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In a major attack on immigrant communities across the United States, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced the Trump administration is rescinding DACA—that’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—which gives nearly 800,000 young immigrants permission to live and work in the United States.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions: “The Department of Justice has advised the president and the Department of Homeland Security that the Department of Homeland Security should begin an orderly, lawful wind-down, including the cancellation of the memo that authorized this program.”
President Obama implemented DACA in 2012, after nearly a decade of massive grassroots organizing and direct action protests by undocumented youth across the country. President Obama called Trump’s decision to rescind the program “cruel.” The Trump administration now says it will begin phasing out the protections in six months, meaning that some DACA recipients will be eligible for deportation as early as March 2018.
Between now and then, Congress has the opportunity to pass legislation that could protect DACA recipients, as well as millions of other immigrants currently in the country without legal authorization. Sessions’s announcement Tuesday morning sparked immediate protests across the country, with crowds taking to the streets in Minneapolis, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Houston, where thousands of DACA recipients and their families are currently helping the city rebuild after Hurricane Harvey. In New York City, 34 people were arrested in a sit-in led by undocumented activists outside Trump Tower.
Catalina: “My name is Catalina, and we’re here because we’re fighting for all 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country. An attack on DACA is an attack against the entire undocumented community. We’re here to say that this fight goes beyond DACA, that it’s for all the workers in this country. It’s for all the workers who work in the fields, in the restaurants, who work cleaning our homes, who have crossed borders. This is the fight for all of us, because we all deserve permanent protection, dignity and respect. This fight is beyond DACA. It’s a fight for all undocumented immigrants in this country who provide their labor. This country runs on us. Without us, this country would fall apart.”
High school students in Denver staged a massive walkout in protest of Trump’s decision to rescind DACA. The head of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Javier Palomarez, resigned from Trump’s National Diversity Coalition in protest, calling the decision to revoke DACA “inhumane and economically harmful.” In Georgia, the Atlanta City Council immediately passed a resolution to support DACA recipients and to move to limit collaboration between local police and federal immigration agents. Both New York and California threatened to sue the Trump administration to protect the states’ DREAMers.
After headlines, we’ll go to Houston to speak with DACA recipient and immigrant rights organizer Cesar Espinosa.
Caribbean island nations and the state of Florida are making emergency preparations and evacuations as the potentially catastrophic Category 5 Hurricane Irma barrels across the Atlantic Ocean. Early this morning, the hurricane made landfall on the island nation of Barbuda and then the islands Saint Martin and Saint Barthélemy. The storm is one of the most powerful Atlantic storms ever recorded, with winds up to 185 mph, strong enough to destroy full buildings. Puerto Rico has declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard. Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló warns the storm could devastate the island’s infrastructure. Puerto Rico’s power company says parts of the island could be left without power for up to six months. The Bahamas are currently undertaking the largest evacuation in the nation’s history. Florida has also begun to close schools and evacuate residents.
In more climate-related news, widespread fires continue to burn across the Pacific Northwest. Montana Governor Steve Bullock has declared a statewide fire disaster, calling the blazes “unprecedented.” Washington Governor Jay Inslee has declared a state of emergency. On Tuesday, Seattle residents awoke to ash falling from the sky as a result of the widespread fires burning across the state. Satellite images also showed Washington state nearly entirely covered in smoke from the fires.
A new United Nations report says more than 1,100 children have been killed during the war in Yemen—and that the majority of these children were killed by U.S.-backed, Saudi-led airstrikes. The U.N. also described the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen as an “entirely man-made catastrophe.” The ongoing war has left more than 7 million people on the brink of famine. The U.S.-backed bombing campaign has also devastated Yemen’s health, water and sanitation systems, sparking the world’s worst cholera epidemic, with 600,000 people affected.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has warned the brutal Burmese military operation against Rohingya Muslims is at risk of spiraling into an ethnic cleansing campaign, as the violence against the long persecuted minority group continues. The U.N. says more than than 120,000 Rohingya have fled into neighboring Bangladesh in recent days—with up to 15,000 more expected to flee every single day this week. Advocates say as many as 800 Rohingya civilians, including women and children, have been killed in recent days. This is Rohingya refugee Ansar Ali, speaking after fleeing to Bangladesh.
Ansar Ali: “There was another behind us in which my relatives were there. Suddenly, that sank in the sea as the military started firing at us. Ten members of our family, including my son and grandson, drowned in the sea. We somehow managed to escape.”
More than 300,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Norwegian Nobel Committee to revoke Burma’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s peace prize over the violence. Suu Kyi claims the news reports about the military crackdown are “misinformation” and that the security forces are fighting terrorism.
United Nations war crimes investigators say Syrian government forces have used chemical weapons more than 25 times during the ongoing war, including during the deadly attack in Khan Sheikhoun in April, which killed 86 people. The Syrian government has long denied using chemical weapons. Meanwhile, in more news from Syria, the Syrian government says its forces have broken the ISIS siege on parts of the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor. Tens of thousands of civilians have been trapped by the ISIS siege of the city for more than two years.
And in India, prominent journalist and human rights activist Gauri Lankesh was assassinated on her doorstep in Bangalore Tuesday. She was an outspoken critic of right-wing Hindu nationalism and the caste system. Last year, she was convicted in a defamation case brought by lawmakers from Prime Minister Modi’s ruling BJP party over her 2008 investigation into the politicians’ criminal ties. The Editors Guild of India called her murder “a brutal assault on the freedom of the press.” On Tuesday, protesters took to the streets across India to denounce her assassination, including in Mumbai, Delhi and outside Lankesh’s home. Nearly 20 more protests are planned for today. This is her brother, Indrajit Lankesh.
Indrajit Lankesh: “As a brother, I’m asking. As a journalist, I’m asking. As a filmmaker, I’m asking. It is not just my sister’s murder. It is a journalist’s murder. It is an activist’s murder. More than that, it is a woman’s murder. As a brother, I want justice for my sister. Now I’ve lost my sister. And she was giving everything for the field of journalism, for activism, for secularism, for social justice. Now we have lost her. At least find the culprits. Please, I request.”