Politico: Immigrants, fearing Trump crackdown, drop out of nutrition programs

Immigrants are turning down government help to buy infant formula and healthy food for their young children because they’re afraid the Trump administration could bar them from getting a green card if they take federal aid.

Local health providers say they’ve received panicked phone calls from both documented and undocumented immigrant families demanding to be dropped from the rolls of WIC, a federal nutrition program aimed at pregnant women and children, after news reports that the White House is potentially planning to deny legal status to immigrants who’ve used public benefits. Agencies in at least 18 states say they’ve seen drops of up to 20 percent in enrollment, and they attribute the change largely to fears about the immigration policy.

The Trump administration hasn’t officially put the policy in place yet, but even without a formal rule, families are already being scared away from using services, health providers say.

“It’s a stealth regulation,” said Kathleen Campbell Walker, an immigration attorney at Dickinson Wright in El Paso, Texas. “It doesn’t really exist, but it’s being applied subliminally.”

Health advocates say the policy change could put more babies who are U.S.-born citizens at risk of low birth weight and other problems — undermining public health while also potentially fueling higher health care costs at taxpayer expense. WIC — formally the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children — serves about half of all babies born in the U.S by providing vouchers or benefit cards so pregnant women and families with small children can buy staple foods and infant formula. The program is also designed to support women who are breastfeeding.

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The Hill: Study: Immigrants have lower health-care costs than people born in US

A new study finds that immigrants have lower health-care costs than people born in the United States, meaning they are likely helping support public health insurance programs like Medicare.

The report from researchers at Harvard Medical School and Tufts University examined all peer-reviewed studies since 2000 on immigrants’ health-care costs in the United States. It found that immigrants’ health-care expenditures were one-half to two-thirds those of people born in the U.S.

“Overall, immigrants almost certainly paid more toward medical expenses than they withdrew, providing a low-risk pool that subsidized the public and private health insurance markets,” the study states.

It comes as the Trump administration is reportedly considering new rules that would make it harder for legal immigrants to become citizens if they have used health-care programs like ObamaCare insurance or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

The researchers found that immigrants make up 12 percent of the population but only account for 8.6 percent of total U.S. health-care spending.

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KQED: In Wildfire-Hit Redding, Latino Family Offers Free Food — in Face of Racial Tensions

Elsa Ceja’s parents came from Mexico and opened La Cabaña restaurant in the city of Redding 22 years ago.

When the fires broke out last week, Elsa and her whole family were in Mexico on vacation. They landed in Sacramento last Saturday, July 28, when the blaze was at its height. Flames were consuming parts of the city.

“Everyone was scared,” Elsa says. “And I’m like no, we gotta go back. We gotta see what’s going on. We have to go home and see and help. We can’t just take off. We have to be there for our community. They’ve been there for us so many years. It’s time for us to be there.”

Elsa and her family rushed home. They posted on Facebook that they would give free food to first responders and firefighters, and 20 percent discounts to evacuees. They started distributing breakfast burritos at a nearby evacuation center.

For more help, Elsa called her sister, Alma Fragoso, in Sacramento, about 2½ hours away. Alma contacted her local priest to get donations — water, clothes, hygiene products and toys. They piled it all into a truck and drove it up to Redding.

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NPR: Trump Says ‘No Problem’ With Government Shutdown Over Border Wall Funding

President Trump again threatened a government shutdown unless Congress funds his border wall. At a joint news conference at the White House Monday, along with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, the president said “If we don’t get border security after many, many years of talk within the United States I would have no problem doing a shutdown.”

Trump renewed his demand for border wall funding as well as changes to U.S. immigration law in a tweet Sunday, saying “I would be willing to ‘shut down’ government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security.” Republicans, who hold majorities in both the House and Senate, have not been able to pass the immigration changes the president wants. And GOP leaders in Congress are reluctant to see a government shutdown this fall, just weeks ahead of the midterm elections.

Trump said he had no “red line” in so far as the amount he wants Congress to approve, and that he will “always leave room for negotiation.”

Trump also said he would be willing to meet with Iran’s leaders “anytime they want, no preconditions.” But he warned that Iran must “never be allowed” to possess nuclear weapons.

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Forbes: From Gun Control To Migration, Harry Styles’ $1.2 Million Donation Makes Statement On U.S. Society

In a world where authenticity is a prized asset, celebrities often find a challenge to provide it as they are directed towards supporting uncontroversial global charities. Harry Styles has bucked the trend however by announcing his support of a series of local organizations and, in the midst of that cohort of charities, making some deep statements about his views on American society. By engaging with gun control, workplace harassment and migration issues, he is quietly setting a stall out on 2018’s major issues of U.S. society and politics.

At first glance you think that if you are looking to spend $1.2 million on making a difference in the world, the last thing you want to do is to spread it across tens of partners, geographies and causes. Everyone already worries that celebrities are over-managed in their philanthropy, that they give to ‘safe’ brand-name organizations that they know will manage their media well rather than anyone they actually care about. They tend to have one international charity, one kids’ charity and one cancer charity, see them each once a year and be done with it.

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The Telegraph: Russian spy offered sex for access and was praised for ‘upstaging Anna Chapman’, US prosecutors claim

An alleged Russian spy offered sex in exchange for access and was praised by her Kremlin handler for having “upstaged” the former spy Anna Chapman, according to a new court filing.

Maria Butina, an apparent pro-gun rights campaigner, took part in a “years-long conspiracy” to secretly work in America on behalf of the Russian government, US prosecutors have claimed.

The 29-year-old told a Russian official she must remain “incognito” and keep everything “quiet and careful” the month before the 2016 US election, according to messages allegedly uncovered by the FBI.

In one message she is praised for being a ”daredevil” by the unnamed Russian official after getting close to the US Capitol on Donald Trump’s inauguration day. She allegedly wrote back: “Good teachers!”

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CNN: White House denies President Trump doesn’t think Russia is targeting US

The White House denied on Wednesday that President Trump doesn’t believe Russia is targeting the United States.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders, who said she spoke with Trump about his answer earlier during a Cabinet meeting, said the President was declining to answer shouted questions when he said “no” to a question about Russia’s current efforts.

“The President said thank you very much and said no to answering questions,” Sanders said.”The President and his administration are working very hard to make sure Russia is unable to meddling in our elections,” she said, indicating Trump does believe Russia poses a current threat.

“We certainly believe that we are taking steps to make sure they can’t do it again,” Sanders said.

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The Atlantic: The White House Transcript Is Missing the Most Explosive Part of the Trump–Putin Press Conference

It was perhaps the most explosive exchange in an incendiary press conference: Russian President Vladimir Putin appearing to frankly admit to a motive for, and maybe even to the act of, meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, despite repeatedly denying Russian interference in American politics during the rest of his appearance with Donald Trump in Finland on Monday.

But the exchange doesn’t appear in full in the White House’s live-stream or transcript of the press conference, and it’s missing entirely from the Kremlin’s transcript of the event. The White House did not immediately provide an explanation for the discrepancy.

Understanding what Putin said depends on what you watch or where you look. If you watch the video of the news conference provided by the Russian government, or by news outlets such as PBS and the Associated Press, you will hear the Reuters reporter Jeff Mason ask a bombshell of a question: “President Putin, did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?”

Putin then responds with a bombshell of an answer, according to the English translation of his remarks that was broadcast during the press conference: “Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.”

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Naval War College Professor: Trump has taken Putin’s side. His stability and America’s safety are now in question.

The Helsinki summit is over, and we are all left struggling to find the words to capture the nightmare that in the space of less than 24 hours destroyed years of American diplomacy, sacrifice and leadership.

So perhaps we should just admit what our own eyes cannot deny: We have now witnessed the very worst humiliations of a president of the United States ever, and one of the lowest points in the history of the American presidency.

The summit was completely in Putin’s control, and it showed. That was to be expected from an incompetent leader believing he could waltz unprepared into a media event with a professional intelligence officer. A summit without an agenda is a bad idea from the start, but Trump clearly wanted to replicate the artificial media high of his trip to Singapore to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un — another disgraceful episode in itself — and garner high ratings and hollow applause from his usual fans and camp-followers.

But Kim Jong Un is a young and relatively inexperienced brute, whose personal stature and weird mien do not play all that well on television. And all Kim needed to do was share a stage with an American president to accomplish his mission. Kim is crude and dangerous, but he is an amateur.­­­

Putin, however, is no amateur. He performed brilliantly, turning every issue back to the Americans, and Trump took it all. Ukraine? The Americans should talk to their Ukrainian friends, not us. Espionage? Pish-posh. We’re not that kind of country, but if you’d like us to look into it, hand over Putin opponent Bill Browder. Syria? Of course, we’d love to remain involved there under the guise of humanitarian aid, thank you for the invitation. Putin did what one would expect him to do, and his behavior was icily competent and carefully executed.

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