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By KELLI KENNEDY

MIAMI (AP) — The number of legal immigrants from Latin American nations who access public health services and enroll in federally subsidized insurance plans has dipped substantially since President Donald Trump took office, many of them fearing their information could be used to identify and deport relatives living in the U.S. illegally, according to health advocates across the country.

Trump based his campaign on promises to stop illegal immigration and deport any immigrants in the country illegally, but many legal residents and U.S. citizens are losing their health care as a result, advocates say.

After Trump became president a year ago, “every single day families canceled” their Medicaid plans and “people really didn’t access any of our programs,” said Daniel Bouton, a director at the Community Council, a Dallas nonprofit that specializes in health care enrollment for low-income families.

The trend stabilized a bit as the year went on, but it remains clear that the increasingly polarized immigration debate is having a chilling effect on Hispanic participation in health care programs, particularly during the enrollment season that ended in December.

Bouton’s organization has helped a 52-year-old housekeeper from Mexico, a legal resident, sign up for federally subsidized health insurance for two years. But now she’s going without, fearing immigration officials will use her enrollment to track down her husband, who is in the country illegally. She’s also considering not re-enrolling their children, 15 and 18, in the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, even though they were born in the U.S.

“We’re afraid of maybe getting sick or getting into an accident, but the fear of my husband being deported is bigger,” the woman, who declined to give their names for fear her husband could be deported, said through a translator in a telephone interview.

Hispanic immigrants are not only declining to sign up for health care under programs that began or expanded under Barack Obama’s presidency — they’re also not seeking treatment when they’re sick, Bouton and others say.

“One social worker said she had a client who was forgoing chemotherapy because she had a child that was not here legally,” said Oscar Gomez, CEO of Health Outreach Partner, a national training and advocacy organization.

My Health LA provides primary care services in Los Angeles County to low-income residents and those who lack the documents to make them eligible for publicly funded health care coverage programs, such as state Medicaid. According to its annual report, 189,410 participants enrolled in the program during Fiscal Year 2017, but 44,252, or about 23 percent, later dis-enrolled. It’s not clear how many of those who dropped out are Hispanic; the report did not describe ethnicity.

Enticing Hispanics to take advantage of subsidized health care has been a struggle that began long before Trump’s presidency.

Hispanics are more than three times as likely to go without health insurance as are their white counterparts, according to a 2015 study by Pew Research Center. Whites represented 63 percent, or 3.8 million, of those who signed up for Affordable Care Act plans last year compared to 15 percent, or just under a million, Hispanics, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The reasons vary, but some have always feared deportation, regardless of who is in office.

Recent events have not helped. Despite initial signs of a compromise agreement, Trump now isn’t supporting a deal to support young people who identified themselves to the federal government so that they could qualify for protections against deportation despite being brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

Last fall, Border Patrol agents followed a 10-year-old immigrant with cerebral palsy to a Texas hospital and took her into custody after the surgery. She had been brought to the U.S. from Mexico when she was a toddler.

And in Okeechobee, a small rural city about an hour and a half north of Miami that is home to many immigrant farm workers, green-and-white-striped immigration vehicles were spotted driving around town and parking in conspicuous places last spring and summer. After a few immigrants were picked up and deported, health advocates said patients canceled their appointments, waiting until immigration officials left to reschedule them.

In Washington state and Florida, health workers report that immigrant patients start the enrollment process, but drop out once they are required to turn in proof of income, Social Security and other personal information. The annual report from My Health LA noted that it denied 28 percent more applicants in Fiscal 2017 than it had the year before, mostly due to incomplete applications.

In a survey of four Health Outreach Partner locations in California and the Pacific Northwest, social workers said some of their patients asked to be removed from the centers’ records for fear that the information could be used to aid deportation hearings.

The dilemma has forced social workers at Health Outreach Partner to broaden their job descriptions, Gomez said. Now, in addition to signing people up for health insurance or helping them access medical treatments, they are fielding questions about immigration issues and drawing up contingency plans for when a family member is deported.

“That planning is seen as more helpful and immediate to their patients than their medical needs right now,” he said.

Politics

2018 Onslow County Sheriff’s Election Coverage: “Boyd Brown Drops The Papers”

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At nearly noon today, challenging Sheriff candidate Boyd Brown dropped his formal election filing with election board officials, in an effort to get the bumbling and crooked incumbent, Hans Miller, out of office.

Boyd’s filing makes him the third official candidate in the race, following Hans Miller who announced his candidacy early in July of 2017 – months before any official filing period – and has since stirred up rumors of a setup against himself via his phony account, “Norbert Bayer”. Norbert Bayer is a fake account that Miller deleted as soon as he logged on to News In Onslow and saw that he was exposed in August of 2017, but not before information affirmatively linking him to the phony was captured.

While only time will tell, Boyd so far seems to be running a clean campaign, tackling Miller’s underhanded and dirty tactics head on. Boyd so far has outlined a detailed and fair response to Miller’s efforts to discredit him, while Miller has remained silent behind his fake accounts and crutches against the work of his employees. He also seems to love his ability to solicit votes on the public’s dime and property. Much to his advantage, he’s the only person he has permitted to advertise and solicit for votes at or on OCSO property.

Hans Miller is allegedly in violation of the “Personnel Policy Manual” by having this poster posted inside the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office.

This poster is posted inside the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the Personnel Policy Manual below, Miller can’t use county “equipment” to advertise. Is Hans Miller misusing county property for political gain?

“Personnel Policy Manual”

As locals will recall, Miller claimed he was a victim in 2014, and as result defeated incumbent Ed Brown and escalated himself from a one-man “chief” of a building to the Sheriff’s Office where he now wears phony 5-star general’s rank, instead of the phony Marine Colonel insignia that Camp Lejeune had stripped him of.

Miller has tried to capitalize on the same claim twice so far this election cycle: once by using a phony “bot” account Norbert Bayer (much like the Russian meddling) by claiming a setup at his hangout the “Angry Ginger”, and yet again by direct messaging citizens with his alleged “dirt” on Boyd; information he promises to release for political reasons and no matter what the statutes state about the confidentiality of criminal investigations! He sure didn’t do that with the Will Clifton investigation!

If Miller really believed that Boyd was involved in a theft, then he is the person directly responsible for enforcing the law and holding Boyd accountable. Failure to perform those duties, under state law, would merit his removal from office. One must ask – why does this only surface at election time and at the hands of a crooked, or perhaps the most crooked, of cops?

Somehow, Miller has decided to act like the dirty cat he is and use his own wild and crazy imagination for political leverage. He is spreading his dirt from multiple “bot” accounts. We think he’s a bit deep in the “sauce”, or maybe just whacky from all those bier-fueled accidents.

The third candidate, John Yopp, has yet to make a showing at the Board, and no signs of his candidacy seem to exist since 1 January of this year. Perhaps his campaign has fizzled entirely, leaving a narrowed field for more prominent challengers.

John Raymon Yopp, Onslow County 2018 Sheriff’s Election Republican Candidate.

Old curmudgeon, Walter Scott, is still in the ring. A former public relations officer for the county – doubts are beginning to surface about his competency. Is he fit to fill the shoes of the Onslow County Sheriff? One source has advised News In Onslow, “OMFG. He’s a nice guy at home, but a total idiot! What a joke! “. Little info has otherwise surfaced.

Sheriff Candidate, Walter Scott

As things heat up between primary challengers Boyd and Hans, be sure to stay tuned to News In Onslow. We’ll bring you the real dirt before anyone knows it’s coming!

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The Latest: 13 Russians accused of plot to disrupt election

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Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, speaks to the media with an announcement that the office of special counsel Robert Mueller says a grand jury has charged 13 Russian nationals and several Russian entities, Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in Washington. The defendants are accused of violating U.S. criminal laws to interfere with American elections and the political process. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the indictments in the special counsel’s Russia probe (all times local):

10 p.m.

The U.S. special counsel has accused 13 Russians of an elaborate plot to disrupt the 2016 presidential election, charging them with running a huge but hidden social media trolling campaign aimed in part at helping Republican Donald Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The federal indictment, brought by special counsel Robert Mueller, represents the most detailed allegations to date of illegal Russian meddling during the campaign that sent Trump to the White House.

The Russian organization was funded by a wealthy St. Petersburg businessman with ties to the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin.

Trump is claiming vindication, but the indictment does not resolve the collusion question at the heart of the continuing Mueller probe.

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6 p.m.

A spokesman for Hillary Clinton says the indictments in the special counsel’s Russia probe confirm “what we’ve long known.”

Nick Merrill says on Twitter, “Time will tell us more, but Russia went to great lengths to undermine our democracy, & the President won’t protect us.”

The indictment by federal prosecutors alleges that Russians used bogus social media postings and ads falsely purchased in the name of Americans to sway political opinion during the campaign between Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.

Merrill tweets, “No matter your politics, it’s un-American. We have an adversary that is laughing at us, who will act again.”

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5:20 p.m.

Facebook says it is doubling its security staff to 20,000 and actively working with the FBI to stop election interference by Russians and others.

The company’s statement is in response to the indictment of 13 Russians and three Russian organizations by federal prosecutors. The charges shed light on the extent to which Russians manipulated social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Joel Kaplan is Facebook vice president of global policy. He says officials know they have more to do to prevent future attacks, and are committed to staying ahead of deceptive and malevolent activity.

A Twitter spokeswoman said the company has no comment, and YouTube has not yet responded.

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3:45 p.m.

President Donald Trump says “far-fetched theories” about collusion in the 2016 election “only serve to further the agendas of bad actors, like Russia.”

Trump is reacting to news that special counsel Robert Mueller has indicted 13 Russians and three Russian organizations for plotting to influence the 2016 campaign.

Trump says, “It’s time we stop the outlandish partisan attacks.”

The Russians are accused of using social media propaganda aimed at helping Trump and harming the prospects of Democrat Hillary Clinton. The indictment alleges that the Russians cooperated with “unwitting” Trump campaign staffers and outside backers who did not know their true identities.

Trump says, “We must unite as Americans to protect the integrity of our democracy and our elections.”

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3:40 p.m.

The attorney for the California man who pleaded guilty in the Russia probe says his client made a mistake.

The lawyer tells The Associated Press that Richard Pinedo’s connection to Russian meddling “is way beyond anything he could have possibly imagined” being involved in.”

The lawyer says Pinedo thought he was helping people fraudulently open online bank accounts, but that Pinedo had no idea “his customers were foreign nationals” trying to meddle in the election.

Jeremy Lessem says his client will not make any public statements.

Pinedo is from Santa Paula, California. He pleaded guilty earlier this month to using stolen identities to set up bank accounts that were then used by the Russians.

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3:30 p.m.

“No collusion.” That’s the reaction of President Donald Trump to the indictment of 13 Russians and three Russian companies for plotting to meddle in the 2016 election.

The president tweeted Friday that the indictment shows, “The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!”

The Russians were charged Friday with using social media propaganda aimed at helping Trump and harming the prospects of Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Trump notes that the Russian influence campaign is alleged to have started in 2014, “long before” he declared his candidacy.

He says, “The results of the election were not impacted.”

In fact, while prosecutors have not alleged that meddling altered the election’s outcome, the indictment does not rule it out.

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3:15 p.m.

The online payment company PayPal has been unexpectedly drawn into the Russia probe. Federal prosecutors allege that Russian criminals used PayPal to help pay for propaganda aimed at influencing voters in the 2016 election.

Thirteen Russians and three Russian companies were charged Friday with plotting to interfere in the election.

In the indictment, prosecutors allege the defendants used PayPal as a primary conduit to transfer money for general expenses as well as to buy Facebook ads. Prosecutors say the accounts were opened using fake identities to help bypass PayPal’s security measures.

PayPal says it is cooperating with the Justice Department. A spokesman says, “PayPal is intensely focused on combatting and preventing the illicit use of” its services and works closely with law enforcement, including in this instance.

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2:40 p.m.

A California man has pleaded guilty to unwittingly selling bank accounts to Russians meddling in the US elections.

Richard Pinedo of Santa Paula pleaded guilty earlier this month to using stolen identities to set up bank accounts that were then used by the Russians. A Justice Department spokeswoman says Pinedo did not know at the time he was dealing with Russians.

The plea deal is the third in special counsel Robert Mueller’s continuing Russia probe. It was revealed the same day prosecutors charged 13 Russians and three Russian companies with an extensive scheme to meddle in the U.S. elections.

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2:20 p.m.

A Russian businessman known as “Putin’s chef” who was indicted Friday by federal prosecutors says “Americans are very impressionable people.” He says he’s not upset to be named in the indictment.

Thirteen Russians and three Russian companies were charged Friday with a plot to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election through social media propaganda.

The indictment says the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm, started interfering as early as 2014 in U.S. politics, extending to the 2016 presidential election.

The indictment says the agency was funded by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a St. Petersburg businessman dubbed “Putin’s chef” because his restaurants and catering businesses once hosted the Kremlin leader’s dinners with foreign dignitaries.

Prigozhin was quoted by Russia’s state news agency as saying Americans “see what they want to see.”

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2:05 p.m.

One of those indicted in the Russia probe is a businessman with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Yevgeny Prigozhin (pree-GOH’-zhin) is an entrepreneur from St. Petersburg who’s been dubbed “Putin’s chef” by Russian media.

His restaurants and catering businesses have hosted the Kremlin leader’s dinners with foreign dignitaries. In the more than 10 years since establishing a relationship with Putin, his business has expanded to services for the military.

Prigozhin’s assets also include an oil trading firm that reportedly has been sending private Russian fighters to Syria. Prigozhin is on the list of those sanctioned by the U.S.

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2 p.m.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says there’s no allegation that any Americans were “knowing participants” in what federal prosecutors call an elaborate plot to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Thirteen Russians and three Russian companies were charged Friday with plotting to meddle in the election through social media propaganda aimed at helping Republican Donald Trump and harming the prospects of Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Charges were brought by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller and represented the most direct allegation to date of illegal Russian meddling during the election.

Rosenstein said Friday that there is “no allegation in this indictment” that any American was a knowing participant.

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1:50 p.m.

The deputy attorney general says a new indictment does not allege that Russian meddling altered the outcome of presidential election.

Federal prosecutors have announced charges against 13 Russians and three Russian entities with an elaborate plot to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The indictment was brought by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller. It alleges that Russians used bogus social media postings and advertisements fraudulently purchased in the name of Americans to sway political opinion during the race between Republican Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says the indictment does not include allegations that the plot swayed the outcome of the vote.

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1:40 p.m.

Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein says the goal of 13 Russians and three Russian entities charged Friday was “spreading distrust” of 2016 candidates and the political system.

The indictment details an elaborate plot to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The indictment was brought by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller. It alleges that Russians used bogus social media postings and advertisements fraudulently purchased in the name of Americans to sway political opinion during the race between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

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1:21 p.m.

Thirteen Russians and three Russian entities were charged Friday with an elaborate plot to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, federal prosecutors announced Friday.

The indictment, brought by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller, alleges that Russians used bogus social media postings and advertisements fraudulently purchased in the name of Americans to sway political opinion during the race between Republican Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent.

The charges are the most direct allegation to date of illegal Russian meddling in the election.

The goal, the indictment says, was to “sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 presidential election.”

The charges arise from Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the election and whether there was improper coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

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Trump cites mental health _ not guns _ in speech on shooting

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By CATHERINE LUCEY

WASHINGTON (AP) — Declaring the nation united and grieving with “one heavy heart,” President Donald Trump promised Thursday to tackle school safety and “the difficult issue of mental health” in response to the deadly shooting in Florida. He made no mention of the scourge of gun violence.

Not always a natural in the role of national comforter, Trump spoke deliberately, at one point directly addressing children who may feel “lost, alone, confused or even scared.”

“I want you to know that you are never alone and you never will be,” Trump said. “You have people who care about you, who love you, and who will do anything at all to protect you.”

While Trump stressed the importance of mental health and school safety improvements, his latest budget request would slash Medicaid, the major source of federal funding for treating mental health problems, and cut school safety programs by more than a third. Last year, he signed a resolution blocking an Obama-era rule designed to keep guns out of the hands of certain mentally disabled people.

The president spoke to the nation from the White House, one day after a former student with an AR-15 rifle opened fire at a high school in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people and injuring 14 more. It was the nation’s deadliest school shooting since a gunman attacked an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, more than five years ago.

Trump, who owns a private club in Palm Beach, Florida, about 40 miles away, said he planned to visit the grieving community, but no date was immediately set. He canceled plans to promote his infrastructure plan in Orlando on Friday and to attend a campaign rally in Pennsylvania next week.

Trump’s silence on guns was noted with displeasure by many who are seeking tougher firearm restrictions. But the White House said the president wanted to keep his remarks focused on the victims. Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the point was “to talk about grief and show compassion in unifying the country.”

Before he was a candidate, Trump at one point favored some tighter gun regulations. But he embraced gun rights as a candidate, and the National Rifle Association spent $30 million in support of his campaign

During his brief, televised statement, Trump said he wanted to work to “create a culture in our country that embraces the dignity of life,” a phrase likely to resonate with his conservative base.

He pledged to work with state and local officials to “help secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health,” adding that safe schools would be a key focus when he meets with governors and state attorneys general later this month.

Trump made no specific policy recommendations, and he did not answer shouted questions about guns as he exited the room.

In contrast, former President Barack Obama tweeted out a call for “long overdue, common-sense gun safety laws.” Obama wrote: “We are grieving with Parkland. But we are not powerless. Caring for our kids is our first job.”

In reacting to previous mass shootings, Trump has largely focused on mental health as a cause, dismissing questions about gun control. After a shooting at a Texas church in November left more than two dozen dead, the president said, “This isn’t a guns situation.”

The 19-year-old suspect in Florida, Nikolas Cruz, is a troubled teenager who posted disturbing material on social media. He had been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for “disciplinary reasons,” Broward County, Florida, Sheriff Scott Israel said.

The profile photo on Cruz’s Instagram account showed a masked face wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat like those associated with Trump’s campaign.

The leader of a white nationalist militia called the Republic of Florida said Cruz was a member of his group and had participated in exercises in Tallahassee. But neither the Sheriff’s Office in Tallahassee nor the Southern Poverty Law Center could confirm any link between Cruz and the militia.

Trump was criticized in early August for saying that both white nationalists and counter-protesters were responsible for the violent clashes at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

While Trump has offered somber responses to some tragedies, he has also drawn criticism for other reactions.

After the Orlando shootings at a gay nightclub that left 49 dead in June 2016, then-candidate Trump tweeted, “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism.” In the wake of a deadly terror attack in London last June, he went after Mayor Sadiq Khan on Twitter.

News of Wednesday afternoon’s shooting had come as the White House was embroiled in a weeklong scandal surrounding the handling of domestic abuse allegations against Rob Porter, a top aide who resigned last week.

The typically daily White House press briefing was repeatedly delayed, as aides tried to craft a strategy on that issue. One option was to have chief of staff John Kelly, who has come under intense pressure for his handling of the Porter matter, be part of the briefing, according to two White House officials not authorized to publicly discuss internal deliberations.

Once the magnitude of the Florida tragedy became clear, the White House canceled the briefing. The president tweeted his condolences and the White House deliberated its next move.

Kelly was not in the room when Trump addressed the nation on Thursday morning, and his job security remained an open question. But with the West Wing focused on the shooting aftermath, any immediate change seemed unlikely

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Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire contributed from New York. AP writers Zeke Miller, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Maria Danilova contributed from Washington.

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