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You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines, or for in-depth stories that expose government and corporate abuses of power. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation, all without ads, government funding or corporate underwriting? This is only possible with your support. Right now every donation to Democracy Now! will be doubled by a generous supporter. This means if you give $25 today, Democracy Now! will get $50 to support our daily news hour. Please do your part. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in the coming year. Thanks so much. -Amy Goodman
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A federal judge has ruled the Trump administration must continue DACA. That’s the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, that gives hundreds of thousands of young undocumented people permission to live and work in the United States. Trump tried to cancel DACA last year. But Judge John Bates in Washington, D.C., ruled Tuesday that Trump’s efforts to cancel the program were based on “virtually unexplained” claims.
The judge said that if the administration cannot better explain its reasoning, it must continue to accept both new and renewal DACA applications. The Trump administration has 90 days to respond. It’s the third time Trump’s effort to cancel DACA has been blocked by a court.
This comes as the Supreme Court is hearing arguments today about the Trump administration’s third travel ban, which blocks most people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether the travel ban is constitutional by the end of June.
Senate lawmakers have indefinitely postponed Dr. Ronny Jackson’s confirmation hearing as secretary of veterans affairs, even as President Trump is continuing to defend Jackson, who is his personal White House physician. On Tuesday, Montana Senator Jon Tester said Jackson is known within the White House as “candy man,” because he hands out prescription pills as if they were candy. Reports have also surfaced of Jackson drinking on the job, and once drunkenly banging on the hotel room door of a female employee during an overseas work trip in 2015, until the Secret Service intervened.
The interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Mick Mulvaney, told a group of over 1,000 bankers and lobbyists that they should give more money in campaign contributions if they want to weaken the power of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is tasked with regulating the financial industry and major Wall Street banks. During Mulvaney’s speech to the American Bankers Association conference, he also said that, as a congressmember, he would meet only with lobbyists who had given him money. Among those who donated to his campaign were payday lenders, who gave him over $60,000. Payday lenders are one of the key industries the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has sought to regulate.
The United Nations is warning of an impending humanitarian catastrophe in the Syrian province of Idlib, one of the last rebel-held territories in Syria, which is also home to at least a million Syrian civilians who have been displaced from other parts of the country. This is U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.
Filippo Grandi: “The fact remains that it’s very difficult to get out of the country, so people get internally displaced. So they are refugees in their own country. And even those options are becoming less and less. We’ve seen it in the most dramatic phase of the Ghouta offensive. So, the country is becoming a trap, is becoming, in some places, a death trap for civilians.”
In Iraq, women accused of having ties to ISIS are facing widespread human rights violations inside Iraqi refugee camps, including being denied food and healthcare, facing sexual exploitation and being refused identification cards that would allow them to travel, work and enroll their children in school. That’s according to a new report by Amnesty International, which accuses local Iraqi authorities and armed actors inside refugee camps of discriminating against women who are believed to have a family member who collaborated with ISIS while the group held swaths of territory across Iraq, including the city of Mosul. The report, called “The Condemned,” calls on Iraqi authorities to end collective punishment of women with perceived ties to ISIS.
Israel says it’s scrapping its plans to forcibly deport or imprison tens of thousands of African asylum seekers and immigrants living in Israel. The plan had sparked widespread international condemnation and protests inside Israel. This is Helafom, an immigrant from Eritrea.
Helafom: “It was a difficult time for the asylum seekers here in Israel on the matter of being deported or being imprisoned for a lifetime, and it’s good news to hear that the forced deportation is canceled. And also it’s a time that there should be a humanitarian solution for the asylum seekers.”
In Mexico, hundreds of students took to the streets of Guadalajara to protest the kidnapping and murder of three university students, who went missing five weeks ago while they were filming a school project.
Sandra Loewe: “I am here from the CUEC school, the cinema school of the UNAM. We are here to represent and to give the voice to all the women, men and child that are being disappeared in Mexico, because we are living a necropolitics that is doing a very big harm to this country.”
Mexican authorities are claiming the three students were kidnapped by a cartel and tortured before their bodies were dissolved in acid. Authorities have not yet presented sufficient evidence to support this claim. The details of previous Mexican government accounts about student disappearances, including the 43 students who are missing from the Ayotzinapa teachers’ college, have been subsequently disproven.
In South Africa, multiple unions have called for a nationwide strike today to protest unemployment, economic inequality and a proposed minimum wage of a mere 20 rand, or $1.60, an hour. Today’s mobilization comes as bus drivers in South Africa are already on strike.
In New York City, agents with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, known as ICE, have arrested at least 225 people in a sweeping week-long raid across New York City’s five boroughs and the surrounding areas. Dozens of those arrested by ICE agents had no criminal record. The raid comes despite the fact that New York City is a sanctuary city.
In Spokane, Washington, a federal judge has blocked the Trump administration from defunding Planned Parenthood programs to help prevent teen pregnancy across the western United States. In his ruling, Judge Thomas Rice wrote, “The Court finds that HHS [Department of Health and Human Services] arbitrarily and capriciously terminated the TPP Program. … The Court determines that the public interest weighs in favor of (Planned Parenthood).”
In Arizona, former Republican state Senator Debbie Lesko has won a special congressional election to fill the seat of far-right-wing Congressmember Trent Franks, who resigned last year after multiple female staff members said he asked them if they would give birth to his children because he and his wife were having trouble conceiving. Lesko won only a narrow victory over her Democratic challenger, physician Hiral Tipirneni, in a district that Trump carried by over 20 points. Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence’s brother, Greg Pence, is running for U.S. Congress in Indiana.
Graduate students at Columbia University have launched a week-long strike to demand the right to unionize. Striking students say Columbia University has refused to bargain with the students, who voted more than a year and a half ago to unionize under the UAW, the United Auto Workers. The strike comes at the end of the spring semester, when the labor of graduate student teaching assistants and researchers is most essential to the functioning of the university. It also comes only one day after the 50th anniversary of the launch of the historic nearly week-long occupation of five buildings, including the president’s office in Low Library, which inspired student protests across the country. Click here to see our full coverage of the historic 1968 Columbia student strike.
And in Pennsylvania, the popular rapper Meek Mill has been freed from prison, after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered him immediately released on bail. Mill was sentenced and jailed last November over a minor parole violation. But the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, led by Larry Krasner, has questioned whether his underlying 2008 conviction would withstand an appeal, given that he was convicted, in part, based on a false testimony by the arresting police officer. Meek Mill’s jailing has sparked widespread calls for his freedom, including from Jay-Z, Colin Kaepernick and activists across Philadelphia. On Tuesday, after being released from prison, Meek Mill was flown by helicopter by the owner of the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team to the basketball stadium, where he rang the bell before the playoff game Tuesday evening.