Sen. Kamala Harris Questions Acting Head of ICE Who Called Democrats 'NeoKlanist' Party
"You're sorry because the words caused offense," Harris said to Ronald Vitiello. "So would you not be sorry if no one was offended by your words?"
Ronald Vitiello, President Trump's nominee to run Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), described the Democratic Party as "NeoKlanist," and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) confronted him about his statement.
At Vitiello's confirmation hearing with the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Thursday, Harris questioned him on why he sent a tweet in 2015 likening Democrats to the Ku Klux Klan.
"You're sorry because the words caused offense," Harris said to Vitiello. "So would you not be sorry if no one was offended by your words?"
"No, it was wrong to do," he answered.
"Why was it wrong?" Harris asked.
"Because those are offensive words," Vitiello responded.
"Why are they offensive?" she asked.
"Because they have history in this country. I honestly did not mean it in that way," he said.
The senator then inquired whether or not he was aware of the KKK's history in the country.
Vitiello said the KKK was a domestic terrorist group as "they tried to use fear and force to change political environment."
Harris asked: "And what was the motivation for the use of fear and force?"
"It was based on race and ethnicity," Vitiello responded.
"Are you aware of the perception of many about how the power and the discretion at ICE is being used to enforce the laws?" Harris asked. "And, do you see any parallels?"
"I see no perception that puts ICE in the same category as the KKK," Vitiello answered. "Is that what you're asking me?"
Harris said she was only specifically asking him about a perception of ICE that exists.
"Are you aware of the perception that ICE is administering its power in a way that is causing fear and intimation particularly among immigrants? And specifically from immigrants coming from Mexico and Central America?"
In response to critics saying Harris was comparing ICE to the KKK, her spokesperson said, "'No, she was not," and pointed to a moment from the hearing when Harris said "the vast majority of the men and women who work in the agency do a noble and good job,'" according to The Hill.
Vitiello is a career border control agent, starting with ICE in 1985. He has enjoyed a career filled with squashing the American dream for more than 2,500 immigrant families. Until June, he served as CBP's acting deputy commissioner and the head of Border Patrol, a CBP agency. This past Thursday, he was appointed acting ICE director by Trump.
Vitiello is getting stiff opposition from Immigrant advocates and the Women's Refugee Commission.
Director Michelle Brane recently tweeted, "This is the guy who managed CBP, the agents that separated kids from their parents, the agents who told parents they were taking their child to give them a bath, the agents who did not keep track of who they were separating." She added, "Not qualified to run anything."
Although Vitiello admitted he was surprised by the backlash generated by the family separation policy, he and the Trump Administration are planning to rollout another family separation policy that would force parents to choose between sending their kids to shelters or being detained together indefinitely.
This would serve as a loophole to avoid a court agreement that helps immigrant minors from being detained for more than 20 days.
When asked what he would do to avoid repeating the mistakes of the family separation crisis, his response was vague. He said officials should have been more communicative with the public about the process. No specifics or apology was given.
Vitiello is still awaiting confirmation from the Homeland Security Committee before going to the full Senate.
Reader Question: Do you agree with Sen. Harris' questions to Ronald Vitiello?
Christopher Paul Hasson's intended targets included Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Sen. Cory Booker and CNN's Don Lemon.
Authorities have arrested Christopher Paul Hasson, a 49-year-old coast guard lieutenant, who intended to conduct a mass killing.
Hasson is a self-proclaimed white nationalist who had a detailed plan to execute prominent Democratic politicians as well as several journalists from CNN and MSNBC. He devised his plan with inspiration from Anders Breivik, who successfully completed terrorist attacks in 2011 that killed 77 people in Norway.
In order to get prepared to carry out his mission, Hasson accumulated steroids and human growth hormone "to increase his ability to conduct attacks," as outlined in Breivik's manifesto.
According to court documents filed on Tuesday, Hasson intended "to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country."
Documents also state that "the defendant is a domestic terrorist, bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect governmental conduct."
A spokesman for the US Coast Guard Headquarters, Barry Lane stated, "An active duty Coast Guard member, stationed at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., was arrested last week on illegal weapons and drug charges as a result of an ongoing investigation led by the Coast Guard Investigative Service, in cooperation with the FBI and Department of Justice."
Because this is an open investigation, the Coast Guard has no further details at this time.
While the master plan was to "kill almost every last person on the earth," his current hit list consisted of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of New York, Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Kamala Harris of California, as well as former Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas. Journalists on the list included CNN's Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo and Van Jones and MSNBC's Chris Hayes, Ari Melber and Joe Scarborough.
When law enforcement agents searched Hasson's house, they found 15 guns and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition. Hasson is scheduled to appear in Court on Thursday for a hearing.
Proud Boys is a far-right, extremist group, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
On Monday, President Trump gave a speech in Miami to his supporters, and a member of the Proud Boys — who wore a "Roger Stone Did Nothing Wrong!" T-shirt — sat in a prime spot behind him.
Ana Alvarez, a substitute teacher, asked the student why he continues to live in the U.S., "if it's so bad here."
"I'm a Christian evangelical, I grew up in the Christian faith, and one of the most clear public policies that you're supposed to engage in as a just society is fairness toward the strangers, immigrants," Barber said.
The NAACP and Rev. Dr. William Barber called out evangelical Christians who back President Donald Trump's family separation policy, and called the policy racist.
"We see this happening," Barber said, "and this attack on children — we know it's brown children, it wouldn't be happening if it wasn't brown children at the southern border — is white supremacy, white nationalism, being implemented in our public policy right in front of our faces."
"I will take your photo and send it to ICE. You don't belong here," said the attacker.
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Williams is taking a stand to prevent the mistreatment of women of color by law enforcement.
Georgia State Sen. Nikema Williams, the first Black woman elected to lead the state's Democratic party, was jailed last year for just standing among protesters at the state Capitol. Williams is now taking a stand to prevent the mistreatment of women of color by law enforcement.