The 42nd annual March for Life kicked off Thursday with an hour-long rally on the National Mall in Washington, DC, as hundreds of thousands of pro-life activists gathered beneath sunny skies and surprisingly warm temperatures to hear speeches from pro-life politicians and prominent movement leaders.
The rally opened with a benediction from Roman Catholic Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, KY, who was flanked by both Catholic and Orthodox clerics as he led the crowd in prayer and asked God’s blessing on the March.
After the benediction, March for Life Chairman Patrick Kelly took the podium to welcome the marchers, taking special notice of their overwhelming youth. “When I look out on this enormous crowd, I see a tide turning in America,” Kelly said. “The March for Life is getting bigger and younger every year.”
“History is on our side,” said Kelly, “because history is always on the side of those who fight for human dignity and human life.” He said that after four decades, the March for Life “has become the largest human rights march in the world.”
March for Life President Jeanne Monahan Mancini elicited happy cheers from the crowd as she took the stage and asked, “What do y’all think about this weather?” Thursday’s mild conditions stood in marked contrast to the weather during last year’s march, which took place in near-zero temperatures with biting winds, putting marchers at risk of frostbite and causing electronics to fail due to the extreme cold.
“I’m so grateful” for all the pilgrims who traveled from around the country and around the world to join the march, Mancini said. She explained that this year’s theme, “Every Life is a Gift,” refers especially to babies with prenatal diagnoses of potentially disabling conditions like Down Syndrome who are aborted at a much higher rate than the general population.
“1.1 million babies per year, or one-fifth of babies in America are aborted every year. For babies with poor prenatal diagnosis, the abortion rate jumps to 85 percent,” Mancini said. “That’s just wrong, isn’t it?”
“The truth of the matter is that every life is a gift, regardless of if we have a disability or not… and let’s be honest – we all have disabilities,” she said. “Some of them are more obvious than others, but none of us are perfect.”
Echoing a theme that has been present at many events related to the march, Mancini highlighted the importance of social media, and urged the crowd to take out their cellphones and subscribe to the March for Life text service on the spot by texting GIVELIFE to 99000. “Social media is a huge part of getting the pro-life message out,” Mancini said. She asked the marchers to take photos throughout today’s events and “let the world know” about the March for Life and all the issues involved by posting them to social media with the hashtag #whywemarch.
“Speaking of social media,” Mancini added, “Apparently [Pope Francis] likes the March for Life!” She shared a tweet the Roman Catholic pontiff posted earlier in the day which read: “Every life is a gift. #MarchForLife,” and urged the crowd to reply to him with their thanks.
Mancini then introduced a number of politicians who took a quick break from debating a bill to bar taxpayer funds for abortion to show their appreciation for the pro-life marchers. Rep. Kathy McMorris-Rogers, R-WA, started things off. McMorris-Rogers heads the House Down Syndrome caucus and is herself the proud mother of a seven-year-old son named Cole who has Down Syndrome. “That extra chromosome has brought my family a whole bunch of joy,” McMorris-Rogers said. “Cole has reminded me anew of the value of every human life.”
“I’m proud to be a pro-life leader and a pro-life mom,” McMorris-Rogers said, to cheers. “Later on today in the House of Representatives, we will be passing the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. We are holding the federal government accountable to protect your taxpayer dollars from funding abortion.” Any taxpayer subsidies for abortion providers, she added, are “a violation of the public trust.”
McMorris-Rogers promised that despite the GOP leadership’s eleventh-hour decision to refrain from voting on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban most abortions after 20 weeks, she and her pro-life colleagues are committed to its passage, along with the passage of a healthcare conscience rights act. “The Unborn Child Protection Act is so important because it shifts the debate” over abortion, and makes sure that people know the pain that unborn children feel is “very real and very wrong,” said McMorris-Rogers.
Senator Tim Scott, R-SC, told McMorris-Rogers, “The Senate will stand shoulder to shoulder with the House as you move forward legislation that protects life.” Taking on the tone and volume of a Southern preacher, Scott told the crowd that it was his conversion to Christianity that first made him realize the value of all human life. He then shared the story of how, while he was a small business owner, one of his employees became unexpectedly pregnant. “I did what I thought would be the right thing and took her to a Crisis Pregnancy Center,” Scott said. He said the love and guidance she was shown there inspired her to forego the abortion she’d planned on and have her daughter.
Chris Smith, R-NJ, co-chairman of the House Pro-Life Caucus, told the crowd: “We have a compelling duty to protect the weakest and the most vulnerable from the violence of abortion.” He admonished those who recommend abortion for babies with defects or disabilities.
“A prenatal diagnosis of disability should mean empathy, concern for the child and love,” Smith said, “not a death sentence.”
He praised the crowd of mostly millennials for their enthusiasm and called them “the next Greatest Generation.” He told them that the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act would be voted on “within an hour or so.”
“That legislation is historic,” Smith said. “It will end our forced complicity, our funding of abortion.” He said President Barack Obama lied when he said his federal healthcare plan wouldn’t require taxpayer support for abortions. “We will not quit until we take abortion out of ObamaCare and make the Hyde Amendment permanent,” Smith pledged. He also vowed to do everything possible to ensure the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is brought up in the House for a vote, lamenting that babies who die during late-term abortions endure “agony beyond our wildest belief.”
Dan Lipinski, D-IL, was distinctive as the only Democratic elected official to take the stage. “I’m from Chicago, I’m a Bears fan, I’m a Democrat, and I’m pro-life,” Lipinski said, to wild applause. Lipinski said that the defense of human life is an issue that people of all political and religious persuasions should be able to agree on. “Everyone needs to come together to protect life,” Lipinski said. “Women deserve better than abortion.”
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, head of the Knights of Columbus, reminded the crowd that the unborn are not the only ones whose lives hang in the balance with the rise of the Culture of Death. “This year we face a lot of new threats,” Anderson said, citing in particular doctor-assisted suicide, which several states have taken moves toward legalizing. “We will stand up for those at the end of life just as we have for those at the beginning of life,” Anderson promised. As for abortion, Anderson said the momentum is on the side of protecting life. “According to the latest Knights of Columbus/Marist poll, 84 percent of Americans want significant restrictions on abortion,” Anderson said, “two-thirds of Americans say the nation’s abortion rate is too high, and a majority of Americans believe abortion is immoral.”
“No amount of propaganda can cover up or change the pain that women who have undergone abortions feel every day,” Anderson added. He concluded by announcing the Knights’ plan to provide ultrasound machines to Crisis Pregnancy Centers. “Almost every woman who sees her child in an ultrasounds chooses life,” he said.
Mancini then introduced Kathleen Wilson, who operates Mary’s Shelter, a chain of maternity homes in Fredericksburg, Virginia, who was received with deafening cheers by the audience. “I’m proud to represent the nearly 400 maternity homes in this nation,” Wilson said. “We exist to help women in desperate need. Women who have low self esteem, who have lost hope.”
Wilson said that many women who seek help from maternity homes have boyfriends or family members who are trying to force them to abort. She shared the story of one woman, Angela, who became pregnant via a horrific rape. Her friends and family urged her to get rid of the baby via abortion, but she had the baby with the help of Mary’s Shelter, and her child has brought her “absolute joy.” Wilson said Angela often asks, “If not for Mary’s Shelter, what would I have done?” She said that many women who come to the shelter cry after the birth, not because they are sad about the baby, but because they are thinking about what might have been, and realizing that the people in their lives didn’t want their precious children to be born.
Dr. Gracie Christie, a radiologist who specializes in ultrasound, said her favorite part of the job is working with expectant parents. “I get to be there for that awesome moment when a mother and father see their baby for the first time,” Christie said. “Ultrasound opens a window into the womb to see that moment when we are very tiny, but very much human and very much alive.”
But Christie said that ultrasound also has a dark side: We can now see telltale signs of defects that lead parents to abort. “This is the world we are living in: Children are choices, commodities, and those that are deemed defective are eradicated before birth,” Christie said. She said that when she sees signs of Down Syndrome on the ultrasound screen, she feels sick, because she knows that ninety percent of them will be killed by abortion. Of disabled children, Christie said: “They have a heart made for joy, a soul to cherish, and a right to simply exist.”
After Christie’s somber speech, the mood turned more lighthearted as the focus shifted to the march’s younger attendees. The crowd cheered as March for Life organizers announced the winners of the annual student contest, themed “Every Selfie has a Story.” They then introduced this year’s march leaders, the entire student body and faculty of Shanley High School in Fargo, ND. The entire school – 400 people in total, filled eight buses and drove 24 hours straight to carry the banner at the front of the march. Senior Julia Johnson said, “As a school, we are humbled and honored to have been selected to hold the banner for this year’s March for Life.”
“Our cause in defending life is a noble one,” Johnson told the crowd in a brief speech, showing poise and passion that belied her age. “We are living in a modern-day holocaust… that takes the lives of 3,000 babies each day, more than one million babies each year.”
Said Johnson, “It is our job to protect our brothers and sisters in the womb and their right to life. It is our obligation to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for value is not determined by size or age.”
“We are willing to fight for [life in the womb],” Johnson said. “We march to stop an injustice that has taken the lives of a third of our generation. This pro-life movement was not born out of hatred for our neighbors, but of love.”
Nancy Cruzer, Chicago regional director of Silent No More, shared an emotional story of being 5.5 months pregnant and informed that her baby had hydrocephalus, or “water on the brain.” Her doctor advised an abortion, and she complied.
“At the abortion clinic, no one asked how I was or explained what was happening,” Cruzer said. “I left the clinic with no body to bury, no grave, no funeral… No one brought meals, sent cards, no one called, because I was too ashamed to tell anyone what I had done.”
For years, Cruzer thought she had put the abortion behind her, but she was plagued by horrible nightmares. Finally, she became a Christian and joined a Bible Study for post-abortive women. She found peace, and the nightmares stopped. She named her baby Melanie. “I deeply regret my abortion and that is why I am silent no more,” Cruzer said.
In keeping with the theme of “Every Life is a Gift,” Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, then took the stage to recount the story of her son Gunner’s diagnosis with cystic fibrosis.
“In the last 6 years, my life has changed dramatically by Gunner’s entry into the world,” Hawkins said. She and her husband now make significant financial sacrifices to provide his costly medications, and they had to leave family and friends behind to move closer to his special doctors, but Hawkins said, “It’s worth it.” Now, she is pregnant with her fourth child and first daughter, Gracie. While she prays that Gracie will be healthy, she says she knows that if she has cystic fibrosis, she will have a big brother to help her through it and a family who loves her unconditionally.
Hawkins said she knows from experience how hard it is to raise a disabled child, and how intense the pressure can be to have a perfect baby. “But abortion and IVF don’t make these babies more perfect,” said Hawkins, “they destroy them.”
Hawkins concluded her speech with a question: Do you believe we will end abortion in this generation? Thousands of young marchers screamed, “Yes!”
“It is time to act like it,” Hawkins said, and led the crowd in a chant: “We are the pro-life generation!”
Sheriffs around the country are planning to march on the nation’s capital, hoping to send a message to President Obama and Congress that they oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants.
The Dec. 10 rally in Washington, D.C., is being organized by two sheriffs from Massachusetts – Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson and Plymouth County Sheriff Joseph McDonald.
They have challenged America’s other sheriffs, asking for at least 200 of them to join in paying a visit to the Capitol to make a stand against amnesty and plead for Congress and the president to secure the border. More than 20 have already signed up to participate, Hodgson told WND.
The march will culminate in a meeting with Republican leaders at the Capitol building regarding possible legislation to secure the border “once and for all.”
Hodgson has sent a letter to sheriffs nationwide asking them to join him in the rally.
He told WND he’s already heard from 20 to 25 sheriffs who have committed to join him on the trip to Washington. The letter states in part:
“As you know, the policies of recent years that encourage immigrants to illegally enter our country have created serious threats to our domestic and national security. The citizens of our nation are counting on the American Sheriffs to fulfill our oath to preserve law and order and live up to our responsibilities as guardians of the United States Constitution.
“Given the fact that 25 people are killed each day by illegal immigrants, and our schools are becoming overcrowded and more costly, our public health is threatened by new diseases and ailments introduced by people living in our communities illegally, and the fact that benefits are being given and violations of the law forgiven for a select group of non-citizens, makes clear our obligation to act now before we erode the confidence and the faith citizens have in Sheriffs across the country and throughout our history.”
Hodgson told WND that sheriffs across this country “are tired of being marginalized, either by the inaction of Congress or the overreaction by the president of the United States, who have put us in this situation.”
Hodgson said he started thinking about planning the march while at the National Sheriffs Association Conference in Dallas-Fort Worth earlier this year.
“One of the things I raised was that the people of the United States have always looked to the American sheriff as someone who looks out for public safety and they are not looked at in a partisan way, so it seemed to me we need to stand up to support the border sheriffs,” Hodgson said. “We all have become border sheriffs.”
He said President Obama’s 2012 executive order allowing illegals to stay in the country for two years and entitling them to a hearing, “caused all sorts of problems” for law enforcement.
“The word got out and the cartels realized immediately that was a great way to make money, and it has netted them millions and millions of dollars smuggling people to the border,” Hodgson said. “That was done with the stroke of a pen in June 2012, which was an election year.”
Obama chooses to act on ‘Revolution Day’
Now Obama is about to go even further, planning to announce a sweeping amnesty plan for millions of illegal immigrants Thursday evening.
Just after 12 p.m. Wednesday, the White House posted a Facebook announcement that reads as follows:
“It’s time to fix our broken immigration system. Tomorrow night (November 20th), President Obama will address the nation on new commonsense steps he’s taking to fix as much of it as he can. Tune in tomorrow at 8pm ET. “
Thursday’s date, Nov. 20, is significant, says William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration.
“November 20 is Mexican ‘Revolution Day’ or Mexican ‘Civil War Day’ which is the equivalent of America’s 4th of July,” Gheen said. “Obama’s choice of this date for his departure from his Oath of Office and the U.S. Constitution creates a permanent symbolic relationship between his actions and Mexico’s violent revolutionary and civil wars from 1910-1920.
“Obama is making a powerful and dangerous symbolic declaration to large Spanish media audiences today comparing his new immigration orders to the violent Mexican revolution and civil war,” Gheen continued. “Obama is timing his move to thwart the American public’s voice in Congress to coincide with Mexican Revolution Day and the Ferguson (grand jury decision) while CBS, ABC, and NBC will keep most U.S. citizens oblivious tonight.”
No proof for cited cause of ‘surge’
The problems with illegals were already intense before Obama’s 2012 executive order, but they exploded in the wake of that declaration, Hodgson said.
“The president said the surge at the border was from them trying to escape poverty and violent drug gangs. They have their issues, no question, but no one has ever been able to document that this was the cause,” he said.
He cited a report by the El Paso Intelligence Center, which he called “a bipartisan study done on this very issue,” that found no connection between increased crime and poverty and the surge at the border.
“We know homicides are down in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, but the point is the president did this. They are trying to place children all over the country. They have to hire translators, etc., and the costs are overwhelming,” Hodgson said. “We have one situation in Lowell, Massachusetts, where the mayor is saying, ‘Our schools are bursting at the seams. We just can’t afford this anymore.’
“Just the other day, we apprehended a (illegal) man 35 years old for a crime in one of our high schools. He had gray hair. This is the kind of nonsense that’s going on.”
Hodgson said he visited McAllen, Texas, this summer and saw firsthand the chaos that was being caused by a border that had been turned into a massive welcome mat. He also saw how it’s affecting the interior of the country.
“They were moving them out of the facility there so they could create bed space. Five plane loads were sent to Massachusetts,” he said. “One guy had all kinds of medical issues, and his treatment is going to be in the millions of dollars. Now that he’s being released from our hospital, they shipped him back to Texas and let him go. So these are the kinds of problems the American people aren’t being told of, but we see them every day.”
The Obama administration has essentially created a whole new class of people with special rights and privileges that are not available to law-abiding citizens, Hodgson said.
“They are exempt from certain laws. Now the president of the United States says, ‘I know you came here illegally, and I know you may have committed misdemeanor crimes after you came here, but I’m going to give you a work visa and allow you to stay here indefinitely,” Hodgson said. “When you have a president say he doesn’t care who comes into our country … that’s the beginnings of the breakdown of democracy.”
The concern is what kind of message amnesty sends to “the five million people waiting in line to get in legally,” Hodgson said.
“Congress is not acting. They are not doing what they should be doing, which is to secure our borders. That’s why I’m asking sheriffs to go to Washington,” he said. “Our cities are being overrun. So we’re saying to Congress, ‘Live up to your oaths.’”
If anyone can stand up for the rights of law-abiding citizens, the sheriffs can, he said.
“It’s our responsibility to enforce the laws, and we’re also responsible for protecting the constitutional rights of the people who elect us,” he said. “So this is a problem that affects all of us.”
Not all sheriffs on board
The National Sheriffs Association has the largest membership of any law enforcement group in America.
“They have come out and said they fully endorse every sheriff to stand up and speak out on this issue,” Hodgson said. “And we support the security of the border. Start with stemming the borders. That’s step one. And then manage what we have here in a very thoughtful political approach.”
But not all the nation’s sheriffs are against granting amnesty.
Sheriff Scott Jones of Sacramento County, California, released a video plea to the president this week calling for him to unilaterally declare “immigration reform.”
See video below in which Jones claims the president is “singularly” responsible for the immigration issue.
Gheen, of Americans for Legal Immigration, said he sees Jones’ message as counterproductive.
“Most sheriffs have better sense than that because they’re elected by the people,” Gheen said. “But, hey, you have to consider, it’s California.”
Hodgson was not sure if Jones would be joining his march on Washington.
“There are sheriffs that may have different points of view, but I can tell you the majority of sheriffs in this country are against amnesty, and they are absolutely in favor of getting our borders secured,” Hodgson said.
He said getting 200 sheriffs to join him in Washington in the middle of the holiday season won’t be easy, but he’s encouraged by the early response.
“I threw that figure out there as a challenge to the sheriffs. I’ve gotten several calls from sheriffs who have committed to us from as far away as Washington state, California, North Carolina, Maryland, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania,” he said.
Sheriff Sam Page from Rockingham County, N.C., and Sheriff Jenkins of Fredrick County, Maryland, and Sheriff Paul Babeu of Pinal County, Arizona, are among those who have already committed to the effort.
Hodgson said he’s been involved in the immigration issue since 1999, shortly after he won his first term as sheriff of Bristol County.
“I’ve worked on both Republican and Democratic sides to try to get this issue under control, and I’m very familiar with how it’s become used as a political football. I’m as frustrated as anybody,” he said.
Bring in the Israelis
Hodgson said he has been calling for officials in Washington to bring in Israeli border security officials as consultants to help map out a comprehensive border security plan.
“Frankly… because nobody is better at border security than the Israelis,” he said.
He describes it this way for the uninitiated: If you were looking out your kitchen window and saw a strange man walking through your backyard, would you turn away and take your chances on whether that stranger meant harm or was “just passing through”?
“We’ve got criminals, gang members, drug dealers and now al-Qaida working with the cartels, and we have reports that ISIS could be doing the same thing,” Hodgson said. “Since when do we turn our back on that? You wouldn’t turn your back if someone you didn’t know was walking through your backyard. We need to know who’s coming in and who’s here.”
Hodgson said he believes there’s more to it than just Washington lacking the will to do what’s right. He believes the Obama administration has sinister motives.
“They want to build a socialist system,” he said.
And how do you do that?
“You overburden the existing system until it collapses,” he said. “We can’t let it happen. Our Founding Fathers would disown us if we let it happen.”
Gheen, of ALIPAC, said he had a suggestion that he wishes the sheriffs would consider when they pay a visit to the nation’s capital next month.
“If the sheriffs are heading to Washington, how about suggesting the sheriffs take some of their best men to D.C. and they use their power and ability to arrest the president of the United States?” Gheen said. “I think if the sheriffs are going to Washington on Dec. 10 and the president continues to violate the Constitution of the United States, that they should consider arresting the president of the United States. What if the sheriffs decided to use their power to do this?”
President Obama’s un-Constitutional practice of lawlessly ignoring and rewriting laws to suit his left-wing political agenda has come back to bite his signature domestic achievement. Tuesday morning a federal appeals court dealt what USA Today describes as a “potentially major blow” to ObamaCare with a 2-1 ruling against the Obama administration’s end-run around Congress to disburse federal subsidies:
The appeals panel ruled that as written, the health care law allows tax credits to be offered to qualified participants only in state-run exchanges. The administration had expected most if not all states to create their own, but only 16 states did so.
The court said the Internal Revenue Service went too far in allowing participants in other states served by the federal exchange to qualify for billions of dollars in government assistance. The aid has helped boost enrollment figures to more than 8 million.
Once it became clear 36 states could not be bribed with federal dollars or bullied by the media into setting up their own ObamaCare exchanges, rather than go back to Congress to lobby for changing the law, President Obama blithely believed he could ignore and rewrite a law he signed after helping to usher it through a Congress dominated by Democrats.
If the ruling stands, those enticed into purchasing ObamaCare coverage with the help of untold billions in federal tax dollars will lose their subsidy in these 36 states. This is almost certain to force many ObamaCare recipients to drop coverage. The big question is how many of these people lost their affordable coverage after ObamaCare made the affordable insurance they were happy with illegal and cancelled those plans?
“We reach this conclusion, frankly, with reluctance,” Judge Thomas Griffith said. “At least until states that wish to can set up exchanges, our ruling will likely have significant consequences both for the millions of individuals receiving tax credits through federal exchanges and for health insurance markets more broadly.”…
Michael Cannon, a Cato Institute health economist who helped devise the legal challenge, said the refusal by so many states to create health exchanges led to the court ruling. “This is popular resistance to the law,” he said.
For now, USA Today reports, everything is on hold. The Administration has already announced that the taxpayer-funded subsidies will continue to flow.
Although the ruling will have no impact while it is appealed – either to the full appeals court, which includes four Obama appointees, or to the Supreme Court – the result could be chaotic if ultimately allowed to apply nationwide.
While the political Left and mainstream media are almost certain to wring their hands over the roughly 5 million able-bodied Americans not receiving federal monies (the sick, elderly, disabled, and truly poor are covered by Medicare and Medicaid) paid for by other able-bodied Americans, the principle here is much larger and more important: The rule of law.
Moreover, as Michael F. Cannon of Forbes points out, the winners in this decision outnumber the losers 10 to 1. As many as 57 million Americans will now be out from under the punitive ObamaCare mandate, compared to the 5 million who will not see an increase of their health insurance premiums but will lose their illegal taxpayer-funded subsidies.
Cannon also reminds that the whole idea and original intent of awarding billions in federal subsidies only to those states that built their own ObamaCare exchanges, wasn’t accidental or a technicality. Throughout the law it is made clear that those subsidies are available only “through an Exchange established by the State.”
Congress’s intent behind shaping the law in this manner was to entice/threaten the states into building their own exchanges. After 36 states wisely refused, Obama rewrote the law and illegally awarded the subsidies anyway.
The Constitution is very clear that it is the job of the legislative branch (House and Senate) to write law. The Executive branch enforces the law.
Rather than enforce the law, Obama broke it by rewriting it.
The potential danger of the court’s allowing such a precedent is staggering.
The Obama administration will continue handing out Obamacare subsidies to federal exchange customers despite a federal court’s ruling Tuesday that the subsidies are illegal.
A D.C. Court of Appeals panel ruled Tuesday morning that customers in the 36 states that didn’t establish their own exchange and use HealthCare.gov instead cannot be given premium tax credits, according to the text of the Affordable Care Act itself.
But the White House said in response that it will continue handing out the billions of taxpayer dollars in subsidies. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that while the case continues to be battled out in the courts, the administration will continue to dole out billions in tax credits to federally-run exchange customers.
“It’s important for people all across the country to understand that this ruling does not have any practical impact on their ability to continue to receive tax credits right now,” Earnest said in a press briefing Tuesday.
A three-judge panel issued the ruling Tuesday, concluding 2-1 that the federal subsidies are illegal. The Department of Justice is seeking an en banc ruling from the appeals court, which would require all judges in the court to rule on the case. Eleven judges on the court would hear the case: seven Democrats and four Republicans.
That decision will likely also be appealed to the Supreme Court.
As the Obama Administration continues to pump thousands of illegal immigrants into the interior of our nation, concerned Americans have been arriving in Murrieta, California, to protest the wave of illegal immigrants and the Obama Administration’s commitment to lawlessness that facilitates this surge of illegals.
In a recent townhall as Murrieta citizens voiced concern over the flood of illegals being introduced into the country, Murrieta Mayor Alan Long earned a roaring applause when he declared that his administration was working to log each and every manhour spent dealing with the illegal immigration issues so that he could send Washington “a big, fat bill.”
“We did identify the need for a funding code so that we could track every single hour that is spent on this. Now, at the end of this, do I have a plan to send Washington, D.C., a big, fat bill? You bet!”
Long’s speech was interrupted by a roar of applause. Finally, Long admitted, “Now, do I have any faith that it would be paid? No.”
Murietta has become a focal point of the immigration issue as protesters have successfully blocked Homeland Security busses who were transporting illegals further into the interior of the country to a detention facility in order to ease the burden on detention facilities closer to the border.
Police have released surveillance video that shows persons of interest in a “flash mob” robbery that happened at a 7-Eleven store in northeast D.C.
Police say the robbery occurred on Monday, April 14 at around 9:35 p.m.
On the video, about 20 people are seen entering a convenience store on the 4400 block of Benning Road – one right after another.
The video shows several unidentified subjects dashing out the store with what appear to be goods in their hands.
According to the police report, in a matter of about three minutes, the suspects took candy, snacks and soda before running out of the door. Police say the total value of the stolen merchandise was about $350.
No one has been charged with a crime at this time.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at (202) 727-9099 or text your tip to the Department’s TEXT TIP LINE to 50411.
Federal authorities say 25 people have been charged in a wide-ranging scheme to obtain millions of dollars in fraudulent Medicaid payments from the District of Columbia government.
U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen calls it the largest health-care fraud case in the city’s history. It involved bogus claims for home care services, a category of Medicaid claim that has grown dramatically in the city over the past eight years. Machen says fraud is largely responsible for the increase in those claims. The uptick in billings for home care – from $40 million in 2006 to $280 million last year – was part of what tipped off authorities to illegal activity, U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen said.
“We concluded that much of the growth was due to aggressive networks of fraudsters paying kickbacks to beneficiaries to manufacture false claims for nonexistent services,” Machen said, later adding: “Medicaid fraud in the District of Columbia is at epidemic levels.”
Among those charged Thursday was Florence Bikundi, 51, of Bowie, Md., the owner of a home care agency in suburban Maryland who had lost her nursing license and was ineligible to receive Medicaid payments. Authorities say that by using different names, she was able to bill the city for $75 million in Medicaid payments.
Prosecutors say many of the defendants persuaded patients to fake illness or injury so they could bill Medicaid for home care they didn’t receive. Some of those patients received kickbacks, authorities said, although no patients have been charged.
Machen said it wasn’t clear whether any of those payments went to legitimate home care services, but Bikundi was able to amass significant personal wealth, authorities said. Among the property seized from her were millions of dollars from 46 bank accounts, a 7,300-square-foot home valued at $927,000 and five luxury vehicles.
No attorney was listed in court records for Bikundi, who is in custody, and no one answered a call to her home Thursday afternoon.
Machen said there wasn’t any particular weakness in the district’s Medicaid program that made it vulnerable to bogus claims, and he noted that similar schemes have been perpetrated in other cities, including Detroit and Miami. The investigation is ongoing, and authorities said it was impossible to put a dollar amount on the fraudulent billings, although the indictments not involving Bikundi outlined schemes valued at less than $500,000.
“These numbers could likely grow. This is what we know so far,” Machen said.
A dozen people were charged in five federal indictments that were unsealed Thursday. Thirteen others were charged with fraud in D.C. Superior Court. All but three were in custody Thursday afternoon, authorities said.
Many of those charged are immigrants from Cameroon in west Africa, but authorities did not go into detail about their nationalities.