Shutdown over Trump wall demand threatens food, tax, transport and more | US news | The Guardian


The US woke on Saturday to the 15th day of a partial government shutdownthat Donald Trump said could go on for months or years, if he is not given funding for a wall on the Mexican border. New talks were due but as the nation digested the president’s rambling, contradictory and combative remarks at a White House press conference on Friday, potentially devastating effects of the shutdown were coming into focus.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides dietary assistance to 38 million low-income Americans and is colloquially known as food stamps, will soon face cuts and will run out of funds in March. Tax refunds totalling billions of dollars and due in April to millions may be delayed. And, CNN reported, Transportation Security Agents vital to the operation of major airports are beginning to call out sick, after being forced to work without pay.

Hydrick Thomas, the president of the national TSA employee union, told CNN of the callouts by “hundreds” of officers: “This will definitely affect the flying public who we [are] sworn to protect.”

Trump named Vice-President Mike Pence, homeland security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and senior adviser Jared Kushner as his representatives at meetings with Democrats, starting at 11am on Saturday.

He also returned to Twitter. Claiming “great support … from all sides for Border Security”, the president made a jab at familiar media targets when he wrote: “Teams negotiating this weekend! Washington Post and NBC reporting of events, including Fake sources, has been very inaccurate (to put it mildly)!”

Unlike House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy and minority whip Steve Scalise, Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, was not present at the Friday press conference. He has sought to leave Democrats and the president to fight it out, thereby to avoid political damage. Trump shrugged off McConnell’s absence but minority leader Chuck Schumer said: “The president needs an intervention, and Senate Republicans are just the right ones to intervene.”

Trump campaigned on a promise to build the wall, which he says is necessary to stop undocumented migration and the flow of drugs into the US, and to stop terrorists entering the country.

The last claim is as frequently questioned by media factcheckers as it is trotted out by Trump and his allies. On Friday, asked to comment on the claim made by her boss as she stood with him in the White House Rose Garden, Nielsen said more than 3,000 “special interest aliens” had been stopped at the south-western border in an unspecified period. It was swiftly pointed out that nearly all people crossing the border who are not from western hemisphere countries are thus classified.

 

Source: Shutdown over Trump wall demand threatens food, tax, transport and more | US news | The Guardian

Trump ‘ready and willing’ to make deal as shutdown rolls into new year | US news | The Guardian


Donald Trump is “ready, willing and able” to negotiate an end to the partial government shutdown that stretched into its 11th day and a new calendar year on 1 January, but insists any agreement include funding for “a good old fashioned wall” on the US-Mexico border.

The political gridlock is therefore set to continue into the new session of Congress on Thursday and probably beyond, as Democrats refuse to agree to taxpayers’ money for a wall and intend to introduce their own legislation to reopen the government without such funding.

The Democrats are preparing to take control of the House of Representatives on Thursday. They will vote quickly on several bills to reopen the government, while Republicans insist they will not pass any such legislation in the Senate, which they still dominate, that the president will not sign.

Trump seemed resigned on Tuesday morning to the continuing stalemate. He tweeted: “The Democrats, much as I suspected, have allocated no money for a new Wall.”

Donald J. Trump(@realDonaldTrump)

The Democrats, much as I suspected, have allocated no money for a new Wall. So imaginative! The problem is, without a Wall there can be no real Border Security – and our Country must finally have a Strong and Secure Southern Border!

January 1, 2019

Trump had earlier told Fox News in a year-end TV interview that he was “ready to go” on any deal, despite there currently being no prospect of one.

“I spent Christmas in the White House, I spent New Year’s Eve in the White House,” he said. “I’m here, I’m ready to go, it’s important. A lot of people are looking to get their paycheck.”

Adding that Democratic congressional leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi “can come over right now” and “could’ve come over anytime” to try to hash out a solution, Trump said: “I’m ready to go whenever they want.”

Trump has not reached out to Schumer and Pelosi directly through normal political channels, however, and spent the festive period slamming them on social media and trying to blame the Democrats for the government shutdown. This despite a meeting in the Oval Office earlier in December where Trump, in a highly unusual move, told Schumer and Pelosi that he would be “proud” to take responsibility for shutting down the government over the funding row for the wall.

 

Source: Trump ‘ready and willing’ to make deal as shutdown rolls into new year | US news | The Guardian

Why are some Americans changing their names? : The Conversation


In 2008, Newsweek published an article on then-presidential candidate Barack Obama titled “From Barry to Barack.”

The story explained how Obama’s Kenyan father, Barack Obama Sr., chose Barry as a nickname for himself in 1959 in order “to fit in.” But the younger Barack – who had been called Barry since he was a child – chose to revert to his given name, Barack, in 1980 as a college student coming to terms with his identity.

Newsweek’s story reflects a typical view of name changing: Immigrants in an earlier era changed their names to assimilate, while in our contemporary era of ethnic pride, immigrants and their children are more likely to retain or reclaim ethnic names.

However, my research on name changing suggests a more complicated narrative. For the past 10 years, I’ve studied thousands of name-changing petitions deposited at the New York City Civil Court from 1887 through today.

Those petitions suggest that name changing has changed significantly over time: While it was primarily Jews in the early to mid-20th century who altered their names to avoid discrimination, today it’s a more diverse group of people changing their names for a range of reasons, from qualifying for government benefits to keeping their families unified.

Jews hope to improve their job prospects

From the 1910s through the 1960s, the overwhelming majority of people petitioning to change their names weren’t immigrants seeking to have their names Americanized.

Instead, they were native-born American Jews who faced significant institutional discrimination.

In the 1910s and 1920s, many employers wouldn’t hire Jews, and universities began establishing quotas on Jewish applicants. One way to tell if someone was Jewish was his or her name, so it made sense that Jews would want to get rid of names that “sounded” Jewish.

As Dora Sarietzky, a stenographer and typist, explained in her 1937 petition:

“My name proved to be a great handicap in securing a position. … In order to facilitate securing work, I assumed the name Doris Watson.”

Since most petitioners were native-born Americans, this wasn’t about fitting in. It was a direct response to racism.

The changing face of name changing

While 80 percent of petitioners in 1946 sought to erase their ethnic names and replace them with more generic “American-sounding” ones, only 25 percent of petitioners in 2002 did the same. Meanwhile, few name changers in the past 50 years have actually made a decision like Barack Obama’s: Only about 5 percent of all name change petitions in 2002 sought a name more ethnically identifiable.

So why, in the 21st century, are people feeling compelled to change their names?

The demographics of name change petitioners today – and the reasons that they give – suggest a complicated story of race, class and culture.

Jewish names disappeared in the petitions over the last two decades of the 20th century. At the same time, the numbers of African-American, Asian and Latino petitioners rose dramatically after 2001.

On the one hand, this reflected the changing demographics of the city. But there was also a marked shift in the class of petitioners. While only 1 percent of petitioners in 1946 lived in a neighborhood with a median income below the poverty line, by 2012, 52 percent of petitioners lived in such a neighborhood.

Navigating the bureaucracy

These new petitioners aren’t seeking to improve their educational and job prospects in large numbers, like the Jews of the 1930s and 1940s.

 

Source: Why are some Americans changing their names? : The Conversation

Mexico’s next president likely to defy Trump on immigration : The Conversation


United States President Donald Trump has long blamed Mexico for the flow of Central Americans seeking to enter the United States’ southern border.

Migrants just cross Mexico like they’re “walking through Central Park,” Trump once claimed.

In truth, Mexico is aggressive in enforcing U.S. immigration policy. In 2014 President Enrique Peña Nieto implemented a robust deterrence effort, the Southern Border Program, to deter migration across Mexico’s border with Guatemala.

Between 2014 and 2015, Mexican deportations of Central Americans traveling to the U.S. – primarily Guatemalans, Hondurans and Salvadorans – more than doubled, from 78,733 in 2013 to 176,726 in 2015. During the same period, U.S. border agents detained half as many Central American migrants at the border.

 

Source: Mexico’s next president likely to defy Trump on immigration : The Conversation

How family separations caused Trump’s first retreat – and deepened his bunker mentality | US news | The Guardian


Portraits of the slave-owning presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson loomed over the Resolute desk, daylight reflecting off its polished surface. Donald Trump sat in a burgundy leather chair, flanked by two of his most loyal lieutenants. Mike Pence wore a grey suit and red tie, Kirstjen Nielsen was dressed in deep blue. Press secretary Sarah Sanders rested her hand on one of two cream sofas at the centre of the Oval Office. Their expressions were grave, the atmosphere sombre.

 

Source: How family separations caused Trump’s first retreat – and deepened his bunker mentality | US news | The Guardian