Things That Matter

Trump Is Losing Big League At The Courts As His Plan To Build His Border Wall Hits Another Major Roadblock

A divided federal appeals court panel has declined to remove a major roadblock to President Donald Trump’s plan to spend more than $8 billion for border wall construction despite Congress agreeing to give him only a fraction of that sum.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has blocked (once again) Trump’s attempt at using Pentagon money to build a border wall.

Credit: @NewsHour / Twitter

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals voted, 2-1, to deny the Justice Department’s request for an emergency stay of a lower court judge’s injunction that blocked a budgetary maneuver the Trump administration sought to use to fund border projects in Arizona, New Mexico, and California.

Two of the judges said in a 75-page order released Wednesday that the attempt to move Defense Department construction funds to the Department of Homeland Security appeared to be a violation of federal law and the Constitution’s delegation to Congress of the power to appropriate funds.

“The Constitution assigns to Congress the power of the purse. Under the Appropriations Clause, it is Congress that is to make decisions regarding how to spend taxpayer dollars,” Clifton and Friedland wrote. “Congress did not appropriate money to build the border barriers Defendants seek to build here. Congress presumably decided such construction at this time was not in the public interest. It is not for us to reach a different conclusion.”

For now, the administration is still prohibited from building a wall along the border.

Credit: @ajplus / Twitter

The administration said the U.S. needed emergency protection to fight drug smuggling. Its arguments did not mention illegal immigration or unprecedented numbers of Central American families seeking asylum at the U.S. border , which have dominated public attention in recent months.

The administration has awarded $2.8 billion in contracts for barriers covering 247 miles (390 kilometers), with all but 17 miles (27 kilometers) of that to replace existing barriers not expand coverage. It is preparing for a flurry of construction that the president is already celebrating at campaign-style rallies.

Trump inherited barriers spanning 654 miles (1,046 kilometers), or about one-third of the border with Mexico. Of the miles covered under Trump-awarded contracts, more than half is with Pentagon money.

While many were happy that this verdict likely means the president won’t be able to make good on one of his key campaign promises.

Credit: @AP / Twitter

And if he can’t keep his promises, many hope his supporters will be disillusioned with his performance as president and we won’t see another four years of this administration’s xenophobic, racist, hate-filled policies.

The House of Representatives celebrated the verdict but also was in disbelief over how many times Trump has to lose before he realizes he can’t build his wall.

Credit: @HomelandDems / Twitter

The Democrat-led House of Representatives also filed suit to block the disputed border wall spending, but its suit was thrown out by a federal judge in Washington last month. The decision is on appeal to the D.C. Circuit.

Kamala Harris also took to Twitter to remind people what big news this is.

Credit: @SenKamalaHarris

According to Sen. Harris, this is a major victory in the fight against the president’s border wall project.

And so did Senate Minority Leader, Chuch Schumer.

Credit: @SenSchumer / Twitter

Although the fight isn’t over, it’s definitely a verdict to celebrate and many especially wanted to thank the ACLU for their work in bringing the case before the 9th Circuit. It’s their hard work that helped make the case possible.

People took to Twitter to celebrate the court’s decision.

Congress and now two courts have said no border wall funds.

For the sake of our democracy and border communities, it’s time Donald Trump come to terms with the fact that America rejected his xenophobic wall and move on.

READ: President Trump Didn’t Get His Border Wall Funding So He Is Now Declaring A National Emergency

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The Trump Administration Just Announced That They’re Banning TikTok Downloads Starting on Sunday

Things That Matter

The Trump Administration Just Announced That They’re Banning TikTok Downloads Starting on Sunday

On Friday, the Trump administration announced that it would be blocking future downloads of social media app TikTok starting on midnight on Sunday.

“At the President’s direction, we have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations,” said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross

The Trump Administraiton is also taking action against the popular messaging and payment app WeChat, banning American companies from hosting the app’s internet traffic or processing transactions for the app (one of its key features).

Both TikTok and WeChat are the two most popular tech exports from China.

via Getty Images

TikTok is a popular video-sharing platform that allows users to share 15-second videos of themselves dancing and lip-syncing to popular music (among other things). The app recently exploded in popularity, racking up 99.8 million downloads in the first six months of 2020.

TikTok and WeChat have both been recent targets of the Trump administration due to their data-collection practices.

TikTok, specifically, has recently come under fire for violating Google privacy policies. TikTok collects and documents massive amounts of data from their users, like videos watched and commented on, location data, device type, and copy-and-paste “clipboard” contents. The app even records people’s keystroke rhythms as they type.

The Trump Administration has long been suspicious of TikTok’s data-collection, speculating that TikTok might be sending the data to the Chinese government.

The Trump administration has argued that such massive amounts of data in the hands of a foreign government is a threat to national security. TikTok denies that they are handing over the data to the Chinese government.

TikTok, for their part, are not hiding their displeasure about the ban, releasing a public statement saying: “We will continue to challenge the unjust executive order, which was enacted without due process and threatens to deprive the American people and small businesses across the US of a significant platform for both a voice and livelihoods.”

This isn’t the first time TikTok has gone toe-to-toe with the Trump administration. The social media company sued the administration in August after Trump signed an executive order enacting broad sanctions against the app. TikTok claimed that the order denied the company of due process.

The TikTok ban is making waves because it marks the first time the U.S. has banned a tech app on the basis of national security concerns.

But some critics are saying that there doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason behind the ban. “It just feels to me to be improvisational,” said cyber-security expert Adam Segal.

Both TikTok users and concerned Americans have taken to the internet to express their anger at the Trump administration’s decision.

“Don’t be mistaken folks,” said one Twitter user. “Sunday it will be TikTok. Tomorrow it will be twitter, FB, Instagram…you name it…We must protect free speech!”

Another pointed out the hypocrisy of Trump targeting China when he doesn’t seem to be as concerned about Russia meddling in our internet affairs. “I live in a world where TikTok is a threat to national security but Russian interference in our elections is not,” she said. “This is Trump’s America.”

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Time Is Running Out To Complete The Census, Here’s Why It’s So Important To Make Sure You’re Counted

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Time Is Running Out To Complete The Census, Here’s Why It’s So Important To Make Sure You’re Counted

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

The drama over the 2020 Census continues.

First was a Supreme Court decision that found the Trump administration wasn’t being totally honest about it’s reasoning for including the citizenship question on the 2020 Census – so the court effectively removed the question from the census. 

Then, Trump tried to delay the constitutionally mandated census to give his administration more time to come up with a better reason to tell the courts.

None of that worked as planned by the administration, and the Census has continued as normal. However, so many in minority communities – particularly migrant communities – have been fearful of completing this year’s census. Well, new evidence shows just how important it is to make sure we’re all counted.

As the 2020 census winds down, here’s a reminder of why it’s so important to make sure we all complete our census.

Now, more than ever, it is the responsibility of Latinos to fill out the census, or else miss-out on integral funding and representation.

The 2020 Census is ending early, thanks to a decision by the Trump administration to end data collection and outreach sooner than initially planned, which could lead to massive undercounts within BIPOC communities.

The Latinx population is already at a higher risk of being undercounted because of language barriers, fears over immigrant status, and for living in hard-to-reach areas. Latinx leaders are continuously pushing for increased visibility and accessibility to fill-out the census, especially now, as many issues have been overshadowed by a global pandemic.

But at some point, it is not the responsibility of our leaders, but for citizens to take initiative.

Latinos are not filling-out the 2020 Census at the levels they should, and in areas with large Latinx populations, the self-response rate is alarmingly low.

Take for instance, Rep. Nanette Barragán’s district in Los Angeles. In 2010, her district had a self-response rate of 68.6%. Now with the one-month cut-off and the ending of household outreach nearly two weeks early in some areas, her district is now just at 60.1%.

“We cannot let them erase us,” Barragán wrote

But it wasn’t long ago that Trump tried to completely derail this year’s census.

The Trump administration has decided to print the 2020 census forms without a citizenship question, and the printer has been told to start the printing process, Justice Department spokesperson Kelly Laco confirms to NPR.

The move came shortly after the Supreme Court ruled to keep the question off census forms for now and just a day after printing was scheduled to begin for 1.5 billion paper forms, letters, and other mailings.

President Trump had said he wanted to delay the constitutionally mandated headcount to give the Supreme Court a chance to issue a more “decisive” ruling on whether the administration could add the question, “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” A majority of the justices found that the administration’s use of the Voting Rights Act to justify the question “seems to have been contrived.”

But according to Trump, all of that info from his own administration is fake news.

President Trump had tweeted that his own Commerce Secretary’s statement, suggesting there would not be pushback on the Supreme Court’s decision to leave a citizenship question out of the census, was “FAKE.”

Here’s his own Tweet about the #fakenews:

CREDIT: @REALDONALDTRUMP / TWITTER

The saga to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census and the emerging divisions within the Trump administration to its implementation follow a months-long court battle that ultimately ended up with a narrow Supreme Court victory for opponents of the question.

Though many on Twitter were already fact-checking the President using statements from his own administration.

CREDIT: @KYLEGRIFFIN1 / TWITTER

I mean if they’ve already started printing the forms, according to numerous administration officials, what could the President be talking about?

Many speculate he’s just trying to position himself as a fighter among his supporters so they think he’s doing all he can to get the citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

All this confusion comes on the heels of a Supreme Court decision that ruled the Trump administration wasn’t being forthcoming about its real reason for wanting to ask the citizenship question.

CREDIT: @NINATOTENBERG / TWITTER

The Supreme Court left the citizenship question — “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” — blocked from the 2020 census for now, in part because of the government’s explanation for why it added it in the first place.

However, opponents of the question, who have worked for more than a year to get it removed, are claiming victory.

The majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, said the court “cannot ignore the disconnect between the decision made and the explanation given” by the Trump administration.

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