In a massive win for immigrant rights, the Supreme Court has ruled against President Trump’s attempt to end DACA, a program that protects nearly 700,000 immigrants from deportation. In 2017, Trump tried to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program created by President Obama in 2012. But in Thursday’s 5-4 decision, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court concluded Trump’s “total rescission” of DACA was “arbitrary and capricious.” A group of DREAMers celebrated the ruling outside the Supreme Court. Greisa Martínez Rosas is the deputy director of United We Dream.
Greisa Martínez Rosas: “I’m elated. I am really affirmed that the movement of young people organizing 11 million undocumented people demanding exactly what we deserve, we win. And so I am honored to be here today at the Supreme Court and ready to keep fighting for more.”
The global death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic has topped 450,000, and the spread of the virus continues to accelerate in much of the world. The New York Times reports 77 nations have reported a growth in new cases over the past two weeks. On Thursday, a number of countries, including Mexico and Indonesia, reported a record one-day increase in confirmed cases.
Oklahoma reported a record number of new COVID cases on Thursday for the fifth consecutive day. President Trump is traveling to Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday for his first large indoor rally in months. Trump has refused to cancel the event despite warnings from public health officials who fear the rally could turn into a “superspreader event.” Attendees will be asked to sign coronavirus liability waivers to prevent future lawsuits against the campaign.
Trump is also expected to be greeted by protesters in Tulsa. The filmmaker Eugene Jarecki has announced he is bringing the Trump Death Clock to Tulsa. The clock tallies the number of American lives lost due to government inaction during the pandemic. The toll is now over 71,000.
President Trump was originally slated to speak in Tulsa today on the holiday of Juneteenth. It was June 19, 1865, that enslaved Africans in Texas first learned they were free, two years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Trump moved the date of the speech after facing widespread criticism. On Thursday, Trump told The Wall Street Journal, “I did something good: I made Juneteenth very famous. It’s actually an important event, an important time. But nobody had ever heard of it.” The Wall Street Journal reports Trump learned of the holiday, which has been celebrated for over 150 years, from one of his own Secret Service agents who is Black.
Meanwhile, members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union plan to mark Juneteenth by shutting down the country’s West Coast ports to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
And in Washington, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered the removal of four Confederate portraits from the House ahead of Juneteenth.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “There’s no room in the hallowed halls of this democracy, this temple of democracy, to memorialize people who embody violent bigotry and grotesque racism of the Confederacy.”
A Confederate monument was also removed overnight in Decatur, Georgia.
In news from Atlanta, the two police officers charged in the killing of Rayshard Brooks in the parking lot of a Wendy’s turned themselves in on Thursday. Former officer Garrett Rolfe, who faces felony murder and 10 other charges, is being held without bond. He was reportedly moved from the Fulton County Jail to another facility due to security concerns. Officer Devin Brosnan, who faces an aggravated assault charge, was released on Thursday after posting bond. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Police Foundation has announced it is giving every police officer in Atlanta a $500 bonus. The news came less than a day after officers in the department staged a “sickout” to protest charges being filed over the killing of Rayshard Brooks.
The Air Force inspector general has launched a probe into the use of military surveillance airplanes to monitor protesters in Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis. The planes reportedly beamed live footage to law enforcement agencies, including the FBI. The New York Times reports an elite special operations unit of the Pennsylvania National Guard supported the aircraft from the ground in Washington.
One of the highest-ranking African Americans in the Trump administration has resigned in protest. On Thursday, Mary Elizabeth Taylor submitted her resignation as the assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs. In her resignation letter, Taylor wrote, “The President’s comments and actions surrounding racial injustice and Black Americans cut sharply against my core values and convictions.” Prior to her State Department post, she worked in the Trump White House and as an aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. At the White House, she helped shepherd more than 400 presidential appointments through the Senate confirmation process, including Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. During Gorsuch’s televised confirmation hearing, Taylor prominently sat behind him every day.
In political news, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar has removed herself from consideration to be Joe Biden’s running mate. On Thursday, she urged Biden to pick a woman of color.
Another 1.5 million people filed unemployment claims last week, bringing the total to over 45 million since the coronavirus crisis began. This marks the 13th week in a row in which more than a million people filed for unemployment. This comes as the total wealth of the nation’s billionaires has jumped by nearly $600 billion since March 18, according to a report by Americans for Tax Fairness. During this period, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos made $44 billion. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made $32 billion.
In other Facebook news, the social media platform has taken down a Trump campaign ad that displayed a symbol once used by the Nazis. The red triangle was used to identify communists and other political prisoners in concentration camps. Facebook claimed the post violated its policy against “organized hate.” The move came a day after the NAACP and other civil rights groups called on advertisers to boycott Facebook during the month of July as part of a campaign called “Stop Hate for Profit.” Meanwhile, Twitter has labeled a doctored video tweeted by Trump to be “manipulated media” for the first time. The fake video purported to be a CNN report about a racist baby.
In Brazil, authorities in São Paulo have arrested the former adviser and driver of Flávio Bolsonaro, the son of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. Prosecutors say between 2016 and 2017 Fabrício Queiroz ran a scheme of paying salaries to phantom employees while working at the office of Senator Flávio Bolsonaro, who was at the time a Rio de Janeiro state lawmaker.
In religious news, the Vatican is urging Catholics to divest from fossil fuel companies and arms manufacturers. Last month, a group 42 Methodist, Anglican, Quaker, Buddhist and Catholic organizations issued a joint pledge to divest from fossil fuel companies.
In climate news, new research shows pregnant people in the United States who are exposed to high temperatures and air pollution triggered by the climate crisis are far more likely to have children who are premature, underweight or stillborn. The study says Black pregnant people and newborn babies are particularly at risk, as African Americans are more likely to live in polluted areas.
A group of major Wall Street investors are pouring money into an effort to defeat New York Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in next week’s Democratic primary. Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman and hedge fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones have all backed AOC’s challenger, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, a former CNBC reporter who was a registered Republican until 2015.
Egypt’s crackdown on the LGBT community is back in the spotlight this week after a prominent queer Egyptian activist died by suicide in Toronto, Canada, where she had sought asylum. Sarah Hegazy was 30 years old. Three years ago, Egyptian authorities detained her after she was photographed waving a rainbow flag at a rock concert. Authorities charged her with “promoting sexual deviancy and debauchery.” In detention, she was tortured with electric shocks and held in solitary confinement. She was released after three months but continued to face death threats in Egypt. She then fled to Canada. This is Mostafa Fouad, her lawyer and friend.
Mostafa Fouad: “In her letters from jail and the diary entries she wrote in prison, she used to say, 'The world will only change through love. No matter how much they hate me or hate people like me, no matter how much they hate anyone who's different, still the only thing that will change the world is love and coexistence.’ This was her true faith in life, that humanity is what will save the world.”
Iconic Amazon Indigenous Kayapó Chief Paulinho Paiakan has died of COVID-19. He was 66 years old. Paiakan was a lifelong defender of the Amazon rainforest who in the 1980s led the resistance against the Belo Monte hydroelectric project, an environmentally destructive massive complex of dams planned to be built on the Xingu River in the heart of the Amazon. The project was successfully suspended at the time but later reinstated in 2011. In recent years, Paiakan had warned against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s calls to open the Amazon for agriculture and mining. As coronavirus cases continue to surge in Brazil, the pandemic has taken a toll on Indigenous communities, with nearly 5,500 reported cases and close to 300 deaths.