Things That Matter

As Trump Moves To Strip TPS From Nearly Everybody, The Administration Is Thinking Of Extending It To Venezuelans

The headline gives it away: it’s legit, Trump and his band of merry men are considering taking steps to enact a TPS, or Temporary Protected Status, specifically for Venezuelans in the US. But what does this mean, exactly? Don’t worry, because we’ve saved you the hard work of doing research on the topic – read on to find out all about it.

Why the White House is considering a TPS for Venezuelans.

Twitter / @immprobono

Instituting a TPS for the Venezuelan population in the US would essentially protect them from being deported. While at this stage the details are sketchy, it seems that the plan would be to not only allow Venezuelans to continue living in the US, but also have work permits, too. And yes, it would also mean that these same Venezuelans, with their newfound legal status, wouldn’t have to watch out for persecution from ICE officers anymore.

The primary reason the White House is seeking to provide legal protections for Venezuelans is due to the current political environment in Venezuela.

Instagram / @elconsejero.ve

While it’s a complicated situation, the short story is that Venezuela’s current President, Nicolás Maduro, has been accused of running fraudulent elections by his opposition. This has escalated into military struggles – which, alongside power cuts, and food and medicine shortages, has resulted in an estimated four million Venezuelans leaving the country. As a result, Venezuelan migrants flocked to the US, since it’s one of the closest stable countries to Venezuela. However, that doesn’t mean that all Venezuelan migrants have got current paperwork for them to live and work in the US. Establishing a TPS for these Venezuelans would ensure that they’re rightfully recognized as asylum seekers, and give them the legal status to remain and work in the US.

Why it’s hella weird that the White House is considering a TPS for Venezuelans.

Instagram / @starbucki77

Don’t get us wrong – it’s great that, for once, the Trump administration is considering ways to protect people who are legitimately seeking asylum. But, it’s also weird as heck that it is considering ways of instituting a TPS. Remember, this is the same administration that gave us the infamous Muslim ban, overcrowded detention centers in El Paso, and also jeopardized the DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, program. Trump and friends don’t really have a great record when it comes to embracing immigration.

The other thing to consider is that the TPS they’re proposing would only be available for asylum seekers coming from Venezuela.

Instagram / @chebt82

People from other Latin American countries aren’t in luck, this time around. Some have speculated that the reason for this is because while Trump and his team consider Venezuelans to be refugees fleeing danger, they see Hispanics from the rest of Latin America as job seekers, looking to leech off of America’s success.

Another theory that’s been floated is that Trump is actually thinking ahead to 2020: Florida, as a key battleground state, is home to a considerable Venezuelan community. Offering TPS to friends and families in those neighborhoods could possibly be the olive branch Trump needs to secure deciding votes in the state. So, for those cynics out there, maybe it’s not so weird that Donald has has a change of heart when it comes to some immigrants.

Why the White House considering a TPS for Venezuelans isn’t a permanent solution.

Twitter / @AmericasVoice

Well, firstly, it’s important to remember that TPS stands for Temporary Protection Status – with emphasis on the temporary. The question remains as to what would constitute grounds for withdrawing such protection: would Maduro have to step down? Would Venezuela’s political system need to be overhauled? Or would Venezuela have to reach a certain GDP threshold before the US considered it stable enough for Venezuelans to return? And, what about potential pathways to gaining full, legitimate US citizenship from the TPS? The terms of the TPS are yet to be fully explored.

Another, secondary, thing to think about is the fact that not all Republicans are on board with the TPS.

It’s entirely possible that party politics may stand in the way of successfully implementing a magnanimous TPS program.

At the end of the day, while it’s great to see the Trump administration reconsidering its harsh stance on immigration and asylum seekers, at the same time, if they’re planning to institute policy to accommodate for refugees, then they need to plan for the long term. The reality is that if people are being settled in the US under a TPS to escape the hardships and traumas of their native countries, they are inevitably going to build a life, make friends and potentially create a family, under the auspices of a temporary program. Removing them from that life would further traumatize these people and also damage the community. Let’s hope that the current administration keeps this in mind when they’re debating the TPS. After all, these are human lives they are talking about.

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The Trump Administration Just Announced That They’re Banning TikTok Downloads Starting on Sunday

Things That Matter

The Trump Administration Just Announced That They’re Banning TikTok Downloads Starting on Sunday

On Friday, the Trump administration announced that it would be blocking future downloads of social media app TikTok starting on midnight on Sunday.

“At the President’s direction, we have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations,” said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross

The Trump Administraiton is also taking action against the popular messaging and payment app WeChat, banning American companies from hosting the app’s internet traffic or processing transactions for the app (one of its key features).

Both TikTok and WeChat are the two most popular tech exports from China.

via Getty Images

TikTok is a popular video-sharing platform that allows users to share 15-second videos of themselves dancing and lip-syncing to popular music (among other things). The app recently exploded in popularity, racking up 99.8 million downloads in the first six months of 2020.

TikTok and WeChat have both been recent targets of the Trump administration due to their data-collection practices.

TikTok, specifically, has recently come under fire for violating Google privacy policies. TikTok collects and documents massive amounts of data from their users, like videos watched and commented on, location data, device type, and copy-and-paste “clipboard” contents. The app even records people’s keystroke rhythms as they type.

The Trump Administration has long been suspicious of TikTok’s data-collection, speculating that TikTok might be sending the data to the Chinese government.

The Trump administration has argued that such massive amounts of data in the hands of a foreign government is a threat to national security. TikTok denies that they are handing over the data to the Chinese government.

TikTok, for their part, are not hiding their displeasure about the ban, releasing a public statement saying: “We will continue to challenge the unjust executive order, which was enacted without due process and threatens to deprive the American people and small businesses across the US of a significant platform for both a voice and livelihoods.”

This isn’t the first time TikTok has gone toe-to-toe with the Trump administration. The social media company sued the administration in August after Trump signed an executive order enacting broad sanctions against the app. TikTok claimed that the order denied the company of due process.

The TikTok ban is making waves because it marks the first time the U.S. has banned a tech app on the basis of national security concerns.

But some critics are saying that there doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason behind the ban. “It just feels to me to be improvisational,” said cyber-security expert Adam Segal.

Both TikTok users and concerned Americans have taken to the internet to express their anger at the Trump administration’s decision.

“Don’t be mistaken folks,” said one Twitter user. “Sunday it will be TikTok. Tomorrow it will be twitter, FB, Instagram…you name it…We must protect free speech!”

Another pointed out the hypocrisy of Trump targeting China when he doesn’t seem to be as concerned about Russia meddling in our internet affairs. “I live in a world where TikTok is a threat to national security but Russian interference in our elections is not,” she said. “This is Trump’s America.”

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Time Is Running Out To Complete The Census, Here’s Why It’s So Important To Make Sure You’re Counted

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Time Is Running Out To Complete The Census, Here’s Why It’s So Important To Make Sure You’re Counted

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

The drama over the 2020 Census continues.

First was a Supreme Court decision that found the Trump administration wasn’t being totally honest about it’s reasoning for including the citizenship question on the 2020 Census – so the court effectively removed the question from the census. 

Then, Trump tried to delay the constitutionally mandated census to give his administration more time to come up with a better reason to tell the courts.

None of that worked as planned by the administration, and the Census has continued as normal. However, so many in minority communities – particularly migrant communities – have been fearful of completing this year’s census. Well, new evidence shows just how important it is to make sure we’re all counted.

As the 2020 census winds down, here’s a reminder of why it’s so important to make sure we all complete our census.

Now, more than ever, it is the responsibility of Latinos to fill out the census, or else miss-out on integral funding and representation.

The 2020 Census is ending early, thanks to a decision by the Trump administration to end data collection and outreach sooner than initially planned, which could lead to massive undercounts within BIPOC communities.

The Latinx population is already at a higher risk of being undercounted because of language barriers, fears over immigrant status, and for living in hard-to-reach areas. Latinx leaders are continuously pushing for increased visibility and accessibility to fill-out the census, especially now, as many issues have been overshadowed by a global pandemic.

But at some point, it is not the responsibility of our leaders, but for citizens to take initiative.

Latinos are not filling-out the 2020 Census at the levels they should, and in areas with large Latinx populations, the self-response rate is alarmingly low.

Take for instance, Rep. Nanette Barragán’s district in Los Angeles. In 2010, her district had a self-response rate of 68.6%. Now with the one-month cut-off and the ending of household outreach nearly two weeks early in some areas, her district is now just at 60.1%.

“We cannot let them erase us,” Barragán wrote

But it wasn’t long ago that Trump tried to completely derail this year’s census.

The Trump administration has decided to print the 2020 census forms without a citizenship question, and the printer has been told to start the printing process, Justice Department spokesperson Kelly Laco confirms to NPR.

The move came shortly after the Supreme Court ruled to keep the question off census forms for now and just a day after printing was scheduled to begin for 1.5 billion paper forms, letters, and other mailings.

President Trump had said he wanted to delay the constitutionally mandated headcount to give the Supreme Court a chance to issue a more “decisive” ruling on whether the administration could add the question, “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” A majority of the justices found that the administration’s use of the Voting Rights Act to justify the question “seems to have been contrived.”

But according to Trump, all of that info from his own administration is fake news.

President Trump had tweeted that his own Commerce Secretary’s statement, suggesting there would not be pushback on the Supreme Court’s decision to leave a citizenship question out of the census, was “FAKE.”

Here’s his own Tweet about the #fakenews:

CREDIT: @REALDONALDTRUMP / TWITTER

The saga to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census and the emerging divisions within the Trump administration to its implementation follow a months-long court battle that ultimately ended up with a narrow Supreme Court victory for opponents of the question.

Though many on Twitter were already fact-checking the President using statements from his own administration.

CREDIT: @KYLEGRIFFIN1 / TWITTER

I mean if they’ve already started printing the forms, according to numerous administration officials, what could the President be talking about?

Many speculate he’s just trying to position himself as a fighter among his supporters so they think he’s doing all he can to get the citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

All this confusion comes on the heels of a Supreme Court decision that ruled the Trump administration wasn’t being forthcoming about its real reason for wanting to ask the citizenship question.

CREDIT: @NINATOTENBERG / TWITTER

The Supreme Court left the citizenship question — “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” — blocked from the 2020 census for now, in part because of the government’s explanation for why it added it in the first place.

However, opponents of the question, who have worked for more than a year to get it removed, are claiming victory.

The majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, said the court “cannot ignore the disconnect between the decision made and the explanation given” by the Trump administration.

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