Daily Archives: Feb 26, 2018

The Supreme Court handed President Trump a significant defeat Monday, turning down the administration’s plea for a quick ruling that would have upheld the president’s power to end special protections for so-called Dreamers.

The court’s decision keeps in place a legal shield for nearly 700,000 young immigrants for the rest of this year, and perhaps longer, allowing people who have been covered by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to continue living and working legally in the U.S. Those whose existing DACA permits expire this year will also be allowed to apply for another two-year permit.

Although the court’s action removes for now the threat of job loss and deportation, it also will extend the long-term uncertainty for the Dreamers — young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Congress has been stymied on a legislative solution to their situation, and without an immediate deadline to force action, lawmakers almost certainly will not try again to forge a compromise on immigration before this fall’s midterm elections.

Last September, Trump announced that he would end the DACA program and gave Congress until March 5 to pass legislation to resolve the legal status of the Dreamers. Then, in early January, U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco ordered the government to keep the DACA program running until legal challenges could be fully aired, ruling that Trump’s order had been based on a “flawed legal premise.” A district judge in New York this month issued a similar ruling.

In seeking to get Alsup’s order overturned, the Justice Department sought to leapfrog the U.S. appeals court in California, asking the Supreme Court to grant an “immediate review” of Alsup’s nationwide order.

The action the administration sought was rare. It has been nearly 30 years since the Supreme Court granted review of a district judge’s ruling before an appeals court could weigh in. And the court said Monday it had no interest in following that course in the DACA case.

The justices, without dissent, turned down the administration’s petition “without prejudice,” meaning that the government could return to the high court once the appeals court rules.

“It is assumed that the Court of Appeals will proceed expeditiously to decide this case,” the justices noted in a brief order.

Even though the action by the high court was procedural in nature, not a ruling on the substance of the case, it has significant impact because it keeps in place Alsup’s injunction for as long as the case wends its way through the judicial system, which could be quite a while. In their appeal to the high court, administration lawyers said the injunction would likely last well into 2019 if the appeals run their normal course in the lower courts.

That’s a significant victory for the Dreamers and a defeat for administration hard-liners, led by Stephen Miller, Trump’s domestic policy advisor. They have tried to use renewal of DACA as a bargaining chip to get Congress to adopt new policies to restrict legal immigration.

With DACA now effectively off the congressional agenda for this year, the possibility of new immigration restrictions is also much less likely. Democrats hope to regain control of at least one house of Congress in the midterm elections, which would give them considerably more of a say in any legislation.

Even if the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals does act “expeditiously,” as the justices suggested, a ruling from the appeals court would be unlikely before summer. That would mean the earliest the case could return to the Supreme Court would be in the fall, with a ruling possible by the end of the year.

That’s assuming a speedy path for the litigation. A scenario in which the case doesn’t return to the high court until a year from now is quite possible.

Speaking to a group of the nation’s governors on Monday, Trump complained about once again facing a case in the 9th Circuit, which hears appeals in federal cases from California and eight other Western states. A majority of the court’s active judges were appointed by Democratic presidents.

“I mean, it’s really sad when every single case filed against us — this is in the 9th Circuit — we lose, we lose, we lose, and then we do fine in the Supreme Court. But what does that tell you about our court system? It’s a very, very sad thing. So DACA’s going back, and we’ll see what happens from there,” Trump said.

The Justice Department’s reaction was more measured, acknowledging that the administration’s request for the court to take up the case and bypass the appeals court had been a long shot.

“While we were hopeful for a different outcome, the Supreme Court very rarely grants certiorari before judgment,” said spokesman Devin O’Malley. “We will continue to defend [the Department of Homeland Security’s] lawful authority to wind down DACA in an orderly manner.”

Los Angeles attorney Theodore Boutrous Jr. , who represented DACA recipients who challenged Trump’s order, praised the court’s decision.

“DACA is a lawful and important program that protects young people who came to this country as children and who know this country as their only home. The Dreamers have relied on DACA to make decisions about their education, jobs, and families and to make valuable contributions to society as doctors, lawyers, teachers, and members of the military,” he said.

“Two federal district courts have now recognized that the Trump administration’s abrupt decision to end the program was unlawful. We are confident that the court of appeals will reach the same conclusion,” he added.

“This was clearly the correct result — to let the judicial process work in the orderly manner,” said Mark Rosenbaum, another Los Angeles lawyer who worked on the case. “The larger message is also clear: that for the 700,000 Dreamers who continue to work and study every day to make our nation a better place, the responsibility rests with Congress to do the right thing.”

The administration’s legal strategy in the case was consistent with Trump’s approach to DACA since he was elected: He has not wanted to keep the program but has also not wanted to be blamed for deporting Dreamers, who enjoy widespread public support.

After Alsup issued his order, U.S. Solicitor Gen. Noel Francisco could have asked the high court for a stay, which would have put the order on hold and allowed the administration to end DACA. Instead, he surprised many observers by, instead, asking the justices to hear arguments in the case this spring.

Francisco asserted that a stay would result in an “abrupt shift” in the enforcement policy, while the administration favored an “orderly wind-down of the DACA policy.”

At the same time, he insisted that the court order was doing serious harm to the government. “The district judge’s unprecedented order requires the government to sanction indefinitelyan ongoing violation of federal law being committed by nearly 700,000 aliens,” Francisco wrote, referring to the DACA recipients.

In his ruling, Alsup said Trump’s advisors, led by Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, had been wrong when they decided President Obama lacked the authority to extend relief to the Dreamers.

Alsup agreed “a new administration is entitled to replace old policies with new policies,” but nonetheless concluded that the “flawed legal premise” set out by Sessions could not serve as a basis for ending DACA now.

His preliminary injunction required the administration to “maintain the DACA program on a nationwide basis.” However, he said nothing in his order would prevent federal authorities from “removing any individual, including any DACA enrollee, who it determines poses a risk to national security or public safety.”

Five months after back-to-back hurricanes decimated Puerto Rico’s already-struggling infrastructure, the island’s governor, the MIT-educated Ricardo Rosselló, told a crowd at a forum in New York this week that Puerto Rico is officially “Open for Business.”

There is no doubt that Puerto Rico has a long, hard slog ahead of it. It was already drowning in debt. Now, as it is struggling to rebuild, hundreds of thousands of residents are leaving for the mainland, and the bankrupt U.S. territory is still working on a fiscal plan. Despite the uphill battle, the attitude at this week’s forum, called “Pathway to the Future,” was optimistic, as attendees expressed their hopes that the private sector could help Puerto Rico rebuild.

“Challenging times create enormous opportunities,” Rosselló said in his keynote address. Those should be enticing words for entrepreneurs. If they’re not—or if you’re feeling particularly Gordon Gekko about it all—keep in mind the words of noted rich person Baron Rothschild: “The time to buy is when there’s blood in the streets.”

Here are some (better) reasons to do business in Puerto Rico right now:

  1. It just passed a “gold standard” public private partnership law to encourage investment.
  2. It is building a new energy grid from the ground up, which leaves lots of room for innovation.
  3. Puerto Rico has had four governments in 16 years, meaning “change” has seen a lot of change. The current government has created structural reforms that separate economic development from government ensuring stability.
  4. Tax benefits: The newly-passed Act 20 provides a 4% income tax rate, 100% tax exemption on distributions from earnings and profits, and a 90% exemption from personal property taxes for certain types of businesses. Act 22 provides 100% exemption from income taxes on all dividends, interest, and capital gains for residents.
  5. Puerto Rico’s forthcoming fiscal plan, which includes nearly $17 billion in federal funds from the U.S. government, projects a budget surplus in six years.
  6. Products manufactured in Puerto Rico get a “Made in the USA” sticker
  7. Low costs: The average wage in Puerto Rico is $28,740 a year, compared to $49,630 a year in the mainland.
  8. Intellectual Property is protected by U.S. law
  9. Good neighbors: Companies like Microsoft, Lufthansa, Bacardi, and Medtronic have been working in Puerto Rico for a long time. Tesla and Google came to help in the island’s recovery, and Tesla may be staying put.
  10. Puerto Rico is revamping laws to make it easier for the sharing economy to take hold and bring cash to the community.

If you’re not looking to do business in Puerto Rico but still want to help, follow the advice of Manuel Laboy, secretary of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce: “You want to help Puerto Rico? Go on vacation there.”

Los jóvenes regresaron para recoger las pertenencias que dejaron abandonadas ante el pánico que causó el tiroteo del 14 de febrero

Por: AP

Estudiantes de una escuela secundaria de Florida donde fueron asesinados 14 estudiantes y tres miembros del personal regresaron el domingo para recoger las pertenencias que dejaron abandonadas ante el pánico que causó el tiroteo hace casi dos semanas.

Miles de estudiantes se unieron a sus padres en el trayecto frente al edificio de tres pisos en la Secundaria Marjory Stoneman Douglas, donde tuvo lugar la masacre del 14 de febrero. Ahora la estructura está rodeada por una verja, la que a su vez está cubierta con mantas de otras escuelas en señal de apoyo.

“Tan solo ver el edificio me dio miedo”, dijo la estudiante de primer año Francesca Lozano al salir de la escuela junto a su madre. De todas formas, le alegró poder ver a sus amigos. “Eso mejoró mucho todo”, afirmó.

Diecisiete personas vestidas de blanco como ángeles se mantuvieron de pie junto al monumento conmemorativo improvisado afuera de la escuela, antes de colocarse cerca de la entrada. El organizador Terry Decarlo dijo que los disfraces se envían a los lugares donde se presentan tiroteos masivos o desastres para que los sobrevivientes “sepan que los ángeles los cuidan y los protegen”. Muchos de los ángeles del domingo eran sobrevivientes del tiroteo ocurrido en 2016 dentro del club nocturno Pulse, de Orlando, en el que murieron 49 personas, dijo Decarlo.

La escuela comenzará a funcionar normalmente el miércoles, y los administradores dijeron que los familiares recibirán detalles vía telefónica. El evento del domingo se realizó a fin de facilitar el regreso a clases.

“Ya no están aquí dos de mis mejores amigos”, dijo Sammy Cooper, de primer año, quien recogió la mochila que dejó caer cuando vio al agresor Nikolas Cruz, de 19 años, comenzar a disparar. “Pero definitivamente vendré el miércoles a clases. Puedo manejarlo”.

Sebastian Peña, de segundo año, dijo que el encuentro le dio la posibilidad de ver a sus amigos y maestros, y “unirnos como familia”.

Horas antes el domingo, la oficina del gobernador Rick Scott dijo que le solicitó al comisionado del Departamento del Orden Público de Florida, Rick Swearingen, que investigue la respuesta policiaca al tiroteo. La agencia confirmó que iniciará la pesquisa de inmediato.

El jefe de policía del condado Broward, Scott Israel, ha sido criticado después de que la semana pasada se revelara que el agente Scot Peterson no ingresó para confrontar a Cruz durante la masacre. Su departamento también enfrenta repercusiones por el aparente mal manejo en algunas de las 18 llamadas telefónicas en las que se le advirtió a la policía de las posibles intenciones del sospechoso. Los avisos forman parte de lo que las autoridades describen como el fracaso en captar señales evidentes de que Cruz, quien tenía antecedentes de comportamiento perturbador, representaba una amenaza seria.

The Americans failed to reach their medal target, and other countries will catch up in the sports where Team USA thrived

By: Bryan Graham

On the surface the United States’ collective showing at the Pyeongchang Olympics doesn’t look so bad: 23 medals and nine golds, good for fourth on the table no matter how you sort it behind Norway, Germany and Canada. But appearances can be deceiving.

There is no sugar-coating Team USA’s lowest medal haul since the 1998 Nagano Games, when they won 13 medals (there were 68 events then compared to 102 this time around). The raw figures upon closer inspection only look worse and will be the subject of no small consternation as the United States Olympic Committee opens the inquest in search of where it went wrong for the biggest American delegation in history.

“We’re going to take a hard look at what occurred here,” chef de mission Alan Ashley said on Sunday at the USOC’s closing news conference.

The overall total falls short of the committee’s target goal of 37 medals and baseline of 25 as revealed by an internal document obtained by the Associated Press this week. Ashley offered up a number of hypotheses for the United States’ underperformance. There was bad weather: the high winds that squeezed Mikaela Shiffrin’s alpine skiing program on either end and cost her two more shots at medals. There were near misses: the total of 35 Americans who finished just off the podium between fourth and sixth during the Olympics.

But the United States’ decline in sports it once counted on for medals is a major part of the puzzle. Consider speed skating (as opposed to short track speed skating), which has produced more US medals than any other winter sport in history. They’ve now won a single bronze over the last two Winter Games – in Wednesday’s women’s team pursuit – compared to 19 medals in the previous three Olympics combined. The once-proud figure skating program has fallen on similar hard times, although bronzes in the team event and ice dance prevented a total shutout.

But the United States’ decline in sports it once counted on for medals is a major part of the puzzle. Consider speed skating (as opposed to short track speed skating), which has produced more US medals than any other winter sport in history. They’ve now won a single bronze over the last two Winter Games – in Wednesday’s women’s team pursuit – compared to 19 medals in the previous three Olympics combined. The once-proud figure skating program has fallen on similar hard times, although bronzes in the team event and ice dance prevented a total shutout.

Ashley assured the assembled media that no stone will go unturned during the post-mortem, including a hard look at other countries such as Norway, whose 39 medals in Pyeongchang broke the previous Winter Games record of 37, set by the United States in 2010.

“We’re going to look at the other countries, [and ask], ‘What are they doing?’” Ashley said. “One of the things I’m curious about is that Norway had a runaway success here and they really did a great job preparing their athletes and I really admire them for that. I admire their athletes as well. I want to find out some things about what they’re up to. And I really want to sit down and get the feedback from the athletes about what sort of things they see in the field in the preparation of their competitors so we can learn from that and focus on some of those things moving forward, whether that’s in the areas of coaching, better training, better technology and innovation, more competition opportunities.”

But there’s no reason to believe answers will be found in emulation of the Norwegians, who clean up in traditional Olympic sports like cross-country skiing where the Americans seldom catch a whiff of the podium – the delightful exception of Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall notwithstanding. Yes, the other nations benefit from state-sponsored funding while the USOC does not, but there’s every reason to believe Ashley should be getting more mileage out of a budget estimated at more than $60m per Olympic cycle.

Geography no doubt played a role. The Pyeongchang and Nagano low-water marks – in addition to an anemic eight-medal haul at Sapporo 1972 – suggest the US underperform when the Olympics take place in Asia, which is something they might want to dissect with the countdown to Beijing already under way.

But most tellingly, only 11 of the Americans’ 23 medals came in events that were on the program at the 1988 Calgary Olympics where the United States hit rock bottom with six, prompting an overhaul of the entire winter sports infrastructure. The rest came from the newer snowboarding and freestyle skiing events.

One shudders to think where the Americans might have wound up in the table if not for the happenings at the Phoenix Snow Park, where the United States hoovered up the first four snowboarding golds awarded behind Shaun White (men’s halfpipe), Chloe Kim (women’s halfpipe), Jamie Anderson (women’s slopestyle) and Red Gerard (men’s slopestyle) before David Wise’s ski halfpipe win on Thursday afternoon.

Often these sports are dominated by North Americans for one or two cycles before the rest of the world begins to catch up.

So perhaps the easiest answer is to keep adding more sports where the Americans have a good chance of success. Because otherwise the questions, in cold light of day after the USA’s worst Winter Olympics haul in a generation, start to feel awfully difficult.



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