WTF Just Happened Today

Your essential guide to the daily shock and awe in national politics.


Day 34: "The work continues."

Monday, February 22, 2021

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1/ Trump’s immigration crackdown will likely bring a flood of lawsuits. The Department of Homeland Security is pushing ahead with what the ACLU calls a “hyper-aggressive mass deportation policy.” The administration wants to unshackle Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents who have been “handcuffed” by policies that determined who “could and couldn’t be adjudicated.” (Bloomberg)

  • Mexico calls Trump’s plan to deport non-Mexicans to Mexico both “hostile” and “unacceptable”. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly are due to meet and “walk through” the implementation of Trump’s immigration orders with Mexico today. Sean Spicer said he expected it to be a “great discussion.” (Reuters)
  • Trudeau says Canada will continue to accept asylum seekers crossing illegally from the U.S., but will ensure security measures are taken to keep Canadians safe. If caught by police, asylum seekers are taken in for questioning. They are then transferred to the CBSA for fingerprinting and further questions. If people are deemed a threat or flight risk, they are detained. If not, they can file refugee claims and live in Canada while they wait for a decision. (Newsweek)
  • A “Refugees Welcome” banner was unfurled atop the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. The stunt happened the same day the Homeland Security Department announced expanded immigration enforcement policies. (NBC New York)

2/ The Trump administration plans to roll back protections for transgender students, reversing federal guidance that required the nation’s public schools to allow children to use the bathrooms and locker rooms that matched their gender identities. (Washington Post)

  • Trump rescinds rules on bathrooms for transgender students, overruling his own education secretary and placing his administration firmly in the middle of the culture wars that many Republicans have tried to leave behind. Under Obama, nondiscrimination laws required schools to allow transgender students to use that corresponded with their gender identity. (New York Times)

  • Trump pits Sessions and DeVos against each over draft order to rescind protections for transgender students in public schools. DeVos initially resisted signing off on the order, telling Trump that she was uncomfortable with it. Sessions, who strongly opposes expanding gay, lesbian and transgender rights, fought DeVos on the issue and pressed her to relent because he could not go forward without her consent. The order must come from the Justice and Education Departments. Trump sided with Sessions, while DeVos, faced with the choice of resigning or defying the president, has agreed to go along. (New York Times)

  • Trump deportation threats could constrict the already-tight job market. One study suggests that removing all of the undocumented immigrants would cost the economy as much as $5 trillion over 10 years. (