Greetings, fellow travelers. An announcement: today is moving day for the INDY
’s Durham office. We’re departing the American Underground building at Main and Corcoran for our cool new digs above Alley Twenty Six at 320 East Chapel Hill Street. If you’re trying to reach us, our systems should be up and running by the afternoon (in theory).
Let’s get into it:
1. Donald Trump has apparently deported his first Dreamer.
Two months ago, President Trump assured so-called Dreamers—beneficiaries of President Obama’s Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program, which protects certain undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children from deportation—that “we are gonna deal with DACA with heart
. … To me, it’s one of the most difficult subjects I have because you have these incredible kids—in many cases, not in all cases. In some of the cases, they’re having DACA and they’re gang members and they’re drug members, too. But you have some absolutely incredible kids—I would say mostly—they were brought in here in such a way. It’s a very, very tough subject.”
A 23-year-old man has sued the Trump administration over his deportation to Mexico in February, saying he has permission to live and work in the United States under an Obama-era immigration program that protects young people who were brought into the country illegally as children.
If his claim is correct, it is believed he would be the first person with protected status under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, to be deported under President Trump.
According to the lawsuit, Juan Manuel Montes, who came to the United States at age nine, has been a DACA beneficiary since 2014 and has a valid work permit.
Montes was walking to a taxi station in the border town of Calexico after visiting with a friend when a Border Patrol official on a bicycle stopped him and asked for identification, according to a statement from the National Immigration Law Center, an immigrant rights organization that is part of a group representing Montes in his lawsuit. Montes did not have ID with him, having left it in his friend’s car, the statement said.
Montes was taken to a Border Patrol station where, he alleges, he was made to sign documents and not allowed to see an immigration judge or attorney. He was also not given copies of the documents he signed, the lawsuit states. In the middle of the night, he was taken to Mexicali, Mexico.
The Border Patrol told the Los Angeles Times
that Montes was arrested after jumping a border fence. According to the lawsuit, however, that event happened the day after Montes was originally deported.
Related: As the INDY’s Sarah Willets reported yesterday
, Lilian Cardona has been temporarily spared deportation.
A pregnant mother of five facing deportation will get to stay in North Carolina for at least another year.
Lilian Cardona learned last week that her application for a stay of her removal from the country was approved. This buys her a year of relief from deportation while she applies for a visa.
Cardona, who has lived in North Carolina since 1997, has no criminal record and a valid work permit. She was issued an order of removal in 2011 after her landlord took her to Wake County court in a dispute over the mobile home she lived in. The charge was ultimately dismissed.
But, under expanded immigration enforcement policies of the Trump administration, she was subject to deportation. At a routine ICE check-in in February, she was told to return with her bags packed the next month, or be removed from the country by March 31.
first wrote about Cardona’s plight as part of our special immigration issue last month
2. Democrat Jon Ossoff secures a big plurality in a heavily Republican district in Georgia.
In a contest to replace health and human services secretary Tom Price—a congressional race widely viewed as a referendum on Donald Trump—the thirty-year-old Ossoff won more than 48 percent of the vote Tuesday in a jungle primary that featured eighteen candidates, 28 points ahead of the nearest Republican and only 2 percentage points away from an outright majority. But because he didn’t get that majority, there will be a runoff in June.
From The New York Times
Mr. Ossoff’s strong showing will ensure that national Democrats continue to compete here and will increase pressure on the party to contest a special House election next month in Montana that it has so far ignored. Combined with Democrats’ better-than-expected performance in a special House election in Kansas last week, the Georgia result will be an immediate boon to Democratic groups, lifting their fund-raising and bolstering candidate recruitment efforts, while sobering Republicans who are assessing whether to run in Mr. Trump’s first midterm election. Already, Republican candidates and outside groups have had to spend over $7 million against Democrats in a series of deeply conservative districts.
3. Democracy NC demands a criminal probe into the North Carolina GOP’s voter-fraud claims.
The gist of the complaint is that, in their desperation to reverse a narrow defeat last year, former governor Pat McCrory and the NCGOP conspired to falsely people of voter fraud.
From The News & Observer:
The organization, Democracy North Carolina, conducted a five-month investigation into about 600 protests filed after McCrory lost his bid for re-election to Democrat Roy Cooper.
Their findings are included in a 16-page report released Tuesday that Bob Hall, the watchdog group’s executive director, said would be sent to district attorneys in 23 counties and federal prosecutors in North Carolina.
“In the course of our investigation, we talked with dozens of people who have been harmed by the false accusations of voter fraud trumpeted by the McCrory campaign and the Republican Party and their publicity team,” Hall told reporters Tuesday. “They are the victims of what happens when outrageous claims of voter fraud are used as a weapon for political gain.”
You can find the full report at the bottom of the page.
4. The legislature’s Fiscal Research Division says the state Senate’s tax cut plan will lead to deficits.
Senators want to cut $1 billion in taxes over the next two years. According to the nonpartisan FSD, that would leave a $600 million hole by 2021.
One Republican immediately dismissed the analysis, saying that the projection didn’t factor in the growth those tax cuts would spur
“The problem with those projections is they’re going to be based on past growth,” Sen. Jerry Tillman, a Randolph County Republican, said Monday night. He had not seen the specific estimate predicting the impacts from Senate Bill 325 – which supporters have labeled the Billion Dollar Middle Class Tax Cut bill – but said such projections don’t account for the economic boons that are courted by tax cuts. “Tax cuts spur more growth. They certainly have in the last six years.”
As Kansas has learned in recent years
, this mindset can prove disastrous. That state now faces a $330 million budget hole, and the jobs Governor Brownback promised would come if the legislature cut taxes haven’t—at least not enough of them to keep Brownback from polling as the least popular governor in the country.
Previously, the Republican-led Legislature and Brownback covered budget shortfalls by stripping nearly $2 billion from state highway funding, delaying a contribution to the state pension fund, cutting higher education and Medicaid, and elevating the statewide sales tax to 6.5 percent.
5. The NCAA awards North Carolina thirty-six championships after HB 2 replacement.
It’s a victory for those who love college sports.
From the N&O
Charlotte, which had submitted bids to host men’s basketball tournaments for three years, was not selected. But the NCAA also said earlier this month that championships already awarded for the 2017-2018 season will remain in the state. That means Charlotte will host the first and second rounds of the men’s basketball tournament at the Spectrum Center March 16-18, 2018.
Of the 133 bids North Carolina collectively submitted, the NCAA awarded the state 26 events that include a total of 36 championships.
For first and second round men’s basketball tournament play, the NCAA selected Columbia to host in 2019, Greensboro in 2020, Raleigh in 2021 and Greenville in 2022.
It’s less of a victory for those who care about civil rights
Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina delivered more than 77,000 petition signatures to the NCAA urging the organization to keep events out of North Carolina, according to a news release from the state ACLU chapter.
6. Wake County schools have a budget problem with no easy solution.
As the INDY’s Thomas Goldsmith reports
“When the NCAA originally withdrew events from North Carolina, they did so because they claimed to care about ‘fairness and inclusion’ for college athletes and fans,” James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project, said in a statement. “It’s a shame to see that those concerns have already fallen by the wayside.”
The Human Rights Campaign and Equality NC also condemned the NCAA’s decision and accused it of rewarding the state even though they said HB 142 still discriminates.
“HB 142 was a cheap political trick that did nothing to alleviate the concerns the NCAA initially outlined when it pulled games from the Tar Heel state last year, and even adds new forms of discrimination to North Carolina’s laws,” Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro said. “It is unthinkable that the NCAA would abandon its commitment to LGBTQ fans, players, and administrators by falling for this trick.”
Jim Merrill, superintendent of the Wake County Public School System, has a list of options in the event of a possible fiscal meltdown next school year, but he's not wild about any of them. […]
7. Raleigh is looking to rebrand itself.
"I wish we didn't have to consider any options," Merrill said after an afternoon school board work session Tuesday.
Earlier, he laid out some of the changes Wake schools might have to adopt if it has to absorb the estimated $26 million cost of paying to continue "specials"—classes in music, art, and PE.
One choice would be to eliminate the special classes and hire teachers certified for elementary grades, where the state mandates lower class sizes. Another would be reassigning students from schools that are overcrowded to schools that have room, a change that would require reassignment. Or, Merrill said, Wake could increase its class sizes in higher grades, reassigning some teachers to help keep K–3 class sizes low. Finally, administrators could create megaclassrooms of as many as forty students, assigning two teachers to each.
The message seemed to be that the city contains multitudes of different eras, styles, workplaces, leisure spots, schools, and government institutions, some of which need to be brought up to date. The $83,000 study was designed to come up with a unified vision and to fix Raleigh's "logo problem," according to minutes of the January 3 council meeting.
Communications director Damien Graham noted that all city departments use different logos and images, including the city seal. The new brand is supposed to represent Raleigh as a government organization, not to portray the entire city.
Shawn Kruggel, director of creative strategy for [the Tulsa-based firm] Cubic, said the firm's interviews brought forth a number of different concepts of Raleigh, some competing. They included Raleigh’s presence as a "servant leader," the inside-/outside-the-Beltline contrast, the influence of New Raleighites, its role as state capital, and residents' desire to make sure growth takes place responsibly.
That’s it for now. Enjoy your Wednesday.
Democracy NC Report by Jeffrey Billman on Scribd