politics

Trump Nominates His First Latino Cabinet Member For Secretary Of Labor

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Earlier this week, Andrew Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, withdrew himself from his nomination for the Secretary of Labor Cabinet position. Puzder was under fire for many reasons, including his hiring of an undocumented maid as well as his troubling history of domestic abuse. Puzder also has been an advocate for immigration reform, a position that is at odds with the Trump administration’s current policies. The Nation speculated this was the likely reason for his withdrawal.

With Puzder out, President Trump has announced his next nominee for Secretary of Labor: Republican Alexander Acosta.


According to the Miami Herald, Acosta is the son of Cuban-American immigrants who currently serves as the dean of Florida International University’s law school. After the announcement, fellow Floridian Marco Rubio released a statement calling the nomination of fellow conservative Acosta a “phenomenal choice.”

In a statement released by the White House, President Trump said he was “tremendously impressed” with Mr. Acosta’s career.


The New York Times reports that 48-year-old Acosta, who earned his law degree from Harvard University, served on the National Labor Relations Board under President Bush from 2002 to 2003. He followed that up by serving as a civil rights attorney for the Justice Department under President Bush in 2004.



The Miami Herald reports that Acosta served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Florida, and also served as the first ever Latino assistant to the U.S. attorney general. According to his resume, in 2014 Acosta was listed as one of the “nation’s 50 most influential Hispanics by Hispanic Business Magazine.”

Acosta brings along a track record of defending civil rights for ethnic and religious minorities.



In 2011, The Guardian reports, Acosta publicly defended Muslim immigrants, saying that the U.S. is a “nation built on principles of freedom, and high on the list of freedoms is freedom of religious expression.” In 2004, Acosta fought on behalf of Latino residents who had been discriminated against in the Borough of Bound Brook, a clear violation of the Fair Housing Act.



Acosta released a statement saying, “We cannot tolerate a municipality purposefully discriminating against and segregating minorities in housing. Individuals should have the liberty to make their own housing decisions, regardless of their race. We will continue to aggressively prosecute incidents of housing discrimination.”



However, Acosta has also challenged the rights of minority voters, as The Nation pointed out in a recent article.

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In 2004, Acosta used his position as the civil rights chief for the Justice Department department to weigh in on a controversial voting rights issue. According to McClatchy, Acosta wrote a letter to a federal Ohio judge which took a favorable stance on “vote-caging,” a practice that largely targets minority voters through shady proof-of-residence tactics. Acosta used his political leverage to put the voting rights of 23,000 African-Americans in jeopardy as a result of his letter.

Mr. Acosta is the first Latino nominee President Trump has made for his cabinet.



When Trump made what appeared to be his final nomination a few weeks ago, many were concerned by his lack of Latino representation in the Cabinet. With the announcement of Cuban-American Acosta for Labor Secretary, President Trump may have his first Latino cabinet member.

At Trump’s latest news conference, the president took the opportunity to praise Acosta.



In an official statement released by the White House, Trump elaborated on his pick, saying:

Throughout his career, Alex Acosta has been a passionate advocate for equal opportunity for all Americans. His extensive experience has tremendously impressed me and my team and makes us confident that he will lead the Department of Labor with the utmost competence and determination to support the American worker.”

READ: Mexico Wants To Teach President Trump A Lesson, But U.S. Farmers Might Suffer The Biggest Hit

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Homeland Security Is Changing How It Will Tackle Immigration. Here Are Some Important Things You Should Know

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Homeland Security Is Changing How It Will Tackle Immigration. Here Are Some Important Things You Should Know

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On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security announced its plans for tackling immigration reform under President Trump. The reforms allow departments like ICE to take a less restrained approach to both border security and immigration control. Here are a few of the details from the recently released memos from Homeland Security.

The memos broaden the definition of “criminal aliens” to include those with less serious infractions.


The memos released by the Department of Homeland Security outline the types of crimes that could make immigrants vulnerable to ICE. This includes individuals who have “engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation,” those who have “abused any program related to receipt of public benefits,” and those who “pose a risk to public safety” as determined by “an immigration officer.”

The Department of Homeland Security memo calls for ICE to hire an additional 10,000 “officers and agents.”

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As the number of immigrants subject to deportation has increased, arrests are expected to increase as well. To keep up, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly has asked for the expeditious hiring of 10,000 ICE employees. So far little has been said about where these 10,000 agents will come from.

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly has also called for an additional 5,000 Border Patrol Agents.

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According to the memo, the increase is needed because the U.S. Customs and Border Protection currently “has insufficient agents/officers to effectively detect, track, and apprehend all aliens illegally entering the United States. The United States needs additional agents and officers to ensure complete operational control of the border.”

More undocumented immigrants could face expedited removal due to changes in the procedure.

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CREDIT: Credit: fibonacciblue / Flickr

The memos released by the Department of Homeland Security outlines changes in the rule governing which immigrants are subject to expedited removal. Under the old terms, undocumented immigrants could only be targeted if they were found within 100 air miles of the border and if they had been in the country for 14 days or less.



Under President Trump, undocumented immigrants anywhere in the country can be rounded up, and they must prove that they have lived in the U.S. for more than two years.

The Department of Homeland Security memos outline a few exceptions to the expedited removal terms.

These exceptions include:

The alien is an unaccompanied alien child […] indicates an intention to apply for asylum or a fear of persecution or torture or a fear of return to his or her country, or claims to have a valid immigration status within the United States or to be a citizen or national of the United States.

According to the memos, some immigrants that qualify for expedited removal can claim asylum if they “claim fear of return.” Asylum officers will then “determine whether they have established a credible fear of persecution or torture.”

Individuals caught attempting to enter the country will held at detainment facilities around the border.

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FOX NEWS / YOUTUBE

The memo calls for an increase in facilities to detain immigrants until their cases can be heard, which would effectively end the program known as “catch-and-release,” where detainees were released and asked to return to court at a later date. In order to speed up the processing of people detained at the border, “the Department will publish in the Federal Register a new Notice Designating Aliens Subject to Expedited Removal.”

However, unaccompanied “alien children” will receive “special protections to ensure that they are properly processed.”

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The memos define “unaccompanied alien children” as someone who is not legally in the United States, not yet 18 years of age, and has “no legal guardian” or “parent of legal guardian” in the U.S. According to the memo, a child that meets the requirements will “be transferred to the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) within 72 hours.” They will also find “placement in a suitable care facility” and have “access to social services.”

Those under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are currently still protected.


According to USA Today, members of the DACA program are still protected and will remain so as long as they do not break any rule of the program. At last week’s new conference, President Trump has said he would show “great heart” when making a decision about DACA. However, a few days earlier 23-year-old DACA recipient Daniel Ramirez Medina was detained by ICE, allegedly because of his tattoo.


READ: Trump Nominates His First Latino Cabinet Member For Secretary Of Labor