The Department of Homeland Securityâ€™s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently reported that an intense crackdown on criminal gang activity was executed in an operation known as Project New Dawn. The crackdown by ICE, along with other law enforcement support, resulted in 1,378 arrests.
Officials are calling it the largest anti-gang crackdown in the agencyâ€™s history.
Here in the Ninth District, we are home to USP Lee, described by the Federal Bureau of Prisons as a high security U.S. penitentiary. The gang members from the recent busts that get convicted will wind up in the federal prison system. USP Lee currently holds numerous gang members and there is a good chance they will receive more from these busts.
Gangs are a threat to civil society. Their members and leaders are often responsible for distributing and selling illegal drugs, carrying out violent crimes, and committing murder. It is especially concerning that gangs target young adults, and usher them into a life of crime.
The men and women of Southwest Virginia who work at USP Lee, along with all law enforcement officials, keep dangerous criminals off our streets and make our communities safer.
Cap and Trade
Recently, I was able to attend the Virginia Coal & Energy Alliance (VCEA) and Southern States Energy Board 38th Annual Conference and Exposition. The event was much more upbeat than last year.
Although energy prices are volatile, there has been an uptick in the coal industry with both an improved market and with the regulatory relief and support from the Trump Administration.
The Trump Administration has made clear its intention of abandoning ineffective and job killing regulations. This has given companies more confidence in investing and using coal.
However, this newfound confidence seems to have motivated Virginiaâ€™s Governor McAuliffe to attempt to implement a cap and trade scheme here in Virginia. Last week, the Governor announced an Executive Order to begin the process of creating carbon emission limits from power plants in Virginia.
I touched on this at the VCEA event. A cap and trade scheme involving Virginia alone, or Virginia and a few other states, is not going to work. The idea is to clean up the air, but unless you have a worldwide agreement in which every nation follows the same rules, there will be job losses here for minimal gains around the world.
The developing world, particularly those countries with large populations demanding jobs which will provide them with increasing wealth and modern amenities, has no intention of cutting back on their emissions. This was discussed last week, where I explained the Paris Treaty is not the answer.
American communities cannot afford to lose jobs, and families, businesses, schools, and hospitals cannot afford to pay higher electricity rates. Instead of symbolic caps on emissions, we need to invest in cleaner coal technology and making all energy more affordable.
Israeli Palestinian Peace
President Trump is currently on his first overseas trip as President, starting in the Middle East. He is the first sitting U.S. President to visit the Western Wall, a sacred Jewish site to pray. He is also meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, top Israeli officials, and the Palestinian leader, President Abbas.
President Trump has made it clear that he wants to bring peace and stability to this region. He is on the right track. He has expressed his willingness to listen to both sides and keep all options on the table. He is not making demands, but instead, making it clear that the U.S. role is to provide support and facilitation for the opposing sides to find common ground.
It is difficult for us to understand their complex situation; because we are so fortunate that here most disagreement is generally more tolerant and civil.
In his remarks in Israel, President Trump stated that, â€œYoung Israeli and Palestinian children deserve to grow up in safety, and to follow their dreams free from the violence that has destroyed so many lives."
One visit by the President is not going to solve the issues that have plagued the Middle East for thousands of years. But, I am encouraged President Trump is there and has made it clear that they need to work through their conflict and we stand ready to help them bring about peace.
If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.