Dean DeChiaro

The gigantism of big tech forces a fresh look at antitrust
Facebook, Google and Amazon are catching flak from both parties in Congress

Increased public concern over the reach of large technology companies, bipartisan support for thinking anew about how to regulate big business, and ambitious policy proposals ahead of the 2020 presidential election are driving a new conversation over antitrust enforcement in the United States.

In less than two decades, three of America’s most ubiquitous technology platforms — Facebook, Google and Amazon — have grown rapidly in size and clout from small, single-market companies into industry conglomerates, thanks in part to a mostly hands-off approach to antitrust by the U.S. government.

Warren proposes breaking up Facebook, Google, Amazon
Warren declaring war on the country’s most powerful technology firms and a culture of “weak antitrust enforcement”

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a 2020 presidential candidate, proposed on Friday a plan to break up Google, Facebook and Amazon, declaring war on the country’s most powerful technology firms and a culture of “weak antitrust enforcement” that allowed them to grow so big.

In a Medium post, the Massachusetts Democrat accused the three firms of using “resources and control over the way we use the Internet to squash small businesses and innovation, and substitute their own financial interests for the broader interests of the American people.”

Border wall technology: Better than concrete, or Big Brother of the borderlands?
As defense startups peddle their wares, privacy activists worry

Democratic support for installing hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of surveillance technology on the U.S.-Mexico border, billed by party leaders as a 21st-century alternative to President Donald Trump’s medieval wall, is worrying privacy activists at the same time that it excites nascent defense startups.

Amid staunch opposition by Democrats, the fiscal 2019 omnibus package signed into law by Trump earlier this month contained only $1.4 billion for wall and barrier construction. That’s compared with about $100 million for sensor towers and remote video surveillance systems, plus an additional $564 million for nonintrusive scanning equipment at border entry points, which was also included.

China threat looms over Senate 5G hearing
Senators signaled support for building a fifth-generation wireless network, but raised concerns that China is already on its way to establishing dominance

Senators from both parties on Wednesday signaled support for building a fifth-generation wireless network that could enable innovation in telecom, agriculture, and health care sectors but raised concerns that China is already on its way to establishing dominance over the technology.

At the year’s first hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, new Chairman Roger Wicker, R-Miss., said nationwide 5G implementation could propel the United States “into the fourth industrial revolution,” by creating millions of new jobs and enhancing transportation and agricultural systems through enhanced connectivity.

Border wall debate ignores biggest source of illegal immigration: visa overstays
But stopping travelers from overstaying their visas isn’t a simple fix

When police approached 22-year-old Xiangyu Zhang at a gas station near his home in La Marque, Texas, last July, they found him sitting in his vehicle with two loaded rifles, including an AM-15 semiautomatic. Zhang, an undocumented immigrant from China, had threatened in an online chatroom for troubled military veterans to shoot schoolchildren, and in December he pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm while in the country without papers.

Zhang lived undocumented in the United States for two years, but he didn’t arrive illegally by walking across the border from Mexico. He entered legally, holding a temporary visa, and when the visa expired, Zhang stayed, becoming one of hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals who in recent years have overstayed visas and are now living in the country illegally.

How one Democrat threads the needle on border security
Sen. Bob Casey won against an immigration hard-liner in a state that went for Trump. Now he has some advice for his party

Of the 10 Democratic senators who faced 2018 re-election challenges in states won by President Donald Trump two years earlier, few were forced to defend their positions on immigration more than Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.

Casey was up against Rep. Lou Barletta, who rose to prominence on an anti-immigrant platform and spent much of the 2018 campaign trying to capitalize on Trump’s success touting enforcement and border security policies. Taking a page from the president, Barletta hammered Casey on immigration, seeking to portray him as soft on immigrant crime, in favor of so-called “sanctuary cities,” and out of touch with the concerns of Pennsylvanians.

Feinstein signals 2020 support for Biden over Harris
Calif. Democrat says she loves Kamala Harris but it’s a “different kind of thing”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Thursday that it would be difficult not to support former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. if he runs for president in 2020.

“I’ve worked with him, I saw him in action, I saw him as vice president, I saw his growth, his ability, and I saw his humanity,” the longtime senator told reporters. “He’s an incredible human being, so it’s very hard for me, if he runs, to ignore that.”

Trump Administration to Make Asylum-Seekers Wait in Mexico
Similar asylum policy proposed last month was stymied by the courts

The Homeland Security Department on Thursday announced a plan to keep Central American asylum-seekers in Mexico for the duration of their immigration proceedings, claiming it would “reduce illegal migration by removing one of the key incentives that encourages people from taking the dangerous journey to the United States in the first place.”

Under the plan, asylum-seekers would be temporarily returned to Mexico after being issued a notice to appear in U.S. immigration court. The department said it reached an agreement with Mexico to issue asylum-seekers humanitarian visas and access to attorneys and the United States for the purpose of appearing in court.

In Oversight Role, House Democrats Aim for Both Check and Balance
Investigating the president carries risks for incoming House majority

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings has seen the headlines. The 12-term Maryland Democrat, who in January will take control of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, knows he has the power to become President Donald Trump’s worst nightmare. For now, he’s taking a more measured approach.

“A nightmare has to be in the eyes of the beholder,” Cummings said in a recent interview. “If a nightmare comes with me doing my job that I’m sworn to do, so be it.”

Democrats Push Back on Plan to Make Green Cards Harder to Obtain
Public health advocates, others warn about effects of ‘public charge’ crackdown

Democratic lawmakers are joining local health officials, community organizers and immigrant rights groups around the country in opposition to a Trump administration regulatory proposal that would make it harder for foreign nationals to obtain green cards if they have received government assistance.

Sen. Kamala Harris and Rep. Nanette Barragán, both California Democrats, said in a public comment submitted to the Homeland Security Department that the proposed regulation would represent “another misguided step in advancing this administration’s cruel, anti-immigrant agenda.”

Nearly 150 Separated Migrant Children Remain in U.S. Custody
Parents of most of the children are no longer in the country

One-hundred and forty-seven undocumented migrant children separated from their parents because of President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance border security policy remained in government custody as of Nov. 6, a new government report said.

Thirty of the children are currently ineligible for reuniting because their parents were deemed unfit for posing a threat to the child or having a criminal record, said the report to Congress by the Health and Human Services Department.

Trump Rule Would Bar Asylum Claims by Migrants at Border
Officials claim system is ‘overwhelmed’

The Trump administration is moving to block undocumented immigrants from seeking asylum in the U.S. unless they present themselves at a port of entry, senior administration officials said.

Under the new policy, migrants apprehended illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border between ports of entry will not be eligible to seek asylum, said the officials, who spoke to reporters on background because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

McCarthy Bill Would Fund Border Wall, Boost Speaker Bid
Legislation not likely to move this year, but raises issue profile

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has introduced legislation that includes more than $23 billion for President Donald Trump’s border security agenda and numerous enforcement provisions aimed at cracking down on sanctuary cities and undocumented criminals, a proposal that could boost his bid to lead the House GOP after next month’s elections.

The California Republican introduced the bill on Friday after visiting the El Paso, Texas, sector of the southern border on Thursday.

Democrats Pan Proposal to Limit Green Cards for Poor Immigrants
Administration touts rule as moving toward ‘merit-based’ immigration

Democratic lawmakers are criticizing a new rule proposed by the Trump administration that would make it harder for immigrants who receive public benefits to obtain green cards.

The 447-page proposed rule, unveiled by the Department of Homeland Security on Saturday, would expand the government’s ability to deny a green card — and eventual citizenship — to applicants deemed likely to rely on programs including Medicaid, Section 8 low-income housing, and food stamps. The proposed rule represents a significant step in the administration’s efforts to move toward a “merit-based” immigration system, rather than the family-based system currently in place.

NFL Security Chief Backs Bipartisan Drone Defense Bill
San Francisco 49ers event cited as example of situation that could have been worse

The National Football League’s top security official on Thursday backed bipartisan legislation that would authorize the federal government to track, seize and destroy drones considered a threat to large, public gatherings.

Cathy Lanier, the NFL’s senior vice president of security, described for the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee “a dramatic increase in the number of threats, incidents, and incursions by drones” at NFL stadiums, including an incident last year at Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers, when a drone dropped leaflets near one of the end zones.

Trump Administration Moves to Detain Immigrant Children Longer
New proposal from DHS would remove 20-day limit established by Flores settlement

The Homeland Security Department is proposing a new rule that would allow for the prolonged detention of undocumented migrant children by replacing a 1997 legal settlement that President Donald Trump has called a “loophole” causing more illegal immigration.

The 203-page proposed rule, published jointly with the Health and Human Services Department in the Federal Register on Thursday, would trigger the end of the so-called Flores settlement. A federal judge has ruled the settlement means children cannot be held in detention for longer than 20 days and should be released with a parent if possible.

On Immigration, McCain Leaves a Roadmap
2005 McCain-Kennedy bill has been foundation for most bipartisan overhaul efforts

Supporters of a bipartisan overhaul of the country’s immigration laws lost a standard-bearer in Sen. John McCain, who died at 81 on Saturday following a battle with brain cancer.

Still, the Arizona Republican left an indelible mark on the hyperpartisan debate that could offer current and future lawmakers an eventual blueprint for passing a sweeping immigration law.

Legal Fight Over DACA Amps Up Pressure on Reluctant Congress
As another court ruling unfolds in Texas, clamor for legislative solution only grows

Congress could face more pressure to protect “Dreamers” because of court decisions about the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows people who were brought to the United States as undocumented children to live and work here temporarily.

Still, even with the additional pressure from the court rulings, lawmakers are unlikely to pass any legislation in the months preceding the November midterm elections.

Senate Democrats Slam Trump Officials Over Family Separations
Durbin called on the Homeland Security secretary to resign

Senate Democrats on Tuesday criticized the Trump administration’s efforts to reunify hundreds of undocumented migrant children who remain separated from their parents as a result of the president’s zero-tolerance border security policy — including many whose parents have already been deported.

Officials from the departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services told the Senate Judiciary Committee that their court-ordered work to reunify separated families is unfinished. 

Trump’s Immigration Enforcement Agenda Gets Boost from Partisan Vote
Bill would provide $51.4 billion to Homeland Security

President Donald Trump’s immigration enforcement and border security agenda got a significant boost after the  House Appropriations Committee voted 29-22 along party lines to approve a bill that would provide $51.4 billion to the Homeland Security Department in fiscal 2019. 

Overall, Wednesday’s  bill — which  would provide $51.4 billion in discretionary funding to DHS, a nearly 8 percent increase over the $47.7 billion provided to the department in the fiscal 2018 omnibus spending law.