Immigration Again

Either I missed it yesterday in my timing of a daily check of presidential actions, or the most recent memorandum was not posted in a very timely manner. Anyway, in a lengthy letter to congress, POTUS 45 detailed the policy expectations for immigration reform that must accompany any change to the DACA policy. Given that the policy changes were recommended by various cabinet members and immigration authorities, it is no surprise they are draconian.

There has been some media coverage of this, including the expected outrage ensuing. It is difficult to see how any agreement with Democrats on DACA will be possible with these stipulations.

Official Title and Link: President Donald J. Trump’s Letter to House and Senate Leaders & Immigration Principles and Policies

Memorandum dated October 8, 2017


More Proclamations

All self-explanatory.

Official Titles and Links:

Memoranda dated October 6, 2017

National Security Memo

A couple of days ago a memorandum sent to a long list of administration officials was posted on the White House website. When I first saw it, I wondered what the implications of it might be, and decided to take more time to think about it before posting any comment here.

The subject of the memo is: Integration, Sharing, and Use of National Security Threat Actor Information to Protect Americans.

It is a directive for “…the development and implementation of appropriate technical architectures and corresponding policy frameworks to advance the integration, sharing, and use of identity attributes and associated derogatory information for each individual category of evaluated national security threat actor information described in the annex to this memorandum.”

So far, I have not seen the annex to this memorandum, but I expect it would provide helpful details.

My immediate reaction was two-fold. First, this action to consolidate and coordinate information among federal agencies seemed long overdue, but second, the potential for abuse of surveillance and data collection on American citizens is enormous. The following excerpt from the policy paragraph raised some concerns for me:

National security threat actor information comprises identity attributes and associated information about individuals, organizations, groups, or networks assessed to be a threat to the safety, security, or national interests of the United States that fall into one or more of the categories listed in the annex to this memorandum.

On the other hand, the last paragraph of the policy section (below) theoretically provides some caveats that ought to alleviate those concerns, but my lack of trust in this administration looms and I believe this whole process bears close watching.

This memorandum shall be implemented in a manner that is consistent with applicable law and Presidential guidance; safeguards intelligence sources, methods, and activities; protects otherwise sensitive information and preserves the integrity of sensitive operations and investigations; and appropriately protects privacy, civil rights, civil liberties, and other constitutional and statutory rights, including through compliance with applicable guidelines governing the collection, retention, and dissemination of personally identifiable information.

I did a brief online search to see if there was anything like this issued before and found a Federal Times article helpful.  This appears to be an initiative of the National Security Council, as an anonymous official from the Council is quoted in the article. One quote in particular strikes me as a useful result from this initiative:

The official elaborated that an objective of the memo was to come up with a system where one agency’s investigations and information can be deconflicted so that another agency doesn’t unintentionally take contradictory action.

The various agency heads have 270 days to submit the plan for implementation of this memorandum to the president. That means by early June 2018 we should be hearing more about this initiative.

Official Title and Link: National Security Presidential Memorandum

Memorandum dated October 4 and posted October 5, 2017

October Quite a Month

Although seven actions are dated September 30, they were only posted to the website late yesterday or earlier today. Apparently October is a popular month for being proclaimed something or other month. Most prominent is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Over the last three days no fewer than six proclamations have been signed.

One of the items listed as a proclamation was really just an announcement of intent to nominate personnel to key administration posts. Normally these announcements are posted elsewhere on the website, so I do not consider it a genuine proclamation.

In addition to the proclamations, two memoranda to the Secretary of State are posted. One is related to Child Soldiers Prevention and the other to Trafficking in Persons.

Proclamations that are self-explanatory: dated September 30

Dated October 1 – Statement from President Donald J. Trump on National Dyslexia Awareness Month

Dated October 2 – Presidential Proclamation Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy in Las Vegas, Nevada

Five Actions September 29

A flurry of actions – signing of two memoranda, two executive orders, and one proclamation – on Friday closes out the month of September.

The first memorandum, to the Secretary of State, determines the total number of refugees allowed in Fiscal Year 2018. This is routine, although the number of “up to 45,000 refugees” seemed low, so I compared it with last year (signed by President Obama) and that was for “up to 110,000 refugees”. So, this year’s determination is significantly lower. I guess that is one way to limit Muslims from entering the country. [Ed. Note: I thought the timing of this decision was a bit strange until I remembered the Federal fiscal years are October 1 through September 30.]

The other memorandum is for the Secretary of State, Secretary of Treasury and Director of National Intelligence and is a routine delegation of responsibility.

One executive order is routine continuance of certain Federal advisory committees, and the other is a revocation of a 2009 executive order that created Labor-Management advisory committees claiming they have failed to do what they were intended to do – increase collaboration in the Federal workforce.

The proclamation posted here is self-explanatory.

Official Titles and Links:

Memoranda, executive orders and proclamation dated September 29, 2017

Two Memoranda

Yesterday two routine memoranda were posted on the White House website.

The first is aimed at increasing funding and support for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, especially computer science. It directs the Secretary of Education to spend at least $200 million dollars on grants to improve computer science access, subject to adequate congressional funding. A report is due in 90 days on the initiatives taken.

The second is a very brief memo to the Secretary of State delegating presidential authority to the Secretary with regard to the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 (Public Law 115-31).

Official Titles and Links:

Memoranda dated September 25, 2017