Advocacy groups urge senate to reject Trump Immigration pick

As President Trump’s pick to lead the agency that approves immigration petitions heads toward likely confirmation, more than 300 advocacy organizations are urging the Senate to oppose it, citing ProPublica’s examination of the nominee’s record. Lee Francis Cissna, a veteran policymaker, was nominated in February to lead the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the sprawling agency that handles applications for green cards, citizenship, visas, asylum and the controversial deportation protections known as DACA, which benefit 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. In a letter sent Monday to all Senate members, the groups noted that Cissna had volunteered for the Trump campaign and later provided “technical assistance” for Trump’s executive orders on immigration. The letter also referenced a story by ProPublica that showed Cissna helped draft dozens of letters under the letterhead of Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, between 2015 and 2016. Cissna had worked for Grassley’s office while on loan from his longtime employer, the Department of Homeland Security. Continue Reading →

House panel cuts education budget, but not nearly as much as Trump

WASHINGTON — House appropriators rejected many of President Donald Trump’s proposed cuts to education, but trimmed some programs and eliminated others – including one that provides the state and local school districts with $25 million in teacher training grants each year. House appropriators also failed to adjust this year’s Pell grant awards for inflation, a move state officials say will cost Connecticut students $6 million in college financial aid next year. Continue Reading →