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Shelby Blames Border Crisis on Administration’s Failure to Enforce Immigration Laws

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Thursday, July 10, 2014, U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, (R) from Alabama, spoke before an emergency meeting of the Senate Appropriations Committee to review President Obama’s emergency supplemental request for more money to implement the President’s immigration strategy.  Sen. Shelby strongly criticized the Obama Administration’s failure to enforce our nation’s immigration laws and said that he has no confidence that the President’s request for more funds would solve the current border crisis.

Sen. Shelby said, “I personally have no confidence that pouring billions of dollars into our current immigration system will solve this crisis.”

Sen. Shelby said to the committee, “We are here because our Nation’s immigration system is broken.  We are here because the Obama Administration, as well as previous administrations, has failed to secure our border and has ignored our existing immigration laws.  Over the years, we have spent billions of dollars on immigration “enforcement,” but to no avail.  Currently, we have millions of illegal immigrants in our nation.”

Sen. Shelby continued, “The result of President Obama’s failure to enforce the immigration laws currently on the books has been predictable – and that is one of the reasons that we are here this afternoon.  Now, we are being asked by President Obama to approve a $3.7 billion request to resolve the current crisis at our border.”

Sen. Shelby said, “There are several questions that I believe need to be answered.  What exactly is the $3.7 billion going to address?  Will this request be the end?  Or will it be the beginning of many new requests by the Administration for ’emergency’ funding?  While the President is seeking billions for the admission, detention, and care of illegal children and adults, only $45.4 million is requested for the Department of Justice’s adjudication and immigration proceedings.  This fact is very troubling to me.”

Sen. Shelby said that HHS is spending more than $15,000 for every minor in U.S. custody.  For HHS, alone, the President requests an additional $1.8 billion, with no firm policy to stem the influx and no way to pay for it.  I personally have no confidence that pouring billions of dollars into our current immigration system will solve this crisis.  I think we have to get serious about enforcing our current laws and protecting our border if we are ever to get different results.”

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Sen. Shelby said that, “In 2011, HHS took custody of 6,560 unaccompanied children coming to this country illegally.  Today, that number has skyrocketed.  Indeed, since last October, roughly 52,000 unaccompanied children have illegally entered the United States.  Customs and Border Protection estimates that as many as 150,000 children may attempt to cross the border in 2015.  If we continue to double down on the same failed immigration policies, where does that take us in 2016, 2017, and beyond?”

Sen. Shelby concluded, “I look forward to working with the Committee to ensure that we do not reward illegal immigration.  I believe that we must start with actually securing our border, enforcing our Nation’s immigration laws, and definitively saying “no” to people who come here illegally.”  Sen. Shelby is the Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Senator Jeff Sessions (R) agreed with his Alabama colleague.  Sen. Sessions said, “Congress must not acquiesce to spending more taxpayer dollars until the President unequivocally rescinds his threat of more illegal executive action… Congress cannot surrender to this lawlessness. Acting in defense of Congress, our constituents, and their communities, we must stand firm. This transcends politics. It is about our duty as constitutional officeholders. It is about the solemn oath we all took as Members of Congress.”

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The Alabama Policy Institute’s Cameron Smith wrote on Wednesday, July 16, “President Obama’s DACA program falsely fueled hope for thousands of would-be immigrants seeking opportunity for their children. Now those parents who traveled with their children and thousands of unaccompanied children are detained and being carted around the United States as our government attempts to sort out their return. The President accurately recognizes the “immediate humanitarian crisis,” but he fails to acknowledge his role in creating it.”

Conservative groups have announced plans to protest the current border crisis and a controversial immigration reform proposal that is under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives.  The National Day of Protesting Against Immigration Reform, Amnesty, and Border Surge will be held over two days on July 18 and 19.

The Birmingham area rally will be held in North Shelby County in front of the Wal-Mart on U.S. 280.  On Friday, July 18 the group will protest from 7:00 am to 9:00 am and then again from 5:00 pm to dusk. On Saturday, July 19 a rally will be held at the same location at 9:00 am.

The Federal government recently backed off on a plan to house undocumented minors at the Center for Domestic Preparedness, a FEMA training facility located in Anniston.  The Department of Health and Human Service is currently in the process of identifying facilities nationwide that could be used to house the flood of unaccompanied minors coming into the U.S. FEMA said the facilities are being evaluated to determine if they can provide temporary shelter space for children.

The stated purpose of the National Day of Protest is to raise awareness of the issue among the public and to send a message to Congress not to pass any form of amnesty, that the current chaos on the border is unacceptable, and that the border should be secured and current immigration laws should be enforced.

For more information about the anti-illegal immigration rally in the Birmingham area contact Deanna K. Frankowski at 999-1592.

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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Education

Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program gets more national attention

The article analyzed a recent study that found that students who attended the program were “statistically significantly more likely” to be proficient in both math and reading than those who did not.

Micah Danney

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(STOCK PHOTO)

The state’s First Class Pre-K program gives children advantages in math and reading that last into middle school, far longer than the gains studied in other high-quality pre-K programs, according to an article published in the International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy.

The article analyzed a recent study that found that students who attended the program were “statistically significantly more likely” to be proficient in both math and reading than those who did not.

While programs like Head Start and Tennessee’s pre-K program have been shown to lead to significant educational improvements when children enter kindergarten, those benefits appear to experience a “fadeout” within a year. 

The new research followed students through the 7th grade. Further research should examine the persistence of benefits through high school, according to the article, which was published by researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama, ThinkData and the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education.

The research “is reassuring and supports accountability for continued investments and expansion,” the article concluded.

The journal that featured the article is a publication of the National Institute of Early Education Research at Rutgers University.

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Congress

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne announces new chief of staff

Eddie Burkhalter

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U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne

Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Alabama, on Friday announced that Seth Morrow will serve as his chief of staff.

“As we enter the last half of 2020, my office remains busy assisting constituents and advancing our legislative priorities. I know Seth shares my focus on finishing out my term in Congress strong, and he is well prepared to move into the Chief of Staff role,” Byrne said in a statement. “My staff and I will continue working hard every day to fight for the people of Southwest Alabama and advance our conservative agenda.”

Morrow is a native of Guntersville and has worked for Byrne since June 2014, serving as deputy chief of staff and communications director. 

“I am grateful for this opportunity, and I’m committed to ensuring our office maintains our first class service to the people of Southwest Alabama. Congressman Byrne has always had the hardest working team on Capitol Hill, and I know we will keep that tradition going,” Morrow said in a statement.

Morrow replaces Chad Carlough, who has held the position of Byrne’s chief of staff since March 2017. 

“Chad has very ably led our Congressional team over the last few years, and I join the people of Southwest Alabama in thanking him for his dedicated service to our state and our country,” Byrne said. 

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Crime

Alabama Department of Corrections investigating inmate death

Robert Earl Adams, 40, died on Aug. 5 and although no foul play is suspected, a department spokeswoman in a message to APR said the exact cause of death is pending an autopsy.

Eddie Burkhalter

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The Alabama Department of Corrections is investigating the death of an inmate at the Donaldson Correctional Facility.

Robert Earl Adams, 40, died on Aug. 5 and although no foul play is suspected, a department spokeswoman in a message to APR said the exact cause of death is pending an autopsy.

“While Adams’ exact cause of death is pending the results of a full autopsy, at the time of his passing inmate Adams was not exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, was not under quarantine following direct exposure to an inmate or staff member who previously had tested positive, and was not in medical isolation as a result of a positive COVID-19 test,” said ADOC spokeswoman Samantha Rose in the message.

Because Adams was not exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, he had not been tested, Rose said.

An ADOC worker who contacted APR Friday morning about the death, who asked not to be identified for fear of repercussions from ADOC administrators, said it’s suspected that Adams may have overdosed after being given a cigarette laced with a drug.

Adams is at least the sixteenth state inmate to die this year from either homicide, suspected drug overdose or suicide. Additionally, fifteen inmates and two prison workers have died after testing positive for COVID-19.

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Alabama GOP chair: “We expect our elected officials to follow the law” after Dismukes arrest

“Will Dismukes matter: We expect our elected officials, regardless of Party, to follow the laws of our state and nation,” Alabama GOP chair Terry Lathan said on Twitter.

Brandon Moseley

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State Rep. Will Dismukes, R-Prattville, has been arrested on the charge of felony theft.

Alabama Republican Party Chair Terry Lathan said Thursday that Alabamians expect their leaders to follow the law. Her comments came in response to news that an arrest warrant had been issued for State Rep. Will Dismukes, R-Prattville, on the charge of felony theft.

“Will Dismukes matter: We expect our elected officials, regardless of Party, to follow the laws of our state and nation,” Lathan said on Twitter. “No one is immune to these standards. It is very disappointing to hear of these allegations. This is now a legal matter and it must run its course.”

Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, said Friday in a statement that Dismukes will get his day in court.

“As a former law enforcement officer, I have faith in the criminal justice process and trust that he will receive a full and fair hearing,” McCutcheon said. “Both Democrats and Republicans have been accused of similar crimes in the past, and we cannot tolerate such behavior whether the lawmaker involved has a D or an R beside their name.”

Dismukes has been charged by his former employer, a custom flooring company, of felony theft charges. Dismukes left that employer and started his own custom flooring company.

Dismukes, who is serving in his first term and is one of the youngest members of the Alabama Legislature, has been heavily criticized for his participation in a birthday party for Confederate Lt. General Nathan Bedford Forrest in Selma. Forrest was also the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

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The party in Selma occurred the same week that Congressman John Lewis’s funeral events were happening in Selma. Dismukes resigned his position at Valley Baptist Church when the Southern Baptists threatened to disassociate the Prattville Church if they retained Dismukes. He has defiantly refused to step down from the Legislature, but if convicted of a felony, he would be automatically removed from office.

Both Democrats and Republicans have called for Dismukes to resign from the Alabama House of Representatives over his being the chaplain of the Prattville Sons of Confederate Veterans and his Facebook post lauding Forrest. The investigation into the theft predates the controversies surrounding Dismukes’s glorification of the Confederacy and Forrest.

Republican State Sen. Clyde Chambliss, who also represents Prattville, has called on Dismukes to resign.

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“Since first being elected in 1996, I’ve had a policy of not publicly criticizing other elected officials, but at this time I am making an exception since Rep. Dismukes is MY state representative. He does not represent my views or the views of the vast majority of people of District 88,” Chambliss said. “The post is bad enough, the timing is even worse, but the real problem is that an elected official in 2020 would attend a celebration of the life of someone that led a group that terrorized and killed other human beings. He has had 24 hours to understand why people are so upset, but his interview on WSFA a few moments ago confirms that he is lacking in understanding and judgment — he should resign immediately.”

Alabama Democratic Party Chairman State Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, has repeatedly called for Dismukes to resign from the Alabama House of Representatives.

The Alabama Democratic Party recently said in a statement, “Will Dismukes is morally unfit for office. Republicans and Democrats statewide seem to agree. Unfortunately, despite the mounting calls for his immediate resignation, Will intends to stay in office and seek re-election without penalty from the Republican Party.”

“While Alabama Republicans hope this will be a distant memory when Dismukes runs for re-election in 2022, we are not going to let him off the hook,” the ADP wrote. “The Alabama Democratic Party is going to leverage every tool we have to send Will packing when he comes up for re-election in two years.”

“In our darkest hours in life there is still light in Christ!” Dismukes wrote on social media Wednesday. “As the storm continues to blow with heavy force, there is yet a peace that this too shall pass. I guess sometimes we find out if we have built our house on sand or the solid rock of Christ. Psalm 23.”

When Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, was indicted on 21 charges of felony ethics violations, he did not resign and actually remained speaker until a jury of his peers in Lee County convicted him on 12 counts.

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