Late last night, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled that the Trump administration must accept renewal applications for the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) program, halting—for now—Trump’s ending of the program. Once again, Trump’s tweets came into play in the final decision, as the judge wrote, “We seem to be in the unusual position wherein the ultimate authority over the agency, the Chief Executive, publicly favors the very program the agency has ended.” But don’t get too excited. The administration is likely to appeal the ruling, and the effect of the ruling may be short-lived. In fact, the ruling only underscores the urgency for Congress to pass a permanent fix: a Dream Act to provide lasting protection to Dreamers.
Talks on the Dream Act seem to be moving quickly in Congress. The meeting at the White House provided no additional clarity to the conversations, as Trump simply reiterated his demand for a border wall. (Sarah Huckabee Sanders later added further confusion to Trump’s garbled demands, refusing to clarify the difference, if there is any, between border security and a border wall.) But two new proposals have already come out. First, there is the bipartisan framework from Representatives Will Hurd (R-TX) and Pete Aguilar (D-CA), which provides a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, as well as sensible border security measures. It’s a good step in the right direction, although further work is needed.
Then, there’s House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s (R-VA) bill. It’s a partisan, extreme bill that combines nearly every piece of increased immigration enforcement that Goodlatte has been working on since 2013. It doesn’t provide a permanent fix for Dreamers, instead forcing them to rely on temporary, renewable periods of protection. It’s no surprise that Goodlatte would introduce such an anti-immigrant bill, given his “A” rating from Numbers USA, a group committed to racist, nativist ideologies. Bills such as these must be defeated in favor of bipartisan, commonsense proposals that would actually provide relief to Dreamers—not keep them guessing about whether they can stay in the country they call their home.
ACTION OF THE DAY
#DreamActNow. The court decision to stop Trump’s end to DACA is not enough. Dreamers need a permanent fix so they can rest easy knowing they have protection from deportation. 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 too). Then, share this Twitter thread with friends and family so they are up-to-date on where Dreamers stand. Congress only has until January 19th to pass the Dream Act!
#ProtectMyVote. Today, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, which challenges Ohio’s purging of voter rolls. One of the biggest stories to emerge from this case is of Mayor Joe Helle of Oak Harbor, Ohio, a veteran who had his right to vote stripped—even as he served the country abroad, fighting to ensure that all Americans could retain their right to vote. Some lower courts noted that Ohio’s actions violate the National Voter Registration Act, which prohibits voter purging. And history shows that purges fall in line with literacy tests and other forms of voter suppression and disproportionately impact people of color. With numerous voter suppression efforts happening at the federal and state levels, it is crucial that voting rights get a win in this case.
52 Harms in 52 Weeks. In August 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump addressed African American and Hispanic voters, saying, “What do you have to lose?” Turns out, people of color have a lot to lose. A new report from Progress 2050, an arm of the Center for American Progress, details 52 ways that the Trump administration has launched attacks on communities of color by threatening to take away almost every hard-won protection and opportunity. Despite these attacks, people of color remain resilient. But the attacks must stop. Read the full report here, and then share it with friends and family. Finally, commit to fight back against these harmful policies.
The Mar-a-Lago Loophole? Just five days after proposing the largest, most radical expansion of offshore drilling in US history, in which ocean areas throughout the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans, and the Gulf of Mexico would be auctioned off to Big Oil, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke suddenly backtracked and announced that the waters of Florida would be excluded from the Trump administration’s extreme offshore oil plan. Florida’s coasts “are heavily reliant on tourism” he explained, and he intends to consider “the local and state voice.” Yet more than 14 coastal governors of both parties, and hundreds of cities, towns and business groups have clearly expressed opposition to new drilling off their coasts, to protect multi-billion dollar economies built on tourism, fisheries, and clean coasts. If protecting coastal communities from toxic oil spills and considering local voices is truly Secretary Zinke’s new criteria (rather than rewarding political allies), the Interior Department has a lot more revising of its drilling plan in its future. You have until March 9, 2018 to submit public comments to Interior asking the agency to cancel this radical drilling plan and protect all of America’s coasts from oil spills.
Fighting Back. Today, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is announcing plans to divest the city’s pension funds of fossil fuels, to the tune of $190 billion. The city will also sue the nation’s five biggest oil companies linking their contributions to climate change to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. The lawsuit will ask the companies to foot the bill for the city’s ongoing recovery and resiliency efforts. Through these actions, Mayor de Blasio positions New York City as a first-in-the-nation leader on climate action and illustrates what being “still in” the Paris Agreement can look like.