Things That Matter

Texas Is Leading The Charge To Overturn DACA And This Man Is Behind The Fight

The state of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is currently in limbo, as it has been since Donald Trump became president. The Democrats are fighting to keep the program that protects young undocumented people from being deported, while the Republicans are putting up their own fight to end it. In the end, however, it’s not going to be up to either party. The U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately decide in October the fate of the program and the estimated 800,000 people that are currently enrolled. There is one man that is fighting DACA tooth and nail and has been doing so for years. 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is one of the fiercest critics of DACA and he just filed an amicus brief on behalf of Texas, and 12 other states. 

Credit: @TXAG / Twitter

An amicus brief is a legal document that is “filed in appellate court cases by non-litigants with a strong interest in the subject matter,” and Paxton has a robust interest in the matter. The other heads of state that signed the legal document include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Mississippi.

“The DACA program was a lawless exercise of executive power, and the Trump administration’s decision to rescind DACA was absolutely necessary to uphold the rule of law,” Paxton said in a statement. “By creating DACA and DAPA, the Obama administration attempted to bypass Congress and unilaterally amend our immigration laws. The president’s duty is to ensure that the law is faithfully executed, not to unilaterally re-write the law anytime the president disagrees with Congress’ decision.”

The fight against DACA has been Paxton’s most significant battle since 2017.

Credit: @SenatorDurbin / Twitter

He alleges that that DACA “puts undue financial strain on states. Under DACA, states bear the cost of providing social services including healthcare, education, and law enforcement, to non-citizens. Texas alone incurs more than $250,000,000 in total direct costs from DACA recipients each year.”

He’s actually wrong about that. DACA recipients, many of which that are highly paid professionals, contribute billions to the United States, which is why most Americans want the program to remain as is

Several appeals courts have already ruled that DACA must remain in place. They stated that the president can make some changes but cannot end it altogether. 

Credit: @statesman / Twitter

In November 2018, a Court of Appeals in the Ninth Circuit ruled “the cruelty and wastefulness of deporting productive young people to countries with which they have no ties.”

That is why the case has been turned over the Supreme Court. The highest court can also hear from both advocates and opponents, and try to settle this matter out of court. However, because the House and Senate are so divided, no conclusion has been met. 

“We will continue to fight tirelessly to protect these outstanding young men and women as we work to ensure America remains a nation of hope, freedom, and opportunity for all,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement after the court’s announcement this summer, according to the New York Times

Paxton is eager to win this fight, despite not hearing from his own party, including people that voted for him.  

Credit: @TheToddSchulte / Twitter

Republican voters have told him to end this battle because it’s not worth it. In 2017, Norman E. Adams, Co-founder of the Texans for Sensible Immigration Policy, and a conservative voter sent Paxton an open letter, in which he stated: 

Dear Mr. Paxton, 

First of all, I want you to know that my wife and I contributed to your campaign and voted for you. We did the same for President Trump, and we are proud of what he has done. We are not as happy with what you are doing. General Paxton, your threat of a lawsuit to overturn DACA is a big mistake. Instead of opposing DACA, Texas should follow President Trump’s lead on the 800,000 so-called “dreamers.” Evidently, you have been convinced that opposing DACA is good for you politically. We did not elect you to practice politics. We elected you to use good judgment and to make sound decisions that benefit Texans.

Paxton can fight all he wants but he should know that DACA supporters (both Democrat and Republican) will fight for DREAMers as well. And, since he is DACA’s loudest critic he doesn’t have much a chance to win anyway. 

READ: Experts Are Warning The U.S. Supreme Court About The Economic Impacts Of Rescinding DACA Protections

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Here Are The Executive Actions That President Biden Is Signing His First Day In Office

Things That Matter

Here Are The Executive Actions That President Biden Is Signing His First Day In Office

Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool / Getty Images

President Joe Biden has a lot of work ahead of him and he is hitting the ground running. On his first day in office, President Biden has a series of executive actions he is signing to reverse a lot of the damage created by the Trump administration. Here are some of the things President Biden will do with these actions.

The border wall on the southern border is done, y’all.

President Biden is saving the taxpayers billions of dollars by halting the construction of President Trump’s border wall. The border wall is one of former President Trump’s several unfulfilled promises at the expense of the taxpayers.

Despite his unrelenting campaign, Mexico never paid a dime to the wall. President Biden’s action to halt the border wall is a humanitarian and conservationist move that will save billions of tax dollars. According to estimates, there would be $3.3 billion in unused funds in the projects accounts.

The emotionally devastating Muslim ban will finally come to an end.

Former President Trump famously put an end to travel from predominantly Muslim countries. The order arbitrarily excluded a group of people based on their religion. The order that has kept families apart for years is finally coming to an end thanks to President Biden.

President Biden’s ation will bring families together and safeguards the rights of religious freedom. The ban has kept spouses separated, children apart from parents, and caused real damage. There is more to be done to make up for the stain on American history and the action is the first step.

The Keystone XL Pipeline is toast.

We all remember the terrifying scenes of Native people being brutalized by federal officials under Trump’s command. President Biden will make sure that the permit for the pipeline is revoked and put an end to a project that has been devastating the Native community. Activists have been fighting for years to get this done.

Undocumented people will have to be included in census counts.

President Biden is getting rid of the Trump administration’s terrible policy of ignoring undocumented people in the census. There have been several arguments by officials that the move would work to undermine certain states. The policy would take federal money away from states that did not support the former president and have high undocumented populations.

President Biden is going to preserve DACA.

More than 600,000 people benefit from the Obama-era program. Former President Trump waged a war against DACA and Dreamers for political points. Most Americans support DACA and a pathway to citizenship for DACA beneficiaries. With the new executive action, President Biden will instruct the federal government to restore the program to its fullest.

There is still a lawsuit the Biden administration will have to fight. The lawsuit challenging DACA’s legality was filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

In total, President Biden will sign 17 executive actions that will roll back several issues created by the previous administration.

“Today, hours after taking the oath of office, President-elect Biden will take a historic number of actions to deliver immediate relief for families across America that are struggling in the face of converging crises. He will sign a combination of executive orders, memoranda, directives, and letters to take initial steps to address these crises, including by changing the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing economic relief, tackling climate change, and advancing racial equity,” reads a statement from the Biden-Harris Transition Team. “President-elect Biden will take action — not just to reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration — but also to start moving our country forward. These actions are bold, begin the work of following through on President-elect Biden’s promises to the American people, and, importantly, fall within the constitutional role for the president.”

READ: President Joe Biden’s And Vice President Kamala Harris’ Inauguration Represented America

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A Latina Firefighter in Boston Says the Department Retaliated Against Her When She Reported That She Was Sexually Assaulted by a Colleague

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A Latina Firefighter in Boston Says the Department Retaliated Against Her When She Reported That She Was Sexually Assaulted by a Colleague

Credit: Screenshot via CBS/WBZ

A former female firefighter was just given a settlement of $3.2 million by the city of Boston for what she characterized as a culture of sexual harassment, shaming, and silencing. Nathalie Fontanez says she was retaliated against by the Boston Fire Department for reporting a sexual assault she experienced at the hands of a colleague.

In 2018, Fontanez says she was sexually assaulted by fellow firefighter David Sanchez.

It all began when Fontanez joined the Boston Fire Department in 2011. The department was looking to hire fluent Spanish speakers, and Fontanez considered the opportunity a “golden ticket”. It was an opportunity for her, a single mom, to provide for her daughter without the assistance of welfare. And, she could prove to her daughter that women can do anything.

But Fontanez’s dream soon turned into a nightmare. After joining the department, she faced an inordinate amount of hazing and harassment because she was a woman and a Latina.

“I’m not a veteran. I’m not a man. I’m a Latin woman. If there was a totem pole, I was at the very bottom,” she explained. “I felt that I had to tolerate anything that came my way, because I was lucky to be there,” she said.

Per Fontanez, the incidents escalated until the day in question when she was assaulted at the firehouse by Sanchez.

After reporting the incident to her superiors, she says that her colleagues turned on her.

In a recent press conference, Fontanez explained the experience in more detail. “Incidents began to escalate and I was then shamed and labeled a trouble-maker,” she said. “The guys that I once relied on for my life’s safety now turned against me.”

While Sanchez was convicted of assault and battery and sentenced to two years of probation, Fontanez says that she was harassed and isolated by her station mates. According to her, the retaliation also included being denied a promotion and being ignored at social events.

“I was often reminded by some of my colleagues that I had taken a job from a man who could have been providing for his family, even though I was a single parent providing for mine,” she said.

Last month, the city settled with Fontanez for $3.2 million. But Fontanez says it’s not about the money–it’s about changing the toxic culture of firehouses. 

“I’m breaking my silence because I believe that women firefighters deserve equal treatment in the Boston Fire Department,” Fontanez said during the news conference. “However, at this point that is the dream, but not the reality, for many women firefighters. The department is overdue for change, and the time for change is now.”

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