Yesterday, the Trump administration ended the Temporary Protected Status program (TPS) for nearly 200,000 Salvadorans in the U.S. This cruel decision follows the administration’s moves to end TPS for Haitians and Nicaraguans. Who are these individuals who qualify for TPS? The recipients from the countries with the largest populations in the U.S.—El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti—have lived in the U.S. for an average of 19 years and are “collectively raising families that include nearly 275,000 U.S.-born children.” They are integral members of communities across the U.S., and the administration’s decisions to end TPS for so many of them is uprooting lives and tearing apart families. Now, the administration is considering ending TPS for Syrians—an unthinkable decision, given the dangerous conditions in Syria.
But these decisions are not surprising given Trump’s callous attitudes towards immigrants. Don’t forget that he kicked off his presidential campaign calling immigrants from Mexico “rapists” and drug dealers. And his first presidential pardon was granted to Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the man infamous for creating inhumane conditions for inmates, particularly inmates of color. Then, the President created the Muslim ban—three times over!—barring people from certain majority-Muslim countries from entering the U.S. (Thankfully, lower courts have shut down aspects of the ban numerous times; but, the Supreme Court allowed the full ban to take effect until a final ruling.)
And, in perhaps the most high-profile, disastrous decision, Trump created the crisis that hundreds of thousands of Dreamers now find themselves in by ending DACA in September. Today, Trump is hosting a group of lawmakers at the White House to discuss a deal on immigration. But those talks have already been undermined by Stephen Miller’s memo outlining the administration’s anti-immigrant policies they want included in the deal, such as a wasteful, ineffective $18 billion border wall. Read our “Action of the Day” below to find out how you can take action to stand with the immigrant community.
ACTION OF THE DAY
#DreamActNow. With 122 Dreamers losing DACA protection every single day, your voice is needed more than ever before! Use our easy toolkit at DreamActToolkit.org to call key members of Congress who will cast deciding votes (and don’t forget to tell them to #SaveTPS). Then, share this Twitter thread with friends and family so they are up-to-date on where Dreamers stand. Over 15,000 Dreamers are already at risk of deportation—Congress must pass a Dream Act by their deadline of January 19th!
Turning Down the Temperature on the Korean Peninsula. North Korea and South Korea have agreed to meet for talks, a historic move for two countries that have faced increased tensions in the past few months. While Trump will try to claim credit for these talks, the truth is that his bombastic rhetoric increased the chances of a miscalculation that could lead to conflict. Diplomacy is crucial in this time of instability, and Trump has shown little willingness to engage with North Korea seriously, instead relying on his “little rocket man” joke. Nuclear war would be disastrous for the world, so steps to lessen tensions—like the talks planned between North and South Korea—are what we need moving forward, especially as the Winter Olympics in South Korea begin.
Azar Cry From a Good Nominee. This morning, President Trump’s nominee to head up the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Alex Azar, testified in his second Senate confirmation hearing. Trump claims that this ex-pharma executive will “be a star for better healthcare.” But a recent revelation about his time as a top executive at Eli Lilly, a large pharmaceutical company, proves otherwise. Under his leadership, the company tested Cialis, the erectile dysfunction drug, on children. Though deemed legal, this experiment provides insight into the priorities of potentially the first drug executive to head up HHS. Azar also defended the unfair pricing practices of the pharmaceutical industry—the last thing Americans need now. Who we really need in this position is someone who will implement and fund the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP.
Use Your Vote, or Lose It? Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Husted v. Philip Randolph Institute case, a challenge to Ohio’s purging of voter rolls. Basically, Ohio applies a “use it or lose it” mentality to voting rights, targeting voters who haven’t voted in the last two years. But, is that really what the Constitution allows regarding one’s right to vote? The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 says no, saying that voters “can’t be removed from the rolls unless [they] become ineligible to vote.” And history shows that purges fall in line with literacy tests and other forms of voter suppression and disproportionately impact people of color. The right to vote is one of our most precious rights, and it’s crucial that right is protected.
UNDER THE RADAR
Clean Water. Yesterday afternoon, Trump spoke in Nashville at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual conference. In his speech, which covered everything from the tax bill to NFL protests, the president called the Clean Water Rule a “disaster” and said that ending the rule “gave [people] back their property.” But this isn’t true. The Clean Water Rule was an important safeguard that protected water sources that feed river, lakes, and streams and ensured that drinking water remains clean. The EPA’s decision to end this rule under Trump opens our streams and wetlands—many of which feed drinking water—to pollutants. Of course, you wouldn’t expect much else from an EPA that’s filled with appointees who have spent their lives undermining the EPA’s work.