage on private exchanges.
  • Americans with employer coverage: expands the use of tax-free health savings accounts. Caps the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored coverage to incentivize buying lower-cost plans.
  • Americans with Medicaid: starting in 2019, gradually phases down extra federal money for expansion population until it reaches a state’s normal level. States can choose either a per capita allotment or block grant from the federal government to help fund their Medicaid programs.
  • Americans with pre-existing conditions: gives states at least $25 billion to set up high-risk pools. Insurers must accept people with pre-existing conditions during a one-time enrollment period. After that, coverage is only guaranteed to those who maintain it continuously.

Rep. Price’s plan is titled, “Empowering Patients First Act.”

  • Americans without employer coverage: get refundable, age-adjusted tax credits to buy coverage. Provides $1,200 for those ages 18-35, $2,100 for those 35-50 and $3,000 for those older than 50.
  • Americans with employer coverage: expands the use of tax-free health savings accounts. Caps the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored coverage, at $20,000 for a family and $8,000 for an individual, to incentivize buying lower-cost plans.
  • Americans with Medicaid: repeals Medicaid expansion.
  • Americans with pre-existing conditions: gives states funds for high-risk pools. Doesn’t guarantee coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, but awards bonus grants to states that guarantee coverage for those with prior employer coverage.

Interesting.

If neither of those are to your liking, there are at least four other plans that have been offered.

Last week, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul unveiled his plan to replace the ACA, simply titled, “The Obamacare Replacement Act.”

  • Americans without employer coverage: Individuals can get group coverage through independent pools. Anyone can save unlimited amounts in health savings accounts. Tax credits of up to $5,000 for an individual and $10,000 for a family would go into an HSA.
  • Americans with employer coverage: replace tax exclusion with universal deduction for everyone. Same access to HSAs and tax credits as those with individual coverage.
  • Americans with Medicaid: repeal Medicaid expansion.
  • Americans with pre-existing conditions: Those with pre-existing conditions get a two-year period to enroll in coverage, but they must continuously maintain coverage after that.

The Republican Study Committee plan is called “The American Health Care Reform Act,” and is spelled out, as follows:

  • Americans without employer coverage: get a tax deduction for buying insurance; $7,500 for individuals and $20,500 for families. Only helps if they earn enough to pay taxes.
  • Americans with employer coverage: get a tax deduction for buying insurance on their own instead of through their employer. Also expands the use of tax-free health savings accounts.
  • Americans with Medicaid: repeals Medicaid expansion.
  • Americans with pre-existing conditions: provides $25 billion over a decade for state-run high risk pools. Insurers must cover those with pre-existing conditions as long as they maintain continuous coverage. Customers can switch insurers, but they cannot have a gap between coverage.

 

There seems to be a theme with allowing for no gap in coverage.

Senators Bill Cassidy and Susan Collins’ plan, “Patient Freedom Act” would keep Obamacare in place, using the extra federal dollars for either tax-free savings accounts or alternative designs without federal assistance.

  • Americans without employer coverage: get a tax-free health savings account, a high-deductible health plan and a basic pharmacy plan. They get a grant or refundable tax credit to go into their savings account. To pay for the subsidies, states get 95 percent of the federal dollars currently provided through Obamacare.
  • Americans with employer coverage: keep tax exclusion.
  • Americans with Medicaid: States can decide to keep their Medicaid expansion or use the extra federal funds to help people buy private plans.
  • Americans with pre-existing conditions: Insurers are required to cover them.

Finally, Senator Lamar Alexander, of Tennessee, proposed a plan earlier in January, and didn’t give it a spiffy name. It’s just his plan. Still, some may find it more appealing than the other alternatives.

  • Americans without employer coverage: allow people to use Obamacare subsidies for coverage outside the marketplaces. Allow states more flexibility in their marketplaces through the law’s waivers. Expand health savings accounts.
  • Americans with employer coverage: keep tax exclusion.
  • Americans with Medicaid: Give states more flexibility through Medicaid waivers.
  • High-risk Americans: Insurers are required to cover them.

A lot of people have been sorely burdened by the ACA, which has inflated costs and forced them to choose between paying the rent or paying to avoid the stiff government penalties associated with not choosing a plan.

Then there are the men wondering why they had to pay for maternity care.

The Trump administration has yet to announce what will be done about Obamacare, but repealing it seems to be the one thing a divided party can agree needs to be done, ASAP.

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Senators Marco Rubio And Tim Scott Are Latest Republicans To Express Concern Over Trump’s Travel Ban

The concerns and commentary from both sides of the aisle, in regards to President Trump’s travel ban on refugees from seven Muslim countries continues.

Over the weekend, the nation witnessed chaos and protests, after Trump’s signing of an executive order barred entry for some refugees who were already arriving at airports around the country.

The decision by a federal judge out of New York put a halt some several key portions of the order, allowing for those who were still being detained to enter.

Of those who have expressed their concerns, the latest comments come from Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

“We are uneasy about the potential impact of these measures on our military and our diplomatic personnel abroad, as well as those who put their lives on the line to work with us,” the two wrote in a statement.

“We are both committed to doing what we must to keep America safe. We are equally committed to the defense of religious liberty and our tradition of providing refuge to those fleeing persecution.”

In framing their unease, the two suggested that they realize a lot of what is being reported about the order isn’t fully correct, but they also feel that the way the order was put into effect caused the confusion.

Rubio and Scott said they are looking for clarity on the changes being made to the Visa Waiver program, which they called “critical to the economies in our respective states.”

 

The two added they are guided by their belief that “when we stand before our Creator to face judgment, He will say that ‘to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ ”

“That is why we intend to do all we can to both keep America safe, and keep America special.”

And that’s about as gracious of an answer as can be given, and one that resonates with me, actually.

The two join fellow Republican Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Ben Sasse, Jeff Flake, Orrin Hatch, Rob Portman, Susan Collins, and Representatives Justin Amash, Barbara Comstock, and Charlie Dent in expressing their concerns over how the order was written, and ultimately implemented.

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Donald Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Should Not Be Thomas Hardiman

Donald Trump announces his pick for the Supreme Court this week. The top candidates include Judge Bill Pryor of the 11th Circuit, Judge Neil Gorsuch of the 10th Circuit, and Judge Thomas Hardiman of the 3d Circuit. Some news outlets have suggested that Trump may be leaning towards Hardiman, in part because he thinks Hardiman would be easier to confirm, and in part because his sister, Maryanne Trump Barry (another 3d Circuit judge), recommends Hardiman.

Neither is a good reason to pick Hardiman now, and it’s my view that Judge Hardiman is not the best choice to replace Justice Scalia. Thomas Hardiman appears to be a good judge and might make a solid pick down the road. But not now. Not for Scalia’s seat.

By contrast, Pryor and Gorsuch appear to be suitable candidates to follow Scalia — even if they might be a bit tougher to confirm, and may not have the Maryanne Trump Barry seal of approval.

If Trump is ever going to make an aggressive pick, the time is now, when he is still in a honeymoon period. The Democrats are going to demonize anyone Trump chooses anyway, and each of the three front-runners provides ammunition that dishonest Democrats (and in some cases even dishonest conservatives) can use to twist against them. Trump should not be overly concerned with such predictable partisan nonsense.

Nor should conservative supporters of Trump care too much what Trump’s abortion-loving sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, thinks of Hardiman. Some conservatives consider Trump Barry’s endorsement to be the kiss of death, but Ed Whelan, a former Scalia clerk and someone I trust, warns against this reaction. Whelan reminds us that Barry also testified for Samuel Alito, another 3d Circuit judge . . . and while Alito is not quite in the league of Scalia or Thomas, nobody but partisan leftists are upset that he is sitting on the High Court.

But conservatives aren’t just wary of Barry’s opinion. They’re also concerned that Trump might show an outsized deference to his sister’s opinion — especially since Trump palpably has little conception of constitutional law is, or what judges do.

In short, conservatives don’t need just any judge who is going to make Donald Trump’s sister happy. Conservatives need someone who has been battle-tested. Someone who has been confronted with a choice between the correct result and the result approved by our modern-day leftist intelligentsia, multiple times, and has come out on the right side every time.

In my view, Thomas Hardiman does not have enough of a record of solid calls in controversial cases to give judicial conservatives confidence that he can withstand the heat of deciding a nationally debated case that is central to the culture wars. Of the three current front-runners, Bill Pryor and Neil Gorsuch fit that bill more closely.

Hardiman is conservative, no doubt — in a somewhat authoritarian way at times. He is solid on the Second Amendment, where his decisions give the greatest hope to judicial conservatives that he would be willing to stick his neck out for a principle. Hardiman tends to be more authoritarian on the First Amendment and other issues relating to government power.

But most fundamentally, we don’t really know whether he has the backbone to stare down leftist orthodoxy in a tough case. Understand: judging is not a matter of achieving the “right result” but a question of how you get to the result. Whether Hardiman is a consistent enough judicial conservative to replace Antonin Scalia is, in my mind, an open question. I thought John Roberts was a solid pick despite his relatively sparse record, and folks like Ann Coulter disagreed, saying we didn’t have a solid enough basis to know what Roberts would do.

Turned out she was right.

We can’t make that mistake again.

We don’t have to worry about such things if Donald Trump nominates Bill Pryor. Pryor once described Roe v. Wade as “creating out of thin air a constitutional right to murder an unborn child.” He also called Roe the “worst abomination in the history of constitutional law.” Controversial words, to be sure . . . but Donald Trump has shown that someone can win the Presidency saying things nobody thought candidates are allowed to say. Maybe Pryor could be the Donald Trump of judicial candidates — in that limited sense only, I hasten to add.

Do I praise Pryor for these statements because I am drooling for the chance to overrule Roe v. Wade? Not really. Roe should be overruled — but it seems incredibly unlikely, given the strong language of the Casey decision, that it will ever happen. Conservatives had their chance in 1992, with the Casey decision, and Anthony Kennedy blew it. Pro-lifers are not likely to get that chance again.

No, I praise Pryor for these statements because he’s right, and he had the guts to say it. Roe indeed is a stain on our constitutional history. It is easily among the top five worst decisions in the Court’s history. Bill Pryor called a pig a pig. Good for him.

I became sold on Bill Pryor when I read that he once ended a talk with a prayer, saying: “Please, God. No more Souters.” I think it might be worth quoting the last few sentences of that talk, delivered to a meeting of the Federalist Sodiety when Pryor was the Attorney General of Alabama, because it shines a light (in my view, a very positive light) on his priorities:

My concluding observation is a warning that all is not well with the Court. Each of the decisions I praised today was reached by a five to four majority. We are one vote away from the demise of federalism. And in this term the Rehnquist Court issued two awful rulings that preserved the worst examples of judicial activism: Miranda v. Arizona and Roe v. Wade. The proponents of federal power realize, however, that these results can be changed in our favor with a few appointments to the Supreme Court. Perhaps that means that our real last hope for federalism is the election of Governor George W. Bush as President of the United States who has said his favorite justices are Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Although the ACLU would argue that it is unconstitutional for me, as a public official, to do this in a government building, let alone at a football game, I will end with my prayer for the next administration: Please God, no more Souters.

Beautiful. You don’t have any question where this guy is going to stand on federalism and respect for the Constitution, do you?

Pryor has been tested as an appellate judge as well. Unlike Hardiman, who has not been confronted with many controversial decisions, Pryor has dealt with some hot-button culture war cases, and Pryor has a solid record in these cases. Pryor wrote a lengthy concurrence in Eternal Word Television Network, Inc. v. Sec’y, U.S. Dep’t of Health & Human Servs., defending the right of a television network not to participate in obtaining contraception for employees (by being forced to deliver a form to its health care plan) when doing so would violate the religious beliefs of the principals. Pryor also approved a voter ID law in Georgia in Common Cause/Georgia v. Billups. These are solid decisions that do not garner applause from the leftists in Big Media or the legal profession’s elite.

Nor is Pryor someone who disregards the law in favor of his religious or political views. In fact, one of the knocks against him among religious conservatives is one of the things I admire about him: his role as state Attorney General in bringing ethics charges against Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore. Moore had defied a federal court order to remove a large Ten Commandments monument from in front of the state Supreme Court. Moore had clearly acted unethically, and Pryor took the actions he was required to take.

Of course, Pryor’s bold statements and decisions may make him difficult to confirm. The question is whether Trump is willing to spend considerable political capital on a judge whom Democrats will try to Bork an an extremist trying to send us back to the days of back-alley abortions with coat hangers. Nothing galvanizes the radical left like a threat to their ability to ensure the continued killing of millions more babies.

If Pryor isn’t in the cards, we could do worse than Neil Gorsuch — named by ABC News for days as the most likely Trump pick. In many ways, Gorsuch is the ideal successor to Scalia, as he shares many of Scalia’s attributes. He is an engaging and entertaining writer. He is an originalist, which is the only legitimate method of constitutional interpretation — but one that Scalia did much to make respectable. Gorsuch is an ardent textualist, like Scalia, and shares Scalia’s disdain for a reliance on fickle and often misleading legislative history.

Quotes from Gorsuch in this Washington Post profile show Gorsuch’s great respect for Scalia:

“The great project of Justice Scalia’s career was to remind us of the differences between judges and legislators,” Gorsuch told an audience at Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland.

Legislators “may appeal to their own moral convictions and to claims about social utility to reshape the law as they think it should be in the future,” Gorsuch said. But “judges should do none of these things in a democratic society.”

Instead, they should use “text, structure and history” to understand what the law is, “not to decide cases based on their own moral convictions or the policy consequences they believe might serve society best.”

Like Pryor (and Scalia), Gorsuch has stood foursquare for religious freedoms in the face of the assault on those freedoms by the Affordable Care Act. Again, this is the type of thing that upsets the left, as does his unequivocal statement in his book that “all human beings are intrinsically valuable and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.” This seems like a fairly straightforward statement, but it is a dog whistle to the left suggesting that he would not vote their way on abortion cases.

Of course, if the left is correct about that, that just means that Gorsuch is, again, an appropriate successor to Antonin Scalia.

Where Gorsuch differs from Scalia, it is often for the better.

He appears to be less combative, which would deprive us all of entertainment value, but which might make for better relations on the Court and a better chance of pulling centrists along towards a conservative opinion.

Gorsuch also differs from Scalia for the better in his views on the Chevron doctrine: the principle that says courts will defer to executive agency interpretations of law when they are reasonable. For most of his career, Scalia tended to apply the Chevron docrtine with few questions, often showing a disturbing deference to executive agency interpretations of laws (though he seemed to hint at a slight change of heart in more recent cases). Gorsuch, by contrast, has been a fierce critic of Chevron — which is, in my opinion, a good thing, as the executive has too much power these days. Allowing the administrative state to serve as all three branches of government without genuine scrutiny from the courts is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind, and Gorsuch seems to understand this.

As I noted, ABC News has been reporting for days that they are hearing Gorsuch is the top contender for the spot. I hope they’re right. My personal choice would be Senator Mike Lee. But as an opponent of Trump’s during the election, Lee is not realistic — and Donald Trump is the President. Gorsuch “looks the part” which is also important to Trump.

But more importantly, by every metric I can assess, Gorsuch seems like the real deal. If we’re looking for a true successor to Antonin Scalia, it’s not Thomas Hardiman. But we could do a lot worse than Neil Gorsuch.

[Disclaimer]

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Trump Tries Covering His Rear; Accuses Senators McCain and Graham of Wanting To Start World War III

Donald Trump is not having the greatest weekend. The executive order he signed on Friday — suspending the entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely and blocked entry into the United States for 90 days for citizens of seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen — backfired badly. Poor implementation, a terrible rollout, and bad optics as people already here on their way here were held up at various airports, made for bad politics.

It’s a mess, and President Trump has nobody to blame but himself, but sure enough he looked for scapegoats and found them in Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain. Both Senators criticized how President Trump handled the situation. They’re not opposed entirely to what the President wants to accomplish, but they rightly took the administration to task for how it was done.

In a joint statement Graham and McCain saying the executive order “sends a signal, intended or not, that America does not want Muslims coming into our country. That is why we fear this executive order may do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security.”

President Trump, who has thinner skin than President Obama took to Twitter (where else?) to air his grievances:

I have been critical of people engaging in over the top histrionics about the President and his executive order. That said, the President is not above reproach, and the criticism of how it was implemented and rolled out is fair. He’s not going to get much done if he spends most of his time lashing out at his critics.

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BREAKING. DHS Secretary John Kelly Clarifies Status Of Green Card Holders

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly has issued an order clarifying the status of green card holders under President Trump’s executive order:

Note that nothing has actually changed. Green card holders are still going to be screen upon re-entry to the United States and they will be admitted if there is nothing that indicates they should be denied entry.

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Kellyanne Conway Wants Journos, Pundits Who Speak Poorly of Trump Fired, But Wait…

Let it be clear: If you are a pundit, journalist, or just a random talking head who opposed Trump, Kellyanne Conway wants you shut down and shut up.

It’s the never-ending Trump mantra of “fake news.”

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Conway railed against those who had pointed out her “alternative facts” comment, as she defended White House press secretary, Sean Spicer.

Said Conway:

“Who is cleaning house? Which one is going to be the first network to get rid of these people, the people who think things were just not true?” Conway asked on “Fox News Sunday.”

It’s as if Conway’s sole purpose, these days, is to put out fires and make sure somebody within the Trump camp is attacking the media, at all times.

“Not one network person has been let go. Not one silly political analyst and pundit who talked smack all day long about Donald Trump has been let go,” she added. “I’m too polite to mention their names, but they know who they are, and they are all wondering who will be the first to go. The election was three months ago. None of them have been let go.”

What is she talking about?

Is it her position that only those who have praised Trump should be allowed to speak?

It’s been an ongoing thing with Trump and his people versus the media.

I’ve said it here before, and I will continue to say it: When you have a leader who wants to be the source and sole voice the people hear from, you should worry.

So Conway wants all those who oppose Trump shut down?

Fine, but she’s invested a whole lot of time and a good portion of her soul into Team Trump, just to be cast off, now.

That’s right, Kellyanne. You’re pretty much a hypocrite, so when you shut your mouth, maybe we’ll shut ours.

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Who’s Coordinating Airport Protests and Litigation Resulting In Three Courts Temporally Restraining Trump’s Extreme Vetting Order?

trump-ugly-grin

There are now three Federal courts that have restrained President Donald J. Trump’s executive order “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.”

The first one, which my colleague Patterico covered here, issued by Obama appointed U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly in Brooklyn, N.Y., temporally barred refugees and visa-holders legally in the U.S. from being deported based solely on President Trump’s executive order.

The second one, was issued by Clinton appointed U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema in Alexandria, Va., temporally forbid the government from removing about 60 legal permanent residents of the U.S. who were being detained at Dulles International Airport.

The third decision, was issued by Obama appointed U.S. District Judge Allison D. Burroughs and U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith G Dein in Boston, Ma., and put a seven-day hold on enforcement of President Trump’s executive order.

None of the three ruling strikes down President Trump’s executive order.

As this litigation got started protests broke out at airports all the across the country including:

  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
  • New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport
  • Newark Liberty International Airport
  • Washington Dulles International Airport
  • Denver International Airport
  • O’Hare International Airport
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
  • Portland International Airport
  • Los Angeles International Airport
  • San Francisco International Airport
  • San Diego International Airport
  • Boston Logan International Airport

And more protests are expected on Sunday in Philadelphia International Airport, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Boise Airport.

So who is behind protests at more than a dozen of the nations airports and the obviously related litigation?

CNN reports that lawyers at the Americans Civil Liberties Union [ACLU] and other groups flocked to airports across the country. But that’s just part of it.

Plaintiff’s papers in the Brooklyn case were signed by lawyers from the ACLU, a lawyer and legal interns from the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization — apparently associated with Yale, the ACLU’s Immigrates’ Rights Project, the International Refugee Assistance Project Urban Justice Center, the National Immigration Law Center and Jonathan Polonsky Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP.

The Boston petition was signed by several lawyers from the Massachusetts ACLU.

The New York Post reports that more than 130 volunteer attorneys were scrambling around JFK, filing lawsuits and offering legal advice to those in custody.

CBS Philly reported that protest at the Philadelphia International Airport are being organized by a growing list of more than 30 organizations, including the Council on American–Islamic Relations and Black Lives Matter Pennsylvania Power and a number of others.

Arab-American advocacy groups “reacted” to President Trump’s executive order including the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Council on American-Islamic Relations

According to another CNN report, New York  Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to reverse an earlier decision to restrict passage aboard the JFK Airport AirTrain to ticketed passengers and airport employees only. He also instructed state police and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to assist with security and transportation for protesters.

Democrat Reps. Jerrold Nadler of Manhattan and Nydia Velazquez of Brooklyn visited JFK Airport Saturday during the protests.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe joined protesters at Dulles International Airport outside Washington.

Arab-American advocacy groups also were reacting to the new order including the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Democrats in Congress roundly criticized the executive order. And even some Republicans were critical including Senators Orrin Hatch of Utah, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Ben Sasse of Nebraska.

Is this the Democrats’ strategy to challenge and resist President Trump that Sen. Al Franken admitted exists, but refused to share during an interview with Rachel Maddow?

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VIDEO: Chuck Schumer Was Literally CRYING Over Trump’s Executive Order

It seems there’s a new John Boehner in Washington. Chuck Schumer called an emotional press conference this morning to grandstand against President Trump’s executive order temporarily banning travel to the U.S. from certain countries while the vetting process is improved. I agree with assessments made by others here at RedState that there is a lot to sort out with this executive order. As Barack Obama often warned, let’s not rush to judgement until we have all the facts. The initial confusion as the order came down provided Schumer with a perfect opportunity for some political theater.

Using a family of immigrants as props, Schumer nearly broke down sobbing while delivering his condemnation of the straw man characterization of the executive order that the Democrats seem to have settled upon. At least when John Boehner went all weepy, it was just because he’s a sap. Schumer is a reptile and these could easily be crocodile tears.

When far left Democrats wrap themselves in the flag and start talking about Lady Liberty, be on your guard.

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After Promising Priority Status To Christian Immigrants, Two Families Swept Up in Trump’s Travel Ban

No sooner did the lie words get out of his mouth, in his panderview with Christian Broadcast Network’s David Brody, that Christian refugees would get priority status, do we see just how inept Donald Trump’s grasp on the immigration problem is.

On Friday, Trump sat with Brody in an interview scheduled to air on CBN on Sunday. In the interview, he discussed his planned halt to the Syrian refugee program – one of many campaign promises tossed out as red meat to his MAGA base.

In speaking with Brody, Trump assured that the order he would be signing on Friday would give Christians “priority status.”

“We are going to help them. They’ve been horribly treated,” Trump told the Christian Broadcasting Network in an interview set to air Sunday.

Upon being asked if he sees persecuted Christians “as kind of a priority” when it comes to granting non-citizens refugee status, Trump told Brady: “Yes.”

That was Friday.

By Saturday, all hell had broken loose. The order signed by Trump affected some immigrants that were in transit. It swept up some who were legal, green card-holders and American employees.

And it sent at least two Christian families back to the horrors they were fleeing, even though they had taken every legal step necessary to gain entrance.

NBC news out of Philadelphia reported on Sunday that two Syrian Christian families from Doha, Qatar were detained at Philadelphia International Airport on Saturday, before being turned away.

The families, made of up two brothers, their wives and two children, were detained by Customs and Border Protection officials after disembarking a Qatar Airways flight at 7:25 a.m., according to Joseph Assali, of Allentown.

Three hours later, the six were put back on a Qatar Airways flight to Doha, Assali said.

“This is like a nightmare come true,” he said, adding that they had visas and green cards legally obtained months ago.

“They’re all Christian citizens and the executive order was supposed to protect Christians fleeing persecution,” he said.

Trump’s executive order, having been filtered through his senior counsel, Steve Bannon, swept up all Syrian immigrants, green card holders included.

An immigration lawyer, working on behalf of the Assali family tried to find out what was going on from federal officials at the airport, but it was too late. The two families were already on a flight back to Qatar and were unreachable.

Trump said in signing the order that he pledged to “keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America.” He did, however, declare that Christians in Syria and other restricted-status counties would be given preference.

Syria was the only country he named Friday, but the order suspended entry for 90 days from countries linked to a statute in the Visa Waiver Program. Besides Syria, those countries are: Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.
An attorney with the ACLU of Pennsylvania told NBC10 that she was reaching out to the Assali family to get more details.

The attorney, Molly Tack-Hooper, said her organization would try to file a writ of habeas corpus on the detained family’s behalf. The writ would require authorities to bring the detainees before a judge before deportation.

Upon learning that federal authorities may have already deported the families, she said she would still reach out to the Assali family in Allentown.

“It’s fuzzy what we could do if they’re already on a flight back to Qatar,” she said.

Responding to a request by the ACLU, a federal judge out of New York granted an injunction that worked to block anyone with a valid visa from being deported under Trump’s ban.

It doesn’t, however, mean they can’t be detained, and it only applies to those already within the United States, not those trying to travel to the U.S.

Joseph Assali told NBC10 his family members are still on their flight and unaware of the injunction being granted. He said he’s been advised to let them know as soon as they land and to urge them to try and fly back to the United States as soon as possible.

I’ve heard different arguments in favor of the ban, as well as against.

I’ve also heard the arguments against creating a “religious test” for coming into our nation.

It should be obvious to everyone that there are risks associated with unfettered immigration, especially from regions that are in extreme turmoil, and where terrorists are fostered.

I absolutely agree that there needs to be a very strict vetting process for anyone who wants to enter the U.S.

I’ll go further, however, and say I support priority status for minorities from those regions that might be at a greater risk for persecution.

In the case of Syrian and other Middle Eastern refugees, that would definitely mean Christians.

Is that a “religious test” and is it right or wrong?

I don’t have a problem with it. We can’t just fling open the gates and take everyone, but a bit of compassion in helping some of those who are at risk of annihilation in their home countries shouldn’t be off the table, either.

Whatever the case, and whatever your stance on this, Trump and his circle dropped the ball, here. They’ve opened up the entire order to scrutiny and it is likely going to be a nasty fight in the courts to get resolved.

 

 

 

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Hillary Clinton Tweets Support for Protesters, Reveals Hypocrisy to the World

There has been another Hillary Clinton spotting. The former failed presidential candidate tweeted out to her followers, support for the protesters at JFK and other airports. Not surprising really, what was amusing though was her end line. “This is not who we are”.

I stand with the people gathered across the country tonight defending our values & our Constitution. This is not who we are

I know that there have been rumors about Mrs. Clinton’s memory. But has Hillary Clinton really forgotten that President Obama ordered a similar ban on travel from Iraq, in 2011, when She was Secretary of State? Her hypocrisy knows no bounds.

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Source: Red State