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Here’s Why Housing Advocates Are Warning Against Amazon’s Impact On Affordable Housing

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After months of speculation, Amazon announced that the locations of its second headquarters will be in Long Island City, New York, and Arlington, Virginia. The announcement has been met with criticism from local community members and officials that say the influx of tech workers would fuel gentrification and hurt lower-income populations. Newly elected Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been one of the most vocal public officials to condemn Amazon for moving to Long Island. Ocasio-Cortez represents the 14th Congressional District of New York, which borders the district that includes Long Island City, and says the move “is extremely concerning to residents here.”

Residents and real estate watchers are monitoring the impact Amazon will have on rent and living costs in both New York and Virginia.

Housing displacement was a platform issue that Ocasio-Cortez ran on and is a vocal advocate for affordable housing. She took to Twitter to voice her displeasure about Amazon’s announcement. Ocasio-Cortez said that “shuffling working class people out of a community does not improve their quality of life.” Community members fear that Amazon’s decision to set up shop in New York will hasten gentrification, increase housing prices and displace current residents.

Northern Virginia realtor Jen Walker told NBC Washington that there has already been signs of the “the Amazon effect” on the local real estate marketplace. “They woke up this morning, saw the Amazon announcement and they decided they wanted to move forward with a contract,” she said. “They said, ‘We’re going to get priced out if we don’t do this now.'”

Alex Howe, a member of the group runs the website NoVa Says No to Amazon, echoed a similar message as Walker saying that the real estate market will drastically change now that Amazon is here. “Those already prospering will flourish and those who struggle in our region will be further pushed out and erased,” Howe said. “If Amazon comes here, it should be on our terms and they should pay their fair share in our community if they expect to set up shop here.”

Amazon says it will invest $5 billion and create more than 50,000 jobs across the two new headquarters locations but some are questioning if the company will follow through.

Rising home prices and cost of living have been huge concerns for many communities across the U.S. in places like San Francisco and Seattle, where Amazon is already established. Amazon says their new headquarters will generate millions of dollars in revenue and jobs opportunities. Yet many don’t see it that way as tech companies have been known to price out many long-time residents and hire from outside local communities.

“We are excited to build new headquarters in New York City and Northern Virginia,” Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, said in a statement. “These two locations will allow us to attract world-class talent that will help us to continue inventing for customers for years to come. The team did a great job selecting these sites, and we look forward to becoming an even bigger part of these communities.”

Since Amazon’s arrival, Seattle has become one of the most expensive cities to live in the U.S, forcing many Latino and black residents to move to far-off suburbs.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in New York to voice their displeasure with the announcement of a new headquarters.

On Wednesday, protesters gathered near Amazon’s soon-to-be headquarters in New York City to voice their concern over the multibillion-dollar incentives being awarded to Amazon. Protesters warn of the potential impact it will have on their community.

Ocasio-Cortez has echoed many residents worries and said she is concerned not just about Amazon specifically, but rather about the relationships that the government has with its citizens and corporations.

“This isn’t just about one company or one headquarters. It’s about cost of living, corps paying their fair share, etc,” she wrote on Twitter. “It’s not about picking a fight, either. I was elected to advocate for our community’s interests – & they’ve requested, clearly, to voice their concerns.”

Mitú reached out to Amazon but there has been no response as this time.


READ: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Victory Lap Rallies To Abolish ICE, Erase Student Loan Debt And Keep Organizing

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With Democrats Now In Charge Of The House, What Does That Mean For DACA Moving Forward?

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With Democrats Now In Charge Of The House, What Does That Mean For DACA Moving Forward?

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For the past two years federal courts have been the only check against President Trump’s efforts to crack down on immigration. Now that Democrats have won back the House of Representatives in the recent midterm elections, many Americans expect more accountability. One of the most important issues being the survival of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Back in September, Federal courts ordered the administration to keep both programs, but the Supreme Court, now featuring two Trump appointees, could change everything. So what does this mean for DACA moving forward?

After President  Trump asked the Supreme Court to rule on DACA this week, a federal appeals court upheld a lower court’s temporary order preventing President Trump from ending DACA.

On Nov. 8, a U.S. appeals court ruled that President Trump’s decision to rescind the DACA program is unlawful. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked Trump from ending DACA protections for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.

The 9th Circuit decision preserves the program for the moment but will require the administration to continue accepting DACA renewal applications. The court ruled that Trump’s decision to end DACA program was likely “arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise not in accordance with law.” The court also noted that “plaintiffs have stated a plausible equal protection claim,” showing plaintiffs’ allegations that “the rescission of DACA disproportionately impacts Latinos and individuals of Mexican heritage, who account for 93 percent of DACA recipients.”

With the Supreme Court in Trump’s favor, what does this mean for the future of DACA?

https://twitter.com/imillhiser/status/1060600126828396544

With the lower courts ruling in favor of DACA, the case will likely be argued in front of the Supreme Court. There have now been three different rulings in three different circuit courts against the administration. The administration is appealing all of the decisions. This is the first ruling at the appeals court level. The Trump administration wants to get the case on the justices’ agenda for the current term, which ends in June 2019.

There is only is so much Democrats can do when it comes to the legality of DACA now that they control the House. Democrats can mostly serve as a roadblock against Trump’s continued efforts to limit immigration. Issues like the current troop deployment to the southern border and supposed border wall will require funding which is something Democrats can control through the budgeting process.

The Supreme Court will likely take up the DACA case in Spring 2019.

The 9th Circuit ruling doesn’t change anything right away, but it’s important because it means that the Supreme Court is likely to take up DACA. With a five-justice conservative majority, it is entirely possible that the Supreme Court will overturn the 9th Circuit’s ruling and allow DACA to end. The DACA case would be scheduled for oral arguments sometime in early 2019 and a ruling could be handed down before the end of the Supreme Court’s term in June 2019.

Current recipients of DACA probably have a few more months to renew their application and work permits. After that there is uncertainty of what comes next for the 700,000 that are under the program.


READ: More Than 200 Migrant Children Are Still Separated From Their Families Awaiting Asylum Requests

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