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Chad’s Morning Brief: White House Says Immigrant Children Facing Danger Will Stay, Republican Governors and Gay Marriage, and Other Top Stories

Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of July 15, 2014. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.

federal government shuts down
Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The Children Could Stay

Remember last week when the White House made it sound as though most of the illegal immigrant children would be sent back to their native countries? According to The Hill, that position has changed.

The White House said Monday it was “likely” that immigrant children facing mortal danger in their home countries would be allowed to stay in the United States.

The comments come amid a growing debate over a 2008 law that allows many of the children flooding across the southern border an automatic asylum hearing.

“These children will — and other immigrants who are attempting to enter the country without documentation — will go through the immigration process and that means their claims of asylum will be considered by an immigration judge and by asylum officials,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday.

“What that means is it means that if a immigration judge determines that they face a credible threat of death upon their return to their home country, then, again, I’m not an immigration judge, but it is likely that the immigration judge will find that that person should be granted humanitarian relief.”

Earnest’s comments underscored the careful balancing act the White House is attempting on the border, looking to appease both its Democratic base — which has expressed concern over the treatment of the migrant children — and Republicans eager to blame the crisis on mismanaged enforcement by the administration.

Republicans want to change the 2008 law so that immigrant children from Central American countries largely driving the surge at the border are treated the same as children from Mexico and Canada, who don’t get an automatic hearing.

Democrats on Capitol Hill, however, have raised warnings that such a change could harm children seeking safety in the United States.

The White House has expressed an interest in changing the law, but has offered few specifics on what it would support.

Earnest’s comments on Monday appeared to at least signal a tonal break from last week, when he said that a majority of children crossing the border would not qualify for asylum and would be sent back to their home countries.

Over the weekend, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who is considering a 2016 presidential run, said the U.S. should not turn away immigrant children without due process.

“We are not a country that should turn children away and send them back to certain death,” O’Malley told CNN.

Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill have also voiced objection to proposals that would allow the Department of Homeland Security to circumvent the asylum process for the flood of immigrant children, clearing the backlog by immediately routing many of the children into deportation proceedings.

But new legislation offered by two Texas lawmakers — Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican, and Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat — would allow Border Patrol agents to turn children away more quickly at the border, without a asylum hearing.

Gay Marriage and the GOP

U.S. News has an interesting story about how Republican Governors who are considering running for the White House in 2016 are handling the issue of gay marriage.

 When it comes to confronting a cascade of judges knocking down same-sex marriage bans, Republican governors with their eyes on the White House have situated themselves in two distinct camps: Benign surrender or fight like hell.
For Govs. Chris Christie, R-N.J., and Scott Walker, R-Wis., two chief executives of blue-hued states who have largely declined to engage in the culture wars, they would rather not reiterate their opposition as the courts deal with the cases. But for others, like Govs. Rick Perry, R-Texas, Bobby Jindal, R-La., and Mike Pence, R-Ind. – who are each looking to build a more conservative national constituency – the fight has only begun.

The current cast of GOP governors have Arnold Schwarzenegger, a moderate Republican, to thank for the position they’re in. In 2010, the nationally known former governor of California refused to appeal a U.S. District Court’s decision striking down the state’s prohibition of same-sex marriage known as Proposition 8. Though an outside group came in to defend the law in place of the state, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last June that they did not have the legal standing to do so. In addition to legalizing gay marriage in California, a lesser known part of the ruling also established that only state officials could defend such bans in court.

For GOP governors, that means the buck stops squarely with them – as do the political consequences that follow.

Christie, Walker: Benign Surrender

Christie followed Schwarzenegger’s example. A Roman Catholic who has long publicly opposed same-sex marriage, Christie vetoed a bill to legalize gay marriage in New Jersey in February 2012, but a year and a half later, his administration dropped its appeal of the State Supreme Court judge’s decision that the same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional, making New Jersey the 14th state to legalize same-sex nuptials.

“Chief Justice Rabner left no ambiguity about the unanimous court’s view on the ultimate decision in this matter when he wrote, ‘Same-sex couples who cannot marry are not treated equally under the law today,’ ”Christie’s office’s said in a release at the time. ”Although the governor strongly disagrees with the court substituting its judgment for the constitutional process of the elected branches or a vote of the people, the court has now spoken clearly as to their view of the New Jersey Constitution and, therefore, same-sex marriage is the law.”

“Politically he made the judgment that it was better for him to not sort of fight to death on this issue and to let it go,” says Marc Solomon, the national campaign director for Freedom to Marry, a pro-gay marriage political group. “My guess is that it’s an effort to show he’s not sort of incredibly extreme.”

In a similar manner, Walker, who became a GOP hero when he survived a tumultuous 2012 recall election after taking on unions in his state, toned down his opposition to same-sex marriage. Walker said he supported Wisconsin’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage when running for governor in 2010, and before that even opposed a county law that would have allowed county workers in same-sex couples to apply for benefits akin to their married counterparts. But now that the same-sex marriage ban is at the mercy of the courts, his rhetoric has cooled.

“It really doesn’t matter what I think now,” Walker told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel in June. “It’s in the constitution.”

Not all Republican Governors have given up though according to the report.

Perry, on the other hand, isn’t going to let a judge temper his position.

In light of a federal judge’s ruling in February that the Texas’ marriage ban was unconstitutional, Perry released a statement decrying the decision. Since then, same-sex marriage supporters in the state say there are no signs he’s backing down.

“All the evidence is showing that the governor and the attorney general intend to fight this as long and as hard as they can,” says Rebecca Robertson, legal and policy director for the ACLU of Texas.

Jindal, too, appears to be heading in the same direction. In response to the Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling last year he said, “I believe every child deserves a mom and a dad. This opinion leaves the matter of marriage to the states where people can decide. In Louisiana, we will opt for traditional marriage. How about we let the people decide for themselves, via their representatives and via referendum?”

The lawsuits in the U.S. District Court challenging Louisiana’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage remain in their early stages.

You can read the rest of the report online by clicking on the link above. Will gay marriage be a big issue in 2016? Yes, but only because the media will force it to be an issue.

Other Top Stories:

Mixed Feelings in Littlefield

Sweetwater Mayor to Run for SD-28

Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Open Carry in Fight with Arlington

The Rand Paul Pile On

Perry Rising 

Rick Perry Rips Rand Paul on Foreign Policy 

Holder Blasts Palin 

Evangelicals Are Changing on Gay Marriage 

$10,000 to Propose at Dallas Arboretum? 

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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