4 months ago

Mo Brooks cosponsors seven new border security bills

Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-5) Thursday announced cosponsorship of seven border security bills at the outset of the newly convened 116th Congress, saying, “I put the interests of Americans above those of illegal aliens.”

An overview of federal crime data provided by Brooks’ office showed that roughly 117,500 illegal aliens are arrested for crimes committed on American soil each year. This includes approximately 2,000 homicides, 50,000 physical assaults and 15,000 sex crimes by illegal aliens each year.

Brooks’ office also noted that approximately 15,000 Americans die each year from heroin drug overdoses, with 90 percent of all heroin reaching America via its “porous” southern border. The heroin is often transported by drug cartels and illegal aliens acting as their “mules.”

In a press release, Brooks said, “I put the interests of Americans above those of illegal aliens. Countless Americans have been killed or otherwise victimized by illegal alien crimes. In addition to the murders, vehicular homicides, and deaths from overdoses on drugs from Mexico, illegal aliens take job opportunities from, and suppress the wages of, American workers.”

“Worse yet, illegal aliens cost American taxpayers an estimated $116 billion per year in welfare and other costs. America’s immigration system is badly broken. I support sweeping policy reforms that put Americans first and stop the carnage wrought against Americans by illegal alien crime,” he added.

H.R. 32 by Congressman Warren Davidson (OH-8), the “Buy a Brick, Build the Wall Act,” would allow the Secretary of the Treasury to accept public donations to fund the construction of a barrier on the border between the United States and Mexico.

H.R. 85 by Congressman Andy Biggs (AZ-5), the “Fund and Complete the Border Wall Act,” would establish a separate account in the Treasury to hold deposits to be used to secure the southern border of the United States.

About H.R. 32 and H.R. 85, Brooks commented, “The United States averages a staggering 60,000 illegal border crossings per month. This foreign invasion must stop! I support building the border wall by any means necessary because, historically, walls have been proven to work! I have cosponsored H.R. 32 to help fund a border wall by allowing the United States Treasury to accept donations from the public for border wall construction and cosponsored H.R. 85 to help fund the border wall by diverting $2,000 per illegal alien from foreign aid otherwise paid to an illegal alien’s home country.”

H.R. 74, also by Biggs, known as “Grant’s Law,” statutorily ends “Catch and Release” illegal aliens even when an illegal alien has been apprehended for certain enumerated crimes.

Regarding H.R. 74, Brooks outlined, “In January of 2015, American Grant Ronnenbeck was brutally murdered at a Mesa, Arizona convenience store by an illegal alien who was already a convicted felon and free on bond while facing deportation. If it weren’t for the Obama Administration’s Catch and Release policy, Grant Ronnenbeck would be alive today. H.R. 74 ends the practice of catch and release for known, dangerous illegal aliens.”

H.R. 140 by Congressman Steve King (IA-4), the “Birthright Citizenship Act,” amends Section 301 of the Immigration and Nationality Act to clarify those classes of individuals born in the United States who are nationals and citizens of the United States at birth.

About H.R. 140, Brooks said, “According to the Pew Research Center, about 6% of all births in the United States (250,000 births a year) are to illegal aliens. Absurdly, those children born to illegal aliens in the United States are automatically granted United States citizenship.”

“What’s worse, through chain migration, the parents of citizens are able to gain legal status and eventually become naturalized citizens themselves,” he continued. “Illegal aliens broke our laws when they came here and at the very least should not be rewarded for their crimes with citizenship.”

“I have cosponsored H.R. 140, the Birthright Citizenship Act, so the children of illegal aliens born in the United States will not automatically be given citizenship, thereby discouraging illegal alien adults from breaking American laws solely for the purpose of giving birth to a child that, in turn, becomes the anchor that allows illegal aliens to stay in America and, thus, be rewarded for their illegal conduct,” Brooks explained.

H.R. 147 by Congressman Jeff Duncan (SC-3), the “Visa Overstay Enforcement Act,” amends “The Immigration and Nationality Act” to penalize aliens who overstay their visas.

On H.R. 147, Brooks advised, “According to the Department of Homeland Security, there were more than 700,000 visa overstays in Fiscal Year 2017. Once a non-citizen’s visa expires they become an illegal alien and should face stiff penalties for illegally remaining in America. I have cosponsored H.R. 147 that allows stiffer fines and imprisonment for repeat offenders.”

H.R. 153 by Congressman Jeff Duncan (SC-3), the “Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Act,” prohibits the receipt of federal financial assistance by sanctuary cities.

Regarding H.R. 153, Brooks outlined, “Sanctuary cities endanger American lives by encouraging and shielding illegal alien conduct. For example, Kate Steinle was killed in sanctuary city San Francisco by an illegal alien who had been previously deported five times. The federal government should use every arrow in its quiver to combat sanctuary policies which thumb their nose at immigration law enforcement. I am proud to cosponsor H.R. 153 to prohibit federal funds from going to sanctuary cities.”

H.R. 250 by Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42), the “Legal Workforce Act,” amends “The Immigration and Nationality Act” to make mandatory and permanent requirements relating to use of an electronic employment eligibility verification system.

About H.R. 250, Brooks said, “In addition to America’s expensive welfare system, another major enticement for illegal aliens to violate our laws is the prospect of a job. I have cosponsored H.R. 250, which makes the E-Verify program mandatory for all United States employers. If illegal aliens cannot get a job in America, they are less likely to illegally come here in the first place and much more likely to voluntarily deport themselves back to their home countries.”

For Brooks, this issue is a “crisis” – which is why he is putting so much emphasis on these bills.

Brooks concluded, “Few issues in Washington are more important to maintaining America’s national security and sovereignty than border security. A country without a border is no country at all. I will vote for and support border security bills that put American citizens first and oppose open-borders bills that favor amnesty and encourage more illegal entry into America.”

This came the day after Brooks made a speech on the House floor on border security, saying that ongoing negotiations over funding for a physical barrier on the United States’ southern border is a matter of life or death for “thousands of Americans each year.”

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

12 hours ago

Tuberville backs Alabama legislator’s bill making murder of on-duty first responder a capital offense

Former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville is backing HB 59, the bill passed by the Alabama Senate on Thursday that would make killing an on-duty first responder a capital offense.

The bill as amended and passed by the Senate names the proposed law in honor of slain Auburn Police Department Officer William Buechner, who was shot and killed in the line of duty on Sunday night.

Sponsored by State Rep. Chris Sells (R-Greenville), HB 59 passed the House previously. The amended version goes back to the chamber for expected concurrence next week.

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Tuberville applauded the legislature for the bill, especially thanking the Senate for the amendment in Buechner’s memory, which was put onto the legislation by State Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn).

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“I commend the Alabama Senate on their bill which makes the murder of an on-duty first responder a capital offense,” Tuberville said. “Murdering a first responder in Alabama should be classified as a capital offense. Not just police officers are covered in this bill all first responders are covered!”

The bill adds on-duty first responders to the list of murder victims that constitutes a capital offense. State law already makes the murder of an on-duty law enforcement officer or prison guard a capital offense.

Note the difference between a Class A felony murder charge and a capital murder charge: capital offenses in Alabama are punishable (unless the defendant was under the age of 18 at the time of the crime) by life in prison without the possibility of parole or death. Class A felonies are punishable by 10-99 years in prison, with stricter guidelines for offenders with prior criminal convictions.

Sells’ bill would also add on-duty law enforcement officers, prison guards and first responders as victims in the list of aggravating circumstances to a capital offense. This would make the death penalty more likely in the sentencing phase of this kind of capital offense.

In HB 59, first responders are defined as emergency medical services personnel licensed by the Alabama Department of Public Health and firefighters and volunteer firefighters as defined by existing state law.

Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes has said he will seek the death penalty if the man charged with Buechner’s death is convicted on a capital murder charge.

Tuberville’s vocal support for the bill came the same day as Buechner’s funeral.

“Today, as Officer William Buechner is laid to rest, we celebrate his heroic life and the ultimate sacrifice he made to protect our citizens,” Tuberville emphasized.

On Friday, Tuberville also visited Auburn Police Department Officer Webb Sistrunk, who was critically wounded in the shooting that killed Buechner.

(T. Tuberville/Facebook)

“It was such an honor for me to visit with Webb Sistrunk, one of the brave Auburn police officers who was shot earlier this week,” Tuberville shared.

Tuberville with Mark Sistrunk, the officer’s father (Contributed)

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

13 hours ago

‘Our hero’: Slain Auburn officer’s neighborhood lights up blue to honor him

Neighbors of murdered Auburn Police Department Officer William Buechner are backing the blue in a very visible way, honoring the fallen hero’s life of selfless service.

As reported by WSFA, the Opelika subdivision that Buechner and his family lived in is showing their solidarity en masse.

In a moving tribute, many of the neighborhood’s homes have replaced their regular porch lights with blue lights, shining proudly in Buechner’s memory.

Tracy McDaniel is among those neighbors paying tribute to the officer and beloved community member.

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Tracy McDaniel’s home, as contributed by her. (Sally Pitts/Facebook)

McDaniels’ home is far from the exception. One photo shows an entire street the neighborhood turned blue to honor the fallen officer.

Photo by Samantha Xaysombath Smith (WSFA/Twitter)

“William was a lot of great things. A great man, friend, husband, and father, police officer, neighbor, the list goes on,” Smith explained. “His son will grow up to learn that his daddy was a hero, and we will forever remember that he was our hero too.”

Another woman in the neighborhood, who asked to remain anonymous when speaking with WSFA, said she was aware of at least 15 homes participating in the special tribute but expected that number to increase.

“We all have rallied to find each other more lightbulbs,” the woman said, “and contact those who have been out of town or may need assistance reaching their fixtures. It’s been a true team effort.”

The lights are reportedly expected to remain on at least through Saturday, the day after Buechner’s funeral.

Buechner is survived by his wife of three years, Sara; son, Henry; and step-daughter, McKenna.

“This village we speak of, he knows we will take care of Sara and the family,” Smith added. “After all, it does take a village. We back the blue.”

There has been a GoFundMe set up for Buechner’s family.

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

13 hours ago

Palmer introduces bill to stop federal funding of anti-ICE ‘sanctuary airports’

Congressman Gary Palmer (AL-06) is taking a major stand against airports in liberal strongholds that try to subvert federal law.

Palmer’s office on Thursday announced that the Birmingham-area congressman has introduced the PLANE Act, the Prohibiting Local Airports from Neglecting Enforcement Act (H.R. 2955).

In April, an airport in Seattle, Washington, banned flights known collectively as “ICE Air,” which included flights that deported illegal immigrants or transported detainees to the appropriate detention center.

If passed, the PLANE Act would withhold federal grants from airports that violate grant agreements by attempting similar action, such as imposing unreasonable conditions or restrictions on airplanes operating under ICE or other contracted government agencies.

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“Airports that refuse to cooperate with ICE should not receive federal grants,” Palmer said in a statement.

“The rule of law must not be thwarted by so-called ‘sanctuary airports,’ especially when they potentially delay the removal of people accused of crimes like human trafficking and rape,” he added. “Political posturing cannot be permitted when an airport has agreed to cooperate with law enforcement in exchange for federal funds.”

Palmer is now serving as the chair the Republican Policy Committee, which is the fifth highest ranking leadership role amongst Republicans in the United States House of Representatives.

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

14 hours ago

Rumors and Rumblings, 2nd Ed. Vol. VIII

“Rumors and Rumblings” is a regular feature on Yellowhammer News. It is a compilation of the bits and pieces of information that we glean from conversations throughout the week.

Enjoy.

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1. Hey Arnold! State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs) caused a bit of a stir this week when he introduced a request to censure State Rep. John Rogers (D-Birmingham) for comments Rogers made during the chamber’s debate of the abortion bill. Numerous GOP House members were upset by the move, not so much for the substance of the request as much as for the timing — and the perceived motivation behind it.

The request came as the body was attempting to address a “ten-minute” calendar of bills. The aim of a ten-minute calendar is to quickly dispose of some of the more mundane pieces of legislation with the idea being that each member gets ten minutes to pass their bill or else the House moves on to the next item. As soon as Mooney introduced his letter of censure, the environment in the chamber became hostile, resulting in an adjournment and the end of the calendar. Dozens of members lost the opportunity, at that point at least, to pass their individual pieces of legislation, including an anti-human trafficking bill and legislation to help feed needy children in the state.

Some members wondered why Mooney waited nine days to introduce his letter. His letter was dated May 13 and not introduced until May 22. This event came on the heels of Mooney previously sending out a campaign letter to supporters questioning the ideological bearings of his fellow Republican legislators. When asked if Mooney had expressed any of these concerns to the GOP caucus at-large prior to his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, one member responded, “No. He had not.”

2. A tale of two cities. As Mooney spent the week trying to burnish the type of outsider credentials attractive to Club for Growth, another one of his colleagues spent his week in D.C. trying, presumably, to lay a similar foundation. State Rep. Will Dismukes (R-Prattville) was boots on the ground in the nation’s capital this week. Dismukes has let it be known that he was contemplating his own run for the U.S. Senate. He has done a fair job of keeping those cards close to the vest, although his trip to Washington would lend to the notion that he continues to have interest in a federal office.

The mathematical side effect of Dismukes’ absence nearly reached a heightened level of consequence. Consideration of any legislation prior to the passage of both budgets requires a 3/5 vote of those in the body voting. The lottery failed this week because it did not receive the required 3/5 threshold of those voting. In Dismukes’ absence from the state, someone voted his machine on his behalf as an abstention rather than simply not voting at all. He was the only legislator to vote to abstain. This still raises the threshold of required votes.

There were 90 total members that voted — which means the lottery needed 54 votes to proceed. It only received 53. Had someone not voted Dismukes’ machine and 89 members had voted, the lottery would still have needed 54 votes but by a much slimmer margin since 3/5 of 89 equals 53.4. That’s how close the lottery came to advancing to full consideration by the House.

3. Is broadband really a priority for members of the Alabama House? While the state legislature’s budget negotiations have been relatively smooth so far this session, there is one major issue that has seemingly popped up at the last minute.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and Senate Finance and Taxation Education Chairman Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) put $30 million in the Senate-passed Education Trust Fund Budget for the state’s rural broadband grant program established last year by State Senator Clay Scofield’s (R-Guntersville) landmark legislation.

As the legislature continues to work on beefing up last year’s legislation through Scofield’s SB 90 this year, the House is now seemingly set to slash the broadband funding approved by the Senate. The House Ways and Means Education Committee this week approved an education budget that cut the broadband funding by 73%, dragging the total down from $30 million to only $8 million.

Proponents of the larger number have said that there is not a better use of one-time money than to expand broadband services across the state. Will Chairman Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa) and the House at-large work with the Senate and restore the important broadband funding?

4. Art of the Deal. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) once again proved his master negotiating skills this week, securing a crucial disaster relief package deal against seemingly insurmountable differences between the increasingly polarized factions in Washington, D.C.

This package will provide much-needed aid to many in the Yellowhammer State, including those in southeast Alabama devastated by Hurricane Michael.

Shelby bridged the gap between Republicans and Democrats in Congress, while even managing to get President Donald Trump to drop his demands to include non-disaster related earmarks in the package — a concession that was key to getting enough votes in the Senate and House. The legislation quickly passed the Senate 85-8 Thursday before a lone House member objected to its unanimous passage on Friday. The House can take the legislation up after Memorial Day on Tuesday, when it is expected to overwhelmingly pass that chamber and then be signed into law.

One keen observer told Yellowhammer News that this type of achievement will not make nearly the number of headlines it should back at home, but once again Shelby has delivered for his state as he continues to cement his legacy as “Alabama’s greatest statesman.”

15 hours ago

Alabama legislature passes bill to ensure accuracy in meat labeling

MONTGOMERY — The Alabama Senate on Thursday took steps to ensure that the definition of “meat” when applied to food labeling should only apply to products sourced from livestock on farms and ranches and harvested through processing; the bill clarifies that laboratory-grown products may not be labeled as meat, protecting Yellowhammer State consumers from potentially misleading packaging.

In a unanimous vote, the Senators passed HB 518, sponsored by State Rep. Danny Crawford (R-Athens) and State Sen. David Sessions (R-Grand Bay). The bill was previously passed by the House 97-2 and now heads to Governor Kay Ivey’s desk.

“This is proactive legislation to ensure clarity in food labeling. Around the country, there are more and more companies trying to market lab-grown products as meat, which is misleading since they aren’t derived from actual livestock production,” Sessions said in a statement.

Sessions pointed out that the nutritional and safety risks of foods developed in labs from animal cell cultures are still unknown.

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“These new lab-produced foods are, at best, synthetic meats, and their nutritional effects are unknown right now. Let’s see how the science develops through further research, and make a clear distinction between meat that is farm-raised on the one hand, and lab-based products on the other,” he advised.

The beef cattle industry represents a $2.5 billion industry in Alabama and is the number two agricultural commodity in the Yellowhammer State, with over 20,000 cattle farms. Beef continues to be a favorite protein among consumers worldwide, with exports of American beef representing an $8 billion industry by itself.

“The Alabama Cattlemen’s Association represents over 10,000 members across the state. As alternative proteins enter the marketplace in coming years, we think it is imperative that the integrity of all meat labels are protected and clear for consumers when they go to the meat case,” Erin Beasley, executive vice president of the Alabama Cattleman’s Association, commented.

She concluded, “The passage of this bill is a win-win for the consumers who love to buy beef, and the cattlemen who work hard to produce a high-quality product. We would like to thank the Alabama Legislature for the support of this bill, and especially Senator David Sessions and Representative Danny Crawford for carrying the bill.”

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