About Me

In writing the "About Me" portion of this blog I thought about the purpose of the blog - namely, preventing the growth of Socialism & stopping the Death Of Democracy in the American Republic & returning her to the "liberty to abundance" stage of our history. One word descriptions of people's philosophies or purposes are quite often inadequate. I feel that I am "liberal" meaning that I am broad minded, independent, generous, hospitable, & magnanimous. Under these terms "liberal" is a perfectly good word that has been corrupted over the years to mean the person is a left-winger or as Mark Levin more accurately wrote in his book "Liberty & Tyranny" a "statist" - someone looking for government or state control of society. I am certainly not that & have dedicated the blog to fighting this. I believe that I find what I am when I consider whether or not I am a "conservative" & specifically when I ask what is it that I am trying to conserve? It is the libertarian principles that America was founded upon & originally followed. That is the Return To Excellence that this blog is named for & is all about.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Fraudulent Asylum Seekers Violate U.S. National Sovereignty

"You have asylum seekers saying I'd rather be in jail in the U.S. than killed in my own country." – Maureen Meyer, an immigration expert @ the Washington Office On Latin America, a human-rights advocacy group.
 
"Don't risk your lives or the lives of your children by trying to come to the United States on the road run by drug smugglers & human traffickers.  If you can't come legally, don't come @ all." - Vice President Mike Pence speaking on the first day of his Latin American trip in June.
 
click on graphic to enlarge
 
The above graphic portrays one aspect of what Ms. Meyer is talking about.  The murder rate in the countries that make up Central America's Northern Triangle is between 25 to over 75 murders per 100,000 people.  Honduras & Guatemala each have well over 5,000 murders per year & tiny El Salvador has over 3,500 – about 10 murders each day.
 
In addition to murder, residents of Central America's Northern Triangle countries face human trafficking – modern day slavery that involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to illegally transport people from one country or area to another for the purpose of forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation - drug trafficking & smuggling, kidnapping, & extortion in the form of mafia-like demands to pay war taxes to neighborhood gangs.  There is no economic opportunity – about 2/3 of the population of Honduras live in poverty according to the World Bank.  And much of the police force is crooked – about 95% of homicides in the Northern Triangle countries go unpunished – source Adrienne Arsht Latin American Center – Atlantic Council.
 
In short, the six thousand years of human history has always been filled with barbarism & slavery & it appears that life in Central America's Northern Triangle countries hasn't advanced a little bit as evidenced by the above brutal description & statistics that make the American wild west of the 1800s look tame by comparison.
 
But as arduous a task as it is to travel over 2,000 miles from Central America's Northern Triangle countries to America's southern border seeking asylum the asylum seekers see it as a process with an end rather than staying & fighting to turn their countries around like Americans did in the 18th century.  Their position is also just one side of the coin – it does not take into account whether or not America needs or wants these people just because they showed up @ the border under their own terms completely ignoring U.S. immigration laws.
 
Applying for U.S. citizenship, refugee status, or asylum all involve long tedious processes of years that result in the liberties, benefits, & protections that each program offers if the applicant is successful in completing the required steps.
 
Now in the case of asylum, a difficult & complex process that can involve multiple government agencies – the process starts either from within the U.S. or @ the border – in which case the first step is for the asylum seekers to present themselves @ a designated point of entry; otherwise the asylum seeker can be charged with a misdemeanor that carries a six month jail term for entering the U.S. illegally.  In brief, to avoid federal charges of illegal entry, asylum seekers must enter the U.S. through designated ports of entry.  Those who cross the border other than @ a point of entry & walk up to a border guard with a well rehearsed speech about seeking asylum are the ones President Trump is detaining in accordance with existing immigration laws including Trump's zero tolerance policy.  I didn't know there was anything but zero tolerance for breaking the law.
 
See map below for select points of entry along the Texas-Mexico border.
 
 click on map to enlarge
 
Asylum seekers must demonstrate that they had been persecuted or fear persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group – otherwise they will not be accepted into the U.S.  Congress incorporated this definition of asylum seeker into U.S. immigration law as part of the Refugee Act of 1980 under President Carter.
 
The graph below shows that for most of the past twenty years three quarters of migrants were found to not meet the aforementioned asylum requirements – giving strong suspicion that the majority of migrants are trying to game our system & take advantage of our immigration laws that President Trump has called the worst in the world regarding having the best interest of their citizens – namely us.
 
click on graph to enlarge
 
Click here to see an excellent video describing asylum seekers' many problems – it's Asylum Seeker 101. 
 
The basis of the current border enforcement policy is known as the Flores settlement whose origin dates back to the 1980s - it pertained to the treatment of unaccompanied minors who were in the care of the U.S. government & it specifically barred the government from jailing migrant children.  After going through several federal courts the case reached the Supreme Court in 1993 where finally in 1997 the Clinton administration & the plaintiffs, including the ACLU, reached a consent decree settlement regarding the standards for handling unaccompanied minors who were in the custody of federal authorities.
 
Over the years immigration authorities began to not fully comply with the Flores settlement & specific rules about exactly how long & under what conditions children could be held evolved.
 
In 2014 BO tried to reduce the number of Central American families seeking asylum (between 2012 & 2016 nearly 200,000 migrant children were referred to the Department of Homeland Security – DHS) in the U.S. by keeping families in detention & processing & deporting them as quickly as possible.  The courts struck down this procedure finding that BO was invoking this policy for the purpose of deterrence.
 
See photos below of children in cages in 2014 in Nogales Arizona & others in detention in 2014 in Texas under BO's policies.  In 2013 there were 25,000 unaccompanied minors in the care of BO's Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).
 
click on photos to enlarge
 
Along the way the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Flores settlement not only pertained to unaccompanied minors @ the border but also accompanied ones as well – the government could hold children in custody for no more than twenty days according to the Ninth Circuit.  Until April, 2018 the practice had been to release the entire family into America after twenty days & many of these people never returned for their immigration court dates – in fiscal year 2017 there were 40,000 deportation orders issued in absentia; i.e., to immigrants who didn't show up for their hearing & accordingly they are illegally in the U.S. today.
 
To cut down on violations like the 40,000 described above, President Trump ended what he calls Catch & Release.  The Border Patrol started the Trump zero tolerance policy earlier this spring where children are separated from the law-breaking adult companions (some of whom may be parents) who accompanied them to the border.  The children are sent to HHS where they get better treatment than they did crossing Mexico in box cars or on foot.  The adults are held by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE).
 
There are currently 12,000 children being held under HHS supervision – 10,000 of which arrived @ the border unaccompanied by an adult.  See breakdown below for fiscal year 2017 that shows 69% of the children are between 15 & 17 years old.
 
 
It is important to note that Border Patrol separates children from adults if they suspect that the children are not actually related to the adults because human trafficking is a persistent problem & cartels & other smugglers use children to get more people across the border or they try to sell the children into human slavery.
 
A federal judge in California recently issued a preliminary injunction that ordered Trump to temporarily stop separating families & to unite all children with their parents – the total of which is about 2,000.  Then last Monday a Washington, D.C. federal judge halted Trump from systemically detaining asylum seekers @ the border who have a credible fear of returning to their own country – this would apply to every one of them, & if extended to people throughout the world would produce a never-ending, immeasurable, enormous, unsustainable line of people totaling billions seeking asylum in America.
 
In short, all of the above reveals what a mess our immigration laws & policies are in.  And only Congress has the constitutional authority to fix it: under Article I, Section 8, Clause 4 of the Constitution – "The Congress shall have Power To . . . establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization."  This is the bedrock principle for our immigration policies so if they are out of whack, like they certainly are as described above, we should return to it for remedy.
 
In 1795 Congress claimed exclusive authority over immigration & in 1817 the Supreme Court affirmed that "the power of naturalization is exclusively in Congress."
 
The President has the power & responsibility to execute the laws & in the case of immigration the Judiciary has no role whatsoever.  But the ball for solution of the immigration-asylum problem is squarely in Congress's court – good luck with that one any time soon.
 
So in the absence of Congress's willingness to solve the immigration-asylum problem every president since Reagan has tried to enforce some law as described above & various courts have stepped in to rule on such things as the number of days migrants can be held & under what conditions – so much for Chief Justice John Roberts constantly stressing that the courts are not a policy-making body when all they do @ every opportunity is micromanage child welfare making policy regarding illegal immigrants including setting the current artificial deadlines to reunite children with parents – the problem being not enough time is allowed to properly vet the adults to ensure they really are the child's parents.
 
My theme & major complaint on this blog for years regarding the courts is that they constantly overstep their constitutional bounds & become way too involved in our lives when the two elected branches are best suited to solve problems in a liberal democratic constitutional republic.  Of course this is both by design & promoted by the two elected branches who think they receive cover from the courts so that no one notices they failed to fulfill their oaths of office.
 
The genesis of the above described border problem is that federal law treats children under 18 differently than it treats adults if the children illegally crossed into the U.S. without an adult relative - such children are primarily considered potential victims of human trafficking instead of people who violated our immigration laws.  How in the world are these laws constitutional?  You can see that with this designation how over the years opportunists from all over the world, of all ages, have come to take advantage of this policy thereby making it that much harder for those who really are in need of asylum. 
 
Americans don't want to see children abused but enough have seen through the facade of using children as pawns to be pitied thereby acting as shields for adults to enter America under false pretenses.  See Question #31 of CBS Poll below, June 21–22, that shows overwhelming support for sending entire families back to their home country if they try to enter the U.S. illegally:
 
 click on chart to enlarge
 
But the will of the majority of the people as indicated in the above poll is again thwarted because only migrants from Mexico & Canada (our two contiguous countries) can be turned away @ the border by Border Enforcement.  All others receive some degree of red tape asylum regulations as described above, including Border Patrol separating children from adults if they suspect the children are not actually related to the adults.
 
So the current problem regarding the total number of children separated from their parents is a fraction of what it was under BO when the hostile anti-American media was silent.  People have been whipped into a frenzy to worry about children being separated by their parents @ the border when 10,000 out of 12,000 children being held by Trump's HHS were sent alone or with human traffickers or smugglers known as coyotes – this is the real separation of children from parents.
 
Some like to say we are a "nation of immigrants" as a reason why we should be taking in every one who has trouble in their home country.  When I think of immigrants I think of Alexander Hamilton & the Marquis de Lafayette – people who not only assimilated into America but also wanted to fight for our liberty & work to make America stronger.  These are examples of people who wanted to augment the American liberty principles – not just people who came here because of problems in their home country.  If we ever were a "nation of immigrants" we are not now – look around to see how many people you know who were born in America compared to the number of immigrants you know.  Over 90% of the people you know are not part of any "nation of immigrants," but of an American nation.
 
But the hostile anti-American media, Democrats, & far too many Republicans never bring up the fact that people who cross our border illegally are violating our sovereignty – they'd rather discuss safety of children & a "nation of immigrants."  America is a "nation of laws" & few powers are more fundamental to sovereignty than control over who comes into the country.
 
HHS Secretary Alex Azar says "there is a surefire way to avoid separation from your children & that is present yourself @ a legal border crossing & make the case you have" for asylum, or stay home & apply to enter the U.S. from there under the refugee laws.
 
DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen reiterates Azar's points below:
 
click on image to enlarge
 
In summary, our feckless elected representatives & unaccountable judges have let illegal immigrants, who form caravans of 1,200 people to trek across Mexico, & who have absolutely no right to enter this country make fools out of U.S. citizens, people who have applied for citizenship the legal way, refugees seeking safety who applied from their home countries, & asylum seekers who came to the U.S. through designated points of entry or other legal channels.  Our good nature, generosity, & big hearts have been exploited by people who have in & of themselves decided they want to be in America & they have used children, not U.S. immigration laws, to gain sympathy for that position.  It's a fraud of colossal magnitude as our national sovereignty has been violated.
 
The aforementioned caravan recently traveled to the U.S. southern border & then made a sharp left turn to Tijuana where they expected, & received, entry into California – a sanctuary state that encourages this lawless behavior.  Talk about our being used – all of the people in the caravan who made it to the border correctly perceived & exploited the defenselessness of the U.S. immigration policies & accordingly accomplished their chef aim – entry into the U.S.
 
In light of the information in this post please consider the border wall, with doors that act as the legal points of entry, that President Trump has proposed.  It looks like rewriting our immigration laws so that we are no longer the chumps of the world & building this wall are the only ways to deal with this unwelcome, costly, & trouble prone intrusion into our domain. 
 

Monday, July 2, 2018

July 4, 2018 - O, America!

To understand your part in celebrating our nation's 242nd birthday please study the lyrics below & then click on Anthony Kearns singing O, America!.
 
O, America you're calling,
I can hear you calling me,
You are calling me to be true to thee,
True to thee I will be.
O, America no weeping,
Let me heal your wounded heart.
I will keep you in my keeping,
Till there be, a new start.
And I will answer you, and I will take your hand,
And lead you to the sun
And I will stand by you, do all that I can do,
And we will be as one.
O, America I hear you,
From your prairies to the sea,
From your mountains grand, and all through this land,
You are beautiful to me.
And, O, America you're calling,
I can hear you calling me,
You are calling me to be true to thee,
True to thee, I will be.
And I will answer you, and I will take your hand,
And lead you, to the sun
And I will stand by you, do all that I can do,
And we will be, as one
O, America you're calling,
I will ever answer thee.
 

Sunday, June 24, 2018

High Tax States Again Lead Out-Migration In U.S.

"Everyone in Trenton is aware of the tax problems that we have here & that the state's in a financial crisis.  Our goal is to come up with a solution that's not all these taxes.  I think that people that have the ability to leave are leaving." – NJ Senate President, Democrat Steve Sweeney speaking about the annual budget crisis that occurs every July 1 in NJ & specifically against NJ Governor Democrat Phil Murphy's proposed sales tax increase & imposition of a 19.8% tax boost to the highest marginal income tax rate in the state. 
 
click on map to enlarge
 
Well Senator Sweeney is certainly right to be concerned – the above map of the U.S. shows that states depicted in yellow experienced the largest moving deficits according to United Van Lines 41st Annual National Movers Study, which tracks customers' state-to-state migration patterns over the past year.  States depicted in dark blue had high inbound movements.
 
In 2017 NJ led the way in this negative category in the Northeast with 63% outbound moves followed by NY (61%), Connecticut (57%), & Massachusetts (56%).  Illinois is now in the top spot overall, also with 63%, inching out NJ by a decimal point.  NJ had infamously held the top spot for the past five consecutive years.
 
United Van Lines classifies states as "high outbound" or "high inbound" if 55% or more of the moves respectively are outbound or inbound. 
 
The 2017 data reflects the longer trend movement to the western & southern states – especially where housing costs are lower, climates are milder than the northeast or rust belt, & job growth is above the national average.  This migration also includes young professionals & retirees who leave California for many reasons. 
 
Moving Out:
 
The top outbound states for 2017 were:
 
1.  Illinois (previously #2)
2.  New Jersey (previously #1 five years in a row)
3.  New York
4.  Connecticut
5.  Kansas
6.  Massachusetts
7.  Ohio
8.  Kentucky
9.  Utah
10. Wisconsin
 
There was only 1% difference between #6 Massachusetts & # 10 Wisconsin so it would not take much to rearrange these bottom five states in the top ten.
 
Of course property taxes are a major player in all of the above ratings.  See list below for all 50 states & DC.  It is easy to see that New Jersey is 51st & Illinois is 50th in this regard.  The rankings are based on the highest effective real-estate tax rate – note that New Jersey's annual taxes based on homes priced @ the state median value are far & away the highest of any state.
 
The effective real-estate tax rate in the list below is determined by dividing the median real-estate tax payment by the median home price in each state.  Example – for NJ the $7,601 median real-estate tax payment divided by the $316,400 median home price equals 2.4%, the effective real-estate tax rate.  Applying the 2.4% effective real-estate tax rate to the $185,000 median value of a house in the U.S., as of 2016, results in the $4,437 annual tax figure for NJ on a $185K home.  The median value of a home was in accordance with the Census Bureau.
 
Every time I present this type of data we see that states that follow high-tax socialist-like government control of its residents, regardless of party affiliation, are @ the top of the out-migration lists.
 
I am still waiting to find a blue state that turns red because more conservatives moved in.
 
Real-Estate Property Taxes by State

Rank
(1=Lowest)

State

Effective Real-Estate Tax Rate

Annual Taxes on $185K Home*

State Median Home Value

Annual Taxes on Home Priced at State Median Value

51 New Jersey 2.40% $4,437 $316,400 $7,601
50 Illinois 2.32% $4,288 $174,800 $4,058
49 New Hampshire 2.19% $4,038 $239,700 $5,241
48 Connecticut 2.02% $3,733 $269,300 $5,443
47 Wisconsin 1.95% $3,602 $167,000 $3,257
46 Texas 1.86% $3,435 $142,700 $2,654
45 Nebraska 1.83% $3,371 $137,300 $2,506
44 Vermont 1.78% $3,285 $218,900 $3,893
43 Michigan 1.71% $3,158 $127,800 $2,185
41 New York 1.65% $3,057 $286,300 $4,738
41 Rhode Island 1.65% $3,047 $238,200 $3,929
40 Ohio 1.56% $2,890 $131,900 $2,064
39 Pennsylvania 1.55% $2,867 $167,700 $2,603
38 Iowa 1.50% $2,762 $132,800 $1,986
37 Kansas 1.40% $2,580 $135,300 $1,890
35 Maine 1.32% $2,444 $176,000 $2,329
35 South Dakota 1.32% $2,446 $146,700 $1,943
34 Massachusetts 1.21% $2,238 $341,000 $4,132
33 Alaska 1.19% $2,190 $257,100 $3,048
32 Minnesota 1.17% $2,155 $191,500 $2,234
31 Maryland 1.10% $2,030 $290,400 $3,191
30 Oregon 1.07% $1,970 $247,200 $2,637
29 Washington 1.06% $1,962 $269,300 $2,860
28 North Dakota 1.05% $1,947 $164,000 $1,729
27 Florida 1.02% $1,885 $166,800 $1,702
26 Missouri 1.00% $1,842 $141,200 $1,408
25 Georgia 0.93% $1,712 $152,400 $1,413
24 Oklahoma 0.89% $1,638 $121,300 $1,076
23 Indiana 0.87% $1,606 $126,500 $1,100
22 North Carolina 0.86% $1,581 $157,100 $1,345
20 Kentucky 0.85% $1,579 $126,100 $1,078
20 Montana 0.85% $1,570 $199,700 $1,698
19 Mississippi 0.80% $1,470 $105,700 $841
17 California 0.79% $1,461 $409,300 $3,237
17 Virginia 0.79% $1,467 $248,400 $1,973
15 Arizona 0.77% $1,427 $176,900 $1,367
15 Nevada 0.77% $1,425 $191,600 $1,478
13 Idaho 0.76% $1,404 $167,900 $1,276
13 New Mexico 0.76% $1,408 $161,600 $1,232
12 Tennessee 0.75% $1,376 $146,000 $1,088
11 Utah 0.67% $1,240 $224,600 $1,508
10 Arkansas 0.63% $1,161 $114,700 $721
9 Wyoming 0.61% $1,130 $199,900 $1,223
8 West Virginia 0.59% $1,082 $107,400 $629
6 Colorado 0.57% $1,058 $264,600 $1,516
6 South Carolina 0.57% $1,056 $143,600 $821
5 District of Columbia 0.56% $1,026 $506,100 $2,811
4 Delaware 0.55% $1,009 $233,100 $1,274
3 Louisiana 0.51% $934 $148,300 $750
2 Alabama 0.43% $791 $128,500 $550
1 Hawaii 0.27% $501 $538,400 $1,459