Quick Takes: No DACA Deal

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* Earlier today I outlined the four bills the Senate considered today in the debate on finding a legislative fix for DACA. All four of them failed to get 60 votes.

McCain-Coons 52-47
Toomey 54-45
Rounds-King 54-45
Grassley 39-60

The Hill chose the appropriate headline:

* In case you had any doubts about the Trump administration’s commitment to deport ’em all…

Federal immigration officials said Wednesday they have arrested more than 100 people who are in violation of immigration laws as part of an ongoing operation in the Los Angeles area that began Sunday.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Sarah Rodriguez said their Los Angeles-area team is targeting about 400 people across the seven counties they cover…

Another organizer, David Abud, who works with a group called ICE Out of L.A., said that they are “seeing more of these operations now and they are becoming more routine.”

“The way we understand it … these are political tactics being used by ICE to further terrorize communities and to weaponize what is supposed to be a law enforcement mechanism for political means,” he said…

Since President Donald Trump took office, the number of people apprehended at the border dropped, but arrests of immigrants inside the country surged, according to end-of-year immigration enforcement numbers released in December by the Department of Homeland Security…

“The president made it clear in his executive orders: There’s no population off the table,” said Thomas Homan, ICE’s acting director, in December. “If you’re in this country illegally, we’re looking for you and we’re going to look to apprehend you.

* Here’s one story that demonstrates what that kind of policy looks like:

At 5:30 a.m. Thursday, as Wilson Rodriguez Macarreno was getting ready for work, he noticed a stranger peering into his Tukwila, Wash., home.

Rodriguez, a carpenter and native of Honduras, had confronted a string of attempted intrusions to his home in recent weeks. He worried about his 3-year-old twins and 1-year-old son, his lawyer, Luis Cortes Romero, told The Washington Post. So the father decided to call 911 to report a possible trespasser.

Within minutes, police arrived at the home outside Seattle. They determined that the suspect had indeed trespassed onto Rodriguez’s property, but they had no probable cause to arrest him, they said.

Then the officers asked Rodriguez for his identification. For about 14 years, Rodriguez had been living in the country illegally. He knew he lacked legal documents, but he agreed to give his name to the authorities, assuming it was for routine reporting purposes, Cortes said.

Moments later, the officers handcuffed Rodriguez and placed him into the back of a patrol car.

* Trump’s travel bans continue to not fare well in court.

Donald Trump’s latest travel ban on travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries is unconstitutional because it discriminates against people based on their religion, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

In a 9-4 vote, the fourth US circuit court of appeals in Richmond, Virginia, said it examined statements made by Trump and other administration officials, as well as the ban itself, and concluded that it was “unconstitutionally tainted with animus toward Islam”.

* Right wingers continue to use every opportunity to attack the FBI.

The far-right on Thursday fumed at the FBI in the aftermath of the Florida high school shooting, suggesting that the bureau’s previous investigation into Russian meddling had detracted from the agency’s core duties and allowed the massacre to happen.

The scapegoating of the law enforcement agency was prompted by a YouTuber telling news outlets, including CNN, that he had alerted the FBI in September about a comment left on one of his videos which said, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.” That comment was left by an individual going by the same name of the suspected Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter.

“The FBI was too busy trying to undermine the president to bother with doing it’s [sic] freaking job,” tweeted Kurt Schlichter, a columnist for the conservative news website Downhill. Schlichter’s tweet was liked on Twitter by President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr…

Robert Mueller took over the Russia investigation in May, months before the FBI was alerted to the suspicious Internet activity from a user with the same name as the suspected shooter in September. While Mueller’s team has drawn on some resources from the FBI to assist the Russia investigation, the involvement of FBI agents is far too small to likely impede the bureau’s efforts to prevent mass shootings.

* Things that make you go “Hmmmmm…

Steve Bannon, who served as President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, was interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller over multiple days this week, NBC News has learned from two sources familiar with the proceedings.

Bannon spent a total of some 20 hours in conversations with the team led by Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia as well as other issues that have arisen around the probe.

* A lead article in Quick Takes last week came via a prediction from Stan Collender that we might be witnessing the demise of the House Freedom Caucus. Today, Ben White writes that Mark Meadows (chair of the HFC) may be the most frustrated man in Washington.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, is a frustrated man.

He’s frustrated that the Senate is taking the lead in the immigration debate. He’s frustrated that the Republican Party is presiding over a period of exploding deficits and rising debt. And he’s frustrated that the scandal over ousted White House aide Rob Porter could have compromised national security…

Meadows said he’s more hopeful now that Republicans can retain the House given improved poll numbers. But he said if they don’t, it could spell the end of the Freedom Caucus.

* Republicans are going all-in on the special election race in the 18th Congressional District of Pennsylvania. Not only are they pouring in big money, both Trump and Pence are stumping for the Republican candidate Rick Saccone. The district, which Trump won by 20 points, is deeply red. But Ed Kilgore reports on a poll that should have Republicans pretty worried.

A rare public poll (from Monmouth) of the special congressional election race in the 18th Congressional District of Pennsylvania shows Democrat Conor Lamb within the margin of error of the lead of Republican Rick Saccone. The lead for Saccone ranges from five points (50/45) in a low-turnout scenario, to four points (48/44) in a very-high-turnout scenario, to just three points (49/46) in a scenario based on the turnout patterns in 2017 special elections.

Here is another finding from that same poll that is pretty interesting:

President Donald Trump earns a nominally positive job rating from likely voters in this district – 51% approve and 47% disapprove.

* Finally, Frank Ocean just released a mesmerizing cover of “Moon River.” I got a kick out of this comment at Youtube: “If you lay down in a pitch black room and listen to this song with some headphones, you can save yourself $15 on a tab of acid bc this shit will take you places.”

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .