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lawsplainer

Breaking The Law Breaking The Law!

Normally, we'd write about these individually. Have a speed round instead!

Damn, this week has been a long month.

In the midst of the Ukrainium One shitstorm, it can be easy to lose track of all of the other things going on. A bunch of states are suing Trump. Trump is suing a bunch of states. A whole bunch of other people are suing over a whole bunch of other terrible things. So totally normal politics and very stable geniuses with a dash of late-stage syphilis and a heaping teaspoon of PCP. #2019.

So anyway, here are all of the other places where Trump is fighting with states, civil rights organizations, and other assorted people trying to bring some goodness and light into the world.

Trump Tax Returns: Trump v. Vance

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Trump

Donald Trump Wants The Hispanics To Vote For Him, Even The Ones Who Look Norwegian

He loves his Hispanics!

Donald Trump traveled to New Mexico Monday night to do a campaign rally in the Albuquerque suburb of Rio Rancho, in hopes of maybe flipping the state where he lost by eight points in 2016. In among the usual stew of lies, Trump offered his own unique pitch to the Latinx voters of the Land of Enchantment: He just LOVES the Hispanics, and they love him! Even the ones who look like white people, such as CNN commentator Steve Cortes, a member of the Trump campaign's Hispanic Advisory Council.

"He happens to be Hispanic, but I never quite figured it out because he looks more like a WASP than I do," Trump said, which is a true statement because Donald Trump looks more like a mutant Oompa Loompa than a WASP.

Then, to top that, Trump asked Cortes if his ethnicity ever got in the way of his Americanism, because "America" and "The Hispanics" are wholly exclusive categories. Then Trump made his own very funny joke!

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Immigrants

USCIS: 'Stop Us, Or More Sick Immigrant Kids Will Survive!'

Let ICE handle it. They'll send a lot more people home to die.

A top Trump immigration official recommended that Homeland Security take away the ability of US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to let seriously ill immigrants to stay in the US, according to a copy of her memo turned up by Politico. The memo, written by USCIS Policy and Strategy Chief Kathy Nuebel Kovarik, lays out several options for (acting) Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan before requesting that he strip USCIS of any authority to approve "medical deferred action" to prevent deportation of immigrants receiving lifesaving treatment. While the memo isn't signed by Trump's top white nationalist creeper Stephen Miller, Politico doesn't say whether it was tested for traces of his DNA. We have to assume it was still a little sticky when it was delivered to (acting) USCIS director Ken Cuccinelli.

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News

Supreme Court Did Thing Again. It Was Not A Good Thing

'Go back to Mexico' would make more sense if the people were from Mexico.

We're treating immigrants like shit again.

This week, the Supreme Court allowed the Trump regime to bar immigrants who arrive at the US border from seeking asylum, unless they have sought asylum in another country first. The decision in Barr v. East Bay Sanctuary Covenant means the Trump regime can, in essence, bar all people from Central America arriving on foot from seeking asylum in the US, no matter how terrible the conditions they are fleeing. The rule does not allow for any consideration of whether the immigrants would be safe in that third country.

Giphy

Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented, joined by RBG, reminding us that there is some good left in the world.

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Immigrants

AOC, Ayanna Hold Hearings On Sick Immigrants. Like ICE And USCIS Gonna Answer Questions From A GIRL

Hey look, we can still be shocked.

The House Oversight subcommittee on civil rights held an emergency hearing Wednesday on the Trump administration's decision last month to try to deport immigrants who are receiving treatment for severe illnesses. The policy change, which came without any announcement or public input, only became known when immigrants got letters telling them their application for "medical deferred action" had been denied and that they had just 33 days to leave the country or face deportation. Leaving the US would be a death sentence for many, since the life-sustaining treatment they need isn't available in their home countries. On Labor Day, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a notice that it would reconsider some applications, but insisted limiting the deferrals "is appropriate."

Advocates for the relatively small program, along with two people who received the go-home-and-die letters, testified about the very real consequences of ending the medical deferrals. But officials from USCIS and from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is supposedly taking over administration of such deferrals, didn't offer any clear answers. Republicans on the subcommittee used their time to argue the whole hearing was a waste of time, because what about the INVASION AT BORDER, huh?

The Washington Post summed up the few facts that could be pried out of the two government witnesses:

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Immigrants

This Little Bahamian Girl Survived The Hurricane And You Already Guessed What Trump's Monsters Did Next!

Do you feel safer, America?

We sure wish we could be surprised by the Miami Herald's report that a 12-year-old Bahamian girl who fled the destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian was taken from her family and put into a shelter for "unaccompanied alien children" this week. And now the girl's mother can't get her out. But of course that happened. The family isn't Norwegian, now is it?

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News

Did Bahamian Hurricane Survivors Get Screwed By Trump, Incompetence, Or Trump's Incompetence?

ALL OF THEM, KATIE?

The news sounded ominous: over 100 passengers on a Bahamian ferry bound from Freeport to Ft. Lauderdale Sunday were told they'd have to get off the boat before it left, because they didn't have visas to travel to the United States. Normally, no visa is needed for Bahamians to go to Florida -- they only need their Bahamas passport and a recent copy of a clean criminal record check from police. Video of the passengers reacting to the announcement that they'd "suffer penalties" if they didn't have a visa went all over Twitter, and people wondered what the fuck Stephen Miller was pulling now. Turning away people fleeing a hurricane, are you fucking kidding?

Like everything else in the Trump years, it's not clear whether this is due to deliberate fuckery, bureaucratic incompetence, or some combination of the two. US officials insisted the rules hadn't changed, at all, saying instead the ferry company had screwed up and should have cleared those passengers' information with the US embassy beforehand, which immigration officials said is the usual procedure. The Spanish-owned ferry company, Baleària, says it received contradictory messages from US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) about what documents the passengers would need.

At this rate, we won't be the least bit surprised if we learn the ferry was targeted because Donald Trump wanted the passengers to be sent to one of his properties to buy dinner before being allowed to go about their business.

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Immigrants

Guess We'll Never Get To See 'Baby Jails: The Movie' Now

How about a game show where people could compete to win asylum?

Remember that great big for-profit baby jail in Homestead, Florida, run by an outfit that hired John Kelly, Trump's former chief of staff, so he could do his part to punish migrant kids in the private sector? In August, the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement removed the remaining kids who'd been stored there, although it's likely to start warehousing unaccompanied minors there again this fall. And journalist Ken Klippenstein has acquired a doozy of a document in which a PR firm proposed a nifty propaganda video aimed at showing the kinder, gentler side of the notorious KinderKamp. (Yeah, it's Young Turks, but Klippenstein seems to have done his homework.)

While it's not clear whether the project ever went beyond the pitch stage, you just know the production would have been awesome, because the outfit behind the proposal is Qorvis Communications, the same Saudi-related lobbying group that brought veterans to stay in Trump's trash hotel in DC, so they could tell Congress to please oppose a bill the Saudis disliked. Compared to a gaslighting campaign to keep the Kingdom from getting sued for 9/11 liability, making a baby jail look like a summer camp must have seemed easy!

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Immigrants

ICE Lady: It's One Immigrant, Michael, How Many Anchor Babies Could She Have? Seven Million?

Let's say it together: She Seems Nice.

In a story about SCARY ILLEGAL CRIMINALS in Nevada prisons, the top official for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the state revealed a heck of a lot about how her agency thinks about undocumented immigrants. Dana Fishburn, ICE's acting (of course!) deputy field office director for Nevada, told Sheldon Adelson's Las Vegas Review-Journal just how frustrating it is that ICE can't just lock up everybody forever, because even if they haven't committed any non-immigration crimes, they're still likely to cause trouble before they can be deported. Like, what if they went and had babies, as those fecund Latinas always seem to at the drop of a hat?

It's a hell of a train of thought. The article, ostensibly about the shocking number of criminal immigrants locked up in Nevada state facilities, notes that ICE simply doesn't have enough detention beds for everyone, and how sad is that? Then, out of nowhere comes the wingnut fearmongering about anchor babies, because you know how those people are.

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Trump

Trump's Good Re-election Plan: Starve The Military In Swing States! Yay!

He has a very good brain!

Donald Trump is so good at ELECTION. He has an intuitive understanding of ELECTORAL COLLEGE. How it works is, you piss all over your voters and steal from them, but you do it while shouting insane, racist nonsense and drawing dicks on weather maps. And then you win!

Trump is already putting his Very Stable Genius Plan into action with cuts to defense spending. After reaching a deal with Congress in February for $1.4 billion in border wall funding, Trump turned around and announced that he was going to grab an additional $3.6 billion from previously allocated defense funds by shouting "National Emergency!" If he gets Congress to "backfill" the allocations, he can just go ahead and steal it again. And if Congress refuses to reallocate the funds, then he'll blame Nancy Pelosi for hating the troops.

Win, win, win!

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Nice Time

Nice Time! US Embassy Lets Palestinian Kid Back In For Harvard, Probably All Going To Be Fired Now

Yay for public outcry fixing shit that shouldn't have been broken to start with.

Here's the good-news update to that awful story of Trumplandia in Action! Ismail Ajjawi, the 17-year-old Palestinian refugee kid who was deported from the US in late August after a customs inspector at Logan Airport didn't like things written by Ajjawi's Facebook friends, finally made it back to the USA in time to start classes at Harvard on Tuesday.

The group that sponsored Ajjawi, Amideast,

said in a statement that the United States Embassy in Beirut reviewed Mr. Ajjawi's case and reissued a visa. Harvard officials confirmed that Mr. Ajjawi was on campus.

Ajjawi's attorney, Albert Mokhiber, thanked Harvard and Amideast for all their efforts to get the kid on campus in time for the beginning of classes.

"The anxiety was beyond belief for everybody," Mr. Mokhiber said. "Thank God it all worked out."

Mr. Ajjawi made it to Harvard on Monday in time to appear in his class photo, Mr. Mokhiber said, adding that Mr. Ajjawi was taken aside by Lawrence Bacow, the president of the university.

"I told his dad, the hard part begins today, he's at Harvard, and we had a little chuckle over that," Mr. Mokhiber said.

Hooray for a brief victory for sane people!

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Immigrants

Trump The Merciful Will Now Only Deport MOST Kids With Cancer

All praise to the Great Humanitarian!

The Trump administration has announced it will now not deport all the immigrants protected by a humanitarian program it suddenly ended last month with no public notice. Instead, US Citizenship and Immigration Services said in a press release Monday that it will reopen all cases that were pending on August 7, when the blanket denial of "medical deferment action" applications went into effect. Mind you, that doesn't mean the government is necessarily reversing its policy -- instead, this appears to be an effort to partly calm the shitstorm of publicity USCIS invited when news outlets got wind of the decision to start deporting sick people -- many of them children -- and sending them back to countries where many would die. Let's try not to applaud too loudly here.

For years, the "medical deferred action" program allowed a small number of immigrants and their families -- USCIS says it processes about a thousand applications a year, but denies a "majority" -- to stay in the US to continue medical treatment. But in Trump World, there is no room for humanitarianism, which is why Stephen Miller has taken steps to eliminate admission of refugees, and there's now no "My kid has cancer" in "immigration." Even in its announcement that it would reconsider the applications that it suddenly denied last month, USCIS was clear that sick immigrants really should just hurry up and die, because America has no use for them:

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Immigrants

Maybe Donald Trump Can Explain How Killing This Woman Will Make America Great, Because We Sure Can't

God damn America.

Meet Maria Isabel Bueso, a citizen of Guatemala who has a rare genetic illness that was supposed to kill her before she reached her teens. She's 24 and a college graduate -- summa cum laude at that -- because doctors at UC San Francisco's Benioff Children's Hospital invited her to take part in clinical trials of a treatment for her condition when she was just seven years old. It worked, and she and others with the illness are now living decades longer! Talk about an inspiring success story! It was covered by the New York Times and then by the "Rachel Maddow Show" Thursday night.

Say hi to Isabel Bueso fast, before Donald Trump and Stephen Miller send her home to die, because the treatment she needs to stay alive is simply not available in Guatemala. She's yet another of the immigrants who had been allowed to stay in the US due to a "medical deferred action" program that the administration ended this month without announcement.

So yeah, she's alive today because of a treatment that she played a role in developing. And now we need to deport her because America has too many foreigns. Don't worry, though, the experts on Twitter -- who haven't read the story because the New York Times is full of lies -- figure she's an illegal alien who's a criminal and needs to be deported because she just does. Never read the replies.

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News

Very Dangerous Teenage Harvard Student Deported For Having Facebook Friends

Yes, we're serious.

Students from all over the world are arriving in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and getting ready for the new school year at Harvard. Notably absent is Ismail B. Ajjawi, a 17-year-old Palestinian refugee who was kicked out of the country for committing the egregious sin of having Facebook friends.

Ajjawi flew into Boston's Logan Airport last Friday and was detained and interrogated by officers from Customs & Border Protection (CBP) for hours before being put on a plane back to Lebanon, where he lives with his family.

Why was Ajjawi deported? Because some Nazi CBP officer didn't like things some of Ajjawi's friends had posted on social media.

Not things Ajjawi had posted. Things other people had posted that showed up on his feed.

Yes, we're serious.

The land of the free, ladies and gentlemen!

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Military

Good News! Trump Isn't F*cking Over ALL The Troops And Their Kids. Just SOME Of 'Em!

ARE YOU NOT REASSURED?

The Trump administration unleashed a shitstorm of fear and confusion Wednesday when US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a tweak to how it processes citizenship for some children born overseas to US military personnel and other government workers. The change would end automatic citizenship for children born overseas to two small groups: military parents who are not yet citizens, and to citizens who may have left the USA as kids and then grown up elsewhere. Their kids can still become citizens, but only after a long application process. But because the policy change wasn't framed very clearly, many military folks and those worried about the administration's ongoing war on immigrants thought the policy would apply to all military families who have kids while deployed overseas, and can you blame them? In this essay we shall argue that the whole wretched mess is yet another example of what we've called the Trump administration's weaponized incompetence. Why just do a policy when you can also maximize fear, uncertainty, and doubt among people you want to scare? There's a lot of confusion out there about what exactly this new policy is supposed to do, and we're fairly sure that uncertainty is part of the plan.

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White House

Trump Has New Idea For Building WALL: What If He Orders People To Commit Crimes For Him?

How is this not high crimes and misdemeanors?

In a follow-up to its earlier reporting on Donald Trump's obsession with making WALL as cruel as possible, the Washington Post published an astonishing story Wednesday on Trump's drive to build WALL before the 2020 election, because he promised WALL, his slob picnic crowds love chanting WALL, and he must have WALL, even if a few laws have to get broken in the process. Greater good and all that.

The story notes Trump has pressured the Army Corps of Engineers to rush contracts for construction, bypassing the normal bidding process, and has told aides to ignore dumb environmental regulations and eminent domain rules too so that private land can be grabbed up and WALLed, for "national security." Trump's goal is a total of 500 miles of WALL by election day 2020, which is going to take some doing. The Army Corps has only built 60 miles of fencing so far -- yes, despite Trump's lies to the contrary --and that's all replacing old sections of fencing in "areas that previously had border infrastructure."

In a completely Trumpian move, officials who attended Trump's frequent meetings on the need to WALL faster said he had promised pardons if anyone had to break some dumb laws in order to build WALL:

When aides have suggested that some orders are illegal or unworkable, Trump has suggested he would pardon the officials if they would just go ahead, aides said. He has waved off worries about contracting procedures and the use of eminent domain, saying "take the land" [...]

"Don't worry, I'll pardon you," he has told officials in meetings about the wall.

"He said people expected him to build a wall, and it had to be done by the election," one former official said.

Asked for comment, a White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Trump is joking when he makes such statements about pardons.

Trump insisted on Twitter Wednesday that the Post had completely "made up" that part, because that's exactly how journalism works. Which sort of makes us wonder why a White House official would say Trump was only joking about that thing he never said at all. (And what's the "joke"? Is he ... not going to pardon people who commit crimes for him? LOL, joke's on them!)

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