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Presidential Candidates At The Second Democratic Debate Stand Up For Undocumented Health Rights

The second night of the Democratic debates in Miami were held last night and the undocumented and DACA communities were the main topics. The clear winner of last night’s debate was California Senator Kamala Harris who took on former Vice President Joe Biden and emerged victorious. Here’s a quick recap of what the 10 candidates had to say last night.

California Kamala Harris took a stand with DACA recipient and pledged her full support if elected

“Immediately on January 20, 2021, I will… First of all, we cannot forget our DACA recipients, so I’m going to start there,” Harris answered moderator José Diaz-Balart when asked about dealing with the migrant crisis at the border. “I will immediately, by executive action, reinstate DACA status and DACA protection to those young people. I will further extend protection for deferral from deportation for their parents and for veterans, who we have so many who are undocumented who have served our country and fought for our democracy.”

She added: “I will also immediately put in place a meaningful process for reviewing the cases for asylum. I will release children from cages. I will get rid of the private detention centers and I will ensure that this microphone that the president of the United States holds in her hand is used in a way that is about reflecting the values of our country and not about locking children up and separating them from their parents.”

Sen. Harris then turned to Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden and addressed his record on the issues of race and school integration.

“So, on the issue of race,” Harris started looking at Biden. “I couldn’t agree more that this is an issue that is still not being talked about truthfully and honestly. There is not a Black man I know be he a relative, a friend, or a coworker who has not be the subject of some form of profiling or discrimination. Growing up, my sister and I had to deal with the neighbor who told us that her parents said she couldn’t play with us because we were Black.”

Harris then took on Biden’s record on race saying: “It was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and careers on the segregation of race in this country. It was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose bussing. There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public school and she was bussed to school every day. And, that little girl was me.”

The moment was one of the most stunning at the debate. The audience was silent as Harris captivated the audience giving a personal story on race in America.

Harris was referring to Biden’s remarks from a New York fundraiser where he spoke openly about how he was able to work across the aisle with to segregationist senators in the 1970s.

“I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland… He never called me ‘boy’. He always called me ‘son,'” Biden said of the segregationist senator from Mississippi.

He then brought up “a guy like Herman Talmadge, one of the meanest guys I ever knew, you go down the list with these guys. Well, guess what? At least there was some civility. We got things done,” Biden said. “We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished. But today, you look at the other side and you’re the enemy. Not the opposition, the enemy. We don’t talk to each other anymore.”

The other big moment from last night’s debate was the candidates agreeing to healthcare for undocumented people in the U.S.

Credit: NBC News

Moderator Savannah Guthrie asked the candidates a show-of-hands question about which candidates included undocumented people on their health care plans. Every candidate raised their hands in solidarity.

Guthrie then turned first to South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg as to why his plan allows undocumented people to have healthcare coverage.

“Our country is healthier when everyone is healthier,” Mayor Buttigieg said. “Remember, we’re talking about something that people are given a chance to buy into. In the same way that there are undocumented immigrants in my community who pay. They pay sales taxes. The pay property taxes directly or indirectly. This is not about a handout. This is an insurance program.”

Debate viewers were pleased to see the show of support for the undocumented community.

Credit: @un_documented / Twitter

The undocumented community has faced years of attacks from the current administration. The community does not have the power to vote so their future and wellbeing is tied directly to the people around them who have the ability to vote. Hearing candidates talk about issues impacting the undocumented community with compassion is something so many voters have been looking for.

It gave some people hope for the future of America for the first time in two years.

Credit: @CarlosGSmith / Twitter

It is not a secret that several communities have been in distress as the Trump administration steam rolls over everyone’s rights. Seeing this display is something that is sending a message to Americans seeking a compassionate and better functioning government.

It is also important to note that nay sayers of the idea claim they don’t want their tax dollars paying for this. Undocumented immigrants pay taxes. Undocumented people in the U.S. pay billions of dollars in taxes. According to a 2017 study, undocumented people paid $11.7 billion in taxes in 2014.

Texas is the second largest beneficiary of undocumented taxes with a total of $1.6 billion in taxes coming from undocumented people in 2014. California was number one with $3.2 billion in tax dollars in 2014. That said, the debate of whether or not undocumented people deserve healthcare ignores the fact that undocumented people are subsidizing the federal programs Americans use on a daily basis, like Social Security, but those same people do not benefit from those tax dollars spent.

READ: Here Are The Winners And Losers Of Last Night Democratic Debates In Miami Last Night

Justice Sotomayor Says DACA Decision Is A Choice Whether Or Not To ‘Destroy Lives’

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Justice Sotomayor Says DACA Decision Is A Choice Whether Or Not To ‘Destroy Lives’

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

While the US Supreme Court’s conservative-majority justices are seemingly ready to allow Trump to rescind Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Justice Sonia Sotomayor clearly stated her opinion that the court’s decision, “is not about the law; this is about our choice to destroy lives.” The 2012 policy shields immigrants, who were brought to the United States as children without documentation, from deportation and allows them to work for up to two years at a time. Research shows that DACA has reduced the number of undocumented immigrants living in poverty, and has improved mental health status for DACA participants and their children. The Trump administration rescinded DACA protections for nearly 700,000 recipients in 2017. 

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments to end DACA and is expected to deliver a decision by Spring 2020.

Two memos lie at the heart of the decision.

Credit: @Princeton / Twitter

The first memo was begrudgingly given by then Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Elaine C. Duke. Duke’s volunteer history included offering legal aid to immigrants. During a White House meeting with Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, she was pressured to issue a memo that would end DACA. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Duke that DACA was illegal, on the grounds of it exceeding presidential power. Duke issued a bare-bones memo that offered no policy reason for the end of DACA, except that it was unlawful. She later resigned.

Her replacement, Kirstjen Nielsen, retroactively justified the decision with a second memo, which included a new reason to end DACA: to project a message of consistency of enforcement of all immigration laws.

Now, US solicitor general Noel Francisco is arguing that Obama’s decision to introduce DACA exceeded presidential power.

Credit: @realdonaldtrump / Twitter

“Basic administrative law is you look at what’s first given to you,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor told Francisco, not “what you add later.” Still, she said that even if “you ignore that and even look at the Nielsen memo, I think my colleagues have rightly pointed there’s a whole lot of reliance interests that weren’t looked at.” What’s crucial to this decision, according to Sotomayor, is that President Trump had told “DACA-eligible people that they were safe under him and that he would find a way to keep them here. And so he hasn’t and, instead, he’s done this.” 

In 2017, Trump tweeted, in reference to DACA recipients, “Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military?”

Trump tweeted Tuesday that DACA recipients are “far from angels.”

Credit: @realdonaldtrump / Twitter

“Many of the people in DACA, no longer very young, are far from ‘angels,'” Trump tweeted Tuesday. “Some are very tough, hardened criminals. President Obama said he had no legal right to sign order, but would anyway. If Supreme Court remedies with overturn, a deal will be made with Dems for them to stay!”

A major requirement for DACA recipients is that they have no criminal record. “Trump is fear-mongering and falsely accusing people of color,” Dr. Eugene Gu tweeted. “Many DACA recipients are doctors, lawyers, professors, scientists, teachers, and integral members of society. Many have never set foot in their original countries for their whole lives and speak mainly English. Threatening to deport them through racist fear-mongering is evil.”

The events leading up to the memo led Sotomayor to believe “that this is not about the law; this is about our choice to destroy lives.”

Credit: @Grindr / Twitter

Trump’s promise to protect DACA recipients during his campaign and his about-face is “something to be considered before you rescind a policy. Not just say I’ll give you six months to do it – to destroy your lives.” At the end of the day, Sotomayor is pointing out that Francisco’s argument is not evident in the memos. “Where is all of this in the memo? Where is all of this really considered and weighed? And where is the political decision made clearly,” she asked. Sotomayor concluded, “that this is not about the law; this is about our choice to destroy lives.”

Sotomayor also argued that DACA simply allows law enforcement agencies to prioritize its use of its limited resources.

Credit: @Grindr / Twitter

“I have always had some difficulty in understanding the illegality of DACA,” Sotomayor offered her opinion. “We all know [ICE] has limited resources. It can’t, even when it wants to remove the vast majority of aliens we have here. And so I’ve always had some difficulty in understanding what’s wrong with an agency saying, we’re going to prioritize our removals, and for those people, like the DACA people who haven’t committed crimes, who are lawfully employed, who are paying taxes, who pose no threat to our security, and there’s a whole list of prerequisites, we’re not going to exercise our limited resources to try to get rid of those people. I — I still have an impossible time.”

Oh, and Sotomayor was interrupted numerous times by Francisco and her male peers.

Credit: US Supreme Court

A 2017 Northwestern Pritzker School of Law study found that male justices interrupt female justices three times as often as each other during oral arguments. The study also found that conservative justices were twice as likely to interrupt liberal justices than liberal justices were to interrupt their conservative peers. According to Supreme Court transcripts, Justice Sotomayor was interrupted by Justice Neil Gorsuch. The two both awkwardly apologized to each other when Sotomayor graciously told Gorsuch, “No, no, continue.”

When Justice Sotomayor was in the middle of her arguments, General Francisco interrupted her, saying, “So I guess I have three responses, Your Honor.” Sotomayor bluntly said, “All right. But let me just finish my question.” Francisco casually said, “Oh, sure,” to which Sotomayor incredulously asked, “Okay?” “Yeah,” Francisco responded to the Justice.

A decision is expected to be made public by Spring 2020.

READ: Justice Sonia Sotomayor Breaks New Two-Minute Rule By Interrupting Lawyer During Immigration Case

Clinton Makes Transphobic Comments

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Clinton Makes Transphobic Comments

hillaryclinton / Twitter

In her decades-long political career, Hillary Clinton has proven to be slow on the pickup of her understanding of the LGBTQ+ community. Throughout her terms as First Lady, senator, secretary of state and presidential candidate, Clinton has jumped into the tepid waters of political conversation when the tides are low and the political risk factor had waned away.  While Clinton and her husband had at one time actively pursued the gay community in the 90s as an interest group during her husband’s political campaigns, she did little to stand beside the rainbow when it came to bigger civil rights issues such as same-sex marriage.

In a recent interview with the U.K. newspaper The Sunday Times, Clinton proved that her lackluster approach to supporting and understanding the LGBTQ+ community prevails. 

Speaking to the Sunday Times about, Clinton described topics related to the trans community as something she is only “just learning about.”

In her interview with The Sunday Times, a media outlet that has often been slammed for its transphobic coverage and mistreatment of trans employees, Clinton claimed that she has only just learned about the concepts of being trans. 

“Errr,” Hillary said, according to the news piece “I’m just learning about this. It’s a very big generational discussion because this is not something I grew up with or ever saw.” She added, “It’s going to take a lot more time and effort to understand what it means to be defining yourself differently.”

The reporter interviewing Clinton drew upon the former presidential candidate’s response to ask more questions that had pretty leading statements. At one point the interviewer suggested that  “a lot of British feminists of Hillary’s generation have a problem with the idea that a lesbian who doesn’t want to sleep with someone who has a penis is transphobic,” and that these “British feminists” are “uncomfortable with people who are physically male” being in the same spaces as trans women in single-gender spaces.

In response, Clinton said that she “absolutely” felt as if “there is a legitimate concern about women’s lived experience and the importance of recognizing that, and also the importance of recognizing the self-identification [of transgender people]… This is all relatively new. People are still trying to find the language for it. I think in the right mindset this can be understood, but it’s going to take some time.”

She went onto further state she felt as if people need “to be sensitive to how difficult this is. There are women who’d say [to a trans woman], ‘You know what, you’ve never had the kind of life experiences that I’ve had. So I respect who you are, but don’t tell me you’re the same as me.’ I hear that conversation all the time.”

Clinton’s comments closely mirror her responses from last month, in which she said that trans rights are “very big generational discussion.” 

In a recent interview with The View, Clinton described her decision to remain married to Bill Clinton despite his humiliating affair in the 90s as one of the gustiest moves she’d ever made. She later expounded on this saying that other gutsy decisions she’d seen others make included being in interfaith and interracial marriages and raising trans children. “Sometimes when your child has an issue—I had a friend who, a few years ago, called up and said, ‘I don’t know who to talk to about this, but my little girl wants to be a boy. What do I do?'” She recalled. “Several of us—we didn’t know what to do, we’d never had a friend who faced that before—and several of us kind of read everything, talked to people, and gave her advice. And it was really gutsy of her to say, ‘Okay, I’m going to respect the feelings of my child, as hard as it is for me to understand this.’ So, I think when the question was asked personally—everyone faces a moment of decision. And you have to reach deep down inside and decide what’s right for you to do. Hopefully, it’s reached with love and understanding, but it’s gutsy.”

Clinton’s response underlines a misunderstanding about the trans community and parenting. Truly it is a reminder that being accepting of your child and their identity is just the most basic aspect of parenting. 

Now Conservative media outlets have capitalized on Clinton’s comments to justify attacking the trans community. 

This is particularly concerning how easily conservative outlets have spun news stories in their favor and the fact that Clinton continues to espouse transphobic beliefs.

Now Conservative media outlets have capitalized on Clinton’s comments to justify attacking the trans community. 

This is particularly concerning how easily conservative outlets have spun news stories in their favor and the fact that Clinton continues to espouse transphobic beliefs.