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Chad’s Morning Brief: Senate Immigration Reform, Perry Adds to the Special Session, & More

Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of June 12, 2013. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am.

Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

1. No More Illegal Immigration? (link)

Senator Chuck Schumer took to the Senate floor yesterday and claimed that if the Gang of Eight Immigration plan were to pass, illegal immigration would become a thing of the past.

“Illegal immigration will be a thing of the past,” Schumer said on the Senate floor, celebrating the passage of the motion to proceed.

Schumer complained in an impassioned and lengthy speech on the Senate floor that opponents saying the bill does not have border security “is not fair.” Schumer said giving billions of dollars to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will lead to increased border security, even if illegal immigrants are given amnesty first. He promised that assurances of future border security measures would be followed through.

Nonetheless, Schumer admitted the bill “is not perfect.” He pleaded with other senators, “if you have a better idea” on how to secure the border, “tell us.” Though Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY) have offered outlines of amendments that would improve the border security provisions in the bill, Schumer did not say he would support them.

Schumer said the Gang of Eight would not compromise by conditioning the path to citizenship on “factors that may not ever happen” like border security. He complained that border security should not be used as a “bargaining chip.”

And while Schumer claims the bill fixes enforcement issues, he also dismissed border security as not a real pressing concern.

“We don’t have a problem whereby these people [illegal immigrants] are besieging us with terrorist acts,” Schumer said.

Schumer also said he has been to the border with other Gang of Eight senators and said “it’s huge.”

What a stupid statement to make. As I said yesterday, it’s extremely disappointing that Senator Marco Rubio would stick with this plan. Senators are now just coming out and admitting that this bill doesn’t secure the border. In fact, I don’t think anyone in this Gang of Eight cares about the border.

2. Special Session (link)

I don’t think the Legislature can handle much more with only 14 days or so left if the Special Session, but Governor Rick Perry has added to their plate. Not only do lawmakers have to tackle redistricting and transportation, but yesterday the Governor added abortion-related issues and legislation dealing with 17 year-olds who commit serious crimes.

Perry on Tuesday added “legislation relating to the regulation of abortion procedures, providers and facilities.” Perry also added the issue of life sentences for 17-year-olds who commit serious crimes, a big issue for prosecutors but less likely to trigger divisive debate.

“The horrors of the national late-term abortion industry are continuing to come to light, one atrocity at a time. Sadly, some of those same atrocities happen in our own state. In Texas, we value all life, and we’ve worked to cultivate a culture that supports the birth of every child,” Perry said. “We have an obligation to protect unborn children, and to hold those who peddle these abortions to standards that would minimize the death, disease and pain they cause.”

Dozens of Republican legislators and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst had been urging the governor to include abortion restriction legislation in the 30-day session.

Hope Texas lawmakers are prepared to stay in Austin for a while.

3. Terror Fighting Legislation Under Attack (link)

Have Americans had it with surveillance? Possibly.

In the dozen years that have passed since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Congress has enacted a series of laws aimed at keeping the country safe.  But today, the same measures and mandates that were once put in place for the country’s protection have come under attack.

Hardest hit: the Patriot Act.

On Tuesday, its author, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc., said he supports a bipartisan push to amend the legislation and came out strongly against the Obama administration, which he accuses of manipulating the measure to cover questionable moves recently made by the National Security Agency.

Sensenbrenner says the Patriot Act was written in 2001 to give the president the authority to investigate and prevent terrorist activity. What he says it wasn’t intended for is spying on the phone and Internet records of Americans.

When first written, the Patriot Act significantly loosened restrictions on how law enforcement agencies could gather information, expanded the Treasury’s authority to regulate financial transactions involving foreign individuals and entities and broadened the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities in detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism-related offenses.

The Act also widened the definition of terrorism to include cases of domestic or home-grown terrorism. Critics say that using the Patriot Act has been a way for the administration to rubber stamp spying on its citizens and that the safety checks put in place to prevent abuse have gone unchecked for years.

In 2011, Congress reauthorized the Patriot Act. It did the same for the FISA Amendments Act in December 2012. Both acts allowed the government to continue its extraordinary power more than a decade after the laws were first passed to hunt down those responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks.

In its annual report to Congress, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court said it had gotten 1,789 applications for electronic surveillance. Of those, one application was withdrawn, 40 were approved with edits and the others – all 1,748 of them – were quickly green-lighted.

On Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a motion to the FISC asking for the release of secret court opinions on section 215 of the Patriot Act which authorizes the collection of phone records.

On Tuesday, the ACLU went a step further when it filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration charging that its “dragnet” collection of phone calls exposed by a NSA contractor  is illegal. The lawsuits asks that the records be purged and that the government be forced to stop the program.

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been lining up for months trying to reign in the government’s power grab.

Thoughts?

Other Top Stories:

Tech Giants Pushing for More Transparency

Julian Castro on Immigration

Immigration Bill Passes Key Senate Test

Rubio Wants to Require All Immigrants Learn English

White House to Push Gun Control Again

Boehner Open to Immigration Reform

Gay Lobby Exists Inside Vatican

Workplace Smoking Ban Dies Again

Texas Town Complains About Gun Range

City of Lubbock Wants Residents to Register Their Storm Shelters

These and many more topics coming up on today’s edition of The Chad Hasty Show. Tune in mornings 8:30-11am on News/Talk 790 KFYO, streaming online at kfyo.com, and now on your iPhone and Android device with the radioPup App. All guest interviews can be heard online in our podcast section after the show at kfyo.com.

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