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Republican Lawmaker Warns the “Great Replacement” Is Coming

Michigan state Representative Josh Schriver still hasn’t deleted his post.

The Michigan state Capitol building. In front of it is a pick-up truck with an American flag flying off the end.
Emily Elconin/Getty Images
The Michigan state Capitol building

A Michigan lawmaker posted an overtly racist image on Tuesday, using his office’s official account to elevate a white supremacist conspiracy theory on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

The image, which depicts Black silhouettes covering much of the world, with white silhouettes straddling small portions of Canada, Northern Europe, and Australia, was captioned, “The great replacement!” referring to a white nationalist far-right conspiracy theory that baselessly purports that nonwhite people, especially from Arab countries, are demographically replacing white populations.

Right-wing pundit Jack Posobiec initially posted the image, but Michigan state Representative Josh Schriver quickly reshared it, adding an emoji of a chart in decline.

Groups within his district weren’t happy about the apparent endorsement.

An independent support group of the Detroit City Football Club declared that Schriver was “not welcome” at their clubs.

“Absolutely go fuck yourself, Josh,” posted the account for the Northern Guard Supporters. “Your wife plays for our club with players from all ethnic backgrounds in a high minority population city and you’re pushing white supremacist propaganda.”

“We want to be extremely clear on this: you are not welcome at Keyworth or in DCFC,” they added.

Schriver continued to make questionable posts into Wednesday, claiming that he doesn’t “believe God is a racist but He does love the races.”

The freshman lawmaker took office in 2022, winning Michigan’s 66th House district—which has voted red since 1993—by a margin of nearly 30 percent over Democratic candidate Emily Busch.

Moms for Liberty Completely Collapses in Former Strongholds

Moms for Liberty appears to be slowly imploding.

Photo by Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images
Protesters are seen holding American flags at a Moms for Liberty rally at the Pennsylvania state Capitol, October 9, 2021.

Two different chapters of Moms for Liberty faced stinging losses this week in two strongholds, the latest events in the once powerful organization’s steady decline.

Moms for Liberty experienced a meteoric rise at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, as local chapters sprang up to push back against coronavirus restrictions in schools. The organization soon expanded to pushing book bans and opposing discussion of LGBTQ issues and race and diversity in classrooms, prompting the Southern Poverty Law Center to categorize Moms for Liberty as an extremist hate group.

But on Tuesday, the local chapter in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, shut down due to lack of interest. The chapter had 200 members when it first formed in 2021, but just three showed up at a diner in Allentown to vote to dissolve the group, The Daily Beast reported.

Members had begun drifting away after Covid-19 mandates were lifted nationwide, but the biggest blow came in November when the chapter’s preferred candidate in a school district board election lost badly. Attendance at chapter events nose-dived, with just 20 people showing up to the holiday party.

I guess there wasn’t as much willingness to do the work that’s required to propel the movement forward,” the chapter founder, Janine Vicalvi, told the Beast in a story published Wednesday.

Participation also appears to be flagging for a key Moms for Liberty chapter in Florida. The Brevard County chapter was the national organization’s first chapter. A local group was already in action against Covid-19 regulations in schools when Tina Descovich, Tiffany Justice, and Bridget Ziegler founded Moms for Liberty in Florida. Descovich approached the Brevard County group about merging with Moms for Liberty, and the local group agreed.

But on Wednesday, the Brevard County school board held a meeting, in part to discuss a challenge to the books The Kite Runner and Slaughterhouse-Five. Only one Moms for Liberty member showed up.

All the other attendees spoke in favor of keeping the books on the shelves—and heavily criticized the parental rights organization. One attendee compared “the growth of the Taliban and its repressive autocracy in the name of religious nationalism” in The Kite Runner to “the rise of parental rights groups that want to limit what students learn.”

The Moms for Liberty member did not speak and eventually snuck out of the room. The books were not banned.

The national Moms for Liberty organization still holds a lot of influence among politicians, with many Republican primary candidates speaking at the group’s annual summit last year. But Moms for Liberty has started to see its power wane in the past year, as the group was rocked by a sexual assault scandal.

Moms for Liberty endorsed 130 candidates for school boards nationwide during the 2023 elections. The vast majority of them lost. Meanwhile, Ziegler was ousted from the organization after she and her husband admitted they had had a consensual sexual relationship with another woman.

That woman accused Ziegler’s husband, Christian Ziegler, of assaulting her on a separate occasion. Christian Ziegler was voted out as Florida Republican Party chairman in January over the allegations.

The Scene at Trump’s Supreme Court Case Is Creepily Cultlike

Donald Trump’s biggest fans did whatever they could to show up at the court.

Two women stand outside the Supreme Court holding signs that read "Trump 2024 Take Back America" and "Make America Great Again."
Julia Nikhinson/Getty Images

Steps away from where a Donald Trump–backed mob attempted to thwart the 2020 presidential election results, in Washington, D.C., fans of the former president set up chairs and stood by in anticipation of a U.S. Supreme Court hearing that would decide whether Colorado could ban Trump from appearing on the state’s presidential primary ticket.

Crowds grew from a couple dozen people to more than 100 overnight, with protesters braving frigid temperatures in order to show up, even though Trump himself was not expected to make an appearance.

Some mega pro-Trump fans drove from hundreds of miles away in order to attend, like Aranda Maher and her husband, who “left their children with grandparents and drove about 350 miles to Washington,” reported The New York Times.

“It was kind of spur of the moment,” Maher, 24, told the outlet, dressed in Ugg boots and pajamas.

Others made the trek more deliberately.

“My hope is that the Supreme Court has the courage to read the Constitution as it’s written, and not torture the text in defense of Trump,” Richard Zipper, a retired software engineer from Crofton, Maryland, told Politico.

Counterprotesters also made their mark outside the halls of the country’s highest judiciary, insisting that Trump be held accountable for his role in the January 6 riot.

“We’d like to see the Supreme Court uphold justice and read the law,” Jennifer Hobbs, a lawyer who drove down from New York, told Politico.

Trump, meanwhile, appeared optimistic about the proceedings, in an appearance outside his Florida estate.

“I thought the presentation today was a very good one. I think it was well received—I hope it was well received,” Trump told a gaggle of reporters outside Mar-a-Lago.

In December, Colorado’s Supreme Court issued a historic ruling removing Trump from the ballot on the basis that Trump had been involved in an “insurrection,” thereby violating the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment.

Rudy Giuliani Whines That Trump Still Owes Him Boatload of Money

Rudy Giuliani, who has declared bankruptcy, is complaining that Donald Trump isn’t paying up.

Andrew Thomas/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Rudy Giuliani, who is so low on cash he filed for bankruptcy, says that Donald Trump owes him about $2 million in unpaid legal fees for helping try to overturn the 2020 election.

Giuliani filed for bankruptcy in December, faced with insurmountable debt after he was found liable for defaming two Georgia state election workers. During a hearing on Wednesday, Giuliani told a Manhattan federal bankruptcy court that Trump had asked the former mayor to take over his campaign’s legal team in November 2020.

At the time, Trump’s lawyers and Trump-aligned lawyers were working to overturn the presidential election results. Courts across the country threw out every single one of the dozens of cases that Trump’s allies filed.

Giuliani said Wednesday that when he took over the Trump campaign’s legal staff, “it was my understanding that I would be paid by the campaign for my legal work and my expenses to be paid.”

“When we submitted the invoice for payment, they just paid the expenses. Not all but most. They never paid the legal fees,” Giuliani said. He added that he never calculated how much Trump still owes him, but he estimated it was about $2 million.

Giuliani was hurting financially even before the defamation ruling against him. He listed his Manhattan apartment for sale in July and began representing himself in court to save on legal fees. In August, after he was indicted in Georgia, Giuliani asked his social media followers to donate to his defense fund.

He also flew to Mar-a-Lago to beg Trump to pay his legal fees. That didn’t work, but Trump did host a fundraiser dinner for Giuliani in September. Entry cost $100,000 a plate.

When Giuliani declared bankruptcy in December, the filing showed that Giuliani owes as much as $500 million in debt but has only up to $10 million in assets. His biggest debt is to Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss. Giuliani owes the pair $148 million in damages for defaming them.

He owes money to Hunter Biden, electronic voting machine companies Smartmatic and Dominion, and an accounting firm. Giuliani is also in debt to his former associate Noelle Dunphy. Dunphy sued Giuliani in May, accusing him of promising to pay her a $1 million annual salary but instead sexually harassing and abusing her over two years.

Ironically, the man once affectionately known as “America’s mayor” owes money to multiple law firms for unpaid legal fees. Several of Giuliani’s former lawyers, including his longtime attorney Robert Costello, have sued Giuliani for failing to pay their legal fees.

Trump’s Lawyer at SCOTUS Today Helped Craft Texas Anti-Abortion Law

The Supreme Court is considering whether Donald Trump can be removed from the ballot under the Fourteenth Amendment. Here’s the lawyer arguing his case.

Julia Nikhinson/Getty Images

The lawyer representing Donald Trump at the Supreme Court on Thursday is no stranger to controversial legal battles: Jonathan Mitchell is one of the primary architects of Texas’s brutal anti-abortion law.

The Supreme Court is hearing arguments about whether Trump should appear on the Colorado primary ballot—and by extension, any other state’s ballot. Mitchell argued that the former president should not be disqualified.

But before Thursday’s arguments, Mitchell was best known for crafting Texas’s so-called vigilante law, which allows private citizens to sue someone they suspect got an abortion. The law, which was implemented in 2021, bans abortions after six weeks, before most people even know they’re pregnant.

Because it empowered private citizens, instead of state officials, to target people who got an abortion or people who helped someone get an abortion, the law could circumvent the regulations established by Roe v. Wade, which at the time had not yet been overturned. The state couldn’t punish someone for getting an abortion, but an individual could.

Mitchell has said he specializes in strategies for creating legislation that can “withstand a court challenge if one arises.”

One of his former law professors, Richard Epstein at the University of Chicago Law School, told NPR in 2023 that Mitchell is “a kind of a technical magician.”

The Texas law, of course, has had devastating effects on state residents. Women have been unable to get abortions, whether elective or medically necessary. Often, they have been forced to either wait until they suffer life-threatening complications from the pregnancy before they can get an abortion, or they have been forced to give birth to infants that die within hours of birth.

Mitchell told NPR that result “concerns” him because “the statute was never intended to restrict access to medically necessary abortions.” But the reality is that he helped create a culture of fear in Texas, with medical professionals too worried about legal repercussions to advise someone to get an abortion, let alone perform the procedure.

And Mitchell is looking to expand that atmosphere. Since Roe was overturned, he has argued for the enforcement of the Comstock Act, a nearly two-centuries-old anti-obscenity law. The measure bans, among other things, the transport of abortion-related materials across state lines. Mitchell, and many other conservative legal figures, believe the Comstock Act can be used to ban the sale of abortion medication.

Now Mitchell’s helping Trump, the man who helped overturn Roe, remain on the ballot.

MAGA Senate Candidate Scrubs Entire Campaign Website After Plagiarism

New Jersey Senate candidate Christine Serrano Glassner copied nearly her entire website from another prominent pro-Trump politician.

Screenshot/New Jersey Spotlight News

A Republican candidate seeking to replace New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez has scrubbed nearly her entire campaign website after being caught for plagiarism.

Christine Serrano Glassner, a New Jersey mayor with ties to Donald Trump, announced her campaign in September. On her website, her platform covered multiple popular Republican talking points, including federal spending, the southern U.S. border, and Covid-19 policies. The thing is, almost the whole section was lifted word for word from Ohio Senator J.D. Vance’s website.

Serrano Glassner’s website initially listed 13 issues that she said she wanted to focus on. Currently, only three issues remain. The other 10 were copied almost verbatim from Vance’s website. The section headings were exactly the same. Her descriptions of each issue included some changes, either to make them about New Jersey or to swap in a different nonessential word, but the bulk of the text was the same as the text Vance wrote.

When asked by The New Republic if she could explain the similarities, Serrano Glassner blamed a campaign worker. “While we are big fans of J.D. Vance and his America First policies, we would never intentionally replicate content from his or any website. That was the work of a campaign volunteer who posted some Vance issues content onto our website without proper approvals,” Serrano Glassner’s campaign said in a statement.

“We will be updating the content on our website and making sure that doesn’t happen again, but we won’t stop loving J.D. Vance and patriots like him who are working to save America from the corruption of the Democrats like we are doing in New Jersey.”

Immediately after responding to TNR, Serrano Glassner’s team deleted all the copied sections from her website, leaving up just three issues that Vance had not discussed.

The race to replace Menendez kicked off in September after he was indicted for allegedly taking bribes from Egypt. A superseding indictment was then filed against Menendez in January for allegedly taking bribes from Qatar. Menendez has now been indicted a total of three times, but he emerged unscathed the previous times.

Since announcing her candidacy, Serrano Glassner has fully embraced her ties to Trump. Her husband, Michael Glassner, served as chief operating officer and deputy campaign manager for the former president from July 2015 to November 2020. He currently runs one of Trump’s legal defense funds.

So it’s no surprise that the bulk of Serrano Glassner’s campaign website was lifted from Vance. Once a Trump critic, Vance has since changed his stance dramatically. He is now one of Trump’s most outspoken supporters on Capitol Hill, and he is reportedly being considered as a potential Trump running mate for the 2024 election.

But that proximity to Trump, both real and copy-pasted, could backfire for Serrano Glassner. New Jersey hasn’t elected a Republican to the Senate since 1972. And in 2018, Menendez was reelected with an 11-point margin over his Trump-backed Republican opponent. At the time, Menendez had just been tried for corruption. The case ended in mistrial after the jury deadlocked.

Judge Aileen Cannon Just Handed Donald Trump a Massive Favor

The judge in Donald Trump’s classified documents case just keeps helping him out.

Judge Aileen Cannon portrait (blue backgorund looks like a yearbook photo)
United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida

The judge presiding over Donald Trump’s classified documents lawsuit just did the former president a massive favor in his efforts to delay the trial.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon—a Trump appointee—ruled Tuesday that special counsel Jack Smith’s team, which has been investigating Trump for hoarding classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, must release some classified information to Trump’s lawyers during discovery. Those details include the names of certain potential witnesses, the conduct of some individuals (which they haven’t been charged for), and the FBI code name for a separate investigation.

Smith has opposed unsealing certain documents, arguing that doing so would give Trump an opportunity to seek even more information. That would delay the trial, which is currently scheduled to begin in May.

“Putting the special counsel to his proof and requiring him to turn square corners in discovery is likely to slow and prolong the proceedings, advantaging Defendants’ strategy of delay,” Anthony Alfieri, a University of Miami School of Law professor, told Newsweek in a story published Thursday.

Cannon’s decision “indicates that she intends to closely scrutinize the evidentiary grounds put forward by the Special Counsel” when Smith tries to redact or keep sealed documents requested by Trump’s lawyers, Alfieri said.

Trump was charged in Florida with keeping national defense secrets, making false statements, and conspiracy to obstruct justice, among other things, for hoarding classified materials at Mar-a-Lago. His body man, Walt Nauta, and a Mar-a-Lago employee Carlos De Oliveira have also been charged.

Cannon received nationwide scrutiny at the start of the investigation after she appeared favorably inclined to the former president. Trump filed a motion requesting a “special master” review all of the material the FBI found at Mar-a-Lago before the investigation could proceed, and Cannon agreed—a victory for Team Trump.

The Justice Department appealed the decision, and the Eleventh Circuit Court ultimately ruled that neither Cannon nor Trump had had any legal right for their actions. The appeals court threw Cannon’s decision out entirely.

But Tuesday’s ruling could backfire on her. Before she issued her decision, Roger Parloff, the senior editor of Lawfare, warned that granting Trump’s request would be “highly controversial” and could spur more intense scrutiny of Cannon.

After Cannon ruled, Parloff noted that Smith’s team could file an interlocutory appeal based on the impression that Cannon has been too favorable to Trump. Cannon could potentially be removed from the case altogether.

House Republicans Are in a Wild Rage Over Incompetent Mike Johnson

House Republicans are fed up with Speaker Mike Johnson after all those failures.

Mike Johnson walks outside with his head down
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

House Republicans aren’t too thrilled with Speaker Mike Johnson anymore, spending the better part of the evening attacking each other before cannibalizing him for the party’s poor performance on Wednesday when it failed to pass two key votes under the rookie’s leadership.

“He didn’t count votes. I think he will next time,” South Carolina Representative Ralph Norman told CNN.

The first failure was a fragile effort to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Hours later, the caucus failed to pass a GOP-led alternative to the Senate bill that aimed to send $17.6 billion in U.S. aid to Israel. Four House Republicans joined Democrats in voting against Mayorkas’s impeachment, resulting in a stunning 216–214 upset.

“I think he relied, in his defense, on other people to sway some people. He needs to count votes before he comes to the floor. This message of not impeaching Mayorkas sent … a wrong message. I think you need to make sure. And as bad as Pelosi was, she knew her votes before it took place,” continued Norman, referring to former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who advanced several major policy wins during her tenure at the top of the lower chamber with similarly slim leads.

Others continued to express disappointment in the GOP, which has failed to advance or pass any worthwhile policies related to its purported platform in years, according to some of its own members.

“I was embarrassed for our conference, for our party because we can do better than we did last night,” said Texas Representative Lance Gooden.

“When you are handed the keys to the, you know, to the kingdom, as it were, then when you have the majority, there is an expectation that you will be able to govern. And, we’ve just struggled with that over and over again,” said Arkansas Representative Steve Womack.

Johnson, meanwhile, laid the blame on unexpected boons to the Democratic vote, including a surprise showing by Texas Representative Al Green, who was ushered in barefoot and via wheelchair following an abdominal surgery.

“We have a razor-thin margin here, and every vote counts,” Johnson said on Wednesday. “Sometimes when you’re counting votes, and people show up when they’re not expected to be in the building, that changes the equation.”

But Johnson has more colossal tasks on the horizon. Soon, Johnson will have to make a decision about whether to bring up a Senate-negotiated aid package for Ukraine, which his party vehemently opposes. And another government shutdown looms large over Congress—the next deadline to fund the government is March 1. It remains to be seen whether the overwhelmingly divided caucus will be capable of negotiating a legitimate spending package or if it will struggle, once again, to push a stopgap spending bill over the finish line.

Looks Like Florida Republicans Are About to Get Smoked on Abortion Ballot Fight

The Florida Supreme Court heard arguments on an abortion amendment, and the justices don’t seem all that convinced by what Republicans are saying.

Someone with green hair and sunglasses holds a cardboard sign reading "Abortion is healthcare."
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Florida Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday about a proposed ballot initiative to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution—and it wasn’t looking good for the amendment’s opponents.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody had asked the high court to strike down the amendment, despite overwhelming support for it. Floridians Protecting Freedom, the group that helped organize signature collection for the initiative, gathered nearly one million verified signatures, far more than the minimum required. And many of those signatories were Republican voters.

Nathan Forrester, a Florida senior deputy solicitor general, argued Wednesday, as Moody had in her initial request, that the amendment’s language was too ambiguous. The amendment states that “no law shall prohibit, penalize, delay, or restrict abortion before viability.” State attorneys claimed that the use of the word “viability” could have multiple meanings.

But Courtney Brewer, a Florida State University professor representing the amendment’s backers, disagreed.

“Voters understand what is before them,” Brewer said. “If a voter doesn’t like this amendment, they are perfectly capable of voting against it.”

More importantly, she noted, voting to amend the state constitution was Florida residents’ right, both as part of a democracy and as laid out by the Supreme Court when it overturned Roe v. Wade.

“This amendment follows the directive given by the U.S. Supreme Court in Dobbs, that the people should decide how their state may govern abortion,” Brewer said.

The Florida Supreme Court justices appeared inclined to agree with Brewer’s arguments. Justice John Couriel pointed out that the court’s job was not to determine whether the amendment was good or bad but to decide if it was clearly written or “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

Chief Justice Carlos Muñiz called the measure “a wolf that comes as a wolf.”

“The people of Florida aren’t stupid—they can figure things out,” Muñiz said. “People can see for themselves whether it’s too broad or vague.”

The court has until April 1 to approve or reject the ballot measure. If the justices let that deadline pass, then the measure will proceed to the ballot by default.

The justices are also weighing Florida’s current abortion law, which bans the procedure after 15 weeks. If the court upholds the law, then an even more restrictive measure banning abortion at six weeks—before most people know they are pregnant—will go into effect. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the hugely unpopular bill last year. In January, Florida Republicans introduced a bill essentially banning abortion altogether.

If the abortion amendment makes it onto the ballot, then it has a strong chance of winning. Florida requires 60 percent of voters to support amending the state constitution. A 2023 study by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 64 percent of Floridians believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases—more than enough to defeat the state’s minimum threshold.

Since Roe was overturned, ballot initiatives have become a key tool in protecting abortion access. Multiple Republican-led states have put the question of abortion on the ballot—and every single time, voters choose to increase protections.

Republican Senator: Someone Threatened to Destroy Me Over Border Deal

Republican Senator James Lankford is sharing the threats he’s been receiving over the border deal.

Senator James Lankford holds papers in his hand, as others walk behind him.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Despite heralding the “migrant crisis” as America’s number one priority, Republican lawmakers don’t seem too keen on actually doing their jobs to remedy it. In fact, according to one Republican senator, conservatives have been actively threatening those trying to solve it.

For weeks, Donald Trump–endorsed Senator James Lankford worked alongside his Democrat colleagues to develop a Senate resolution addressing problems stemming from the U.S.-Mexico border—ultimately creating a proposal that concedes so much to Republicans that it shocked progressives. And yet, House Speaker Mike Johnson warned that the bill would be “dead on arrival” in the lower chamber, refusing to back down from the House’s original proposal: the extreme, asylum-limiting bill H.R. 2.

On Wednesday, moments before the Senate officially blocked the bipartisan deal from moving forward, Lankford talked about the warnings he’s been receiving.

“Some of them have been very clear with me: They have political differences with the bill. They say it’s the wrong time to solve the problem, or let the presidential election solve this problem,” Lankford said on the Senate floor.

“I had a popular commentator that told me flat out, before they knew any of the contents of the bill, if you try to move a bill that solves the border crisis during this presidential year, I will do whatever I can to destroy you, because I do not want you to solve this during the presidential election,” the Oklahoma Republican continued.

“By the way, they have been faithful to their promise and have done everything they can to destroy me in the past several weeks,” Lankford added.

Other conservative lawmakers, like Texas Representative Dan Crenshaw, appeared bewildered with his party’s grandstanding on Tuesday.

“I understand some Republicans are saying we don’t need any changes to the law. Then why did we write H.R. 2? Why did we do that?” lamented Crenshaw to C-SPAN after all the failed votes Tuesday. “Why didn’t Trump just shut down the border, if you think we just don’t need any changes to the law? He couldn’t! He had to make a deal with Mexico.”

Conservatives have been dropping hints for weeks that the GOP’s quiet refusal to actually do anything about the border is all to help reelect Trump, who hopes to make immigration a key issue in his presidential campaign.

Meanwhile, politicians around the country are trying to lobby for their own solutions to alleviate the burdens of mass immigration, which have collectively cost city governments billions in additional expenses. In an MSNBC op-ed, Denver Mayor Mike Johnston called on Congress to change the law and allow undocumented immigrants to work, decrying a “broken system” that effectively forces refugees looking for a better life into the throes of poverty.

“Every migrant I speak to tells me they don’t want any charity; they just want to work. When I speak to conservative business leaders, they say the same thing: Newcomers should work; I have open jobs; let me hire them,” Johnston wrote. “Migrants in our cities want to work and businesses want to hire them, yet the federal government continues to stand in the way of a common-sense solution. Congress must take steps that will resolve this humanitarian crisis for asylum-seekers and prevent a fiscal crisis for cities.”

“If we perpetuate the status quo, we will force local governments either to pay for perpetual public services for unemployed migrants, overwhelming city and state budgets, or cut back services for migrants and leave thousands of people homeless on our streets,” Johnston continued. “Both ‘solutions’ go against two core American values: We are a welcoming nation of immigrants, and anyone willing to work hard should be able to support their family.”