Things That Matter

Betsy DeVos Says Teachers And Principals Can Report Undocumented Students To ICE

Betsy DeVos said schools should be able to report undocumented kids to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) if they’re inclined to.

DeVos testified before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on May 22. During that conversation, she was asked if principals and teachers should report undocumented students or families to ICE, NBC reports.

“I think that’s a school decision, it’s a local community decision,” DeVos said, according to NBC. “And again, I refer to the fact that we have laws and we also are compassionate, and I urge this body to do its job and address and clarify where there is confusion around this.”

New York Democrat Rep. Adriano Espaillat addressed DeVos by telling her that immigration law is a federal law, and cannot be applied on a local level.

“Let me just remind madam chair that immigration law is federal law. It’s not local law,” Espaillat said, according to NBC. “You cannot have immigration law for one state be different than for another state. It applies to everybody across the country.”

He also listed several instances in which parents have been taken away by ICE right in front of their children at school. He asked her what she thought about that and she said that “people must follow the law of the land.”

Espaillat later said that DeVos is a “clear and present danger” and should resign.

In an op-ed for The Hill, Espaillat cited a policy that states U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), ICE, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) each have issued and implemented policies concerning enforcement actions at or focused on sensitive locations which include schools and churches.

“The goal of the policy put in place by ICE is to ‘ensure that these enforcement actions do not occur at nor are focused on sensitive locations such as schools…’ This policy, signed on Oct. 24, 2011, continues to remain in effect, guaranteeing our students and their families the right to school drop off, school attendance, and school pickup without fear of being detained or forced into deportation proceedings.”

People on social media criticized DeVos’s answers during her hearing before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told Politico that the fact that DeVos is undermining the policy in place and is giving schools power that they are not entitled to.

“The suggestion that individual schools should have discretion to determine if and when to report undocumented students flies in the face of well-settled and long-standing Supreme Court precedent which makes clear that no student should be denied the right to a public education based on their immigration status,” Clarke said, adding that her words may have “a chilling effect on families seeking to attend and enroll in our public schools, and invite mischief from schools across the country.”


READ: LAUSD Just Made It Harder For ICE To Walk Onto Their School Campuses

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Prince Harry Says Being Married to Meghan Markle Taught Him About Unconscious Bias: ‘I Had No Idea it Existed’

Things That Matter

Prince Harry Says Being Married to Meghan Markle Taught Him About Unconscious Bias: ‘I Had No Idea it Existed’

Photo by Rosa Woods – Pool/Getty Images

Prince Harry continues to shed his upper crust image by tackling important social issues head-on. On Monday, the Duke of Sussex sat down with UK Black Lives Matter activist Patrick Hutchinson for a conversation with GQ. In the conversation, Prince Harry admitted that he “had no idea” unconscious bias existed before he experienced it firsthand through the treatment of his wife, Meghan Markle.

The GQ conversation focused on hot-button topics like structural racism, unconscious bias, and the responsibility of white people to educate themselves on the aforementioned topics.

Prince Harry started the conversation of by commending Hutchinson for his activist worth and adding that there’s still “lots of work to do” when it comes to dismantling racism worldwide. The conversation turned personal when the two began to discuss unconscious bias, with Hutchinson broaching the subject.

“There are a lot of people who either don’t think that [racism] exists or they don’t want change and they’re fighting against it. And I don’t know what these people are afraid of,” said Hutchinson.

Prince Harry became personal, revealing that his background as the literal Prince of England had made him ignorant to the widespread nature of racism before.

“Unconscious bias… having the upbringing and the education that I had, I had no idea what it was. I had no idea it existed.” He then admitted: “Sad as it is to say, it took me many, many years to realize it [existed], especially then living a day or a week in my wife [Meghan]’s shoes.”

Since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle started dating in 2016, Markle has been on the receiving end of vicious media attacks–many of them fueled by racism.

At the time, Prince Harry condemned the British press for their treatment of Markle. He released a statement decrying the “racial undertones of comment pieces” and the “outright sexism and racism of social media trolls” that Markle has to deal with. Recently, Meghan spoke about the hate her and Harry receive for being in an interracial marriage.

Prince Harry described unconscious bias to Hutchinson as largely beyond people’s control, but worth addressing once you’re aware of it. “No one’s blaming anybody,” Prince Harry said.

“You can’t really point fingers, especially when it comes to unconscious bias. But once you realize or you feel a little bit uncomfortable, then the onus is on you to go out and educate yourself, because ignorance is no longer an excuse.”

Both Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been on the receiving end of criticism for their vocal support of the Black Lives Matter movement and their video campaigns urging people to vote in the upcoming election.

About dismantling structural racism, Prince Harry said, “It’s going to take every single one of us to really change things and anyone that’s pushing against it really needs to take a long, hard look at themselves in the mirror.”

He continued: “This isn’t black versus white…This is a global movement. The train has left the station. If you’re not on it now, then get on it because there’s so much that we can do.”

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Amy Coney Barrett Has Refused To Acknowledge That Systematic Racism Exists

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Amy Coney Barrett Has Refused To Acknowledge That Systematic Racism Exists

Pool / Getty

We know LGBTQ rights, birth control, and race are under threat as Amy Coney Barrett as President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. We know that that conservative judge has been evasive in answering comments about her beliefs which, if appointed, would steer her in making fundamental decisions that could affect American citizens’ lives for decades. Still, though we knew things are bound to go sideways as most things under the Trump administration have, we didn’t realize that an educated woman living in today’s world would refuse to acknowledge a basic societal fact: that “systemic racism” exists in the United States.

In written responses submitted Tuesday night, Barrett repeated her refusal to say whether “systemic racism” exists in our country.

After Sen. Mazie Hirono, Democrat of Hawaii asked her to explain her view of the existence of “systemic racism” in the United States, Barret refused the opportunity to acknowledge its existence.

“At the hearing, you acknowledged that racism persists in our country, but you refused to answer where there is systemic racism, calling it a ‘policy question.’ You also refused to answer other questions based on your view that they are ‘policy questions,’” Hirono wrote in his questions. “What makes a statement a policy question rather than a question of fact?”

“I believe that racism persists in our country, but as I explained at the hearing, whether there is ‘systemic racism’ is a public policy question of substantial controversy, as evidenced by the disagreement among senators on this very question during the hearing,” Barrett replied. “As a sitting judge and judicial nominee, it would be inappropriate for me to offer an opinion on the matter.”

Barrett’s approach to the question is not totally uncommon. Previous Supreme Court nominees have avoided answering questions concerning precedent. Barrett clung to the approach during her confirmation hearing last week while sitting before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Barrett used this as a standard and repeatedly cited it as a reason for dodging questions.

Systemic racism exists within our country without question.

It persists in our academic settings, workplaces, as well as in our court and judicial system. The fact is that when a certain group dominates a majority of positions of decision-making power, others struggle to exist and get by let alone get ahead. For generations and right now, white people have been the dominating group with decision-making power and people of color have suffered as a result. Acknowledgment is a vital part of making this change. Particularly from our leaders.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Barrett’s confirmation on Thursday afternoon.

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