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Young American Scholars: Give Them Their $6.25B Already

By Greg Moses

CounterPunch

While small business owners and individual workers are well aware that the first round of fiscal stimulus is not enough to keep them going through the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s college students are just now discovering that they are owed $6.25 billion in federal emergency relief funding to help them cover “food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care.”

When they do the math, of course, 20 million college students will see that the money nobody is rushing to give them will evaporate in a week, just like the small business loans did. Maybe it will be this week, if the Department of Education is finally up to it.

But there may be some value in the foot dragging and delayed disbursement. It may afford college students precious time to rise up.

Students are not friendless. Congress allocated those billions to students already, in the CARES Act of Mar. 27. And while the nation’s attention was drawn to more rapid velocities for small business loans and treasury checks, the American Council on Education (ACE), a coalition of high powered interest groups, in a letter of Apr. 9, already has asked leadership of the US House of Representatives to fund another $23 billion in emergency grants to students “as rapidly as possible.”

Still, students seem to be affected by an iron-lidded contagion of resignation across America’s campuses. The ACE letter to House leadership estimates that 25 percent fewer foreign students will return to American campuses, subtracting their share from an expected 15 percent decline in overall enrollment next Fall.

A Google search of things said by college presidents indicates that austerity, layoff, and furlough are the talking points that address our national campus crisis. If anyone is declaring war against the boring out of college life, they must be working in bunkers darker than the dark web. We would need weapons-grade bots to search out their buried dreams, and rescue them from delete.

If there is a college campus near you, then you see clusters of small businesses nearby, selling pizzas, sandwiches, t-shirts, coffee, tacos, or gas. Oh, and this electronic device that you are reading with right now? Try to tell the complete history of it without giving credit to some college campus.

Fighting off a 15 percent downdraft in college enrollment is not a battle unrelated to a war for economic vibrancy. As for national security or the future of democracy, it is exactly the time for forging swords into ploughshares. More college–not more bullets–must be the essential motto of fiscal planting this Spring. Keep the dedicated, contingent faculty who are already working cheaply. Fund bargain basement discounts for student tuition and fees.

Look to Twitter for what college students are saying, and you’ll find plenty of notice that treasury checks evade them. Perhaps their parents get a check, but even if the student is working at a job, they are often declared a tax dependent, which makes them ineligible for a treasury disbursement.

Or, as one student explained, their father is self-employed, which brings us back to the small business mess. Other students are children of workers who use ITIN numbers, not Social Security numbers. Their parents get laid off without any relief.

How many students are finishing the Spring semester while working to bring home food and rent to parents swallowed up by the pandemic sink hole? Based on stories that I’ve been told, you can say at least two percent, which comes to at least 400,000 families nationally. Those students should get hero’s pay and gold medals, God bless them, one and all.

This crisis should not catch us so stupid as to forget the value of higher ed. Along the many fronts that COVID-19 is attacking, it will be a dumb mistake to let it steal the breath of the Fall semester. Where are the educators who will impress the nation as the health care workers have done?

Time is short, but we must find creative strategies that will transform our college campuses overnight into fundable basic research projects, experimenting in higher forms of life. Give our students their $6.25 billion down payment already, and let’s get scrambling, stat, to make higher ed well again. Like the future depends on it.

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Greg Moses is a member of the Texas Civil Rights Collaborative and editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review.

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For the Record: Condemning President Trump’s Racist Comments

4 Congresswomen at press conference
Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) respond to the President’s racist comments.

Introduced in House (07/15/2019)

116th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. RES. 489

Condemning President Trump’s racist comments directed at Members of Congress.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
July 15, 2019

Mr. Malinowski(for himself, Ms. Jayapal, Mr. Ted Lieu of California, Mr. García of Illinois, Mr. Carbajal, Ms. Omar, Mr. Krishnamoorthi, Ms. Mucarsel-Powell, Mrs. Torres of California, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, Ms. Tlaib, Ms. Pressley, Mr. Raskin, Ms. Jackson Lee, and Mr. Espaillat) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


RESOLUTION

Condemning President Trump’s racist comments directed at Members of Congress.

Whereas the Founders conceived America as a haven of refuge for people fleeing from religious and political persecution, and Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison all emphasized that the Nation gained as it attracted new people in search of freedom and livelihood for their families;

Whereas the Declaration of Independence defined America as a covenant based on equality, the unalienable Rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and government by the consent of the people;

Whereas Benjamin Franklin said at the Constitutional convention, “When foreigners after looking about for some other Country in which they can obtain more happiness, give a preference to ours, it is a proof of attachment which ought to excite our confidence and affection”;

Whereas President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists”;

Whereas immigration of people from all over the Earth has defined every stage of American history and propelled our social, economic, political, scientific, cultural, artistic, and technological progress as a people, and all Americans, except for the descendants of Native people and enslaved African Americans, are immigrants or descendants of immigrants;

Whereas the commitment to immigration and asylum has been not a partisan cause but a powerful national value that has infused the work of many Presidents;

Whereas American patriotism is defined not by race or ethnicity but by devotion to the Constitutional ideals of equality, liberty, inclusion, and democracy and by service to our communities and struggle for the common good;

Whereas President John F. Kennedy, whose family came to the United States from Ireland, stated in his 1958 book “A Nation of Immigrants” that “The contribution of immigrants can be seen in every aspect of our national life. We see it in religion, in politics, in business, in the arts, in education, even in athletics and entertainment. There is no part of our nation that has not been touched by our immigrant background. Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life.”;

Whereas President Ronald Reagan in his last speech as President conveyed “An observation about a country which I love”;

Whereas as President Reagan observed, the torch of Lady Liberty symbolizes our freedom and represents our heritage, the compact with our parents, our grandparents, and our ancestors, and it is the Statue of Liberty and its values that give us our great and special place in the world;

Whereas other countries may seek to compete with us, but in one vital area, as “a beacon of freedom and opportunity that draws the people of the world, no country on Earth comes close”;

Whereas it is the great life force of “each generation of new Americans that guarantees that America’s triumph shall continue unsurpassed” through the 21st century and beyond and is part of the “magical, intoxicating power of America”;

Whereas this is “one of the most important sources of America’s greatness: we lead the world because, unique among nations, we draw our people — our strength — from every country and every corner of the world, and by doing so we continuously renew and enrich our nation”;

Whereas “thanks to each wave of new arrivals to this land of opportunity, we’re a nation forever young, forever bursting with energy and new ideas, and always on the cutting edge”, always leading the world to the next frontier;

Whereas this openness is vital to our future as a Nation, and “if we ever closed the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost”; and

Whereas President Donald Trump’s racist comments have legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) believes that immigrants and their descendants have made America stronger, and that those who take the oath of citizenship are every bit as American as those whose families have lived in the United States for many generations;

(2) is committed to keeping America open to those lawfully seeking refuge and asylum from violence and oppression, and those who are willing to work hard to live the American Dream, no matter their race, ethnicity, faith, or country of origin; and

(3) strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color by saying that our fellow Americans who are immigrants, and those who may look to the President like immigrants, should “go back” to other countries, by referring to immigrants and asylum seekers as “invaders,” and by saying that Members of Congress who are immigrants (or those of our colleagues who are wrongly assumed to be immigrants) do not belong in Congress or in the United States of America.

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Ramsey is Free!

After more than two decades in federal prison, Ramiro “Ramsey” Muñiz was granted a Petition for Compassionate Release on December 10, 2018.

Because of previous drug convictions, Muñiz was among the first to be subjected to the Three Strikes federal law that sent him to prison for life without parole in 1994. Due to his age, poor health, and constant community support, he has finally been released.

Muñiz was an outstanding student, athlete and attorney prior to his legal problems. In the early 70s he advocated for equality, justice and political representation on behalf of Chicanos, Mexican Americans, Hispanics, Latinos, and people of color. At the age of 30, he became one of the youngest candidates to ever run for Governor of Texas. Muñiz was instrumental in bringing positive social change and political representation for Mexican Americans throughout the Southwest, as is evident today. Due to this impact, the government brought multiple felony drug charges against him.

Dr. Andres G. Guerrero, Jr., author and graduate of Harvard Divinity School, has announced Freedom, Justice, and Love, his newest book about Ramsey Muñiz. He describes Muñiz’s life and the circumstances which led to this accomplished man serving a sentence of life without parole. Muñiz experienced pain, suffering, and illness which he continues to battle to this day.

Family members, congressmen, and supporters are grateful to God for his long-awaited release. For more information visit www.freeramsey.com.

[source: email from Ruben Botello, Esq., Mar. 11, 2019]
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Texas Placed “Undue Burdens” on Women’s Right to Choose

Following are excerpts from the Syllabus of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling today in WHOLE WOMAN’S HEALTH v HELLERSTEDT. Some paragraph breaks have been added for readability:

In 2013, the Texas Legislature enacted House Bill 2 (H. B. 2), which contains the two provisions challenged here. The “admitting- privileges requirement” provides that a “physician performing or inducing an abortion . . . must, on the date [of service], have active admitting privileges at a hospital . . . located not further than 30 miles from the” abortion facility. The “surgical-center requirement” re- quires an “abortion facility” to me et the “minimum standards . . . for ambulatory surgical centers” under Texas law.

. . .

(b) The record contains adequate legal and factual support for the District Court’s conclusion that the admitting-privileges requirement imposes an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to choose. The requirement’s purpose is to help ensure that women have easy access to a hospital should complications arise during an abortion procedure, but the District Court, relying on evidence showing extremely low rates of serious complications before H. B. 2’s passage, found no significant health-related problem for the new law to cure.

The State’s record evidence, in contrast, does not show how the new law advanced the State’s legitimate interest in protecting women’s health when compared to the prior law, wh ich required providers to have a “working arrangement” with doctors who had admitting privileges.

At the same time, the record evidence indicates that the requirement places a “substantial obstacle” in a woman’s path to abortion. The dramatic drop in the number of c linics means fewer doctors, longer waiting times, and increased crowding. It also means a significant increase in the distance women of reproductive age live from an abor- tion clinic. Increased driving distances do not always constitute an “undue burden,” but they are an additional burden, which, when taken together with others caused by the closings, and when viewed in light of the virtual absence of any health benefit, help support the District Court’s “undue burden” conclusion.

(c) The surgical-center requirement also provides few, if any, health benefits for women, poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions, and constitutes an “undue burden” on their constitutional right to do so. Before this requirement was enacted, Texas law required abortion facilities to meet a host of health and safety requirements that were policed by inspections and enforced through administrative, civil, and criminal penalties.

Record evidence shows that the new provision imposes a number of additional requirements that are generally unnecessary in the abortion clinic context; that it provides no benefit when complications arise in the context of a medical abortion, which would generally occur after a patient has left the facility; that abortions taking place in abortion facilities are safer than common procedures that occur in outside clinics not subject to Texas’ surgical-center requirements; and that Texas has waived no part of the requirement for any abortion clinics as it has done for nearly two-thirds of other covered facilities.

This evidence, along with the absence of any contrary evidence, supports the District Court’s conclusions, including its ultimate legal conclusion that requirement is not necessary. At the same time, the record provides adequate evidentiary support for the District Court’s conclusion that the requirement places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking an abortion. The court found that it “strained credulity” to think that the seven or eight abortion facilities would be able to meet the demand.

The Fifth Circuit discounted expert witness Dr. Grossman’s testimony that the surgical-center requirement would cause the number of abortions performed by each remaining clinic to increase by a factor of about 5. But an expert may testify in the “form of an opinion” as long as that opinion rests upon “sufficient facts or data” and “reliable principles and methods.” Fed. Rule Evid. 702. Here, Dr. Grossman’s opinion rested upon his participation, together with other university researchers, in research tracking the number of facilities providing abortion services, using information from, among other things, the state health services department and other public sources. The District Court acted wi thin its legal authority in finding his testimony admissible.

Common sense also suggests that a physical facility that satisfies a certain physical demand will generally be unable to meet five times that demand without expanding physically or otherwise incurring significant costs. And Texas presented no evidence at trial suggesting that expansion was possible. Finally, the District Court’s finding that a currently licensed abortion facility would have to incur considerable costs to meet the surgical-center requirements supports the conclusion that more surgical centers will not soon fill the gap left by closed facilities.

Also see Justice Ginsburg’s concurring opinion:

” . . . it is beyond rational belief that H. B. 2 could genuinely protect the health of women, and certain that the law ‘would simply make it more difficult for them to obtain abortions.'”

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Austin, Texas Immigrants Demand Moratorium on Deportations as Supreme Court Fails to End Partisan Attack on DAPA

(AUSTIN, Texas) — In response to the Supreme Court decision in Texas vs US, the case of 26 Republican governors suing to block the deferred action programs announced in November 2014, immigrant communities in Austin are calling on local leaders here to go as far as possible to end deportations in Austin and Travis County. They join immigrant communities around the U.S. in calling for President Obama and DHS to take further action to stop deportations and for his potential successors to take up their call.

With the news of the ruling, the ICE out of Austin campaign reaffirmed its call for the separation of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Austin Police Department. APD does not have official policies preventing officers from asking people about their immigration status and for several years Travis County had one of the highest rates of deportations in all of the United States.

Local politicians can take action to separate themselves from this disappointing Supreme Court ruling and the administration’s shameful lack of action on deportations. Many politicians have shown support to the immigrant community be saying they support DAPA/DACA yet have not acted locally. “What good is it now that local politicians have shown support for DAPA/DACA knowing that their local support would not affect the final decision?” says Carmen Zuvieta from the ICE out Campaign. “If they want to show actual support they need to do everything in their power to stop the deportations here locally. We need our politicians to take a practical step forward to end deportations locally and not just support in a politically convenient way”

With local police collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) continuing, the Travis County Sheriff’s department continuing to participate in Priority Enforcement program, as well as the spectre of a possible Trump Presidency, national groups are saying it would be reckless for President Obama to pass the current immigration system onto the next President whoever that will be without taking major steps to halt deportations and address abuse.

“Today, Austin and Travis County residents are more angry than fearful. We are tired of waiting to have justice in this country, we are tired of being used as political pawns. We are joining the national call on the President and his potential successor to stop the deportations. He needs to take real action towards immigration before he leaves office or his legacy will be forever be as Deporter-in-Chief,,” said Alejandro Caceres, manager of the ICE out of Austin campaign.

As part of the #Not1More campaign, ICE out of Austin has launched a petition to the President available at https://action.mijente.net/petitions/no-dapa-no-deportations.

Marisa Franco, #Not1More campaign director, reacted, “The way to keep communities from living in fear is to put a freeze on deportations. It doesn’t take a new program for the President to direct his agents to investigate civil rights violations as vigorously as it currently hunts our loved ones. With the courts also taken over by the party politics that have ruled the immigration issue for more than a decade, President Obama has a responsibility to pursue alternatives to make his policies more humane.”

“It is never enough to divide our community into those who deserve relief and those who don’t,” explains Tania Unzueta, Legal and Policy Director for #Not1More. “Under President Obama we have witnessed the creation of a parallel mass incarceration system strictly for immigrants. The relief offered by expanding deferred action is desperately needed and entirely constitutional. But even with DAPA, only a fraction of us would be protected. With it now blocked, many more of us still face the threat of the deportation machine that it is incumbent on President Obama to begin to dismantle.”

Source: http://grassrootsleadership.org/releases/2016/06/austin-immigrants-demand-moratorium-deportations-supreme-court-fails-end-partisan