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Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; eli@elikantorlaw.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com

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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Trump Deflects Questions About Taxes, but First Debate Has a New Issue

 Trump Deflects Questions About Taxes, but First Debate Has a New Issue

by Peter Baker & Michael D. Shear


WASHINGTON — The disclosure that President Trump paid little or no federal income taxes for years, including while in the White House, convulsed the presidential campaign on Monday with only five weeks to go and immediately scrambled the equation and stakes of the first debate to be held on Tuesday night.

While Mr. Trump tried to deflect the news about his taxes, and his Republican allies generally kept their silence, Democrats pounced and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the party’s presidential candidate, posted a video noting that the president paid less in income taxes than everyday Americans like teachers, firefighters and nurses.

The report in The New York Times, published online on Sunday evening and in print on Monday, revealed that Mr. Trump paid no federal income taxes for 11 of the 18 years examined and just $750 in 2016, the year he won the presidency, and $750 in 2017, his first year in office. Mr. Trump wrote off more than $70,000 paid to style his hair during “The Apprentice” and collected $72.9 million in refunds challenged by I.R.S. auditors. He owes hundreds of millions of dollars to creditors due in the next four years.

The tax data analyzed by The Times, which was provided by sources with legal access to it, further undercut the image of a wildly successful businessman long projected by Mr. Trump while he was reporting expansive and chronic losses by many of his marquee properties like his golf courses in Florida and Europe and his hotel in Washington — losses that he then used to reduce or eliminate tax liabilities.


How the revelations may change the presidential campaign was an open question. The race has remained remarkably steady and without major shifts through all sorts of seismic developments. But with only 35 days before the election on Nov. 3, every day that the president does not transform the dynamics of a campaign that polls show he is currently trailing in is a missed opportunity.

“We know the vast majority of Americans long ago made up their minds about President Trump, either for or against him, so the tax revelations are not likely to shift the election in any fundamental way,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster. “That said, they could play a role in giving Joe Biden some ammunition for the debate and at the margins for some people who feel that $750 is not enough to pay in taxes regardless of the circumstances.”


Mr. Trump, who unlike other presidents since Watergate has adamantly refused to release his tax returns and fought efforts to obtain them all the way to the Supreme Court, attacked the Times report on Monday on Twitter without actually denying any of its particulars.

“The Fake News Media, just like Election time 2016, is bringing up my Taxes & all sorts of other nonsense with illegally obtained information & only bad intent,” he wrote. “I paid many millions of dollars in taxes but was entitled, like everyone else, to depreciation & tax credits.” He later refused to take questions at his only public event of the day.


But there was quiet concern within the campaign, where aides took note of daily tracking numbers from Rasmussen Reports, a typically rosy assessment of how the president is faring, that showed support falling after the tax story. Among Mr. Trump’s circle, there was finger-pointing about how the issue was handled and a hesitancy to discuss with him an issue they know he is sensitive about.

Many of the president’s advisers argued that such stories have never harmed his standing with core supporters in the past and that this would be no exception. They recognized, however, that Mr. Trump would have to have an effective response prepared for the debate, the first encounter between the two candidates, scheduled for 9 p.m. Eastern at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Some aides suggested he try to finesse an answer similar to what he has said previously, that taking advantage of the tax code is simply “smart” for a business person, while also painting himself as a jobs creator.


Tim Murtaugh, the campaign spokesman, called the report inaccurate because the president has paid “tens of millions in taxes,” without specifying whether they were federal income taxes or directly denying that there were years he paid none. “This has been litigated in front of the voters before,” he said on Fox News. “The president released more than 100 pages of financial records. And Americans made their judgment in 2016 and elected him president. There’s nothing in there that changes anyone’s mind.”

Still, some of the details, particularly paying only $750 in federal income taxes two years in a row and deducting hairstyling expenses, among other things, could resonate in a visceral way. Democrats expressed hope that they could fuel a sense of injustice with everyday Americans who pay far more themselves and cannot write off hair expenses.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York tweeted that she paid thousands of dollars in federal taxes in 2016 and 2017 — when she was still working as a bartender in New York City. “He contributed less to funding our communities than waitresses & undocumented immigrants,” she wrote. The Biden campaign video showing the typical income tax paid by various workers amplified the attack.


The Biden campaign also began selling T-shirts, buttons and stickers that say, “I paid more income taxes than Donald Trump.” And the campaign on Monday launched an online “Trump tax calculator” allowing people to calculate how much more they paid in federal income taxes than Mr. Trump. “Mad? Us too,” the web page for the tax calculator said. “Join our campaign to elect Joe Biden and make ‘billionaires’ like Donald Trump pay their fair share.”


“The man paid $750,” Senator Kamala Harris of California, Mr. Biden’s running mate, said mockingly at an event in North Carolina. “Come on now.”

In an interview with MSNBC, she said the president owed full disclosure. “The American people have a right to know that when the president of the United States acts, he acts with their priorities in mind, not with his priorities in mind,” she said. “And we’ve already known that he puts his political priorities in front of the American people.”

The records reviewed by The Times showed that Mr. Trump was personally responsible for loans and other debts totaling $421 million, with about $300 million of it coming due in the next four years when he would be serving a second term if he wins on Nov. 3. That raised the scenario of lenders being forced to decide whether to foreclose on a sitting president or give him a special break to avoid doing so.

“This president appears to have over $400 million in debt, 420, whatever it is, million dollars in debt,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on MSNBC. “To whom? Different countries? What is the leverage they have? So for me, this is a national security question.”


While Republican lawmakers dodged questions about Mr. Trump’s taxes, John Kasich, the Republican former governor of Ohio who has endorsed Mr. Biden, said the disclosures could affect blue-collar voters who are not yet decided.


“These folks are scraping to make a living and they’re going to wake up to find out this incredible mogul paid $750? I don’t care what his excuses are,” Mr. Kasich told CNN. “It doesn’t pass the smell test. It’s not going to disrupt those people who were for him totally. They’ll still be for him. But it’s those people on the fence.”

Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee that writes tax law, declined to comment on how little Mr. Trump paid in taxes. “The thought that comes to my mind is how come it’s taking the I.R.S. so long to get the audits done,” he told reporters. Asked about the $750 tax payments, Mr. Grassley said, “I want to wait until the I.R.S. gets done so I know how much he owes.”

Other Republicans avoided discussing the matter at all. Spokesmen for Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the top two Republicans in the Senate, declined to comment.

One of the few prominent voices outside Mr. Trump’s campaign to come to his defense was Rush Limbaugh, the conservative talk show host who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in February at Mr. Trump’s State of the Union address.

Mr. Limbaugh said on his show on Monday that Mr. Trump’s penchant for minimizing his taxes was something to be proud of, not scorned. “He’s a master at this,” Mr. Limbaugh said. “These tax returns show that he is a master at using the tax code legally. If Trump had done all of this illegal stuff after all of these years, it would have caught up with him by now.”

Mr. Trump on Sunday night initially dismissed the Times report as “fake news” only to pivot on Monday to say that it was information that was illegally obtained.

Dean Baquet, The Times’s executive editor, wrote in an editor’s note published Sunday that “the Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that the First Amendment allows the press to publish newsworthy information that was legally obtained by reporters even when those in power fight to keep it hidden.”

In his tweets, the president seemed to be as upset about the perception that he is not as wealthy and successful as he claims to be.

“If you look at the extraordinary assets owned by me, which the Fake News hasn’t, I am extremely under leveraged — I have very little debt compared to the value of assets,” he insisted. Mr. Trump said he might release a new financial document. “It is a very IMPRESSIVE Statement, and also shows that I am the only President on record to give up my yearly $400,000 plus Presidential Salary!”

In fact, as the article noted, Mr. Trump is heavily in debt, and much of what he owes to lenders will have to be paid back in just a few years. Mr. Trump is not the only president to give up his salary; Herbert Hoover and John F. Kennedy did, too. But Mr. Trump’s company has been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the government in compensation for rooms at his properties for Secret Service and staff members.

Reporting was contributed by Maggie Haberman, Shane Goldmacher and Neil Vigdor from New York, and Nicholas Fandos, Thomas Kaplan, Annie Karni and Zach Montague from Washington.


For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/

Immigrants Say They Were Pressured Into Unneeded Surgeries

 Immigrants Say They Were Pressured Into Unneeded Surgeries

by Caitlin Dickerson, Seth Freed Wessler, & Miriam Jordan

Wendy Dowe was startled awake early one morning in January 2019, when guards called her out of her cellblock in the Irwin County immigration detention center in rural Georgia, where she had been held for four months. She would be having surgery that day, they said.

Still groggy, the 48-year-old immigrant from Jamaica, who had been living without legal status in the United States for two decades before she was picked up by immigration authorities, felt a swell of dread come over her. An outside gynecologist who saw patients in immigration custody told her that the menstrual cramping she had was caused by large cysts and masses that needed to be removed, but she was skeptical. The doctor insisted, she said, and as a detainee — brought to the hospital in handcuffs and shackles — she felt pressured to consent.

It was only after she was deported to Jamaica and had her medical files reviewed by several other doctors that she knew she had been right to raise questions.

A radiologist’s report, based on images of her internal organs from her time at Irwin, described her uterus as being a healthy size, not swollen with enlarged masses and cysts, as the doctor had written in his notes. The cysts she had were small, and the kind that occur naturally and do not usually require surgical intervention.


“I didn’t have to do any of it,” Ms. Dowe said.

The Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Ga., drew national attention this month after a nurse, Dawn Wooten, filed a whistle-blower complaint claiming that detainees had told her they had had their uteruses removed without their full understanding or consent.

Since then, both ICE and the hospital in Irwin County have released data that show that two full hysterectomies have been performed on women detained at Irwin in the past three years. But firsthand accounts are now emerging from detainees, including Ms. Dowe, who underwent other invasive gynecological procedures that they did not fully understand and, in some cases, may not have been medically necessary.

At least one lawyer brought the complaints about gynecological care to the attention of the center’s top officials in 2018, according to emails obtained by The New York Times, but the outside referrals continued.


The Times interviewed 16 women who were concerned about the gynecological care they received while at the center, and conducted a detailed review of the medical files of seven women who were able to obtain their records. All 16 were treated by Dr. Mahendra Amin, who practices gynecology in the nearby town of Douglas and has been described by ICE officials as the detention center’s “primary gynecologist.”


The cases were reviewed by five gynecologists — four of them board-certified and all with medical school affiliations — who found that Dr. Amin consistently overstated the size or risks associated with cysts or masses attached to his patients’ reproductive organs. Small or benign cysts do not typically call for surgical intervention, where large or otherwise troubling ones sometimes do, the experts said.

The doctors stressed that in some cases the medical files might not have been complete and that additional information could potentially shift their analyses. But they noted that Dr. Amin seemed to consistently recommend surgical intervention, even when it did not seem medically necessary at the time and nonsurgical treatment options were available.

In almost every woman’s chart, Dr. Amin listed symptoms such as heavy bleeding with clots and chronic pelvic pain, which could justify surgery. But some of the women said they never experienced or reported those symptoms to him.

Both the reviewing doctors and all of the women interviewed by The Times raised concerns about whether Dr. Amin had adequately explained the procedures he performed or provided his patients with less invasive alternatives. Spanish-speaking women said a nurse who spoke Spanish was only sporadically present during their exams.

The diagnoses and procedures are “poorly supported” and “not well documented,” said Dr. Sara Imershein, a clinical professor at George Washington University and the Washington, D.C., chair of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Even if the patients had reported the symptoms recorded by Dr. Amin, “there would have been many avenues to pursue before rushing to surgery,” she said. “Advil for one.”

“He is overly aggressive in his treatment and does not explore appropriate medical management before turning to procedures or surgical intervention,” said Dr. Deborah Ottenheimer, a forensic evaluator and instructor at the Weill Cornell Medical School Human Rights Clinic.


But the doctors who reviewed the cases noted that aggressive overtreatment is all too common among doctors — especially with patients who do not have the resources to seek a second opinion.

Dr. Ada Rivera, medical director of the ICE Health Service Corps, said in a statement that the whistle-blower’s allegations “raise some very serious concerns that deserve to be investigated quickly and thoroughly.” She added, “If there is any truth to these allegations, it is my commitment to make the corrections necessary to ensure we continue to prioritize the health, welfare and safety of ICE detainees.”

Dr. Amin’s lawyer, Scott Grubman, said in a statement that the physician “strongly disputes any allegations that he treated any patient with anything other than the utmost care and respect.”

“Dr. Amin also strongly disputes that any patient was treated without full informed consent,” the statement continued. Mr. Grubman said that patient privacy laws prevented him from discussing any specific patient’s treatment, but in each case it “was medically necessary, performed within the standard of care, and done only after obtaining full informed consent.”

The statement added that Dr. Amin always uses an interpreter when treating patients who do not speak English and “always attempts to treat his patients with more conservative treatment, including medicine and less invasive procedures, before even recommending surgery,” which he views as a last resort.

Independent doctors that provide treatment for ICE detainees are paid for the procedures they perform with Department of Homeland Security funds. Procedures like the ones that Dr. Amin performed are normally billed at thousands of dollars each.


Dr. Amin’s billings had previously come to the attention of federal authorities. In 2013, the Justice Department named him in a civil case alleging that he and several other doctors had overbilled Medicare and Medicaid by, among other things, performing unnecessary procedures on terminal patients and leaving the emergency room staffed by nurses while billing for diagnoses and treatments as if they had been performed by doctors. The case was settled, and the defendants were collectively required to pay $520,000 while admitting no fault.


In many cases, Dr. Amin’s patients said they were confused about why they ended up being sent to his office in the first place — some after raising medical issues that had nothing to do with gynecology.

Yuridia, a 36-year-old immigrant from Mexico, sought out a nurse at the center soon after she arrived because she was having pain in her rib after a fight with her abusive ex-partner just before she was picked up by ICE. She asked to be identified by her first name because she feared for her safety.

She was sent for a medical exam at Dr. Amin’s office, where she said he began to prepare an ultrasound machine. “I was assuming they were going to check my rib,” she said. “The next thing I know, he’s doing a vaginal exam.”

Dr. Amin recorded in his notes that Yuridia had cysts in her ovaries and scheduled a surgery to remove them. He also wrote that she had complained of heavy menstruation and pelvic pain. She said that she never experienced or reported those conditions and that she had not asked to see a gynecologist.

Weeks later, she underwent surgery. Pathology reports show that she did not have dangerous cysts, but small ones of the kind that occur naturally in most women and do not call for surgical intervention.

Yuridia said she had expected only a minor procedure that would be performed vaginally, but she was surprised when she woke up to find three incisions on her abdomen and a piece of skin missing from her genital area.


“I woke up and I was alone, and I was in pain and everyone spoke English so I could not ask any questions,” Yuridia said. Three days later, still sore and recovering, she was deported.

Yuridia’s case bears striking similarities to others that the panel of doctors reviewed. Many of them led to two surgical procedures performed simultaneously: “dilation and curettage,” often referred to as a “D & C,” which involves inserting tools into a woman’s vagina and scraping tissue from the uterus, and laparoscopy, in which three incisions are made to insert a camera into the abdominal cavity to examine or perform procedures on the reproductive organs.

The cases suggest a pattern of “excessively aggressive surgical intervention without adequate trial of medical remedies,” Dr. Ottenheimer said.

It was the Irwin County center’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic that inspired Ms. Wooten, the nurse whose whistle-blower complaint was first reported by The Intercept, to come forward about another issue that troubled her: Dr. Amin’s surgeries. She said in an interview that she had for years noticed that an inordinate number of women were being referred to Dr. Amin. She said she would hear reports that they had undergone surgeries but that they had no idea why the surgeries were performed.

“After they get up from general anesthesia,” Ms. Wooten said, the women would ask, “Why’d I have this surgery?”

“And I don’t have an answer for why,” she said. “I am just as shocked as they are. Nobody explained it to them.”

Data from ICE inspection reports show that the center, which is operated by a private prison company, Lasalle Corrections, refers more than 1,000 detainees a year for outside medical care, far more than most other immigration detention centers of the same size. It is not clear how many of these referrals are for gynecological care. Lasalle Corrections did not respond to requests for comment.


Concerns from women detained at Irwin emerged long before Ms. Wooten came forward.

Ms. Dowe, after being told by Dr. Amin that she had a mass the size of a “cantaloupe” on her uterus, had reached out in early 2019 to Donald Anthonyson, an immigrant advocate she had met through a fellow detainee. She was asking for help, Mr. Anthonyson said.

“She expressed real concerns about going to that doctor,” he said. “She was concerned about what was happening to her and what she was hearing from other women.”

Unlike some of the women who had no gynecological complaints, Ms. Dowe was experiencing intense menstrual cramping, which the doctors who reviewed her case said could sometimes justify the procedure she underwent — but only if the patient understands the options and elects to move forward. Even then, the doctors raised questions about several seemingly healthy and naturally occurring cysts that Dr. Amin might have removed unnecessarily while he was operating on her.

After the procedure, Dr. Amin wrote in his notes that Ms. Dowe requested a second surgery — a full abdominal hysterectomy and removal of her ovaries.

But Ms. Dowe insists she never made any such request. A note in her medical records from the detention center appears to corroborate her denial. “Detainee is requesting a second opinion to have a hysterectomy,” it reads, “OB/GYN scheduled hysterectomy and patient refused.”

Complaints about Dr. Amin had also been raised with senior officials long before Ms. Dowe’s case.

In November 2018, a woman named Nancy Gonzalez Hidalgo was left shaken after several visits with the physician, during which she said he performed rough vaginal ultrasounds and ignored her when she cried out in pain. Ms. Gonzalez Hidalgo’s lawyers sent an email to the warden of the center, David Paulk.


In the email, Erin Argueta, a lawyer at the Southern Poverty Law Center, explained that Ms. Gonzalez Hidalgo’s health was worsening because of complications she was experiencing from an earlier miscarriage.

“Nancy hesitated to seek medical attention because her last experience with Dr. Amin was so painful and traumatic that she did not want to be sent back to him,” Ms. Argueta wrote.

She referred in her email to several previous verbal complaints about Dr. Amin that lawyers had taken to the center’s inmates services director, Marteka George. “Ms. George stated that this was not the first time someone complained about Dr. Amin, and she said that she would look into whether Nancy could see a different provider,” the lawyer wrote.

The warden responded twice, stating on Nov. 30 that Ms. Gonzalez Hidalgo had been scheduled for an appointment with an outside provider “that is unassociated with Dr. Amin.” The other doctor, Warden Paulk said, was “reportedly well thought of by his patients.”

Warden Paulk did not respond to requests for comment.

Other women who questioned Dr. Amin’s care in the past said they had also faced challenges when they tried to seek answers.

On the morning of Aug. 14, Mileidy Cardentey Fernandez said, there was no interpreter present at the Irwin County Hospital when she was presented with consent forms in English to sign for a procedure she was undergoing that day.


She asked the technician, “Spanish, please? Little English.” The woman urged her to sign the forms — and so she did.

Afterward, she said, she filled out a form on numerous occasions at the detention center requesting her medical records but got no response.

“I wanted to know everything they had done,” she said. “I made requests for the biopsy, analyses, and they don’t want to give them to me. They said they don’t have the results. How can they not have the results?”

When she was released from detention on Sept. 21, she called her daughter in Virginia and then headed straight to Dr. Amin’s clinic with her lawyer to demand her records, which she received.

Some women said they had managed to avoid surgeries by Dr. Amin but not without facing resistance.

Enna Perez Santos said she objected when Dr. Amin suggested that she undergo a procedure similar to the ones that other women had complained about. Dr. Amin, she said, counseled her that it was a mistake to forgo the treatment and he wrote in his notes that she had asked to speak to a mental health care provider.

Back at the detention center on the same day, Ms. Perez Santos was given a psychiatric evaluation. “I am nervous about my upcoming procedure,” Ms. Perez Santos told the examiner, according to the practitioner’s notes. “I am worried because I saw someone else after they had surgery, and what I saw scared me.”

Ms. Perez Santos was brought three more times to Dr. Amin’s office over the next several months, she recalled. Each time, she said, Dr. Amin raised the prospect of a surgery. She felt “pressured” to agree, she said, but each time she told him she did not consent.


Three board certified gynecologists who reviewed Ms. Perez Santos’s medical files say that her instincts appear to have been correct. “Based on what I see here, Amin was inappropriately suggesting a D & C scope,” Dr. Ottenheimer said. “There is nothing at all there to support the procedure.”

Kitty Bennett contributed research.


For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/

Union leader vows 'infrequent' minority voters will help deliver Biden victory

 Union leader vows 'infrequent' minority voters will help deliver Biden victory

by Rafael Bernal

Union leader vows 'infrequent' minority voters will help deliver Biden victory

© Getty Images

President Trump’s allies aren’t the only ones arguing their side is being underrepresented in polling.

Mary Kay Henry, president of the powerful Service Employees International Union (SEIU), said communities of color are being undercounted in surveys but will turn out to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

"We're not going to lose this election," Henry told The Hill. "We are going to make sure the voters in the communities that didn't feel spoken to or feel like they had a reason to vote, are able to understand clearly why we have to elect Vice President Biden, Sen. [Kamala] Harris [D-Calif.], and champions up and down the ballot.”

The 2 million member SEIU is focusing its campaign efforts on both union and nonunion workers of color, including some "infrequent voters" who don’t always factor into electoral polling.

"The polls from our perspective are not recording the work that we're doing in communities of color that have large numbers of infrequent voters that need to be persuaded about why politics matters in their lives and about why they need to show up to vote," she said.

According to the Pew Research Center, Latino voters will make up the second largest racial or ethnic group of voters in the country for the first time in November's election, despite being the group with the lowest proportion of eligible voters.

Black voters — the next biggest group — have traditionally had higher rates of participation, but most areas with a high proportion of African American voters are in deep red or deep blue states, somewhat diminishing the group’s voting power.

Since 2000, the Asian and Latino voter bases doubled in size, while Black voters grew by almost a quarter, according to Pew.

Together, minority voters make up about a third of the country's voting population, but their opinions are often not reflected in national polls because of accessibility issues, language barriers or the "infrequent voter" label.

"We are telling our member leaders and community organizations that we're working with to ignore the polls," said Henry. "Everybody has a searing memory of the polls in 2016.”

The results of the 2016 election, where Trump pulled off an Electoral College win despite trailing in national polls and losing the popular vote by about 2 percentage points, increased public skepticism of voter surveys, something Trump has sought to exploit this time around as polls show him behind Biden both nationally and in several battleground states.

Trump last week panned Fox News's 2016 polling, which on the eve of the election showed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with a 4-point lead.

"Fox said they were going to change pollsters, but they didn’t. They totally over sample Democrats to a point that a child could see what is going on," Trump tweeted.

In June, several GOP senators also called into question Trump’s showing in the polls.

Capturing new voters in polls can be challenging, leading to Election Day surprises like Trump’s Midwest support in 2016 and Latino support for Democrats in the Southwest two years ago.

Henry said minority voter turnout this November will be more comparable to 2018, when Latino, Black and Asian voters played a key role in flipping the House.

That turnout was driven in part by candidates like former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas), whose unsuccessful Senate campaign still helped energize voters to cast ballots for other Democrats.

With the challenge posed by the coronavirus pandemic, Henry said SEIU is relying on its deep ties in working-class communities to excite voters and to help them register.

Henry said the SEIU's $150 million election program reaches voters of color multiple times, through text messages, direct mail and phone calls.

The union is reaching out to voters in battleground states like Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

"That kind of environment, where it's about a community effort to show up and change things … I think it's going to overcome that fear and disillusionment and frankly the division and chaos that the current president is trying to sow and reap," said Henry.

"We are overcoming that with our ground game even though the ground game is different," she added.

Bonita Williams, a member of the 32BJ SEIU local who has been involved with political outreach for nearly 20 years, is taking contractual time off from her job cleaning an office building in Virginia this year to canvass for candidates supported by the union.

"This is very hard, it's very different to just sit in the house and make calls eight hours a day as opposed to walking and knocking on doors," said Williams. "This coronavirus has really put us in a dilemma.”

Williams said she encountered the most enthusiasm when canvassing for former President Obama in 2008 and 2012.

"Everybody wanted to get out and vote," said Williams. "This happened both times for President Obama."

And while it’s harder to gauge that level of enthusiasm for Biden by phone, she said, many of the Virginia voters she has talked to say they are ready to learn to vote by mail or brave long lines at the polls amid a pandemic to vote against Trump.

"They're saying they'd rather go out and vote to get Trump out of the [White House], because they're saying we can't take four more years of Trump," said Williams.

For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/

Monday, September 28, 2020

Former GOP lawmakers on endorsing Biden: Trump is no Republican, 'lacks basic self-control'

 Former GOP lawmakers on endorsing Biden: Trump is no Republican, 'lacks basic self-control'

by Morgan Gstalter


Two former Republican lawmakers wrote an op-ed on Friday explaining why they are supporting Democrat Joe Biden instead of President Trump in November, arguing Trump is “an ill-formed man who lacks basic self-control and shows no semblance of inner character.”

Former Reps. Charles Djou (R-Hawaii) and Mickey Edwards (R-Okla.) in an opinion piece for Roll Call condemned Trump’s “childish name-calling, crude behavior and immature narcissism.”

“Civility is a trait of inner character and self-confidence. That is why we are so disturbed by Trump’s name-calling and childish taunting, his penchant for conspiracy theories and his embrace of conspiracy websites, all of which reflect a disturbing paranoia,” they wrote.

“Donald Trump may pretend to be heir to the great Republican tradition that appealed to us both but he is no Republican. He is simply an ill-formed man who lacks basic self-control and shows no semblance of inner character,” the lawmakers added.

In the piece, they noted that Edwards is a founding trustee of the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank and a former chairman of the American Conservative Union, while Djou is an Afghanistan War veteran who graduated from Trump’s alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance. 

However, the former GOP lawmakers criticized Trump’s reported disparaging remarks calling fallen military heroes “suckers” and “losers” as well as his relatively warm relationships with Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

They also cited Trump’s “anti-immigration devotion to isolationism” for losing their support in his reelection.

“He recklessly declares that immigrants are ‘animals’ and ‘rapists.’ His anti-immigrant approach bears a much closer relationship to the autocrats in Turkey or Russia or China than the American Statue of Liberty,” the former lawmakers wrote.

Djou and Edwards were among the almost 100 former Republican lawmakers and officials who endorsed Biden earlier this month as part of a new group called Republicans & Independents for Biden. 

The organization, led by former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman (R), said its "sole mission is to defeat Donald Trump and elect Joe Biden the next President of the United States."

Djou and Edwards said the Democratic presidential candidate is “not a perfect man, but he is a man of humble decency.”

“America needs a restored sense of national unity, basic civility and true character in our president,” they concluded. “After four years of reckless Trumpian chaos and division, we believe it is time for a new president and ask that you join us.”

For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/

Fears grow of chaotic election

 Fears grow of chaotic election

by Alexander Bolton

Senators in both parties are bracing for what they fear will be a “chaotic” election, heightening the stakes of next month’s Supreme Court confirmation battle.

President Trump has said he wants a ninth Supreme Court justice to be confirmed so that the court is full before it potentially has to make any decisions on an election. If Trump’s nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, is confirmed, it would cement a conservative majority on the court that would include three justices nominated by the president.

Polls showing a close race against Democrat Joe Biden in several battleground states have lawmakers predicting the results won’t be known immediately after Election Day, particularly with millions expected to vote via mail-in ballots given the coronavirus pandemic.

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said he expects “chaos in some of the states that have extended [the deadline for counting ballots] beyond the normal day of the election.”

“I suspect we’ll have three, four days before the vote tallies will be close enough to make a determination,” he said.

The nation has already witnessed extreme delays in reporting election results this year.

The New York State Board of Elections didn’t finish counting a deluge of absentee ballots until more than a month after the June 23 primary.

In Philadelphia, voters had to stand in line for hours during the June 2 primary and some polling locations received the wrong voting machines, sowing confusion and frustration.  

Republicans in Pennsylvania plan to ask the Supreme Court to review a state court decision extending the date by which mailed ballots must be returned.

“The leaders are going to have to remind people, ‘Just wait, we’ll get this counted.’ It’s going to vary by state. That is a cause for concern,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.).

Kaine said any ruling by the Supreme Court on election results will be made problematic by the pending battle over Trump’s nominee.

“A Supreme Court that is either with a vacancy or with a rush-job partisan nomination, that’s a dangerous precedent,” he said.

Hillary Clinton, whom Trump narrowly defeated in 2016, has advised Biden publicly not to “concede under any circumstances because I think this is going to drag out.”

Kaine, who was Clinton’s running mate, said she is counseling Biden not to assume the results of any delayed count, recount or court challenge.

“I think she’s trying to say, ‘If there’s any doubt, don’t assume you know the outcome of this dispute, that dispute, that recount, this lawsuit,’ ” Kaine said.

Yet Kaine pledged that Biden would accept the outcome of the election.

“He believes so deeply in our institutions [and] peaceful transfer of power,” he said.

Trump has refused to make such a commitment while suggesting an increase in mail-in voting would bring questions about the result. There is no evidence that additional mail-in ballots would increase the chances of voter fraud.

Legal experts say the high court will have the ultimate authority to resolve any dispute over the election results, as it had in 2000 when justices stopped the Florida recount in a controversial five-to-four decision, handing the presidency to Republican George W. Bush.

Republicans including Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and John Cornyn (Texas) have cited the possibility of a 4-4 deadlocked court as a reason to confirm a new justice before the election.

But not all Republicans are buying the argument that the Supreme Court needs to have all nine justices to legitimately adjudicate disputed election results.

“I personally would have comfort with the court, whether it was eight or nine [justices] or less than eight. I have confidence in the justices particularly in a matter of this significance to do the right thing and to follow the law and the Constitution,” said Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah).

Both the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Republican National Committee (RNC) are gearing up for an intense legal fight.

A DNC official told The Hill on Friday that the party has 21 state voter protection directors on the ground across the country, including in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin.

The official said the DNC has made “historic investments” in voter protection infrastructure.

“We have a national hotline, along with several state-specific voter hotlines and are enlisting thousands of lawyers and volunteers on voter protection efforts across the country,” the source said.

Biden committed to “protect the vote” during a conference call with Senate Democrats earlier this month, according to a senator who participated in the meeting.

The RNC is committed to spending $20 million on legal efforts and is already involved in more than 40 lawsuits across the country.

“In addition to the 40-plus legal cases the RNC is involved in to protect election integrity, the RNC has been building a massive Election Day Operations plan and preparing for possible litigation and recount efforts for well over a year. We are working every day to ensure that the election is free, fair and transparent, and that we defend against Democrat efforts to upend our election process,” said RNC national press secretary Mandi Merritt.

The party committee has retained dozens of lawyers for anticipated litigation on the state and national level. In addition to the in-house counsel at the RNC and the Trump campaign, the party has pledged to train thousands of outside lawyers and volunteers to participate in its Election Day Operations campaign.

While Trump’s recent comments have raised the prospect that he might not commit to an orderly transition of power, legal experts say the president and the administration have little role in reporting or certifying the election results of all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The primary battlegrounds will be the state courts, which will handle the bulk if not all of the disputes over voter access, mail-in ballots and late counts.

“The White House and the president don’t have any role in determining who the electors are that ultimately choose the president,” said Erin Chlopak, the director of campaign finance strategy at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center.

The election results of each state will be certified and reported to Congress by the governor of each state according to the particular election law of each state, Chlopak said.

Chlopak said the two key dates after the election are Dec. 8, the so-called safe harbor date by which states must report its slate of electors to Congress in order for that result to be considered “conclusive.”

The electors are scheduled to meet Dec. 14 to formally elect the next president, a result the 117th Congress will formalize in a joint session scheduled at the start of next year.

“The Constitution provides for a new president to begin their term Jan. 20 and that proceeds whether our president agrees or likes that outcome or not,” said Chlopak.

“Each state and the District of Columbia have determined for more than 100 years to select that state’s electors by the popular vote,” she said. “After that popular vote occurs, it has to be certified by the executive of that state, which in most states is the governor, and then is transmitted to a joint session of Congress.

While Vice President Pence will preside over the joint session of Congress that formalizes the vote of the electors, his role is to preserve order and decorum and he will not have a decisionmaking role.

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