Things That Matter

These Military Families Made Trump Look Like A Fool

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Donald Trump is not someone to back down from a fight, even if he’s morally or factually wrong. The latest example is his relentless attacks against the Khans, a Gold Star family whose son died trying to save his military unit in Iraq. Khizr Khan made headlines when he delivered a speech at the Democratic National Convention that questioned Trump’s knowledge of the U.S. Constitution. In response, 30 families of fallen U.S. military personnel, several of whom are Latino, sent Trump a letter demanding that he apologize to Gold Star families nationwide.

Khizr Khan’s savage takedown of Donald Trump at the DNC left a lot of Americans feeling like…

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Credit: Friday / New Line Cinemas

“Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America,” Khan told the DNC crowd. “You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”

Naturally, Donald Trump responded by attacking this father of a fallen soldier.

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Credit: Parks And Recreation / NBC / reacttack / Tumblr

“I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices,” Trump said according to CNN. “I work very, very hard.”

As a result, American families who have lost loved ones signed a letter to Trump demanding that he apologize not just to the Khans, but to ALL Gold Star families.

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Credit: Gotham / Fox / Gotham / Giphy

“He is supposed to be up there to unite with me as a grieving father,” Carlos Arredondo, who signed the letter with his wife, told NBC Latino. “To have someone like that in charge, I don’t want someone to die in war because of his comments.”

“When you say your job building buildings is akin to our sacrifice, you are attacking our sacrifice,” the letter continues.

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Credit: American Grit / Fox / American Grit / Giphy

“We are all Gold Star Families, who have lost those we love the most in war,” the families wrote in the letter. “Ours is a sacrifice you will never know. Ours is a sacrifice we would never want you to know.”

“We feel we must speak out and demand you apologize to the Khans, to all Gold Star families, and to all Americans for your offensive, and frankly anti-American, comments,” the letter ends.

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Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / Logo / RuPaul’s Drag Race S8 / Giphy

“We are a community. We’ve been together a long time, so we are very concerned with these comments that they’ve made,” Arredondo told NBC Latino. “I don’t want this to get out of hand with dividing people. That’s the way politics happens.”

Read the full letter here.


READ: Walter Mercado Says Donald Trump Would Destroy The World

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An Incoming International Harvard Student Has Been Denied Entry To The United States

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An Incoming International Harvard Student Has Been Denied Entry To The United States

Cengiz Yar / Getty Images

The Trump administration’s immigration policies are criminalizing survivors, tearing families apart and emboldening racists and xenophobes throughout the country. But President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration agenda is also negatively impacting higher education in the US. According to multiple recent reports, it has become increasingly difficult for international students to receive their visas, also adding a greater workload on universities and their employees who try to help students work through the red tape and advocate on their behalf.

Those in higher education and immigration law say that the process for international students to attain their visas have become harder under Trump.

 According to government data, approval of student visas is down and many remain in limbo for longer periods. The latest available department data show that student visas declined by more than 100 thousand from 2016 to 2018. This has led to an overall decrease in the number of new international students enrolled at US colleges. For instance, survey data collected by the Institute of International Education during the 2016–17 school year found that enrollment of international students fell by 3 percent from the previous year. In the most recent data, which looks at the 2017–18 school year, it fell by close to 7 percent.

NAFSA: Association of International Educators reports that these visa obstacles started after Trump issued a memorandum in 2017 that called for the “heightened screening and vetting of applications for visas and other immigration benefits” as well as new or updated requirements for visa holders studying or working at US colleges. Additionally, the Atlantic reports that changes initiated by the Trump administration in 2018 made it even harder for recent graduates with student visas to continue living in the country legally. 

“I’ve been in the field for almost 20 years, and the amount of immigration changes during the last three years has been exponential,” Kristy Magner, who oversees Tulane University’s Office of International Students and Scholars, told the publication. 

One of the most high-profile cases was that of Ismail B. Ajjawi

In August of 2019, the incoming Harvard Palestinian freshman from Lebanon was detained by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at a Boston airport. The 17-year-old was denied entry after CBO officers found social media posts from his friends that criticize the US. As a result, Ajjawi’s visa was canceled. However, because the teen was detained at an airport, sparing him from being officially deported, he was able to re-apply for a visa back home. Ten days later, Ajjawi returned to Boston and was able to start school.

Also in August, nine Chinese students who were returning to the US as undergraduate students at Arizona State University were detained at Los Angeles International Airport.

 According to the university, the students were in CBP custody for a week and were “denied admission to the U.S. to continue their studies.” They were ultimately forced to return to China, despite being “academically eligible to return to ASU and to the United States under their visas.”

“[I]t is beyond my comprehension how the U.S. government could establish and implement policies that bring about the outcomes we are now witnessing,” ASU president Michael Crow wrote in a letter addressed to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan. 

While these cases are among the most extreme, they follow a growing pattern of increased difficulty for international students. 

Many institutions, including New York University, expressed seeing more students denied travel in advance of their trips.

NYU was one of the first schools to establish support for immigrant students upon the start of Trump’s presidency. In January 2017, just days after Trump’s inauguration, it created the Immigrant Defense Initiative, which offers “free, confidential advice and representation” to students and staff who could be at risk for deportation. Other universities, including Columbia University, the California State University system and George Washington University, now also offer free immigration-related legal services for students. 

But students, and now university employees who are tasked with new responsibilities in helping the international academics, need more help. Back in July, Harvard University president Lawrence Bacow sent a letter to Pompeo and McAleenan sharing his grievances. “Students report difficulties getting initial visas — from delays to denials,” he wrote. “Scholars have experienced postponements and disruptions for what have previously been routine immigra­tion processes such as family visas, renewals of status, or clearance for international travel.”

Dr. Hironao Okahana, associate vice president of policy and research analysis at the Council of Graduate Schools, told Teen Vogue the rise in incidents like Ajjawi’s are concerning and worth further investigation. 

“[W]e’ll be carefully observing to see if any additional incidents occur as quarter-system schools begin their term in a few weeks,” he said.

In addition to the denial of visas and slowed-down processes, universities face another problem: Trump’s anti-immigration agenda is stopping international students from applying to US institutions. 

“I think that both [the Trump administration’s] immigration policy and the messaging of the day are literally turning [international] students away … and making them less inclined to want to study in the United States,” Brian Rosenberg, the president of Macalester College, a liberal-arts institution in St. Paul, Minnesota, told the Atlantic.

As a result, some schools are doing additional work to ensure international students that they are welcome at their universities.

Philip A. Glotzbach, the president of Skidmore College, told the Atlantic that his staff has had to “work a lot harder” to recruit and retain international students. Additionally, Barbara K. Altmann, the president of Franklin & Marshall College, said that her school has been taking “extraordinary measures … so international students know [they’re welcome here].” For instance, because one in five students at the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, liberal-arts school is from outside of the US, mostly China, it has created a network of Chinese nationals that send reassuring messages to incoming students from the Asian country. 

“These incidents,” said Okahana, “as isolated as they may be, are troubling and have created chilling effects.”

Read: Migrants Are Dying In US Immigration Custody And Here’s What You Need To Know About The Victims

Here Are The Businesses Supporting A Trump 2020 Reelection

Things That Matter

Here Are The Businesses Supporting A Trump 2020 Reelection

Here in America, capitalism gives us all the opportunity to vote with our dollars. That means individuals can make an impact on seemingly untouchable issues, like animal testing (buy cruelty-free), funding immigrant detention camps (stop buying Microsoft), gay rights (adiós Chik-Fil-A), and another four years of Trump in power. If the connections between these issues and their consequent direct action seem random, por favor, read on.

Whether we’re aware of it or not, we’re constantly voting with our dollars. For example, folks who signed up for SoulCycle classes and Equinox memberships didn’t understand the significance of how the companies’ owner would spend his profits. Stephen M. Ross, the billionaire owner of Equinox and SoulCycle hosted a major fundraiser for Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign at his mansion in the Hamptons. Spokespersons for these wealthy Trump supporters will tell you that the company profits itself are not used to fund politicians. While the corporation itself will not make contributions to Trump 2020 in the company’s name, the company does issue the largest paychecks to its CEOs. Board members and owners of these companies would not attain the power and wealth to influence campaign elections without every single individual’s choice to funnel their dollars through their companies.

Individuals can do whatever they want their money. Ross can donate to Trump 2020. But you don’t have to direct your hard-earned money towards someone who will create a society you don’t want to live in. If you don’t want Trump 2020 to happen, boycott these companies:

1. Estée Lauder (& its subsidiaries)

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Estée Lauder’s board member Ronald Lauder donated $100,000 to the Trump Victory committee in 2017. Estée Lauder also owns Aveda, Origins, Bobbi Brown, Jo Malone London, M.A.C. Cosmetics, Smashbox, and other subsidiaries. Boycotting Estée Lauder and its subsidiaries is a win for animals, too! The company continues to sell its products in China where they are legally required to subject rabbits and other small animals to painful chemical tests.

2. The Home Depot

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Bernie Marcus and Ken Langone co-founded The Home Depot and have collectively donated over $7 million to PACs seeking Trump’s reelection. Another $100k went directly to Trump’s inaugural committee straight from the founders’ pockets. We also can’t shop at Hobby Lobby anymore because its CEO David Green actually urged Americans to support Donald Trump.

3. CVS Pharmacy

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The Boston-based drugstore chain donated in the company’s name to help get Trump reelected. CVS Health Corp. donated $35,000 to Trump’s Victory PAC and $500,000 to America First Policies, a nonprofit that promotes anti-immigration rhetoric and policies. Once word got out that an official from America First Policies’ had spewed (surprise!) racist and sexist rhetoric, CVS said they would no longer contribute to that particular group. 

4. Las Vegas Sands Group (The Venetian, The Sands, and Marina Bay Sands hotels)

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The biggest donor to Trump’s inauguration was Sheldon Adelson, owner of Las Vegas Sands, which owns The Venetian, The Sands, and Marina Bay Sands hotel resorts in Las Vegas. Adelson donated $5 million to the inaugural fund. He donated $25 million in “soft money” to Super PACS dedicated to getting Trump elected, which are immune to election finance laws that limit the max donation to $360,000.

5. Facebook, Instagram, WhatsAPP, Spotify, Lyft and Airbnb

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Besides the obvious lack of action from Facebook to prevent Russia from fear-mongering and influencing American votes, Facebook board member Peter Theil has donated $250,000 to Trump 2020 and is Trump’s 7th largest donor. Oh, and Theil’s tech company, Palintir, has a $1.5 billion contract to protect ICE’s surveillance network. 

6. Taco Bell

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We all have an opinion on Taco Bell, and apparently Taco Bell franchise owners are highly opinionated, too. Together, they donate to a TACO PAC, which donated $53,625 to Republicans this year alone. According to Food and Wine, t also donated $5,000 to Trump’s re-election bid so far.

7. Marvel Entertainment

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Former CEO and now Chairman of Marvel Entertainment, Isaac Perlmutter, is a long-time friend of Donald Trump. Perlmutter donated $360,000 to Trump’s victory committee in 2017. He wrote another $360,000 check last month that went directly to Trump 2020. That’s not even the half of it. Perlmutter donated $5 million to a Super PAC whose mission it is to re-elect Trump and his comrades.

READ: In A Seriously Awkward Announcement, Vice President Pence Went To Florida To Launch A ‘Latinos For Trump’ Coalition