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Immigrants

US Now Deporting Mexican Asylum Seekers To Guatemala Because F*ck Them Is Why

Stephen Miller pushes to declare Moon a 'safe third country.'

The Trump administration's efforts to eliminate the asylum process continues, this time into downright bizarre territory. Yr Wonkette likes to joke about how all rightwingers seem to think everyone from Latin America is from "Mexico," and as the above 100 percent real Fox News chyron demonstrates, the Right is pretty helpful in creating that impression. But now the administration is out to deter asylum applicants who really are from Mexico by sending them to Guatemala, which makes all kinds of sense. Buzzfeed News reports that, under an expansion of an already controversial program aimed at preventing anyone from gaining asylum at the southern border, the US will begin sending Mexican asylum-seekers to Guatemala instead of allowing them to seek refuge in the US.

Well sure it's probably a violation of US and international law. Why would that stop this bunch? Besides, look at all the federal judges Mitch is getting confirmed!

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Crime

Feds Finally Find Mexican Voter Fraud In California. He Voted For Trump.

He LOVES the Republican Party, and doesn't see what he did wrong.

They finally found a voter frauder! Gustavo Araujo Lerma, 64, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Sacramento to three years and nine months in federal prison after being found guilty in August of passport fraud, voting by an alien, and aggravated identity theft. Lerma was almost everything the paranoid rightwing rants about in-person voting fraud and illegal immigration are obsessed with: a Mexican national who bought a US citizen's birth certificate and Social Security card in 1992 and has voted illegally in federal elections ever since then. But only once per election, not changing clothes, putting on glasses, and voting again and again. That guy still has yet to be sighted in the wild. Until then, white nationalists will have to chase church buses around on election day, because elderly black people are probably frauding like crazy.

Oh yes, and he's a very loyal Republican who not only voted for Donald Trump, he also donated to the party and got some nice swag, like

letters of thanks from the president, former Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus and current RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.

Or their autopens, at least. Stands to reason a fake Trump voter would collect a bunch of fake autographs, no?

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Congress

Pelosi Advances USMCA Bill With Impeachment Pointed At Trump's Head

She really is a goddamn legislative virtuoso.

Republicans have claimed all year that the Democratic-controlled House is so obsessed with harassing Donald Trump it won't focus on the "important business of the American people." Democrats aren't funding the troops or helping keep America great. They're getting their Columbo on against the president. The GOP likes to mention a specific piece of legislation that Democrats have neglected: USMCA, Trump's warmed-up, week-old Thanksgiving leftovers of NAFTA.

Yeah, Nancy Pelosi, where is USMCA? Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst wonders when you'll "stop the shenanigans" and get this bill passed. Americans don't want to see politicians squabbling in Washington and holding impeachment trials against a criminal president. They want to see their elected officials passing bipartisan legislation that makes no one happy. Well, Speaker Pelosi has listened to their earnest pleas and plans to announce a deal to advance USMCA this morning. This is happening just a couple hours after House Democrats are expected to drop two articles of impeachment -- abuse of power and obstruction of Congress -- on the president's fuzzy head. During her press conference today, Pelosi rubbed Trump's face in it some more.

PELOSI: There is no question, of course, that this trade agreement is much better than NAFTA. But in terms of our work here, it is infinitely better than what was initially proposed by the administration.
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News

Detained Teen Died Of Flu. And Of Border Patrol Not Giving A Sh*t

America: The Great Again Chronicles.

ProPublica has published a horrifying investigative piece on the last day in the life of Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, the 16-year-old Guatemalan boy who died in Border Patrol detention May 20. Carlos was the sixth detained child to die in less than a year -- following a decade of no child deaths in immigration detention. And while the other kids at least made it to a hospital before they died, Carlos was the only child to die in a Border Patrol facility. This story includes some gruesome details and may make you want to throw your computer out a window.

And here's a surprise: Video of the cell where Carlos died shows US Customs and Border Protection flat-out lied about important aspects of his death. CBP said in a press release that he was found dead by CPB officers during a routine safety check, about an hour after a prior check confirmed he was just fine.

Not quite.

The cellblock video shows Carlos writhing for at least 25 minutes on the floor and a concrete bench. It shows him staggering to the toilet and collapsing on the floor, where he remained in the same position for the next four and a half hours.

Agents didn't discover the death during a safety check; rather, Carlos's cellmate woke in the morning, found him dead, a pool of blood around his head, and got the attention of guards. CBP logs show an agent "checked" on him three times in the early morning hours, but apparently didn't enter the cell, even though Carlos was seriously ill.

The video shows the only way CBP officials could have missed Carlos' crisis is that they weren't looking. His agony was apparent, even in grainy black and white, making clear the agent charged with monitoring him failed to perform adequate checks, if he even checked at all. The coroner who performed an autopsy on Carlos said she was told the agent occasionally looked into the cell through the window

Carlos's teacher back in Guatemala, Jose Morales Pereira, didn't see the video, but told ProPublica that if someone had a sick animal, they'd at least check on it to make sure it was breathing and not in distress.

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Immigrants

ICE Made Up A Fake University To Trap Foreigns, Betsy DeVos SO JEALOUS

America safe at last from 250 people paying big bucks to overstay their visas.

We sure wouldn't want this story to be lost in the Thanksgiving news crater. Friday, while we were all digesting our cranberry business or sliding off roads after Google Maps lied to us (no injury, minor damage, we have insurance), the Detroit Free Press was bringing America an update on a sleazy sting operation ICE used to arrest some 250 immigrants, mostly students who'd legally entered the US from India and then lost their student visas. (The Washington Post also wrote it up Saturday.)

The scam was simple enough, as WaPo summarizes:

The University of Farmington, a fictitious school that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement marketed as a hub for STEM students who wanted to enroll and not "interrupt their careers," had a fake name, a fake website and a fake motto on its fake seal. "Scientia et Labor," the seal said, which means "Knowledge and Work."

Also, despite having a fake seal just like Trump University did, you can't blame Trump or even Stephen Miller for this one, since as the Free Press reports, the "University of Farmington" sting got rolling under the Obama administration, in 2015.

But in 2017, with Trump's Deport Everyone agenda in full swing, Homeland Security expanded the operation, with agents from ICE's Homeland Security Investigations division (HSI) setting up a fake office for the university and hiring "recruiters" to help sell the fake school to immigrants trying to stay in the USA. Lawyers for some of the recruiters have argued their clients were victims of entrapment, since they were told the university was perfectly legitimate.

As of Friday, the scheme has resulted in 250 arrests. Out of those, ICE says 80 percent "voluntarily" left the USA; 10 percent have been given final deportation orders, and the rest are contesting their deportation in one forum or another. The eight recruiters all pleaded guilty, too, despite the iffy tactics employed by ICE in the investigation, which included telling the recruiters they'd get tuition credit for recruiting other students.

Again, the government insists this is all excellent law enforcement, since those the scam caught really did have expired visas, and should have known the school was fraudulent since there were no classes, no classrooms, and no real degrees. Therefore, we should overlook some of the scummier parts of the operation, like the real-looking website, the agents posing as administrators and even assuring the "recruiters" it was all legal, or the lengths HSI went to to make it seem like the university might be a real school, or at least a fake school that had really fooled the feds.

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News

Who Shall Build The Wall? Oh, Just Some Fox Dude Who Loves Licking Trump's Butt

Why yes, dude's also involved with the private WALL enthusiasts.

After Donald Trump personally lobbied the Army Corps of Engineers to award WALL contracts to a North Dakota contractor who repeatedly promoted his business on Fox News, the Defense Department announced Monday it had given that company a $400 million contract to build some WALL in an Arizona wildlife refuge. The Washington Post reports the company, North Dakota-based Fisher Sand and Gravel, got a contract to build 31 miles of new WALL in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Yuma County, Arizona. And you just know this was a triumph of the free market, where the best jobs get done by the best people!

Or possibly not!

Trump has repeatedly pushed for Fisher to get a wall-building contract, urging officials with the Army Corps of Engineers to pick the firm — only to be told that Fisher's bids did not meet standards. Trump's entreaties on behalf of the company have concerned some officials who are unaccustomed to a president getting personally involved in the intricacies of government contracting.

Trump has been enamored with Tommy Fisher, the company's chief executive, who has made multiple appearances on Fox News to promote his firm and insists that it would do a better job than those the government had already chosen. The company's attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment late Monday.

Sometimes the Invisible Hand needs a bit of guidance, is all.

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lawsplainer

Hey, How's That New Supreme Court Working Out For You?

Hey now hey now don't dream it's over.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court held oral arguments in a trio of cases about Trump's decision to terminate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): Department of Homeland Security (DHS) v. Regents of the University of California, Trump v. NAACP, and McAleenan v. Vidal.

Outside, there were so many pro-DACA demonstrators that police shut down the street in front of the Supreme Court. Inside, the courtroom was packed with Dreamers -- the people who were brought to the US as children, who just about everyone agrees are American and belong here. Just about.

Trump Solicitor General Noel Francisco went up against George W. Bush Solicitor General Theodore Olson and California Solicitor General Michael Mongan as the three argued about whether Trump's decision to terminate DACA was legal.

This case is incredibly important. Roughly 700,000 Dreamers currently have DACA status. DACA allows undocumented people who came to the US as children to live and work here legally, provided they register with the government and meet a number of criteria.

The average DACA recipient came to the US at age three. People who have been working here legally under the program could once again find themselves eligible for deportation.

And right now, Dreamers' chances don't look good.

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White House

Is Stephen Miller A White Nationalist? A Head-Scratcher For The Ages!

(Yes.)

The Southern Poverty Law Center published what it promises will be the first in a multi-part series of articles examining emails Stephen Miller sent to Dead Breitbart's Home For Plausibly Deniable White Supremacy in 2015 and 2016, when Miller was working for then-Sen. Jeff Sessions and later the Trump campaign. In the emails, Miller pitched story ideas about how dangerous immigrants and minorities are and touted articles from white supremacist websites. He also urged the site to write about In the Camp of the Saints, a notoriously racist 1973 novel that's become hugely popular with white nationalists. (Steve Bannon thought it was much better than Cats, and read it again and again!)

Pope Francis made Miller think of that novel, which depicts Europe being literally invaded by hordes of filthy browns (who in one scene rape a white woman to death). While visiting the US in 2015, Francis called on Congress to treat immigrants with decency. So Miller asked his contact at Breitbart, "[Did] you see the Pope saying west must, in effect, get rid of borders. Someone should point out the parallels to Camp of the Saints." Fact check: Pope Francis never called for the elimination of national borders. But Breitbart published a story (archive link, so as not to pollute your computer) on the eerie parallels between Francis's views and the novel. That author, Julia Hahn, is now an aide to Donald Trump.

The emails were given to the SPLC by former Breitbart writer and editor Katie McHugh, who was shitcanned by Dead Breitbart in 2017 after she sent an anti-Muslim tweet that sounded exactly like 97.4 percent of Breitbart comments. The SPLC says McHugh "has since renounced the far right" (more on that in this Buzzfeed piece), and gosh, we sure hope she's managed to sign up for Obamacare, too. It appears McHugh kept receipts from her time at Breitbart, and shared with the SPLC over 900 Miller emails, sent to her and others at the outlet.

So here's the shocking surprise: Stephen Miller writes like a racist dickhead, and a number of issues that animated his emails have translated into Trump administration policy. The vile stuff Miller said in those emails is already being dismissed by those on the Right, because while it's soaked in white nationalist themes, he never actually uses the n-word, and also he can't be a white nationalist because he's Jewish, didn't you know that? So let's take a look at all the article's evidence showing Stephen Miller can't be a white nationalist, shall we?

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Immigrants

Donald Trump Libelslandering The DACA Kids, So That's A Surprise

You know who's really a 'hardened criminal'? Half his administration!

With the Trump administration's attempt to shut down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program being argued before the Supreme Court today, the Great Man took the opportunity to tweet about it. Remember how he used to say his "heart just breaks" for the plight of folks who were brought to the US as little kids and through no fault of their own don't have legal status because of their illegally border-crossing parents (who are of course scum)? He even briefly said this about DACA kids, shortly after he decided to end DACA and then found out that wasn't popular.

Trump's opinion of those fine young men and women is as variable as anything else rattling around in his head, so of course this morning he decided the best strategy would be to simply lie through his teeth about DACA recipients:

You know how it is: Sure, they may be cute and innocent-looking when they're young, but whatever country in Mexico they're from Donald Trump knows they're murderers and rapists, they sell drugs, and some, he supposes, are good people, although that last bit is open to revision for the 2020 campaign.

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foreign policy

Drunk At Bar Says US Oughta Invade Mexico Is What We Oughta ... Wait No It Is US Senator Tom Cotton

Hugs not drugs.

A horrible massacre took place in northern Mexico Monday. A drug cartel (probably, but it's not clear which one) murdered three women and six children who belonged to a fundamentalist Mormon-offshoot community in Mexico; the youngest was a 10-month-old baby. The victims, who had dual US-Mexican citizenship, were traveling in a caravan of three cars when they were ambushed by criminal gangs. It's not yet clear, but there's speculation the killings were the result of mistaken identity, just innocent people caught up in a gang war. In any case, the killers kept shooting, then burned the vehicles. Over 200 bullet casings were found on the ground. Seven children who survived the attack were flown across the border to a hospital in Douglas, Arizona.

As with any terrible situation, Donald Trump showed up on Twitter Tuesday morning to make things worse. The solution, he suggested, was to go Full Duterte:

Trump likes to pretend he doesn't like war, but as long as someone else is doing the killing, he sure loves the idea of wiping some people off the face of the earth, and assumes only bad guys would get killed, because he's a fucking idiot who thinks most problems can be solved by killing the right people. After all, if the cartels have no respect for innocent lives, why should we?

War! What is it good for? Guaranteed turnout for a rally, tell you what.

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Immigrants

Ken Cuccinelli Promises Never To Deport Sick Kids To Their Deaths, Unless He Wants To

How reassuring.

Ken Cuccinelli, Donald Trump's (acting) director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), said in a congressional hearing Wednesday that he was the person responsible for the unannounced decision in August to send letters to hundreds of critically ill immigrants -- many of them children -- telling them and their families they had 33 days to leave the country or face deportation. At the hearing, held by a subcommittee of House Oversight, Cooch was exactly the same charmer as all those years ago when, as attorney general of Virginia, he wanted to ban buttsex and make all abortion sluts get cozy with a vaginal ultrasound wand, for Jesus.

The hearing was a follow-up to that September fiasco where representatives from USCIS and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) refused to answer any questions about the policy, who had ordered it, or why anyone thought it was a great idea to tell critically ill immigrant kids to leave the USA and please die somewhere else. There was an ongoing lawsuit, you see, so the lower-level dudes couldn't say much of anything. But yesterday, the actual agency heads were there, because Oversight chair Elijah Cummings's last official act on Earth was to send subpoenas to Cuccinelli and to (acting) ICE director Matthew Albence so they'd show up and be accountable.

Didn't mean they had to like being there, though, so both of them started with ritual respects to Cummings, then got on to the business of being as dickish as they could.

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Trade War

Look Under Your Chairs, Fortune's Most Powerful Women! It's A Baby Kirstjen Nielsen Stole From Its Mommy.

Sorry not sorry.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen appeared yesterday at Fortune magazine's "Most Powerful Women Summit," an event that had lost some participants, like Hillary Clinton and singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile, because who wants to be onstage with an engineer of concentration camps? Fortunately, she was interviewed by "PBS NewsHour" correspondent Amna Nawaz, who didn't let Nielsen get away with any doubletalk -- or rather, tried not to let Nielsen get away with doubletalk, although every effort to fact check the former gulag chief was met by more bafflegab.

The Guardian notes the conference was "attended by people who paid a $13,500 fee to join Fortune's Most Powerful Women membership." Well worth it, since they all got their names listed in a handsome leatherbound book and received a certificate suitable for framing. That kind of thing looks very impressive to college admissions officers, we hear.

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Immigrants

Thank God Donald Trump Is Protecting Us From Lost British Tourists And Their Babies

Finally some shitty immigration enforcement at the Canadian border, eh?

[Story updated with new info, see note at end] A British couple and their 3-month-old baby are getting treated to the full force of immigration law under the Stephen Miller regime after accidentally entering the US on an unmarked back road that crossed the Canada-US border. For over a week, they've been in family immigration prison in Pennsylvania while the wheels of US immigration law slowly work at getting them deported for a wrong turn. Here's how it all went pear-shaped for the Connors family, according to the Washington Post:

Originally from the United Kingdom, the two couples and their three young children were driving near the U.S.-Canada border on Oct. 3 during a visit to Vancouver when an animal ventured into the road, forcing them to make an unexpected detour. But before the family could get very far, flashing lights from a police car appeared in their rearview mirror. The officer that pulled them over was American — they had accidentally crossed the border.

The brave Border Patrol agents ignored the miscreants' excuses that, as British citizens on valid passports, they were OK to visit the US. After all, they didn't cross at a port of entry, so clearly they were terrorists, human smugglers, or worse, maybe. In a complaint the family filed Friday with the Inspector General for the Homeland Security Department, Eileen Connors explained that they were all kept in a freezing, dirty Border Patrol facility, then flown to the Berks Family Residential Center in Leesport, Pennsylvania, and treated like the dangerous criminals they clearly are:

"We will never forget, we will be traumatized for the rest of our lives by what the United States government has done to us," Connors wrote in a sworn statement, later adding, "We have been treated like criminals here, stripped of our rights, and lied to. … It is undoubtedly the worst experience we have ever lived through."

Don't drive on a back road if you and your little baby can't do the time, lady.

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News

Sorry About Your Trump Slob Picnic, Minneapolis

At least you got that hot mayor.

Donald Trump held another damn campaign rally, this time in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It's notable for being the first Trump Slob Picnic to take place after the House formally started impeachment, and Trump was in full victim mode, ranting about the insane double standard where Democrats want crossing the border without documents to be decriminalized, but also want to criminalize a president just doing his job and having a perfect, casual, beautiful conversation extorting a foreign leader to get dirt on a political opponent. How does that make any sense? Along the way, Trump trashed Minnesota's Somali refugee population, repeated rightwing conspiracy bullshit about Rep. Ilhan Omar -- the rally was held in her district -- and explained that the only reason anyone thinks Joe Biden was a good vice president is that Biden was a boot-licking flunky:

Biden "was never considered smart," Trump said. "He was never considered a good senator. He was only a good vice president because he figured out how to kiss Barack Obama's ass."

How true this is. The real measure of a good vice president is how profusely he praises Donald Trump during Cabinet meetings for having been sent by God to save America.

Cabinet Members Gush Over Trump During Meeting youtu.be

It's like our beloved Meemaw always said. If you want to excel at the vice presidency, be obsequious, purple, and clairvoyant.

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Environment

Well Of Course A Bigot Science Denier Is (Acting At) Running The Bureau Of Land Management

Oh, yes, and he agrees with the Bundy family that the federal government can't own land.

We suppose it shouldn't be the least bit surprising anymore to learn that the Trump administration's pick to be the (acting) director of the Bureau of Land Management turns out to be a standard-issue rightwing wackaloon with a long history of statements claiming science is fake, that immigrants are a "cancer" on America, and that all Muslims are at war with US America. We suspect it may actually be in the job description. Still, we can remember the olden times when that sort of thing might have been a problem for somebody running an entire federal agency. Now, thanks to a CNN backgrounder published yesterday, let's get to know (acting) BLM Director William Perry Pendley, appointed in June by (actual) Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. No, don't get too close, he's frothing at the mouth, and that can't be good.

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Immigrants

Trump's Latest Immigration Bullsh*t: No Health Insurance, No Visa!

Give me your vigorous, your rich ...

In yet another move aimed at restricting LEGAL immigration, the White House announced Friday that immigration visas will be denied to applicants who can't prove they have health insurance, or are at least wealthy enough to pay for any care they're likely to need. The new restrictions were laid out in a proclamation signed by Donald Trump, although the New York Times reports the move was the brainchild of Trump's anti-immigrant Gauleiter, Stephen Miller.

The move will primarily affect people hoping to come to the US to join family members already living here, like say the parents of a Slovenian model whose own work permissions may have once been iffy, but have since been cleared up. (FOR INSTANCE.) That's the kind of "chain migration" Trump and Miller want to crack down on, because only Americans should have families.

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