4 weeks ago

Byrne visits border, finds Dem allegations about ICE conduct ‘absolutely not based in fact’

Yellowhammer News on Monday evening spoke with Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) about his trip to the United States’ border with Mexico, with the congressman praising American law enforcement efforts while slamming Democratic and mainstream media portrayals of how asylum seekers are being treated.

Calling in from El Paso, TX, after a long day, Byrne shared what he saw and heard firsthand through meeting with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at the border, touring a port of entry and visiting an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility.

Byrne stressed that recent claims by elected Democrats and some members of the mainstream media about the situation at the border were totally false based on his personal experiences and interactions on Monday.

The first part of Byrne’s day was spent with CBP agents just outside of El Paso, with the congressman getting to observe real demonstrations of how they apprehend illegal immigrants entering the country at the border, also learning how these individuals are then detained and housed.

Byrne was joined on the trip by two Democratic House colleagues. The coastal Alabama congressman had nothing but praise regarding his interactions with CBP agents and observations of their conduct during the visit.

“Everybody asked them the hard questions about, ‘Have you done this? Have you done that?’ Absolute, hard denials,” Byrne said.

However, they did not just have CBP’s word to rely on. Members of the American military were on hand to confirm CBP’s accounts.

“We also talked later on in the day with U.S. Army personnel that are working with [CBP], and our U.S. Army personnel verified everything that the [CBP] personnel were telling us,” he advised. “I think if there was a deviation the Army officers would have told us.”

During his visit to a port of entry in El Paso, Byrne explained that he was walked through the process of searching vehicles for unauthorized persons and contraband. However, he said he also learned of an unexpected reality that CBP agents have to contend with on a daily basis.

“[T]here is a group that has threatened to charge that port of entry,” Byrne told Yellowhammer News. “They (CBP) actually have a plan working with our Army personnel there [as to] how they can close that point of entry with physical barriers and literally have [CBP] agents on the front line and the Army personnel on the back line.”

‘I’m infuriated’

After meeting separately with Army personnel about their role in stemming the border security crisis and how it is affecting military readiness, Byrne traveled to an ICE detention facility.

There, he spoke with asylum lawyers about the claim adjudication process before touring the facility, including its cafeteria, infirmary and women’s dormitory.

“The one takeaway I have from this is that the allegations against the governmental officials involved with the border by the mainstream media and far-left politicians are absolutely not based in fact,” Byrne emphasized. “And I’m infuriated by the unfounded accusations that have been made against them. They are doing everything they can to treat these people with the utmost care and the utmost kindness.”

He reflected on telling members of his group while walking during the day through the ICE detention facility that “it was a heck of a lot nicer than the penitentiaries in Alabama” that Byrne has toured.

Byrne said the sleeping quarters in the facility were air-conditioned, the food was more than adequate and detainees have access to televisions and even I-Pads.

“They are very well taken care of,” he added.

Byrne then explained to Yellowhammer News that he was calling from a nongovernmental organization (NGO) responsible for temporarily housing asylum seekers after they are released from ICE custody but before they are located with a sponsor family somewhere around the country.

“I’m sitting here right now in this room with a bunch of children that have been in detention and just been released,” Byrne said. “And they look like well-fed, healthy, normal children. None of these children have been abused — you can tell by looking at them.”

“So, all these stories we’re hearing are absolutely false,” he continued. “And they’ve been told to try to shore up a narrative that is aimed at nothing more than trying to discredit President Trump and nothing more than to try and open our borders completely and have no control at all. And I am infuriated about that, because members of Congress should never do that.”

While Byrne noted that his group was not allowed to speak with the asylum seekers being detained in the ICE facility during the tour, his observations of the detainees were more than enough.

“You can watch people [and tell],” he remarked.

“There were some people being held temporarily in the port of entry [holding facility], and we walked through there and saw them, and we saw the people at the healthcare facility in the ICE facility, and these people are being well taken care of,” Byrne outlined. “There’s just absolutely no question about it.”

“And if there was some abuse going on, I think our U.S. Army officers would have told us because I asked them point-blank,” Byrne added. “I said, ‘Are these people (CBP and ICE) as professional as they seem?’ And the Army officers said, ‘Absolutely, they are very professional. We enjoy working with them. They are doing the best job they can do.’ With the lack of resources they’ve had. Because the Democrats have not listened to the Trump administration about the need for more funding for border issues.”

‘The wall works’

Yellowhammer News then referenced a picture from the visit to the border that Byrne had posted to his congressional Twitter account earlier in the day, which shows a physical barrier that runs along the border.

Byrne explained that CBP agents told him that barriers work in areas like El Paso, emphasizing that walls are more effective than fences in keeping illegal aliens and bad actors out.

“We all asked bunches of question about the wall, and they (CBP agents around El Paso) have a wall and in certain places they have a fence,” Byrne advised. “The fence is not as effective as the wall because the coyotes will come up with bolt cutters and cut open the fence. But the actual wall, the steel and concrete walls, they can’t do that. So, they (CBP) said that [the wall] has made their jobs easier, and it’s made both sides of the border far safer.”

“So clearly, at least in some places, the wall works,” Byrne reiterated. “We heard that over and over again.”

He has been a consistent supporter of President Donald Trump’s calls to build a wall where warranted along the U.S.-Mexico border. However, these efforts have been stifled by Democrats in Congress, like Senator Doug Jones (D-AL).

Byrne told Yellowhammer News that Democrats are so dug in against the wall mainly based on partisanship rather than public policy.

“I think for them it’s like a symbol — the president made a big deal out of it in his campaign. So, that made it a symbol for them. Anything they associate with President Trump, they’re against,” Byrne decried. “So, it’s part of their resistance to the president.”

Byrne shared that at one point during the visit, while traveling along the border between a CBP checkpoint and the port of entry, he and his group actually saw illegal aliens run across a section of the border that did not have a physical barrier.

“It is extremely difficult to keep people from crossing the border,” he noted. “They (CBP) can apprehend them [afterward], but it’s extremely difficult to stop them altogether [without a wall].”

‘They’re clearly gaming the system’

And, even after being apprehended, most individuals then apply for asylum and more often than not disappear into the United States without a trace because of a broken system.

“These people do not stay here in El Paso,” he advised. “In fact, I’m told by the man who operates the facility I’m sleeping in that within 96 hours, they are out of here. And they go to everywhere in the country [imaginable]. And we know they come to Alabama.”

“Some of them are completely innocent after they get here, hardworking people — I get all that,” Byrne stated. “But they’re all here illegally. And too many of them commit crimes.”

He referenced the 2018 death of Mobile’s Sonya Jones at the hands of an illegal alien who had skipped his asylum hearing altogether after being released from an initial detention facility.

“We were told that here in El Paso 76% of them don’t show up to their hearings,” Byrne detailed. “And 90% of them are not successful in their hearings. They’re clearly gaming the system. That’s to the detriment of everybody in America, and it’s to the detriment of everybody in Alabama.”

“We’ve got to make a significant change to the asylum law, the asylum legal process,” he added.

Byrne hopes this is an area where bipartisan consensus can be had, also remarking that the Democrats on the Monday trip with him agree on the need for increased funding for more staffing, equipment, facilities, technology and resources for CBP and ICE.

However, the sticking point of the wall remains. He said he reiterated this to the Democrats on the trip, just as he previously has to many of his colleagues on the other side of the aisle.

“They tell me they would like to have a bipartisan agreement on immigration, and I’ve agreed with them that we need to do that,” Byrne told Yellowhammer News. “But I said we’re not going to get that without a wall. And I’m trying to impress upon them that there will be no deal without a wall.”

He said the belief in the need for the wall is much more widespread than just Trump, trickling down to rank-and-file Republicans — a fact Byrne believes Democrats still need to get their heads around. Yet, firsthand experience leave no doubt as to the factual necessity of a wall, he said.

“If you come here and you see it for yourself, it’s undeniable,” Byrne emphasized.

‘So proud … so impressed’

For now, though, law enforcement officials and military personnel at the border must do without.

Byrne, throughout the conversation, spoke glowingly of CBP’s job performance, especially being that they are understaffed and in dire need of more resources.

“I think they’re doing an outstanding job, both with the apprehensions and with what they do with these people once they apprehend them,” he stressed. “I’m just so impressed by the professionalism of the [CBP and ICE] agents, and I’m so proud of what the United States Army and the Army National Guard is doing here in partnership with them.”

“They’re doing the right things here with the resources that they’ve got and with the laws that they’ve got. We’ve just got to do a better job in Washington of supporting them by giving them better laws and more resources,” Byrne concluded.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 min ago

Watch: ALDOT Director John Cooper, State Rep. Matt Simpson clash over I-10 Mobile Bay Bridge project

Wednesday at an informational meeting for members of the Mobile County legislative delegation, things got a little heated between Alabama Department of Transportation Director John Cooper and State Rep. Matt Simpson (R-Daphne).

According to Mobile’s FOX 10 WALA’s Tyler Fingert, Cooper had previously planned not to speak at the meeting. That would have been keeping in line with what appears to be Cooper’s low-profile as the I-10 Mobile Bay Bridge brouhaha has transpired.

However, he broke that silence and spoke for a little more than 20 minutes about the hurdles he and his agency had faced in getting the project in line with what he said were requirements of the Federal Highway Administration and the issues with the Mobile County and Eastern Shore Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) potentially removing the project on their long-term Transportation Improvement Plans (TIP).

At the tail end of his remarks, Cooper and Simpson engaged in a back-and-forth about the Mobile delegation’s role in opposing the project and a potential vote on it by both the Mobile and Baldwin County delegation with Cooper warning Simpson about the responsibility he was taking.

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Cooper accused Simpson of opposing the project without asking questions first, referring to a letter the Mobile County delegation had sent to Gov. Kay Ivey. However, Simpson, who is a member of both the Mobile and Baldwin delegations, refuted Cooper’s claim by pointing to a meeting attended by Baldwin County legislators that was held in Spanish Fort earlier in the summer.

For that meeting, in particular, the Baldwin County delegation had prepared a list of questions for Cooper, which Cooper later acknowledged having addressed.

Exchange as follows:

COOPER: I want to run on. I’ve got a phone call I’ve got to leave for. But I didn’t intend to speak today. But I want you to leave, with these folks trying to be nice and deal with the professional things that they do without I having said to you – you need to understand if I don’t satisfy the Federal Highway Administration there will be nothing.

I need you to understand bluntly that I have not spent begging and cajoling to approve a document and paying these people to do the same just because I like doing it. It’s what was required to get to this point – to give you the option to object to funding the road. That option can only come to you if I can get to you the information you need to know what option you’re voting on.

And I can’t get it in the position you’ve put me in.

SIMPSON: I haven’t seen anything where we get a vote.

COOPER: I beg your pardon?

SIMPSON: The first time you’ve …

COOPER: Sir, you’ve never asked for a vote on anything, but —

SIMPSON: I’m asking for a vote –

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: And I’m telling you, I’ll recommend to the governor she let you vote on it.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: I will. I’ll recommend to the governor that she let the two delegations vote on it and I’ll further recommend we don’t do it if there’s not a majority in each delegation.

SIMPSON: That sounds wonderful. That is a huge step today.

COOPER: I’m fine.

SIMPSON: Until this point, following the process of going through what we have done, we have no control. Under the law, currently you don’t have to ask us to ask for a vote. It goes to the toll authority.

COOPER: Sir, I’m trying to listen to you patiently.

SIMPSON: OK.

COOPER: All you’ve done that I’m aware of is condemn the project before you ever asked a single question about it.

SIMPSON: Where have you seen I’ve condemned the project?

COOPER: You signed a resolution opposing the project.

SIMPSON: We signed the resolution asking for a better answer.

COOPER: No, you signed the resolution opposing the project.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: You didn’t ask a single question. None of –

SIMPSON: When didn’t I ask questions?

COOPER: None of you asked a single question before you did that.

SIMPSON: Sir, have you talked … just because we didn’t have a question you, we didn’t ask questions?

COOPER: All I know is you didn’t ask me anything.

SIMPSON: OK, the Baldwin delegation sent up a letter with about 22 questions — we sent up to you. You came down to Spanish Fort and answered these questions because you wanted to have them in writing, correct?

COPPER: Correct.

SIMPSON: So please don’t say we didn’t ask questions.

COOPER: The Mobile delegation as a delegation asked no questions.

SIMPSON: I’m in both, so don’t say I didn’t ask questions.

COOPER: Sir, I’m proud you are and I don’t wish to argue with you. But I’ll make that recommendation to the governor. But you as a body need to understand you can have that control. With that control comes great responsibility.

SIMPSON: Absolutely.

COOPER: And we’ll present alternatives to you but you need to help us get in a position we can do that.

SIMPSON: There is nothing in the law, and I’m sorry – I go back to the law. We can take your word all day long that you’re going to give us the opportunity to vote on it. But there is nothing in the law that requires this.

COOPER: Sir, I told you that I would recommend to the governor that she put that in writing.

SIMPSON: That means nothing.

COOPER: Well, then I’m going to have real difficulty pleasing you if my word means nothing and if the governor puts it in writing that means nothing. I don’t know what else I can do.

SIMPSON: This is the first time you have approached us. This is the very first time that has been discussed. So please don’t put it back to I haven’t asked question, because I have asked questions —

COOPER: We don’t need to go over whether you did or didn’t. I apologize for saying that.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Is that a path forward?

SIMPSON: We’re trying to find a middle ground.

COOPER: I’m saying, is that a path forward, if the governor would do that? And I don’t know if she will.

SIMPSON: If the governor would allow us to vote, absolutely.

COOPER: I’ll recommend that to her.

SIMPSON: You can put that recommendation on a piece of paper and she can say no.

COOPER: If she does that, will you ask the MPO to put it back in the TIP?

SIMPSON: If you get it in writing first.

COOPER: I said if she does that —

SIMPSON: If you put it in writing that says I will put it to the delegation and let them answer the question, then I will recommend that.

COOPER: — will you ask the MPO to put it back in the TIP?

SIMPSON: If you get it in writing that says —

COOPER: I’ll make that recommendation.

SIMPSON: I think that’s it.

COOPER: You caught it. I hope you’re ready to skin it.

Following the event, Simpson explained to FOX 10 why he saw his questioning of Cooper necessary.

“The purpose of this meeting was to ask questions, and I’m not going to apologize for asking tough questions,” Simpson said. “The project went from $850 million to $2.1 billion, and I think it’s fair to just ask questions, ‘how?’”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.

Episode 1: SEC Network’s Cole Cubelic

Dale Jackson is joined by the SEC Network personality and WJOX-FM’s Three Man Front host Cole Cubelic.

Cole describes his path to multimedia stardom — from putting on the pads as a middle-schooler to pharmaceutical sales to calling SEC football games. Cole shares how his wife’s supported him throw the lows and how he got to his highs.
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13 hours ago

Episode 22: It’s Bo time

With Auburn announcing Bo Nix the starter at quarterback, DrunkAubie reconvenes to react and answer listeners’ questions about the freshman. DrunkAubie also discusses the top traditions and top mascots in college football and offers up some advice for the upcoming season.

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13 hours ago

State Rep. John Rogers not running for U.S. Senate, says Jones showing ‘conservatism’ but not racist

State Rep. John Rogers (D-Birmingham) on Wednesday told Yellowhammer News that he will not run in the 2020 Democratic U.S. Senate primary against Senator Doug Jones (D-AL).

Rogers began considering a potential bid towards the tail-end of the Alabama legislature’s regular session this spring. At that time, he told Yellowhammer News, “I don’t want to run a campaign just to run. I want to run to win.”

He said he needed to raise $500,000 in order to be competitive.

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However, after testing the waters for months, Rogers has concluded that he cannot raise sufficient funds, saying Jones’ war chest was too much to overcome in a primary. Rogers previously challenged Jones to a public debate, which Alabama’s junior senator ignored.

The state representative from Jefferson County on Wednesday also commented on the ongoing battle that has pitted Jones and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) against the leadership of the Alabama Democratic Party and the Alabama Democratic Conference (ADC).

Rogers said that he disagreed with the charges of racism against Jones made by the state party’s secretary, Val Bright, who last week penned an open letter saying that Jones and the DNC were targeting “blacks” in their effort to overhaul the party’s structure and leadership.

“Although blacks have been faithful to the Democratic Party and are largely responsible for electing Doug Jones and any white seeking office in this state, once elected on the backs of blacks, the urgency to remove black leadership begins,” Bright stated.

“In other words, as long as we’re working in the fields all is well, but when we move to positions of authority, a challenge begins,” she added. “From slavery through Reconstruction, Jim Crow and the Civil Rights movement, we are constantly being shown how little respect blacks receive for being hard working and loyal.”

Rogers advised that he does not believe Jones to be a racist.

“Because Alabama is a conservative state, and you’ve got to have some conservatives in the legislature (Congress) — I hate to say that, but it is Alabama, and if you’re going to run for a statewide office, you’ve got to be in the middle of the road,” Rogers said. “And Doug knows that. I mean — I don’t like some of the things he does to show his ‘conservatism,’ but if you want to be expecting to win against a Republican, you’ve got to show some conservatism.”

Rogers continued to say Jones is still his friend and has been “for a long time.”

“I don’t think he’s racist, I wouldn’t dare call him a racist,” Rogers concluded.

RELATED: Rogers: Jones called me, admitted I was ‘right’ on abortion remarks

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

14 hours ago

University of Alabama in Huntsville honored for discovering one of physics’ ‘Holy Grails’

The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) announced this week that it has been honored by The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers with a Milestone Plaque for a 1987 physics discovery.

The discovery of superconductivity at 93 Kelvin occurred on January 29, 1987, and the dedication of the award recognizes “the impact of the world’s first material to superconduct above the technologically significant temperature of liquid nitrogen.”

UAH said in a release posted to its website, “The material that is the subject of the discovery was first conceived, synthesized, and tested in a UAH physics laboratory in Wilson Hall. It has been referred to by some science writers as one of physics’ ‘Holy Grails.’ The discovery prompted an American Physical Society meeting in March of 1987 to become known as ‘The Woodstock of Physics.'”

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The site added, “By crossing the 77 Kelvin barrier and making superconductivity possible at the temperature of the much more affordable and easily used coolant liquid nitrogen, the material discovered at UAH opened up a realm of more practical superconductivity applications.”

The site also noted that superconductors have been useful in powerful electromagnets, such as those used in MRI and NMR machines, maglev trains, and fusion reactor research; low-loss electrical power cables; fast fault current limiters; fast digital circuits; sensitive detection and measurement of magnetism, subatomic particles, and light, along with radio-frequency and microwave filters.

The UAH material has been used in high field magnets (holding the current record of 45.5 Tesla), electric power cables, fault current limiters, and radio-frequency filters.

A bronze plaque, which was presented on Monday, will be mounted outside the room that once served as the superconductivity laboratory at UAH.

The plaque reads as follows:

On this site, a material consisting of yttrium, barium, copper, and oxygen was first conceived, synthesized, tested, and — on 29 January 1987 — found to exhibit stable and reproducible superconductivity at 93 Kelvin. This marked the first time the phenomenon had been unambiguously achieved above 77 Kelvin, the boiling point of liquid nitrogen, thus enabling more practical and widespread use of superconductors.

Kyle Morris also contributes daily to Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @RealKyleMorris.