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A Democratic Illinois State Senator Is Facing Backlash From Both Sides Over A Simulated Trump Assassination At A Fundraiser

Politics have become increasingly divisive since the election of President Trump. People are angered by what they see and hear on TV and the anger, some say fueled by the president, is leading to violence targeting minority groups. The latest low point in American politics comes from Illinois State Senator Martin Sandoval and shocking photos from a recent fundraiser depicting a simulated assassination.

Photos from Illinois State Senator Martin Sandoval is the middle of a firestorm following a recent fundraiser.

Credit: @MarkMaxwellTV / Twitter

The fundraiser, hosted over the weekend, included a moment when someone staged a simulated assassination of President Trump using a fake assault weapon. The fake president was wearing a mariachi outfit and was acting as if he had been shot in the chest.

“The incident that took place is unacceptable,” Sen. Sandoval said, according to WCIA. “I don’t condone violence toward the President or anyone else. I apologize that something like this happened at my event.”

The photos, just weeks after shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas, are sparking outrage from both sides of the political spectrum.

Credit: @MarkMaxwellTV / Twitter

“As our nation grapples with the epidemic of gun violence, purposely pointing a fake gun at anyone is insensitive and wrong,” Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement. “I condemn actions like the ones displayed in the pictures because they lack the civility our politics demands.”

“The apology from Sen. Sandoval for the detestable pictures from his event depicting an assassination of President Trump is too little, too late,” said Illinois Republican Party chairman Tim Schneider, according to the New York Post. “Dangerous imagery like this will be condemned and seen as inappropriate by people of sound mind; however, a mentally unstable individual who wants to harm President Trump might find them as an inspiration. It’s inexcusable for an elected official to allow the promotion of violence in any way. If the individual pictured is a staffer or volunteer, they should be terminated immediately.”

People took to Twitter to share their own disapproval of the senator’s actions.

Credit: @thebwethington / Twitter

The images are stirring controversy because of their distasteful nature. It has caused a storm on Twitter with Trump’s top aide Kellyanne Conway weighing in tweeting that “Every Democrat should be asked if they support or disavow this.”

People are getting tired of the hateful and dangerous rhetoric from the president and don’t want to see other elected officials following his lead.

Credit: @nola3229 / Twitter

Trump’s rhetoric has been tied to an increase in hate crimes against minorities. Most recently, the same rhetoric used by the White House was included in the manifesto by the El Paso shooter. The shooter went to El Paso with the mission to kill as many Mexicans as he could.

Some are calling out the senator but also the hypocrisy with the right-wing and their treatment of President Obama.

Credit: @axiomatic13 / Twitter

The years after President Obama was first elected were filled with Conservative and Republican voters and politicians spewing racist and hateful words. The most racist moment was the birther movement questioning Obama’s citizenship, which was led by Trump.

Some think people on the right have forgotten how the right hanged and burned effigies of President Obama.

Credit: @4everNeverTrump / Twitter

No one is condoning the actions of Sen. Sandoval. However, this behavior is like a page out of the Tea Party and the Republican Party playbook. Obama’s election showed the ugly underbelly of the American political system and it seems to be continuing under President Trump.

A couple of Twitter users are asking for their politicians to do better and be better.

Credit: @whitneydevlin / Twitter

There’s a common saying that says, “Never wrestle with a pig in mud. You’ll both get dirty but the pig will love it.”

READ: After The El Paso Shooting, Julián Castro Releases Ad Tying Trump’s Rhetoric To The Deadly Massacre Targeting Latinos

Recreational Marijuana Will Soon Be Legal In Illinois But Immigrants Are Being Warned To Keep Away From It

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Recreational Marijuana Will Soon Be Legal In Illinois But Immigrants Are Being Warned To Keep Away From It

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This summer, Illinois became the first state to legalize recreational cannabis use through a state legislator when the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act was passed by Governor J.B. Pritzker in May. However, not everyone will be able to benefit from the new law. Advocates are warning immigrants to stay away from consuming or working in the marijuana industry because of small legality that could reflect poorly on their cases.

While states have been legalizing marijuana, it is still illegal federally. An immigrant, undocumented or otherwise, can freely use the herb in Illinois, but should they own up to it, they would be admitting to breaking federal law. Illinois is the 11th state in the U.S. to legalize recreational marijuana use and the new law will go into effect in January. 

Advocates want to protect immigrants from hurting their cases — as fair as the situation is.

Credit: Pixabay

“Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t know about these consequences,” Mony Ruiz-Velasco, executive director of PASO West Suburban Action Project told the Chicago Tribune. “Just admitting use makes you a potential target for deportation. So you don’t have to have a criminal arrest or conviction, you just have to admit to use.” 

Ruis-Velasco is also warning immigrants who live in mixed-status households to stay away from the industry altogether. Even if a citizen in the household works in the industry, it could reflect poorly on an undocumented family member. 

The issue is not specific to Illinois immigrants either, states, where cannabis is legal, have been affected tremendously by the incompatibilities between the state and federal laws, along with the Trump administration’s hardline immigration policies. 

Immigrants around the country in states where marijuana is legal are seeing threats to their status.

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“Even though the state legalizes it, under federal law, the immigration consequences of drug use (are) … extremely harsh,” Colorado attorney Aaron Hall said. “So we’ve seen people who purchase marijuana at the dispensary in good faith and later come back and it leads to the denial of permanent residency.”

Denver, Colorado mayor Michael Hancock even penned a letter pleading to U.S. Attorney General William Bar to ease the restrictions where state’s have legalized the substance.

“Denver understands the need for federal laws and regulations regarding citizenship and immigration, but we are seeing the heartbreaking effects that those federal laws and regulations are having on our residents,” Hancock wrote. “However, under current federal policy, lawful, permanent residents like Denver residents I have met with are being denied naturalization and may lose their legal status based on their lawful employment in the cannabis industry.”

ICE has remained strident about not making any concessions for immigrants caught in the unusual predicament. 

“ICE continues to pursue foreign-born nationals convicted of drug-related offenses by local and state law enforcement,” the agency told the Chicago Tribune

Kathleen Vannucci, an attorney who is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said she has already seen cases where immigrants were denied citizenship because they admitted to marijuana use or employment in the cannabis industry in states where it is legal. In Washington, immigrants have been denied on the basis that they have bad “moral character” which requires them to wait five years before applying for citizenship again. 

Some low-level cannabis workers can be accused of drug trafficking with the way the laws are written. ICE’s official marijuana policy, issued in April, makes its stance clear.

“The policy guidance also clarifies that an applicant (for citizenship) who is involved in certain marijuana-related activities may lack good moral character if found to have violated federal law, even if such activity has been decriminalized under applicable state laws,” the policy states. 

Advocates are trying to figure out the best course of action to protect immigrants, until then their advice is to stay away from the drug.

In April, when ICE’s marijuana policy was announced Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) began advising non-citizens to, “never leave the house carrying marijuana or paraphernalia, a medical marijuana card, or wearing clothing with marijuana imagery on it.” 

The organization also warned non-citizens to keep anything cannabis-related off of their phones and social media since those things might be monitored too. 

The legalization of marijuana is largely a way to resolve the criminal justice issues caused by the mass incarceration of nonviolent drug offenders. Moreover, nonwhites and whites use marijuana at roughly the same rates while the former group is incarcerated for the behavior far more frequently. Legalization’s new industry has also been shown to stimulate local economies by hundreds of millions of dollars. 

“I think that this is a complicated area of law as we have explained,” Ruiz-Velasco said. “I do think that there wasn’t enough information out there (when the legalization bill was being considered in Illinois). But we are trying to work with legislatures now and the government to try to make sure there is something that can be done to reduce the harm that will come.”

Two Housekeepers Exposed Trump’s Hotels For Hiring Undocumented Immigrants

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Two Housekeepers Exposed Trump’s Hotels For Hiring Undocumented Immigrants

Sandra Diaz

Two of Donald Trump’s former personal housekeepers exposed the president’s company Trump Organization, which he still owns, as employing dozens of undocumented immigrants. Sandra Diaz and Victorina Morales told reporters that many of Trump’s properties employ undocumented workers for exploitatively low pay and long hours.

The Washington Post spoke with 48 undocumented immigrants who worked at 11 of Donald Trump’s hotels and resorts in Florida, New Jersey, and Virginia. 

Diaz and Morales felt compelled to speak, as Trump’s damning rhetoric against undocumented immigrants became public discourse.

“How can you know something so big, how someone — who goes on national television and says something — and you know it’s not true,” Diaz said. “Whether it’s the president or not, you have the responsibility to say no. To pass through this barrier of fear and say no.”

When Trump began espousing increasingly virulent views on Latinxs and immigrants, the undocumented workers at his hotels and resorts began to feel the ire at work.

“The worry among the kitchen staff at BLT Prime, the hotel’s restaurant, was serious enough that a week before Trump took office, undocumented employees met with a manager to say they could not continue to come to work because they didn’t have legal documents and feared deportation,” according to the Washington Post

Trump’s referrals to Mexicans as rapists and criminals and the implication of a Latinx invasion left his employees apprehensive. The golf-playing clientele of Trump’s resorts would take on the president’s points of view when they interacted with the undocumented staff. 

“You’re still here? How come we can’t get rid of you? I’m going to call Trump, you [expletive] Mexican,” Gabriel Juarez, a former head waiter at one of Trump’s New York golf clubs, said a member told him.

Trump, their own employer was advocating for policies that he himself was violating and that was putting their lives at risk. Some employees even started to distance themselves because of the politically hostile environment. 

“I didn’t feel comfortable working over there. That atmosphere. A lot of conservative people talking about abortion or gay marriage,” said the anonymous former employee. “I got kind of tired of all these anti-immigration [events].”

Morales says she became afraid to work there because she feared violence.

The intensity increased with housekeepers noticing both hostilities towards immigrants and Trump. They found anti-Trump messaging vandalizing the mirrors of the men’s locker room. In one instance, there was even a hanged Trump doll in a stall. 

“It made me afraid,” Morales said. “We began to wonder: What if someone comes and puts a bomb in here?”

Morales who migrated from Guatemala didn’t want to stand up against her boss who was now the most powerful man in the United States, but she could see how quickly and how badly things could be. 

While Diaz was able to become a permanent resident, Morales has not. Despite efforts from a lawyer to protect Morales and other undocumented employees from being deported because they were material witnesses in a possible federal crime, they were not granted protected status. With little other options, the two turned to the press. 

No one has been deported because of the two housekeepers, yet many of the undocumented workers who are still employed by Trump resent the pair. When the news broke there was a company-wide audit of employees. Trump Organization fired at least 18 people because of their immigration status, workers who spoke to the Washington Post said it was closer to 30 or 40. 

“I also worked there a long time without papers but the most incredible thing is to see how people, when they have papers, forget how they got here,” Antonio Zuñiga, a former Trump employee, wrote on Facebook. “I’m sorry but people like you Doña Sandra have forgotten their principles.”

Trump all but blanketly admits that his properties employ undocumented immigrants.

“Well, that I don’t know. Because I don’t run it,” Trump told reporters when asked if Trump Organization employed undocumented immigrants in July. “But I would say this: Probably every club in the United States has that, because it seems to me, from what I understand, a way that people did business.”

However, in the article many of the undocumented workers said they personally met Trump. When the Washington Post reached out for comment about the allegations from the workers, the press secretary vaguely denied all of the claims. 

“The assertions made for this story are not only false, they are a disgusting attempt at invading the privacy of the First Family,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told the Washington Post. “This is not journalism — it is fabricated tabloid trash.”

Morales has since applied for asylum in the United States. She and Diaz are actively mobilizing against Trump’s re-election campaign. 

“We are here to show our faces not just for ourselves, but for the 11 million [undocumented] immigrants who are here in the country,” Morales said at a Trump rally in Orlando, Florida.