Homeland Security

‘Open Season’ on Immigrants as Discretion Fades
Will Trump’s new DHS pick follow ‘arrest-them-all’ playbook?

Immigrant families stand in line to get bus tickets in 2016 in McAllen, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images file photo)

The recent arrest and detention of an undocumented 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy is the clearest evidence yet that President Donald Trump isn’t focused solely on “bad hombres,” immigrant advocates say.

Arrests of undocumented criminals are up under Trump, a testament to his promise to crack down on dangerous immigrants. But arrests of undocumented people without any convictions have also skyrocketed, raising questions about how the administration is using what it says are limited resources to keep the country safe.

Opinion: Why a DACA Fix Next Year Would Come Too Late
It takes months for the government to ramp up a new program

Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo, right, here with Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton, broke with his party this fall when he announced he wouldn’t support any bill funding the government beyond Dec. 31 until the DACA issue is resolved. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As Congress speeds toward its year-end pileup of “must pass” legislation, a legislative fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, remains in the balance. President Donald Trump insists it should not be tied to the annual appropriations scramble. But many Democrats — and a few Republicans — are calling for the issue to be addressed this year, with some threatening to withhold their votes to fund the government if legislation for so-called Dreamers is not attached.

Beyond the political posturing and jockeying for leverage, there is a pragmatic reason why any fix, if that is what both parties really want, should happen this year: it takes months for the government to ramp up a new program.

GOP Power Play in Hurricane-Ravaged Puerto Rico
Conditional funding gains support amid talk of new Marshall Plan

Workers in Caguas, south of San Juan, Puerto Rico, repair electrical lines on Oct. 25, more than a month after Hurricane Maria hit the island. (Ramon Tonito Zayas/AP file photo)

In late September, just over a week after winds of 155 miles per hour flattened homes and struck down power lines and more than 30 inches of rain inundated parts of the island of Puerto Rico, a leader of the recovery efforts with the Army Corps of Engineers offered his blunt assessment of the damage.

“This is a massive undertaking, one in which I don’t think we’ve undertaken before in terms of this magnitude,” Col. James DeLapp told CNN. The closest thing he could think of by way of comparison? “When the Army Corps led the effort to restore … electricity in the early stages of the Iraq war in 2003 and 2004.”

Trump, ‘Big Four’ Set to Meet Amid Shutdown Showdown
Huddle on year-end spending comes after last week's misfire

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other congressional leaders will meet with President Donald Trump one day before a shutdown showdown. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

More than two months into the fiscal year and with just days left before a temporary spending bill expires, congressional leaders and President Donald Trump are scheduled to sit down Thursday to discuss key spending issues.

The meeting comes a little more than a week after the two Democratic leaders, Charles E. Schumer in the Senate and Nancy Pelosi in the House, opted to skip a meeting on the same topic, after Trump tweeted that he didn’t see a deal happening. And it will occur a little more than a day before the current continuing resolution funding the government expires at the end of Dec. 8. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan went ahead without them to the White House last week. 

Attorney Offers Signed Statements Supporting Conyers
Two witnesses share their account of time spent with Detroit representative

The lawyer for Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., released a written statement from James Marbury, who worked security at his office in Detroit. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The attorney for Rep. John Conyers offered signed statements from two people defending interactions the Michigan Democrat had with women in light of accusations of sexual harassment.

Conyers’ attorney Arnold Reed tweeted an image of a signed statement from a man named James Marbury, who said he worked as security for the Theodore Levin Court House, where Conyers’ Detroit office is located.

Lankford Report Critiques Funds for Trolley, Dating Study
‘Clearly, this is cutting-edge research with shocking results’

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., speaks during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing in Dirksen Building on Federal Labor Relations Authority nominations on November 7, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The federal government has spent billions of dollars since 2015 on items such as a study of refugee services in Iceland, virtual reality puppets, and expired body armor for law enforcement personnel, according to Sen. James Lankford’s third annual “waste report” released Monday.

The Oklahoma Republican used the 86-page report to criticize a variety of departments and agencies for how they used their annual appropriations during the last three fiscal years. 

Senate’s Defense Spending Bill Shows Need for Budget Deal
Defense appropriators would bust budget caps

Senate Appropriations ranking member Patrick J. Leahy is highlighting the urgency of a bipartisan budget agreement. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Appropriations Committee’s decision to release the four remaining fiscal 2018 spending bills last week — including a cap-busting defense measure — underscores the urgency to get a deal on the bigger picture.

If the Senate defense bill became law, arbitrary automatic cuts would take place in the middle of January, as Democratic Sens. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois pointed out in a Nov. 21 statement.

Rep. John Conyers Stepping Aside as Judiciary Ranking Member
Longest-serving current lawmaker faces Ethics investigation

Michigan Rep. John Conyers Jr. is stepping down from his position as top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Michigan Rep. John Conyers Jr. announced Sunday he was stepping aside as ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee while he’s being investigated by the Ethics panel.

“After careful consideration and in light of the attention drawn by recent allegations made against me, I have notified the Democratic Leader of my request to step aside as Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee during the investigation of these matters,” the Michigan Democrat said in a nine-tweet thread on Twitter

Opinion: When Holiday Values Meet Policy, It May Be Awkward
From Roy Moore to immigration, there’s plenty of food for thought this holiday season

Partisanship has affected the way people view the Alabama Senate race featuring Republican Roy Moore, who is facing allegations of sexual misconduct, Curtis writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Just as the generosity of Angel Tree donations and turkey giveaways clash with the kill-or-be-killed stampede of folks looking for a Black Friday bargain, the warm holiday greetings lawmakers disseminate this time of year might strike a dissonant cord when compared to the current policies and politics coming out of Washington.

Pre-holiday news has included a tidal wave of charges and accusations of sexual harassment and sexual assault, with some lawmakers preferring to view the stories of women and some men through a lens of partisan politics rather than right and wrong — surely not a positive lesson for the kids gathered around the turkey.

Photos of the Week: A House Tax Marathon as Senate Starts Action
The week of Nov. 6 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

From left, Rep. Sam Johnson, Chairman Kevin Brady and ranking member Richard Neal open a House Ways and Means Committee markup of the Republicans’ tax overhaul plan in Longworth Building on Monday. Rep. David Schweikert also appears. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House Ways and Means Committee finished its marathon markup of the GOP tax overhaul plan Thursday, as attention shifted to the Senate, which will be marking up its own version of the bill next week. 

Here’s the entire week in photos: