* As the media has been obsessed with the House Republicans’ move to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics, these first two items today are a story that deserves more attention. First of all, Julia Edwards Ainsley reports on a disturbing request from the Trump transition team to the Department of Homeland Security.
The transition team also asked for copies of every executive order and directive sent to immigration agents since Obama took office in 2009, according to the memo summarizing the meeting.
Trump has said he intends to undo Obama’s executive actions on immigration, including a 2012 order to allow children brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents to remain in the country on temporary authorizations that allow them to attend college and work.
The program, known as DACA, collected information including participants’ addresses that could theoretically be used to locate and deport them if the policy is reversed. Another request of the transition team was for information about whether any migrant records have been changed for any reason, including for civil rights or civil liberties concerns, according to the internal memo seen by Reuters.
A Department of Homeland Security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the agency interpreted the request to mean the transition team wanted to make sure that federal workers were not tampering with information to protect DACA recipients and other migrants from deportation.
* Perhaps in response to that request, Seung Min Kim reports:
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson stressed Tuesday that federal authorities should not use private information of so-called Dreamers to deport them — an implicit warning to President-elect Donald Trump, who has pledged to unravel executive actions that have granted key benefits to more than 740,000 young undocumented immigrants.
In a letter obtained by POLITICO, the outgoing Homeland chief said when the young immigrants applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — the Obama-era initiative that deferred deportations and granted work permits for those who came here illegally as a child — they were entitled to key protections. In particular, Johnson stressed that the Dreamers who applied for DACA did so knowing that their personal information — such as addresses and telephone numbers — would not be used against them for deportation purposes, unless there were national security concerns or other similar reasons.
“We believe these representations made by the U.S. government, upon with DACA applicants most assuredly relied, must continue to be honored,” Johnson wrote in the letter to lawmakers.
* Jason Silverstein reports from Alabama:
A protest is in Sessions.
More than a dozen NAACP members occupied the Mobile office of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions Tuesday, calling for him to turn down his controversial nomination to become the next U.S. Attorney General.
“Our objective is certainly to stop his nomination,” Bernard Simelton, president of the Alabama State Conference of the NAACP, told the Daily News from Sessions’ office.
“But our objective is also to get out the word to people in power to stop it,” he said.
— Cornell Wm. Brooks (@CornellWBrooks) January 3, 2017
* Allegra Kirkland tells us about another form of resistance:
A bipartisan group of organizations and government officials warned Donald Trump in a Monday letter that complete divestiture from his business interests is the only way he can avoid facing dire conflicts of interest and Emoluments Clause problems in the White House.
“As long as you retain ownership of The Trump Organization, you will ultimately be the financial beneficiary of business arrangements made by domestic and foreign interests who are seeking favorable treatment from your administration on policy matters,” the 29 signees, who include President Obama’s chief ethics lawyer Norm Eisen and five former Republican House members, wrote…
“Respectfully, you cannot serve the country as president and also own a world-wide business enterprise, without seriously damaging the presidency,” the letter reads.
* J.B. Silvers writes: “I’m a former health insurance CEO and this is what Obamacare repeal will do.”
Some in Congress seem to think that passing the “repeal” part immediately but delaying its implementation for two or three years will somehow leave everything as it is now. But this naive notion misses the fact that the riskiness of the Obamacare individual insurance exchange markets will have been ramped up to such a level that continuing makes no sense.
Even if a company reaches break-even in the “delay” years, it will lose when the repeal is effective. If the premium subsidies now available to lower-income enrollees go away immediately and the mandate to sign up for an insurance plan disappears, then the number of people purchasing individual policies on the exchanges will drop like a rock. In fact, it is clear that even debating this scenario is likely to be self-fulfilling, since insurers must decide on their participation for 2018 by the late spring of 2017. Look for many to leave then…
It is easy to predict that this induced uncertainty from Congress will effectively kill the exchanges even if it delays the implementation of repeal. As a result, all of the individuals who have benefited from coverage and subsidies will lose out. They will either not be able to gain insurance because of a pre-existing condition, or they won’t be able to afford the higher premiums.
* I’d like to call your attention to the updated publication of Obama’s Top 50 Accomplishments at the Washington Monthly. It was my great honor to work on compiling this list with Paul Glastris and other editors. Many of these achievements are threatened by the Trump administration and Republican-controlled Congress. But as I wrote in the days after the election:
…there are some portions of Obama’s legacy that can’t be undone – no matter what Republicans and the new president try to do. There are data points that have already been documented and recorded for the history books.
* Finally, take a look at this: