Speaking to both military and civilian personnel at Joint Base McGuire Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey on December 15, President Obama thanked the troops for their extraordinary service and noted that “after more than a decade of war, our nation is marking an important milestone.”
Senator Rand Paul today introduced the Preventing Executive Overreach on Immigration Act on December 12. The bill (which has not yet been assigned a bill number, but has been placed on the Senate’s legislative calendar) is companion legislation to Rep. Ted Yoho’s bill of the same name (H.R. 5759) that passed the House of Representatives on December 4, 2014 on a 219-197 vote.
Leon Rodriguez, the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), told Spanish-speaking reporters during a conference call that “undocumented” (illegal) immigrants should be able to start applying for deferred action granting them protection from deportation and work permits in February and May.
The fallout from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s December 9 release of the summary of its report on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program continues, as the report’s critics and defenders go toe-to-toe. Many Republicans have been critical of the report because it casts a program initiated during the administration of George W. Bush in a negative light and it was compiled by a committee chaired by Democrat — Dianne Feinstein. However, even a prominent Republican has praised the report and condemned CIA torture.
In a December 9 interview in Nashville with Telemundo’s news co-anchor, José Díaz-Balart, President Obama assured illegal immigrant viewers that if they meet certain qualifications, they "won't be deported."
The Senate Intelligence Committee on December 9 released its report on the torture — including “waterboarding” — of prisoners held by the Central Intelligence Agency during the George W. Bush administration. The report was ordered released by the Intelligence Committee chairman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D.-Calif.) and a copy was posted on the committee’s webpage.
NATO’s International Security Assistance Force’s (ISAF) Joint Command lowered its flag today and formally ended its military deployment in Afghanistan on December 8. While 48 nations had contributed troops to ISAF, the United States provided 24,050 out of the total 34,512 (as of October) — more than all other nations combined. Far behind were the United Kingdom with 2,830 troops and Italy with 1,400.
On a 219-197 vote that was mostly along party lines, the House of Representatives passed the Executive Amnesty Prevention Act of 2014 (H.R. 5759) on December 4. The largely symbolic measure was passed in response to President Obama’s November 20 announcement that he would use executive action to remove the “fear of deportation” and provide three-year work permits for up to five million illegal aliens currently living in the United States.
As Republicans try to figure out the best response to President Obama’s November 20 announcement that he would use executive action to grant protection from deportation to millions of illegal immigrants, editorial writers have called the presidents’ plan unprecedented and even unconstitutional.
When asked on December 1 by ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl if President Obama would veto a funding bill that did not provide funds for him to carry out his executive action to grant amnesty from deportation to millions of illegal immigrants, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest replied, simply: “Yes.”