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Fearing Trump’s green card policy, families with immigrants may opt out of coronavirus care

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Families who have at least one member without a green card are fearful of using public benefit programs because of a Trump immigration policy, creating concern they may also avoid publicly available coronavirus testing and treatment.

The Urban Institute study found persistence of the chilling effect caused by the Trump administration’s public charge rule that expands the criteria for denying legal permanent residence applications based on past or potential use of government benefit programs.

Among adults in households most likely to be directly affected by the rule — those with at least one family member who was not a legal permanent resident — 31 percent reported avoiding benefit programs in 2019, compared to 21.8 percent in 2018.

The rule went into effect in February 2020, but early versions of it were leaked to the public, creating fear and confusion among mostly Latino immigrant families. Some dropped food stamps and assistance for young children and pregnant mothers, including health care, even though they or their children were eligible, as NBC News reported last year.

“That chilling effects observed in 2018 among immigrant families persisted into 2019 — and increased among families most likely to be affected by the public charge rule — is alarming in the unprecedented context of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the study’s authors stated. “Many worry that immigrant families may be afraid to enroll in public programs that expand access to medical testing and treatment for COVID-19, putting into sharp relief the public health risks of these chilling effects.”

More than one in seven adults in immigrant families, or 15.6 percent, said they or a family member avoided a non-cash government benefit program, such as Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, or housing subsidies last year for fear of risking approval for legal permanent residence, or what is known as a green card, according to the study.

The fear was more severe among low-income immigrant families, where more than a quarter, 26.2 percent, reported not using assistance programs for which they were eligible because of the chilling effect of the Trump policy.

Nearly half of adults in immigrant families who said they avoided using programs avoided the food stamp program, SNAP. Forty-five percent avoided Medicaid or CHIP and 35.2 percent avoided housing subsidies.

The researchers noted that about one in four adults in the families reported avoiding a program not named in the public charge rule, including free or reduce-cost medical care for the uninsured, Women Infant and Children assistance; health insurance purchased through marketplaces and free or reduced-price school lunches.

Although about two-thirds were aware of the public charge rule and most were confident they understood it, just 22.7 percent knew it does not apply to citizenship applications and only 19.1 percent knew children’s enrollment in Medicaid would not be considered in assessing whether green card applicants used public benefits.

The institute surveyed 1,747 non-elderly adults who were born outside the U.S. or who live with one or more foreign born family member.

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Twitter fact checks Trump’s tweets for the first time, calls mail-in voting claim ‘misleading’

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Twitter slapped a fact check label on a pair of “misleading” tweets by President Donald Trump on Tuesday in which he railed against mail-in voting amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed. The Governor of California is sending Ballots to millions of people, anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there, will get one,” Trump tweeted.

“That will be followed up with professionals telling all of these people, many of whom have never even thought of voting before, how, and for whom, to vote. This will be a Rigged Election. No way!”

Experts who study the issue have found no evidence that voter fraud is a widespread problem in the United States.

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It appears to be the first time that the social media giant has fact checked Trump or otherwise enforced its terms regarding his tweets. Many of his critics have long called on Twitter to hold the president accountable for violating its terms of service.

The platform added language to the president’s tweets that reads “Get the facts about mail-in ballots” and directs users to a Twitter article titled “Trump makes unsubstantiated claim that mail-in ballots will lead to voter fraud,” along with a “What you need to know” section, as well as aggregated tweets about Trump’s unfounded claims.

A Twitter spokesperson told NBC News on Tuesday that the tweets “contain potentially misleading information about voting processes and have been labeled to provide additional context around mail-in ballots.”

The spokesperson added that the company rolled out a policy this month to combat misinformation, particularly related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump lashed out at Twitter on Tuesday, saying the company is restricting free speech.

“.@Twitter is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election. They are saying my statement on Mail-In Ballots, which will lead to massive corruption and fraud, is incorrect, based on fact-checking by Fake News CNN and the Amazon Washington Post,” he wrote in one tweet.

“Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!” he said in another.

Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign manager, called Twitter biased in a statement Tuesday.

“We always knew that Silicon Valley would pull out all the stops to obstruct and interfere with President Trump getting his message through to voters,” he said. “Partnering with the biased fake news media ‘fact checkers’ is only a smoke screen Twitter is using to try to lend their obvious political tactics some false credibility.”

He added, “There are many reasons the Trump campaign pulled all our advertising from Twitter months ago, and their clear political bias is one of them.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump’s presumptive Democratic rival in November, urged the company to flag statements from every user, including Trump, when they are untrue.

“I think they should say when things are patently not true,” Biden said Tuesday in an appearance on CNN when asked about Trump’s recently sharing conspiracy theories on the site. “They should say so.”

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In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many states holding primaries have had to consider how to balance elections with public health. The pandemic has driven lawmakers to act, such as California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who issued an order that requires election officials in each of the state’s 58 counties to send mail-in ballots to all registered voters.

However, the move has prompted legal challenges.

The Republican National Committee and other GOP groups, such as the California Republican Party and the National Republican Congressional Committee, sued Newsom on Sunday. RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel called Newsom’s executive order “radical” and a “recipe for disaster that would create more opportunities for fraud.”

A similar challenge also cropped up in Texas, but a federal judge there ruled in favor of the Democratic Party’s expanding mail-in voting. The case is being appealed by state Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Marianna Sotomayor contributed.



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Trump’s encouragement of racism against Asian Americans is an affront to all Americans

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A boy landed in the hospital after being beaten up by his classmates on school grounds. A little girl was pushed off her bike in the middle of a park. A nurse was assaulted on the subway, and another was spit on while delivering medicine to a sick patient. A father was hit over the head by a man swearing at him on the street.

In the past several months, countless Asian Americans have been punched and kicked and threatened, told that they’ll be sorry if they don’t leave this country — their country. They’ve been blamed for COVID-19: yelled at by strangers in parking lots, refused service at stores and needlessly, cruelly scapegoated by the most powerful man on the planet, President Donald Trump, who has racialized the pandemic and stoked xenophobia every time he’s uttered the term “Chinese virus.”

In a nation founded on the principle that we’re all created equal, such bigotry is downright un-American.

Deflecting blame for his own failure to heed the warnings of experts to prepare for this crisis, Trump has stood in the White House briefing room day after day and pulled from the same cynical playbook he’s relied on so many times before, stoking grievances and using the same politics of division that helped him get elected in the first place, this time by casting Asian Americans as the “other.” As if they are a deviation from those who are “actually” American. As if they don’t truly belong.

The comments Trump has made have ranged from the dangerous to the absurd. But the sentiment behind them has been clear.

So let us be even clearer.

The American story as we know it would not exist without the strength of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. In a literal sense, Asian Americans helped build and unite this country — laying the railroad tracks, tilling the fields, starting the businesses and picking up the rifles necessary to develop and defend the nation we love.

No insult, no insinuation — even when it comes from the president in the middle of the Rose Garden telling an Asian American reporter to “ask China” — can change the fact that Asian Americans are just as American as anyone else lucky enough to be a daughter or a on of the United States.

Ironically, May marks Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. In the face of such intolerance, this month reminds us that it’s as important as ever to honor the AAPI community’s service to this country — as teachers, doctors, troops, you name it — as well as recognize the consequences of the fear-mongering and outright racism that have been on the rise throughout Trump’s presidency.

Because that’s the kind of prejudice that led to Japanese Americans’ being interned on U.S. soil even as their loved ones fought to defend this nation overseas during World War II. It’s a version of what we’ve seen in debates over everything from segregation to immigration, where those who aren’t white are portrayed as if they’re somehow dirty or dangerous or, now, contaminated — and then cast off as second-class citizens. In a nation founded on the principle that we’re all created equal, such bigotry is downright un-American.

The United States is great because, by and large, Americans look out for one another and are good to one another. We’ve witnessed that time and again, and we’re seeing it now in the midst of this crisis. Landlords are waiving rent for tenants struggling to get by. Medical students not yet allowed to take care of patients in the ICU are instead taking care of health care workers, offering to look after their kids or do chores. Teachers are driving through their students’ neighborhoods to say hello.

Trump has proven he will never get it. He will never understand that the reason the U.S. has led the world for decades is not just by the example of our power, but by the power of our example.

Each of those people understands our country better than Trump ever will. They understand that at its best, America is a roughly 3.8 million-square-mile community whose members don’t just want to do well for themselves, but to do good for others. No matter the color of their skin.

Trump has proven he will never get it. He will never understand that the reason the U.S. has led the world for decades is not just by the example of our power, but by the power of our example. As much as we all wish and hope, it is clear that Trump will never rise to the awesome responsibility that comes with the title President of the United States.

As our neighbors are spit on and beat up because of the color of their skin, it is more obvious than ever how important it is that we make this the last Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with Trump in the White House.

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Boris Johnson faces grilling over Dominic Cummings chaos – furious Tory MPs rebel

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BORIS JOHNSON will be grilled by senior MPs today as a rebellion within his own party grows over his response to the Dominic Cummings crisis.

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