Saturday, July 21, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 20
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Santa Maria Sun / Community

Citizen's Alert

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Political Watch 6/21/18

• After President Donald Trump placed the fault for his administration's policy of separating children from parents seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border on Democrats, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) introduced the Keep Families Together Act on June 8, which would prevent the Department of Homeland Security from taking children from their parents at the border with the exception of children who were being abused or trafficked. When Feinstein introduced the bill, 31 Senate Democrats had already signed on, and by June 18, all of the Senate's Democrats and Independents had announced they would support the bill. No Republicans had agreed to support the legislation by the Sun's press time. "The United States must not be a country that traumatizes young children by separating them from their parents. Young children have been taken from their parents' arms, and federal law enforcement hasn't given parents even the most basic information about their children's whereabouts," Feinstein stated when announcing the proposed legislation. "Congress has a moral obligation to take a stand and say that families should not be forcibly separated. Many of these families are fleeing terrible violence, traveling thousands of miles on foot for the chance to file an asylum claim and save their lives. To traumatize them further is unconscionable, and I hope that our Republican colleagues will work with us to put an end to this immoral policy." The policy of separating children from their parents after crossing the border illegally started after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in early April a zero tolerance policy for anyone who crossed the border without authorization, which included asylum seekers. While the adults were arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service, the children were put under the care of the department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement, according to the nonpartisan website Politifact. Politifact rated President Trump's statement that Democrats were responsible for the "horrible law" that separated parents and children as false, an assertion the president has continually repeated, including in a Twitter post on June 18 saying, "Why don't the Democrats give us the votes to fix the world's worst immigration laws?" U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was also criticized after she said in a series of Twitter posts on June 17 that reports of family separations were due to "misreporting" by press and advocacy groups, adding, "We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period." The Department of Homeland Security had previously reported that it had separated almost 2,000 children between late April and mid May. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) called on Nielsen to resign on June 18, saying in a tweet that, "Under her watch, our government has committed human rights abuses by breaking up families along the southern border. And she has failed to be accountable to and transparent with the American people."

• Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) announced on June 12 that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will invest $4.9 million to supplement funding to Port San Luis breakwater repairs after he requested additional funds in April. "The failing breakwater infrastructure at Port San Luis represents a critical threat to residents in Avila Beach, as well as to the safety of boaters along the Central Coast," Carbajal said in a statement. In the same statement from Carbajal's office, Port San Luis Harbor Manager Andrea Lueker stated, "These funds, coupled with the $5 million allocated in the FY 2017 work plan will result in a $9.9 million project needed to ensure against the potential of a catastrophic breaching, which would have serious impacts on public safety, commercial fishing, port commerce, emergency preparedness and response, and recreational boating."

 




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Should Santa Barbara County allow ExxonMobil to truck crude oil from its offshore platforms through the county?

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