The Trump administration is preparing a policy change that could push legal immigrants to forgo needed health care, food and employment assistance while they seek green cards for permanent residency.
Their applications could be passed over if they use such federal programs as Medicaid, food stamps, tax credits or subsidized Obamacare insurance, according to a draft of the plan published by the Washington Post.
Even letting a child who is a U.S. citizen use such benefits could jeopardize a parent’s chances of attaining permanent residency, according to the measure.
In California, programs considered off-limits would include Medi-Cal, CalFresh, CalWorks and health insurance purchased through Covered California.
According to Ninez Ponce, associate director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, that proposed rule in California would hit the Asian and Pacific Islander population hardest. Read More
The punch-counterpunch sparring between the Trump administration and the state of California over rollbacks of federal environmental regulations is often described as a war of words, with neither the president nor Gov. Jerry Brown giving an inch.
Some of the disputes are largely symbolic—foot-stamping gestures from Washington designed to resonate with the president’s core supporters rather than to hold up in court.
But the latest skirmish is serious. The federal Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to unravel fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks not only threatens California’s autonomy in setting its own emissions limits but also could derail the state’s ability to reach its future greenhouse-gas-reduction goals.
“This is a politically motivated effort to weaken clean-vehicle standards with no documentation, evidence or law to back up that decision,” Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the state Air Resources Board, said in a statement. “This is not a technical assessment; it is a move to demolish the nation’s clean-car program. EPA’s action, if implemented, will worsen people’s health with degraded air quality and undermine regulatory certainty for automakers.”
The gauntlet was thrown down by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, a darling of the Trump administration for his zeal in dismantling Obama-era environmental regulations. Even though Pruitt is the target of multiple investigations for alleged ethical transgressions and has found his job security in question, the effect of his current decisions can resonate far beyond his or his boss’ terms in office. Read More
A day after Gov. Jerry Brown agreed to the Trump administration’s request to beef up the National Guard in states along the Mexico border, fellow Democrat Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said he would not have made the same decision as governor.
But Newsom, who is the front-runner in the race to replace Brown as governor, put a large asterisk on his disagreement with Brown: [infoembed size=”full” override=”” align=”left” padding=”light”]
Brown announced Wednesday that he would accept federal funding to add 400 California National Guard members “to combat transnational crime.” But he laid out a long list of conditions in an agreement with federal authorities: The troops will not build a border wall or enforce immigration laws, and the arrangement is approved only until Sept. 30. Brown also specified that when it comes to the state’s National Guard, he is the “commander in chief.”
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra moved today to intervene in a Texas lawsuit aimed at undoing Obamacare. Becerra and 15 other attorneys general joined forces to file their motion to prevent “immediate and irreparable harm,” as Becerra put it, to California and other states.
At stake is an estimated $160 billion in federal dollars for California’s health care system, with a combined potential loss of about $500 billion for 15 states and the District of Columbia, according to Becerra. The Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress repeatedly have tried to unravel or eliminate Obamacare, with mixed results.
“The Affordable Care Act changed the world,” Becerra said. “We can’t and we won’t go back.”
He pointed out that roughly 5 million people were signed to insurance coverage in California through Obamacare, under the Covered California exchange and the state’s expansion of Medi-Cal ranks. Before Obamacare, he also noted, many health conditions weren’t covered even if patients had insurance, and some patients were denied care based on pre-existing conditions. But all of that changed under the Affordable Care Act.
If Obamacare is overturned, the federal dollars that go with it will evaporate. That includes subsidies for insurance bought through the Covered California exchange, and a large share of the cost for California’s Medi-Cal expansion. Read More
Update: The Legislature passed, and Gov. Jerry Brown signed, SB 1108.
Since the Trump administration said in January that states could require Medicaid recipients to work if they want to continue receiving the benefit, three states have signed on: Kentucky, Indiana and Arkansas. Many others are considering it.
California, of course, is walking a different path. State Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) is floating a bill, SB 1108, to ban work requirements for Medi-Cal recipients. Medi-Cal is California’s version of Medicaid, the national health care program for the poor.
Hernandez called the federal work-requirement idea “backwards” when introducing his bill. “Now is the time to focus all efforts on covering more people,” he said, “not less.”
Proponents of the work requirement say it can save money and make recipients accountable for receiving benefits. The whole point of requiring work for non-disabled adults, according to federal guidance, is to promote recipients’ well-being and increase their self-sufficiency. Read More
A court ruled today that the Environmental Protection Agency must identify regions of the country that exceed federal smog levels, giving another win to California and other states that sued to compel the regulator to enforce the Clean Air Act.
A federal court has ruled the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must begin to identify regions where smog exceeds national standards.
The federal ruling came from a suit filed by 15 states after the federal EPA missed a deadline last year to designate “non-attainment” areas. The designation is critical because such a finding requires state and local authorities to take immediate action to improve air quality and comply with ozone standards.
“The stakes are high,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who has brought multiple lawsuits against the Trump administration. “The smog-reducing requirements at issue will save hundreds of lives and prevent 230,000 asthma attacks among children. That’s worth fighting for.”
The court ordered the EPA to comply by April 30, and the federal agency said it was moving forward on the work. Read More
A day after the Trump administration sued California over its new “sanctuary” laws, state officials pushed back hard, with Gov. Jerry Brown calling the move tantamount to “war.”
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the lawsuit, which he filed late Tuesday, at a police event near the Capitol today. He said California leaders were scoring political points on the backs of law enforcement with immigration policies that hinder federal agents’ ability to enforce U.S. law.
“We’re simply asking the state and other sanctuary jurisdictions to stop actively obstructing federal law enforcement,” Sessions said as hundreds of protesters shouted outside. “Stop treating immigration agents differently from everybody else for the purpose of eviscerating border and immigration laws, and advancing an open-borders philosophy shared by only a few, the most radical extremists.”
The attorney general accused local and state elected officials, including Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and state Attorney General Xavier Becerra, of promoting an extreme agenda to frustrate federal agents. Becerra, a Brown appointee, is running for election this year, as is Schaaf.
The attorney general accused local and state elected officials, including Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and state Attorney General Xavier Becerra, of promoting an extreme agenda to frustrate federal agents. Becerra, a Brown appointee, is running for election this year, as is Schaaf. Read More
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has filed a lawsuit against California over immigrant-friendly laws that push back on immigration enforcement and detention by the federal government.
The lawsuit alleges that California is in violation of the U.S. Constitution because of three of its “sanctuary” laws, which it says obstruct enforcement of federal immigration law and impact public safety, according to national news sources.
Sessions is scheduled to announce the move Wednesday morning at a yearly state law-enforcement event.
The three laws the Department of Justice is asking the courts to strike down are AB 450, which requires employers to keep information about their employees private without a court order; AB 103, which mandates inspections for immigration detention facilities in the state, and SB 54, the law that limits interaction between local law enforcement and federal authorities. All took effect this year.
The best known of the three measures prohibits local law enforcers from questioning people about their immigration status during regular interactions and bans some detentions requested by federal authorities. It does allow state officials to cooperate with federal agents in situations where deportation is required for those who have committed up to 800 serious crimes. Read More
In a meeting about school safety and guns, President Donald Trump pivoted to some favorite targets: California and immigration. He said he might remove immigration and border officers from the Golden State and predicted that the result would be “a crime mess like you’ve never seen,” CNN and other news outlets reported today.
He mentioned gangs as a problem that the federal government was trying to address, with “no help from the state of California,” where one foreign gang establishes “franchises.”
“They’re doing a lousy management job, they have the highest taxes in the nation and they don’t know what’s happening out there,” Trump said.
Trump made his remarks in a session with state and local officials who had dealt with shootings at schools. He did not explain how he believed gangs and school shootings were related.
He went on to say, “the sanctuary city situation, the protection of these horrible criminals …. If we ever pulled our ICE out and said, ‘Hey, let California alone and let them figure it out themselves,’ in two months they’d be begging for us to come back.” Read More
Protestors wearing dolphin, shark and polar bear costumes joined the throngs who descended on Sacramento Thursday to speak out against the Trump administration’s proposal to expand oil drilling in federal waters off the California coast.
After a rally outside the state Capitol they marched to a library a few blocks away where the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management hosted the sole public meeting on the proposal in California. The agency is holding one meeting in each coastal state.
The format frustrated some attendees. Instead of the typical government hearing where long lines of people wait to comment at a microphone, visitors were directed to mill about a large room where federal employees were stationed at about a dozen tables. They explained different aspects of the national offshore drilling program—how leases are approved, how much money it brings to the U.S. economy, how the government responds to and tries to prevent oil spills—and answered questions from the public. A table with computers and comment cards was available for visitors to formally submit comments to the government.
But environmentalists—many wearing blue shirts saying “Californians against offshore drilling”—had traveled from around the state to attend the meeting and craved an opportunity to sound off.
“That one table? For hundreds of people?” Sharolyn Hutton of Eureka said, looking at the computer table set up for public comment. Read More