GOP Lawmaker Wants To Pay For Trump’s Wall With Cash Taken From Innocent People

During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly vowed to build a “big, beautiful wall” on the U.S.-Mexico border ― and to make Mexico pay for it.

Reality set in quickly after Trump became president. Neither Mexico nor U.S. taxpayers appear interested in putting up the money, which has left Republican lawmakers in Congress and around the nation scrambling to find ways to finance the project.

On Thursday, Oklahoma state Rep. Bobby Cleveland (R) floated a novel idea: Build the wall using funds taken though civil asset forfeiture ― a controversial practice that allows police to permanently confiscate property they suspect is tied to crime and then funnel the money back to department coffers.

Because the property itself is supposedly “guilty” in these cases, cops can seize vehicles, jewelry, houses and, most commonly, cash, without ever charging the owner with a crime. In other words, they’re free to take property from legally innocent people.

Cleveland’s plan highlights a key divide in the raging debate over civil forfeiture. Supporters defend the practice as a crime-fighting tool that allows law enforcement to target the proceeds of illegal activity, even when they don’t have direct evidence of wrongdoing. If cops in Oklahoma pull over a car and find thousands of dollars in cash, for example, they can seize it as “drug money,” even if there’s no contraband in the car. The driver must then fight a difficult and often costly battle to prove that it came from a legal source. If he or she can’t, police will take the cash for good.

To people like Cleveland, civil forfeiture is all about giving law enforcement a weapon to crack down on Mexican cartels trafficking in Oklahoma.

“This money is drug money,” Cleveland said in a release. “The vast majority of it is either coming from Mexico or headed there. By redirecting this cash to construction efforts, Mexico will be paying for the wall just as promised.”

The basic premise ― make Mexican “criminals” pay to stop Mexican crime from coming into the U.S. ― sounds similar to a proposal Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced earlier this week. Cruz’s plan would fund the wall using assets seized from Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, the Mexican cartel boss extradited to the U.S. earlier this year.

While Cruz wants to use money taken through criminal forfeiture, dependent on Chapo’s conviction, Cleveland is proposing using money taken through civil forfeiture ― from people who have never been found guilty of a crime.

Critics of civil forfeiture say Cleveland’s plan drastically oversimplifies the issue. With such a direct financial incentive for police to seize property and such weak protections for property owners, opponents argue that officers routinely abuse the practice, ensnaring innocent people along with supposed Mexican drug dealers.

A 2015 analysis of civil forfeiture in Oklahoma also found that police disproportionately seize property from Hispanics, blacks and other racial or ethnic minorities, raising concerns that officers were engaging in racial profiling.

Last year, deputies in Muskogee County, Oklahoma, seized $53,000 from the manager of a Burmese Christian rock band in the belief that he was involved in the drug trade. After getting pro bono representation from the Institute for Justice, a libertarian public interest law firm that argues forfeiture should require a criminal conviction, the manager was able to recover the money, which included donations to an orphanage and money from the musical group’s ticket and merchandise sales. 

Citing the need to protect people’s due process and property rights, lawmakers in Oklahoma have been pushing to reform the state’s civil asset forfeiture laws. Progress has been minimal so far, and Cleveland’s plan suggests that many of these concerns are still falling on deaf ears. 

“However the money is spent, civil forfeiture is wrong,” said Robert Johnson, an attorney at the Institute for Justice, in an email to HuffPost. “Law enforcement takes money from innocent people, not convicted of any crime, and forces them to prove their own innocence to get the money back. That’s unconstitutional, regardless of whether the money is used for a margarita machine, a new car, or a border wall.”

Cleveland says he hopes to officially introduce his proposal before the end of the current legislative session.

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Salma Hayek’s Dogs Crashed A Wedding Over Cake And The Story Is Hilarious

Salma Hayek’s dogs won’t let anything get between them and their cake, not even a bride and groom.

The star stopped by “The Ellen Show” on Wednesday to discuss her new movie “How to Be a Latin Lover” and ended up revealing how her dogs’ love of cake has gotten her into trouble. 

Hayek told host Ellen DeGeneres that one of the “worst” incidents took place at a very luxurious hotel in the Bahamas that didn’t want her to bring her dogs. The actress eventually convinced them to let her and two of her rescued dogs stay, but one night 17-year-old Lupe and her sister weren’t where she expected them to be.

“One day, I arrive and they’re not there,” Hayek said, referencing her dogs. “And then I hear this screaming and big commotion. And I have to tell you that Lupe loves cake more than anything in the world. You don’t know how many birthday parties were ruined … and I was like, ‘Oh, my god, this sounds like a cake.’” 

After following the screams, Hayek found her dogs crashing a “beautiful wedding” and feasting on the cake. 

“I see the beautiful wedding cake in a little table with two chairs for the bride and the groom,” she said. “Instead of the bride and the groom, there is Lupe and Angie sitting perfectly.”

Watch Hayek describe the scene and how she got her cake-loving dogs to behave in the clip above. 

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Texas GOP Poised To Get The Immigration Crackdown They’ve Wanted For Years

AUSTIN, Texas ― The Texas House of Representatives approved a bill on Thursday that would put a statewide ban on “sanctuary” policies aimed at forcing local law enforcement to cooperate with deportation efforts by threatening officials with jail time, fines and losing their jobs. If the House version becomes law, it would also allow police to question the immigration status of anyone they stop ― even children.

The bill will have to be reconciled with a version passed by the Senate in February before it goes to Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk, where it is almost certain to get a signature.

The bill seeks to ban “sanctuary” policies by requiring local law enforcement to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This would mean sharing information and detaining people police would otherwise release upon the agency’s request. 

If the bill goes into law, jurisdictions that don’t comply will lose state funds and officials ― both within law enforcement and outside it ― could be charged with a misdemeanor. They could also be subject to fines and removed from office. That includes campus police, despite the fact that Texas also has a law on the books allowing undocumented immigrants to qualify for in-state tuition.

Democratic legislators ― who have staunchly fought efforts like these for years ― wore orange ribbons on their lapels to show their opposition and delayed the vote for some 16 hours on Wednesday by filing a flurry of more than 100 amendments. But as the debate creeped into the early morning hours, Republican lawmakers passed a motion to kill dozens of adjustments that had yet to be discussed.

They were unable to block amendments that made the bill harsher than the one passed out of committee. One change was the provision allowing local police to ask people their immigration status, even during routine traffic stops, drawing comparisons from opponents to Arizona’s controversial SB1070.  This would also include children ― Republicans voted down an amendment to apply the law only to adults.

If your goal was to use immigrants for political gain, you have succeeded
Texas state Rep. Rafael Anchia

“Sanctuary” policies vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but the term is most often applies to jurisdictions that decline to hold people for ICE if it would otherwise release them because their charges were dropped or they were granted bond.

They have a variety of reasons: it costs money to detain people for extra time, hurts police-community relations and risks legal challenges because some courts have ruled holding people on ICE detainers alone is unconstitutional. On Tuesday, a federal judge blocked President Donald Trump’s executive order also meant to force “sanctuary cities” to work with ICE, ruling it was likely unconstitutional.

The only Texas jurisdiction with a formal sanctuary policy limiting ICE detainers is Travis County, which includes the state capital city of Austin. Officials there dispute that they’re breaking the law, but Gov. Abbott stripped the county of some $1.5 million in state funds in retaliation. Other jurisdictions would likely be at risk as well; Houston, for example, bars its officers from asking about immigration status because officials say it improves their ability to work with the community.

Immigrant rights advocates, many undocumented themselves, flooded the Texas Capitol Wednesday to show their opposition to the bill. They carried voter registration applications with them, vowing to make Republicans suffer at the ballot box if they pass the bill. Austin City Councilman Greg Casar derided the bill as a “racist” attack on Hispanics and immigrants and said opponents will immediately challenge the law in the courts. “This fight is not over,” Casar told a crowd gathered for a vigil under the capitol rotunda.

A 9-year-old girl, who had testified against the bill when it was debated in committee, told the same crowd that it was ridiculous that children should be pressed into lobbying on behalf of her undocumented parents. “Be ashamed of yourselves,” she said of the Texas conservatives who pushed the law.

But Republican legislators here have repeatedly ignored the entreaties of both immigrant rights groups and some of the state’s top law enforcement officials to abandon the bill. During committee hearings, sheriffs and police chiefs from several of the state’s largest cities told lawmakers that the bill would make their jobs harder and increase criminal activity by making immigrant communities distrustful of local police.

After Trump implemented harsher deportation policies, Houston saw a decline in Latinos reporting rape and domestic abuse, Police Chief Art Acevedo said earlier this month.

Texas Rep. Mary González (D-Clint) fell to tears during a speech to the House floor, as she told her colleagues the bill would make it harder for survivors of sexual assault like her to seek help from the police.

“If you ever had any friendship with me,” González said, according to The Texas Tribune, “this is the vote that measures that friendship.”

Before final passage, Texas state Rep. Rafael Anchia (D) told colleagues that he had trouble even looking at them after they moved forward with the bill the day before.

“If your goal was to use immigrants for political gain, you have succeeded,” Anchia said.

“If your goal was to strike terror in the hearts of immigrants so they go home, you succeeded. And if your goal was to win yesterday at all costs, you succeeded. As the vanquished in yesterday’s battle, I say congratulations, and I hope you’re satisfied.”

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This Kindergarten Teacher’s Students Can Dance Bachata Better Than Us

One Washington, D.C., teacher is passing on his love for salsa, bachata and more to his kindergarteners ― one dance step at a time. 

KIPP DC Promise Academy teacher Edwin Sorto, who is an experienced salsa dancer, and his classroom of “dancing minis” are viral sensations thanks to the videos he uploads to the Mr. Sorto’s Class Facebook page.

“They work incredibly hard at both academics and dance and they absolutely deserve the recognition,” Sorto told USA Today in an article published Wednesday. “They’re proud of what they do and love to see people’s reactions, comments, and likes on their videos. Their parents are also incredibly supportive. My kids are great, and this is just one more thing that keeps them engaged in school.”

There’s almost no musical genre too difficult for these kiddos, thanks to Sorto. They’ve mastered bachata …

salsa …. 

and merengue.

“It’s amazing the way they learn,” Sorto told Telemundo’s “¡Qué Noche! con Angélica y Raúl” last year. “The way they enjoy the music, just like we Latinos do.” 

As if that weren’t enough, Sorto is also teaching his students how to read in Spanish. “They’re only 5 but reading with confidence,” he wrote in the caption of a video of two students reading out loud. 

But these students’ claim to internet fame is certainly their sweet moves ― which go far beyond Latin genres.

“[I’m] now focused on building the next generation of dancers through my own students,” Sorto told USA Today.

Can we join in on these lessons? 

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No, ESPN’s Layoffs Aren’t A Result Of Its ‘Politicization’ Of Sports

ESPN’s decision to lay off as many as 100 people on Wednesday, while expected, set off rounds of media commentary about the company’s future. Some on the political right saw the layoffs as a symptom of a specific problem: what they perceive as ESPN’s “politicization of sports” and its “too liberal” political stances.

In this view, ESPN’s coverage of events like LGBTQ athletes coming out and Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest and its occasional refusal to “stick to sports” have turned off droves of viewers looking for an escape from the real world.

No one trumpets this view louder than Clay Travis, a Fox Sports writer who was back at it on Wednesday morning. ESPN’s collapse, Travis wrote, has been “aided” by its turn toward liberal politics.

“Middle America wants to pop a beer and listen to sports talk, they don’t want to be lectured about why Caitlyn Jenner is a hero, Michael Sam is the new Jackie Robinson of sports, and Colin Kaepernick is the Rosa Parks of football,” Travis wrote. “ESPN made the mistake of trying to make liberal social media losers happy and as a result lost millions of viewers.”

But Travis is wrong on this point. There’s a much simpler explanation for the cuts.

The self-proclaimed “Worldwide Leader in Sports” has indeed lost more than 12 million subscribers since 2011, according to Nielsen estimates, and those losses have accelerated in recent months. In October and November alone, ESPN lost more than 1 million subscribers.

But such losses aren’t abnormal at cable channels as Americans’ television viewing habits change. In 2016, 70 percent of cable channels lost subscribers, with average declines between 2 and 3 percent, meaning ESPN exceeded the average but not drastically so.

For sports channels in particular, the outlook is just as dire. In October and November 2016, when ESPN lost those million-plus subscribers, just three of the sports cable channels that Nielsen monitors each month ― the NFL Network, the Golf Channel and BeIN Sport Espanol ― gained subscribers. The rest ― everyone from NBC Sports to the MLB Network and NBA TV ― suffered, with many of them taking proportionally larger hits than ESPN.

The fate of Fox Sports was no different. Over those two months, Fox Sports 1 lost 573,000 subscribers, according to Nielsen. Fox Sports 2 lost 1.4 million. In February of this year, ESPN lost 422,000 subscribers. FS1, which was already in fewer homes, exceeded that drop, losing 565,000. FS1 had spent much of the last few years gaining on ESPN, but that trend reversed itself recently: February was the third consecutive month in which FS1 lost more subscribers than ESPN (though FS2 has been gaining subscribers). And over the last two years, Fox Sports has undertaken multiple rounds of job cuts itself. 

In other words, cable networks that aren’t allegedly seeking to spread the liberal gospel through sports are losing too.

Still, National Review Online’s Dan McLaughlin attempted to build on Travis’ argument, lecturing ESPN about its supposed political leanings. “‘Stick to sports’ is not just good manners for sports journalism,” McLaughlin wrote Wednesday, “it’s good business advice.”

“ESPN’s layoffs demonstrate that the network understands it has a business problem,” McLaughlin concluded. “It’s too soon to tell if it also understands it has a politics problem. … But its business model allows subscribers to vote with their feet in a way that has an immediate bottom-line impact. Maybe it should start listening.”

Like Travis, McLaughlin is projecting his own beliefs onto ESPN and ignoring the basic reality facing the network and the broader cable industry. Set aside the fact that ESPN is not particularly “liberal” ― and hardly monolithic ― when it comes to political issues and their intersection with sports, even if some of its loudest and most prominent voices are. Just run the numbers on its business.

The company, which charges cable providers roughly $7 a month per subscriber just to carry its flagship channel, derives as much as two-thirds of its annual revenue from subscriber fees, so the departure of those subscribers is a direct hit on its bottom line. Advertising rates are also falling. Meanwhile, ESPN is paying more to broadcast live sports. It will spend $7.3 billion on broadcast rights fees to major sports leagues this year.

ESPN got some major gambles wrong, and with revenues dropping and costs increasing, something had to give. On Wednesday, that something was 100 employees ― even if, as Deadspin’s Tom Ley noted, it won’t be enough mathematically to do anything more than temporarily reassure ESPN’s corporate overlords at Disney.

ESPN’s losses are bigger and have a bigger impact than those of other channels in part because of its own business decisions and in part because ESPN is a bigger company that has a bigger impact on the industry around it.

Sure, it’s possible a handful of people saw Michael Sam kiss his boyfriend and, instead of celebrating with him, decided that was too much for them. A few other viewers may have cut the cord because certain ESPN personalities actually discussed the meaning of Kaepernick’s protest instead of simply blasting him.

But half-baked theories about the politicization of sports really only work for those who prefer to ignore that big-league sports has an inherently political side. The reality is that ESPN is facing the same uncertain future as the rest of the cable industry for many of the same reasons.

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The Best Vacation Ideas For A Girls Getaway

Life is built on memories, and some of the best memories are formed through friendships with your closest girlfriends. And although many memories are made in mundane moments, they’re also created somewhere a bit more special: on vacation

So how do you choose where to go? Just aligning your friends’ schedules to find the right long weekend is hard enough on its own. We rounded up fun, adventurous, relaxing and picturesque locations you should go with the girls, keeping the list within the United States to reduce additional logistical challenges. No passports. No visas. No foreign languages. And while some of these these locations might be a short plane, train or car ride away, others may already be in your backyard. 

Scroll through, call the girls and get those selfie sticks ready. You’re going to want to remember these trips.

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Powerful Viral Photos Show The Unstoppable #BlackMenOfYaleUniversity

Akintunde Ahmad has established some great friendships on campus as a student at Yale University, and he wanted to bring together some of his closest peers to capture the beauty of their bond.

So he hired professional photographer Vivian Dang to take images of him and eight of his black male friends. He then posted the pictures to Twitter earlier this week with the hashtag #BlackMenOfYaleUniversity. The tweet, which included four group photos, immediately went viral:

Introducing the #BlackMenofYaleUniversity pic.twitter.com/hPaBIVzHXl

— Tunde (@akintundeahmad) April 24, 2017

Black students make up just 10 percent of the student population at Yale, and Ahmad, who is a 21-year-old junior majoring in sociology, said he intentionally included the hashtag to make a bold statement about their presence on campus. 

“By no means do we represent all the black men at Yale (there are hundreds of us), but we hoped to just give a glimpse as to what OUR daily lives look like,” Ahmad told HuffPost in a email. “We hope that these photos serve to dispel some of the negative stereotypes surrounding black men, but also act as a positive, uplifting and inspiring image of black men on college campuses.”

Ahmad’s personal story is quite inspiring itself. He grew up in Oakland, California, and graduated from high school with a 5.0 GPA, 2100 SAT score and acceptances into almost every Ivy League school in the nation. But his success did not come without him overcoming much adversity ― growing up, his brother followed a different path and fell victim to gun violence and street crime before he was incarcerated for several years in 2013.

Ahmad says his studies are focused on social inequalities in America, and that he plans to pursue a doctoral degree in sociology and create a new field of research that focuses on the effects of gun violence and trauma in urban education. He also hopes to teach one day and perhaps become a consultant for government and education agencies.

“For me, being a black man on Yale is something that I embrace with pride,” he said, noting how he and the men in the picture all come from different communities and how grateful they are to have each other for support.

“I try to live every day to its fullest potential,” he added, “because I know how so many other black men in America haven’t been afforded the same opportunities that I have.”

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A Black Mother’s Story Shows What’s Missing From Conversations About Missing Teens

WASHINGTON ― Linda Scott wanted answers. Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department reported last month that 10 teenage girls were “critically missing.” But during a Capitol Hill panel discussion on the problem Wednesday, the talk was mostly of runaways.

Scott, a hair salon owner who traveled from Baltimore to attend the session, pointed out another part of the story. 

“These kids are not just running away,” she told the discussion hosted by the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls.

“My daughter was almost abducted … and I don’t want us to think that all of these kids coming up missing are running away, and nobody on this panel addressed that.” 

Scott said three men tried to snatch her 16-year-old daughter during a bus ride from the salon to their home a few weeks ago. A day earlier, the men had tried to gain entry to her hair salon under the pretense of selling merchandise to patrons. Scott filed a police report and said she stopped by the police station seven times to follow up, but hasn’t heard back from the department.

“When you say connect with our local resources, I sit at the community meetings … What do I do now?” Scott asked panelists.

The missing Washington teenagers, announced by police in a series of tweets, have stirred fear and outrage, though there is no surge in disappearances of children. Still, Twitter user @BlackMarvelGirl shared information about some of the teens, raising the issue of missing black and Latina girls into a social media phenomenon.

Before long, black lawmakers were calling on the FBI and the Justice Department to help locate missing girls. Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James Comey to “devote the resources necessary to determine whether these developments are an anomaly or whether they are indicative of an underlying trend that must be addressed.”

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced six initiatives to find missing teens. Police increased officers assigned to missing persons and formed a new task force to help improve home life for teens who run away. The city also boosted funding to nonprofits that work with at-risk teens.

“MPD is at the forefront with its focus on missing children and the work we are doing with the community to bring them home,” Bowser said in a statement that called the city’s methods “effective.” 

Derrica Wilson, co-founder and chief executive of the Black and Missing Foundation, said at Wednesday’s panel that 40 percent of people reported missing in the U.S. are of color. That doesn’t include Hispanics, since law enforcement often classifies them as white, she said.

Stephanie Croney, who works with the Black Women’s Health Imperative, said girls’ home, school and social media life “impact who she speaks to and how she approaches her day.” 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) stopped by to thank panelists for their work.

“This is such an injustice,” Pelosi said. “I feel like knocking on every door in this city, searching every basement, every attic, every garage to see where these girls are if they are still here. How it could it be? We’re the capital of the greatest country that ever existed!”

But America isn’t great when it comes to publicizing information that could lead to missing black children being returned home safely. While D.C. police are making a conscious effort to publicize missing persons cases, the dominant narrative remains that most of these kids are runaways ― a view that minimizes sympathy and media coverage.

Scott’s story also shows the rift between the community and organizations fighting the problem of missing teenagers.

Most missing juveniles in D.C. aren’t abducted by strangers. They usually run away, and eventually are returned home safely. But, as one D.C. resident pointed out during a town hall last month, that doesn’t mean abductions and human trafficking don’t happen. 

At least 744 out of 1,135 people reported missing this year in D.C. were juveniles, according to police data. An MPD spokesman told HuffPost in March that most reports of missing teens involve black and Latinx people.

Ten of the 22 total people currently missing in D.C. are juveniles, police said. All are black or Latinx.  

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The Placebo Effect Can Mend Your Broken Heart, Study Suggests

A new study suggests the best way to get over a breakup is to fake it until you make it.

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder found that simply believing you’re doing something positive to get over your ex can influence brain regions associated with emotional regulation and lessen the pain you’re feeling. In other words, remaining open to the possibility that what you’re doing could potentially make you feel better works like a placebo effect.

Researchers Leonie Koban and Tor Wager and their team at CU Boulder studied 40 young people who’d experienced an unwanted breakup in the past six months. The participants were asked to bring in two photos: one of their ex and one of a close friend. 

Inside a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine, the heartbroken parties were shown images of their exes and asked to reflect on the breakup. Then they saw the images of their friend (the control variable).

They were also given a jolt of physical pain (a hot stimulus on their left forearm).

As these stimuli were alternately repeated, the participants were asked how they felt on a scale of 1 (very bad) to 5 (very good). Meanwhile, the fMRI machine tracked activity in the brain. 

The machine showed similar areas of the brain lit up during both emotional pain (reminiscing and looking at the ex pic) and physical pain — suggesting that the heartache you feel after a breakup is very real and not just in your head. 

For part two of the study, the subjects were taken out of the machine and given a nasal spray. Half were told the spray was a “powerful analgesic effective in reducing emotional pain,” while the rest were told it was merely a saline solution.

The subjects then went back in the fMRI machine and experienced the same painful stimuli as before, but this time, the placebo group felt less physical and emotional pain.

When they were shown the photo of their ex, there was reduced activity in the areas of the brain associated with social rejection. 

“The placebo nasal spray made people feel substantially better about viewing pictures of their ex-partners — on the brain as well as on people’s feelings,” said Wager, a senior author of the study. 

If you’re nursing a broken heart, Wager said the takeaway of his study should be that your beliefs about the future matter more than you think. 

“Your expectations are something you have some control over after a breakup,” he said. “When faced with rejection, there’s hope you can find a mental strategy to help deal with the event as best as possible. You have to be open to a better future.”

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Rep. Steve King Tweets Latina Constituent: ‘Do You Always Lie In English?’

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is discovering that his insults don’t translate well in anybody’s language.

Constituents from King’s district came to Washington for a scheduled 2 p.m. Tuesday meeting with his legislative director. Twenty-five minutes later, the staffer hadn’t arrived, so Vanessa Marcano-Kelly, a board member of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, left the meeting site, but not before sending out this tweet in frustration.

had mtg set up with @SteveKingIA staff in DC. 23 min later, staff no show. We're here all the way from IA. Way 2 serve the people, Rep. King

— V. Marcano-Kelly (@vcmarcano) April 25, 2017

King did get in touch with Marcano-Kelly, who works as an interpreter and translator, but she was taken aback by his response ― even for a guy for whom racist and xenophobic comments seem as natural as breathing.

Do you always lie in English? https://t.co/4Rkyym7lhD

— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) April 25, 2017

King was apparently referring to Marcano-Kelly’s Twitter feed, which has many tweets in Spanish from the time the 32-year-old interpreter and translator live-tweeted a conference.

“It was shocking to see that,” Marcano-Kelly, an immigrant from Venezuela, told the New York Daily News. “I had that gut feeling in the pit of my stomach. I felt targeted, attacked and offended that you have this person who’s supposed to be representing Iowa, who has power, belittling you like that.”

Yet, she wasn’t really surprised.

“It was precisely the kind of thing that he usually does and that we wanted to talk to him about,” Marcano-Kelly said in an interview with The Des Moines Register on Wednesday.

Marcano-Kelly and the members of her group high-tailed it back to King’s office to confront the congressman’s staff, an encounter posted on Facebook Live.

The video shows one of King’s staffers taking blame for the missed meeting and staffers explaining that the controversial congressman writes his own tweets.

A short time later, King sent another tweet to Marcano-Kelly.

U didn't lie. No way to connect u2 the missed meeting. Next time just call. Glad all is cleared up. https://t.co/4Rkyym7lhD

— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) April 25, 2017

However, he didn’t remove the insulting earlier tweet from his page.

King has not made a secret of his distaste for immigrants.

Last week, he tweeted this photo after the first undocumented immigrant with active Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals protections was deported under President Donald Trump.

First non-valedictorian DREAMer deported. Border Patrol, this one's for you. https://t.co/56z1b8xrJ2 pic.twitter.com/iNjKd9FHtM

— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) April 18, 2017

Last month, he told a radio interviewer he’d like America to be “so homogenous that we look a lot the same.”

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Main Feature Of Trump’s New Crime Victims Office Is Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric

WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump promised to create an office that would help victims of crimes committed by immigrants. The Department of Homeland Security followed through quickly and opened the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement office Wednesday.

But so far the main thing that’s new about the office — which will use an existing call center and staff to provide services that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has offered for years — is the message that accompanies it: Immigrants, especially undocumented ones, are violent criminals.

“Our mission is clear,” DHS Secretary John Kelly said Wednesday, “and that is to acknowledge the exceptional damage caused by criminal illegal aliens and to support the victims of these preventable crimes.”

The VOICE office isn’t intended to demonize undocumented immigrants or falsely imply they commit more crime, DHS spokesman David Lapan said. But Trump, who opened his campaign for president by saying Mexico was sending rapists across the border, has frequently branded immigrants as dangerous. And so far there’s not much evidence that the new VOICE office actually does anything new.

ICE has created a phone number for victims, witnesses and their families to call for information on the detention and deportation status of immigrants accused of committing crimes against them. But those phone calls will go to a call center that for years has offered information on immigration detainees’ location and status. The call center workers will answer the new hotline, offer general information about the immigration system and take down details of callers’ cases so the VOICE office can get back to them. Victims will be able to register to receive custody status updates, which they could get before, but they will now be automated. Anyone with identifying information about a detained immigrant can also use ICE’s detainee locator system, which dates to 2010.

ICE officials acknowledged that they’re essentially rebranding and revamping services but argued that doing so will ensure victims of crimes committed by immigrants are aware those services are available. Existing ICE personnel ― a few leaders in the national office and a community relations officer in each ICE field office ― will make up the new office’s staff. Community relations officers assigned to the office will still perform their current jobs, working with local governments and stakeholders to address immigration-related concerns, and will work with the Victims Assistance Program in the ICE Homeland Security Investigations unit.

Our mission is clear, and that is to acknowledge the exceptional damage caused by criminal illegal aliens and to support the victims of these preventable crimes.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly

ICE and DHS officials offered few details on how the agency will prevent abuse of the VOICE system, such as individuals claiming to be victims to check out their neighbors, but promised to deal with each case individually. ICE will check with its privacy officers to determine what it can and cannot reveal, the same way it does when it receives questions from reporters, one agency official said. It’s not clear how that policy will interact with a Trump executive order in January instructing agencies to limit privacy protections for non-citizens and legal permanent residents wherever possible.

The VOICE office is likely to change over time, officials said, and will eventually produce quarterly reports on crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. DHS gave no timetable for what those would entail or when they would begin.

ICE officials also gave no statistics on the level of crime by immigrants, undocumented or with legal status. Numerous studies have found that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born citizens.

Latino and immigrant groups say that Trump’s rhetoric demonizes their communities and puts them in danger. To counteract the message, a group of House Democrats launched an effort of their own, the Saved by American Immigrants National Taskforce, or SAINT, that will collect stories of immigrants who “have positively contributed to U.S. society through heroic or lifesaving acts.”

“Propaganda is dangerous, and that is why we should all be troubled by the new Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) office,” Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), one of those lawmakers, said in a statement Wednesday. “Immigrants are not a group to be feared.”

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