News from the Week of January 6th


Weekly News roundup (1).png

 Amid speculation among Iraqi officials that the White House will begin to draw down the 5,200 American military personnel based in Iraq, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unannounced visit to Iraq on Wednesday. He met with the prime minister, Kurdish officials, and other government leaders in a bid to demonstrate the United States’ support for a key ally.

On Monday, the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai spoke to the women of The View about refugees, saying “they’re courageous, they’re brave, they’re overcoming these difficulties.”  Sharing stories from her new book, “We Are Displaced,” she added “we have a lot to learn” from refugees.

Southern border crossings are down and statistical evidence demonstrates that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than those born in the United States. Yet, rhetoric from the Trump Administration would lead Americans to believe that the United States is facing a terrorism crisis at our southern border. Experts like Nicholas Rasmussen, former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) disagree.

“No such crisis exists,” Rasmussen writes. “The intelligence and law enforcement professionals charged with preventing terrorists from entering the United States are highly capable, extremely dedicated, and equipped with a wide range of tools and capabilities to keep us safe. They deserve our trust and confidence.”

As the partial government shutdown continues into its twenty-first day, The American Legion has stepped in with offers of limited assistance for Coast Guard personnel working without pay should the shutdown continue. "Just because a Washington flowchart structures the Coast Guard under Homeland Security does not mean they should not be paid," said the Legion’s National Commander Brett Reistad. On Monday, Reistad also called on members of Congress to back the "Pay Our Coast Guard Act" introduced by Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota. The bill would exempt the Coast Guard from the shutdown funding cutoff.  

On Thursday, the Tarrant County, Texas Republican Party voted in support of its Vice Chairman Shahid Shafi, despite efforts from other members to remove him because of his Muslim faith. The vote, which took place behind closed doors at a church in a Ft. Worth suburb, ended in a 139-49 vote to keep him in place. “As an immigrant to this great country, I am honored and privileged to receive the support of my fellow Republicans,” said Dr. Shafi, a general surgeon. “We were fighting for religious freedom—a founding principle of our nation. And today, we have come out victorious. Today, we sent a clear message... that all men are created equal with certain inalienable rights."