Tag Archives: immigration

Trump State of the Union I: Americans are dreamers too

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President Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union address last night. His speech couldn’t have been more positive for the country.

Meanwhile, the opposition Democratic Party clearly demonstrated their political partisanship and personal animus towards this President all night long.

The Dems refused to applaud or otherwise positively acknowledge even the most positive developments involving programs and people they normally claim as their own.

This was clearly a victorious evening for a President who has been repeatedly attacked by those Democrats and their liberal media arm throughout his first year in office.

The economy and domestic policy. Defense and international relations. The President touched on all of the hot-button topics of interest to Americans today.

He began early in his speech by going over some of the tough challenges faced by the nation over this past year. The mass shooting in Las Vegas and the shooting at a Congressional softball game. Natural disasters in which “We endured floods and fires and storms.”

To highlight these challenges, the President presented and told the stories of specific individuals. 

Coast Guard Petty Officer Ashlee Leppert worked for 18 hours straight during Hurricane Harvey to help save 40 lives. Firefighter David Dahlberg rescued 60 children trapped at a summer camp during the California wildfires. 

Congressman Steve Scalise, who the President christened as “the legend from Louisiana” to roaring applause, fought hard to recover from gunshot wounds at that Congressional softball game, returning to work just a few months later.

“Over the last year, the world has seen what we always knew:  that no people on Earth are so fearless, or daring, or determined as Americans.  If there is a mountain, we climb it.  If there is a frontier, we cross it.  If there is a challenge, we tame it.  If there is an opportunity, we seize it.”

The President then segued into that seizing of opportunity in the economy: 2.4 million new jobs created. Rising wages. Low unemployment, including historic lows for African-Americans and Hispanic Americans. Massive individual and business tax cuts. A record-breaking stock market.

“This is our new American moment.  There has never been a better time to start living the American Dream. So to every citizen watching at home tonight — no matter where you have been, or where you come from, this is your time.  If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything.”

The President used that positive statement to move through a couple moments of open patriotism. He emphasized a love for the American flag, the pledge of allegiance, and our national anthem.

He acknowledged America’s military and law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line daily for all of our citizens.

To help highlight the importance of patriotism, the President presented the story of Preston Sharp. The 12-year old California boy noticed that flags were missing from the graves of veterans. He began a movement that spread across the country, resulting in flags placed at the graves of more than 40,000 deceased American heroes.

 

“In America, we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of the American life.  Our motto is “in God we trust.”

This line as much as any that the President delivered all night perfectly highlights the differences between America’s modern political parties.

Democrats believe that government knows best, and want to regulate our lives through its bureaucracies. Republicans believe in unleashing the power of private industry and individual freedom.

Also, Republicans regularly fight to acknowledge the central role of God in our lives. Not just our individual lives, but also in the collective life of the American nation.

The President then moved through a list of accomplishments in areas vitally important to his base. The appointment of originalist judges, highlighted by SCOTUS Justice Neil Gorsuch. Fighting to protect religious liberty and the 2nd Amendment. Reform of the Veterans Administration.

He then rattled off a litany of achievements in various industries, including the automotive industry and energy independence.

The President then made an emotional plea and promise involving prescription drugs. The plea was on behalf of Americans seeking alternatives when suffering from terminal disease.

“People who are terminally ill should not have to go from country to country to seek a cure — I want to give them a chance right here at home.  It is time for the Congress to give these wonderful Americans the “right to try.””

As emotional as that plea was, his promise to reduce costs was equally forceful: “…I have directed my Administration to make fixing the injustice of high drug prices one of our top priorities.  Prices WILL come down.

This led the President into one of his leading programs in the coming year, infrastructure improvements. He called on a congress to undertake a massive $1.5 trillion program to improve the nation’s “roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways…



He then proceeded to make a statement that once again highlighted the difference between the two parties: “We can lift our citizens from welfare to work, from dependence to independence, and from poverty to prosperity.

Every action taken by the President and the Republican-controlled congress reveals their belief in empowering individuals to earn their way to prosperity, rather than relying on government handouts to permanently enslave them.

Still, the President is not without heart for those struggling. He called for increased investment in vocational schools, paid family leave, and a second chance for certain inmates through prison reform.

And then President Trump moved into security and defense, both at home and abroad. He spoke of the importance of securing the southern border, highlighted by introducing the parents of two Long Island teenage girls murdered by the notorious MS-13 gang.



Turning the spotlight squarely on to his Democratic Party critics with he issue of the so-called “dreamers”, he reiterated the over-arching theme of his Presidency: America First.

“My duty, and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber, is to defend Americans — to protect their safety, their families, their communities, and their right to the American Dream.  Because Americans are dreamers too.”

The President then presented a four-pillared immigration plan that was led by a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants. The other three pillars involved building the southern border wall, ending the visa lottery program, and ending chain migration.

While many on the far right will not like the idea of citizenship for the “dreamers”, the fact remains that the immigration issue will never be resolved without bipartisan cooperation.

This olive branch to Democrats is accompanied long-term solutions to help keep the problem from developing again. This would be accomplished by enacting the other three pillars.

President Trump then called on full funding for our American military, including modernizing our nuclear arsenal “making it so strong and powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression. 

The President then highlighted the success of the American military over this past year in nearly destroying ISIS. He introduced Army Staff Sergeant Justin Peck, who saved the life of CPO Kenton Stacy. 

The two soldiers had been working to clear buildings which had been rigged with bombs by ISIS, in order that civilians could safely return to those homes, schools, and hospitals. An explosion in a booby-trapped building left Stacy fighting for his life, and Peck’s actions saved him.

“Terrorists who do things like place bombs in civilian hospitals are evil.  When possible, we annihilate them.  When necessary, we must be able to detain and question them.  But we must be clear:  Terrorists are not merely criminals.  They are unlawful enemy combatants.  And when captured overseas, they should be treated like the terrorists they are.”

This statement led the President into an announcement to reverse a dangerous process entered into by the Obama administration. President Trump signed an order to keep the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay open, hinting that Gitmo can expect more detainees in the future.

The President then spoke of his formal recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He asked congress to fix the Iran nuclear deal, and mentioned increased sanctions on dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela.

Introducing the parents of Otto Warmbier as “powerful witnesses to a menace that threatens our world“, the President moved on to North Korean aggression and provocations. 

 

Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation.  I will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this dangerous position.”

He further took a slap at the United Nations and challenged congress “…to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to America’s friends.”

As his address drew towards a close, President Trump dropped in a reference to his ongoing campaign slogan in the following statement.

“Americans fill the world with art and music.  They push the bounds of science and discovery.  And they forever remind us of what we should never forget:  The people dreamed this country. The people built this country.  And it is the people who are making America great again.”

As he moved through his election campaign and first year in office, President Donald Trump pledged to “Make America Great Again”. In his address, the President specifically called on Congress to take the following actions:

  • empower Cabinet Secretaries to empower good workers and remove those who fail
  • give terminally ill patients a chance to try experimental drugs right here in America
  • produce a major $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill with state/local partnerships and streamlined permits
  • close immigration loopholes and support his Four Pillars program described previously
  • end the defense sequester, fully funding our military
  • empower our military, law enforcement, and intelligence officers to detain terrorists
  • pass legislation to ensure our tax dollars only go to foreign governments friendly to America
  • address flaws in the Iran nuclear deal
It would be a challenge to find fault in much of this message. Yet when the President look out on the Democrats sitting over on the right from his vantage point, he rarely found applause, and even less often received a standing ovation, things that happened numerous times with his Republican colleagues.

 

 

For example, most of the Democrats refused to applaud the 12-year old boy who inspired the flag recognition program for brave deceased veterans, or the parents of the two girls murdered by MS-13.
They even refused to applaud the lowest unemployment figures in history for African-Americans and Hispanic Americans, supposedly some of their base constituency.
At one point, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was even seen glancing around at her colleagues, apparently to ensure that none of them were responding positively to the President’s message.
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia was caught rising to applaud once. As he rose, he looked around and saw that none of his colleagues were doing the same, and he quickly caught himself and sat down again.
This is the problem with American politics today. Our supposed “leaders” cannot even set aside their political partisanship and personal animus for recognition of fundamental humanity. As long those such as Pelosi remain in leadership roles, and others like Manchin remain fearful of displaying any independence whatsoever, then the problems within our political house will never be resolved.

Unless you are nothing more than one of those partisan political opponents and/or you hold a personal grudge against President Trump, it would be hard for you to argue that his State of the Union address proved that he is doing just what he promised – he is making America great again.

Kate Steinle verdict is latest evidence that California is lost

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Kathryn ‘Kate’ Steinle was a 32-year old woman back on Wednesday, July 1, 2015 as she walked along Pier 14 in San Francisco. It was a gorgeous day in the City by the Bay, perfect for a leisurely stroll.

There was no way under these completely innocent circumstances, not far from her home, with her Dad and a friend alongside her, that this beautiful young woman would have given even a passing thought that this was the final moment of her life.

Jose Inez Garcia Zarate was a 45-year old (possibly older) illegal from Mexico who had already been deported from the United States on five separate occasions. Seven felony convictions on his record, he was on probation still in Texas.

That night, Zarate, who also has gone by Juan Francisco López-Sánchez or Francisco Sánchez, was back in the United States illegally. He was purported to have been simply wandering the same area of Pier 14 where Steinle and her companions were enjoying their stroll.

John Woychowski was an agent for the California Bureau of Land Management. That same day, he and his family were driving to Montana when they decided to stop off for dinner in San Francisco. 

Woychowski, per a Fox News report:

“…parked his car in what he thought was a safe location and left a black backpack, which had his loaded weapon inside, in the back seat. He said the car was locked and had an alarm and tinted windows. When his family returned from dinner, he said his car’s windows were smashed and the backpack was gone. He said he immediately reported the theft to 9-1-1 and his employer.”

The gun was the .40-caliber Sig Sauer P239, a popular handgun. A review from James Grant back in 2012 said that the gun “not only looks the part of secret service heater, but plays it just as well.

That night, that gun would be used to end the life of Kate Steinle. It was fired by Zarate, who claimed to have simply found it wrapped in cloth underneath a bench, and that the shooting was accidental.

As Steinle innocently walked along, Zarate fired the weapon three times. One of the bullets ricocheted off the pier’s concrete decking and struck Steinle in the back. She went down immediately, with her father dropping in a panic next to her.

“Help me, Dad.

In her father’s arms, those were the final words in the life of Kate Steinle.



Just three months earlier, Zarate had been released from jail by San Francisco authorities. This was despite a request from federal immigration authorities that he be detained in order that he might again be deported. 

You see, San Francisco is another in a series of large American sanctuary cities where local law enforcement has been barred from cooperating with the feds in such cases.

Zarate was quickly arrested and charged with first-degree murder, as well as with narcotics violations. Through his attorney, high-profile San Francisco political activist Matt Gonzalez, he entered a ‘Not Guilty’ plea. 

The Sheriff who ordered Zarate’s release was Ross Mirkarimi, co-founder of California’s ultra-liberal Green Party. He was soundly defeated in a November 2015 re-election bid. The case was also highlighted during Donald Trump’s 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign. 


A number of pieces of legislation aimed at attacking the myriad problems involving illegal immigration were specifically introduced following this heinous crime. Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and Arizona U.S. Congressman Matt Salmon introduced “Kate’s Law”, first proposed by broadcaster Bill O’Reilly, as one such measure. 

Each of these measures has been met with opposition, almost exclusively along party lines. Democrats consistently have fought any legislation aimed at further restricting or controlling the illegal immigration problem.

After a dozen days of testimony, and after hearing dozens of witnesses, the San Francisco jury was instructed that they could consider first-degree murder as well as second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.

Yesterday, after six days of deliberations, that jury made up of residents from this notoriously ultra-liberal northern California city returned its verdict: Not guilty.

Tom Homan, the Deputy Director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), quickly issued this statement:

“San Francisco’s policy of refusing to honor ICE detainers is a blatant threat to public safety and undermines the rule of law. This tragedy could have been prevented if San Francisco had simply turned the alien over to ICE, as we requested, instead of releasing him back onto the streets. It is unconscionable that politicians across this country continue to endanger the lives of Americans with sanctuary policies while ignoring the harm inflicted on their constituents. Following the conclusion of this case, ICE will work to take custody of Mr. Garcia Zarate and ultimately remove him from the country.”

California, where a jury released O.J. Simpson just over 22 years ago, has once again shown itself to be a place friendly to those accused under perceived social injustice. Never mind the actual justice for the truly innocent murder victims.

There was no justice in California yesterday for Kate Steinle and her still grieving family. We’re just shocked — saddened and shocked … that’s about it,” said Kate’s father Jim per the San Francisco Chronicle. “There’s no other way you can coin it. Justice was rendered, but it was not served.

No, justice was not served Mr. Steinle. It isn’t the first time here on the Left coast, and it won’t be the last. California has been sliding farther and farther away from mainstream American values for decades. Yesterday in San Francisco, that was proven once again.

Sunday Sermon: A city set on a hill

The ‘Sermon on the Mount‘ was delivered by Jesus Christ shortly after he had chosen his original twelve apostles and begun his public ministry. It is covered most famously in chapter five of the Book of Matthew within the New Testament of the Bible.

One of the most influential, inspirational speeches in the history of mankind is widely believed to have been delivered at or near what was once known as Mount Eremos, a hill located between Capernaum and Tabgha in northern Israel.

During this speech, Jesus delivers three of the most famous teachings of his life: the ‘Golden Rule’, the Lord’s Prayer (Our Father), and the Beatitudes.

Another key element of what I personally believe to be the greatest speech ever given is a section that has become known as the “Similes of Salt and Light”, which appears at Matthew 5:13-16.

The simile of light section specifically reads as follows:

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”

On January 11, 1989, President Ronald Reagan delivered his Farewell Address to the Nation. In it, he famously referenced this passage as it had been adopted by John Winthrop.

Winthrop was one of the key figures in founding the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the second major European settlement in New England after Plymouth. He also served as the colony’s governor over four separate terms.

When his group of pilgrims to the New World had set out, Winthrop described their goal: “We shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us.”

The ‘Similes of Salt and Light’ section from the Sermon on the Mount was the subject of the gospel reading and homily at today’s Mass in our church.

In delivering his homily, the priest referenced the current political climate in the United States, particularly as it relates to the issue of immigration.

Father did a fairly good job of walking a hazardous tightrope, considering that he likely had folks from different political viewpoints sitting in the aisles of the church.

But the primary message that he was trying to convey is a valid one, no matter which side of the aisle you sit politically. As Christian Americans, we are called upon to rise above rancorous political discourse.

On this issue of immigration, all too often some members of the media and of certain political persuasions seem to want to paint conservative political thinkers as “anti-immigration”, which could not be further from the truth.

The majority of us are the product of immigration to the United States. At some point in the last century or two, most of us had ancestors who stepped off a boat and onto the shores of America. Like most of today’s immigrants, they were hoping to make a better life for themselves and their families.

It is important to remember that we are not at all “against” immigration. Instead, we are against unchecked, unvetted, uncontrolled, and illegal immigration.

In our efforts to better secure our country, we also need to remember that legal immigrants should be welcomed with open arms. Many people lawfully and properly enter our country and become citizens. Those people deserve our full support as first generation Americans.

As polarized as today’s society has become, it is far better to be “for” something than “against” anything. We are not against illegal immigration. We are for a lawful, orderly process, and a secure America for all of our lawful residents and visitors.

We need to remember, in our tone and our tenor, that we have to be better than the divisive politicians and professional agitators who thrive on driving us apart. This is particularly so when remembering that we are Christians in addition being Americans.

As good, law-abiding United States citizens and followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to stand up and ensure that our nation always serves as that city set on a hill. As a blessed people, we are called to shine the light of freedom before all others.

And all the while, we must keep in mind the last three words of the ‘salt and light’ section of Jesus’ timely message: “glorify your Heavenly Father.” Whatever we do, if we are doing it for God’s glory, then we will continue to be blessed as a nation.

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NOTE: this is a continuation of the long-running ‘Sunday Sermon’ series. All entries can be viewed by clicking on that link in the below ‘Tag’ section.

Arizona Correct, Philly Wrong in Ilegal Immigration Battle

The ultra liberal, Democratic Party controlled City of Philadelphia is solidly in the corner of illegal immigrants as one of America’s leading sanctuary cities

Deemed as such because they basically offer themselves as a sanctuary or place of refuge to illegals, it is Philly’s stated policy that they will in no way assist in any types of investigations of immigration status. Philadelphia police have been specifically instructed to disregard a person’s immigration status.

This is entirely amusing when you consider that the word “illegal” is right there in the terminology that properly defines these individuals. What Philadelphia is in fact saying is that “we don’t care if you are breaking the law, you’re welcome here to our town!”

Wonder why tens of millions have flocked from our city, businesses have shuttered up and moved away, and our crime rates have soared in the recent decades? Philly’s policy on illegal immigration is yet another of many examples of how the liberal Democrats have driven the city into the ground, and continue to do so and get away with it.

On the other hand, Arizona has stood up and said “we’re not going to take it anymore” in their border state that is on the front lines for the illegal immigration battle.

In a poll taken just two weeks ago, Americans across the country stated by a 71-29 margin that they would support requiring their own police departments to determine people’s U.S. status if there were reasonable suspicion that the people were illegal immigrants. Where Philly pols are out of step with Americans yet again, Arizona was way ahead of that national curve.

Arizona began recently to institute a new law that allows police officers to question anyone about their immigration status, and also to request further to see documentation proving the contrary if they suspect the individual is in the country illegally.

Critics of the law compare the measure to a Nazi tactic, and express fears of Americans being randomly stopped simply due to a brown skin color. President Barack Obama himself, the leading liberal in the country, has called the law “poorly conceived”, an amusing quote coming from a man who has led the nation into an incredibly bad debt situation.

Their criticisms ring hollow when faced with the undisputed fact that little to nothing is being done to stem a flood of illegal immigrants crossing America’s borders. These people act with impunity, over-burdening America’s emergency rooms for standard medical care, taking jobs away from American families.

They also skip right over all of the law-abiding foreigners who are patiently waiting in line to become legal American citizens. Many liberal pols and their media shills are trying to paint the issue with the ‘racist’ code word. Real Americans are no longer intimidated by such tactics.

As a Philadelphia police officer and a 20-year professional in the law enforcement industry who has served in patrol, in an investigative role, as a supervisor of police officers, and now as a trainer, I can tell you with absolute certainty that the Arizona police will not and Philly cops would not abuse laws such as these.

The very few incidents where any abuse would occur, and it happens with any situation or law where individual freedoms are challenged and liberty is taken away, such as arrests, would be dealt with severely and criticized harshly from within. Possible theoretical abuses should not take away from necessary measures to combat real, serious problems.

Families in border states such as Arizona have been victimized by these illegals for years if not decades. Damage to property, threats and assaults on Americans, abuse of our nation’s resources. This is the legacy of illegal immigration.

It is long past time that the nation secured our north and south borders with physical barriers, technological safeguards, and armed sentries and began to hold accountable both those who enter illegally and anyone here in America who aids or supports these individuals.

Many states have expressed interest in extending Arizona’s law into their own state. In Minnesota, Ruthie Hendrycks is running for a state senate seat. She heads a group called ‘Minnesotans Seeking Immigration Reform’.

Hendrycks sums up the situation perfectly: “This is not about race, it is about the law,” she said. “It comes down to enforcing our law. We are a nation of laws and it’s high time that officials at both federal and state levels start enforcing our laws and not reward those who are breaking the laws.”

Joey Vento rightly wants your cheesesteak ordered in English

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Joey Vento in December 2007

 

You gotta love Joey Vento of Geno’s Steaks, located at 9th & Passyunk in South Philly.

Here is a successful businessman who owns a legendary, iconic Philadelphia eatery who has the guts to publicly stand up for what is right.

One of the greatest problems that has plagued our country in the past few decades is the slow erosion of our national identity, sacrificed to the misguided cause of multi-culturalism.

Removing prayer from our schools and attempts to remove the Pledge of Allegiance. Spanish, Russian and other languages as options in telephone menus and at ATM machines.

Vento’s grandparents struggled after getting off the boat from Sicily almost a century ago, and he never forgot that lesson.

Vento placed a sign up outside the takeout window at Geno’s which stated: “This is America: When ordering, speak English!

The sign immediately outraged the touchy-feely liberals in town, and led to a court battle which Vento and Geno’s won against the City of Philadelphia.

The sign remains, and Vento gained a great deal of national publicity for his business and the cause.

Vento said his staff is glad to help non-native speakers order in English and has never turned someone away because of a language barrier. He told Fox News that “All we’re asking them (immigrants) to do is learn the English language.

It would seem to not only be a simple request, but in fact used to be an absolute requirement for new citizens. It should be still, and Vento is right to stand up for this cause.

He put his business and personal reputation on the line for it, and for that we should all be proud of him and continue to support him. I’ll take one whiz witout, sir!