Supreme Court Fails Immigrant Families

Supreme Court Fails Immigrant Families

Split decision on ruling of DAPA/DACA+ programs
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On June 23rd, a Supreme Court tie decided the fate of millions of U.S. immigrant families. Because of the split decision in the United States v. Texas case, it was ruled that programs such as DAPA and DACA+ would not go into effect. These programs would have protected 4.5 million immigrants from deportation (x). The case has no chance of receiving a verdict until after Obama is out of office. This leaves the lives of 4.5 million immigrants in the hands of the next presidential candidate.

DACA+ was meant to be an extension to the already existing DACA program which was initiated in 2012. In 2014, Obama announced his plans to get rid of some requirements such as age and year of arrival in order to make more people eligible for the program. He would also increase the longevity of the program to three years instead of two (x). With the original DACA program, a little over 700,000 young immigrants were granted temporary protection status through DACA. Obama’s other plan was to grant temporary relief from deportation to parents (living in the U.S.) of legal residents. In total, these plans would have helped 4.5 million immigrants who have been living in the shadows their entire lives.

With these upgraded programs, Obama sought to prove he was pro-immigration and he wanted to demonstrate that he was only deporting convicted criminals. However, it has been reported that the Obama administration has deported more than 2 million immigrants with 80,000 of them being undocumented parents with resident children (x). Basically, he planned to give parents temporary relief from deportation only until their children turned 21 and could apply for their parents’ residency. DAPA/DACA+ were meant to go into effect February 2015. However, just as the government was about to accept applications, 23 states along with four republican senators, issued an injunction which stopped the continuation of the new programs.

The tie indicates that the court could neither agree on the legitimacy of the case nor the lawfulness of the Obama Administration’s actions in conjuring up DAPA and DACA+. However, the case still stays in this sort of limbo until a final ruling is made. Many pro-immigration groups have threatened to start a new case in which states that are also pro-immigration would sue to go ahead with the programs (x). At the end of his term, Obama will have deported more people than he has protected and will be leaving these 4 million immigrants in the hands of the future presidential candidate. Presidential nominee Donald Trump has said several times that he plans to do away with DACA within his first few days in office while opposing nominee Hilary Clinton, has promised to continue Obama’s immigration policies and will seek a new way to implement DAPA/DACA+.

What some officials do not realize is the extent to which programs like DACA benefit our economy as more and more people obtained higher paying jobs which contributed to our economy because of higher tax revenue. Also, more people are attending college and building careers with DACA. “DACAmented” people can also obtain driver’s licenses which means there are less unlicensed and uninsured drivers on the road (x). With DACA, we have access to health care that we would not otherwise have. DACA creates professionals and paves the way for millions of immigrants to have the life they thought was impossible. However, on Thursday June 23rd, 4.5 million people awaiting the decision that would change their lives, were let down.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.latinpost.com/articles/65076/20150709/immigration-reform-news-fifth-circuit-courts-daca-dapa-hearing-attracts.htm

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

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Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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Pride? Pride.

Who are we? Why are we proud?

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This past week, I was called a faggot by someone close to me and by note, of all ways. The shock rolled through my body like thunder across barren plains and I was stuck paralyzed in place, frozen, unlike the melting ice caps. My chest suddenly felt tight, my hearing became dim, and my mind went blank except for one all-encompassing and constant word. Finally, after having thawed, my rage bubbled forward like divine retribution and I stood poised and ready to curse the name of the offending person. My tongue lashed the air into a frenzy, and I was angry until I let myself break and weep twice. Later, I began to question not sexualities or words used to express (or disparage) them, but my own embodiment of them.

For members of the queer community, there are several unspoken and vital rules that come into play in many situations, mainly for you to not be assaulted or worse (and it's all too often worse). Make sure your movements are measured and fit within the realm of possible heterosexuality. Keep your music low and let no one hear who you listen to. Avoid every shred of anything stereotypically gay or feminine like the plague. Tell the truth without details when you can and tell half-truths with real details if you must. And above all, learn how to clear your search history. At twenty, I remember my days of teaching my puberty-stricken body the lessons I thought no one else was learning. Over time I learned the more subtle and more important lessons of what exactly gay culture is. Now a man with a head and social media accounts full of gay indicators, I find myself wondering both what it all means and more importantly, does it even matter?

To the question of whether it matters, the answer is naturally yes and no (and no, that's not my answer because I'm a Gemini). The month of June has the pleasure of being the time of year when the LGBT+ community embraces the hateful rhetoric and indulges in one of the deadly sins. Pride. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the figures at the head of the gay liberation movement, fought for something larger than themselves and as with the rest of the LGBT+ community, Pride is more than a parade of muscular white men dancing in their underwear. It's a time of reflection, of mourning, of celebration, of course, and most importantly, of hope. Pride is a time to look back at how far we've come and realize that there is still a far way to go.

This year marks fifty years since the Stonewall Riots and the gay liberation movement launched onto the world stage, thus making the learning and embracing of gay culture that much more important. The waves of queer people that come after the AIDS crisis has been given the task of rebuilding and redefining. The AIDS crisis was more than just that. It was Death itself stalking through the community with the help of Regan doing nothing. It was going out with friends and your circle shrinking faster than you can try or even care to replenish. Where do you go after the apocalypse? The LGBT+ community was a world shut off from access by a touch of death and now on the other side, we must weave in as much life as we can.

But we can't freeze and dwell of this forever. It matters because that's where we came from, but it doesn't matter because that's not where we are anymore. We're in a time of rebirth and spring. The LGBT+ community can forge a new identity where the AIDS crisis is not the defining feature, rather a defining feature to be immortalized, mourned, and moved on from.

And to the question of what does it all mean? Well, it means that I'm gay and that I've learned the central lesson that all queer people should learn in middle school. It's called Pride for a reason. We have to shoulder the weight of it all and still hold our head high and we should. Pride is the LGBT+ community turning lemons into lemon squares and limoncello. The lemon squares are funeral cakes meant to mourn and be a familiar reminder of what passed, but the limoncello is the extravagant and intoxicating celebration of what is to come. This year I choose to combine the two and get drunk off funeral cakes. Something tells me that those who came before would've wanted me to celebrate.

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