Links to today’s show transcripts:
Public Citizen: Trump’s National Emergency Declaration Paves Way for Sweeping Authoritarianism
With one day left to pass a government spending bill before today’s midnight deadline to avert another government shutdown, both the House and Senate passed the measure Thursday that came out of the bipartisan conference committee earlier this week. The bill includes nearly $1.4 billion to build 55 miles of new border barriers out of steel, far less than the $5.7 billion requested by President Trump. Democrats quickly condemned the news, and consumer rights nonprofit Public Citizen vowed legal action against him.
New Interior Sec. David Bernhardt May Violate Trump’s Ethics Rule on Lobbyists in His Administration
According to an ethics complaint Public Citizen filed recently with the Interior Department’s ethics official and inspector general, President Trump’s selection of David Bernhardt as secretary of the Interior Department appears to have violated Trump’s executive order barring officials from working on any issues they had lobbied on in the two years prior to joining the administration. The complaint notes Bernhardt lobbied extensively on the Endangered Species Act, most recently on behalf of the Westlands Water District in 2016, when he reported lobbying on “potential legislation regarding the Bureau of Reclamation and the Endangered Species Act.” Public Citizen President Robert Weissman is interviewed.
Immigrant Activists: Democrats Are Capitulating to Trump by Approving Border, DHS Funding
President Trump is expected to declare a national emergency today to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border despite opposition from Congress, after he signs the latest spending bill, which includes nearly $1.4 billion to build 55 miles of new border barriers out of steel, far less than the $5.7 billion he requested. Congressmembers Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib issued a statement that they voted against the bill because it gives more funding to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “That is the right thing to do. We’ve been pushing for Democrats to do the right thing, to stop playing [Trump’s] games,” says our guest Erika Andiola, chief advocacy officer for RAICES, the Texas-based Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services.
Asylum Seekers Are Being Imprisoned in an Abandoned Factory in Mexico Under Trump Admin Policy
As Trump plans to declare a national emergency, we look at what some have called the real humanitarian crisis at the border. Riot police in northern Mexico blocked hundreds of desperate Central American migrants Wednesday as they tried to escape an abandoned factory complex where they’ve been imprisoned while waiting for the U.S. to process their asylum claims. More than 1,700 migrants have been held in the maquiladora in the Mexican border town of Piedras Negras since February 5, after they arrived in a caravan of people seeking asylum in the U.S. The vast majority have remained prisoners at the site, after the Trump administration adopted a “Remain in Mexico” policy for asylum seekers—processing just 15 asylum applications per day at the nearby Eagle Pass border crossing. A migrant adult and child spoke with the Texas-based immigrant rights group RAICES, and Democracy Now! gets an update from Erika Andiola, chief advocacy officer for RAICES, the Texas-based Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services.