Immigration. Big thorny tropic right? Not really because America the country of my birth is a nation of immigrants. Virtually every person who lives in America today can trace their lineage back to another country were they to go back four centuries. Some came from Europe, some from Africa some from Asia. Only the Native Americans, which the Europeans treated horribly I might add, [and to treat horribly continue to in the state of South Dakota] can claim to have a real birthright to the land that is America now.
With that said an understood let’s look at the latest far right panic on immigration. The panic has been caused by an initiative in the form of the Task Force on New Americans which has been around since 2006 when it was formed in the George W. Bush administration. This version of the TFNA had as it’s chief goal the assimilation of new Americans into American society which I think is a great idea. I can’t say I remember any howls from the Right back in 2006 or 2007 or 2008 when the TFNA was doing its work.
Fast forward to 21 November 2014 when the sitting President revived the TFNA to do exactly the same thing. Here’s the full body of the executive memorandum from President Barack H. Obama via WhiteHouse.gov:
November 21, 2014
MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
SUBJECT: Creating Welcoming Communities and Fully Integrating Immigrants and Refugees
Our country has long been a beacon of hope and opportunity for people from around the world. Nearly 40 million foreign-born residents nationwide contribute to their communities every day, including 3 million refugees who have resettled here since 1975. These new Americans significantly improve our economy. They make up 13 percent of the population, but are over 16 percent of the labor force and start 28 percent of all new businesses. Moreover, immigrants or their children have founded more than 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies, which collectively employ over 10 million people worldwide and generate annual revenues of $4.2 trillion.
By focusing on the civic, economic, and linguistic integration of new Americans, we can help immigrants and refugees in the United States contribute fully to our economy and their communities. Civic integration provides new Americans with security in their rights and liberties. Economic integration empowers immigrants to be self-sufficient and allows them to give back to their communities and contribute to economic growth. English language acquisition allows new Americans to attain employment or career advancement and be more active civic participants.
Our success as a Nation of immigrants is rooted in our ongoing commitment to welcoming and integrating newcomers into the fabric of our country. It is important that we develop a Federal immigrant integration strategy that is innovative and competitive with those of other industrialized nations and supports mechanisms to ensure that our Nation’s diverse people are contributing to society to their fullest potential.
Therefore, I am establishing a White House Task Force on New Americans, an interagency effort to identify and support State and local efforts at integration that are working and to consider how to expand and replicate successful models. The Task Force, which will engage with community, business, and faith leaders, as well as State and local elected officials, will help determine additional steps the Federal Government can take to ensure its programs and policies are serving diverse communities that include new Americans.
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order as follows:
Section 1. White House Task Force on New Americans. (a) There is established a White House Task Force on New Americans (Task Force) to develop a coordinated Federal strategy to better integrate new Americans into communities and support State and local efforts to do the same. It shall be co-chaired by the Director of the Domestic Policy Council and Secretary of Homeland Security, or their designees. In addition to the Co-Chairs, the Task Force shall consist of the following members:
(i) the Secretary of State;
(ii) the Attorney General;
(iii) the Secretary of Agriculture;
(iv) the Secretary of Commerce;
(v) the Secretary of Labor;
(vi) the Secretary of Health and Human Services;
(vii) the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development;
(viii) the Secretary of Transportation;
(ix) the Secretary of Education;
(x) the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service;
(xi) the Director of the Office of Management and Budget;
(xii) the Administrator of the Small Business Administration;
(xiii) the Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement;
(xiv) the Director of the National Economic Council;
(xv) the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism; and
(xvi) the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
(b) A member of the Task Force may designate a senior-level official who is from the member’s department, agency, or office, and is a full-time officer or employee of the Federal Government, to perform day-to-day Task Force functions of the member. At the direction of the Co-Chairs, the Task Force may establish subgroups consisting exclusively of Task Force members or their designees under this subsection, as appropriate.
(c) The Secretary of Homeland Security shall appoint an Executive Director who will determine the Task Force’s agenda, convene regular meetings of the Task Force, and supervise work under the direction of the Co-Chairs. The Department of Homeland Security shall provide funding and administrative support for the Task Force to the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations. Each executive department or agency shall bear its own expenses for participating in the Task Force.
Sec. 2. Mission and Function of the Task Force. (a) The Task Force shall, consistent with applicable law, work across executive departments and agencies to:
(i) review the policies and programs of all relevant executive departments and agencies to ensure they are responsive to the needs of new Americans and the receiving communities in which they reside, and identify ways in which such programs can be used to increase meaningful engagement between new Americans and the receiving community;
(ii) identify and disseminate best practices at the State and local level;
(iii) provide technical assistance, training, or other support to existing Federal grantees to increase their coordination and capacity to improve long-term integration and foster welcoming community climates;
(iv) collect and disseminate immigrant integration data, policies, and programs that affect numerous executive departments and agencies, as well as State and local governments and nongovernmental actors;
(v) conduct outreach to representatives of nonprofit organizations, State and local government agencies, elected officials, and other interested persons that can assist with the Task Force’s development of recommendations;
(vi) work with Federal, State, and local entities to measure and strengthen equitable access to services and programs for new Americans, consistent with applicable law; and
(vii) share information with and communicate to the American public regarding the benefits that result from integrating new Americans into communities.
(b) Within 120 days of the date of this memorandum, the Task Force shall develop and submit to the President an Integration Plan with recommendations for agency actions to further the integration of new Americans. The Integration Plan shall include:
(i) an assessment by each Task Force member of the status and scope of the efforts by the member’s department, agency, or office to further the civic, economic, and linguistic integration of new Americans, including a report on the status of any offices or programs that have been created to develop, implement, or monitor targeted initiatives concerning immigrant integration; and
(ii) recommendations for issues, programs, or initiatives that should be further evaluated, studied, and implemented, as appropriate.
(c) The Task Force shall provide, within 1 year of the date of this memorandum, a status report to the President regarding the implementation of this memorandum. The Task Force shall review and update the Integration Plan periodically, as appropriate, and shall present to the President any updated recommendations or findings.
Sec. 3. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
(d) The Secretary of Homeland Security is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.
At first blush there’s not much different in this TFNA directive than in the mission of the TFNA in the Bush era. Of course you all live in the golden age of political, racial and ideological polarization which breeds panic in the side that knows it’s the dinosaur and the big shiny ball in the sky isn’t the sun it’s a meteor. This brings me to a woman from Maryland named Sue Payne. Sue Payne is a talk radio co host on a 50,000 watt day/20,000 watt night radio station WCBM 680 AM in Baltimore. The station is dominated and has been for decades by conservative talk radio. Rush Limbaugh, Dr Laura Schlesinger, G. Gordon Liddy and Sean Hannity all have been heard on the station over the past 20 years. Mark Levin joined the station’s lineup in the spring of 2006. In 2009, WCBM switched from ABC News on the hour to Fox News.
Republican Maryland State Deleagte Pat McDonough is the host of the eponymous show that airs on Saturday nights from 20h 00m to 22h 00m and Sue Payne who is his co host says she was “accidentally” invited to a series of phonecalls of the Obama version of TFNA where means and methods of welcoming new Americans were discussed. My first question wasn’t about the TFNA I knew what that was because I remembered it from the Bush administration. My initial question was, “Who the fuck is Sue Payne?” followed quickly by “How the fuck did she get invited to a Cabinet level phone call about immigration?”
Well for the record I am skeptical that Payne was actually on the phone call or if she has manufactured this out of whole cloth for her own benefit. I would like to think the Obama administration just doesn’t willy nilly give out their conference call numbers but if they do I’d love to chime in form time to time. The best way I could describe Sue Payne is that she is a conservative community organizer.
She is described as a “political activist” in the Washington Times article written by Meredith Somers in May 2013. Payne sought to have Maryland’s Firearm Safety Act sent to the voters in a referendum by gathering 55,000 signatures of registered voters. This anti-gun control effort failed.
This was by far not the first foray into political activism by the mysterious Sue Payne. In 2011 she lead a charge to fight the Maryland Dream Act a law that would allow undocumented immigrant children to pay instate tuition in Maryland colleges. The voters of the state of Maryland approved the legislation in a referendum in November 2012.
From Sue Payne’s LinkedIn page she is listed as an “opposition researcher.” This is a curiosity. The question remains to be asked, “Who does Sue Payne work for?”
Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., CS, O.Q.H [Journ.]
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