What does Trump love more than seeing his name in golden letters on a big sign? https://t.co/BBpFe1owBJ
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) June 16, 2019
To my dear friends in the international press: A settlement by the name of "Trump Heights" or "Ramat Trump" doesn't exist. It my exist in the future but the Israeli cabinet still hasn't even decided to do it. For now there's only a sign. A huge sign. Like Kim Jong Un's envelopes
— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) June 16, 2019
Netanyahu inaugurates 'Trump Heights' Israeli settlement in occupied Golan Heights https://t.co/hfob00qvMz
— Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) June 16, 2019
Shrugging off opposition from the international community, Israel’s government unveiled a new Jewish settlement in the disputed Golan Heights named after President Trump https://t.co/ZctRGlFG4F
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) June 16, 2019
— iℓɑƞ ᛒεƞ ȝıoƞ (@IlanBenZion) June 16, 2019
Netanyahu's PR stunt was intended for an international audience of one.
Trump's recognition of the Golan Heights in March gave a dramatic boost to Netanyahu's election campaign, and he'll need the president's help again soon with new elections looming. https://t.co/MlQyAF2lkx
— Axios (@axios) June 16, 2019
A great day on the Golan. PM Netanyahu and I had the honor to dedicate “Trump Heights” — first time Israel has dedicated a village in honor of a sitting president since Harry Truman (1949). Happy Birthday Mr. President!! @POTUS pic.twitter.com/fdYWzokFLK
— David M. Friedman (@USAmbIsrael) June 16, 2019
On June 5, 2019, the State Department published on the Federal Register an interim final rule requiring alien petitioners for the Diversity Visa Program “to provide certain information from a valid, unexpired passport on the electronic entry form.”
An estimated 14 million aliens register annually for the DV Program through an electronic entry form. The entry form collects information on the petitioner’s full name; date and place of birth; gender; native country, if different from place of birth; current mailing address; and location of the consular post where the diversity visa should be adjudicated, if the petitioner is selected through the DV lottery. The electronic entry form also collects information about the names, dates and places of birth for the petitioner’s spouse and children. The entry process is open to all aliens who are natives of “low-admission” countries without numerical limitation, defined as countries with fewer than 50,000 natives admitted to the United States during the most recent five-year period. After the close of the DV Program entry period, petitioners are selected through a randomized computer drawing (“selectees”) for consideration for one of the 50,000 available diversity visa numbers.
Section 204(a)(1)(I)(iii) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1154(a)(1)(I)(iii), vests the Secretary of State with authority to set by regulation the information and documentary evidence to support a petition for entry into the DV Program. The requirements are set out in 22 CFR 42.33.
With this rule, the Department is amending 22 CFR 42.33(b)(1) to require the petitioner to include on the electronic diversity visa entry form the unique serial or issuance number associated with the petitioner’s valid, unexpired passport; country or authority of passport issuance; and passport expiration date. These requirements will apply only to the principal petitioner and not derivatives listed on the entry form. These requirements apply unless the petitioner is either stateless, a national of a Communist-controlled country and unable to obtain a passport from the government of the Communist-controlled country, or the beneficiary of an individual waiver approved by the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State, consistent with the passport waivers for immigrant visa applicants provided for in 22 CFR 42.2(d), (e), and (g)(2). A petitioner who does not have a passport and is either stateless, is a national of a Communist-controlled country and unable to obtain a passport from the government of the Communist-controlled country, or has an individual waiver of the passport requirement from the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State, must indicate that he or she falls into one of these three circumstances on the electronic entry form, instead of providing passport information. The requirements for information from a valid passport will not be waived under any other circumstances.
The Department is also clarifying that failure to accurately include any information required by 22 CFR 42.33(b)(1) and (2) will result in mandatory disqualification of the petitioner for that fiscal year. The existing regulations require the petitioner to submit specific information, including, but not limited to: Name, date of birth, and place of birth for the principal petitioner and any relatives that may accompany the petitioner, if selected to apply for a diversity visa, as well as a digital photo. While these are currently requirements for the diversity visa entry form, existing regulations do not make clear the consequence for failure to provide the information. The revised regulation clarifies that failure to provide the required information, including a compliant photograph, will result in the disqualification of the entry, the petitioner, and derivatives from the DV Program for that fiscal year.
Why is the Department promulgating this rule?
The Department has historically encountered significant numbers of fraudulent entries for the DV Program each year, including entries submitted by criminal enterprises on behalf of individuals without their knowledge. Individuals or entities that submit unauthorized entries will often contact unwitting individuals whose identities were used on selected DV Program entries, inform them of the opportunity to apply for a diversity visa, and hold the entry information from the named petitioner in exchange for payment. Requiring that each entry form include a valid passport number at the time of the DV Program entry will make it more difficult for third parties to submit unauthorized entries, because third parties are less likely to have individuals’ passport numbers. Entries submitted by unauthorized third parties using a duplicative passport number will also be easily identified and automatically disqualified.
Click here to read the entire notice, or for information on where to send comments (accepted up to July 5, 2019).
The @StateDept plans to establish a "Commission on Unalienable Rights."
— Kate Brannen (@K8brannen) June 5, 2019
The Trump administration plans to launch a new panel to offer "fresh thinking” on international human rights called the Commission on Unalienable Rights and will advise Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. https://t.co/AXArjtGlxl
— POLITICO Press (@POLITICOPress) May 31, 2019
The charter of the ominously peculiar new "Commission on Unalienable Rights" at the State Department is now available online
— Ryan Kaminski (@rykaminski) June 5, 2019
Protesters in Honduras set the access gate to the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa on fire with tires doused with fuel according to Reuters. The report says that “the protesters chanted “American trash, American trash” outside the embassy, which was not being guarded at the time.”
CNN notes that “the fire was extinguished by mid-afternoon, and a State Department spokesperson later said no embassy personnel were injured in the incident.”
The U.S. Embassy was not being guarded at the time of the protest?
As of 1 am EST, we have not been able to find an official statement from Foggy Bottom. US Embassy Honduras CDA Heide Fulton did release a statement (see below) and announced the suspension of routine consular services for next week due to the fire damage.
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) May 31, 2019
The main entrance of the US Embassy in the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa was left charred after demonstrators set fire to tires and objects in front of the building. The fire was extinguished by mid-afternoon. https://t.co/9mmAOSP6tC
— CNN International (@cnni) May 31, 2019
Honduras unrest spreads as protesters burn tires at U.S. embassy https://t.co/HhDfAfOh5m
— Bloomberg Politics (@bpolitics) May 31, 2019
— Thomas van Linge (@ThomasVLinge) May 30, 2019
#Honduras: Demonstrations/strikes will continue today, May 31st in major cities in Honduras, to demand the repeal of two decrees related to education and health. Local media reports a number of major roads/highways have been closed by demonstrators. https://t.co/EsiJFdUW3X pic.twitter.com/WRtMlBX1gA
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) May 31, 2019
— Chargé Heide Fulton (@USAmbHonduras) June 1, 2019
In an April 24, 2019 meeting between the the Department of State and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the group asked the State Department/s Consular Affairs bureau about the public charge refusals for visa applicants.
AILA: Based on data provided by the Department of State, it appears that there were four times as many §212(a)(4) refusals in 2018 as compared to 2017. However, approximately the same proportion of initial refusals were overcome in both years. Thus, it appears that the total number of applicants unable to overcome the initial refusal rose significantly in 2018. Please confirm: a. Aside from guidance provided in the FAM, has State issued new or additional guidance in 2018 concerning how consular officers should evaluate eligibility under §212(a)(4)?
DOS: State hosted a series of webinars in 2018 and 2019 for consular officers reviewing the update to public charge eligibility, but other than the FAM update in 2018, there has been no additional formal guidance released on how to evaluate eligibility under §212(a)(4). b.
Visa applicants need to satisfy this provision of law by demonstrating proof of adequate financial support in the United States. A visa refusal, or ineligibility, under section 212(a)(4) of the INA means that the consular officer determined that the applicant is likely to become a public charge in the United States. Public charge means that the consular officer determined that the applicant is likely to become primarily dependent on the U.S. government for your existence and financial support in the United States. Most immigrant visa applicants are required to submit an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864, I-864A, I-864W, or I-864EZ, as applicable) from the U.S. sponsors who filed petitions for them. Some categories of immigrant visa applicants are not required to have Affidavits of Support. These are categories where no U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident relative filed a petition on your behalf, including most employment-based immigrants and diversity visa (DV) applicants.
Below are the number of visa refusals under the public charge grounds for FY2017 and FY2018:
In January 2018, the Department released an unclassified cable 18 STATE 942 January 4, 2018 with an Update to 9 FAM 302.8 Public Charge – INA 212(A)(4): Excerpt below with the relevant section.
3. INA 212(a)(4)(B) continues to provide that officers must take into account the totality of the alien’s circumstances at the time of visa application, including, at a minimum: (a) age, (b) health, (c) family status, (d) assets, resources, financial status, and (e) education and skills. As revised, 9 FAM 302.8-2(B)(2) now includes detailed guidance to help officers assess these statutory factors when considering the totality of the applicant’s circumstances. For instance, 9 FAM 302.8-2(B)(2)(f)(1)(b)(i) provides that an officer may consider “past or current receipt of public assistance of any type” in determining whether an applicant is likely to become a public charge, although officers must make a determination based on the present circumstances. Consequently, an applicant’s current receipt of public assistance may not raise significant future concerns, based on the totality of circumstances. For example, if the applicant just completed an educational degree and received a credible job offer, the applicant’s education and skills might provide a sufficient basis to find that the applicant overcomes any public charge ineligibility concerns in spite of current lack of assets. Alternatively, an applicant’s past receipt of public assistance could be very significant: for example, if the applicant’s spouse was the family’s primary income earner, but recently died. In this case, the applicant’s recent change in family status and likely change in financial status would weigh heavily in considering the totality of the circumstances.
4. Additionally, 9 FAM 302.8-2(B)(3), paragraph b, as revised provides that a “properly filed and sufficient, non-fraudulent” Affidavit of Support by itself may not satisfy the INA 212(a)(4) public charge requirement. The Affidavit of Support requirement at INA 213A and the public charge ineligibility at INA 212(a)(4) are distinct requirements which, where both are applicable, must both be satisfied. Accordingly, a properly filed and sufficient Affidavit of Support is essential, but does not preclude denial on public charge grounds. Officers should consider such affidavits as one factor in the totality of the applicant’s circumstances, and, may find the applicant is likely to become a public charge if, for example, the applicant is in very poor health, is unable to work, and is likely to incur significant medical costs. Similarly, if an applicant does not clearly overcome public charge concerns but could with a joint sponsor, then a consular officer’s evaluation of the likelihood the joint sponsor would voluntarily meet his or her financial obligations toward the applicant becomes vital to the adjudication. See 9 FAM 302.8- 2(B)(3)(b)(1)(b). 5. The updated guidance at 9 FAM 302.8 is effective immediately.
Transcript: 03/21/19 Interview With Chris Mitchell and David Brody of Christian Broadcasting Network; Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo; David Citadel Hotel; Jerusalem
QUESTION: Okay. Look where you are today. But your faith has informed your views, clearly. And not only that, but you’re not shy to talk about it. And I’m wondering about how that – how that really manifests in your life.
SECRETARY POMPEO: So of course my mission as a Secretary of State, the thing I rose my – raised my right hand to do, I swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. And I’ve done that now a handful of times – first as a soldier, then as a member of Congress, then as the director of the CIA, now as Secretary of State. But in each of those missions, the task that I have is informed by my understanding of my faith, my belief in Jesus Christ as the savior. It doesn’t drive answers and outcomes every day; we all as Christians are searching. But it does inform how I try to treat every human being with dignity and respect in ways that Christians ought to. I don’t always live up to that standard, but it does inform the way I think about the world. I think that makes a real difference, and so I want people to know. It’s why I talk about it from to time. I want folks to know the perspective that I am bringing to the challenges in the job that I face, and it also requires me to try to hold myself to the standards that Christians hold themselves out for.
QUESTION: And you also mentioned a Bible story last night when you had your statements with the prime minister. Today’s being Purim, a celebration. Jews worldwide and here in Jerusalem are talking about the fact that Esther 2,500 years ago saved the Jewish people with God’s help from Haman. And now 2,500 years later there’s a new Haman here in the Middle East that wants to eradicate the Jewish people like just like Haman did: the state of Iran. Could it be that President Trump right now has been sort of raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther, to help save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace?
SECRETARY POMPEO: As a Christian I certainly believe that’s possible. It was remarkable – so we were down in the tunnels where we could see 3,000 years ago, and 2,000 years ago – if I have the history just right – to see the remarkable history of the faith in this place and the work that our administration’s done to make sure that this democracy in the Middle East, that this Jewish state remains. I am confident that the Lord is at work here.
Could it be that President Trump right now has been raised for such a time as this – just like #QueenEsther – to help save the #Jewish people from the Iranian #menace?”
Listen to U.S. Department of State Secretary Pompeo in an exclusive interview with CBN News. #Purim pic.twitter.com/DyeKdCWbaI
— Jerusalem Dateline (@JlemDateline) March 21, 2019
Pompeo suggests Trump was put on Earth to save the Jews: ‘As a Christian, I believe it’s possible’https://t.co/HSe4AE7wyt
— Raw Story (@RawStory) March 21, 2019
Secretary Pompeo tours the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. pic.twitter.com/4PCmxO81FK
— The Hill (@thehill) March 21, 2019
Trump tweeting major policy change as @SecPompeo is at Netanyahu's home for dinner. I had asked @SecPompeo if this was about to happen earlier today he said: "I don't have anything to say about that." This is a major military and political boon for Bibi with election in 3 weeks https://t.co/d6WXxxhxJT
— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) March 21, 2019
“Israeli and U.S. officials say they expect an announcement on U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan could come as early as Netanyahu’s visit to Washington next week…”
— Matt Lee (@APDiploWriter) March 21, 2019
On March 14, Secretary Pompeo announced the “temporary” departure of all remaining US Embassy Caracas diplomats from Venezuela. He also said that “We look forward to resuming our presence once the transition to democracy begins. ”
Two days ago, the State Department reissued its Level 4 Do Not Travel Advisory after the March 11, 2019 announcement of temporary suspension of operations of the U.S. Embassy in Caracas and withdrawal of diplomatic personnel in Venezuela. The advisory cautions American travelers to “not travel to Venezuela due to crime, civil unrest, poor health infrastructure, and arbitrary arrest and detention.”
Keep the local staffers in your thoughts, personnel withdrawal does not include the local employees. See CDA James Story video here with a message to the people of Venezuela.
New statement from Pompeo: "Today, all U.S. diplomats remaining in Venezuela departed the country…
We look forward to resuming our presence once the transition to democracy begins." pic.twitter.com/aCO3rE38rW
— Robbie Gramer (@RobbieGramer) March 14, 2019
— CNW (@ConflictsW) March 14, 2019
.@AmbJohnBolton says @StateDept decided to withdraw all US personnel from Caracas, #Venezuela after Maduro “made a desperate plea to groups of armed gangs, known as ‘colectivos’, to unleash violence against innocent civilians.” (via @ZcohenCNN)
— Jennifer Hansler (@jmhansler) March 12, 2019
The U.S. will withdraw all remaining personnel from @usembassyve this week. This decision reflects the deteriorating situation in #Venezuela as well as the conclusion that the presence of U.S. diplomatic staff at the embassy has become a constraint on U.S. policy.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) March 12, 2019
Last night, Maduro made a desperate plea to groups of armed gangs, known as ‘colectivos’, to unleash violence against innocent civilians. The VZ military should uphold their obligation to protect the Constitution from Maduro’s usurpation and protect civilians from these thugs.
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) March 12, 2019
"Le hago un llamado a los colectivos, llegó la hora de la resistencia activa", dice Maduro a sus grupos de paramilitares armados que han disparado contra civiles y voluntarios. #11Mar pic.twitter.com/kxR1jSuyAV
— Gabriel Bastidas (@Gbastidas) March 12, 2019
Posted: 2:45 am EST
After thirty or so years, Elliot Abrams is back at the State Department. This time as the Trump Administration’s Special Envoy for Venezuela (see @SecPompeo Appoints Elliott Abrams, Iran-Contra Figure to “Help” Restore Democracy in Venezuela).
On February 13, together with Sandra Oudkirk, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Energy Resources at the State Department and USAID’s Steve Olive, the Acting Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, Mr. Abrams appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) to talk about Venezuela at a Crossroads.
Note that the State Department’s WHA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary in charge of Venezuela did not testify at this hearing.
Protesters interrupted Mr. Abrams testimony, and the grilling he received from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn) received much commentary. For those too young to remember the old times, see Brown University’s Understanding the Iran-Contra Affairs, a project developed from its applied ethics and public policy course on Good Government.
It is likely that this is not an isolated incident; that every time Mr. Abrams appear before a committee in Congress, or before the media that his past will never be too far away; he may have been pardoned but he has not been forgotten. Even when he is there to talk about Venezuela, people will ask him questions about Iran-Contra, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, human rights, El Mozote, etc. etc. etc.
Which makes one wonder why he was appointed to this job in the first place. Whatever message there is will pale in the presence of the messenger.
On February 14, Cuba accused the U.S. of moving special forces in preparation for a Venezuelan intervention under the pretext of a humanitarian crisis. Reuters reported that that Special Envoy Elliott Abrams was asked about the Cuban statement at an event in Washington, and he said “it is a new lie.”
Besides Mr. Weinberger, the President pardoned Robert C. McFarlane, the former national security adviser, and Elliott Abrams, the former assistant Secretary of State for Central America. Both officials had pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of withholding information from Congress about support for the contras.
But not since President Gerald R. Ford granted clemency to former President Richard M. Nixon for possible crimes in Watergate has a Presidential pardon so pointedly raised the issue of whether the President was trying to shield officials for political purposes. Mr. Walsh invoked Watergate tonight in an interview on the ABC News program “Nightline,” likening today’s pardons to President Richard M. Nixon’s dismissal of the Watergate special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, in 1973. Mr. Walsh said Mr. Bush had “succeeded in a sort of Saturday Night Massacre.”
Democratic lawmakers assailed the decision. Senator George J. Mitchell of Maine, the Democratic leader, called the action a mistake. “It is not as the President stated today a matter of criminalizing policy differences,” he said. “If members of the executive branch lie to the Congress, obstruct justice and otherwise break the law, how can policy differences be fairly and legally resolved in a democracy.”
The main supporters of the pardon were Vice President Quayle, the Senate Republican leader, Bob Dole, and Mr. Gray, one senior Administration official said today. The decision, discussed in private, seemed to coalesce in the last three weeks although Mr. Bush was said to believe that Mr. Weinberger had been unfairly charged ever since the former Reagan Cabinet officer was first indicted in June.
Throughout the deliberations, Mr. Bush consulted with Attorney General William P. Barr and Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser, who had sat on a Presidential review panel that examined the affair in early 1987.
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 13, 2019
Exchange between Rep. @IlhanMN and Elliott Abrams: "I fail to understand why members of this committee of the American people should find any testimony that you give today to be truthful." pic.twitter.com/n8aMbH1g3G
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 13, 2019
It's really something to watch Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) go after Elliott Abrams. She was 6 years old, and in Somalia, when he was first in the State Dept, coordinating U.S. involvement in El Salvador & Nicaragua; she was 11 when he was pardoned. And now: https://t.co/OZdNqci8kJ
— Dan Zak (@MrDanZak) February 13, 2019
Elliott Abrams’s most notable lies came during an exchange about his actions as assistant secretary of state in the 1980s during the Reagan administration. https://t.co/9fiiyYGXF7
— The Intercept (@theintercept) February 14, 2019