fresh voices from the front lines of change








Liz Watson

This Fourth Of July, We Need To Talk About Family Separation

My family – like many of yours – is preparing for a holiday weekend spent celebrating our nation’s birthday with friends. The awful truth is that while we’re celebrating, thousands of migrant children will be huddling under aluminum blankets on concrete floors, separated from their parents. The Fourth of July is supposed to be a celebration of our nation’s highest ideals: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That’s why this holiday weekend, I’m urging my friends and family to bear witness to the family separation at our border which is so antithetical to our American values. I’m grateful to People’s Action and the dozens of other groups who are stepping up at this crucial moment. Join a vigil among the hundreds planned on July 12th or start your own, volunteer at a local organization or donate to a refugee assistance organization such as HIAS or the International Rescue Committee, and talk to your friends, families and neighbors about how to get involved. Children and families are counting on us. Don’t fall silent. Don’t look away. We’ve got work to do.

Liz Watson is executive director of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Center.

Judge Blocks DOJ's Bid To Hold Asylum Seekers Indefinitely

Federal judge blocks Barr’s attempt to deny asylum seekers bail. NYT: "A federal judge in Seattle on Tuesday blocked an order by Attorney General William P. Barr that would have kept thousands of migrants detained indefinitely while waiting for their asylum cases to be decided. Judge Marsha J. Pechman of United States District Court for the Western District of Washington described the order, which would have denied some migrants a bail hearing, as unconstitutional. Under a preliminary injunction, Judge Pechman said migrants must be granted a bond hearing within seven days of a request or be released if they have not received a hearing in that time. 'The court finds that plaintiffs have established a constitutionally protected interest in their liberty, a right to due process, which includes a hearing before a neutral decision maker to assess the necessity of their detention and a likelihood of success on the merits of that issue,' Judge Pechman wrote."

DHS IG Calls Overcrowded Migrant Jails 'Ticking Time Bomb'

Overcrowded Migrant Centers 'A Ticking Time Bomb'. VOA: "A new report by the Homeland Security Inspector General describes appalling conditions and wretched overcrowding at migrant detention centers in Texas with a top manager at one of the facilities saying he fears for the security of his staff, calling the situation a 'ticking time bomb.' The report released Tuesday includes numerous pictures of people behind cages lying on bare cement floors with nothing to do, men in a room with standing room only, men and women wearing surgical masks appearing to be reaching out to the photographers for attention. The inspector general called on the DHS to 'take immediate steps to alleviate dangerous overcrowding and prolonged detention of children and adults in the Rio Grande Valley.'"

Citizenship Question Dropped From Census

Trump administration drops citizenship question from 2020 census. The Hill: "The Trump administration said Tuesday it was dropping a citizenship question from the 2020 census, days after the Supreme Court ruled against the question’s inclusion. President Trump had initially said that he wanted to delay the decennial census as his administration continued to push for the question to be included in the 2020 survey. But that effort appears to be over, after a Justice Department lawyer said the decision was made to start printing census materials without the question included. 'We can confirm that the decision has been made to print the 2020 Decennial Census questionnaire without a citizenship question, and that the printer has been instructed to begin the printing process,' DOJ attorney Kate Bailey wrote in an email sent to groups challenging the question, a copy of which was obtained by The Hill."

Trump Wants Tanks In Streets Of DC

Park Service diverts $2.5 million in fees for Trump’s July Fourth extravaganza. WaPo: "The National Park Service is diverting nearly $2.5 million in entrance and recreation fees primarily intended to improve parks across the country to cover costs associated with President Trump’s Independence Day celebration Thursday on the Mall, according to two individuals familiar with the arrangement. For Trump’s planned speech at the Lincoln Memorial, the White House is distributing VIP tickets to Republican donors and political appointees, prompting objections from Democratic lawmakers who argue that the president has turned the annual celebration into a campaign-like event. Two Abrams tanks, two Bradley Fighting Vehicles and an M88 recovery vehicle sat on train tracks in Southeast Washington on Tuesday, destined for the Mall. Administration officials were finalizing aspects of Thursday’s schedule, according to a senior White House official, including a plan to have one of the planes in Air Force One’s fleet zoom overhead as Trump takes the stage."

Trump Rallies While Mueller Testifies

Trump plans rally in Greenville, NC, on day Mueller is set to testify. Charlotte Observer: "President Donald Trump will hold a rally in Greenville, NC, on July 17, according to his campaign website. The rally at Williams Arena is the same day former special counsel Robert Mueller is set to testify before Congress on his investigation into the Trump campaign, The Hill reported. Mueller will 'publicly testify before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees,' according to the Associated Press. Earlier on Tuesday, the president tweeted about Mueller’s scheduled appearance before Congress. 'This Witch Hunt must now end. No more Do Overs. No Collusion, No Obstruction. The Great Hoax is dead!'"

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