Have I ever been as dedicated to anything in my life as much as Betsy DeVos is committed to being an extremely evil bitch? Probably not! Inside Higher Ed reported that on Thursday evening, DeVos issued a formal rule that barred colleges and universities from offering covid-related emergency relief funds to undocumented students as well as international students, a particularly cruel move given that undocumented students are already largely barred from receiving financial aid.
Part of the official justification from the Department of Education for this latest cruelty is that it’s meant to help combat potential fraud, but it’s obvious what’s really happening here. From Inside Higher Ed:
Critics such as the American Council on Education, though, said they suspect Education Secretary Betsy DeVos wanted to limit who can get the grants as a way to exclude undocumented and international students. And indeed, in a statement, the department said the rule will “help to ensure taxpayer-funded coronavirus relief money is distributed properly and does not go to foreign nationals, non-citizens and students who may be enrolled in ineligible education programs.
But I would be remiss in only calling out Betsy when it comes to recent shenanigans by Trump administration officials to make the lives of immigrants as difficult as possible. As the New York Times reported, Stephen Miller also continues to be hard at work in his quest to make the U.S. a white ethnostate.
Miller’s fingerprints have been all over the administration’s recent efforts to use the covid-19 pandemic as a convenient excuse to restrict immigration to the U.S., pushing legislation that includes a rule effectively ending asylum at the southern border with Mexico and an executive order in April that temporarily halted issuing green cards to certain groups of immigrants abroad, including thousands of parents, children, and siblings of immigrants who have likely been waiting years to reunite with their family members.
But to Miller, even those draconian measures haven’t gone far enough, and he is pushing to do more. From the Times:
In the past month, top administration officials, including Stephen Miller, a senior White House adviser and an architect of Mr. Trump’s hard-line immigration agenda, have discussed ways to follow up on the executive order in April. That order, which was riddled with exemptions, was immediately criticized by conservative groups that had hoped the administration would restrict nonimmigrant visa programs that are used to bring thousands of workers to the United States.
Top administration officials have continued to debate whether a new executive order should encompass a host of worker visas, including H-1B visas for skilled workers, according to two government officials. In a meeting held in recent weeks, Mr. Miller has pressed Mr. Trump and the labor secretary, Eugene Scalia, to significantly reduce the number of foreign workers entering the country. But officials emphasized that the order, which is expected to be released in the coming week, is not finished. Visa holders in the United States are not likely to be affected.
On Thursday, Donald Trump sat down for an interview with Fox News host Harris Faulkner, in which they discussed the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin as well as Trump’s response to the wave of protests that have swept the nation.
It also included this moment, when Faulkner challenged Trump on his use of the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” in a tweet. Apparently, he mistakenly thought it came from the mouth of Frank Rizzo, the incredibly racist former police commissioner and mayor of Philadelphia that Trump admiringly described during the interview as a “very tough mayor.”
Listen, I get it—one racist sounds like any other racist! But then there’s Trump’s odd defense of the phrase: “It means two things, very different things. One is, if there’s looting, there’s probably going to be shooting, and that’s not as a threat, that’s really just a fact, because that’s what happens. And the other is, if there’s looting, there’s going to be shooting. They’re very different meanings.”
“Oh, interesting,” Faulkner responded. “Interesting” is certainly one way to put it!
On Friday, part two of their interview was released, and it somehow got worse?
“Well, we are free, Mr. President. He did pretty well,” Faulker said of Abraham Lincoln. “You understand what I mean,” he replied. “Yeah, no, I get it,” Faulkner said.
- While the Trump administration is doing its best to pretend covid-19 has gone away, several states are seeing a rise in covid-19 cases as well as hospitalizations since Memorial Day weekend. [NPR]
- But according to Larry Kudlow, who is apparently now a public health expert, we’ve got covid-19 under control. At least, that’s the message he wants Wall Street to hear. “There is no emergency. There is no second wave. I don’t know where that got started on Wall Street,” he insisted. [Politico]
- While Kudlow is technically accurate in saying there is no second wave or second spike, that’s only because we’re still in the first wave of the pandemic, and things are still very bad and in some states, getting worse!
- The people who attend Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma next Friday will have to sign a waiver promising they won’t sue his campaign or anyone else if they get covid-19, which sure seems to be an acknowledgment that holding a rally in the midst of a pandemic is incredibly dumb. [Politico]
- According to an unnamed source who I suspect is possibly named John Bolton, the former national security adviser will detail Ukraine-style “Trump misconduct with other countries” in his upcoming memoir. [Axios]
- Incredibly shocked that Customs and Border Protection officials used funds meant to help migrant families on equipment like dirt bikes instead. [Washington Post]