By Dialogo August 23, 2013 This action prohibits U.S. persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions with Jairo Orellana Morales, and freezes any assets he may have under U.S. jurisdiction. President Obama identified Los Zetas as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker under the Kingpin Act in April 2009 and in July 2011, he named Los Zetas as a significant Transnational Criminal Organization in the Annex to Executive Order 13581 (Blocking Property of Transnational Criminal Organizations). Orellana Morales is linked to Marta Julia Lorenzana Cordon, a member of the Lorenzana crime family, who was designated by Treasury pursuant to the Kingpin Act in November 2012. On August 21, the U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctioned Jairo Estuardo Orellana Morales, a violent Guatemalan narcotics trafficker, as a Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker (SDNT) pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). Internationally, OFAC has designated more than 1300 businesses and individuals linked to 103 drug kingpins since June 2000. Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1.075 million per violation to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $5 million. Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million. Other individuals could face up to 10 years in prison and fines for criminal violation of the Kingpin Act pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code. This announcement is the latest in a series of efforts by the Treasury Department to thwart transnational drug cartels, such as Los Zetas, which are responsible for distributing significant amounts of cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine in the United States. Orellana Morales traffics cocaine through Guatemala on behalf of Los Zetas and has been implicated in several executions in Guatemala in support of his drug trafficking activities.
Lawmakers have underfunded the Census Bureau, the White House has mismanaged the agency, and now the Justice Department is pushing for a change that could skew the count in Republicans’ favor. Investigative reporting organization ProPublica disclosed last week that a Justice Department official formally asked the Census Bureau to add a question to the 2020 Census.Adding any question at this stage would be dicey, given that the bureau often runs extensive field tests before fiddling with its forms, ensuring that last-minute changes do not throw off its counting efforts.Worse, the Justice Department requested that the bureau inquire about people’s citizenship status.This threatens to sabotage the 2020 count. Asking about citizenship status would drive down response rates.Since its inception, the census has not only counted voters; it has taken a precise snapshot of everyone in the country. This helps government agencies to direct scarce dollars, and businesses to guide investment decisions.It is also crucial for doling out congressional representation.As the Supreme Court recently underscored, the Constitution requires that congressional seats be apportioned to states according to their total populations, not only their voting populations.Asking about citizenship status would deter undocumented people — or even legal immigrants who fear how far the Trump administration’s crackdown on foreigners will extend — from returning census forms. Many states — particularly blue states — could end up shortchanged.The bureau’s charge to count everyone does not change when fewer people fill out their census forms.In that circumstance, the federal government would have to send out census takers to knock on doors and talk to neighbors.Costs would rise substantially, even for a potentially less accurate count. Congress’ shortsighted underfunding of the bureau has, perversely, already resulted in cost overruns, as investments in new techniques and technology were not made. Categories: Editorial, OpinionThe following editorial appeared in The Washington Post:Perhaps no institution is more important to the functioning of American democracy than the census, the once-a-decade count of the U.S. population that determines congressional representation — and where billions in federal dollars will be spent.Yet both the GOP-led Congress and the Trump administration have hobbled the 2020 Census effort, which is entering its crucial final stages. Adding another challenge for the bureau to overcome could require lawmakers to pony up even more last-minute cash to save the count. The Justice Department argues that it would be helpful in voting-rights cases to have reliable and accurate information on the voting-eligible population that extends far down into states and localities, collected simultaneously with other census statistics.Yet the department has relied on other, separately gathered census information about the voting-eligible population over the past decade.More exact data collected along with the rest of the decennial census would no doubt be helpful to Justice Department lawyers, but that interest is not as substantial as the threat that asking about citizenship status poses to the integrity of the count. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross should refuse to add a citizenship status question to the 2020 Census.If he does not, Congress should reject the change. More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes