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?
Atoa Fox and Nehemiah McFarlin were accused of robbing a bank.
In December 2016, two Idaho State University football players were driving through Box Elder County, headed home to California on Christmas break when Utah police arrested and jailed them for allegedly robbing a bank. A crime they didn't commit.
Atoa Fox and Nehemiah McFarlin filed a lawsuit last week alleging false arrest, illegal search and seizure and excessive force.
Officers put on modified duty, while Jazmine Headley's one-year-old son has bruising from the struggle with police.
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced that Jazmine Headley, age 23, would not face charges related to her Friday arrest, and called for her immediate release. Justice Craig S. Walker of the State Supreme Court ordered her release.
"There's no justification for it," said a student's parent.
Stephanie Dash was appalled by the treatment she received from Deputy Rhonda Casillas while caring for her patient.
Brown was a teen when she said she killed a white man in fear for her life.
A recent ruling in the case of Cyntoia Brown, a victim of sex trafficking sentenced to life for killing a man who picked her up for sex when she was a teen, is sparking outrage. The Tennessee Supreme Court has said Brown must serve at least 51 years in prison before she could be released.
"We are tired of the abuse, the insults, the way he talks about us when he knows that we are here helping him make money," said a woman working at Trump National Golf Club.
As President Trump sends troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to "defend" (white) America against the caravans of Brown people and bar some from asylum in the U.S., the history of hiring undocumented workers at his properties in New Jersey and Florida continues to come to light.
Trump has a problem with undocumented immigrants seeking asylum, but not when they are hired to wash his clothes or make his bed.
The Trump administration is creating a narrative that refugees escaping violence and poverty in Central America and seeking asylum are dangerous.
Victorina Morales, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, reportedly crossed the border in 1999 and has worked at the at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J, since 2013, The New York Times reported Thursday.
According to a spokesperson for his business organization, she would be one of tens of thousands of people to be employed by Trump, and would be terminated if she was undocumented. Sandra Diaz, 46, from Costa Rica was another.
Both Morales and Diaz, during their stints, washed the Trump family's clothes in a special detergent, made beds and dusted.
"There are many people without papers," said Ms. Diaz, who said she witnessed several people being hired whom she knew to be undocumented.
Morales was initially pleased with her job because she was paid and tipped well, often times by Trump. But her sentiments changed when he ran for president.
"I'm tired of being humiliated and treated like a stupid person," she said in Spanish during a brief interview. "We're just immigrants who don't have papers."
During his campaign in 2016, when he referred to Mexicans as rapists and criminals, he promised to mandate E-Verify, a federal tool to verify employment eligibility, and requested $23 million in his 2019 budget proposal to expand the program for nationwide use. He also bragged when a new Trump hotel opened in Washington, "We didn't have one illegal immigrant on the job."
"The president has been half-serious about stopping illegal immigration by not taking away the jobs magnet," said Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, a group pushing to reduce immigration. Beck said Trump has "let us down in his promise to help American workers" because he hasn't "put his shoulder behind a mandatory E-Verify bill."
Trump signed a "Buy American, Hire American" executive order in 2017 restricting visas, but his Mar-a-Lago golf club also has a history of applying for H-2B visas for hundreds of immigrant workers. The H-2B visa is for "temporary non-agricultural workers."
Morales reports being driven to work by staff to hide the fact that she couldn't legally drive, and that after she presented fake papers for work, she was given another set of fake papers by the Trump Organization to keep her employed there.
Morales had a front row seat on the job to Trump meetings as she was cleaning his villa, even when potential cabinet members were interviewed and when he met with the White House chief of staff.
But that didn't come without experiencing verbal abuse from Trump's staff.
Her attorney Anibal Romero said in a statement Thursday that his clients were called racial epithets and threatened with deportation by a supervisor that ironically, "had employed them despite knowing their undocumented status and even provided them with forged documents."
"We are tired of the abuse, the insults, the way he talks about us when he knows that we are here helping him make money," she told the NY Times. "We sweat it out to attend to his every need and have to put up with his humiliation."
Reader Question: Do we need any more proof that he's a liar about everything?
Will Amendment 4 survive?
Republicans in Florida are trying to obstruct official government business by attempting to undermine the implementations of restoring voting rights to 1.4 million former felons. This would be the largest expansion of voting rights in decades.
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The Academy gave Hart the ultimatum to apologize or step down over past homophobic tweets. But the Academy has its own issues it needs to face.
Comedian Kevin Hart tweeted on Tuesday that being selected to host the 2019 Oscars was the "opportunity of a lifetime." On Friday, Hart said that he was stepping down over past anti-gay tweets.