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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Immigration

Santiago Tobar Potes

Screenshot from Univision News

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Columbia University graduate Santiago Tobar Potes told NPR's Morning Edition that he was initially cautious about applying for Rhodes Scholarship—not because he was unqualified, but because of his status as a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient. He knew there was a chance the Supreme Court would allow the Trump administration to strike it down, putting his future here at risk. But then everything changed this past summer.

When the Supreme Court ruled this past June that Trump administration officials has unlawfully ended the program, Potes went for his chance, and applied in August. Last month, he found out he'd been selected, becoming the first Latino DACA recipient to become a Rhodes scholar. "I just couldn't believe it," he told NPR. "I just thought that they were going to call me, and say 'Oh, we made a mistake. Sorry about that, we actually didn't choose you.'"

Jin Park made history as the first DACA recipient to be awarded the Rhodes Scholarship, but revealed that the administration's attacks on the Obama-era policy threatened his future. While lower courts had forced officials to partially reopen the program, a provision that allowed DACA recipients to apply for permission to study abroad was not. "If I leave," Park said last year, "there's a very real possibility that I won't be able to come back."

The administration defied the Supreme Court's decision for months but this month finally fully reopened the program after yet another court's order. Not only was the program reopened for new applications for the first time since last 2017, the the provision that allows international travel for some DACA recipients was also back.

"As one of the 2021 Rhodes Scholars, Potes will head to the University of Oxford in the UK this fall," NPR reported, where he plans to study for a Master's degree in international relations. "I wanna be a national security expert working at the Department of State or working as a counselor to a senator," he told NPR. "I want to use my academic research to help the United States, ultimately."

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Millions In PPP Loans Go To Hate Groups, Says SPLC

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

A Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group that has promulgated anti-immigrant propaganda titled "The fiscal burden of illegal immigration on United States taxpayers" (I'm not going to link to it) received more than $680,000 in funds from the Paycheck Protection Program, an NBC News analysis has found (Disclosure: Kos Media received a Paycheck Protection Program loan.)

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and more than a dozen other designated hate groups in fact received a total of $4.3 million in funds—even as families have continued to remain without direct relief, aside from one lousy check. In FAIR's case, it received $683,680 in relief as its also advocated punishing immigrant families through policies like the "public charge" rule. Help for me, none for thee.

As my colleague Joan McCarter noted earlier this summer, there was clear "evidence that the aid didn't go where it was most needed and hasn't done the job for tens of thousand of businesses." From mom-and-pop shops to local restaurants, it's clear which businesses have been in desperate need of help. It's also clear which entities saw a financial opportunity, despite providing no public good.

"The groups that received funds also include American Family Association (AFA), a group that opposes what its leaders describe as the 'homosexual agenda,'" NBC News said. SPLC, which has designated the organization a hate group, said in a report that "[f]or years, until 2010, the AFA had a section on its website that supposedly exposed 'The Homosexual Agenda.'"

Various AFA propagandists have further claimed that "[h]omosexuality is not only harmful to homosexuals themselves, but also to children and to society," and that "[a]s with smoking, homosexual behavior's 'second hand' effects threaten public health." Per NBC News' report, AFA got $1,390,800 in PPP funds.

Another group that got funds was Church Militant, "an organization that runs a media operation that advocates for so-called gay conversion therapies and links homosexuality to pedophilia," NBC News continued. Per SPLC, "Church Militant focuses on homosexuality with an intensity and frequency bordering on obsessive." That group received just over $300,000 in funds.

"Extremist movements thrive in climates of political uncertainty," SPLC senior research analyst Cassie Miller explained to NBC News. "In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, far-right actors have exploited people's fears and grievances to promote their ideologies. But now the government is doing even more to help hate groups by handing them millions of dollars in forgivable loans."