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Old June 2nd, 2018, 06:07 AM   #1
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Trump has been steadily stacking top posts with hate group leaders and anti-immigrant

Trump has been steadily stacking top posts with hate group leaders and anti-immigrant activists

Refugees aren’t the only group that Donald Trump’s nominee to head the State Department's office for refugees has targeted. In a blog post last year for the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS)—a Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) designated hate group—Ronald Mortensen argued that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients “should make restitution to their American identity theft victims,” proposing a “DACA Victims' Restitution Fund”:

Mortensen has argued that most undocumented immigrants, in order to work, use false or stolen Social Security numbers to obtain employment. In October, he wrote that DACA recipients should pay reparations to American victims of identity theft in order to receive the program's benefits.

He also wrote that that 43.9 percent of DACA recipients worked illegally before obtaining their permit through DACA, citing a survey by the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank.

In that article, he said DACA recipients were being granted amnesty for “at least eight” separate offenses, based on the documents they would need to work and pay taxes.

Mortensen did not respond to a request for comment made through CIS.
Mortensen has been among the worst bomb-throwers of Trump’s picks, writing that “illegal aliens” are “destroying the futures of innocent American children for their own selfish purposes,” and that Dreamers “have committed serious felonies that impact American men, women and children.” Never mind that DACA recipients have to pass background checks to enroll in the program. Mortensen isn’t even the lone bad apple here—in fact, far from it.

As Julissa Arce writes, Trump has been plucking leaders and members of anti-immigrant groups, like Mortensen, to assemble “an anti-immigrant army” that is “infiltrating every part of the federal government,” including agencies whose purposes include advocating for immigrants and refugees. It’s the fox in charge of the hen house.

For years, some of these anti-immigrant groups have been confined to the fringe, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t had their fingers in the anti-immigrant pie. Tanton network groups like CIS, Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and NumbersUSA—organizations founded or funded by eugenics enthusiast John Tanton—have helped derail several immigration reform efforts over the years:

Three Washington, D.C. organizations most responsible for blocking comprehensive immigration reform in 2007 are part of a network of groups created by a man who has been at the heart of the white nationalist movement for decades, according to a report issued today by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
At the heart of those efforts in the Senate was then-member Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III and his then-aide, white supremacist Stephen Miller, who, when an immigration bill passed the Senate by a massive bipartisan majority, “literally wrote the 23-page handbook that House members were given on how to fight the deal.”

These groups now have direct access to the White House—earlier this year, a “pro-English” group tied to the Tanton network met with a White House aide, most likely Nosferatu, er, Miller. And, Trump’s extremist picks are politicizing agencies that are supposed to advocate for welcoming immigrants by quite literally erasing pro-immigrant stances. Arce:

USCIS’s director is Lee Francis Cissna, who eliminated “a nation of immigrants” from the agency’s mission statement during his first few weeks on the job. Cissna, the son of a Peruvian immigrant, was a legal aide for Senator Chuck Grassley. While at Grassley’s office, he authored dozens of letters, including one in November 2016 claiming thousands of immigrants were “amasssing” at the southern border with the intention of “asserting dubious” asylum claims. If that language sounds familiar is because it is the same language Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been using to justify separating children from their parents at the border. Cissna has also spoken at a CIS conference on a panel called “The Betrayal of America’s Best and Brightest,” where he argued against the HB-1 visa program for “high skilled” immigrants.
Cissna was confirmed by the Senate, but another Trump pick, Andrew Veprek, didn’t require a vote and was “selected for a top State Department post overseeing refugee admissions” despite—or because of—anti-refugee views. Veprek has also been described as a close associate of Miller. Arce continues:

The Bureau’s mission is to provide aid and solutions for refugees and victims of conflict around the world through repatriation, local integration, and resettlement in the United States. While at the White House Veprek successfully argued to lower the refugee cap to the lowest level in three decades. PRM has come under scrutiny as it only granted entry to 34 Syrian, and 81 Iraqi refugees between October 2017 and January 2018. During the same period the previous year the agency admitted 4,700 refugees from each country. The bureau has not explained why so few refugees have been admitted. Many estimates suggest that while the cap al
lows for 45,000 refugees, the U.S. is on track to admit only half of that figure.

Then there’s Julie Kirchner, the former leader of FAIR, which, under her leadership, “helped create Arizona's SB170 immigration bill,” the racist “show me your papers” law. Today, Kirchner serves as USCIS ombudsman. “A woman who spent ten years seeking to reduce overall immigration, despite being a daughter of a Hungarian immigrant, is now tasked with helping immigrants navigate the applications process,” Arce writes.

At least one Republican senator, Arizona’s Jeff Flake, has said he’ll oppose Mortensen’s nomination. “With Republicans’ razor-thin, one-vote majority in the Senate and the absence of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Flake’s opposition means Mortensen would need the support of at least one Democrat in order to be confirmed.” That Democrat better be ready for a shellacking from decent, outraged Americans.
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