Trump Tweets Research From Designated ‘Hate’ Group

President Donald Trump was criticized on Tuesday for tweeting statistics compiled by an anti-immigration organization designated as a hate group by a leading civil rights watchdog.

In the midst of a series of posts about immigration, the proposed border wall and California’s legal status as a sanctuary state, at 8:24 a.m. Trump tweeted:

The second aspect of the above claim–regarding the alleged propensity of immigrants to access legal welfare benefits–linked to by Trump is controversial in the extreme.

Originally sourced to the Center for Immigration Studies (“CIS”), the claim is frequently shared by proponents of reduced immigration. In response to the popularity of the claim, the underlying research was debunked as misleading by the Center for Law and Social Policy (“CLASP”) in 2017.

But the problem with Trump’s use of statistics from CIS is not simply their reliability as a source, according to Vox journalist Carlos Maza noted in his tweet calling Trump out.

In 2017, CIS was officially designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Maza noted a few instances cited by the SPLC as to why CIS was tagged with their official designation.

Of note, in January 2017, CIS promoted an anti-Semitic article written by Kevin MacDonald which asked why “Jewish organizations” are promoting “the refugee invasion of Europe.”

Various additional instances of CIS’ racially and ethnically insensitive posture were catalogued as well. In one instance cited by Maza, the SPLC notes:

In June 2016, CIS distributed an article from John Friend, a contributing editor of the anti-Semitic The Barnes Review, claiming that “so-called refugees are committing rape and other horrific crimes against European women and men in increasing numbers.” Friend once described the Holocaust as a “manufactured narrative, chock full of a wide variety of ridiculous claims and impossible events, all to advance the Jewish agenda of world domination and subjugation.”

In response to the SPLC’s designation as a hate group, CIS defended itself. CIS’ Executive Director Mark Krikorian insists that CIS’ incidents of promoting white nationalists and anti-semites is accidental–that after they are published by CIS, some “writers…turned out to be cranks.”

Oppositely, Krikorian has repeatedly defended the work of Jason Richwine, a National Review contributor and blogger for CIS. Richwine once asserted that Latino immigrants are less intelligent than “native whites” and has previously contributed to Richard Spencer‘s online periodical Alternative Right.

[Law and Crime]


The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, wrote last April that “the border wall would have to deter the entry of about 1 million illegal immigrants over the next ten years to break even — an estimated 5 to 6.3 times as many as CIS estimated.

“Furthermore, this means that the border wall would have to permanently deter 59 percent of the predicted border crossers over the next ten years to break even. This does not include the cost of any additional enforcement measures such as hiring more border agents, border returns, or border deportations.”

Cato also estimated that the average undocumented immigrant uses closer to $43,444 more in public services than they pay in taxes, and that building and maintaining a wall would cost closer to $43.8 billion.

Trump inaccurately claims he got 52 percent of female vote

President Trump falsely claimed Saturday that he got 52 percent of the female vote in the 2016 presidential election.

While speaking at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, Trump referenced speculation ahead of the election that female voters would not turn out to vote for him.

“Remember, women won’t like Donald Trump,” he said. “I said, ‘Have I really had that kind of a problem?’ … We got 52 percentAnd I’m running against a woman. You know, that’s not that easy.”

Trump received 52 percent of the vote from white women. Hillary Clinton received the majority of female votes, with 54 percent casting their vote for the Democrat.

Trump has repeatedly touted his achievements for women as president. On International Women’s Day, Trump released a statement detailing his administration’s work for female entrepreneurs and women in peace and security fields.

Trump made his comments Saturday while speaking at a Pennsylvania campaign rally in support of GOP House candidate Rick Saccone, who is facing a tough race against Democrat Conor Lamb in the deep-red district’s special election.

Trump won the district by double-digits in the election, but recent polls have shown Lamb slightly leading Saccone.

[The Hill]


Trump vetoed Miss Universe contestants for being ‘too ethnic’ or ‘too dark-skinned’

Earlier this year, a report emerged claiming that President Donald Trump would personally rig the Miss Universe pageant to benefit contestants from countries where he had business relationships.

Now a new report published by Michael Isikoff and Mother Jones’ David Corn claims that Trump would also veto certain contestants if he deemed them to be “too ethnic.”

Specifically, one former Miss Universe staffer tells them that Trump would personally “make changes” to the list of finalists “if there were too many women of color” on it.

Another former Miss Universe staffer similarly tells them that Trump would weed out candidates who were too “dark-skinned.”

“He often thought a woman was too ethnic or too dark-skinned,” the staffer explains. “He had a particular type of woman he thought was a winner. Others were too ethnic. He liked a type. There was Olivia Culpo, Dayanara Torres [the 1993 winner], and, no surprise, East European women.”

One former staffer does say, however, that Trump could be persuaded to change his mind about a woman of color being worthy of his pageant “by telling him she was a princess and married to a football player.”


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services drops ‘nation of immigrants’ from mission statement

Tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free need not apply.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services no longer uses language that describes the country as “a nation of immigrants” in its official mission statement, an agency official said Thursday.

The USCIS, the federal agency tasked with granting visas and citizenship, has changed to a new statement that “clearly defines the agency’s role in our country’s lawful immigration system and the commitment we have to the American people,” according to a letter sent to employees by agency director L. Francis Cissna that was obtained by NBC News.

“The agency’s new mission statement was developed and debuted within the agency by USCIS Director Cissna during his first conference with USCIS senior leadership from around the world,” a USCIS public affairs officer said in a statement to NBC News. “It reflects the director’s guiding principles for the agency. This includes a focus on fairness, lawfulness and efficiency, protecting American workers, and safeguarding the homeland.”

The previous mission statement said the agency, “secures America’s promise as a nation of immigrants by providing accurate and useful information to our customers, granting immigration and citizenship benefits, promoting an awareness and understanding of citizenship, and ensuring the integrity of our immigration system.”

The new statement now reads:

“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services administers the nation’s lawful immigration system, safeguarding its integrity and promise by efficiently and fairly adjudicating requests for immigration benefits while protecting Americans, securing the homeland, and honoring our values.”

Cissna also said the new mission statement will also no longer refer to visa applicants as “customers” because the term “promotes an institutional culture that emphasizes the ultimate satisfaction of applicants and petitioners, rather than the correct adjudication of such applications and petitions according to the law.” He added that the term implied that the agency serves anyone other than “the American people.”

President Donald Trump’s pick, Cissna was sworn in as director of USCIS in October.

The wording change was not welcomed by some pro-immigration groups.

“Our nation is one built by immigrants — removing this language does nothing to change that fact, it only reveals the insidious racism harbored by those in this administration,” said Eleanor Acer, senior director for refugee protection at the Human Rights First, in a statement. “We cannot separate ‘immigrants’ from ‘Americans’ — we are intrinsically linked as children, parents, neighbors, and loved ones. By seeking to distinguish between the two, the administration is turning its back on our nation’s proud history and engaging in dangerous revisionism.”

[NBC News]

Trump Recites Inflammatory, Anti-immigrant ‘Snake’ Song

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday recited the lyrics of a song seen as anti-immigration called “The Snake” to drive home his point about restricting immigration — an inflammatory move that harkened back to his days on the campaign trail.

In a speech to conservatives at a convention outside Washington, he also bashed opposition Democrats for failing to back his proposal for putting 1.8 million so-called Dreamer immigrants on a pathway to citizenship in exchange for tightening border security and severely restricting legal immigration.

During his hourlong address, Trump pulled a piece of paper from his pocket and read “The Snake,” a ballad by Al Wilson about a reptile who repays a “tender woman” that nurses it back to health with a deadly bite.

During his campaign, as well as in a speech early in his presidency, Trump used the song, based on one of Aesop’s fables, as a less-than-subtle allegory about immigrants entering the United States.

[Voices of America]

Jeff Sessions strays from prepared remarks to praise ‘Anglo-American heritage’ of sheriffs


Jeff Sessions was using a legal technical term “Anglo-American” law, which is a reference to the legal tradition of common law that the American sheriff’s system shares with England.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions strayed from his prepared remarks to comment on the “Anglo-American” historical origins of the sheriff.

Sessions spoke Monday to a the National Sheriffs Association, which represents about 20,000 law enforcement officials across the U.S., but video recordings show an apparent improvisation from the prepared remarks distributed ahead of time to reporters, according to Splinter News.

“The office of sheriff is a critical part of the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement,” Sessions said. “We must never erode this historic office.”

The remarks quickly raised eyebrows on social media, where commenters perceived the reference as racist in light of the attorney general’s racially problematic history.

The sheriff indeed originated in medieval England, and the name derives from Anglo-Saxon words for the guardian, or reeve, of a county, or shire.

English colonists brought the tradition to America and elected their own sheriffs in the 1600s, and various right-wing fringe movements promote the legal fallacy that county sheriffs are the highest law enforcement officers in the United States.



Trump chief of staff John Kelly suggests some Dreamers ‘too lazy’ and ‘too afraid’ to sign up for DACA

Some immigrants may have been “too afraid” or “too lazy” to sign up for the Obama-era program that offered protection from deportation, White House chief of staff John Kelly said Tuesday as he defended President Donald Trump’s proposal aimed at breaking the impasse on immigration.

In remarks to reporters, Kelly described Trump’s plan, which would provide a path to citizenship for up to 1.8 million people — more than Democrats had sought. He noted extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was “beyond what anyone could have imagined.”

“There are 690,000 official DACA registrants and the president sent over what amounts to be two and a half times that number, to 1.8 million,” he said.

“The difference between (690,000) and 1.8 million were the people that some would say were too afraid to sign up, others would say were too lazy to get off their asses, but they didn’t sign up,” Kelly said.

Kelly spoke as lawmakers have deadlocked in an effort to reach a bipartisan deal on protecting from deportation recipients of the program, known as “Dreamers.”

Barring a last-minute agreement — which seems unlikely — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said his chamber will begin considering the issue, a debate that GOP leaders expect to start next week.

Kelly said Trump would likely reject an effort to pass a short-term extension for the program, which is set to expire on March 5.

But he also noted the March 5 deadline may not have immediate impact. He said immigrants currently protected won’t be priorities for deportation as long as they do not commit crimes.

Kelly said lawmakers need a deadline to force action.

“What makes them act is pressure,” he said.

Kelly in remarks to reporters later Tuesday seemed to double down on his earlier comments about those eligible for DACA, saying “some of them just should’ve probably gotten off the couch and signed up.”

But Kelly added, “But that doesn’t really matter now because President Trump has given them the status,” referring to Trump’s proposal.

In exchange for making citizenship a possibility, Trump wants $25 billion for border security, including money to build parts of his coveted wall along the U.S.-Mexico boundary. He also wants to curb legal immigration, restricting the relatives that legal immigrants could sponsor for citizenship and ending a lottery that distributes visas to people from diverse places like Africa.

“I can’t imagine men and women of good will who begged this president to solve the problem of DACA” would oppose Trump’s proposal, said Kelly, using the program’s acronym. He added, “Right now, the champion of all people who are DACA is Donald Trump.”

A court ruling earlier this month also has blunted the deadline. A federal judge has indefinitely blocked Trump from terminating DACA’s protections for the so-called Dreamers, who were brought to the U.S. as children and are living here illegally. The program shields them from deportation and gives them the right to hold jobs.

Still, many lawmakers are uneasy about what might happen to the Dreamers after March 5, and Democrats — and Trump himself — are using that uncertainty as leverage to help force a deal. Kelly’s remarks seemed aimed at easing worries that major deportations of Dreamers could begin right away — a scenario that could be damaging to members of both parties.

“They are not a priority for deportation,” Kelly said of Dreamers who’ve not accumulated criminal records.

[NBC News]

The Trump administration used bad math in its “foreign terrorists” report

Donald Trump has turned to data to argue for stricter immigration policies. According to a report his administration released yesterday, more than 70% of people convicted of “terrorism-related charges” from 2001 to 2016 were born outside the US.

“This report is a clear reminder of why we cannot continue to rely on immigration policy based on pre-9/11 thinking that leaves us woefully vulnerable to foreign-born terrorists,” said Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in a statement.

But Trump’s statistics are misleading. That percentage is based on a list of 549 people, which experts say is flawed. First, the list excludes homegrown extremists, who have become the US’s biggest terror threat. Second, the vague term “terrorism-related charges” inflates numbers by including not just people who broke laws “directly related to international terrorism,” but others who were convicted of totally unrelated offenses, such as fraud or illegal immigration in the course of a terrorism-related investigation.

“’Terrorism-related’ is not a term that appears in the US criminal code,” said Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute. “It’s pretty meaningless.”

His own analysis, which counts foreign-born terrorists convicted of planning or committing a terrorist attack in the US, found 154 cases from 1975 to 2015. That’s almost 250 fewer than the Trump administration’s count over a longer period of time. The White House and the Homeland Security department did not respond to requests for comment.

Bundling terrorism convictions with those that are merely “terrorism-related” is not new. Attorney general Jeff Sessions, who’s honed in on the issue since he was a senator, had produced a similar report in 2016, and the Department of Justice had relied on a similar method long before that. It’s an approach that has been questioned for years, including in a 2003 report by the Government Accountability Office that found the Justice Department had misclassified dozens of cases the previous year.

One example of how this can happen is the case of three Middle-Eastern grocers who were convicted for stealing boxes of Kellogg’s cereal in 2000—but remained on the list of terrorism-related cases because the Federal Bureau of Investigation questioned them after a source inaccurately tipped agents that the three men had tried to buy a rocket-propelled grenade.

The new report didn’t look at any of the violent homegrown extremists because “domestic terrorism was not what was required by the president’s order,” a senior official told reporters. It doesn’t provide any statistic directly linking the numbers in the report to chain migration, or particular visas, either. “It takes some time and research,” he said.

The new report was a follow-up to president Trump’s March 6 executive order on “protecting America from foreign-born terrorism,” better known as the Muslim ban. In it, he asked the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice to gather data on “foreign nationals” who have supported and engaged terrorism.

It’s part of a series of information requests about immigrants Trump has made–including regular reports on immigrants’ crimes–which some critics see as part of public relations campaign to promote the president’s anti-immigration campaign. (Trump has also asked for statistics on “honor killings” and other violence against women by foreigners, and on “sanctuary” jurisdictions that don’t honor DHS requests to hold immigrants until immigration authorities can collect them.)

But Nowrasteh, from the Cato Institute, found the report surprisingly thin given the time and resources the government had since Trump commissioned it last March. His study, published in 2016, includes the type of visa the convicted terrorists used to enter the country. “There’s very little new information in this report,” he said. “They have no excuse.”


Trump referred to Haiti and African countries as ‘shithole’ nations

President Donald Trump on Thursday referred to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries” during a meeting with a bipartisan group of senators at the White House, a Democratic aide briefed on the meeting told NBC News.

Trump’s comments were first reported by The Washington Post, which said the group of nations referred to also included El Salvador.

The comments came as senators huddled in the Oval Office with the president to discuss a path forward on an immigration deal. Trump questioned why the United States would want people from nations such as Haiti while he was being briefed on changes to the visa lottery system.

According to the aide, when the group came to discussing immigration from Africa, Trump asked why America would want immigrants from “all these shithole countries” and that the U.S. should have more people coming in from places like Norway. Thursday’s meeting came one day after Trump met with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the White House.

A source familiar with Thursday’s meeting told NBC News the president was particularly frustrated during discussions about the visa lottery system — a program Trump has railed against repeatedly in recent months.

The White House issued a statement that did not deny the remarks.

“Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told NBC Thursday, as part of a lengthy statement that did not directly dispute the language reportedly used in the meeting.

“He will always reject temporary, weak and dangerous stopgap measures that threaten the lives of hardworking Americans, and undercut immigrants who seek a better life in the United States through a legal pathway.”

It’s not the first time reports have surfaced of Trump speaking unfavorably about immigrants, and Haitians in particular. The New York Times reported in December that Trump said Haitian immigrants “all have AIDS,” during a summer 2017 meeting about immigration.

According to the Times, Trump also targeted Nigerian immigrants during that meeting, complaining that once they came the United States they would never “go back to their huts.” The White House vigorously denied the claims in the story at the time.

[NBC News]

Ignoring voilence, Trump admin ends protections for 200,000 Salvadorans

The Trump administration will end protections for certain nationals of El Salvador, a move that could leave more than 200,000 immigrants who have lived in the US more than 15 years without any legal status, the Department of Homeland Security announced Monday.

The termination will come with an 18-month delay, as the administration also recently did in ending other recent Temporary Protected Status for other countries. That time will allow individuals who have lived under the status to either seek other means of staying in the US or prepare to leave. The delay means the more than 250,000 TPS protectees will have until September 9, 2019, to either find a different way to stay in the US or prepare to leave.
The widely expected move culminates a series of similar decisions from the Trump administration to substantially curtail the use of Temporary Protected Status — a protection from deportation and authorization to live and work legally for nationals of countries that have suffered a disaster such as war, an epidemic or natural disasters.

The DHS says more than 250,000 Salvadorans — all of whom are required to have lived in the US continually since 2001 — are covered by TPS. Previous estimates by the department have put the number who will most likely be left without other protections around 200,000.

The administration has pushed to strongly curtail the use of TPS, a protection provided for by law, saying that the repeated extensions of the typically two-year protections by previous administrations of both parties have ended the “temporary” piece of the status.
DHS has made an effort to emphasize that TPS depends on the original reason for the designation, not current conditions. In El Salvador’s case, that was a devastating series of earthquakes prior to its designation in 2001.

In a call with reporters, a senior administration official said Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen decided the termination was “required” given that the original disaster that precipitated the status has been resolved enough to terminate the protections. Officials on the call repeatedly dismissed questions about the violence and economic conditions that persist in El Salvador, including the MS-13 gang that has been a top target of this administration, saying those factors are irrelevant to the decision.
Critics immediately slammed the decision.

“They have resettled, established their families and lives here in the United States. Most of them see themselves much more as American citizens than Salvadoran citizens and to end that protection and program is going to disrupt many communities across the United States,” Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Virginia, said on CNN Monday. “It’s inhumane and not consistent with American values.”

The criticism wasn’t limited to Democrats. Florida Republican and immigration reform advocate Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart quickly released a statement in “strong disagreement” with the administration.

“These innocent people fled their home country after a disastrous earthquake, and while living conditions may have slightly improved, El Salvador now faces a significant problem with drug trafficking, gangs and crime,” Diaz-Balart said. “Since 2001, these people have established themselves in the United States, making countless contributions to our society and our local communities. It would be devastating to send them home after they have created a humble living for themselves and their families.”

The issue will now be kicked to Congress. Senate negotiators are discussing potentially including a deal to end the diversity lottery, which is a top target of President Donald Trump, in exchange for some resolution on TPS, according to Republican Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake”

“We can deal with diversity visa, if we pair it with TPS, doing some kind of reallocation visas there,” Flake told reporters on Friday.



The move comes as Trump continues policies that treat immigrants with brown skin as a threat.

Trump frequently uses the El Salvadorian gang MS-13 as an example of the threats of immigration, but MS-13 got its start in the 1980’s when this exact scenario played out and we sent back Salvadorian immigrants to a violent country because of nothing more than xenophobia.

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