Indivisible’s meeting with Rep. Swalwell

By Ward Kanowsky

Members of Indivisible East Bay and Livermore Indivisible met with Representative Eric Swalwell (CA-15) and his staff over Monday morning coffee on November 4, 2019 at Inkling’s Coffee & Tea in Pleasanton. Our discussion focused on the impeachment inquiry and where it’s heading. The two Indivisible chapters asked a range of questions and offered input during our hour-long meeting with Swalwell, who sits on the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees – the two committees that will play the most critical roles during the impeachment proceedings.

Even as we met, a lot was going on. Two sets of transcripts from the closed door depositions were released that day, and Rep. Swalwell was keeping tabs on witnesses who were still scheduled for the closed door interviews during the week: John Eisenberg from the National Security Council was already a no-show for the day and Swalwell was skeptical that former National Security Advisor John Bolton would testify on Thursday as scheduled. We asked Swalwell about holding such witnesses in contempt – beyond the obstruction of Congress tool that has been used for past witnesses who have defied the proceedings. He responded that he and his colleagues have been working with Good Government Now, a non-profit organization founded to strengthen congressional subpoena enforcement, to determine if Congress can levy fines of up to $10,000/day on such witnesses, rather than have the Sergeant-at-Arms take them into custody.

The open, public hearings should begin by next week. While Rep. Swalwell said Republicans such as Devin Nunes (CA-22) and John Ratcliffe (TX-4) are likely to pull some “stunts” and try to turn the proceedings “into a circus,” the Democrats’ approach will be to keep the “testimony professional.” In this regard, staff attorneys for the Democratic representatives on the Intelligence Committee will ask most of the questions of the witnesses during the open hearings to provide this professionalism, while also setting out the strongest, prosecutorial case for a trial in the Senate. Swalwell had high praise for committee chair Rep. Adam Schiff (CA-28), whom he called the best person to oversee the hearings, saying that Schiff is “measured and unflappable.” Also, when it comes to public opinion polls, he believes it helps the Democrats when they act with dignity.

With regard to potential articles of impeachment to be determined by the House Judiciary Committee, the focus will be on the conduct of the president, especially where “sharp lines” can be drawn. For example, Swalwell believes a clear connection back to the president has been shown in the whistle-blower complaint alleging that the president used his office to solicit interference from Ukraine in the 2020 election; the president has confessed, and witnesses who listened in on the July 25 call with the head of Ukraine have corroborated the allegations. He called the president’s acts “extortion” and “defense dollars for dirt,” and noted that the subsequent coverup by the White House is obstruction. We asked about the president’s other misdeeds, and he said he sees the ten acts of obstruction laid out in the Mueller report as “prior bad acts” that could be included in the articles, as well as possible violations of campaign finance laws when payments of hush money were made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

The Senate hasn’t really felt any pressure yet on the impeachment issue, with many Republican Senators staying silent. Rep. Swalwell sees this as a wise move on their part, but at the same time hopes they will keep an open mind if and when there is a trial. From a strategic standpoint, this is also why he wants to ensure a fair process in the House before passing the case over to the Senate, with the Democrats showing restraint and demonstrating a well-prepared professional approach. He expressed some concern that once the process moves to the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could just call for an immediate yes or no vote on whether to dismiss the articles.

We told Swalwell about steps Indivisible has been taking to support the impeachment process, including:

  • Indivisible hubdialer tool – goal is to call 1.1 million voters in key Senate Republican states, tell them what’s at stake in the impeachment inquiry, and then drive calls to the Senate offices. Over 300,000 calls have been made so far.
  • Nobody is Above the Law impeachment events – partnering with MoveOn, Stand Up America, and many other groups, to organize rallies across the country on the night before the House votes on articles of impeachment. Over 160 events are registered so far,

Rep. Swalwell liked both these ideas and thought they were effective tools. He asked whether Senators Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) are included in the Hubdialer calls (they are). He also praised the Indivisible organization and said the 2018 midterm blue wave “would not have happened without Indivisible.”

Swalwell acknowledged that since impeachment has taken over the headlines, Democrats need to do a better job of letting people know about all of the other work accomplished in the House. Over 200 bills have been passed, including major legislation around background checks (H.R.8) and equal pay for equal work (H.R.7). The bills now need to be taken up by the Senate and this process has been thwarted by Senator McConnell. Swalwell proposed online campaigns aimed specifically at McConnell, to get word out about bills passed through the House and awaiting action in the Senate – possibly calling them #YourCourtMitch and #WePassedThat. He said this is also an action item where Indivisible could be very helpful. We’ll be looking into it in the future!

If you have questions or want to participate with the CA-15 team, contact Ward on Slack at @ward or by email at wardkanowsky@gmail.com.

Ward Kanowsky is co-lead, with LeAnn Kanowsky, of the Indivisible East Bay CA-15 Team.

Photo by Mallory De Lauro, Rep. Swalwell’s District Director and Foreign Affairs Adviser.

 

Reclaiming our time: model impeachment hearing

By Ann G. Daniels and Larry Baskett

Deadline: Save it or lose it –

UPDATED: the October 13 event we refer to in this article is over, but you can see Larry’s  impeachment presentation at this pdf.

It is, alas, not explicitly stated in the Constitution that you can remove the President for losing every single marble in the toy store. However, Indivisible East Bay has been saying for quite a while (see our list at the bottom of this article) that there’s more than enough undisputed evidence to impeach the Current Occupant. Now – finally, finally – Nancy Pelosi has come around, and dare we hope that things might actually happen? 

Since we’ve been ahead of the game the whole way, let’s keep going with our very own model House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing, a “people’s impeachment hearing” to show Speaker Pelosi and Committee Chair Nadler how it should be done. IEB is excited to pair with Indivisible SF and others to create this very real exercise in democracy, which we’ll hold with a live audience (of us!) and capture on video to distribute online. The model hearing, to be held on a date TBD before Election Day (November 5), will answer such important and frequently asked questions as:

  • Why impeach the president, in general? 
  • What offenses and actions – not just statutory crimes! – could be included in articles of impeachment? 
  • Why impeach in the House even if the Senate might not convict and remove the president? 
  • What is key to making impeachment in the House a success for the country? 
  • What is key to obtaining conviction in the Senate?

Here’s the thing: we need YOU to help make this happen. It takes a village to raze a childish, corrupt president – can you or folks you know help us fill these roles? Sign up at this link!

  1. Lawyers or legal eagles! Specifically, people knowledgeable about constitutional law or congressional procedure 
  2. People who’ve been directly impacted by Trump’s abusive policies (to give testimony). Think immigration, LGBTQ + rights, repro rights, worker safety and rights, environmental issues, federal workers …
  3. People interested in “adopting” an article of impeachment or two, to help script and organize a segment of the hearing – great for folks who’ve already dug deep and those who’d like to!
  4. People willing to act the parts of Members of Congress or witnesses. Theater folks welcome!

We also welcome anyone interested in helping organize or participate in ways we haven’t mentioned. You can also get in on the discussion on the #impeachment channel on IEB’s Slack. For an invite to join Slack, email info@IndivisibleEB.org

Can’t wait that long for impeachment action? Get out on the streets of San Francisco THIS SUNDAY, October 13, noon to 1:30 PM. IEB’s own impeachment expert Larry will speak, and the event will feature Spanish translation! Event details here. Also, check out this new website for impeachment rallies nationwide this Sunday, and pass it on to everyone you know across the country! 

Get up to speed by reading our earlier articles, with background and more actions you can take on impeachment, investigations, and the Mueller Report:

“Impeachment of the President – Ticket circa 1868,” graphic by Seth Anderson 

Ann G. Daniels’ checkered professional background includes practicing law, reproductive rights advocacy, creating web content for nonprofits and educational organizations, and teaching adult and family literacy. She also designs jewelry, teaches knitting, and sings second soprano.

Larry Baskett is a mechanical engineer who spent a year as a Science and Technology Policy Fellow with the California State Senate.

 

A Republic. If you can keep it.

Deadline: Save it or lose it –

Over the past year or more many of you have marched, made calls, read the Mueller Report, and in other ways stepped up to educate friends and Members of Congress about the urgent need to impeach the Criminal-in-Chief. At long last, the dam broke on Tuesday, September 24; as we watched the number of House Democrats jumping on board soar, Speaker Nancy Pelosi finally announced a formal impeachment inquiry under the umbrella of the six House Committees already investigating the wide range of Current Occupant’s high crimes and misdeeds.

We’re energized by this tectonic movement, and ready to push to keep the pressure on Congress, to keep the momentum going, and to unite to fight what is already coming: trolling, lying, and pressure from the forces of evil ON STEROIDS.

What you can do:

1. Take direct action! The coalition of groups that organized a lot of the most effective impeachment events and rallies has called for people to show up together at Town Halls and in-district events. Sign up here to get latest updates, and see whether there’s an event near you (or organize one!) Pledge to take action here.

2. Speaking of in-district events:

  • If you’re a constituent of Representative Eric Swalwell (CA-15), join him for a conference call on Friday, Sept. 27 at 10:30 am, to talk about the impeachment inquiry into Trump. Dial in: 1-800-719-7514 using code 635790. You’ll be able to ask questions on the call, but can also submit questions in advance to afielding@ericswalwell.com.
  • Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) is holding two recess town halls: Oct. 1, 7-8:30 PM in Pittsburg, info & RSVP; and Oct. 3, 6:30-8 PM in Richmond, info & RSVP.

3. Indivisible National, By the People, and many other groups who’ve worked tirelessly in the impeachment coalition have their own sets of demands – many but not all overlap. We provide a list; please choose those which you agree with, and call to thank your Representative for coming out in favor of an impeachment inquiry (all East Bay Reps have done so – if you’re passing this article onto friends in other districts, they can find out if their Representative is in favor by looking at CNN’s list of House Democrats calling for an impeachment inquiry.

  • The House should cancel the October recess and begin to hold public impeachment hearings immediately.
  • The Judiciary Committee and other committees should hold frequent public hearings that make the case to the public in a persuasive, organized presentation.
  • Cover the full range of impeachable offenses, beyond just what’s in the Mueller Report or involving Ukraine. Mention a couple of examples that are important to you personally — there are many to choose from at these sources:
  • The House should take action on its own authority, rather than waiting for responses from the courts or from the administration.
  • The committees should use the House’s inherent power to punish contempt and to compel testimony.

Contact info:

4. If you’re able and want to support vulnerable Democrat House members who have stepped up to call for impeachment, you can donate to their reelection campaigns through the Courage to Impeach Actblue page. Options to donate to them collectively, or select one or more individually.

5. Talk to your friends and relatives about impeachment. Not sure what to say? Get up to speed by reading our earlier articles, with background and more actions you can take on impeachment, investigations, and the Mueller Report:

 

“Whistle” graphic by Gramzon

Larry Baskett contributed to this article. Larry is a mechanical engineer from Berkeley who spent a year as a Science and Technology Policy Fellow with the California State Senate.

 

 

Impeachment’s getting real

Deadline: Right now –

Congress is back in DC post-recess, and we hope their ears are ringing from hearing loud and clear from you and many others who want them to push hard for impeachment! House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler has announced an imminent vote on the procedures for the committee’s inquiry, so it’s a critical time to tell your member of Congress what YOU think should be included in the articles of impeachment.

What you can do:

Take direct action! On September 21- 23, many groups and individuals are gathering in Washington D.C. to demonstrate the massive support for impeachment among the American people. Join them there, or here, or virtually!

  • Sat. Sept. 21, 12-1:30 PM: Join the Solidarity March in San Francisco for the We The People March taking place in DC and nationwide. Gather at the Federal Building, 90 7th St. for a “First Amendment Assembly” in solidarity with the DC March to showcase the power of the people featuring music and rousing chants.
  • Mon. Sept. 23: By the People, the umbrella grassroots impeachment advocacy group, will hold a mock hearing in the halls of Congress: The People Vs Trump. If you know anyone who lives near DC, share this link so they can join in.
  • NOW! Support By the People’s hearing and communicate your ideas for articles of impeachment to the folks demonstrating, using By The People’s great tool.  You can submit written testimony at that link (they have a great list of questions to guide what you write), or record a quick selfie video where you talk about your story and upload it at this link.

Call your Representative, and also call the House Judiciary Committee, to push these specific objectives for the inquiry:

  • Don’t wait for responses from the courts or from the administration to move the public inquiry forward.
  • Start public hearings in earnest immediately.
  • Cover the full range of impeachable offenses, beyond just what’s in the Mueller Report findings. Mention a couple of examples that are important to you personally — there are many to choose from at these sources:
  • Declare a specific date by which they will bring articles of impeachment to the House floor.
  • Rep. Mark DeSaulnier: (email); (510) 620-1000 • DC: (202) 225-2095
  • Rep. Barbara Lee: (email); (510) 763-0370 • DC: (202) 225-2661
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell: (email); (510) 370-3322 • DC: (202) 225-5065
  • House Judiciary Committee:  (202) 225-3951

For more information about impeachment, including views of MoCs leading the charge, like Representatives Al Green and Rashida Tlaib, take a look at the Impeachment University webinar series (archive viewable on YouTube). To keep up with nationally-coordinated actions, sign up with By the People. 

If you’re meeting with your Member of Congress’s staff, or with them personally, the IEB impeachment team would be glad to coordinate with you beforehand on the latest messaging and goals. Join the discussion, and post any questions or thoughts you have, on the #impeachment channel on Indivisible East Bay’s Slack. For an invitation to join Slack, email info@IndivisibleEB.org

Help us spread the word: Do you know of a group that we could visit to present a 30- to 60-minute impeachment information and discussion session? We’ve got one all ready to go, so let us know on Slack or by email

Talk to your friends and relatives about impeachment. Not sure what to say? Get up to speed by reading our earlier articles, with background and more actions you can take on impeachment, investigations, and the Mueller Report:

It’s incredibly important for the House to impeach Trump, regardless of what the Senate does, to officially and publicly find him unfit for office and dangerous to the country. More and more MoCs come out in support of an inquiry every week. Let’s make sure they do it right! 

Larry Baskett contributed to this article. Larry is a mechanical engineer from Berkeley who spent a year as a Science and Technology Policy Fellow with the California State Senate.

Graphic: By the People 

 

Time is ripe for impeachment

Deadline: ASAP –

By Larry Baskett

During the impeachment update at August’s Indivisible East Bay All Members Meeting, we looked back at some Bay Area actions from the past few months. Most recently, you may have heard about an August 21 demonstration in San Francisco organized by CREDO Action and By the People that the SF Chronicle and other news media covered. As for DC happenings, House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler says they’ve started an impeachment inquiry, but we need to keep pushing to make sure they’re not just going through the motions. 

What you can do:

Call your Representative, and also call the House Judiciary Committee, to push these specific objectives for the inquiry:

  • Don’t wait for responses from the courts or from the administration to move the public inquiry forward.
  • Start public hearings in earnest immediately upon Congress’s return to session in early September.
  • Cover the full range of impeachable offenses, including the Mueller Report findings, but also including the many other instances of corruption and abuses of power. Mention a couple of examples that are important to you personally — there are many to choose from at these sources:
  • Declare a specific date by which they will bring articles of impeachment to the House floor.
  • Rep. Mark DeSaulnier: (email); (510) 620-1000 • DC: (202) 225-2095
  • Rep. Barbara Lee: (email); (510) 763-0370 • DC: (202) 225-2661
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell: (email); (510) 370-3322 • DC: (202) 225-5065
  • House Judiciary Committee:  (202) 225-3951

For more information about impeachment, including the latest views of MoCs leading the charge, like Representatives Al Green and Rashida Tlaib, take a look at the Impeachment University webinar series (archive viewable on YouTube). To keep up with nationally-coordinated actions, see the Impeachment August site and sign up with By the People, the umbrella grassroots impeachment advocacy group.

If you’re meeting with your Member of Congress’s staff, or with them personally, the IEB impeachment team would be glad to coordinate with you beforehand on the latest messaging and goals. Join the discussion, and post any questions or thoughts you have, on the #impeachment channel on Indivisible East Bay’s Slack. For an invitation to join Slack, email info@IndivisibleEB.org

Help us spread the word: Do you know of a group that we could visit to present a 30- to 60-minute impeachment information and discussion session? We’ve got one all ready to go, so let us know on Slack or by email. The next two weeks are a good time to do it!

Talk to your friends and relatives about impeachment. Not sure what to say? Get up to speed by reading our earlier articles, with background and more actions you can take on impeachment, investigations, and the Mueller Report:

It’s incredibly important for the House to impeach Trump, regardless of what the Senate does, to officially and publicly find him unfit for office and dangerous to the country. More and more MoCs come out in support of an inquiry every week. Let’s make sure they do it right! 

Larry Baskett is a mechanical engineer from Berkeley who spent a year as a Science and Technology Policy Fellow with the California State Senate.

“SOS We’re in a constitutional crisis”, graphic by Lynn LaRocca, of Alameda4Impeachment

 

Impeachment takes flight

Deadline: Now, while the iron is hot –

After running calls to action and articles for months asking you to urge our Representatives to open an impeachment inquiry (see the list at the end of this article), we’re happy to report, in Professor Laurence Tribe’s expert words, that the eagle has taken flight!

The House Judiciary Committee’s initiation of an impeachment inquiry was revealed publicly in the Committee’s July 26 court filing seeking the release of grand jury materials that were redacted in the Mueller Report. As of August 1, a majority of the House Democratic caucus, nearly 120 members, now support an impeachment inquiry, thanks to YOUR hard work! It’s a great start, but we must keep up the pressure – we must get louder than ever and ensure our lawmakers follow through. Also on August 1, Indivisible National, in coalition with Need to Impeach, MoveOn, and Stand Up America, launched Impeachment August, a broad campaign to help achieve what we’ve been working on: pressuring the House Democrats to vote for a formal impeachment inquiry.

What you can do:

All of our East Bay representatives have come out in support of impeachment, but that’s just the first step. We need them to support the proposed House Resolutions on impeachment: H.Res. 257, Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s resolution to authorize an impeachment inquiry, and H.Res. 396, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s resolution which also includes potential articles of impeachment. So far, Rep. Barbara Lee has supported H. Res 257, but Reps. Mark DeSaulnier and Eric Swalwell have not yet cosponsored either resolution. 

What to say:

If your Representative is Barbara Lee:

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I want the House to begin a formal impeachment inquiry, so I thank Rep. Lee for cosponsoring House Resolution 257. I’m also asking her to please urge her colleagues to follow her lead in support of impeachment.

If your Representative is Mark DeSaulnier or Eric Swalwell:

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I want to thank Rep. ___ for speaking out in favor of an impeachment inquiry. I want the House to begin a formal impeachment inquiry, and urge him to please cosponsor House Resolutions 257 and/or 396.

  • Rep. Mark DeSaulnier: (email); (510) 620-1000 • DC: (202) 225-2095
  • Rep. Barbara Lee: (email); (510) 763-0370 • DC: (202) 225-2661
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell: (email); (510) 370-3322 • DC: (202) 225-5065

What else you can do:

  • Read the letter written by Free Speech for People, and cosigned by a broad coalition of groups (including Indivisible) to the House Judiciary Committee. The letter raises concerns about and makes recommendations regarding the Committee’s timeline, scope, and public strategy for the impeachment inquiry.
  • Attend town halls your Members of Congress schedule, and other public events at which they appear. Ask a question about impeachment, and ask them to cosponsor House Resolutions 257 and/or 396.
  • Sign up for, or organize, constituent meetings with your MoCs, assisted by national coordination from By the People.
  • Join the discussion on the #impeachment channel on Indivisible East Bay’s Slack. For an invitation to join Slack, email info@IndivisibleEB.org
  • Call on the presidential candidates to speak out about impeachment. See our list of links to all of the candidates’ websites and social media accounts, in this article
  • Talk to your friends and relatives about impeachment. Not sure what to say? Get up to speed by reading our earlier articles, with background and more actions you can take on impeachment, investigations, and the Mueller Report:

Larry B contributed to this article

Photo “Bald eagle flying” by Skeeze

 

Tell your MoCs: read Mueller’s Report, and act!

Update July 25, 2019 – If you missed any of Robert Mueller’s testimony, here are some great quick ways to get in the know:

You can also watch the Mueller Book Club’s Facebook Live streams of the testimony, and analysis:

 

Deadline: now and ongoing –

Every American should read what Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation unearthed about Russian election interference, the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia, and Trump’s obstruction of the investigation. And that goes DOUBLE for our Members of Congress, who have the duty to hold the current occupant and executive branch accountable.

Mueller’s only public statement, on May 29, 2019, was brief. Here are the main takeaways, and this article boils it down to ten points in plain English. Mueller will testify publicly before the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees on July 24, the first time he’ll face public questioning about the investigation. There are several things you can do to prepare so we can best analyze and amplify Mueller’s testimony, and counter Attorney General Barr’s lies and spin about the Report:  

1. First, find out whether your Members of Congress have read the full Mueller Report. Enter your address at this Common Cause tool; thank your MoCs if they have read it – or urge them to read it if they haven’t; and urge them to keep fighting to hold Trump accountable! Find your MoCs’ contact info at the end of this article.

2. Then – haven’t read the Mueller Report yourself? Get it for free:

3. Whether you’ve read it or not, join the Mueller Book Club. They’re offering two ways to watch the hearings:

  • Join the Club’s Zoom conferences during both segments of the live testimony, including a live stream of the testimony:
    • Click here to register for the Judiciary Committee segment (conference will begin at 5:15 AM PT; testimony begins at 5:30 AM)
    • Click here to register for the Intelligence Committee segment (conference will begin at 8:45 AM PT; testimony begins at 9 AM)
    • Click here to register for the 5:30 PM post-testimony analysis  with policy and legal experts to discuss the key takeaways from the day and next steps moving forward!
  • Or watch the Club’s Facebook Live stream of the testimony at their FB page.
  • You can also see past Mueller Book Club discussion videos.
  • Spread the word by submitting a letter to the editor! Use the Club’s tool to write a letter and find contact info for your local newspapers.

4. Next, want more background and more actions you can take? Read our earlier articles:

5. Last but not least — did you miss the debut of our Mueller (mis)fortune cookies at the Indivisible East Bay July 4 booth in El Cerrito? Get one while they last at our July 28 All Members Meeting, 1-3 PM, Sports Basement, Berkeley!)

 

CONTACT INFO FOR OUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS:

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841
  • Sen. Kamala Harris: (email); (415) 981-9369 • DC: (202) 224-3553
  • Rep. Mark DeSaulnier: (email); (510) 620-1000 • DC: (202) 225-2095
  • Rep. Barbara Lee: (email); (510) 763-0370 • DC: (202) 225-2661
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell: (email); (510) 370-3322 • DC: (202) 225-5065

Graphic © Mueller Book Club

 

Immigration Roundtable with Rep. Swalwell

On July 8, Andrea Lum and LeAnn Kanowsky of Indivisible East Bay attended CA-15 Representative Eric Swalwell’s roundtable discussion on the situation at our border and immigration detention centers. Eden United Church of Christ hosted the event, and representatives from Indivisible Livermore, Tiburcio Vazquez Health Center, other religious organizations, and legal aid agencies who provide services to immigrants were invited to participate in the hour-long discussion. Swalwell’s goal was to share his recent experience visiting the detention centers, discuss how we can help those in need, and collect information to support legislation in Congress to improve treatment of those crossing the border and seeking asylum.

During Swalwell’s recent visit with several other members of Congress to Homestead detention center in Florida, officials refused to open, let alone distribute, boxes of donated soap and toothbrushes. He noted that no one from the delegation visit was allowed to enter the detention center, as the officials at Homestead cited a need for two weeks’ advance notice.

The legal aid advocates at the meeting confirmed that the situation at the border and at the detention centers is “chaotic” and that the attitude by the current administration has encouraged bad behavior by Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Once detainees have established “credible fear” with CBP, the interview is supposed to end and ICE should be involved. However, the legal advocates stated that immigrants often report CBP continuing to probe for information, creating a hostile environment. In addition, indigenous immigrants who do not speak Spanish (such as Maya people from Guatemala and Honduras), are severely disadvantaged by a lack of translators and unaware of the need to assert fear as the first process of seeking asylum.

Swalwell said the House Judiciary Committee, of which he is a member, will soon hold hearings on how to hold ICE and CBP officials accountable for the inhumane and criminal treatment of those in custody and stated that going forward, the next administration may need to completely remake ICE in order to clean up the “poisoned pool” of its employees.

When asked what we could do to help, Swalwell said that the upcoming Lights for Liberty events are important for boosting awareness. The following organizations are also worthy of support:

  • Immigrant Family Defense Fund: Legal and community resources for families in Alameda County public schools
  • The Florence Project: AZ legal service provider for adults and children
  • Keep Tuscon Together: AZ project that assists community members being deported
  • County Rapid Response Networks need our support, and we need to encourage our County Supervisors to commit to providing long term funding to these organizations.

At the conclusion of the meeting, we met an immigrant mother and her three children who are awaiting arrival of their father who is still in custody even though he won his asylum case. The administration is detaining him pending appeal, in spite of federal regulations which prohibit this.

Photograph (top) (c) Rep. Swalwell’s office, from December 2018 Town Hall

The administration is causing the border crisis

This article was edited on July 17 to reflect updates since its original publication.

The administration is right about there being an immigration crisis, but it isn’t for the reasons they’re telling us: It’s because THEY created it. And they’re making it worse by quietly instituting new administrative policies that will make conditions worse for more people, and deny the right to apply for asylum to more people.

Tell your Members of Congress: Don’t let this administration get away with this. All of our MoCs care about this issue, and they all need to raise their voices and show leadership on these new and renewed threats. And one in particular – CA-15 Representative Eric Swalwell, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee – can do even more.

Read on for more background, and scroll down for call scripts and contact info.

Crisis #1: The Kids:

On July 1, advocates for immigrant children filed a lawsuit to block a new policy that would give US Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) officials the power to decide that children designated as unaccompanied minors should lose that status. The suit names the federal Department of Homeland Security and its acting secretary, Kevin McAleenan, as well as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and its acting director, Ken Cuccinelli as defendants, and seeks class-action status and a temporary restraining order.

Unaccompanied minors have special protections in asylum applications, including being granted an asylum interview rather than having to appear in court. In other words: under an unannounced policy change, officials will quietly be able to make it far more difficult for tens of thousands of children to apply for asylum, without the public ever knowing. (This, by the way, is why we need investigative journalism and better whistleblower protection laws…)

According to the LA Times:

Federal asylum officers have been rushing to process as many unaccompanied minor applications as possible before the change takes effect Sunday, USCIS personnel told The Times, speaking on condition of anonymity to protect against professional retaliation.

Crisis #2: The Crowds:

Seems the administration is happy to blame a lot of things – from family separations to inhumane conditions – on the fact that there are enormous crowds of would-be immigrants at the southern border. Turns out, the administration itself has created those crowds.

As NPR recently explained:

In May 2018, US Customs and Border Protection officials began a practice known as “metering” across the southern border. This means that officials are stationed at official ports of entry along the border to notify arriving asylum-seekers that US border crossings are full due to “limited processing capacity” and they will have to wait in Mexico until space becomes available. Previously, officials processed all asylum-seekers that showed up at crossings.

Thus, instead of being processed promptly at border crossings, families are forced to wait in Mexico in haphazard “camps” – or on the streets – where they are vulnerable to threats and exploitation. Some choose instead to cross the border between the ports of entry to seek asylum and are apprehended by the CBP patrol agents and brought to CBP field stations. There, children not traveling with a parent or legal guardian – or whose parents are arbitrarily deemed “dangerous” – are separated from adult family members. Ironically, even the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have called the situation at the border a “humanitarian crisis”, and it’s unlikely that anyone would seriously disagree. The union for federal asylum workers has brought a lawsuit claiming the “wait in Mexico” program is “fundamentally contrary to the moral fabric of our Nation.” 

People seeking asylum have a legal right to do so in the country where they seek to be. The administration insists they aren’t doing anything wrong: according to CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, “It’s not turning people away, it’s asking them to wait.” Just – not in the United States.

What you can do:

Tell all your Members of Congress:

My name is ________, my zip code is ________ and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I’ve heard about about the new policy that would let USCIS officers strip migrant children of their status as unaccompanied minors and make it harder for them to apply for asylum. I want _____ to speak out against this and to do everything possible against all of the administration’s efforts to prevent people from seeking asylum in this country.

If your Representative is Eric Swalwell:

In Indivisible East Bay’s very recent meetings with Rep. Swalwell, he has expressed great concern for the plight of migrants, and strong opposition to the administration’s immigration policies. Rep. Swalwell sits on the House Judiciary Committee, which on July 9 announced that it is marking up a resolution “to authorize subpoenas for documents and testimony from current and former Administration officials relating to the Trump Administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy and other family separation policies and practices; detention of children and families; and discussions about or offers of presidential pardons to Department of Homeland Security officials or employees.” When you call Rep. Swalwell, also say:

I want to thank Rep. Swalwell for making this a priority issue. I’m happy that the House Judiciary Committee is investigating the administration’s immigration policies, and I want Rep. Swalwell to make sure that this investigation includes the new USCIS policy that will threaten the well-being of children seeking asylum, and the metering of migrants and asylum seekers at the southern border. I hope he’ll do everything possible to call to account those responsible for the terrible situations in the camps and to reverse the current inhumane policies.

MoC contact info:

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841
  • Sen. Kamala Harris: (email); (415) 981-9369 • DC: (202) 224-3553
  • Rep. Mark DeSaulnier: (email); (510) 620-1000 • DC: (202) 225-2095
  • Rep. Barbara Lee: (email); (510) 763-0370 • DC: (202) 225-2661
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell: (email); (510) 370-3322 • DC: (202) 225-5065

 

East Bay Hella ❤ Impeachment

Inform, inspire, and activate – that’s what Indivisible East Bay and Alameda4Impeachment (A4I) did at the Summer Impeachment Pop-Up in Oakland on June 15, 2019. One of over 140 events called nationwide by MoveOnBy the People, Indivisible National, and many other partners, the focus was to urge the House of Representatives to open an impeachment inquiry against Trump.

Whether you joined us or not, don’t miss these images – more wonderful photos than we could fit into this article – taken by Mary DeShaw, a volunteer photographer with Pro Bono Photography; and videographer Lis Cox’s video recap of our event. Also check out Raw Story’s read-out from around the country.

Quanah Brightman, of United Native Americans, opened the event with a stirring Blessing. 

#Impeachtrump protest June 15 2019, Photo by Mary Martin DeShaw, Pro Bono Photos
Quanah Brightman, United Native Americans, offered an opening blessing, photo by Mary DeShaw

Jain Thapa, Representative Barbara Lee’s district staffer, addressed the gathering with prepared remarks, expressing Lee’s regrets that she wasn’t able to attend and delivering Lee’s thanks to A4I and IEB for their steadfast efforts to build awareness of the need for an impeachment inquiry. Thapa specifically called out as valuable A4I’s work and leadership in encouraging local City Councils to adopt Impeachment Resolutions.

Many people stepped up to read and record short portions of the Mueller Report. Members of Indivisible SF classed up the event by appearing in Hamilton costumes! (Photos by Mary DeShaw).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

At education and take-action stations, A4I and IEB members answered questions about impeachment and provided handouts urging people to call their Representatives (see the call script below). A4I/IEB member Larry created an “Impeachment Tree” participatory poster, on which dozens of people stuck “peaches” and “leaves” about corruption, abuse of immigrants, incompetence, criminality, attacks on democracy, and more. Contributions included “Encouraging DOJ to defy subpoenas,” “Taking babies from mamas & daddies,” “Using the WH and the gov’t as a personal ATM – stealing our future,” and more.

Impeachment Tree
Impeachment Tree, photo by Heidi Rand

A4I’s “Impeachment is Patriotic” banner was an ideal selfie-station backdrop, particularly for Angela Jarman, who appeared in her Lady Liberty costume.

Lady Liberty at Impeach Trump event
Lady Liberty, photo by Heidi Rand

Folks’ signs got right to the point! (Photos by Mary DeShaw).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You can keep fighting for the next step to stop Trump’s unconstitutional power grab!

What you can do:

  1. Get Informed & Inspired! Sign up at ImpeachmentGuide.com to learn more about how you can join the movement to impeach Trump
  2. Read more about impeachment at this article written jointly by Indivisible East Bay and Alameda4Impeachment.
  3. Take action! Check out our recent articles for more info and actions you can take NOW:


What to say:

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. Please use the full extent of your oversight and investigative powers to get to the truth and hold Trump accountable, including opening an impeachment inquiry.

  • Do you live in CA-13, represented by Rep. Barbara Lee? Say also: Thank you for cosponsoring House Resolution 257.
  • Do you live in CA-11 (Rep. Mark DeSaulnier), or CA-15 (Rep. Eric Swalwell)? Say also: Thank you for speaking out publicly in favor of an impeachment inquiry! Please cosponsor House Resolution 257.
  • Rep. Mark DeSaulnier: (email); (510) 620-1000 • DC: (202) 225-2095
  • Rep. Barbara Lee: (email); (510) 763-0370 • DC: (202) 225-2661
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell: (email); (510) 370-3322 • DC: (202) 225-5065

 

Photographs by Mary Martin DeShaw, of ProBono Photography, and Heidi Rand.