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80+ lawmakers demand Trump rescind ‘cruel, senseless’ plan to force international students out of US

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“ICE’s arbitrary new policy is irrational and xenophobic, and risks the health of students, faculty, and staff.”

More than 80 members of Congress late Thursday demanded that the Trump administration immediately withdraw a “cruel, senseless, and xenophobic” directive that would strip international college students of their visas to study in the U.S. if their fall coursework is moved entirely online due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Issued earlier this week by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the measure could affect hundreds of thousands of students whose universities have paused in-person classes to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Under the new rule, students currently out of the country would be denied visas to enter the U.S. if their universities are offering only in-person classes and students already in the country would be required to leave or face deportation.

“More than 11,000 students in the Seattle-area alone could be impacted by the Trump administration’s newest xenophobic attack. As someone who was on a student visa, I’m fighting back.”
—Rep. Pramila Jayapal

The directive was swiftly met with legal challenges from Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the state of California.

In their letter (pdf) Thursday, House and Senate lawmakers raised concern that “ICE’s guidance is motivated not by public health considerations, but rather by animus toward immigrants, by a goal of forcing schools to reopen even as Covid-19 cases are rising, and by a desire to create an illusion of normalcy during this unprecedented public health emergency.”

The letter was signed by dozens of prominent members of Congress, including Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

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The lawmakers condemned the Trump administration over what they described as an attempt to “use noncitizens as political pawns in order to financially coerce colleges and universities to reopen campuses this fall, despite what is best for public health.”

“ICE’s arbitrary new policy is irrational and xenophobic, and risks the health of students, faculty, and staff,” the lawmakers wrote. “We urge you to rescind this proposed policy immediately and to collaborate productively with institutions of higher education to enable a smooth start to the academic year for all students.”

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The letter came amid President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ aggressive push to resume in-person classes across the U.S. in the fall despite warnings from teachers, parents, and public health experts that doing so without a concrete safety plan in place could endanger students and faculty.

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“If Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos have proven anything over the past four years, it’s that they do not care about students,” Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association, said in a statement Tuesday. “They have zero credibility for how to best support students, and how to re-open classrooms safely.”


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COVID-19

What we know so far about COVID-19 and children

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President Donald Trump has been censored on Facebook and Twitter after saying children are "almost immune" from COVID-19. What do the facts say?

We know for sure children are less likely to fall seriously ill from the coronavirus, and emerging evidence suggests they're less likely to be infected too.

What's less clear is how much they spread the virus once infected.

- Children rarely become seriously ill -

Under-18s have accounted for just two percent of hospitalized COVID-19 cases and less than 0.1 percent of all deaths in the United States, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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2020 Election

Trump’s latest attack on Joe Biden is stunningly delusional — even for him

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Few ever accuse President Donald Trump of subtlety. But in a new speech in Cleveland on Thursday, he let loose with a particularly wild rant against his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, that was over-the-top, even for him.

It’s worth just quoting in full:

He’s following the radical left agenda. Take away your guns. Destroy your Second Amendment. No religion! No anything! Hurt the Bible! Hurt God! He’s against God! He’s against guns! He’s against energy, our kind of energy. Uh, I don’t think he’s going to do too well in Ohio.

Many people pointed out that there’s much more evidence that Biden is a committed Christian than there is for Trump. But almost that seems to miss several key points about how wild this is:

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Angst-ridden Republicans should have acted when Trump put his reelection above national security concerns: conservative columnist

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Writing in the Washington Post this Thursday, columnist Jennifer Rubin says that Senate Republicans are in serious trouble, especially in light of the stimulus bill they rolled out this week.

According to Rubin, the Senate GOP is in dire straits because "they have allowed the anti-government, anti-science Trump sycophants to disclaim any interest in the bill, thereby handing the reins to Democrats."

Rubin writes that some Republicans saying they want to see essential workers being taken care of in the bill are speaking up too late. "If only they they had some power in February to remove the unfit and corrupt president from office, instead of leaving him there to purge witnesses from his administration, seek vengeance on foes, force out inspectors general and botch the response to the coronavirus," Rubin writes.

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