Good news: a federal court temporarily blocked the majority of Texas’ anti-immigrant law – Senate Bill 4 (SB4) – which would have gone into effect tomorrow, finding it to be unconstitutional and a threat to public safety. SB4 was intended to crack down on cities and counties with so-called sanctuary policies, and it would have imposed harsh penalties to local authorities and jurisdictions that limit cooperation with federal immigration agents. These penalties included fines, termination, and even jail time. In his ruling, the judge wrote that SB4 would “erode public trust and [make] many communities less safe.”
This news is a huge relief for many immigrant families in Texas who are currently dealing with the destruction of Hurricane Harvey. Throughout the storm, many undocumented immigrants continued to fear seeking shelter due to the risk of deportation, especially when border patrol refused to shut down checkpoints as the storm hit. The Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner stepped up to protect immigrants in his city, when he asserted, “If someone comes and they require help and then for some reason [someone] tries to deport them, I will represent them myself.” The fight over SB4 is not over yet though, as Texas has vowed to appeal the ruling.
Yet, the threat of the repeal of DACA still looms overhead, as Trump has not made any announcement on the issue, although it is expected soon. In Harris County alone, one of the hardest-hit counties, there are nearly 31,000 DACA recipients who might face deportation if Trump ends DACA. And much more is at stake if DACA is ended. Hundreds of thousands of young people would lose their jobs and be at immediate risk of deportation. This would have a devastating impact, both on communities and families, and on our economy.
ACTION OF THE DAY
#DefendDACA. News outlets are reporting that Trump could move to end DACA by the end of the week. Not sure what DACA is? No problem! Check out our explainer video here. DACA is a widely popular program, and it has received approval from across the political spectrum. (Watch our video of GOP legislators praising DREAMers.) Hold your member of Congress accountable! Use this easy tool to call key elected officials, and urge them to defend DACA. You can call your own representative here.
Not only does DACA provide opportunity and protection for nearly 1 million young immigrants, but it also has a significant, positive impact on our economy. Share the graphic below, which shows the how much states stand to lose if DACA is repealed. And listen to yesterday’s Thinking CAP podcast to hear from a dreamer and what he stands to lose.
Arkema Explosions. In the middle of the night, two explosions rocked the small town of Crosby, Texas, coming from the Arkema chemical plant. More than 300 residents near the plant were evacuated yesterday, as the Arkema CEO said the explosions were inevitable. Currently, none of the toxic chemicals are being released in the ongoing fires from the building. But this could change, and it highlights the need for strict safety EPA regulations – which Trump has been intent on rolling back. These explosions aren’t the only public health issue facing Texas. Read about five more here.
With Ivanka’s Blessing. Despite her frequent rhetoric about the importance of equal pay for women, Ivanka Trump endorsed the Trump Administration’s directive to stop an Obama-era measure to collect pay data broken down by the race, ethnicity and gender of workers from companies with 100 or more employees. The data are not released publicly but instead are used by federal enforcement agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Labor, to identify workforce disparities, assess workforce trends, and ensure compliance with the law. The practical result of the administration’s action is that women and people of color may continue to face pay discrimination under a cloak of secrecy, with even less hope that enforcement agencies will have some recourse for pinpointing egregious practices.
Taxes. Trump launched his campaign to reform the tax code yesterday in Springfield, Missouri. Although the speech was short on details, one thing is clear: this isn’t a populist plan, but a shameless attempt to cut taxes for corporations and the very wealthy – including Trump himself. In fact, millionaires stand to gain an average tax cut of $217,790. Cutting crucial programs that provide much-needed resources to families across the country—just to repair the hole in the budget from tax cuts—is not relief for the middle-class, no matter what Trump says. Check out the Washington Post’s fact-checking of the speech and find out how you would be impacted by the cuts at HandsOff.org. Then, fight back against these proposed tax cuts for the rich by joining the #NotOnePenny campaign.
Back to School. Just in time for the start of classes, the Center for American Progress’s latest Thinking CAP podcast touches on all the things you need to know about our education system. Learn about public schools, school choice, and more! And hear the first report card of the season—this one’s for Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
No Pardons Here. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has joined Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team in the investigation of Paul Manafort, according to a Politico report yesterday. The involvement of Schneiderman “sends an important message to President Trump: his pardon power does not extend to state crimes.” To read more about the investigations into Russia and the Trump campaign, read our report, Russiagate.
Immigration. Last night, Kellyanne Conway appeared on Chris Cuomo’s show to talk about a range of issues, from tax reform to immigration. When talking about immigration, she claimed that “illegal immigrants” are competing directly with American-born citizens for jobs, thus taking away jobs. But, as Cuomo said, this assertion just isn’t true. In fact, research shows that immigration actually helps increase the wages of American-born citizens. Immigrants and U.S.-born people also compete for different types of jobs. To learn more, check out the Center for American Progress’s report, “The Facts on Immigration Today: 2017 Edition.”