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You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines, or for in-depth stories that expose government and corporate abuses of power. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation, all without ads, government funding or corporate underwriting? This is only possible with your support. Right now every donation to Democracy Now! will be doubled by a generous supporter. This means if you give $25 today, Democracy Now! will get $50 to support our daily news hour. Please do your part. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in the coming year. Thanks so much. -Amy Goodman
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The White House is moving to greatly expand the Department of Homeland Security’s authority to deport millions of undocumented immigrants and to increase the number of immigration and Border Patrol agents by 15,000. Under rules issued on Tuesday, almost any undocumented person in the country could be detained and deported, even if they have never committed a crime. A traffic violation or mere suspicion of committing a crime could now be grounds for deportation. Any immigrant who cannot prove they have been in the United States for over two years could be deported without a hearing. The memos also call for the prosecution of parents who seek to reunite their family by using smugglers to bring their children into the country. According to the White House, protections will remain in place for now for DREAMers—immigrants who came to the United States as children and have since received permission to live and work in the United States under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA.
Last Thursday, thousands of immigrants closed their businesses, refused to go to work and kept their children home from school for a “Day Without Immigrants” protest in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Detroit, Raleigh, Austin and other cities. Media reports now say as many as 100 immigrants lost their jobs after taking part in the protests, including construction and restaurant workers. The owner of JVS Masonry in Commerce City, Colorado, fired 30 bricklayers, even though they had told their boss ahead of time that they planned to skip work to participate in the protests. We’ll have more on the Department of Homeland Security memos after headlines.
President Trump has spoken out against anti-Semitism after widespread criticism over his failure to condemn the waves of bomb threats against Jewish community centers and other attacks against the Jewish community since his inauguration. On Tuesday, Trump called anti-Semitism “horrible” and “painful” at the end of his tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
President Donald Trump: “The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.”
Trump’s comments came as several Jewish community centers, or JCCs, were temporarily evacuated Monday after receiving bomb threats. In total, 69 threats have been reported against 54 JCCs since inauguration. Many are calling Trump’s comments “too little, too late.” In a statement, the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect said, “The President’s sudden acknowledgement is a Band-Aid on the cancer of Antisemitism that has infected his own Administration.” Meanwhile, a Muslim-led fundraiser has raised online more than $50,000 to help repair the Jewish cemetery in University City, Missouri, where the gravesites of more than 100 Jews were vandalized over the weekend. We’ll have more on Trump’s comments with the director of the Anne Frank Center, as well as Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, later in the broadcast.
In North Dakota, Lakota water protectors fighting the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline have vowed to make a “treaty stand” today to resist their forcible eviction from the main Oceti Sakowin resistance camp. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the North Dakota governor have imposed a noon eviction deadline today for the hundreds of water protectors still living at the resistance camp. The government has warned that after 2 p.m., state and federal agents will begin arresting people who remain. Water protectors say the resistance camp sits on unceded Sioux territory under the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie and that they have a right to remain on their ancestral land. These are some of the Lakota women at the encampment.
Water Protector 1: “I am Sicangu Lakota, and this is my treaty territory.”
Water Protector 2: “I am Oglala Lakota, and this is my treaty territory.”
Water Protector 3: “I am O’ohenonpa Lakota, and this is my treaty territory.”
Water Protector 4: “But after the deadline of February 22nd, 2017, at 2 p.m. …”
Water Protector 5: “We are all at risk of facing arrest, police brutality, federal charges and prison time.”
Across the country, Republican lawmakers were confronted by thousands of angry constituents at town hall meetings and events Tuesday, as voters demanding the Republicans take action to challenge President Trump. Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, Florida Congressmember Dennis Ross, Tennessee Congressmember Marsha Blackburn and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were all confronted by voters frustrated by Trump’s policies on immigration, education and jobs, his refusal to release his tax returns, his inclusion of white nationalists in his administration, among other issues. Some voters asked whether the lawmakers would support Trump’s impeachment. This is one woman challenging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell during a town hall Tuesday.
Woman: “The last I heard, these coal jobs are not coming back, and now these people don’t have the insurance they need because they’re poor. And they work those coal mines, and they’re sick. The veterans are sick. The veterans are broken down. They’re not getting what they need. If you can answer any of that, I’ll sit down and shut up like Elizabeth Warren.”
The woman is referencing Senator Elizabeth Warren’s reading of Coretta Scott King’s 1986 letter against Jeff Sessions during a debate over his confirmation as attorney general. Senator Warren was silenced and rebuked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for reading this letter. In response to the wave of resistance against Republican lawmakers, President Trump tweeted, “The so-called angry crowds in home districts of some Republicans are actually, in numerous cases, planned out by liberal activists. Sad!”
CIA analyst and National Security Council spokesperson Edward Price has resigned over his opposition to President Trump. In an article published in The Washington Post entitled “I didn’t think I’d ever leave the CIA. But because of Trump, I quit,” Price calls Trump’s actions “disturbing.” He writes that the final straw for him was watching the National Security Council be reorganized to demote the generals and give Trump’s chief strategist and former Breitbart leader Stephen Bannon a full seat on the principals committee. This is Price.
Edward Price: “If this administration decides to go it alone and to say, 'with intelligence be damned,' I think there’s a real consequence for escalation on any number of fronts, and an escalation that has the potential to put lives at risk.”
The Supreme Court began hearing arguments Tuesday in the case of the 15-year-old Mexican teenager who was shot dead by a U.S. Border Patrol agent who fired across the border in 2010—and whether the boy’s parents have the right to sue in U.S. courts, even though the bullet struck the boy in Mexico. Teenager Sergio Adrian Hernández Guereca was playing with his friends on the Mexican side of the border that separates El Paso, Texas, from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, when Border Patrol agent Jesus Mesa fired across the border into Mexico, killing Hernández. The Supreme Court justices appear to be split, meaning the court may hold onto the case and reschedule a new hearing after a ninth justice is confirmed. The ruling could impact at least some of the six other cases where U.S. agents have killed Mexican citizens by shooting across the border.
In international news, Palestinians have expressed outrage at the short sentence given to an Israeli soldier caught on tape executing a wounded Palestinian man. On Tuesday, a military panel sentenced Israeli Sergeant Elor Azaria to 18 months in prison and a demotion in rank. Video of the killing last March shows Palestinian Abdel Fattah al-Sharif lying immobilized on the ground as Azaria fires a single shot into the man’s head at close range. The killing took place in Hebron, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The father of al-Sharif said, “If someone is arrested for throwing a rock, they get a two-year sentence. In this case, a soldier murdered and got a year and a half.” This is Wasel Abu Yousef of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Wasel Abu Yousef: “Today’s sentencing for the murder of the martyr Abdel Fattah al-Sharif, who was murdered by one of the occupation’s fascist soldiers, a murder that was filmed and broadcast on most of the world’s satellite channels, this deliberate murder of a wounded person who was not able to move and was shot in the head and killed in cold blood—today, a fake court decided to hand down a light sentence to this soldier, which illustrates a disrespect of Palestinian lives and international laws.”
A British Muslim school teacher is speaking out after he says he was denied entry to the United States during a school trip last week—even though Trump’s travel ban had been suspended and the teacher is a British citizen who was born in Wales. Juhel Miah says he was removed from the plane at Reykjavík on February 16.
Juhel Miah: “I was in shock. I couldn’t believe it was happening. It hit me the hardest when I looked back and I could see all the kids looking at me, all the members of staff. And as I was going through the plane, it felt everyone else on the plane were looking at me as if I was a threat to them or I would harm them in any way. So, I felt powerless. I felt like I’m being targeted. And I had no idea why. And there was nothing I could do.”
Juhel Miah was pulled off the plane even though he was chaperoning a group of schoolchildren on the trip.
Back in the United States, a federal judge has blocked Texas from defunding Planned Parenthood. Judge Sam Sparks issued an injunction in favor of the women’s healthcare organization, after Texas tried to cut off Medicaid funding for non-abortion services to Planned Parenthood. Texas had falsely and unsuccessfully accused Planned Parenthood of selling fetal tissue, drawing on heavily edited and widely discredited anti-choice videos as evidence. The ruling makes Texas the sixth state where courts have blocked efforts to defund Planned Parenthood at the state level.
And white nationalist Milo Yiannopoulos has resigned from Breitbart amid widespread outrage over his comments appearing to endorse pedophilia. On Tuesday, Yiannopoulos announced his resignation at a press conference in New York City.
Milo Yiannopoulos: “My employer, Breitbart News, has stood by me while others caved. They’ve allowed me to carry conservative and libertarian ideas to communities that would otherwise never have had them. They have been a significant factor in my success, and I’m grateful for the freedom and for the friendships that I forged there. But I would be wrong to allow my poor choice of words to detract from my colleagues’ important job, which is why today I’m resigning from Breitbart, effective immediately.”
Milo Yiannopoulos’s resignation comes after Simon & Schuster canceled the publication of his book “Dangerous” and the American Conservative Union rescinded an invitation to speak at its upcoming annual CPAC conference over his comments discrediting age of consent laws and promoting relationships between “younger boys and older men.”
Milo Yiannopoulos: “This arbitrary and oppressive idea of consent, which totally destroys, you know, the understanding that many of us have of the complexities and subtleties and complicated nature of many relationships. … Some of the most important, enriching and incredibly, you know, life-affirming, important, shaping relationships, very often between younger boys and older men, can—they can be hugely positive experiences for those young boys.”
Milo Yiannopoulos has long faced opposition, led by women of color and transgender activists, over his history of making racist, sexist and xenophobic statements. At the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, for example, he outed and mocked a transgender student, showing her name and photo on screen in December. Best-selling author Roxane Gay, who canceled her book deal in January with Simon & Schuster in protest of its now-canceled deal with Yiannopoulos, wrote, “as someone who endured a bit of [his] harassment, it is breathtaking in its scope, intensity, and cruelty.” She said she will still not publish her upcoming book with Simon & Schuster, saying the publisher “should have never enabled Milo in the first place.”