Statement on DACA

The American Solidarity Party calls on President Trump and Congress to work diligently and quickly to pass legislation guaranteeing a path to United States citizenship for eligible “Dreamers” – immigrants who were brought to this country illegally as children.

 

Called ‘Dreamers’, these are students, lawyers, non-profit pioneers, human resource directors, police officers, teachers, parents, and firefighters. They are our neighbors and our friends. They arrived as children, pursued an education, pursued careers, bonded with their communities, had relationships, and many had children. These are the more than 790,000 individuals who have sought to remain in the United States through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, commonly referred to as DACA. Now, as President Trump announces that he will repeal DACA, their futures are uncertain and terrifying. Many face job loss and deportation to countries that most cannot remember, countries where they may not speak the language, and countries that are overrun by violence. They face leaving behind their homes, their families, their children, all that they have worked for; the very American dream they learned about side by side with their peers in American public schools. They face punishment for a crime they did not commit, and that they had no control over.

Justice demands that Congress finally take action on House and Senate bills introduced early this year, in order to guarantee a path to citizenship for our neighbors and members of our communities. These bills having been sitting in both houses on Congress with little to no action, despite months of threats to the DACA program.

Human dignity likewise demands that President Trump not endanger nearly a million hard-working and dedicated individuals whose only goals are to become American citizens and to realize their full potential in the country in which they were raised, a country they love. By passing the responsibility to Congress, he fails the very real human beings whose individual stories inspire those around them.

Finally, the American Solidarity Party calls on all citizens to contact their Congressional representatives. Be the voice for your neighbors and friends who cannot speak on their own behalf. Make it clear that this is a dream that can no longer be deferred. The time for action is now. Action from the President, action from Congress, and action from every citizen.

On the Pardon of Sheriff Arpaio

The American Solidarity party stands for the rule of law, the dignity of all, and the use of the legal system to promote and protect that human dignity. This fundamental stance forces us to speak out against the Presidential pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph Arpaio. This pardon promotes and protects unlawful discrimination. The pardon also reveals the misapplication of proper pardon powers, using it to excuse law-breaking by the powerful and well-connected, corrupting its original design.

The preamble to the Civil Rights plank of our American Solidarity Party platform states: “We believe in the vigorous enforcement of civil liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights. We believe that the persistence of unjust discrimination in our society must be acknowledged and addressed. The state has a role to play in protecting marginalized groups from unjust discrimination, and should pay particular attention to the effect that policy proposals will have on vulnerable and marginalized groups.”

The American Solidarity Party also is a strong proponent of holding law enforcement accountable for respecting civil rights. Our platform expressess our support for: “Measures to increase transparency and trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve, including the use of body cameras and civilian review boards, models of community policing, and the diversification of local police forces. “ Fair law enforcement is effective law enforcement.

As Maricopa County Sheriff, Arpaio was found to have unlawfully detained individuals based on their immigration status. These actions were a violation of the law because as a state official Arpaio had no authority to enforce federal immigration laws. Therefore, any detention of individuals based on their federal immigration status by a state official, such as Arpaio, was unlawful.

He was repeatedly ordered by federal courts to discontinue this unlawful practice. When he continued, in repeated defiance of these federal court orders, he was charged with criminal contempt. There is nothing in the public record that indicates this conviction was the least bit unfair or unwarranted or that his six-month jail sentence for his brazen defiance of law was excessive. It appears as a measured response to an abuse of power.

Yet President Trump exercised his constitutional pardon powers to vacate the ruling of a federal judge and relieve Arpaio of the imposed criminal sanctions. Such a pardon is unwarranted in light of Arpaio’s repeated efforts to adopt and enforce discriminatory law enforcement practices and thumb his nose at the judiciary that sought to restrain him. Such a Presidential action can only embolden other foes of civil rights laws.

This application of pardon powers also requires us to speak out on the broader concern of how pardon powers are being applied by the modern Presidency. Unfortunately, this is not the only example among recent Presidents applying this power only to assist the well-off or well -connected.

As a Party of Solidarity, we encourage the selective use of Presidential pardon powers as an instrument of justice. Properly applied, pardon powers can promote justice by mitigating the occasions of excessive harshness by the system of justice or provide a second chance to the deserving and sincerely contrite caught up in the wheels of the criminal justice system. Our system of justice is great but ultimately human and, therefore, imperfect. It needs mitigating tools to soften its edges, such as pardon and clemency. But that application requires equality under the law. All, regardless of wealth, status or fame, or lack thereof, should be subject to equal consideration for the exercise of these mitigating measures.

When Presidents use these powers to pardon their political cronies or favored donors, the pardon powers are corrupted. Trump’s application of powers in this particular instance reflects a contempt for the Constitution. The separation of powers requires the Executive to respect the ability of the Judiciary to apply and interpret the law. Trump, in this case, has usurped the rightful role of the judiciary to ensure that its court orders are enforced. We call for a reexamination across the board of how the Presidential pardon system operates. It must be used to advance justice, not thwart it.

Solidarity with Houston

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”

-Helen Keller

As the remnants of Hurricane Harvey continue to hover over the gulf coast, threatening an already besieged area with even more rain, it is easy to feel overwhelmed, and helpless.  Yet, emerging from the floodwaters we see the true spirit of Solidarity.  Neighbors helping neighbors, first responders working twenty-four hour shifts to rescue people who are stranded, companies opening their doors to those who have lost their homes, people from across the country rushing to help – bringing boats, and food, and diapers.   This spirit of Solidarity cannot keep back the seemingly relentless rain, but it reminds us that we are not alone, and that we are not helpless.  

 

The American Solidarity Party stands with the people of Houston, Corpus Christi, Rockport, and the entire Gulf Coast region.  We call on our members and we ask the entire nation to each help in their own way.   Please send your prayers, and if possible, consider donating to help with a recovery that will be measured in months and years.  Consider opening your home to a displaced family.  If you live in other parts of Texas, donate blood.  Mostly, stay with people affected.  As this long week stretches on, and rains continue as late as Wednesday or Thursday – do not turn away or change the channel.  Continue your prayers, continue your donations, continue your Solidarity.    

For places to donate and ways to help please click here.

 

Thanks, and prayers,

Amy Foster-Munoz

Secretary, National Committee

Houstonian, and proud Texan

 

Photo from Houston Chronicle.

Statement on the Terror in Charlottesville

August 14, 2017

As a nation we are shocked and saddened by the acts of terror that unfolded in Charlottesville, Virginia last Friday and Saturday. They strike me personally very close to home. I am an alumna of the University of Virginia School of Law (class of 2004), and the three years I spent living in Charlottesville were delightful and formative. It was there that I first had the opportunity to engage daily in thoughtful and civil discussion of opposing ideas. It is the culture of this university to share a stage, a smile, and a beer with one’s political “opponents.” I still have several friends living in Charlottesville, including Mayor Michael Signer, who was the President of the UVA chapter of the American Constitution Society at the same time I was President of the Federalist Society, so we planned a number of joint discussion/debate events together. I also have at least one friend who was participating in the counter-protest this past weekend, someone I consider a reliable eyewitness to these horrifying events.

It should go without saying that white supremacists, the alt-right, and certainly neo-Nazis have no place in a party with “solidarity” in its name. As the sure-to-become-iconic photo of the neo-Nazi plowing his car into a sea of pedestrians shows literally and figuratively, this act of terror was aimed straight at the sign of Solidarity. At its heart, solidarity is the recognition that we are all brothers and sisters in our common humanity. The term originated among 19th century theologians, who used it to signify not only our shared dignity as persons bearing the image and likeness of God, but also our collective responsibility to each other to share both material and spiritual goods. Solidarity is intrinsically opposed to tribalism, to selfishness, and to attacks on the equal dignity of all human persons.

Murder and the murderous ideology of Nazism are the diabolical opposite of solidarity. White supremacy—or any assertion of supremacy for that matter—is incompatible with solidarity. The term “alt-right” is a more slippery one, and intentionally so. I have many times encountered articles about the alt-right as well as persons online who call themselves alt-right, but there is no centralizing identity and no two accounts of this phenomenon are the same. The best way I can describe the alt-right from these encounters is a nihilistic collection of Internet bullies and saboteurs whose only commonality is contempt for advocates of social justice. Again, this is definitionally opposed to solidarity.

In my opinion it is not enough, if we are to be true to our name of the American Solidarity Party, to merely condemn ideas that are our antithesis. We must positively work toward building solidarity. We must, as our platform says, acknowledge and address the persistence of unjust discrimination in our society, and pay particular attention to the effect that policies have on vulnerable and marginalized groups. We must examine our own consciences for subtler ways we fail to recognize and promote the equal dignity of other persons. To be true to our core principles as a party, we must speak and act as if we believe in the necessity of social justice, and promote a more peaceful world.

In Solidarity,

H. Lillian Vogl
Chairwoman of the National Committee of the American Solidarity Party

Travel Bans

June 27, 2017

The American Solidarity Party affirms the responsibility of governments to protect citizens, but we believe that national security can be reconciled with compassion for those fleeing violence and persecution. We appreciate the Supreme Court’s ruling to allow certain individuals to continue arriving, but we remain gravely concerned by the President’s ongoing efforts to implement stringent travel and refugee bans. We are especially disturbed by the inclusion of Syria on the list of banned countries, due to the intensity of the conflict, growing casualty rate, and extreme number of displaced men, women, and children. We will continue to stand in solidarity with all migrants and refugees, and look forward to a final decision from the Supreme Court in October.

Healthcare Statement

Statement on Senate Bill “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017”

June 27th, 2017

The American Solidarity Party believes that universal access to affordable, essential health care services is fundamental to securing every person’s right to life and human dignity from conception to natural death. While we recognize that there are a variety of viable systems for achieving universal healthcare, there can be no compromising on the goal of universal coverage, or on the principle of protecting the most vulnerable members of our communities.

The latest healthcare bill to emerge from the Senate represents yet another drastic failure by the Republican Congressional leadership to protect all American citizens. In the name of lowering health insurance premiums for those who are relatively healthy, this bill would make changes that leave 22 million more Americans uninsured, according to the official non-partisan Congressional Budget Office analysis. In order to give tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and fund more military and defense spending, it would cut federal funds for Medicaid by hundreds of billions of dollars. These are the funds that provide healthcare for our lowest income citizens, and long-term care for the disabled and elderly poor.

The so-called improvements in the Senate bill, as compared with the House bill, appear to primarily benefit insurance companies. The Senate bill increases subsidies available to purchase private health insurance for some Americans above the poverty line, but much of this money would end up in the hands of insurance companies instead of increasing access to care. To add insult to the already injurious bill, the Senate is also reportedly adding a six-month lock-out period for anyone who has more than a 63 day gap in coverage—a potentially deadly penalty for anyone struggling with unemployment or underemployment, who suddenly find themselves facing a costly illness.

While we acknowledge there are flaws in the Affordable Care Act that need to be addressed, we call on Senators to reject any approach that moves away from universal access to affordable essential health services. It is time to put partisan posturing and ideological shibboleths aside and work toward non-partisan solutions that will protect the most vulnerable, and indeed all Americans, from preventable death and suffering.

Principled Resistance

The American Solidarity Party stands for a consistently pro-life political program dedicated to defending human life and dignity from conception to natural death. We stand for a politics of solidarity, particularly with the poor and vulnerable, expressed as much as possible through decentralized, interpersonal methods. This consistent, broad, whole life approach provides a unique and principled, moral alternative to the corrupt power politics of the two major parties. We seek not to be accepted by the political paradigm of right and left, but to reject it in favor of a political reality based outside the dichotomy.

As a party, we are deeply concerned about the trajectory of Donald Trump’s Presidency. A wave of understandable resentment against the corrupt establishment politics of the Democratic Party has swept an unprincipled provocateur to power — a son of privilege who poses disingenuously as the champion of the white working class. While we agree with some of President Trump’s goals, such as his moves to restrict and discourage abortion, we find most of his actions since his taking office to be alarming. We are particularly opposed to his draconian Executive Order Regarding Immigration and Refugees; and in general to his attempts, both as a candidate and as President, to scapegoat immigrants and/or Muslims for perceived problems in American society. We must not, as a society, throw vulnerable people under the bus in the name of “security”. We are also opposed to moves by both President Trump and the Republicans in Congress to scrap the Affordable Care Act without instituting a credible alternative, and in general to take measures that punish the poor and make it harder for them to thrive. Our commitment to defending the unborn goes hand in hand with a commitment to protect the dignity and well-being of those who are already born, and in particular to create conditions that will make women less likely to feel the need to seek the terrible option of abortion.

There are many who will feel that in the name of unity, we must put these concerns aside, or ignore the doubts of our consciences; and while we respect the ideals of their beliefs, we must disagree with the way in which they are expressed. The actions described above, and others like them, are a threat to human dignity. Not just the dignity of those who are targeted, but also of those who accept the actions themselves. As citizens of our country, and as members of a political party dedicated to the Common Good, we will resist by all just and peaceful means available to us. We will speak out, as a party and as individuals. We will build coalitions with other organizations. We will seek out and nominate thoughtful, conscientious candidates who are willing to stand against the overwhelming historical tide of partisan politics. We are, as an organization, committed not to conciliatory acceptance and acquiescence, but to principled, peaceful opposition and resistance to the actions of any administration, national or local, that violate our core principles of human life, human dignity, social justice, and environmental responsibility. The very rise of this party itself began as a means of peaceful opposition to the corruption that came before, and the bleak reality of an election season marked by acrimonious censure of all measured viewpoints, and moderate ideas. Now is not the time to merely hope for better days, we must rededicate ourselves to a sincere and constant mission to achieve them.

This is a moment of decision in American history, and the history of the American Solidarity Party. The Trump Presidency is a symptom, not the cause, of a deep, divisive malaise in American public life, stemming from the loss of the concept of the common good. Americans are separated from their neighbors and divided from their communities. We are committed, as a party, to defending the Common Good against threats from both sides of the conventional political spectrum. We will not allow anything to compromise that vision.

Response to Executive order on migrants and refugees

On January 28th, 2017, the American Solidarity Party released this statement in solidarity with refugees and others impacted by President Trump’s recent executive actions on migration.

President Trump recently signed an executive order that bans the citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for at least 90 days, even if they already have valid U.S. visas or are legal permanent U.S. residents. In addition, he has suspended the entry of all refugees to the U.S. for 120 days and has barred the entry of Syrian refugees indefinitely. President Trump states that these “extreme vetting” measures were established to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of our country. The American Solidarity Party supports the goal of preventing terrorists from reaching our shores; but in these executive orders, President Trump has escalated and exploited a climate of fear that is far disproportionate to the actual threat. National Security and border integrity is an essential duty of government; however, we must refuse to make false choices between security and taking care of the least of those among us. There are options based on common good, common ground, and common sense.

The existing process for refugee vetting is robust and thorough, but we welcome and encourage a review and potential strengthening that respects all people and honors our previous commitments to visa and green card holders. Government should also partner with groups in the U.S. that have experience in dealing with refugees, which would enable smoother transitions for refugees and local communities. We also stand firmly by the practice of giving priority to women, children, those who have been subjected to torture, and the disabled. The smart thing to do and the right thing to do are not mutually exclusive, despite the media and administration’s insistence otherwise.

We applaud the court decision to stay elements of the executive order, but we know that this one action is not enough. Our country can successfully protect its citizens while simultaneously standing in solidarity with the majority of Muslim Nationals, and the scared and huddled masses who mean this country no harm. We stand in solidarity with any person from one of these seven countries who considers the United States a land of opportunity – who desires to live here, work hard, and follow our laws. We stand in solidarity with every refugee who has fled a war-torn country begging for humanitarian assistance, believing that America is a beacon of light and hope to the world. In justice, they deserve a home, and in solidarity, we can offer one.

Hon. Neil M. Gorsuch Nomination to Supreme Court

American Solidarity Party Responds to the Nomination of the Hon. Neil M. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—The American Solidarity Party (ASP) today responded to the nomination, by President Trump of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court:

The American Solidarity Party expresses its hope that the Senate confirmation process for Judge Gorsuch will be thorough and fair, and draw attention to critical issues enshrined in our party’s platform. It is our hope that the upcoming Senate hearings furnish the American people with a full picture of Judge Gorsuch’s judicial philosophy.

A key issue of concern to the party, and a growing majority of Americans, is the right to life. The ASP believes that life should be protected from conception until natural death, constitutionally, statutorily, and judicially. For any potential Supreme Court Justice, this demands a recognition of the flawed and unconstitutional nature of past rulings which have undermined this most basic right, especially the fateful Roe v. Wade decision of 1973. This also requires, at a bare minimum, recognizing that many existing and pending laws protecting pre-natal life at both the state and federal level are constitutionally valid and in service to the common good. In this context, too, the party reiterates its platform commitments to seeking an end to capital punishment; a legal prohibition against euthanasia and assisted suicide; a ban on gestational surrogacy contracts; and special attention and care for women, the elderly, immigrants, and other vulnerable persons.

Religious freedom rights, which are enshrined in our Constitution as a “right to free exercise” and not merely “freedom of worship” are also a significant concern to the party. The Constitution clearly protects our right to live by our religious convictions, both within our halls of worship and in the larger world outside them. This matter will be especially critical as it will come before the court in cases dealing with issues of sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as in connection with immigration policy, national defense, Native American tribal claims, and other fields of law.

The party recognizes the importance of judicial restraint, and the need to maintain a firm separation of powers and robust checks and balances within our government. Nevertheless, it is also the case that the courts are often one of the only avenues through which the politically powerless, the economically or socially disadvantaged, or otherwise marginalized citizens may have their voice heard and their rights secured. We hope, therefore, that Judge Gorsuch will express his commitment to protecting civil rights for all citizens, and particularly the most vulnerable.

Additional critical questions that the Supreme Court will almost certainly address in the coming years, and about which it will be necessary to gauge Judge Gorsuch’s views, include:

  • Free assembly and expression rights, including the right to protest and demonstrate;
  • Rights of workers to be free from discrimination in the workplace, to organize and form association in pursuit of their mutual interests, and to safeguard high standards of safety and health in the workplace;
  • Criminal justice rights;
  • Voter rights;
  • Limitations on executive power;

It is crucial that Judge Gorsuch is questioned substantively regarding all these concerns by the Senate so that citizens can contact their legislators and engage meaningfully in the process of consent for an appointee to the highest judicial office. On Judge Gorsuch’s part, we hope that he will give the American people assurance of his commitment not only to upholding and defending the Constitution, but also to serving true justice and the common good.

Dylan Roof and right to life

This month millions will continue to speak out against the 1973 Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade by using the anniversary of the decision to participate in Walk for Life and March for Life events across the nation. This incredible show of support for the dignity of human life is one that the American Solidarity Party is proud to take part in. As our members come together to honor the lives of the unborn, we must recommit to the fullness of our dedication to the dignity and value of all Life.

For the first time in a federal hate crime case, a jury has delivered a death sentence. On June 17, 2015, twenty-two year old white supremacist Dylann Roof entered the Emanuel African Methodist Church and, motivated by hate and prejudice, took the lives of nine people. In his own words, his intent was to start a race war. This unconscionable and horrific act of of vitriolic hate can only face a response of absolute rejection and abhorrence. This willful act of violence brings lasting pain to the nation, to local communities, and to the families of all the victims. This is the kind of terrible injustice that must be stridently renounced in the strongest terms, and which we, as a society, have an obligation to strive to end. And this, this kind of incomprehensible hate, is a mindset that forces us to face the real implications of a genuine dedication to Life.

It is our belief in the inherent dignity of every human person that urges us to unequivocally condemn Roof’s actions and, at the same time, oppose his impending execution. We cannot afford to treat any lives as though they are disposable, for when one life becomes disposable, they all do. The timeless words of Martin Luther King must be embedded in our hearts:

“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.”

The racism of Dylann Roof is violent and evil, but perpetuating his violence by executing him will not bring peace. The American Solidarity Party stands in opposition to the death penalty not as a form of idealistic pacifism, but rather to ensure the practical disruption of the “descending spiral” of violence. Let us firmly, for once and for all, make this our steadfast stance: We condemn the act of violence that took those nine lives, we condemn the act of violence that will take Dylann Roof’s life, and we stand together to restore an abundant culture of life to the American political and social landscape.