The Assad regime in Syria may be continuing to use chemical weapons as a tool in war, according to the latest reports from the Pentagon. James Mattis, the current U.S. Secretary of Defense, told reporters this morning, “We are even more concerned about the possibility of Sarin gas use.” Even more concerning is that the Assad regime may be developing new chemical weapons to use. Trump has already escalated U.S. military action in Syria and other countries, as part of a silent surge and escalation of U.S. military operations across the Middle East and beyond.
As the situation in Syria becomes increasingly unstable and dangerous, the Trump administration announced that it would not re-designate the temporary protected status (TPS) program for Syrian nationals. This means that any Syrians who arrived to the U.S. after August 2016 cannot apply for those crucial protections; now, they will face deportation by an agency—Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)—that has become increasingly brazen, deporting people with no criminal records who have been here for 40 years or longer.
This cruel decision by the Department of Homeland Security could result in families being sent back to a war zone—an area where there are fears of chemical weapons. In other words, the decision is a “death sentence.” Although Syrians without TPS are in a particularly dangerous place, this situation also draws attention to the other groups of immigrants that Trump has ended protections for, including Salvadorans, Nicaraguans, and Haitians. These decisions are part of an all-out assault on immigrant communities in the U.S., even on immigrants who have come here for humanitarian reasons and have built families and are vital members of communities across the country.
ACTION OF THE DAY
#HandsOffOurMedicaid. Today, Indiana became the second state to implement new rules from the Trump Administration taking away Medicaid from people who lose their job or can’t get enough hours at work. The decision could strip health care from 6.3 million people nationwide—including struggling workers, people with disabilities and severe health conditions, caregivers, students, retirees, and more. And these changes won’t help Americans find work or get better care. In fact, the majority of working-age Medicaid recipients are already working—and majority of those who are not are either ill or disabled, caring for a loved one, or going to school. It’s the latest in his attacks on crucial programs that help families make ends meet—so take action today! Add your name to our petition urging the Trump administration to reverse their decision and keep their #HandsOff our Medicaid.
Release of the Memo. Today, it is expected that the now-infamous memo, written by Representative Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, will be released to the public. This comes after Trump quickly reviewed and approved the memo’s release. But what might the memo actually reveal? It could actually blow back on Trump, as it could reveal that there was an actual Russian spy on his campaign. If true, this would not give the results intended by the memo’s author, Nunes, who has been using his power as chairman of the committee to act as a political cover for the administration and the Trump campaign.
Trump’s Climate Denier Cabinet. The Trump cabinet contains more public climate science deniers than any administration in modern history, according to analysis from the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Although Trump himself is the denier-in-chief, half of his cabinet also reject the scientific consensus that climate change is caused by humans. That includes all the cabinet members who are charged with protecting the environment and the outdoors. In an interview today with the New York Times, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt offered his standard talking points about needing to have a “transparent debate” on climate change and said “it’s arrogant” for scientists to project continued rising temperatures a century from now.
#KeepItPublic. As of 9:00 a.m. EST, the national monuments that President Trump illegally slashed are open for mining claims. Trump’s December cut of vast portions of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments was the largest elimination of protected areas in U.S. history. The move put tens of thousands of Native American sacred sites at risk, along with key wildlife habitat, and areas used for outdoor recreation. Uranium mining corporation Energy Fuels Resources has already shown interest in mineral deposits within the monument. Tell President Trump that our national monuments should remain protected at MonumentsForAll.org.
UNDER THE RADAR
#SmartOnCrime. The Trump administration likes to talk about being tough on crime, but there’s a better strategy for making our communities safer and ensuring that the justice system is fair and equitable. Yesterday, the Center for American Progress launched the Mayors for Smart on Crime initiative, which provides a national platform showcasing mayors and helping cities share ideas and innovations in “smart on crime” policy. Watch this video to learn more and to hear from mayors and community leaders who are leading the changes in the justice system. And make sure to follow @SmartOnCrimeUS on Twitter!