Supreme Court Ruling On DACA: What it Means for Immigrants Protected by DACA

Supreme Court, State of California, City of Oakland all stand firm against Trump’s deportation efforts, leading to more threats from Trump. But what does it all mean for those covered by DACA and other immigrants living under threat of deportation.

Inspiration from Dede Feldman

I am reading former New Mexico State Senator Dede Feldman’s new book, Another Way Forward, an inspiring chronicle of 17 New Mexico initiatives that are advancing social, environmental, economic or racial justice in every region of the State. In most every one, the impetus for the initiative came from one or two people seeing a situation and, in effect saying: ‘this is not okay’ and then working to address that situation. While only part way through, so far I have read of doctors who have used technology to address rural health disparities, local advocates who have created sustainable affordable housing in ABQ, and farmers and healthy food advocates who have created networks across the state to support small local farmers and to address food deserts impacting under-served communities across the state. The book is available at Collected Works and other small book shops (far better than Amazon) and Dede has agreed to appear on my radio show in a couple weeks to discuss the book. The takeaway so far: If something pisses you off, don’t complain, get involved and fix it. It is remarkable how in each of the examples I’ve read thus far, that is almost precisely the dynamic. “Why are so many people suffering when we could just do X?” And then a few folks just do it. Speaking of a few folks getting together and making things happen….

Town Hall: March 4, 2-4 pm: A New Approach

We haven’t hosted a Town Hall in some time. With the holidays and then the Roundhouse session, there were simply too many competing priorities. During that period we have had numerous folks say that they missed getting together. We have also recalled others saying that they’d like to be part of a series of Town Halls that didn’t involve some group of “leaders” or “experts” talking at a passive audience with maybe a few minutes of token questioning to follow. We had intended to use the March 4th Town Hall to replicate the “leaders” talking at you concept, with first Retake leadership talking about our plan to launch a 2018-2019 Election and Legislative Strategy and then have a series of candidates talk about their campaigns.

Upon reflection, we decided that candidates could wait and that it would be better to hear from you. So we are going to use 10-15 minutes to introduce the Election and Legislative Strategy and five minutes to describe what you can do on Monday and Tuesday to help Get Out the Vote for Santa Fe’s Mayoral Election. But then we want to try out a Town Hall model that the Progressive Voters Alliance has used for 14 years in Las Cruces. Every month, they have a theme perhaps with an article or just a prompt question to focus discussion and then each person attending has an opportunity to speak for two minutes on that topic. The mic is passed around until everyone has had an opportunity to speak before anyone can speak a second time. Typically between 40 and 200 folks attend these Town Halls in Las Cruces, so we thought we’d try it out on March 4.

We don’t want to limit the discussion at all, but given what I am learning from Dede Feldman’s book about how small groups of individuals can band together to address injustice in Santa Fe and New Mexico, I thought that could at least inform our conversation.  Responses could focus on a single issue, a legislative or election strategy or a programmatic or policy initiative. Comments could also focus on how Retake could better encourage and organize initiatives. The point is to hear from you about what has been simmering inside you and share it with others. What could a small group do to make something important happen? How could Retake foster that kind of iterative activism in a sustainable way?

One of the things Roxanne and I are learning is that to advance this work, we have to try new things. Some will work and some won’t, but you can’t move forward if you don’t try new approaches. So please, join us on Sunday and help us identify some new paths forward.  To RSVP (and it really helps to know the numbers), please click here. At a minimum you will find out how to help Get Out the Vote, but perhaps together we will also identify 1-2 very achievable initiatives, like those in Feldman’s book that can change lives and get us closer to justice here in New Mexico.

State of California & Oakland Mayor Stand Up To Trump, ICE

Last week, Donald Trump warned California that its widespread sanctuary policies might provoke him to pull ICE from California entirely, stating, “Frankly, it’s a disgrace,” Trump said. “The sanctuary city situation, the protection of these horrible criminals … if we ever pulled our ICE out and said, ‘Hey, let California alone and let them figure it out themselves,’ in two months they’d be begging for us to come back. And you know what? I’m thinking about doing it!”

My reaction was: How can New Mexico apply for this treatment? And California Gov. Jerry Brown told CNBC in a written statement: “In California we protect all of our people from criminals and gangs, as well as dangerous assault weapons. We do our job Mr. President, you do yours.”

In another stinging rebuke of Trump immigration policies and the ongoing deportation of immigrants, on Saturday Mayor Libby Schaaf publicly alerted the Oakland community and the greater Bay Area of a looming and large immigration sweep coming to the Bay Area. It is heartening to see public officials stand in alliance with DACA and other immigrants against Trump’s utterly inhuman policies.

Supreme Court Steps Up to Trump On DACA

On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to review a Federal judge’s order for DACA to remain in place, thereby continuing protection for almost 700,000 DACA recipients. This was definitely a last minute reprieve as the program had faced a March 5 deadline for congressional action set by Trump last summer. Two federal courts have ruled the administration’s action was illegal and now the Supreme Court has refused to overturn those rulings. According to US Today: “The justices could have agreed to hear the case this spring, leapfrogging a federal appeals court based in California that has been sympathetic to the cause of immigrants. They also could have overruled federal District Judge William Alsup without a hearing.” But they did none of those things and so DACA will remain in place at least until the 9th District Court rules on Alsup’s ruling.

Also according to USA Today: “In his ruling last month, Alsup granted a request by California, the University of California system, and several California cities to block Trump’s decision to end the DACA program while their lawsuit challenging the program’s termination plays out in court. He said those already approved for protection and work permits must be allowed to renew them before they expire. Alsup said the challengers were likely to succeed by claiming that the Trump administration’s decision to end the program was “arbitrary and capricious” and based on a flawed legal premise.” A New York District Court judge also ruled Trump’s rescission of DACA as ‘arbitrary’ and commented further that any court would agree.

While the reprieve is temporary, it provides immediate and important relief. While no new DACA applications will be accepted, current DACA recipients can submit renewals for two years, enabling them to continue to work and for students, continuing eligibility for financial aid, clearly a major relief. Even in the unlikely event that the 9th District Court overturn’s Alsup’s ruling, it would be subject to immediate appeal to the Supreme Court which wouldn’t be able to hear the case until its new term which does not begin until October. But the 9th District Court has already ruled against other Trump administration programs targeting immigrants, including its attempts to institute a travel ban targeting majority-Muslim countries.

So while temporary, this reprieve must look pretty good given that the March 5 deadline was less than a week away. But immigration advocates are quick to point out that Congress had six months to find a DACA solution before and allowed any number of other legislative priorities to supersede addressing DACA.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

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