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19 Asian-Americans Arrested At Paul Ryan’s Office Pushing For Dream Act

COURTESY OF APALA
One of the arrested protesters is led away by U.S. Capitol Police.

Nineteen Asian-Americans protesting outside Speaker Paul Ryan’s office on Capitol Hill were arrested Wednesday while calling for him to move the Dream Act to a vote. 

A coalition of Asian-American organizations were rallying to push Congress to pass the legislation that would protect young undocumented immigrants. The 19 individuals were charged with crowding, obstructing or incommoding, a spokesperson for U.S. Capitol Police told HuffPost.

COURTESY OF APALA

Those arrested said they were prepared to face the consequences to defend the rights of the undocumented community. 

“I stood with my sisters and brothers to be arrested today because the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community can no longer stand idly by while Congress and the Trump administration criminalize immigrants and people of color,” Luisa Blue, who was one of those arrested and is a founding member of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), told HuffPost. 

The people arrested, who were reportedly blocking Ryan’s office, were released the same day.

The push for the Dream Act, a longstanding wish of immigration reformers, has grown all the stronger since the Trump administration announced it would terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program back in September. DACA was shielding some 800,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation. Some 21,000 of the 154,000 who were eligible to renew their DACA protections at least one more time were not able to do so by the Oct. 5 deadline.

Congress now has until March 2018 to find some other way to protect those young people from being deported.

While most Dreamers hail from Latin American countries, there were many Asian-Americans who were eligible for DACA as well. Some 16,000 undocumented Asian youth were shielded by the Obama-era program. And currently, there are about 1.7 million undocumented Asian immigrants in the U.S. The group represents the fastest growing demographic among undocumented immigrants.  

They were calling on Congress to protect young undocumented immigrants.

Nineteen Asian-Americans protesting outside Speaker Paul Ryan’s office on Capitol Hill were arrested Wednesday while calling for him to move the Dream Act to a vote. 

A coalition of Asian-American organizations were rallying to push Congress to pass the legislation that would protect young undocumented immigrants. The 19 individuals were charged with crowding, obstructing or incommoding, a spokesperson for U.S. Capitol Police told HuffPost.

Those arrested said they were prepared to face the consequences to defend the rights of the undocumented community. 

“I stood with my sisters and brothers to be arrested today because the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community can no longer stand idly by while Congress and the Trump administration criminalize immigrants and people of color,” Luisa Blue, who was one of those arrested and is a founding member of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), told HuffPost. 

The people arrested, who were reportedly blocking Ryan’s office, were released the same day.

APALA is part of the coalition, the AAPI Immigrant Organizing Table, as are the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium and the HANA Center, among others. They were demanding a “clean” Dream Act, which would provide a pathway for Dreamers to obtain citizenship without adding measures that would harm other immigrants.

Trump's Mar-a-Lago granted visas for 70 foreign workers

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President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort has been granted 70 visas to bring in foreign workers for the winter season, The Palm Beach Post reports.

That’s a 9 percent increase from last year, when Mar-a-Lago hired 64 workers under the H-2B visa program.

The new visas will go to 20 foreign cooks, 35 waiters and 15 maids and housekeepers for the 2017-18 tourist season, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. They’ll earn hourly wages from $10.33 (for the cleaners) to $13.34 (for the cooks). The temporary visas allow them to work from October 2017 to the end of May 2018.

A hallmark of Trump’s presidential campaign and a stated push of his administration is that U.S. companies should hire American workers. He has criticized Ford Motor Company, Carrier Corp. and others for moving manufacturing jobs to Mexico. Mar-a-Lago was applying for the foreign worker visas this July when the president launched “Made in America Week.” 

Trump said at the time, “We believe jobs must be offered to American workers first. Does that make sense?”

Over the years, many products sold by the Trump Organization have also been made in overseas factories. Ivanka Trump’s clothing line is exclusively manufactured abroad.

Foreign workers won’t just be laboring at Mar-a-Lago this winter. Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida, was granted visas for 10 waiters and six cooks, and Trump National Golf Club Westchester in Briarcliff Manor, New York, obtained visas to bring in eight waiters.

During a Republican primary debate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) grilled Trump on hiring foreign workers at his resorts. Trump responded that it’s “hard to find” U.S. workers, getting visas for foreign workers is “legal,” and his company had “no choice.”

Companies are required to run two want ads in local newspapers before applying for foreign worker visas. Mar-a-Lago chose to place two hard-to-find classified ads in tiny type with no phone number or email information, according to a Washington Post report in August. Workers could apply only by fax or mail.

CareerSource Palm Beach County, a nonprofit placement agency, told The Palm Beach Post that there are many Americans eager to work at Mar-a-Lago. “We currently have 5,136 qualified candidates in Palm Beach County for various hospitality positions,” spokesman Tom Veenstra said.

CNN reported last summer that Trump businesses have employed at least 1,256 foreign workers — often from Romania and South Africa — in the past 15 years.

Trump Vineyard Estates filed requests for visas to bring in foreign farmworkers at its Virginia winery last December and again in February.

 

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Report: White House Rushed Condolences To Gold Star Families

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At least three families said they received express-shipped packages from the White House after Trump claimed he called “virtually everybody.”

Multiple families of military service members killed in the line duty are now getting rush-delivered letters from President Donald Trump, days after Trump claimed he had called the immediate families of all service members who had been killed since he took office in January.

The Atlantic reported Saturday that their reporters had spoken to three Gold Star families who received condolence packages from the president this week.

Timothy Eckels Sr., whose son Timothy Eckels Jr. was killed when the USS John S. McCain collided with a merchant ship in August, told the magazine he had not heard from Trump until Friday, Oct. 20. His letter from the White House was dated Oct. 18.

The families of Corey Ingram and John M. Hoagland III, two other sailors who died in the USS John McCain collision, also received rush-delivered packages from the White House this week, according to the Atlantic.

The sudden outreach appears to follow mounting criticism over Trump’s reaction to the Niger ambush that killed four U.S. soldiers.

When asked during a Monday press conference why he hadn’t publicly acknowledged the deaths in Niger, Trump pitted himself against past presidents, saying he had written the soldiers’ families personal letters, while “President Obama and other presidents ... didn’t make calls.”

On Tuesday, Trump followed up that remark by claiming he had called “virtually” all Gold Star families who had lost kin since he took office.

“To the best of my knowledge I think I’ve called every family of somebody who’s died,” Trump told Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade during a radio interview. “It’s the hardest call to make... the hardest thing for me to do is to do that.”

He later hedged his claim to Kilmeade saying, “I have called, I believe, everybody ― but certainly I’ll use the word virtually everybody.” 

Hours after that Oct. 17 radio broadcast, the White House scrambled to identify and find the contact information for Gold Star families who lost a service member since January, according to an internal Defense Department email obtained by political news site Roll Call.

The email exchange, between the White House and the Pentagon, revealed that senior White House aides knew Trump’s statement about having called “virtually” all Gold Star families was not accurate ― and they needed to correct it as soon as possible.

The White House was attempting to find out which Gold Star families Trump had not yet reached out to, according to Roll Call.

Multiple news outlets have found Trump has yet to reach out to a number of families who lost loved ones since January. In a report published Wednesday, the Washington Post interviewed the families of 13 service members who were killed after Trump took office: Half of the families received phone calls from the president, the remainder had not heard from Trump.

The Associated Press reported it had reached out to the families “of all 43 people who have died in military service since Trump became president,” but only “made contact with about half of the families.”

Some families told AP they were comforted by Trump’s call, while others hadn’t heard from the president.

The family of Army Sgt. Jonathon M. Hunter, who died in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan in August, was promised a call from the president but instead heard from Vice President Mike Pence.

Brittany Harris, the widow of Army Spc. Christopher Michael Harris who also died in Afghanistan in August, said she had not heard from the president either.

AP identified at least two other Gold Star families who had wanted, but did not receive a call from the president.

 

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