A White House press briefing focused on President Donald Trump’s proposed changes to the green card application process spiraled out of control Wednesday, with White House adviser Stephen Miller accusing CNN’s Jim Acosta of bad faith and ignorance after Acosta said the bill appeared like an attempt to “engineer a racial and ethnic flow” of immigrants.
The bill, which Trump announced Wednesday alongside Sens. David Perdue (R-GA) and Tom Cotton (R-AR), would prioritize green card applicants based on things like English-speaking ability and job skills.
“The Statue of Liberty says give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free — doesn’t say anything about speaking English or being able to be a computer programmer,” Acosta told Miller. “Aren’t you trying to change what it means to be an immigrant coming into this country if you’re telling them, you have to speak English? Can’t people learn how to speak English when they get here?
Miller eventually said the sentiment wasn’t relevant: “In 1970, when we let in 300,000 people a year, was that violating or not violating the Statue of Liberty law of the land?” he asked rhetorically.
Of course, 1970 was the end of the lowest period of immigration in American history. Also:
The Justice Department plans to investigate colleges and universities whose admissions policies discriminate against white applicants, according to an internal memo revealed by the New York Times Tuesday.
The initiative, which will reportedly be overseen by a DOJ Civil Rights Division heavy with Trump appointees, would be charged with hiring attorneys to explore “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions,” the Times reported.
The project’s reveal prompted immediate concern from civil rights advocates, with Kristen Clarke of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law calling the action “deeply disturbing.”
“It would be a dog whistle that could invite a lot of chaos and unnecessarily create hysteria among colleges and universities who may fear that the government may come down on them for their efforts to maintain diversity on their campuses,” Clarke told the Times.
This would mark only the latest disturbing reversal in how the federal government interprets civil rights law since Jeff Sessions became Attorney General. Last week, DOJ lawyers argued that federal civil rights law did not, in fact, apply to “discrimination based on sexual orientation.”
Meanwhile, the first day of my cross-country drive ended in Springfield, Illinois. I got into town, walked into a pizza joint, and heard one of the workers go on a racist rant about how blacks [not the word he used] need to be shot and hanged. There’s someone who would be an Andrew Johnson or Donald Trump voter. I guess I am indeed in Real America (TM) now.