Every other Thursday, the Equal Voice News digest, “Making It in Trump’s America: People, Policy & Poverty,” will track the latest from the Trump administration and whether its policies are creating poverty or prosperity. We’ll have reports from families and grassroots organizations working on those issues around the country. Here’s our latest:
Cracks Form in the Trump Administration’s Immigration Crackdown
In cities and states, families and advocates are organizing to fight the immigration policies coming from the Trump White House.
The Illinois state Legislature is already moving. This week, the General Assembly passed the TRUST Act, which “will forbid local police from holding people for immigration purposes without court-ordered warrants and forbid local police from stopping, searching or arresting anyone based on their immigration or citizenship status,” the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights reports.
The bill now goes to Gov. Bruce Rauner. Stay tuned.
In California, legislators continue their fight for immigrant rights, moving two proposals forward in May.
“A measure that would bar landlords from disclosing tenants’ immigration status or reporting them to immigration officials passed the chamber (the state Assembly). A bill prohibiting public and private employers from letting immigration agents come into their worksites or view their employee files cleared a committee.” – Associated Press.
If policymakers want lessons on fighting for immigrant rights, they could talk with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. The grassroots organization has been doing it for years on Florida’s farms. Read CNN’s new story “How America’s ‘ground-zero’ for modern slavery was cleaned up by workers’ group.”
Budget and Battles in D.C. and Illinois
The Trump administration unveiled its official budget plan this month, and it would make deep cuts in the social safety net. The Atlantic offers a glimpse into what could happen to families if President Trump’s plans become a reality, “When states try to target aid to only the ‘deserving’ poor, poverty intensifies.”
The good news for poor families is that legislators say the president’s budget proposal is not going anywhere fast.
In Illinois, grassroots organizations are engaged in a different budget battle – the state has been without a full budget for two years (and just entered Year No. 3) – and they are taking the fight to the streets, literally. This month, ONE Northside and the Peoples’ Lobby Education Institute led marchers to the state Capitol to demand a “people and planet first” budget.
Read about the reasons behind the march and why a 91-year-old doctor, who is a World War II veteran, decided to walk and ask the governor to pass a budget and help people in Equal Voice News.
Action on Wages Brewing in the States
If you are looking for the latest on raising the minimum wage, Nevada and Illinois are two places to watch.
- “Nevada Democrats Tout Arizona Data in Minimum-Wage Push.” – Associated Press
- “The Latest: Illinois House Approves Minimum Wage Hike.” – Associated Press
- Though in “Louisiana minimum wage increase fails in Senate committee.” – The Times-Picayune.
There are even rumblings in Congress of a push for a higher minimum wage. “A Majority Of Senate Democrats Support Bernie Sanders’ $15 Minimum Wage Bill,” HuffPost reports.
The Health Care Reform Drama Keeps Changing and Slowing Down
The Congressional Budget Office finally released its long-awaited estimate on the House-passed health care bill, and guess what, the number of additional uninsured people soars past 20 million, according to The Associated Press.
If you are trying to make sense of the CBO report, the Washington Post has “The three numbers you need to understand the CBO report on Republicans’ health-care bill.”
Voting Rights Strengthened in North Carolina
Voting rights advocates won another fight over North Carolina’s approach. “Supreme Court rules race improperly dominated N.C. redistricting efforts,” the Washington Post says.
The Case Against Harsher Sentencing
As the Trump administration signals it will push for a return to harsher sentencing and private prisons, opposition is forming. “Prosecutors are pushing back against Sessions order to pursue most severe penalties,” the Washington Post found.
Want help understanding the administration’s emerging approach to criminal justice?
The U.S. Bolts the Paris Climate Accord
President Trump made news on Thursday, but it’s debatable whether his announcement that the U.S. is leaving the Paris Climate Accord will make America great again. The decision certainly ricocheted around the world.
As of Thursday night, there were reports of people protesting the decision, and one rally opposing the decision is scheduled in San Francisco on Friday.
NPR re-posted this 2015 report on what the Paris Climate Accord is, and The New York Times reported the decision has the effect of “weakening efforts to combat global warming and embracing isolationist voices in his White House.”
The NAACP’s Jacqueline Patterson, who directs its climate justice program, issued this statement after Trump made the announcement:
“Low-income African-American neighborhoods will be among the most affected by exiting the Paris Agreement.Increased carbon dioxide emissions can cause extreme and unprecedented weather conditions, which can potentially devastate communities as we during Hurricane Katrina.”
In his remarks about his decision, Trump said he represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris, according to media reports.
But here’s one catch: Global warming knows no boundaries.
What We’re Reading
With the new administration’s plans for criminal justice becoming a little clearer, it’s a good time to pick up Michelle Alexander’s groundbreaking book “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.”
(Sources: Jobs With Justice digest, Associated Press, news outlets, and, of course, our neighbors. Paul Nyhan is the senior writer for Equal Voice News, which is published by Marguerite Casey Foundation. Ebony Slaughter-Johhnson, an Equal Voice News contributor, provided research assistance with this digest.)