Goodbye, Secure Communities. Hello, Priority Enforcement Program

Goodbye, Secure Communities. Hello, Priority Enforcement Program

The controversial Secure Communities (S-Comm) program is coming to an end under Obama’s executive action on immigration. A new program called the Priority Enforcement Program, or PEP-Comm for short, will take its place. But will it be much better?

In his announcement Thursday, and then nearly verbatim in Las Vegas Friday, Obama stressed new targets for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS): “Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom who’s working hard to provide for her kids,” the president said. “We’ll prioritize, just like law enforcement does every day.”

Those dichotomies raise concerns for some. “I was thinking about how certain communities are over-policed à la Ferguson,” says Angela Chan, policy director and senior staff attorney at the Asian Law Caucus. “This juxtaposition forgets the reality that some communities are over-policed and over-criminalized.”

Like PEP-Com, its predecessor created a path to deportation. The program—which began in 2008 under George W. Bush and escalated under by Obama—required local jails and prisons to hand over the fingerprints of anyone being processed to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), including people who hadn’t yet had their day in court. If ICE deemed the person a threat it would issue them a so-called detainer, a 48-hour hold in a local jail or prison. Although detainers were supposed to last up to two days, many were extended by weeks or months at a time. And although S-Comm was created to catch undocumented immigrants, it often swept up U.S. citizens, even those who hadn’t been convicted of a crime. Some local agencies and entire states refused to cooperate with S-Comm because the detainers weren’t warrants issued by a judge. Rather, they were the result of decisions made by a federal agency plagued with problems.

The National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) led the charge to end S-Comm and explicitly demanded its end in the days leading up to the president’s announcement. In some ways, it seems like NDLON has won.

In a November 14 memo [PDF], Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson conceded that the program essentially failed:

The Secure Communities program, as we know it, will be discontinued.

The goal of Secure Communities was to more effectively identify and facilitate the removal of criminal aliens in the custody of state and local law enforcement agencies. But the reality is the program has attracted a great deal of criticism, is widely misunderstood, and is embroiled in litigation; its very name has become a symbol for general hostility toward the enforcement of our immigration laws. Governors, mayors, and state and local law enforcement officials around the country have increasingly refused to cooperate with the program, and many have issued executive orders or signed laws prohibiting such cooperation. A number of federal courts have rejected the authority of state and local law enforcement agencies to detain immigrants pursuant to federal detainers issued under the current Secure Communities program.

Under the president’s new program, most people who haven’t been convicted of crimes won’t be issued a detainer—although undocumented immigrants who are suspected of terrorism may be targeted. In addition, PEP-Comm will ensnare people found crossing the border, gang members, those convicted of felonies, people who’ve been convicted of three misdemeanors, and those who have one “significant misdemeanor” on their record. Significant misdemeanors include domestic violence, burglary and drug-selling. Instead of issuing a detainer, Johnson’s memo instructs local and state agencies to notify ICE that the person is question will soon be released.

But the Asian Law Caucus’ Chan finds what she calls alarming similarities between S-Comm and PEP-Comm—particularly when it comes to local and state agencies doing the work of what should be federal enforcement. “The bones of the program are the same. Under S-Comm, fingerprints are transmitted to Immigration and Customs Enforcement by local police. Under PEP-Comm, the same thing will happen.”

Chan adds that any entanglement with local law enforcement is a threat to public safety because it invites police to select people for deportation instead of protecting their welfare.

Time will also tell whether agents honor the directives of Johnson’s PEP-Comm memo. 

Who Will Lose Under Obama’s Executive Action?

Who Will Lose Under Obama's Executive Action?

Under President Obama’s historic executive action announced Thursday, Maru Mora Villalpando, a Washington State-based undocumented immigrant activist with the #Not1More campaign, could win a three-year reprieve from the threat of deportation. But Villalpando, who talked to Colorlines while attending a gathering of other undocumented and immigrant rights activists Thursday night, said “As Obama was speaking, we kept bringing up names of people we know who will not qualify.”

They include Ramon Mendoza, a father and undocumented immigrant who led a 56-day hunger strike inside the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Wash., this spring. He has a DUI on his record, Villalpando said, which under the terms set out by the White House, will make him ineligible for protection from deportation. Cipriano Rios, who also went on a hunger strike while in detention, is a father, but of DACA kids—undocumented youth who were given short-term work permits and deportation relief by Obama two years ago. Rios has no U.S. citizen children so he will not qualify. And Miguel Armenta, Villalpando said, has “been detained six months, he is gay, HIV positive, and he doesn’t have children. He won’t benefit from deferred action.”

“I can go on and on with names,” Villalpando said. As large and as historic as Obama’s second executive action is, with the potential to offer nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants short-term work permits and a shield from deportation, it’s also limited in scope. The terms are stringent: It will apply only to those who have been in the U.S. for five years or more; those who came to the country as young teens; and parents of U.S. citizen children and green-card holders. People with various criminal violations on their records will be barred from relief. 

Immediately after the announcement, organizers and advocates tallied up who won’t qualify for relief, identified broad classes of people who will continue to be criminalized under the updated enforcement regime—and named a people’s win. Those who will lose out include:

Parents of DACA Youth + Seasonal Workers + LGBT Immigrants + Domestic Violence Victims

Excluding the parents of DACA youth “is a huge example of family separation,” said Catherine Tactaquin, executive director of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. “Not to include parents [of DACA recipients] in this pool is actually kind of mean. You will have families who, on one hand, have children who are DACA recipients and have some reprieve, but on the other hand, their parents won’t.”

The rub here is that in the years following Obama’s first deferred action to benefit undocumented youth, it was their parents who stood at the forefront of national organizing. They did so even as the Obama administration steadily racked up 2 million deportations. “After all the work they put in,” said Families for Freedom executive director Abraham Paulos, “it is unjust.”

Seasonal agricultural workers and others who work so-called “low-skilled” jobs who don’t have ties to U.S. citizen children will also be excluded, noted Sandra Sanchez, director of the Iowa Immigrant Voice campaign for the American Friends Service Committee. And many women who’ve escaped violent spouses aren’t eligible for visas covered by the Violence Against Women Act. “They are going to be left behind,” Sanchez said.

Black Immigrants + People With Felonies

When Obama announced that the U.S. would put a stronger emphasis on deporting “felons, not families … Gang members, not a mother who’s working hard to provide for her kids,” activists who advocate for black and criminalized immigrants raised serious concerns about that rhetoric and the policy it’ll inform.

“People with felonies have families too,” said Paulos, whose organization Families for Freedom advocates for families who’ve been separated by criminal deportation.”That’s a false binary [Obama] is setting up,” said Tia Oso, the Arizona organizer for the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. Oso pointed out that because blacks in the U.S. are already targeted by the War on Drugs and racial and ethnic profiling by police, partnerships between law enforcement and immigration authorities mean that black immigrants are in detention and criminal deportation proceedingsat a rate five times their actual presence in the U.S. undocumented community.

Paulos pointed out the irony of what he calls “explicitly anti-black policy”:”President Obama—the son of an African from Kenya, who is part of a mixed-status family [that had] an undocumented aunty and [has] an uncle with a conviction, says, ‘If you’re a criminal — you’ll be deported.’”

LGBT Youth + People Convicted of Low-Level Crimes

Research shows that LGBT youth experience homelessness at a disproportionate rate. So cutting off young LGBT immigrants with records of “low-level survival crimes,” such as prostitution and others connected to homelessness, will disproportionately affect LGBT immigrants, especially transgender immigrants, said Harper Jean Tobin, policy director at the National Center for Transgender Equality. “Basing relief on parental relationships,” and limiting benefits to those who haven’t landed in the criminal justice system will exclude most of the estimated 267,000 LGBT undocumented immigrants in the U.S., Tobin said 

What’s more, when Obama describes “felons,” he leaves out pertinent details, advocates say. The U.S. has designated “illegal entry”—entering the country without papers or authorization—a misdemeanor but made “illegal re-entry”—crossing back in the U.S. after a prior deportation—a federal felony offense. In the last decade, prosecutions for illegal re-entry have skyrocketed some 300 percent, and, as prosecutions have increased, the proportion of those who have no or only a minor criminal record has also ballooned. It turns out that those who risk criminal prosecution, incarceration and deportation are usually people who crossed back into the U.S. to reunite with children and loved ones. 

Border Communities

On Thursday night Obama touted his record of beefing up the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border without noting that many Border Patrol agents who have abused migrants and killed those who live along the border aren’t held accountable for their actions. “To say we’re going to double up our efforts on enforcement is really insensitive to what the impact has been,” said National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights’ Tactaquin.

Obama’s ongoing emphasis on border enforcement and enforcement across the U.S. also ignores the evidence that “what has affected the level of migration has been things like the improved economy in Mexico or increased violence in Central America,” Tactaquin adds. “It’s not had to do with levels of border enforcement.”

The People’s Win

For immigrant rights activists who have fought against the enforcement program Secure Communities, its elimination is a victory. But, #Not1More’s Villalpando and others raised concerns that the program which will take its place, “Priority Enforcement Program,” (PDF) is just the same deportation dragnet by another name.

Still, the executive action itself, “is the undocumented people’s victory,” said Villalpando. “The reason he did it is because of all the pressure undocumented communities built up to this point, so we must thank the people who went on hunger strike and even the people who got deported.”

“We have at least 5 million reasons to celebrate,” said AFSC’s Sanchez. “But we have just as many—another 5 or 6 million reasons to keep working.” To Iowa Immigrant Voice’s Sanchez, the real win was that the president “finally stood up to respond to the people’s will.”

DOJ Releases Holder Video Statement Ahead of Wilson Indictment Decision

DOJ Releases Holder Video Statement Ahead of Wilson Indictment Decision

Attorney General Eric Holder appears in a new video released today that touts new guidelines for best practices for policing ahead of a St. Louis grand jury’s decision on whether to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in connection with the shooting and killing of Mike Brown. In it, Holder also encourages peaceful demonstration. 

It’s still unclear when the indictment will be announced, but the St. Louis Post Dispatch is reporting that the Jennings School District will be closed Monday and Tuesday in anticipation of an announcement this weekend. School will be back in session for Jennings schools students on December 1.

Two other local school districts, Riverview Gardens and Ferguson-Florissant haven’t announced any school closures, and it’s not known whether Hazelwood schools, also in the area, will close next week. 

Obama Introduces Deferred Action for Parents, or DAP

Obama Introduces Deferred Action for Parents, or DAP

Among the actions President Obama is taking in his executive action on immigration is introducing Deferred Action for Parents, or DAP. The program will be administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Parents of all U.S. citizen children or legal permanent resident children born on or before November 20, 2014 are eligible. Parents of children that are recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, are not—and neither are soon-to-be parents whose children are born today or anytime after.

DAP recipients will be eligible for work authorization and be granted relief from deportation for a renewable three years at a time. In order to obtain DAP, parents must demonstrate a constant presence in the United States for the last five years, submit biometric data, as well as pass a criminal background check. Although there was early talk of paying back taxes for the last five years, no such condition exists in DHS memos and wasn’t mentioned by Obama in his remarks Thursday evening. Any parent who is already an enforcement priority for the administration is automatically ineligible for for the program.

Like DACA, DAP does not provide legal status—it’s temporary relief from deportation. It’s estimated that more than three million parents will be eligible for DAP. The fee to apply for DAP will be $465 for each parent, but eligible immigrants won’t be able to apply until late May 2015. 

Obama’s Immigration Order, Bill Cosby, Facebook and Unions

Obama's Immigration Order, Bill Cosby, Facebook and Unions

This is what I’m reading up on today:

TAGS: Morning Rush

Here’s How DACA Will Be Expanded Under Obama

Here's How DACA Will Be Expanded Under Obama

Under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, undocumented youth are eligible to obtain a work permit and relief from deportation for a renewable two years at a time—so long as they meet certain criteria. They must have arrived to the U.S. before the age of 16, have been here for a minimum of five years, have graduated high school or have a GED, or have completed a tour of military service. But, any person seeking DACA must have been under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012, the date DACA was first announced.

Activists have long insisted that that upper age limit is far too arbitrary. Under Obama’s executive action, the upper age limit is suspended—which means that anyone who was at least 16 when they entered is now eligible, no matter their age today. The date of arrival for eligibility moves from June 15, 2007 to January 1, 2010. DACA will also be available for a renewable three years at a time, instead of the current two years.  

Anyone who arrived over the age of 16, regardless of whether they attended and graduated high school in the U.S., is still not eligible. The cost is still $465 to apply, and a background check, including biometrics, remain part of the program.

The program’s expansion will take 90 days to roll out, by which time newly qualified immigrants can apply. It’s estimated that close to 300,000 people will be eligible for DACA under this move. 

A Sobering Infographic for Transgender Day of Remembrance

A Sobering Infographic for Transgender Day of Remembrance

Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance, the day when we remember all of the lives lost to transphobic violence. This year has been especially deadly for trans women; Aniya Parker’s murder last month in Los Angeles was just one of growing list of women who’ve been violently killed this year because of their gender identity. Over the summer, 28-year-old Zoraida Reyes’s body was found in a parking lot behind an Orange County Dairy Queen. In total, 12 transgender women have been killed in the United States in the past 12 months.

Statistics show that trans women of color were the victims of 67 percent of all hate-motivated homicides of LGBT people in 2013. Over at BuzzFeed, Dominic Holden detailed the frightening scenario in Ohio, where four transgender women have been killed in just 20 months. 


Tiffany Edwards, 28, is one such woman who was killed in June. And as Holden explains:

Though violence against transgender people is widely considered a national epidemic by LGBT advocates, the state of Ohio has seen a particularly disturbing trend. Tiffany Edwards was the fourth transgender woman killed in Ohio in the last 20 months. Three of the victims were transgender women of color. The Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization (BRAVO) also reports 14 incidents of non-fatal hate-motivated attacks on transgender people throughout the state in 2013. Many attacks go unreported. Most recently in Ohio, on Nov. 3, Candice Rose Milligan, 33, was hospitalized after being beaten in broad daylight by a group of men who allegedly yelled, “That’s a dude in a dress,” the Toledo Bladereported.

Read more at BuzzFeed

The Obama Years, in Two Budget Charts

The Obama Years, in Two Budget Charts

You wouldn’t know it by the tenor of the recent gubernatorial elections, but states’ pockets have grown fat under President Obama. That’s because his two signature economic initiatives—the 2009 Recovery Act and the 2010 Affordable Care Act—pumped tens of billions of dollars into state coffers, giving state leaders the chance to bolster services without raising revenue. At least at the local level, you’d think fiscal conservatives would love the guy. 

The National Association of State Budget Officers published a report today outlining spending trends. To my eye, here’s the takehome: States have largely stopped making new investments in services, so what their residents do and don’t get from government has been driven primarily by federal choices. First, take a look at this graph from the report, which shows federal and state spending trends over the past three fiscal years.


So overall state spending fell in fiscal year 2012—marking the first decline in total state spending in the 27-year history of this annual report. That was a big, historic change. It corresponed with the gradual sunsetting of the 2009 Recovery Act. Remember that? The reviled stimulus spending that eked out of Congress at a level much lower than economists of all stripes recommended? Well, the initial surge of stimulus spending ran out, federal funding to states plummeted by nearly 10 percent and overall state spending fell for the first time in a generation. The White House and others have argued that the stimulus averted a full-on depression. But imagine if it had been funded at the levels economists recommended? 

Anyway, that didn’t happen. But in fiscal year 2014, total state spending shoots back up. This coincides with the onset of Obamacare—or specifically, the expansion of Medicaid, which has put an additional $41.8 billion into state budgets this fiscal year. Here’s what that looks like for Medicaid programs themselves, again in a graph from the state budget directors’ report.


This is important not only because it has allowed more than 8 million poor people to get health insurance. That’s happened while barely affecting state spending on the program. Understand that Medicaid has been and remains the biggest ticket item in any state’s budget. It accounts consistently for roughly a quarter of overall state spending; K-12 education comes in second, at about 20 percent. Every dollar the states don’t spend on Medicaid, is money they can invest elsewhere—in higher education, transportation, tax breaks. 

So the Obama years have been very good to state budgets. The feds have financed massive public investment in local services that have staved off collapse for both the overall economy and for residents in the greatest need. But they have done so over the kicking and screaming objections of a great many local elected officials. Funny, that.

Could Pres. Obama’s Action on Immigration Help the Fight for $15?

Could Pres. Obama's Action on Immigration Help the Fight for $15?

It hasn’t been lost on observers that Pres. Obama will announce his executive action on immigration reform tonight, at the same time as the Latin Grammy Awards are getting ready to broadcast live on Univision. As a result, the network is delaying the start of the event in order to carry the speech live. And “chances are high,” writes TIME’s Michael Scherer, “that the leading lights of Latin pop will follow up [Obama’s] words with on-stage celebrations of the President’s actions.” That’s not serendipity; that’s great marketing.

Less obvious though is the fact that Obama’s executive order is also coming at a time when, in the face of a stalled Congress, municipalities and states are moving on their own to increase the minimum wage. Four Republican states were the latest to capitulate, due to citizens’ ballot demands. And protesting Walmart workers who previously demanded an unspecified “living wage,” now demand a $15-an-hour minimum wage—like fast-food workers. 

So how do these local, people-powered fights for a higher minimum wage dovetail with Obama’s executive action on immigration reform? The details of Obama’s plan aren’t yet known but NYU economist Daniel Altman and others have argued that increasing the minimum wage requires immigration reform, including bringing undocumented workers into the formal labor force. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez touted a similar argument in an October speech, linking immigration reform with raising the wage floor for all Americans (or at least, stalling its downward push). But the impact of immigration (and, reform) on wages remains a contested point, certainly among the GOP. Some are considering another government shut down as one response to Obama’s immigration reform.

Look for Obama’s remarks tonight to include making as many as 5 million people eligible for work permits, the AP reports. Morgan Winsor of International Business Times explains the economic impact on states like California, New York, Illinois and Texas in particular. 

How to Watch President Obama’s Immigration Announcement

How to Watch President Obama's Immigration Announcement

President Obama will be making a big statement on immigration Thursday night from the White House’s East Room. On Friday he will be going to Del Sol High School in Las Vegas to rally support. But major English language networks won’t be airing the announcement—CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox will all air their scheduled programming. 

If you’re online, you can tune in to White House Live at 8 p.m. Eastern. If you’ve got cable, don’t worry, because MSNBC, CNN and Fox News will be airing the announcement. And, if you speak Spanish, you can tune in to Univision—which is postponing the Latin Grammys (Calle 13—who’s up for nine awards—will be performing, so you might want to stay tuned to Univision afterward!).

President Obama took to Facebook Wednesday to confirm his schedule:

It’s likely that the President’s move will potentially benefit nearly five million people on a temporary basis, without a pathway to citizenship. The president will also be seeking to expand security on the southern border. 

FSU Shooting, Buffalo Braces for More Snow, Jobless Claims Continue to Drop

FSU Shooting, Buffalo Braces for More Snow, Jobless Claims Continue to Drop

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning: 

  • Republicans are pretty livid over Obama’s expected announcement on immigration this evening. 
  • NASA publishes a rather gorgeous video that simulates how carbon dioxide spreads in the atmosphere. It almost makes something so deadly look a little too beautiful. 

*Post has been updated since publication to indicate that TV Land, not NBC, will stop running reruns of “The Cosby Show.” 

TAGS: Morning Rush

Ferguson’s Black, Non-Black Arrest Rate Disparity Isn’t the Worst in the U.S.

Ferguson's Black, Non-Black Arrest Rate Disparity Isn't the Worst in the U.S.

Blacks in Ferguson are arrested at three times the rate of those who aren’t black, but according to a USA Today analysis of FBI arrest data, nearly 1,600 police agencies in the U.S. actually have higher arrest rate disparities than the St. Louis suburb. 

Those statistics point to larger systemic social issues and don’t provide smoking gun evidence of racial discrimination on the part of police, USA Today reporter Brad Heath writes, but they do beg explanation. 

USA Today’s Heath writes of the paper’s findings:

• Blacks are more likely than others to be arrested in almost every city for almost every type of crime. Nationwide, black people are arrested at higher rates for crimes as serious as murder and assault, and as minor as loitering and marijuana possession.

• Arrest rates are lopsided almost everywhere. Only 173 of the 3,538 police departments USA TODAY examined arrested black people at a rate equal to or lower than other racial groups.

Read the USA Today story for more.

Obama Order May Give DACA Parents Some Relief

Obama Order May Give DACA Parents Some Relief

President Obama will make his much-awaited announcement to take executive action on immigration Thursday, according to two Congressional aides speaking under the condition of anonymity. The aides say that he’ll head to Las Vegas on Friday. He’ll present more details of the order at Del Sol High School in front of an audience of immigrants and their advocates.

This won’t be the first time Obama addresses immigration at Del Sol High School. The president was there nearly two years ago outlining another reform plan. He promised then that he would introduce his own legislation if Congress didn’t move quickly. The House did introduce and pass a bill—which eventually died in the Senate in 2013.  

The president’s plan may expand Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, by widening age requirements for eligibility. Although DACA isn’t a path to citizenship, it protects immigrants from deportation for two years at a time and it provides work permits for that time. Obama may also outline a plan to extend deportation relief to the parents of children who are U.S. citizens or Green Card holders. It’s unclear whether the parents of DACA recipients will be eligible. According to one immigration advocate who spoke on condition of anonymity, DACA recipient Astrid Silva and her father have been invited to attend Obama’s primetime address on Thursday, a signal that deferred action may be cover parents. The president is also expected to expand visas for high-skill tech workers and increase security along the southern border. Obama’s plan is expected to benefit up to five million of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. 

The president’s plan will likely fall far short of what immigrant advocates have been demanding. In a statement, National Day Laborer Organizing Network head Pablo Alvarado said, “100% of immigrants deserve equality, and regardless of what the President says or when he says it, we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to defend and advance our rights.”

But Obama’s plan is already being dogged by Republicans. According to Reuters, House speaker John Boehner’s spokesman, Michael Steel, has resorted to implying that Obama is governing as a reigning monarch: “If ‘Emperor Obama,’” said Steel, “ignores the American people and announces an amnesty plan that he himself has said over and over again exceeds his constitutional authority, he will cement his legacy of lawlessness and ruin the chances for congressional action on this issue and many others.” 

Want to Know When the Wilson Indictment Decision Comes Down?

Want to Know When the Wilson Indictment Decision Comes Down?

An online document created by @nettaaaaaaaa and @deray will tell you how to get a direct text to your phone when the St. Louis grand jury announces its decision on whether to indict Darren Wilson for the killing of Mike Brown.

Framed by an open letter, provides a wealth of resources for activists, including a link to planned protests in the St. Louis area. Here’s a quick look at the linked map for just some of what’s planned:

11-18-14-ferguson-3.jpg site features a list of safe spaces in the St. Louis area, a link to proposed rules of engagement for police, a list of local hospitals and clinics, and a lot more. 

Keystone XL Defeated (For Now), Airbag Recall, Another Accusation Against Cosby

Keystone XL Defeated (For Now), Airbag Recall, Another Accusation Against Cosby

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning:

  • Six die as frigid temperatures grip the United States.  
TAGS: Morning Rush

75 Planned Actions for Darren Wilson Grand Jury Decision

75 Planned Actions for Darren Wilson Grand Jury Decision

There’s still no announcement on whether a St. Louis grand jury has decided to indict Darren Wilson for the death of Mike Brown—although the Missouri governor’s decision Monday to declare a preemptive state of emergency may signal that an announcement will be made soon.

There are going to be at least 75 planned actions in response to the grand jury’s decision, and the Ferguson National Response Network Tumblr is aggregating them. Most actions are taking place in public parks, outside of courthouses and on college campuses; users can click on individual actions for more information.

So far, the site’s listing actions in the following states and the District of Columbia:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Indiana
  • Massachusetts
  • D.C.
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois*
  • Iowa
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • North Carolina
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Vermont
  • Washington

Organizers planning additional actions submit details on a separate document

*Post has beeen updated to include Illinois.

Keystone Vote in Senate, Bob Marley Brand Weed, Cosby Rape Joke

Keystone Vote in Senate, Bob Marley Brand Weed, Cosby Rape Joke

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning:

  • In an attack condemned by Palestinian President Abbas, four Israelis (including three from the United States) were killed inside a synagogue by two Palestinians.
  • I don’t know what Prana energy is, but Willow Smith and Jaden Smith are pretty into it
TAGS: Morning Rush

Gov. Jay Nixon Orders State of Emergency in Missouri

Gov. Jay Nixon Orders State of Emergency in Missouri

Missouri governor Jay Nixon this afternoon issued a 30-day state of emergency ahead of a St. Louis grand jury’s decision on whether to indict Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson. Read the full text of the order, here, which charges the St. Louis County Police Department with Ferguson’s security. The executive order is fueling speculation that the grand jury will not indict. According to reports, representatives of Ferguson police did not attend today’s press conference.

For Trans Immigrant Detainees, Deportation Is Sometimes the Better Option

For Trans Immigrant Detainees, Deportation Is Sometimes the Better Option

On any given day, some 75 transgender immigrants are locked up in immigration detention, Fusion found. For some of those individuals, their experiences while in detention—including rampant sexual abuse, solitary confinement and a lack of access to medication—make life so intolerable that some choose expedited deportation over fighting to stay in the U.S., despite the fact that many immigrated to the U.S. to flee violence and discrimination in their home countries.

Transgender detainees account for 20 percent of confirmed cases of sexual abuse in immigration detention facilities, Fusion found in its six-month investigation. Fusion reporters Cristina Constantini, Jorge Rivas and Kristoffer Ríos told the story of Bamby Salcedo:

When immigration authorities took Bamby Salcedo to the San Pedro Detention Center in Southern California, she worried about staying safe and healthy. Salcedo was taking T20, an HIV antiretroviral drug that she injected twice a day. It was critical she didn’t miss a dose because she would build resistance to the drug, she says doctors told her.

As soon as she arrived at the facility, she alerted the center’s medical staff to her needs. The drugs were a matter of life and death, she says. It took the the medical staff two weeks to get Salcedo the antiretroviral treatment she needed.

According to police and medical reports obtained by Fusion, Salcedo experienced abuse and harassment like many other transgender women experience in detention. When a male detainee forced himself on her in a bathroom stall, Salcedo defended herself. He punched her and fractured her nose.

But when Salcedo speaks about her nightmare in detention, she considers herself lucky and says it could have been worse. She remembers her friend Victoria Arellano who was held at the same San Pedro facility and died after she was allegedly denied AIDS medication during her time in detention.

Read the rest at Fusion.

After Corrections Commissioner’s Indictment, Mississippi Private Prisons Under New Scrutiny

After Corrections Commissioner's Indictment, Mississippi Private Prisons Under New Scrutiny

Mississippi’s longest serving corrections commissioner, Chris Epps, has been indicted on 49 counts of bribery, money laundering and more over at least a seven-year period. The indictment, details of which were publicly disclosed in early November, threatens to cast wider scrutiny on the state’s prison system and private prisons in particular. In 2012 according to The New York Times, a federal judge called the conditions at one privately run facility “a cesspool of unconstitutional and inhuman acts and conditions.” 

Mississippi has the second highest incarceration rate in the country.

hThe Epps story is developing. Read the latest in The New York Times.

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