Horrifying: Kids are being kept in cages at the border. We need to take action.

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This past week was one of the most jam-packed, dizzying, and disconcerting seven-day stretches in a recent memory filled with surreal and draining bursts of humanity’s war on itself. Donald Trump gave Kim Jong-un the ultimate legitimizing photo opp (and saluted a North Korean general!) last Monday, but it feels like a lifetime ago, given all that’s happened since.

First off, last week was the biggest fundraising week in Progressives Everywhere’s (short) history. Thanks to so many of you, we raised nearly $15,000 for progressive candidates and causes. Most of that money went to three places: progressive Democrats in New York working to shatter the corrupt political machines run by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Rep. Joseph Crowley; candidates challenging the inhumane immigration policies enacted by right-wing bigots; and organizations trying to assist the families (and especially children) being tortured by those policies right this very moment. (Click on those links to contribute to those causes!)

There are so many urgent issues to tackle, including the coming voting purges in red states that were greenlit by an egregiously partisan and misguided Supreme Court decision last week. We’re raising money for Democratic candidates that will stop and roll back those purges — right now, the focus is on helping Kathleen Clyde win the Ohio Secretary of State race — and will get more into that in the weeks to come.

Right now, all of our urgency is trained on the human rights violations happening at the border. Last month, we looked at the controversial case of the missing unaccompanied minors, and the outrage that drew pales in comparison to what’s happening in south Texas right now. Due to Trump and Jeff Sessions’ heartless bigotry and taste for suffering, immigrant children are being incarcerated in a makeshift jail that embodies Trump’s special brand of autocratic, cult-of-personality capitalism. There are over 1500 boys being held in an old Walmart that has been converted into a prison, complete with creepy murals of Trump accompanied by nonsense slogans that would make Orwell sigh with defeat.

There are more facilities like this. Children are being kept in cages in old warehouses they continue to fill up. And tent camps are coming next.

CLICK HERE to donate to our ActBlue page supporting nonprofits working to assist abused immigrant families.

The stories that are continuing to come out of these nightmare camps continue to get more and more shocking.

The New York Times today has a story about how most parents are deported before they ever get a chance to see the kids that had been ripped away from them:

Elsa Johana Ortiz Enriquez packed up what little she had in Guatemala and traveled across Mexico with her 8-year-old son, Anthony. In a group, they rafted across the Rio Grande into Texas. From there they intended to join her boyfriend, Edgar, who had found a construction job in the United States.

Except it all went wrong. The Border Patrol was waiting as they made their way from the border on May 26, and soon mother and son were in a teeming detention center in southern Texas. The next part unfolded so swiftly that, even now, Ms. Ortiz cannot grasp it: Anthony was sent to a shelter for migrant children. And she was put on a plane back to Guatemala.

As the federal government continues to separate families as part of a stepped-up enforcement program against those who cross the border illegally, the authorities say that parents are not supposed to be deported without their children. But immigration lawyers say that has happened in several cases. And the separations can be traumatic for parents who now have no clear path to recovering their children.

From April 19 to May 31, a total of 1,995 children who arrived with 1,940 adults were separated from their parents, according to administration officials.

A vast majority of those children are being taken from their parents and put into massive prison camps — and soon to be tent cities — while their parents go through legal hell. Their parents are not criminals. Very often, they’re seeking asylum from war-torn home countries and voluntarily presenting themselves to border patrol, because the law says they should be given a fair hearing and opportunity to stay in America.

Now, they’re being arrested. It’s unprecedented. Here’s a breakdown of the legal process, from Texas Monthly. This is almost a best-case scenario, because it assumes immigrants seeking asylum will even be given a hearing, which is increasingly rare, as the deportations without their children indicate.

That story is beyond infuriating. Parents are being told their kids are being taken for a bath… and then they never see them again. If they try to console their hysterical children when the families are being separated, they’re being threatened with further legal action. This is an atrocity, all done to torture and strike fear into the hearts of suffering people around the world.

This is how kids are being kept right now:

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Republicans are just letting this happen. Susan Collins, who pretends to be a moderate, refuses to sign on to legislation to help end this horror show. Democrats are rushing to the border in order to help. Beto O’Rourke, who is running for Senate in Texas against Ted Cruz (who is openly in favor of these detentions), represents in Congress the area where the infamous Walmart facility is located. Despite the politics of immigration in Texas, which is dominated electorally by hate-mongers and racists, he led a protest today in hopes of bringing more attention to the matter and pressuring the Trump administration.

He’s also pointing out just how fucked the arrest policy is for asylum-seekers.

There are a number of humans rights groups working at the border and leading protest, including We Belong Together and Women’s Refugee Commission. You can donate to both of them HERE.

This is also a definitive moment for American politicians. Entrenched Republicans, both on the national and state level, will have to answer for their inaction — or in many instances, agreement with these human rights abuses. Look at what Rep. Steve King, the most bigoted and awful man in Congress, said about family separation.

Look at how the Trump administration is flatly lying about why this hateful policy is in place.

Look at what Ken Buck, who is in line to take over the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, says about immigrant parents just trying to give their kids better lives.

We’re raising money for Democratic challengers to King, Buck, and several Texan state senators who are vulnerable to being toppled this November. Democrats need two seats in the Texas State Senate to stop total GOP ownership over policymaking there. There could be no worthier cause than making sure the state does not cooperate blindly with these illegal federal policies.

Click HERE to donate to national and local politicians fighting against the horrifying immigration policies of the GOP.

Huge win in the Wisconsin special election!

Democrat Caleb Frostman scored a major upset victory in the special election to represent Wisconsin’s 1st district in the State Senate. The local non-profit leader flipped a +17 Trump district that had been represented by Republicans for the last four decades. This is the second seat that Democrats have flipped in the heavily gerrymandered Wisconsin State Senate this year and it brings the partisan balance of the chamber to 18-15 in favor of the GOP. Taking control in Madison this November is looking more and more possible.

Progressives Everywhere is proud to have raised money for Frostman; you can find our original post about the race, from earlier this month, reprinted below. And you can give to more of our candidates at our ActBlue page!


 

Despite the fact that he ran a presidential campaign that made Jeb! Bush look like an exciting insurgent and ended before anyone other than debate moderators knew his name, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has been one of the leading crusaders in the modern GOP’s holy war on humanity.

In two terms, Walker has turned a traditionally progressive state into a prison for working people. Walker has crushed public unions, restricted access to abortion, installed onerous voter ID laws that likely flipped the 2016 election, refused to expand Medicaid, and slashed education spending. He’s done it all with help from a Republican majority in the state legislature, but as we’ve seen in several special elections this year already, the tide is beginning to turn.

Even though Wisconsin’s elections have been rigged through heavy, illegal gerrymandering, Democrats have been picking up seats in the state all year, which scared Walker to the point that he wanted to suspend special elections for open seats until November. The courts shot that idea down, and the next special election in Wisconsin will be held on June 12, with two more pickup opportunities for Democrats there for the taking.

Caleb Frostman is the Democratic candidate for the 1st District of the State Senate. It’s a district Obama won twice that then swung to Trump, so Dems have a good chance here, especially with a good candidate.

Frostman is from a working family, went to public schools, and has worked helping small businesses grow as the Executive Director of the Door County Economic Development Corporation. His issues page focuses on expanding access to affordable healthcare, investing in education, and creating a fair tax system that undoes the damage of Walker’s tax cuts for the rich. You can read about his debate with the GOP candidate, as well as some of the local issues, at the Green Bay Press Gazette.

The State Senate is now 18-14 in favor of Republicans, and a win here will bring us one step closer to restoring fairness to Wisconsin.
Ann Groves Lloyd is running for Democrats in the 42nd Assembly District. She is a local alderperson, serving the community already after spending her career working at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her family has deep roots in local politics, as her grandfather and great-uncle served in the state government as members of the storied Progressive Party. She’s focused on creating better jobs for her district, which has many people working in light industry and service jobs that don’t pay a living wage.

Click HERE to donate to Caleb Frostman and Ann Groves Lloyd on Progressives Everywhere’s ActBlue Page!

Even as the GOP attacks healthcare, red state activists are working to expand it

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Donald Trump’s tweets make clear that he is a terrible egomaniac and likely a criminal. But his administration’s legal maneuvers are what really mark his presidency as an assault on the well-being of average Americans. On Thursday evening, the White House announced that it joined a GOP lawsuit that seeks to fully dismantle the Affordable Care Act.  While the Trump administration is only seeking to have some of the Affordable Care Act thrown out, it is targeting the most popular provision: barring insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing medical conditions.

This is a particular danger to low-income Americans, who historically have been in worse health — the link between economic and medical hardship is very direct. That the House of Representatives this week also voted to cut $7 billion from the massively successful and universally popular Children’s Health Insurance Program, which covers 9 million kids nationwide, makes it more clear than ever that we are in an all-out class war.

Healthcare is shaping up to be the number one issue in November’s election, with the power to shape electorates. This week, we want to look at the great campaigns that are going on the offensive, working to expand Medicaid in states that have refused to do so thus far.

Initially, the Affordable Care Act required states to expand Medicaid, the public health insurance program for low-income Americans. Another lawsuit filed by heartless conservatives who hate poor people turned it into a voluntary initiative, and thus far, 32 states have followed through with the expansion, the most recent being Virginia and Maine. The expansion in Maine was triggered by a very successful ballot initiative, and this year, there are several more states with campaigns working hard to get a Medicaid expansion on the ballot.

These are not typically Democratic states, but they have strong grassroots community leaders who are reaching across partisan lines to promote a public good. And so far, it’s looking good.

Click HERE to support Medicaid expansion ballot initiatives in Nebraska and Idaho!

In Nebraska, Gov. Pete Ricketts has not only actively worked against Medicaid expansion, he’s also tried to gut funding to the existing program with vetoes. With little hope of a legislative expansion, the nonprofit Nebraska Appleseed kicked off the Insure the Good Life campaign, which is trying to get the issue on this November’s ballot.

“A majority of Nebraskans support Medicaid expansion,” Meg Mandy, the program director for Insure the Good Life, told Progressives Everywhere. “That is why we decided to bring this directly to voters, and why we feel we are in a strong position to qualify the measure and win in November.”

Mandy says they began collecting signatures in April, and as of early last week, they were halfway to the number needed to qualify for the ballot. The signatures are due on July 5th, and Mandy says they’re on target to beat the deadline. Nebraska ranks 27th in the US in access to healthcare, so victory in November would provide a major boost.

“Expanding Medicaid will give 90,000 hardworking Nebraskans access to critical, life-saving care,” Mandy said. “We know that regular visits to the doctor and preventive care leads to better health outcomes. It’s especially beneficial for earlier diagnosis and treatment of conditions like diabetes, cancer, and mental health issues.”

Click HERE to support Medicaid expansion ballot initiatives in Nebraska and Idaho!

In Idaho, the campaign is truly a bottom-up, grassroots effort. The progressive group Reclaim Idaho decided last summer that they’d barnstorm the state in a 1977 RV, turning their campaign to expand Medicaid into a grassroots event. Volunteers collected signatures on both the ballot petition and the RV itself, earning tons of statewide attention and ultimately doing what was said to be almost impossible: securing over 60,000 signatures from voters 18 of the 35 districts in Idaho, qualifying for the ballot this November.

The achievement itself is a major one: Idaho Republicans had made the already difficult requirements for getting an initiative on the ballot even more onerous after a 2013 citizen vote on a simple education matter didn’t go their way. This marks the first initiative to even get on the ballot since those changes. Idaho faces 27% premium increases this year, making this a very attractive option to both Democrats and Republicans.

Click HERE to support Medicaid expansion ballot initiatives in Nebraska and Idaho!

The third Medicaid expansion ballot initiative is in Utah, where things are a bit different.

After years of being shut down by a far-right state legislature, a partial expansion of Medicaid was approved earlier this year. But it’s unclear whether the federal government, even under Trump, will accept its controversial provision that limits coverage to people who make poverty wages — just $12,140 a year — and below. The Affordable Care Act provides help for people making up to 138% percent, which is not great, but far better than Utah’s bill.

Unwilling to accept a half-measure, a coalition of activists collected signatures to get a full Medicaid expansion on the ballot this November. Utah Decides rounded up support from 140,000 people and last month qualified for the ballot, bringing the state one step closer to providing medical care to 150,000 new people — double the amount the legislature’s bill would cover.

Here’s what’s so significant: two-thirds of Utahns support Medicaid expansionThat’s two-thirds of a very, very red state supporting a policy that Republicans have blocked for years and advocated for by Democrats. Yes, the governor there wants to expand it to some degree, but this is a much more substantial expansion that people support — and it helps to show them that Democrats aren’t lib’rul monsters, but people who are compassionate and want to help their families.

Click HERE to support the Medicaid expansion ballot initiative in Utah!

Crucial special election in Wisconsin would help flip the State Senate

Despite the fact that he ran a presidential campaign that made Jeb! Bush look like an exciting insurgent and ended before anyone other than debate moderators knew his name, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has been one of the leading crusaders in the modern GOP’s holy war on humanity.

In two terms, Walker has turned a traditionally progressive state into a prison for working people. Walker has crushed public unions, restricted access to abortion, installed onerous voter ID laws that likely flipped the 2016 election, refused to expand Medicaid, and slashed education spending. He’s done it all with help from a Republican majority in the state legislature, but as we’ve seen in several special elections this year already, the tide is beginning to turn.

Despite the fact that Wisconsin’s elections have been rigged through heavy, illegal gerrymandering, Democrats have been picking up seats in the state all year, which scared Walker to the point that he wanted to suspend special elections for open seats until November. The courts shot that idea down, and the next special election in Wisconsin will be held on June 12, with two more pickup opportunities for Democrats there for the taking.

Caleb Frostman is the Democratic candidate for the 1st District of the State Senate. It’s a district Obama won twice that then swung to Trump, so Dems have a good chance here, especially with a good candidate.

Frostman is from a working family, went to public schools, and has worked helping small businesses grow as the Executive Director of the Door County Economic Development Corporation. His issues page focuses on expanding access to affordable healthcare, investing in education, and creating a fair tax system that undoes the damage of Walker’s tax cuts for the rich. You can read about his debate with the GOP candidate, as well as some of the local issues, at the Green Bay Press Gazette.

The State Senate is now 18-14 in favor of Republicans, and a win here will bring us one step closer to restoring fairness to Wisconsin.

Ann Groves Lloyd is running for Democrats in the 42nd Assembly District. She is a local alderperson, serving the community already after spending her career working at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her family has deep roots in local politics, as her grandfather and great-uncle served in the state government as members of the storied Progressive Party. She’s focused on creating better jobs for her district, which has many people working in light industry and service jobs that don’t pay a living wage.

Click HERE to donate to Caleb Frostman and Ann Groves Lloyd on Progressives Everywhere’s ActBlue Page!

A big evening of blue primary wins

Tuesday was one of the busiest days of primary season, as voters in eight states cast their ballots to decide who will represent their parties in November. By and large it was a great night for Democrats, who saw a surge in voter turnout from an energized base. Significantly, a number of the very progressive grassroots candidates backed by Progressives Everywhere — several of them decided underdogs — came out on top in their races.

The evening’s results were yet another sign that people aren’t just turning out to reject Republicans, but also to declare loud and clear that the time for spineless corporate Democrats (if there ever was one) has long since passed.

Progressives Everywhere candidates won six races and lost just one on Tuesday night. Here’s a look at how things went down and which candidates have the momentum.

Winners:

Abby Finkenauer (IA-01): The wunderkind 29-year-old state legislator running for Congress in Iowa’s 1st district won a decisive victory, with 67% of the vote. She faces GOP Rep. Rod Blum in what is considered by some to be one of the districts most likely to flip in November. She is on our main slate of candidates.

Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11): A former Navy pilot and federal prosecutor, Sherrill won the Democratic nod for the now-open seat in Northern New Jersey. The primary drew record turnout, with more Democrats going to the polls than Republicans. Sherrill is on our main slate of candidates.

JD Scholten (IA-04): The former pro baseball player won a three-way race to take on neanderthal GOP Rep. Steve King, Congress’s annual winner of the bigot triple crown for his odious racism, sexism, and homophobia. Scholten is an exciting young candidate who has a spot on our slate for immigration-focused races.

Cindy Axne (IA-03): Another Iowa candidate, Axne also won a three-way race. A former state government official and small business owner, she takes on David Young, a former chief of staff to confused Twitterer/Senator Charles Grassley and now one of the NRA’s top lapdogs. Axne is on our slate of candidates taking on remorseless gun nuts.

Kathleen Williams (MT-AL): An underdog winner in the Democratic primary for Montana’s lone Congressional district, Williams raised less money than her rivals but was bolder in her stances. She was defiant against the NRA in hunting-happy Montana and called for an assault weapons ban, a gutsy move that helped earn her the nomination. She will take on GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte, the guy who infamously assaulted a reporter during his special election campaign last year. Williams is also on our slate of candidates taking on remorseless gun nuts.

Andrew Janz (CA-22)The dynamic, outspoken, and very clever prosecutor formally won the right to take down top Trump lackey Devin Nunes in November. Janz has been relentless in his mockery of Nunes, both with stunts like billboards and substantive attacks on his record. Janz is not only focused on Nunes’ pathetic “oversight” of the Trump administration and Russia, but is also focused on local issues facing Central California, making him a strong contender to flip a normally red district. Janz has his own slate on Progressives Everywhere.

The one Progressives Everywhere candidate to fall short on Tuesday was Genevieve Jones-Wright, who was running an underdog campaign for District Attorney of San Diego.

Here are the other Progressives Everywhere candidates who have already received the Democratic nomination in their races:

Stacey Abrams (GA-Gov)
Lauren Underwood (IL-14)
Beto O’Rourke (TX-Sen)
Clarke Tucker (AR-1)
Zach Dickerson (OH-HD-42)
Jess King (PA-11)
Marc Friedenberg (PA-12)
Rachel Crooks (OH-HD-88)
DD Adams (NC-5)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is taking on the New York political machine

As much as New York is a reliable blue state during presidential and senatorial elections, it is far from being a progressive utopia. We’ve already focused on the problems created by Gov. Cuomo’s embrace of the breakaway IDC in the State Senate, but the problem also extends to many of the state’s national representatives. This week, we’re talking with one candidate who is looking to change the toxic status quo.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign for Congress had earned a little bit of coverage, but her press team couldn’t find any news outlet willing to premiere her new campaign ad. “They were like, ‘no, no, no,’ so I was like, alright, I’m just going to put it on Twitter,” the 28-year-old political organizer tells Progressives Everywhere. “Thankfully it turned out really well.”

That’s a bit of an understatement, as the ad went mega-viral on Twitter, helped out by admiring words from progressive MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes. The entire sequence of events was a pretty tidy summary for Ocasio-Cortez’s career and campaign, a grassroots effort that challenges entrenched powers that no one has dared face down over the last decade and a half.

A Bronx native of Puerto Rican descent, Ocasio-Cortez is running to represent New York’s 14th congressional district, and in doing so, challenging one of the most powerful Democrats in the city and country, Rep. Joe Crowley. She is unbowed by the inherent odds stacked against her; she was an organizer for Bernie Sanders, who was unafraid to take on entrenched Democratic interests. Crowley spent years helping to control who got on the ballot in New York, but once Ocasio-Cortez qualified, it was game on.

Ocasio-Cortez argues that the relatively conservative Democrat, who has designs on Speaker of the House should Democrats retake Congress, has focused on fundraising and his national donors to the exclusion of progressive policy. On the other hand, she is more focused on the needs of the community, as she made clear during her conversation with Progressives Everywhere. The New York Democratic Primary is on June 26th.

What inspired you to take on such a big challenge?

I was at Standing Rock two years ago, I was seeing what was happening on the ground. I was looking at corporations that were literally militarizing themselves against American citizens. And these companies, they give money to Democrats too. And the day that I left Standing Rock, I got a call from Brand New Congress, which is an organization trying to field non-career politicians in the 2018 midterm to get money out of politics, and they asked if I’d be willing to run. I was like, whoa. So I took a look at what was happening in our community.

 

We have a lot of these Democrats who are just laying as low as possible and hiding under the “D” next to their name, but they really aren’t doing the right thing. That’s our case here with Joe Crowley. He runs a profoundly corrupt local political machine, silences candidates of color, that silences women, that silences working class grassroots candidates in order to rezone New York City for luxury real estate interests. He hadn’t been challenged in 14 years.

The demographics of the area have changed dramatically. The community here was not being serviced for its needs. We have Rikers Island in the district, and we haven’t had a champion on criminal justice reform.

Click HERE to donate to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Progressives Everywhere’s ActBlue page for New York candidates!

Should you get the nomination, what issue is Rep. Crowley ignoring that you will focus on?

One of the things that he does is takes money from luxury real estate developers and basically translates it into increasing the cost of living in New York City to provide a profit margin for his donors. He does this on a local level and on a national level. One of the only pieces of legislation that he’s even past in the past couple of years involves foreign investment and regulation. The FIRPTA is essentially designed to pad the pockets of luxury developers.

[Note: Crowley’s bill allowed foreign investment in US real estate to jump from 5 to 10 percent without facing a special tax. Crowley received a huge spike in donations from the real estate industry right before introducing this legislation.]

Slowly but surely our affordable housing policies have been tweaked and redesigned in very unsexy and boring wings. But they ultimately result in deregulations for the wealthiest. The United States invests $200 billion dollars in housing every year, but you would never know it because a lot of that money goes to the wealthiest people through things like tax cuts, designed for people who can take advantage of them.

Things like expanding the Low Income Housing Tax Credit. Things like permanently funding the Low Income Housing Trust in the United States. We have federal programs in place. NYHCA used to be the crown jewel of affordable housing in the United States. And you look at what happened this past winter, where people living in NYHCA didn’t have hot water. Some of them didn’t even have heat. That’s not because NYHSA doesn’t work, that’s because the federal government has slowly been defunding HUD.

We’ve basically been rolling back and shutting down all of our most progressive housing policy in the US. And it’s terrible because we know that these things work. We know that affordable housing works, we know that low-income housing works and we also know that we don’t have to live in a world of four-year wait lists for people to afford the cities that they live in.

This is very much a money in politics problem. The industries in particular that have completely captured our government and especially the Democratic Party are Wall Street, real estate, big pharma, healthcare. People talk about what quote-unquote Republican industries are and we think of the NRA, we think of fossil fuel corporations, things like that. But the real companies that are eroding our democracy are private equity and real estate. They by far contribute the largest amount of money to compromise both parties, but especially Democrats and Joe Crowley.

Click HERE to donate to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Progressives Everywhere’s ActBlue page for New York candidates!

Crowley is the chairman of the Queens Democratic Party and has a very formidable machine behind him — The Intercept article about your race laid that out. How do you beat that?

Joe Crowley has not been challenged in 14 years. So when we first started, everybody said there’s no way. He is way too powerful. But as the chairman of the Democratic Party, he has failed. Because as the chairman, he has not been expanding the electorate. He hasn’t been a good steward for the Democratic Party in Queens County. He’s brought in a lot of money, but when you go to an average Democratic Club in Queens, the average age nowadays is about 90. That’s not to be ageist, but there is no diversity in age. So even though he is chairman of the party and he is able to command a lot of automatic endorsements out of fear, that’s just money.

We’ve been doing a really, really good job as organizers. That’s what I am at heart. I’m an organizer. I’m not a big money kind of girl. I was born very working class. My mom cleaned houses and drove school buses. I knew that if I was going to compete in this race, I couldn’t do it on big money. What I could do is out-organize him and so that’s been our main strategy. We have been inspiring and expanding the electorate. This is one of the lowest turnout districts in the United States.

And honestly, if you’re chairman of the Democratic Party and you have presided over the total lowest voter turnout in America, maybe you do deserve to lose your job. Because your one job is to strengthen the Democratic Party and it’s completely languished under your 20-year tenure.

New York has a lot of problems with Democrats who don’t act like Democrats, but instead protect vested interests.

Crowley just endorsed an IDC member while claiming to be a real Democrat himself. We know that for him the only thing that matters is money. And it’s not to dismiss the need for a basic amount of funds to run a campaign. But really when you look at his tenure, when you look at his record, he endorsed the anti women’s rights candidate and put him over the top of Marie Newman in Illinois.

In the places where he actually has the juice, he doesn’t use it for the advancement of social, economic or racial justice. Everything else is just a press release. So with the IDC you have folks that are still taking all of this corporate money and have historically sanitized some of the most progressive legislation in America. Now they’re pretending to have dissolved the IDC, but they still have those corporate interests at heart. He’s kind of like a federal IDC member, he’s not as progressive as he says.

Click HERE to donate to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Progressives Everywhere’s ActBlue page for New York candidates!

We’re living in a police state. Just ask immigrants.

Update: There’s been a lot of confusion about what’s going on with the missing children. I was wrong in saying that they were separated from their parents at the border — Jeff Session’s unconscionable policy is a new one, and will create many orphans, but it didn’t cause this situation. And some of the kids went to family. But as the Washington Post points out, ORR really did lose track of the kids, and it’s likely that some are in bad situations. And nothing about this update changes the barbarism being inflicted upon immigrants and Latin Americans by ICE, Jeff Sessions, and the conservative lawmakers highlighted below:


Even during an era in which the velocity of breaking atrocities and outrages has numbed the senses, the latest dispatches from the ongoing nightmare at the southern border stick out as particularly devastating tragedies. This past week, it became more clear than ever to the general public that there is a fully authorized, government-sanctioned Gestapo terrorizing Latin Americans in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Florida and other states where refugees and hopeful immigrants tend to arrive and live.

First, there is the story of the missing children. It emerged that the Office of Refugee Resettlement has lost track of nearly 1500 young immigrant children who it placed into some kind of foster care — and that’s just during a three month period in 2017. The number of small children left to fend for themselves in this strange and scary country is probably far higher.

It is a breathtaking admission, and the product of a purposely cruel policy put in place by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. ICE, the aforementioned Gestapo, has been separating children from their parents and then processing them as orphans, ripping vulnerable refugee families apart as soon as they arrive in the United States, a country once seen as a welcoming beacon of hope.

(Update: As noted, this new policy isn’t responsible for the fuck-up. It’ll only make it worse.)

Via Washington Post:

“The type of devastation that we’re talking about … where a separated mother doesn’t know where her child is for four days, that’s entirely common right now in this administration,” Laura St. John, the legal director of The Florence Project, told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes. “Children and parents who are separated sometimes don’t have any way to communicate with each other for days, for weeks — I’ve seen months where a parent had no idea where their child was after the U.S. government took their child away.”

St. John noted her group also was seeing increasingly younger children being taken into custody by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, as opposed to the migrant teenagers who had previously crossed the border themselves.

“Just last week we saw a 53-week-old infant in court without a parent,” St. John told Hayes. “What we’re seeing now is that, because the government is separating the children from the parents, the government is actually rendering these children as unaccompanied minors and bringing them to the shelters.”

Sadly, this is a problem that has bipartisan roots. The Obama administration, faced with a skyrocketing number of refugees, relaxed the foster parent standards, thus placing some children into very dangerous situations. As much as Obama did for immigrant children — DACA should a prime achievement — his administration also failed in a number of ways.

So, where do we go from here? While the Trump Administration controls ICE and Homeland Security, Congress can and should have oversight of the executive branch. Unfortunately, the GOP has surrendered all pretense of checking the power of the Trump cabal, so we have to work to kick them out in November. Let’s focus on a few prime committees and candidates, starting with the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.

Rep. Ken Buck, the awful far-right vice chair of the committee, is in line to succeed the retiring Raul Labrador, who just so happened to lose his primary election for Idaho governor earlier this month. Buck represents Colorado’s fourth district, and he has an excellent opponent in Karen McCormick, who we’ve already endorsed here at Progressives Everywhere as part of our focus on ousting NRA-backed politicians. Yep, Buck is also an NRA puppet, which goes to show just how awful he is. McCormick is a compassionate veterinarian and community leader who has already called for an investigation into the missing children — something Buck will never do in any serious way.

Click HERE to donate to our slate of candidates focused on immigration issues

Look at what Buck said about separating children from their parents:

I think it’s unfortunate when families are separated. But it’s also unfortunate when families make a decision to break the law [by coming here.] And there are consequences in this country. We are a country of rule – a country of laws. And we believe in the rule of law. And I think it’s just a sad reality that there is going to be some unfortunate separation of individuals when crimes are committed.

Steve King may be the most racist and noxious lawmaker in the House — or, at the very least, the most vocal about his malicious neanderthal beliefs. He’s long coasted to victory in Iowa’s rural fourth district, but he’s got some serious potential opponents this time around. The primary election is on June 5th, but there’s one challenger that really stands out.

J.D. Scholten has been out-raising King for the past several FEC cycles, even as he espouses a full-throated progressivism that we’ve long been told doesn’t play in rural midwestern districts. He was featured in The Intercept earlier this year slamming King’s immigration policy, and would represent as drastic a change as is possible in modern America.

Then there is Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security Committee. He’s a border wall supporter, is in favor of sending the National Guard to police the crossing, and supports prosecuting parents — and thus stripping their kids away from them. Running against him is Mike Siegel, an assistant city attorney from Austin who offers an entirely new perspective on just about every single issue. His stance on immigration is no exception.

The other awful border story involves a local version of ICE, the Texas Department of Public Safety. Over the past few years, it has been turned into a militarized terror agency, haunting majority Latino towns and making life hell for everyone there. They police every corner of every street — both through on-the-ground officers and endless cameras — and make it so that people are literally afraid to drive to work. They can’t even go to Little League baseball games without being harassed.
The DPS buildup began as a way for then-Governor Rick Perry to look tough on the border ahead of a run for re-election. It’s now become a permanent police state.

From the Texas Observer:

“Hidalgo and Starr counties are now among the most profiled and surveilled communities in America, with residents forced to adjust to life under the persistent watch of aerostat surveillance balloons, observation towers, National Guard listening posts, drones, DPS surveillance cameras, DPS spy planes and a barrage of intrusive police stops.”
And this isn’t just impacting the people in those counties. It’s hurting all Texans. Again, from the Observer:

“Lawmakers slashed Medicaid funding by $2 billion and declined to fully fund the state’s child-welfare system, which has been in crisis for years. In the decade since the surge began, the state’s portion of funding for public education has dropped from 48 to 38 percent. But the Republican majority gave DPS another $800 million for border security.”

The obvious move is to take on the lawmakers enabling this horrible state of affairs. But it’s not so simple.
Rep. Phil King, who chairs the committee, has enabled bigotry and mass harassment for years (and is also an anti-choice, corporate ALEC and NRA stooge who doesn’t even want laws that require people to lock up their guns, even in the wake of the Santa Fe high school massacre). Once again, Rep. Phil King is running unopposed for re-election.

Also running unopposed for re-election is DeWayne Burns, a Republican on the committee who is equally as grating and noxious. We need to do better, and that starts by showing candidates that they will have support even in tough races.

Here’s where we start: Several Republicans do have challengers, however long their odds may seem based on their districts and fundraising disparities. A little money can go a long way in local races, especially in more rural markets, and even a somewhat tight race can push an extremist candidate towards more moderate positions.

Click HERE to donate to our slate of candidates focused on immigration issues

GOP Rep. Justin Holland is being challenged by Democrat Laura Gunn in HD 33, while Republican Rep. Will Metcalf faces off against Democrat Mike Midler in HD 16. Midler has a particularly interesting resume; a Marine who served in Vietnam, he spent his career as a history teacher, with a stop at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and his campaign literature cites the progressive visions of our Founding Fathers to rebuke the “Make America Great Again” crowd. You can donate at his… rudimentary campaign site.

Meanwhile, ultra-conservative Matt Schaeffer, who chairs the Texas Freedom Caucus, and brags about immigrant apprehension at the top of his campaign website, is being challenged by an unlikely leader in East Texas, a rabbi named Neal Katz. While he’s running as an independent as a nod to the politics of the region, Katz is a popular and progressive voice there, with support frombusinesses, community groups and even some church leaders. He’s not on ActBlue, since he’s an independent, so you can donate at his site.

Oh, and remember the Texas stooge who blamed doors for school shootings? Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is also an avid fan of destroying the lives of Latin communities, so once again, we’ll be supporting his opponent, Mike Collier, as a rational and pragmatic alternative.