politics

Senator Warren Speaks On The Removal Of DACA, Making Her Statement Personal With These Three Stories

CREDIT: SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN / YOUTUBE

“We can and we must pass the Dream Act now.”

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren recently spoke about the removal of DACA and emphasized that Congress now has the chance to grant DACA recipients permanent legal status via The Dream Act of 2017. “Donald Trump promised to be on the side of working people,” recalled Warren, pointing out that he is now “doing the exact opposite of what he told the American people he would do.” Senator Warren presented a timeline of the events that have occurred since the start of Trump’s presidency, beginning with the month of November, when “Trump named Jeff Sessions, a man considered too racist to be a federal judge, to be our nation’s attorney general.” Senator Warren moved on to January, “Trump rolled out an unconstitutional Muslim ban,” and then August, “Trump used his first presidential pardon to shield a racist former sheriff who broke the law.” And of course, in September, Trump decided to end DACA.

As a way to shed light on the importance of passing The Dream Act, Senator Warren introduced three DACA recipients from Massachusetts and told their stories. Senator Warren asked, “What does DACA mean to you?” This is what they responded:

Reina Guevara: came to the U.S. at 11 years old.

CREDIT: SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN / YOUTUBE

Before DACA, Reina used to work “up to 70 hours a week in a restaurant for a boss who sexually harassed her,” Warren stated. Because of her status as an undocumented immigrant, Reina was afraid to speak out about the issue. However, all of this changed once DACA was implemented.

This is what DACA means to Reina:

“DACA means to me the opportunity to be the first in my family to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree. To work without the fear of being humiliated and exploited because of my status.”

Bruno Villegas McCubbin: came to the U.S. at 6 years old.

CREDIT: SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN / YOUTUBE

After being attacked by armed robbers in Peru, Bruno’s family decided to move to the U.S. to live in a safer environment. With DACA, Bruno excelled in high school, graduating second in his class, and is now a college student at Harvard University.

This is what DACA means to Bruno:

“It means the opportunity for many of us to work here legally and to achieve the American Dream that this country still boasts. So that we can then give back to our families that have sacrificed so much for us, and to the country that helped form us into what we are today.”

Elias Rosenfeld: came to the U.S. at 6 years old.

CREDIT: SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN / YOUTUBE

After being held at gunpoint in Venezuela, Elias’s mom made the decision to move to the U.S. for the safety of her family. Even though Elias later lost his mom at 11 years old and had no documentation after her passing, with DACA, all of that changed. As a DACA recipient, Elias excelled in high school, taking a total of 13 Advanced Placement courses and eventually earning a scholarship to attend Brandice University.

When Senator Warren asked Elias what DACA meant to him, he responded:

“It’s been a source of optimism and a light of protection. For years, before DACA arrived, I would sleep in bed at night with a constant fear of deportation, imagining in my head the visual of ICE breaking through my door to deport myself or my sister. When DACA came, the fear stopped.”

After touching on these three personal stories, Senator Elizabeth concluded her speech by stating, “We have the chance right here in Congress to take an important step toward building a stronger, more vibrant America.”


READ: We Spoke To Some DACA Recipients About Their Uncertain Future. Here’s What They Said


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After Denying It, HUD Declares Federal Housing Administration Is No Longer Helping DACA Recipients With Housing Loans

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After Denying It, HUD Declares Federal Housing Administration Is No Longer Helping DACA Recipients With Housing Loans

In a blow to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says young undocumented immigrants will be ineligible for federally backed housing loans. The news comes after months of confusion about the policy for immigrants who were brought here as children. Back in April, Secretary of HUD, Ben Carson denied this at a congressional testimony but a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) official said last week DACA recipients are indeed not eligible for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans are intended to make homeownership more attainable for those with lower credit scores and incomes.

Credit:@hispaniccaucus/Twitter

“Because DACA does not confer lawful status, DACA recipients remain ineligible for FHA loans,” Len Wolfson, a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) official, wrote in a letter to California Democratic Rep. Pete Aguilar last Tuesday. “Determination of citizenship and immigration status is not the responsibility of HUD, and the Department relies on other government agencies for this information.”

The latest declaration is a reversal from HUD’s previous statements to questions about whether FHA is backing mortgages for DACA recipients. The Trump administration has been trying to rescind the Obama era policy but has been blocked by a federal judge from doing so.

“I’m sure we have plenty of DACA recipients who have FHA mortgages,” Carson said at a congressional hearing in April. “I would simply say that I have instructed everyone to follow the laws of the United States with regard to DACA, with regard to anyone who is an immigrant or a potential immigrant to this country, and as long as you continue to follow the laws you will have my approval.

In the letter, Wolfson put the blame on the Obama administration for the policy and its regulations. He references former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s letter from 2012 that DACA “confers no substantive right, immigration status or pathway to citizenship” for recipients.

Even after Carson said that “plenty of DACA recipients” were receiving FHA-backed loans, lenders were being told to do the exact opposite.

Credit:@buzzfeednews/Twitter

According to Buzzfeed News, After Carson denied the notion that DACA recipients weren’t being approved for FHA loans, many reported that they were still being denied help.

“The explanation we received from HUD is inconsistent with the realities on the ground and statements made by Secretary Carson to members of the Appropriations Committee, and it does nothing to clarify the confusion created by the agency’s inconsistent policies,” Aguilar said in a statement to BuzzFeed News last Thursday.

The FHA has never stated that receiving a loan means requiring citizenship or lawful status.

Credit:@senjackyrosen

DACA recipients had previously never faced problems when applying for federally-backed housing assistance. FHA has also never had a clear policy that pertains to DACA recipients. According to the FHA’s single-family housing handbook, a housing guide the agency refers lenders to, notes that an Employment Authorization Document, which DACA recipients possess, is necessary “to substantiate work status” for noncitizens and qualifies them for such loans.

Under the Obama administration, HUD was supporting DACA borrowers under these circumstances. Yet the Trump administration has clearly enforced these guidelines differently.

“We know that DACA recipients have received these loans in the past, and it’s shameful that HUD is allowing the president’s anti-immigrant agenda to dictate housing policy,” Aguilar told Buzzfeed News.

This news comes out as the House Financial Services Committee last Wednesday passed a bill, Homeownership for DREAMers Act, that guarantees DACA recipients have the right to obtain federally backed mortgages.

This means recipients also can not be denied based on their immigration status. The bill is set to go to the House floor for approval, but many believe it’s unlikely the bill will pass the Republican-held Senate or be signed into law by the president.

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

Charges Against Disgraced Parkland Officer And New Florida Law Raises Questions for Teachers

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Charges Against Disgraced Parkland Officer And New Florida Law Raises Questions for Teachers

@libertynation\ Twitter

The arrest of Scot Peterson, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sheriff’s deputy who heard shots fired inside the school and hid outside is raising some troubling questions for teachers.

Labeled a coward cop by many, Peterson has been charged with eleven counts of child negligence, culpable negligence, and perjury for his inaction and lies he made about his role while under oath.

Armed and tasked with providing security for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Peterson can be seen hiding in video footage during the Parkland shooting. Many parents of slain children, such Manuel and Patricia Oliver, believe that Peterson should have risked his life and entered the school and do whatever he could to stop the shooter, Nikolas Cruz on February 14, 2018.

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The aftermath of the shooting has resulted in an uprising of teen activism, the arrest of Peterson, and changes in the law.

One such law passed in Florida last month, allows teachers to carry firearms.

The law has raised many questions and much controversy, such as concerns about racism and implicit bias that many fear could result in the shooting of black students. The charges against Scot Peterson and the passage of the gun law that allows teachers to be armed in classrooms has raised questions about the responsibility of those teachers who might choose to arm themselves at school. The Florida Education Association, Florida’s teachers’ union, is particularly concerned because they fear that Peterson’s arrest, could set precedence for holding armed teachers accountable for injuries or death of students on their watch, should they choose not to use their weapon to subdue a school shooter. Tort law speaks very specifically about negligence which the teacher association fears teachers, like Peterson, could be charged with under the new law: “Negligence is the unintentional failure to live up to the community’s ideal of reasonable care, having nothing to do with moral care. An individual who has behaved negligently is one who has not lived up to a certain imputed duty or obligation to conform to a certain standard of conduct for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm.”

While many believe that Peterson’s case is an anomaly and won’t set precedence, in August of 2018 the Florida Department of Education made an amendment to its insurance policy that makes it clear that armed teachers will not be covered for claims involving “armed instructional personnel while acting in the scope of their activities for the educational institution.”  And while state lawmakers have responded to the Parkland shooting by allowing more guns in public places, in this case schools, the Florida department of education has protected itself itself from lawsuits brought by parents or relatives of those who could be injured as a result of an armed teacher.

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When a state passes a law that encourages teachers to arm themselves to protect children in the classroom from school shooters, presumably other children, many other questions should be raised?

Is the hero teacher narrative at play? Is it fair to encourage teachers, trained to educate America’s children, to arm themselves and protect them or face neglect charges when they don’t or couldn’t?

Shouldn’t we be focused on common sense gun laws? Does it make sense to allow firearms in school?

When it comes to both a rallying cry for common sense gun laws and charges of negligence against Scot Peterson, many on Twitter are asking some of these questions and more.

TruthBeTold wants to know why the federal government isn’t being held responsible for not enacting strict gun laws and asks “What about Congress” What about the president? Didn’t they also fail to protect those children?”

12yearlagavulin and jon-e-lingo point out the irony of laws that protect police offers who shoot unarmed men but convict of negligence. Jonelingo points out how unlikely it would have been for Peterson to face jail time had he actually shot someone rather doing what he did which was not shoot.

Many on Twitter called Peterson a coward for not doing his job or being willing to “put his life on the line. Others, like Junebug, believe he’s being unfairly scapegoated.

Twitter user @LopezMaddox made a donut joke about the Broward cop to make about about Peterson’s lack of action.

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