Immigration

Suicide Nooses in Cells Prompt ICE Query From Elizabeth Warren, Democrats
Letters come after DHS inspector general found makeshift nooses in detention cells

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is leading a letter to the private companies that run ICE detention facilities. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group of Senate Democrats want the private prison industry to explain whether it is complying with federal standards for housing at ICE immigration detention centers.

Led by Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the senators have written to CoreCivic and GEO group about their housing practices following reports from the inspector general at the Homeland Security Department.

The Cabinet Secretary Who Should Have Known Better
Nielsen’s loyalty, harsh immigration policies were apparently not enough for Trump

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will be mostly remembered as the smiling public face of the heartless family-separation policy at the border, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — As a result of the natural tumult of politics along the corridors of power, Washington has always been filled with ambitious men and women plotting their next career move. This is Cinderella City where a few adroit steps can propel an anonymous staffer to the Cabinet in a golden coach.

At first glance, that is the story of 46-year-old Kirstjen Nielsen, who is nearing her first anniversary as secretary of Homeland Security. Championed by Donald Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly — for whom she had worked at DHS and in the White House — Nielsen was put in charge in late 2017 of a sprawling Cabinet department with nearly a quarter of a million employees.

Midterms Were a Buffet Election for Democrats, Republicans
Each side can pick what it liked best from the results — and ignore warning signs

Sen.-elect Mike Braun, R-Ind., Sen.-elect Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Sen.-elect Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Sen.-elect Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., and Sen.-elect Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., pose for a group photo in McConnell’s office in the Capitol on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When I was a kid in small-town Oregon, my family would occasionally go to King’s Table, and my sister and I would get free rein at the buffet.

I became famous in my own family for my condiment salad — an impressive collection of bacon bits, croutons, shredded cheese, sunflower seeds and plenty of ranch dressing. Essentially, my strategy involved choosing what looked and tasted good and avoiding anything of nutritional value.

New GOP Leaders Stick With Trump Despite Midterm Losses
Expect challenges to excessive Democratic investigations, McCarthy says

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., newly elected as House Minority Leader for the upcoming Congress, arrives for the press conference following the House GOP leadership elections in the Longworth House Office Building on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The new House GOP leadership team gave no indication Wednesday it would reconsider its cozy relationship with President Donald Trump, despite losses in dozens of suburban districts in the midterms last week.

Newly elected House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California acknowledged at a press conference Wednesday that winning back the American suburbs will be a “challenge” in 2020 but said multiple times at the press conference that “history was against” the GOP keeping control of both chambers of Congress in a midterm election with a first-term Republican president in the Oval Office.

Election in the Rearview, Iowa Governor Gives Steve King an Ultimatum
Kim Reynolds joined King for a campaign rally on the eve of Election Day

A conservative publication recently released audio recording of Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King referring to immigrants as “dirt.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Days after a narrowly securing her seat, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issued her first harsh words for Rep. Steve King — who has been denounced by anti-racism activists and Jewish congregations in Iowa for his sympathies to white nationalists — in the form of an ultimatum. 

“I think that Steve King needs to make a decision if he wants to represent the people and the values of the 4th District or do something else, and I think he needs to take a look at that,” the Republican governor said in a gaggle with reporters on Tuesday.

Independents Decided This Election. They’ll Decide the Next One Too
Everything depends on the people in the middle — the ones who don’t get up every day breathing fire

Immigration, a party base issue, couldn’t deliver Republicans the independent votes they needed to push competitive House races over the edge, Winston writes. Above, a man demonstrates in front of the Capitol in September. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — There is a lot still to be learned from the midterm elections as analysts pour over incoming data, but one thing we do know is that this was a terribly divisive election, reflecting a growing disunity that isn’t good for either party or the nation.

Voters know it, too. The 2018 exit polls asked voters whether the country, politically, was becoming more or less divided. By a margin of 76 percent to 9 percent, people opted for “more divided,” an ominous sign that something has to change.

Maybe Stu Rothenberg Isn’t So Bad at This After All
2016 was a disaster, 2018 not so much

From left, Sen.-elect Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen.-elect Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., talk during a photo-op in Schumer’s office in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boy, I stunk up the joint in 2016. I was sure that Donald Trump wouldn’t — couldn’t — win the presidency, and I said so without any “ifs” or “buts.” I didn’t pay enough attention to the possibility that Trump could lose the popular vote badly but still win an Electoral College majority. I tried to explain my mistakes as completely as I could in an end-of-the-year Washington Post column.

But this year, watching the midterms from 10,000 feet instead of being in the weeds, I feel pretty good about my analysis throughout the cycle. Maybe it was dumb luck. Maybe it was years of watching campaigns and candidates. Maybe it was some of each.

In Appropriations Endgame, All Roads Lead to Border Wall
Dec. 7 funding deadline fast approaching

Border Patrol vehicles stand guard along the United States-Mexico border fence in on Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014. The fence runs through the cities of Calexico, Calif., and Mexicali on the Mexico side. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sooner or later, President Donald Trump will have to confront the political reality that Congress is extremely unlikely to provide the $5 billion he wants to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

That realization has to occur in less than a month, with the House and Senate both in session for only 12 legislative days before the current stopgap funding measure expires Dec. 7.

House Democratic Factions All See Gains After Midterms
Progressive Caucus, New Democrats, Blue Dogs tout their expanding ranks

Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairman Mark Pocan expects his group to see a net gain of 13 members, not counting the uncalled races. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The two largest ideology-based Democratic factions in the House — the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the New Democrat Coalition — are both projecting they’ll have more than 90 members next year after the party picked up over 30 seats in last week’s midterms.

The growth comes at a time when numbers will matter for these groups, more than they have for the past eight years when their party has been in the minority. With the House in their hands next year, Democrats will get to set the legislative agenda and control what bills come to the floor.

Trump Predicts ‘Deal-Making,’ Many Fights Ahead With Democrats
First up, both sides face border funding test in lame-duck session

President Donald Trump talks to reporters Wednesday, the day after the midterm elections. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump appears ready to make some deals — except when he’s threatening Democrats with “warlike” tactics.

Despite losing the House and several governorships in states that could be key for Trump’s 2020 re-election prospects, the president used a press conference last week to send widely divergent messages to lawmakers about just how much he wants to get done in the lame-duck remainder of the 115th Congress and after the 116th is seated in early January.