Weekend Reading: 2/12

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We’ve been reading a lot this week, and we still feel like we’re playing catch up. Here are a few things that may be interesting–or useful–to educators.

While the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the stay on the administration’s travel ban, you are probably already aware that ICE conducted a series of raids this week around the country.

Here’s some background information, from The Washington Post:

Officials said the raids targeted known criminals, but they also netted some immigrants without criminal records, an apparent departure from similar enforcement waves during the Obama administration. Last month, Trump substantially broadened the scope of who the Department of Homeland Security can target to include those with minor offenses or no convictions at all.

Trump has pledged to deport as many as 3 million undocumented immigrants with criminal records.

If you are in the classroom, it’s likely that this is impacting your students, their family members, and their broader community. To that end, here are some resources that you can hand out NOW that may help at least clarify the situation.

Next, not a long read, but an important tool: from United We Dream, Know Your Rights downloadable cards that explain our rights clearly and succinctly are now available in Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and English. ALL people in the United States have these rights, regardless of their immigration status. These cards are designed to be used as a guide when interacting with immigration authorities. Below is the English version.

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From The New Yorker, “Teaching Southern and Black History Under Trump,” a look at some of the challenges professors in the South, in largely red states, are facing as they attempt to teach history in the current political climate.

“I don’t know that Trump has historical awareness at all,” Fitzhugh Brundage, the chair of the history department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told me. “He doesn’t display any historical consciousness or depth.” U.N.C.-Chapel Hill is a relatively liberal Southern institution; Brundage described the atmosphere on campus after Trump’s victory as “funereal.” And he said that many of the historians he knows feel their work has become even more critical: “I’ve had any number of colleagues say they feel recommitted and energized to do what they do, because of its very importance now.”

From Think Progress, a short read on how the Department of Justice may be backing off of protections for transgender kids:

As ThinkProgress reported last August, the Obama administration’s guidance “stated that Title IX’s nondiscrimination protections on the basis of ‘sex’ protect transgender students in accordance with their gender identity, such that they must be allowed to use the bathrooms and play on sports teams that match their gender.” But the brief filed Friday signals that the Trump administration no longer wants to implement that guidance.

And, while not education-related, here’s an explainer from Vox about why General Flynn may continue to be at the center of one of the more urgent scandals plaguing the administration. We’ll see if anything comes of this one.

Late Thursday night, the Washington Post reported that Flynn had called Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on December 29, the same day that Obama had slapped new sanctions on Russia in retaliation for its hack of the US election. The conversation covered the sanctions, and, according to two officials, suggested that the Trump administration would be rolling back the sanctions in the future.

That would mean Flynn had been actively trying to undermine Obama administration policy while not yet in office — a big, questionably legal no-no. Indeed, the FBI is currently investigating the content of the Flynn calls.

And finally, welcome to new readers! Our community continues to grow, and we look forward to providing more original educational material as we move forward–while still highlighting the best of what we find on the web.

Have something you’d like to see? Have something you’d like to share? Get in touch this way, or get in touch this way. Or just leave a comment. Hope to hear from you soon!

“Travel Ban” Hearing

An overview of what’s happening at today’s hearing and what might happen next

We’ve been following the court cases opposing the “travel ban” executive order. Now, we aren’t lawyers, but we thought a review of where things stand might interest you, as it did us. Here goes.

Currently, here’s a nationwide “stop” on the order, which the Trump administration is appealing to the 9th Circuit court of appeals in order to re-start the ban. The hearing will be broadcast live today at 3pm Pacific (you can listen here).

Here’s Dara Lind of Vox on what’s happening  at  today’s hearing and what might happen afterward:

  • On Friday, federal judge James Robart… temporarily froze all enforcement of the order’s key parts: a 90-day ban on all entries to the US from people from seven majority-Muslim countries, and a 120-day ban on nearly all refugees…
  • The federal government is asking the Ninth Circuit to lift the freeze as quickly as possible…
  • But it’s unlikely to succeed. The court-imposed freeze will probably be in place for another week or two…

And here’s an overview article from The Guardian about the ban:

What are the basic lines of argument?

In its original complaint, the state of Washington (soon joined by Minnesota) argued: “The order is tearing Washington families apart. Husbands are separated from wives, brothers are separated from sisters, and parents are separated from their children.”

The states argued that Trump’s executive order was “motivated by discriminatory animus” and violated guarantees against discrimination in both the Immigration and Nationality Act and the US constitution. The states further argued that the order violated the constitutional separation of church and state and the constitutional guarantee of due process before the law.

The justice department has countered that the judge’s blocking the order “contravenes the constitutional separation of powers; harms the public by thwarting enforcement of an executive order issued by the nation’s elected representative responsible for immigration matters and foreign affairs; and second-guesses the president’s national security judgment about the quantum of risk posed by the admission of certain classes of aliens and the best means of minimizing that risk”.

What will the appeals court decision mean?

If the appeals court rules against the justice department, the federal government must then decide whether to appeal again, asking the supreme court to weigh in.

But to overturn the lower court, a 5-3 supreme court ruling would be required – difficult math for Trump, in the eyes of most court analysts. The White House might wait to appeal the ruling until Trump’s current supreme court nominee, judge Neil Gorsuch, could be confirmed by the Senate. Or the justice department could shift its strategy elsewhere.

This is all to say it’s unclear what’s coming next, which just adds to the anxiety a lot of us are feeling.