George W. Bush Pushes Back On Trump Border Policy: Immigrants Can Be Good Citizens

Former President George W. Bush pushed back against President Donald Trump’s work to deny millions of immigrants and refugees entry into America, saying such efforts would exclude many people who could someday become “good citizens.”

In an interview with NBC set to air on “Sunday Today,” host Willie Geist asked Bush if he thought it were practical for the Trump administration to follow through on campaign promises to “deport millions and millions of people.” Trump has continued to push forward on plans to build a border wall, amp up immigration enforcement agencies and increase deportations of undocumented immigrants.

“I don’t see how that would work,” Bush told Geist, before continuing: “It’s going to be hard to do.”

The former president pointed to his experience in Texas growing up with “a lot of people of Hispanic heritage” and his attempts to reform immigration policies during his time in office, when he sought to provide a pathway to legal residency for millions of undocumented immigrants. Those plans ultimately failed, but Bush maintained that many people currently protected by Obama-era immigration provisions like the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, actively benefit American society.

“Well, I think somebody who’s vested time and effort and can make a contribution to our country will be a really good citizen,” Bush said. “See, in Texas, we grew up with a lot of people of Hispanic heritage, and, you know, we’re used to the contributions they have made to our state and to our country.”

Bush has been making the rounds promoting a new book of paintings and has been voicing criticisms about several key fights waged by Trump, including on immigration. In an interview with People magazine, Bush said he didn’t “like the racism and I don’t like the name-calling and I don’t like the people feeling alienated.” And during an interview with the “Today” show, he called for an “immigration policy that’s welcoming and upholds the law.”

“It’s very important for all of us to recognize one of our great strengths is for people to worship the way they want to or not worship at all,” Bush told “Today” host Matt Lauer. “I mean, the bedrock of our freedom ― a bedrock of our freedom is the right to worship freely.”

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Republicans Think Trump Gave Them What They Wanted. They Should Think Again.

WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump didn’t insult any war heroes. He didn’t pitch conspiracy theories about millions of illegal votes. He didn’t call the news media the “enemies of the American people.”

For Republicans nervously watching the new president for signs of calm leadership, that was the good news, as Trump stuck to his teleprompter for nearly all of his 5,000-word, hourlong address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night, the first of his term.

“I am asking all citizens to embrace this renewal of the American spirit,” Trump read, using language almost any president of either party might have used. “I am asking all members of Congress to join me in dreaming big, and bold and daring things for our country.”

Now for the bad news: Trump provided no details on how a promised replacement of the Affordable Care Act would work; how, precisely, tax reform would be structured or paid for; or even the functioning of his “trillion-dollar” infrastructure plan.

And all of that’s before Trump has had the chance to return to Twitter, as he is wont to do, where he’s not reading off a prepared script and can say what he really feels.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) blasted out praise immediately after Trump had glad-handed his way out the House chamber, calling the speech “a home run” and thanking Trump for taking the lead on repealing Obamacare and reforming the tax code, long a priority for the congressman.

“I want to thank President Trump for putting us on a path to a better future,” Ryan said in the statement.

Ryan, though, may come to rethink that enthusiasm in the coming weeks and months.

Because Trump in many ways boxed in his Capitol Hill party mates even as he provided scant details on what should be done.

On health care, for example, Trump called for a replacement of the Affordable Care Act that would “expand choice, increase access, lower costs and at the same time provide better health care” ― an impossible combination.

His new plan, he said, would continue to insure those with preexisting conditions and use tax credits and health savings accounts to help Americans pay for them. How big would the tax credits be, and who would be eligible? Trump didn’t say, but he did promise: “The way to make health insurance available to everyone is to lower the cost of health insurance, and that is what we will do.”

On tax reform, Trump voiced continued support for lower rates on both corporations and individuals ― an idea that Republicans leaders like Ryan can easily support. “It will be a big, big, cut,” Trump promised. But then Trump added his support for including a feature to tax imports and subsidize exports, an idea that Ryan is backing, but it’s already seeing powerful opponents in the business community and the Senate lining up.

On his much touted, trillion-dollar plan to rebuild roads, bridges and tunnels, Trump dispensed with it in 56 words. The only details offered were that it would include both public and private capital, and would create “millions of new jobs.”

As for a “compromise” on immigration reform with a pathway to at least legalization for undocumented immigrants ― as Trump earlier Tuesday had suggested he could support ― there was not a word, making it easy for Democrats to conclude there was no reason to work with Trump at all.

“Everything that is broken in our country can be fixed. Every problem can be solved,” Trump said. “Democrats and Republicans should get together and unite for the good of our country and for the good of the American people.”

Trump probably should not be surprised if the reality of making that happen is a good deal harder than reading words off of his teleprompter.

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Donald Trump Says Immigration Reform Is Possible — But Gives No Details

WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump made a vague pronouncement of support for “real and positive immigration reform” on Tuesday ― in the middle of a speech peppered with references to undocumented immigrants who bring in drugs, kill Americans and drive down wages.

Hours before his speech to a joint session of Congress, the president reportedly told news anchors he was open to a legal status for some undocumented immigrants, prompting a flurry of speculation that he might take a 180-degree turn toward the so-called amnesty he decried on the campaign trail.

Trump’s speech, however, gave no such indication, even though it mentioned immigration reform.

“I believe that real and positive immigration reform is possible, as long as we focus on the following goals: to improve jobs and wages for Americans, to strengthen our nation’s security, and to restore respect for our laws,” Trump said. “If we are guided by the well-being of American citizens, then I believe Republicans and Democrats can work together to achieve an outcome that has eluded our country for decades.”

It was a far cry from a commitment to comprehensive immigration reform, even if it left a door open for Trump to accept such a policy in the future. The president only addressed one aspect of immigration legislation: the need to reform legal immigration to a “merit-based immigration system.”

Nearly every mention of immigration or immigrants in Trump’s address was negative, in keeping with a speech he used to launch his candidacy, and one he made while accepting the Republican nomination. He discussed immigrants almost exclusively in the context of crime, terrorism and lowering Americans’ wages.

Trump signed in executive order days into his presidency that defined nearly all undocumented immigrants as a priority for deportation ― even non-criminals and those whose only crime was related to their immigration status. He promised to hire more Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to carry out those removals. A majority of those picked up in a weeklong series of raids have been convicted of crimes, although one-quarter were non-criminals.

Some of the individuals deported by Trump’s administration were convicted of crimes deemed less serious under President Barack Obama. Guadalupe “Lupita” García de Rayos, deported earlier this month, had been convicted of using a fake Social Security number to work. Her two U.S. citizen children, now living without their mother, sat in the audience as Trump delivered his address as guests of Democratic lawmakers.  

“Bad ones are going out as I speak and as I promised throughout the campaign,” Trump said. “To any in Congress who do not believe we should enforce our laws, I would ask you this question: What would you say to the American family that loses their jobs, their income, or their loved one because America refused to uphold its laws and defend its borders?”

Trump highlighted four individuals whose family members were killed by undocumented immigrants, according to authorities. He said others like them will be helped through a new office at the Department of Homeland Security called VOICE, for Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement. The goal was to provide “a voice to those who have been ignored by our media, and silenced by special interests,” he said. 

The guests Trump highlighted were Jessica Davis and Susan Oliver, whose husbands, Detective Michael Davis and Deputy Sheriff Danny Oliver, were killed in the line of duty in 2014; and Jamiel Shaw Sr., whose son was shot to death in 2008. Susan Oliver’s daughter, Jenna, was also at the address. 

Trump promised they “will never be forgotten. We will always honor their memory.”

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DOJ Fought Texas’ Voter ID Law For Years. Now It Just Wants To Wait For A Fix.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Department of Justice walked a fine line Tuesday on its commitment to ensuring voting rights when it asked a federal judge to give Texas a few months to try to fix a voter ID law that courts have found violates the Constitution and federal law by discriminating against minority voters.

John Gore, the No. 2 in command at the department’s Civil Rights Division, stopped short of denying that Texas purposefully discriminated against the state’s Hispanic and black voters when it passed a law in 2011 requiring citizens to present photo IDs to cast a ballot ― a position the Obama administration had taken for years.

In a shift for the federal government, he urged U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzalez Ramos to hold off on resolving that key question in the long-running case, which was once regarded as a test case for whether the Voting Rights Act of 1965 had any life left in it after the Supreme Court scrapped one of its major provisions. To add to the symbolism, Gore’s plea came on the same day Attorney General Jeff Sessions closed out Black History Month with a paean to civil rights for all.  

Gore told Gonzalez Ramos that the Trump administration’s new position in the case, unveiled Monday in a last-minute court filing, “speaks for itself.”

Which is to say, Texas Republicans ― who hold majorities in both houses of the state Legislature ― are already taking steps to pass a new voter ID law. While cautioning that the proposal might fail or be amended, Gore said the Justice Department now believes the proposed legislation will probably fix the problems the court found with the original law ― and that there’s no need for Gonzalez Ramos to take action now to determine whether lawmakers intended to disenfranchise black and Latino voters when they enacted the law in 2011.

“A new law might fix some of the issues the 5th Circuit identified,” Gore said, in a reference to an appeals court ruling last summer that kicked the case back to the lower court so that DOJ, voting rights advocates and Texas may address claims that lawmakers took race into account when approving the original voter ID bill.

If the judge moves forward with a ruling now, Gore added, the court “might have to do its work all over again,” and so he advised waiting for legislators to act so the case can be resolved “only once and not potentially twice.”

In 2014, following an eight-day trial, Gonzalez Ramos ruled that Texas’ voter restrictions amounted to a “poll tax” that violated the Voting Rights Act and the equality guarantee of the U.S. Constitution, among other findings.

But in a partial reversal, the full U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in July disagreed with Gonzalez Ramos that Senate Bill 14 was passed with a discriminatory intent ― while concluding more broadly that the voter ID provision did have a disproportionate effect on minority voters.

“My primary theme is very simple, and that is your honor got it right the first time,” said Ezra Rosenberg of the judge’s sweeping 2014 ruling. Rosenberg is an attorney for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, one of the several civil rights organizations challenging the Texas law.

These groups found themselves in an awkward position Tuesday, sitting on the plaintiffs’ side alongside the DOJ lawyer ― while attorneys for Texas, the longtime defendant in the case, sat on the opposite side of the courtroom. On the very day Donald Trump was elected president, the federal government signaled it would take a different position in the case ― after years of opposing the law in court during the Obama administration.

Angela Colmenero, representing the state of Texas, argued that Republicans pushed the bill through only after six years of Democratic opposition made it clear that consensus on voter ID would be impossible to reach. Referencing a PowerPoint presentation screened off to her left, she said the state passed the law in response to public opinion demanding that the legislators update their system of voter registration to protect against fraud.

“I remember specifically asking about it,” Gonzalez Ramos said, referring to the scarcity of actual instances of voter fraud presented at trial. “The [5th] Circuit also realized there’s really no evidence of this voter fraud.… We can’t talk about so-and-so’s grandfather that voted when he was dead — that was not court evidence.”

Colmenero later reminded Gonzalez Ramos that when she first held the trial over the law’s legality, the voting rights plaintiffs never presented an email or public statement from any Texas legislators that showed they intended to suppress minority votes ― let alone a conspiracy between the state House of Representatives, Senate and Gov. Rick Perry.

But this, too, appeared to fall flat with the judge, who in the lead-up to the November election had already taken steps to make sure Texas did its part to inform voters that they could vote even if they lacked the proper identification.

“There can be public support for things that are unconstitutional, correct?” the judge asked.

Janai Nelson, an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, told the court that the five attorneys representing the plaintiffs didn’t have to unearth an email or public statement showing that Texas Republicans passed the law in an attempt to suppress minority votes to retain their stranglehold over state politics.

Texas has a long history of voter suppression, she argued, and legislators acted with “surgical precision” to make sure that the law would exclude photo identifications that black and Latino voters are likely to have, like the ID cards issued to students or government employees.

“These decisions were not justified by policy,” Nelson told the court. She later told The Huffington Post that “the idea that discrimination requires a ‘smoking gun’ is very outdated. The way it operates today is more subtle.”

Partisanship in Texas splits strongly along racial lines. This session, people of color account for 91 percent of the Democrats in the Texas Legislature, according to an analysis by the Texas Tribune. By contrast, roughly 96 percent of the Legislature’s Republicans are white in a state where they are a minority of the population. During his presentation, Rosenberg, the civil rights lawyer, noted that these dynamics are relevant circumstantial evidence that lawmakers had race in mind when enacting the voter ID law.

If Gonzalez Ramos were to find again that Texas intended to keep blacks and Latinos away from the polls, the state could be required to clear future changes to its voting procedures with the Department of Justice ― a process that the Supreme Court weakened in 2013 when it freed Texas and other jurisdictions with a history of discrimination from direct federal oversight.

In January, the high court left open the possibility of revisiting the Texas law at a later time. But voting rights advocates don’t see a need to wait.

“This is a law that was passed with discriminatory intent,” Rosenberg told HuffPost following the hearing. “It should not be on the books one day longer.”

Cristian Farias reported from New York.

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Undocumented Journalist Jose Antonio Vargas Is In The Capitol To Watch Trump’s Address

WASHINGTON ― Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and one of the nation’s most famous undocumented immigrants, will watch President Donald Trump’s address to Congress on Tuesday night as a guest of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Vargas, a onetime editor with The Huffington Post and reporter for The Washington Post, is taking a risk by joining Pelosi in the Capitol. The Trump administration has broadened the category of undocumented immigrants who can be deported to include just about anyone. Vargas, a co-founder of the media organization Define American, was brought to the United States as a child from the Philippines. That means he could be deported back to the country now run by President Rodrigo Duterte, who is no fan of the activist.

Since becoming president last year, Duterte has unleashed a killing spree across the Philippines in which drug users and others have been murdered. The death toll has topped 6,000 in one of the most brazen human rights abuses of the 21st century. Sending Vargas there would mean a very uncertain future for him.

Vargas first told his story publicly in the New York Times magazine in 2011.

One August morning nearly two decades ago, my mother woke me and put me in a cab. She handed me a jacket. “Baka malamig doon” were among the few words she said. (“It might be cold there.”) When I arrived at the Philippines’ Ninoy Aquino International Airport with her, my aunt and a family friend, I was introduced to a man I’d never seen. They told me he was my uncle. He held my hand as I boarded an airplane for the first time. It was 1993, and I was 12.

My mother wanted to give me a better life, so she sent me thousands of miles away to live with her parents in America — my grandfather (Lolo in Tagalog) and grandmother (Lola). After I arrived in Mountain View, Calif., in the San Francisco Bay Area, I entered sixth grade and quickly grew to love my new home, family and culture. I discovered a passion for language, though it was hard to learn the difference between formal English and American slang. One of my early memories is of a freckled kid in middle school asking me, “What’s up?” I replied, “The sky,” and he and a couple of other kids laughed. I won the eighth-grade spelling bee by memorizing words I couldn’t properly pronounce. (The winning word was “indefatigable.”)

In 2014, he was detained over his immigration status at a Texas airport, but eventually released.

Vargas explained why he would attend Trump’s joint address in a Washington Post essay on Tuesday evening:

I decided to show up tonight because that’s what immigrants, undocumented and documented, do: We show up. Despite the obvious risks and palpable fear, we show up to work, to school, to church, to our communities, in big cities and rural towns. … We show up even though many Americans, especially white Americans with their own immigrant backgrounds, can’t seem to see the common threads between why we show up and why they showed up, at a time when showing up did not require visas and the Border Patrol didn’t exist yet.

Vargas will not be the only undocumented immigrant to confront Trump by showing up for the joint address. He appears to be the only one, however, who isn’t protected by “Dreamer” status, which has been granted to some people brought here as young children. (He was just slightly too old to qualify under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.)

Other lawmakers and their undocumented-immigrant guests include:

  1. Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) and Eliel Aguillon, DACA recipient
  2. Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.) and Roque Pech, DACA recipient and teacher
  3. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.) and Gregory “Ronnie” James, DACA recipient
  4. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Oscar Juarez-Luna, DACA recipient
  5. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Aaima Sayed, DACA recipient
  6. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Astrid Silva, DACA recipient who is also giving the Spanish-language response to the president’s speech
  7. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Yuriana Aguilar, DACA recipient
  8. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Martin Batalla Vidal, DACA recipient
  9. Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) and Maria Barragan-Arreguin, DACA recipient
  10. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Lupe Salmeron, DACA recipient
  11. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) and Zarna Patel, DACA recipient

Elise Foley contributed reporting.

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Why This Mexican-American Designed A Video Game That Simulates Border Crossings

Texas artist Gonzalo Alvarez is hoping to show just how perilous crossing the border can be through a video game. 

The 23-year-old illustrator and game designer recently released his art installation “Borders,” which features a retro arcade-style game that challenges players to survive the harsh conditions and obstacles many immigrants face when crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. 

“The political campaign of last year brought out a lot of xenophobic hate towards [undocumented] and legal immigrants, so I started playing with the idea of people simulating crossing the border through a video game,” Alvarez told The Huffington Post. “I began exploring and researching indie games and ‘Papers, Please,’ a game where you play as a border patrol agent, was one that struck me the most through its political and moral commentary. This game inspired me to create something from the opposite point of view, that of the immigrant.”

Alvarez’s parents both crossed the border and have shared stories of the journey with him over the years. The artist used their experiences to design his video game.

“I hope that first of all people can begin to see video games as more than just a commodity or mindless entertainment, and more as a true artistic medium of expression,” he said. “The second agenda was to hopefully have people take this experience and be able to empathize with immigrants.”

The illustrator also said that “as a living testament” of the work and struggle of his immigrant parents, he hoped people could see the “benefits immigrants’ children can provide to America.”

In the game, players must successfully avoid border patrol and “los moscos” (the flies), what his parents called helicopters, plus collect water jugs to stave off dehydration.

Alvarez says the more people play the game, which can be downloaded for free online, the more players will understand the message he’s trying to get across.

“The game features a mechanic where a skeleton is permanently left behind on the map in the location a player dies,” he told HuffPost. “As of now, there are over 600 skeletons littered across the desert of the game, skeletons of those who have played and unfortunately didn’t make it. I hope that seeing all these skeletons of hundreds of other players can help put in perspective the hundreds of lives that are lost to the Mexican desert.”

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7 College Courses That Are Black AF

A number of American universities are recognizing the significance of contemporary black culture by working it into their syllabi. 

From courses centered on Beyoncé and Kanye West to lessons on the Black Lives Matter movement, these classes serve as a breath of conscious air for students at universities throughout the nation.

While they are certainly no remedy for the decades-long erasure of black history in the classroom, they do offer students the opportunity to learn more about modern icons and movements in black America.

In the final day of Black History Month, we couldn’t think of a more fitting time to give props to these higher-ed courses for being black AF. 

The majority of these are currently in session, and for those that aren’t, we’re hoping they’ll make a comeback: 

1. “Exploring the Lyrics of OutKast and Trap Music to Explore Politics of Social Justice,” Georgia Tech

Although OutKast may be best remembered for channeling the guilt that comes along with breaking up with someone’s child in the 2000 hit “Ms. Jackson,” the former Atlanta duo has also produced more politically charged songs, which are now the basis for a new Georgia Tech course.

The course ― which is a requirement for social justice minors ― uses the music of Outkast and other hip-hop artists as a study into social issues. 

OutKast is also the center of an Armstrong State University course that explores how the pair’s “ideas about the South and southernness seep into other Southern writers.” The final project in this course is a 12-15 page analysis of a hip-hop album by Outkast or other artists because … it’s still college. 

2. “Black Women and Beyoncé,” University of Texas at San Antonio

There’s little room for debate that Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” offered creative insight into the lives and experiences of black women. So why wouldn’t a university located in her native state transform the album into a full-blown collegiate course?

The course, which was offered at the university last fall, uses Bey’s latest album as the focal point in a study of black feminism.

3. “The Politics of Kanye West: Black Genius and Sonic Aesthetics,” Washington University

Kanye West has engaged in some questionable behavior throughout the years, but nonetheless, Washington University professor Jeffrey McCune has credited him with exemplary black genius. Topics in the course are inspired by lyrics from West’s music and include: “Who is Kanye West and Why is He in the Flashing Lights?” and “Love Lock Down, or Hip-Hop’s Queer Love Languages.”

The course will examine West’s contributions to hip-hop and serve as a gateway to discussions on larger issues of identity and politics. 

4. “Race, Class, and Power: University Course on Ferguson and the #BlackLivesMatter Movement,” University of Miami

Colleges throughout the nation have been recognizing the importance of the Black Lives Matter agenda. One of the first lessons in Miami’s Spring 2017 BLM course was titled “Radical Black/Queer Feminist Traditions in #BLM,” in acknowledgement of the movement’s two queer co-founders.

5. “African American Resistance in the Era of Donald Trump,” Oregon State University

In the timeliest of fashions, Oregon State professor Dr. Dwaine Plaza created this course as a roadmap to resisting the white supremacist ideas that have been on full display throughout the nation since the election of President Donald Trump

Students in the course will read Ta-Nehisi Coates and Michelle Alexander, and learn about the “evolution of modern racism.”

6. “Black Lives Matter,” New York University

NYU professor Frank Leon Roberts’ BLM class ― which began in the fall of 2015 ― was not only among the first of its kind, but also offers lectures from the class online for the general public.

The course has included studies in mass incarceration, the 2016 election and #SayHerName as they relate to the BLM movement. For the Spring 2017 semester, Roberts took the course beyond NYU for The BLM Syllabus Tour

7. “The Power of Black Self-Love,” Emory University

While “The Power of Black Self-Love” was only on Emory’s Fall 2016 roster, the unique (and necessary) nature of the course make it worth a mention. The course covered everything from Black Twitter to Black Girl Magic, with the goal of helping students understand the significance of self-love and pride in an oppressive environment. 

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10-Year-Old Busts Myth About Trans People With Powerful Sign

A brave transgender 10-year-old girl named Rebekah spoke at a rally last weekend in support of transgender students and their right to be protected from discrimination in the public school system. 

The rally stemmed from President Donald Trump’s roll back of an Obama-era guidance that protected the right of trans kids to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.

An adorable photo of Rebekah holding the below sign at the rally quickly made its rounds on the internet.

According to Rebekah’s mom, Jamie Bruesehoff, Rebekah began living as her authentic self at 8 years old. She had suffered from mild anxiety and crippling depression as a result of being assigned male at birth. “We had a 7-year-old child in crisis,” Bruesehoff told The Huffington Post. “With the help of some excellent professionals and a lot of learning, we all came to realize she wasn’t a boy. She was a girl.”

Rebekah is now a happy and thriving 10-year-old, using her voice and her story to help other people understand the struggles and journey of transgender children like her ― and how these are young people who need protection and support, not invalidation of their gender identity by the adults in their lives.

Bruesehoff told HuffPost that her daughter had a large support system from her family, community and school, but recognizes that other transgender children aren’t quite as lucky.

“Transgender youth are at incredibly high risk for depression, anxiety, and even suicide,” Bruesehoff continued. “It’s not because there is something wrong with them; it’s because something is wrong our society. The research shows one key thing changes those statistics: support. It is very clear that students who are supported in their homes, their schools, and their communities have a very different experience than those who are not. Every child deserves to safely, and with dignity, access an education. Transgender rights are human rights.”

Bruesehoff thinks a lot of the controversy about letting kids live as their authentic selves stems from people never having met a transgender person before. By allowing her daughter to be visible figure and share her story with the world, Bruseshoff hopes she can be a positive agent of change and encourage adults to be more empathetic towards the trans community.

“My kid is lucky. She has the support she needs,” Bruseshof continued. “She fits in society’s box as a girl. Not every other child is so lucky. We have to constantly be fighting for those who are most vulnerable, those who don’t fit society’s expectations for a girl or a boy and those whose skin color, religion, or immigration status put them at even greater risk. We must keep striving to lift up the voices of those most vulnerable! Their voices are beautiful and bold and need to be heard!”

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Donald Trump Says Hollywood Pulled ‘The Race Card’ With Criticism At Oscars

Until the now-legendary Best Picture mix-up at the Academy Awards on Sunday, President Donald Trump was in full focus. Host Jimmy Kimmel kicked off the night with a sharp jab against Trump in front of an audience of millions ― “Remember last year when it seemed like the Oscars were racist? That’s gone, thanks to him” ― and other presenters and honorees didn’t miss their chances, either.

Kimmel’s criticism wasn’t unfounded; The Huffington Post has kept lists of Trump’s racism dating back to the 1970s. But in a segment that aired early Tuesday, Trump addressed the many attacks (watch some of them above) on “Fox & Friends,” suggesting his critics’ arguments were simply a product of “the race card.” Flippant dismissal of criticism also cropped up in his campaign, when Trump rejected Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s fitness for the presidency by stating “the only thing she’s got going is the woman’s card.”

“It just seems that the other side, whenever they are losing badly, they pull out the race card,” Trump said when asked about the Oscars. “And I’ve watched it for years. I’ve watched it against Ronald Reagan. I’ve watched it against so many other people. And they always like pulling out the race card.”

"I can't [take racist accusations personally]…I have to write it off as purely politics." -@POTUS pic.twitter.com/vxSM1ztsVu

— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) February 28, 2017

The president had previously pinned responsibility for the Best Picture mix-up to the night’s attendees, saying a Monday interview with Breitbart News, “I think they were focused so hard on politics that they didn’t get the act together at the end.” PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm behind the winners’ envelopes, apologized for the incident and confirmed that just one employee had been responsible for it in a statement issued Monday.

Trump also took a moment to remind viewers, for the umpteenth time, about his victory in the November presidential election, despite its irrelevance to a large portion of criticisms that centered around policies enacted after his inauguration. 

“In fact I did much better than many other than other Republicans in the last election. I did much better with Hispanics. I did much better with African Americans. If I didn’t do better, I wouldn’t be sitting here,” Trump said.

At the Oscars, attendees shared symbols and words of protest against the president’s attempted ban on refugees and people from seven Muslim-majority nations and his plan to build a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Asked whether he took any of Hollywood’s jabs personally, the former reality star replied, “I can’t. Because I consider it a very serious violation when they say it, and I have to write it off as purely politics.”

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This Is What Trump’s Immigration Crackdown Is Doing To School Kids

AUSTIN, Texas ― After an immigration sweep this month led to dozens of arrests here, a group of elementary school students looked to their teacher for an explanation. The teacher, who is forbidden from taking political stances in the classroom, asked them to write or draw what they were feeling.

The children all drew and wrote about President Donald Trump or his first major deportation operation.

“I’m scared they’ll take my mother or my father,” one student wrote. “I hate you dunel trump [sic].”

“I am angry and sad because I thinck I am going to Mexico [sic],” wrote another student. “I don’t speak Spanish. I know English. i am frum Austin [sic].” Another child wrote in Spanish about feeling “very scared because Donal trump says Mexico will pay for the wall and Mexico doesn’t want to.” One student drew a sad face shedding tears.

This month’s wave of hundreds of immigration arrests across the country included dozens of people without criminal records — a break with recent practice that has increased anxiety in immigrant communities. Now children are bringing those fears into the classroom, Texas teachers and parents tell The Huffington Post. HuffPost is withholding the names of the teachers because they were not authorized to speak to the media and risk losing their jobs.

Any extensive ICE arrests will inevitably affect children — including U.S. citizens — Donald Kerwin, the executive director of the Center for Migration Studies in New York, said, emphasizing the uncertainty that Trump has injected into the immigration debate. His organization estimates that 5.7 million U.S. citizen children nationwide live in households with at least one undocumented parent or close relative.

“It’s difficult to think of a crueler fate for a child than to see their parent deported,” Kerwin told HuffPost. “It’s like their world turns upside down on them. Studies show they mourn, have trouble sleeping, their eating patterns change. Some cannot concentrate in school, they’re fearful and some withdraw, while others act out in anger. Beyond losing a parent, they’re often dealing with the sorrow and distress of another adult, typically a second parent.”

Earlier this month, a student in a second Central Texas classroom approached his teacher to say his mother was thinking of leaving the United States rather than face the possibility of deportation. The child’s parent left Central America five years ago and is seeking asylum here, but now fears she’ll be deported instead. She doesn’t want to bring her U.S.-born child to the violence-plagued country of her birth. And if she and her brother — the child’s uncle — were deported, her son would be left without an immediate family member to step in as a parent.

The parent now says she plans to stay in the United States while her case continues. But to put her mind at ease, her son’s 22-year-old teacher offered to become the child’s legal guardian.

“Without thinking, I was like ‘I’ll take him,’” the teacher told HuffPost. “I’d rather know that I did something to help, even if my own life is on pause or I have to take my own steps slower… If I’d done nothing, that would kill me.”

The second teacher’s other students and their parents face similar fears, she says. ICE operations in front of a local H-E-B supermarket had left some students too nervous to go shopping. Rather than venture outside and exposing themselves or their parents to ICE, they’re making do with what they have to eat in the house.

Some parents worry that ICE agents will follow them if they take their kids to class.

“What we’re seeing is a lot of parents who used to pick up their children from school and now they’re sending them on the bus,” a third teacher told HuffPost. “The parents are afraid to come to the school.”

One Mexican-born parent, who has legal U.S. permanent residency but worries that her citizenship application might be endangered by Trump’s immigration crackdown, said ICE parked a car within blocks of her daughter’s elementary school last week.  

“The kids were very scared,” the parent told HuffPost. “Why do they have to be in front of the school? A child shouldn’t have to be living through this.”

The anxiety at the schools extends to some of the teachers, according to Montserrat Garibay, the vice president of Education Austin, the teacher’s union.

Some Austin instructors are undocumented themselves, but they allowed to work in the school system through an Obama-era program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that shields undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors from deportation and provides a renewable two-year work authorization.

But Trump has offered mixed signals about whether he’ll extend that program, cancel it or allow it to lapse. At least two people with DACA permits were arrested during the wave of immigration arrests over the last two weeks, though one has been released.

“It’s an issue that’s bigger than just the students,” Garibay told HuffPost. “We have DACA-mented teachers that are really worried about their jobs,” he said, referring to the work permit program.

In theory, schools should not become a focal point of deportation fears. A 2011 policy restricts ICE from arresting people at sensitive places, including churches, funerals and schools. ICE’s brazen actions over the last weeks, however, leave some wondering whether the agency continues to follow it.

“To my knowledge, [ICE agents] haven’t entered a school,” Barbara Hines, the former head of the University of Texas at Austin Immigration Law Clinic, said at a conference last week. “But parking next to a school is the same thing.”

Students are still concerned, the first teacher said. As ICE swept through Austin, rounding up 51 people in the area, she was teaching lessons about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement for Black History Month, which began Feb. 1. When her students learn about the subject, they see parallels to their own lives, she said. They feel targeted for their brown skin like African-Americans are targeted for being black.  

“They’ve asked questions like, ‘Why us?’” the teacher, who gave her elementary class the drawing assignment, told HuffPost. “And there’s a lot of talk of Donald Trump. Like, ‘Is he the one doing this? Why does he hate us?’”

Since politics are off limits, she answers in the most neutral way she can.

“I tell them that just because a person is a leader doesn’t mean that they’re right,” she said. “It’s up to us to make sure that we tell other people so that they know it’s also not right. I tell them even though you think you’re little, it doesn’t mean you can’t teach others.”

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Real Couples Reveal What They Say In Bed When They’re Talking Dirty

Dirty talk doesn’t have to be complicated. As sex columnist Dan Savage once tweeted, the best sex convo is simple and straightforward: “Tell ‘em what you’re going to do, tell ‘em what you’re doing, tell ‘em what you did.” 

Still, even the most well-versed dirty talkers have awkward moments. In the WatchCut video above, long-time couples describe some of their finest ― and most cringeworthy ― sex talk. 

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Under Awards-Season Fire, The ‘Moonlight’ And ‘La La Land’ Teams Displayed Grace

In the wilds of this year’s Oscar race, “La La Land” and “Moonlight” were pitched as bitter rivals. In actuality, they were more like competitive pals. Frenemies, if you will. 

As “La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz said Sunday upon realizing his film had not actually won Best Picture, “I’m going to be really thrilled to hand this to my friends from ‘Moonlight.’” Horowitz waved director Barry Jenkins and company to the podium without a hint of resentment, despite having just been informed that presenters Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty announced the wrong winner. 

The exchange was a gracious encapsulation of a monthslong Best Picture contest that assumed complex layers amid Donald Trump’s election. The media’s analyses painted “Moonlight” as the socially conscious contender whose victory would double as Trump resistance, rendering “La La Land” a fantasy frolic doused in Hollywood nostalgia. But as these things go, our armchair narratives outpaced what was happening among the people actually involved with the movies. Having seen one another at event after event since September’s big festivals and the subsequent awards blitz, it turns out the competitors might actually like each other. 

Representing a small independent film about a black, gay latchkey kid in the Miami projects, Jenkins has remained neighborly throughout the long haul. In fact, he first demonstrated affection for “La La Land” director Damien Chazelle when their movies premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in September. 

Damien Chazelle and @BandryBarry catching up at #TellurideFilmFestival. #LaLaLand #Moonlight pic.twitter.com/CNkcxgXu8d

— Albert Tello (@Albert_Tello) September 5, 2016

Damien Chazelle… has the range. That is all

— Barry Jenkins (@BandryBarry) September 6, 2016

And again when the musical enjoyed stellar returns during its first weekend in theaters.

Damian put like six years of his life into LA LA LAND, stoked for my dude, MASSIVE opening weekend, must feel good as hell!!! https://t.co/9GvMlv1w5a

— Barry Jenkins (@BandryBarry) December 10, 2016

After a Twitter user lamented that “La La Land” would likely topple “Moonlight” for awards, Jenkins politely protested. 

@ParisLay Ha! Ain't a competition! Just love for cinema!!! Let's celebrate it in all its forms, especially when it comes from a true place!

— Barry Jenkins (@BandryBarry) December 10, 2016

When I talked to Jenkins about his Golden Globe nominations a few days after “La La Land” opened, he called the movie one of his favorites of 2016. “’La La Land’ is an amazing film,” he later told Esquire, defending it against criticisms. “I think there’s a very superficial read of ‘La La Land’ that does injustice to what Damien’s doing in the film, and it’s convenient because these are tough times to make a superficial read of that film. But it’s like, no, this is America. This is what this shit is. You gain something; you sacrifice something else in the gaining of that thing. I mean, that’s dark stuff.”

The “sacrifice” to which Jenkins alludes is Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) ending their relationship to pursue professional fulfillment, which some interpret as a cynical take on romance. Jenkins’ implicit candor about the nature of awards season ― in which movies with little in common are pitted against each other for the sake of trophies ― marks a respite from the mudslinging and strategizing that dominate Oscar derbies. 

The “La La Land” crew exhibited similar grace. While accepting the Golden Globes’ screenwriting prize in January, Chazelle said of his fellow nominees, “One of the actual benefits of this whole rodeo of awards season is getting to meet people whose work you really admire, so all of you, I’m in awe of your work and I’m humbled to be up here.” The telecast cut to Jenkins nodding along as Chazelle spoke. Ryan Gosling, seemingly amused by Sunday’s mishap, threw his arms around actor Ashton Sanders as the “Moonlight” crew congregated onstage. Nearby, Best Supporting Actor winner Mahershala Ali embraced “La La Land” producer Fred Berger. In the press room backstage, Emma Stone said, “I think we all would have loved to win Best Picture, but we are so excited for ‘Moonlight.’ I think it’s one of the best films of all time, so I was pretty beside myself.” 

At the Governors Ball after the ceremony, members of the “Moonlight” and “La La Land” clans reportedly hugged one another. “It was a surreal, kind of out-of-body experience,” Horowitz told The New York Times. “We’ve been on the circuit with them for six months. If that kind of thing has to happen, I’m glad to give it to them.”

Of course, we can’t know what any of these people really think of the “Moonlight”-”La La” two-hander. But assuming their reactions aren’t just calculated attempts at sportsmanship, the camps’ positive repartee is the exclamation point to a heated Best Picture race defined by Hollywood’s damning statistics about inclusivity and on-screen representation. Some of the Monday-morning quarterbacking has called Horowitz “brave” for announcing Beatty and Dunaway’s mistake, which undercuts “Moonlight” as the rightful winner. Stating a fact on live television is not brave, but Horowitz was gracious and warm in welcoming the other team to take his place, and that counts for a lot. He held up the card inside the proper envelope so the world could see “Moonlight” printed on it. Despite whatever disappointment the “La La Land” personnel felt, it was a rare moment of unity in a cutthroat industry. 

Jordan Horowitz. Wow. I'm slipping slowly into reflection, perspective. Much respect to that dude

— Barry Jenkins (@BandryBarry) February 27, 2017

And the affection goes beyond praising one another’s films. About half an hour after the Oscars ended, “La La Land” co-star and producer John Legend praised the “team” from “Moonlight.” On Monday morning, Horowitz tweeted about the “beautiful people” involved with the movie, which he had called “excellent” back in September.

Humbled. And once again: congrats to Moonlight. A truly beautiful picture made by some even more beautiful people. https://t.co/sOP1K0EiwW

— Jordan Horowitz (@jehorowitz) February 27, 2017

We can now close the books on the 89th Oscar relay having crowned a progressive indie underdog that probably wouldn’t have been made 15 years ago. It is, in a sense, a demonstration against the Trump administration, which has exemplified disregard for the sorts of marginalized voices depicted in “Moonlight.” And for those of us who have watched this pony race from the sidelines, it is a vote for what we love most: celebrating the city of stars that provides both escapism and life-affirming mirrors of our planet’s diverse realities. On to the next one!

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