Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Indonesian Reprieve from Deportation Merits Responses

Washington, D.C. - November 29, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Chief Judge Patti Saris of the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts ruled that the court has jurisdiction to delay deportations for members of the Indonesian community residing in the Seacoast area of New Hampshire, who face certain persecution as Christians in Indonesia, so that individuals can refile their cases. This ruling included some individuals who had been ordered to leave as early as this week. This will take a while, so the Indonesians facing deportation are temporarily relieved.

“I am very encouraged by this ruling,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D - NH). “The court made the right call--those who are threatened by deportation should have every opportunity to make their case to remain in their communities. New Hampshire should continue to be a sanctuary to the Indonesian community that fled religious persecution. Deporting these individuals will needlessly split families and communities, and put lives in danger. I’ll continue to make every effort to prevent these deportations so that the Indonesian community can continue to live peacefully in New Hampshire.”

In 2012, Senator Shaheen’s office helped negotiate an agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to allow Indonesian immigrants to remain in New Hampshire and obtain work permits in exchange for a commitment to regularly check-in with ICE. This agreement was recently reversed by ICE under the Trump administration, and these individuals were ordered to begin making preparations for deportation. Senator Shaheen has called senior officials in the Trump administration on behalf of the Indonesian community, including the Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Tom Homan and Deputy National Security Advisor Dina Powell. In October, Senator Shaheen welcomed New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu’s (R-NH) letter on behalf of the Indonesian community to the President and forwarded it to senior officials in the Trump administration.

“While I appreciate that the court has issued an order temporarily protecting members of the Indonesian community, I remain deeply concerned that the Trump Administration is prioritizing the deportation of these members of New Hampshire’s Indonesian community," Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) stated. "Many of these people came to our country fleeing religious persecution. They have become members of the community, they have worked jobs and paid taxes, and they have raised their families in the Seacoast. I will continue to work closely with the Congressional delegation and do everything I can to protect these Granite Staters.”

“I'm pleased that the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts has delayed removal of members of New Hampshire’s Indonesian Community and will give them more time to defend their right to stay in the state and country they call home,” said Congresswoman Ann Kuster (D-NH, 2nd). “These Indonesians came to the United States fearing religious persecution. They have built lives in the Granite State, contributed to our regional economy, and raised children that know no other home. For years they have voluntarily participated in and complied with an Immigration and Customs Enforcement supervision program. The decision to rescind this program and begin the deportation process for many of these individuals threatens to uproot families and risks renewed persecution for those who would be forced to return to Indonesia. I’m hopeful that a resolution will be reached that will allow these individuals to remain in the United States legally.”

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Enhancing Questions to Understand Intentions for Pregnancy (EQUIP) Act Introduced in the House

Washington, D.C. - November 29, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) introduced legislation aimed at improving maternal and infant health outcomes and reducing rates of unintended pregnancy. She thinks that by asking young women questions, like "Are you trying to have a baby?" "Are you sexually active?" "Are you wearing protection?" This will reduce the stresses of unintended pregnancy.

While this does not help lower-income young women who may not be regularly seeing a doctor, it does seem like a step in the right direction for providing information that will, in the long run, prevent a need for an abortion.

The Enhancing Questions to Understand Intentions for Pregnancy (EQUIP) Act supports evidence-based pregnancy intention screening initiatives that facilitate important, patient-centered conversations between women and their health providers. These initiatives prepare health care providers to routinely ask female patients of child-bearing age about their goals regarding pregnancy, and subsequently provide appropriate pre-conception or contraceptive care and counsel.

“Families and communities are healthier when women are able to have healthy, planned pregnancies,” said Bonamici. “Studies show that empowering women and their health care providers to have a discussion about pregnancy intentions reduces unintended pregnancies, promotes maternal health, and improves birth outcomes. I’m proud to support bringing a successful pregnancy intention screening initiative from Oregon to a national scale."

“We applaud Congresswoman Bonamici for her leadership on women’s health issues, and are very hopeful that the EQUIP Act will bring widespread national attention to pregnancy intention screening,” stated Grayson Dempsey, Executive Director of the Oregon Foundation for Reproductive Health. “Oregon has always been on the forefront of progressive healthcare policy and we are proud that the One Key Question™ initiative has been able to help so many women get the services they need for planning and preventing pregnancy.”

"The EQUIP Act takes an important step towards ensuring that every woman—no matter who she is or where she lives—has the power to decide if, when, and under what circumstances to get pregnant, and most importantly, to have the power to act upon those intentions," said Ginny Ehrlich, CEO of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. "It will contribute to strengthening and spreading pregnancy intention screening protocols that support women and their health care providers in having important conversations that allow women to get the health care they need and want in order to avoid an unintended, or prepare for, a healthy pregnancy."

Bonamici modeled this legislation on One Key Question™, a pregnancy intention screening initiative developed by the Oregon Foundation for Reproductive Health. The initiative supported the implementation of structured pregnancy intention screening pilot studies in Oregon, including at Washington County Family Planning clinics in 2013. This model is now being implemented at sites in at least 30 states.

Bonamici strongly supports access to contraception and opposes efforts by the Trump Administration to terminate the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program.

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Washington, D.C. - November 29, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- The Nebraska Public Service Commission approved the permit allowing for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline last week.

“The Nebraska Public Service Commission set an example for how to carefully evaluate critical energy infrastructure projects, even in the face of strongly held views and opinions,” said American Petroleum Institute's President and CEO Jack Gerard . “It’s been a long path to (today’s) approval and the Commission should be commended. Their action allows the Keystone XL pipeline to be built by highly-trained, skilled tradesmen using state-of-the-art technologies aimed at protecting the environment and promoting the safety of our communities. Pipelines such as this enhance our ability to safely deliver North American energy to our world class refineries, which in turn provide the fuels and products we all rely on every day.”

Among the many benefits that will come from this project like increased energy security for our nation, the Keystone XL pipeline is estimated to support 42,000 jobs during its construction and generate $55 million in property tax revenue in its first year of operation.

API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 10.3 million U.S. jobs and nearly 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s more than 625 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 40 million Americans.

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Washington, D.C. - November 28, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- The House Judiciary Committee announced it will mark up House Representative Richard Hudson's (R-NC, 8th) bill, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (H.R. 38), on Wednesday, November 29.

Concealed carry reciprocity is one of the most important pro-Second Amendment measures in Congress. Currently, the patchwork of reciprocity laws and agreements between states is confusing and has caused law-abiding citizens like Shaneen Allen to unwittingly break the law and suffer arrest and detention. Even the most careful and knowledgeable concealed carry permit holders find it difficult to navigate the current maze of state and local concealed carry laws. H.R. 38 is a common sense solution. The bill, which is supported by major pro-Second Amendment groups and has 213 cosponsors, would allow law-abiding citizens with a state-issued concealed carry license or permit to conceal a handgun in any other state that allows concealed carry. It would also allow law-abiding residents of Constitutional carry states the ability to carry in other states that recognize their own residents’ right to concealed carry.

H.R. 38 would allow law-abiding citizens to carry concealed only if they are not federally prohibited from possessing or receiving a firearm, are carrying a valid government-issued photo ID, and are lawfully licensed or otherwise entitled to carry a concealed handgun. Each person would have to follow the laws of the state, county and municipality in which they are carrying concealed.

U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (NC-08) stated, “For me and the vast majority of Americans who support concealed carry reciprocity, this is welcome progress. I want to thank Chairman Bob Goodlatte for his strong leadership to protect our Second Amendment rights. I will continue to work with my colleagues and President Trump to pass this common sense legislation to protect law-abiding citizens."

In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Supreme Court ruled that “the inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right,” which is “the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.” This fundamental right does not stop at a state’s borders and law-abiding citizens should be able to exercise this right when crossing state lines. In addition, Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution states, “Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.” This is the clause that allows a driver’s license to be recognized across state lines.

Contrary to the misinformation critics spread, under H.R. 38, states would retain their authority to enact time and place restrictions on where people can lawfully carry in the state. In addition, the bill would not make it any easier to buy a gun. It has nothing to do with the purchase of guns, it would not alter access to guns, and it would not change the federal law requiring background checks.

The American people understand these facts. That’s why an overwhelming majority of Americans support concealed carry reciprocity – 73% according to a recent New York Times survey.

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