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The Dreamers' future in the US is endangered after judge's decision

The Dreamers' future in the US is endangered after judge's decision

Posted: Jul 19, 2021 7:31 AM
Updated: Jul 19, 2021 7:31 AM

When federal Judge Andrew Hanen ruled Friday that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is unconstitutional, he threw into doubt the future of the Obama-era initiative that protects from deportation undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children. The future of DACA now rests with federal courts of appeals, and the legal landscape isn't promising for the program's survival -- unless Congress steps in to rescue it.

If DACA -- created through executive action by then-President Barack Obama in 2012 -- does fall, the result will be potentially catastrophic for hundreds of thousands of innocent young beneficiaries, commonly referred to as "Dreamers." DACA protects an estimated 700,000 undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States before age 16.

Without DACA's protections, these young people will be subject to deportation, even if they have committed no crime and done nothing wrong. Even former President Donald Trump -- whose administration sought to repeal DACA, unsuccessfully -- has described those protected by DACA as "good, educated and accomplished young people."

Just last year, DACA survived an existential legal challenge when the Supreme Court, by a five to four majority, rejected the Trump administration's effort to repeal the Obama-era executive action that created the program. The Court ruled that, while one president generally has broad authority to modify or repeal the executive actions of a prior president, such action still must comply with certain administrative procedures. The Court found the Trump administration failed to follow these guidelines because it never offered a "reasoned explanation for its action."

But the 2020 Supreme Court opinion should provide little comfort to those who rely on DACA's protections. First, last week's ruling must go through the intermediate Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is one of the country's most conservative (arguably the most conservative) federal courts of appeals. If the Fifth Circuit upholds last week's decision to strike down DACA and the Supreme Court declines to hear the case -- and the Court declines to hear far more cases than it accepts -- then DACA is a goner.

Second, the 2020 case presented a different legal issue. That case involved the authority of one president to un-do a predecessor's executive action, while the new case involves the underlying constitutionality of DACA itself; Judge Hanen ruled that DACA is unconstitutional because it was created by executive action rather than legislation.

Third, since the 2020 opinion that (barely) upheld DACA, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has passed, and has been replaced by Justice Amy Coney Barrett. In the 2020 decision, Ginsburg sided with the other three liberal justices plus Chief Justice John Roberts; if Barrett sticks with her conservative colleagues on the bench, last year's 5-4 win for DACA would become a 5-4 loss.

But all is not lost for DACA, yet. Congress has the power to step in and save the program by passing legislation encoding it as federal law. President Joe Biden called Friday's decision "deeply disappointing," and Biden's fellow Democrats hold majorities in both the Senate and the House. But the real question is whether the Democrats are willing to take action to match their party's rhetoric. It's one thing to decry the potential end of DACA in press clippings, but another to exercise the political will necessary to save it. It's unclear whether the Democrats are willing to act, up to and including potentially limiting or ending the filibuster, which would require at least 60 votes -- all 50 Democrats plus at least 10 Republicans -- to pass legislation.

Now, your questions:

Fran (Arizona): Can DOJ step in and put an end to the so-called "audit" of Arizona ballots cast in the 2020 election?

The Justice Department has notified Arizona authorities that it is aware of the purported "audit," and that it will monitor for potential violations of federal law. Specifically, DOJ warned Arizona officials about potential voter intimidation and suppression, and about potential violations of federal law requiring state and local officials to maintain custody of ballots for 22 months following an election. To date, the dispute has not come to a head, but, if necessary, the Justice Department could go to court seeking to limit or shut down the ongoing Arizona "audit."

Alberto (Florida): If prosecutors can't get anyone inside the Trump Organization to cooperate, can they still bring charges against Donald Trump?

I'm skeptical about whether New York prosecutors can develop sufficient evidence to charge former President Trump without cooperation from Trump Organization insiders. Thus far, prosecutors' efforts to flip longtime Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg and Chief Operating Officer Matthew Calamari have not succeeded. That could change; I've seen plenty of people cooperate later in the process, particularly after being charged or convicted. But at the moment, it appears prosecutors do not have cooperation from these insiders.

Keep in mind that it is not enough for prosecutors to argue that a fraud occurred within the Trump Organization, hence the bosses must be liable. That might be logical, and it might even be true, but prosecutors must be able to prove specifically and beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual knew of and participated in a criminal scheme.

Unless prosecutors have smoking-gun evidence that we don't currently know about -- an incriminating email or text or recording for example -- then they'll need a well-positioned cooperator to supply the necessary proof.

The-CNN-Wire
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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 941120

Reported Deaths: 15315
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1282511983
Lake633041097
Allen53609758
Hamilton43827447
St. Joseph41906590
Elkhart33545490
Vanderburgh30383448
Tippecanoe26820249
Johnson23609417
Hendricks22250341
Porter21737346
Clark17409229
Madison17366384
Vigo16108281
Monroe14466191
LaPorte14311239
Delaware14070221
Howard13865272
Kosciusko11418135
Hancock10841165
Warrick10674177
Bartholomew10542168
Floyd10430205
Wayne9959226
Grant9130204
Morgan8865160
Boone8389111
Dubois7710123
Dearborn762289
Henry7608130
Noble7413101
Marshall7362128
Cass7176117
Lawrence6957153
Shelby6584111
Jackson656785
Gibson6156107
Harrison603786
Huntington600195
Montgomery5805105
DeKalb574291
Knox5494104
Miami542488
Putnam536768
Clinton533665
Whitley524953
Steuben497268
Wabash483592
Jasper479160
Jefferson470092
Ripley454277
Adams444068
Daviess4169108
Scott405865
White391857
Clay390857
Greene388392
Decatur385296
Wells384983
Fayette374278
Posey359941
Jennings353156
Washington332047
LaGrange321375
Spencer317835
Fountain316555
Randolph312888
Sullivan307449
Owen283863
Starke280064
Fulton277553
Orange275859
Jay254837
Perry251652
Carroll243729
Franklin239338
Rush234130
Vermillion233250
Parke219820
Tipton209655
Pike207639
Blackford168334
Pulaski163551
Crawford146018
Newton144345
Benton142516
Brown135346
Martin128217
Switzerland125810
Warren114616
Union96911
Ohio79711
Unassigned0479

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1365800

Reported Deaths: 21596
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1522221560
Cuyahoga1344852327
Hamilton976051320
Montgomery670271141
Summit562091047
Lucas50900863
Butler47417655
Stark41580976
Lorain31567532
Warren30001331
Mahoning26963639
Clermont25628292
Lake24585417
Delaware22313145
Licking20487241
Fairfield20420221
Greene20309272
Trumbull19866509
Medina19796287
Clark17879328
Richland16314234
Portage16130229
Wood15681208
Allen14115256
Miami13786253
Muskingum12641152
Wayne11946238
Columbiana11708241
Tuscarawas10953269
Marion10725148
Pickaway10465129
Scioto10324127
Erie9747171
Ross9436176
Lawrence8755125
Hancock8458141
Ashtabula8317185
Geauga8173156
Belmont8140187
Jefferson7527172
Huron7423128
Union731851
Washington7183120
Athens697165
Sandusky6848134
Darke6756136
Knox6671122
Seneca6358137
Ashland5948113
Auglaize587188
Shelby5727101
Brown564171
Mercer557890
Defiance5483101
Madison543371
Crawford5425114
Highland541581
Fulton530683
Clinton525580
Logan512182
Preble4994110
Putnam4833106
Guernsey470364
Williams459282
Perry449852
Champaign445964
Ottawa436884
Jackson425362
Pike388843
Morrow383851
Fayette375853
Coshocton374766
Adams360675
Hardin359069
Gallia347356
Holmes3259108
Henry324668
Van Wert314670
Hocking301769
Wyandot280658
Carroll262652
Paulding242243
Meigs213942
Monroe189749
Noble169340
Morgan165829
Harrison157940
Vinton138118
Unassigned05
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