Category Archives: Social Justice

Americans’ support for immigration is at record highs – but the government is out of sync with their views

Polls show that Americans feel more welcoming toward immigrants than they have in the past. Evgenia Parajanian/Shutterstock.com

Mariano Sana, Vanderbilt University

Since its start, the Trump administration has implemented policies to step up immigration enforcement and reduce the number of immigrants admitted into the U.S.

Many of these efforts – like the border wall, the travel ban, family separations, DACA termination and detention centers – have received wide media attention. In addition, the White House slashed refugee admissions, ended a number of special programs and changed rules used to adjudicate visa applications. Continue reading

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Concerns Over Police Brutality Persist as Hong Kong Protesters Shut Down One of World’s Busiest Airports

Now in their 10th week, the protests were sparked in June by a controversial extradition bill

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-12-2019

The Hong Kong airport protest. Photo: @percylurcher/Twitter

Thousands of pro-democracy protesters effectively shut down Hong Kong International Airport on Monday, the fourth day they have occupied one of the world’s busiest airports as part of the mass demonstrations—against police brutality and a controversial extradition bill—that have rattled Hong Kong since June.

The protests were initially spurred by a bill that, NPR explained, “would have allowed people in radHong Kong to be sent to mainland China to face trials in courts controlled by the Communist Party, sparking fears of politically motivated prosecutions targeting outspoken critics of China.” Although Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam quickly suspended the measure and later declared it “dead,” demonstrators continue to demand its full withdrawal and Lam’s resignation. Continue reading

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Privacy Advocates Celebrate Court Ruling on Class-Action Suit Targeting Facebook’s Facial Recognition Tech

“Both corporations and the government are now on notice that this technology poses unique risks to people’s privacy and safety.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-9-2019

A federal court ruled Thursday that a class-action suit targeting Facebook’s use of facial recognition technology can continue. (Photo: Legal Loop)

Civil liberties advocates celebrated after a federal court in San Francisco ruled Thursday that Facebook users in Illinois can sue the social media giant on the grounds that its facial recognition technology violates a strict state privacy law.

“This decision is a strong recognition of the dangers of unfettered use of face surveillance technology,” Nathan Freed Wessler, staff attorney with the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, said in a statement after the ruling. Continue reading

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Health and Labor Groups Sue Trump EPA for Refusal to Ban Pesticide Linked to Brain Damage in Children

“Farmworkers, families, and developing children must be safe from chlorpyrifos.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-8-2019

The Environmental Protection Agency ended household use of chlorpyrifos in 2000 but still allowed famers to use it on crops, including corn. (Photo: Pixabay)

A coalition of health and labor organizations sued the Trump administration on Wednesday over the Environmental Protection Agency’s refusal last month to ban chlorpyrifos, a pesticide tied to brain damage in children.

Represented by nonprofit environmental legal firm Earthjustice, the 11 groups filed a petition for review (pdf) in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, challenging EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s July decision to reject the call from environmental groups for a ban on the pesticide. Continue reading

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As Rosselló Resigns, Renewed Protests Demand ‘Real and Radical Change’ Instead of Continued Austerity and Corruption

“We didn’t demand the resignation of a corrupted government, for having another equally corrupted. We are demanding a real alternative.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-3-2019

Stepping down after mass protests over alleged corruption and leaked messages in which he denigrated women and LGBTQ people, Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rossello appointed his secretary of state to succeed him—but elation over the success of the recent protests gave way to more demonstrations against the new governor.

Hundreds of Puerto Ricans marched to the governor’s mansion Friday night, decrying the appointment of Gov. Pedro Pierluisi as an illegitimate continuation of Rossello’s policies. Continue reading

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Indigenous People Demand an End to Detention on Stolen Lands

“As the original caretakers of these lands and territories, we have inherent authority over migration and demand an end to these barbaric acts.”

By , Published 7-26-2019 by YES! Magazine

U.S. Border Patrol agents conduct intake at the Central Processing Center in McAllen, Texas. Photo: CBP/flickr

Not far from a detention center in McAllen, Texas, Indigenous people will gather on Saturday for a demonstration, joining their voices to the ongoing chorus of protests over the detention of asylum-seekers along the U.S. southern border.

Taking a Stand on Our Stolen Land is organized by the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas and Native Voice Network on traditional Esto’k Gna territory. Continue reading

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Critics Charge New Trump Plan ‘Recklessly Weakens Protections’ for What Remains of ‘Illegally Reduced’ Bears Ears Monument

“The Trump administration continues to prove its utter disregard of our public lands and outdoor heritage.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-26-2019

The Interior Department on Friday released its management plan for Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah. (Photo: Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management/Flickr/cc)

Conservation groups and congressional Democrats slammed the Trump administration Friday over its destructive new management plan for the “illegally reduced” Bears Ears National Monument in Utah.

In December of 2017, the administration provoked mass outrage with its decision to reduce Bears Ears by about 85 percent. The Bureau of Land Management—an agency of the U.S. Interior Department—published in the Federal Register on Friday a management plan for, as one critic put it, “the meager remnants of the original monument.” Continue reading

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Challenging EPA’s New FOIA Rule, Suit Seeks to Stop Trump’s “Shameful Attempt to Keep Americans in the Dark”

“We have a right to know what EPA is trying to hide and which Trump appointee is trying to hide it.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-24-2019

EPA headquarters in Washington. EPA/Flickr

A new lawsuit seeks to kill a recent Trump administration rule that critics say deals a blow to transparency by giving the Environmental Protection Agency broad authority to shoot down public information requests.

The new rule—put in place without public input—was published on the Federal Register June 26 and goes into effect July 26. Continue reading

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To Keep Public Housing From Becoming ‘Panopticon of Automated Face Scanning,’ Democrats Push Facial Recognition Ban

“Surveillance of poor communities isn’t about safety, it’s about social control.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-23-2019

Two congresswomen are expected to introduce legislation banning the use of facial recognition surveillance in public housing this week. Photo: Change.org

Privacy and civil liberties advocates applauded a pair of Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday as they prepared to introduce legislation to protect public housing residents from the rise of facial recognition surveillance.

In a letter sent to their fellow members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) invited co-sponsors for the No Biometric Barriers to Housing Act, which would stop public housing complexes which accept funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from installing facial recognition tools. Continue reading

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‘Close the Camps!’: Protesters March Against Trump’s Plan to Imprison Migrant Kids at Site of Japanese, Indigenous Incarceration

Fort Sill was the site of one of the nation’s Japanese American internment camps during World War II, decades after it was the site of imprisoned native communities

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-20-2019

Immigrant rights advocates marched to Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma on Saturday, July 20, 2019. (Photo: United We Dream via Twitter)

Hundreds of activists rallied in over 100° heat in Lawton, Oklahoma on Saturday to demand the Trump administration stop the incarceration of asylum-seeking children.

“Close the camps!” the crowd of protesters shouted on their march to Fort Sill. Continue reading

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