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D.C. Memo: ‘I made Juneteenth very famous’

This week from Washington, the Supreme Court decides the fate of the DACA’s program, Mayor Melvin Carter testifies in D.C., and Congress prepares to vote on national policing legislation.

photo of donald trump
President Donald Trump
REUTERS/Leah Millis

Welcome to this week’s edition of the D.C. Memo. This week from Washington, the Supreme Court decides the fate of the DACA’s program, Mayor Melvin Carter testifies in D.C., and Congress prepares to vote on national policing legislation. Let’s get on with this.

Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of Univ. of California

After months and months of waiting, the Supreme Court decided the fate of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (or DACA) on Thursday. The DACA program has allowed Dreamers, Americans who have lived in the U.S. without official authorization since childhood, the ability to legally live and work in the U.S.

The Court’s 5-4 decision did not affirm the program’s existence, but did conclude that the Trump administration broke the law by not repealing the program correctly. In the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote: “We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies.”

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“Everybody is celebrating and crying,” Adrian Escarate, a 31-year-old Dreamer, told CQ Rollcall. “It is obviously a very positive ruling. … But it should be a motivating factor for all legislators to finally pass some type of permanent protection for us.”

Look out for my story next week on the challenges ahead for immigration advocates, as they seek comprehensive immigration reform and the solidification of the DACA program.

This has been a big week for the Supreme Court. On Monday, in a 6-3 opinion, it decided Title VII of the Civil Rights Act bars workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender.

“An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex,” wrote Justice Neil Gorsuch. “Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”

Justice in Policing Act

House Democrats plan to pass legislation next week to ban police from using chokeholds, set up a national database for tracking police misconduct and make it easier to pursue legal damages against police by ending “qualified immunity.”

At the same time, the Republicans in the Senate are preparing a much more police-union-friendly bill, sponsored by Sen. Tim Scott. Scott’s bill will be led by Minnesota District Eight’s Rep. Pete Stauber, a former police officer, in the House.

Read more at MinnPost.

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Senate Democrats are supportive of the House proposal. On Tuesday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar invited St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, the son of a Black St. Paul police officer, to testify in support of the House plan. Carter said:

With the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, we can establish a national standard of policing to curb brutality, end racial profiling, and eliminate qualified immunity. We can invest in community-policing programs, as well as needed alternatives for safety beyond policing. We can prevent officers from switching departments to avoid accountability, and send a strong message to our children and to the world, that America will no longer accept these cycles of violence against her black and brown people.

By the numbers

  • $4,000,000: Companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft helped raise millions for the Black Lives Matter foundation. The problem? The foundation has nothing to do with the Black Lives Matter movement, according to BuzzFeed News. 
  • 46,000,000: The total number of unemployment claims over the last 13 weeks. 
  • $467,000,000: The amount of CARES Act money cities and counties may get, under a new state Senate plan (Gov. Tim Walz does not seem to like it).

Omar’s father, Nur Omar Mohamed, dies of COVID-19 related complications

Rep. Ilhan Omar’s father, Nur Omar Mohamed, died Monday from complications related to COVID-19. “No words can describe what he meant to me and all who knew him,” she said in a statement.

Read more from Sahan Journal. 

Omar has frequently talked about the importance of her father in her life.  Here’s what MinnPost alum Briana Bierschbach wrote for MPR last April:

Her mother died when she was 2, but Omar said she never really understood that she grew up without a mom. In an interview with MPR News last year, Omar said she didn’t know exactly how her mom died. She said she was spoiled with the affection of her father and grandfather, who raised her to feel she was special and to voice her opinions in a mostly patriarchal society.

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In other news

Quote of the week

“I did something good: I made Juneteenth very famous. It’s actually an important event, an important time. But nobody had ever heard of it,” President Donald Trump told the Wall Street Journal. Juneteenth, the holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S., was first celebrated in 1867.

What I’m reading

Linda Poon for CityLab: The Racist History of Curfews in America

The restrictions on who can go out at night have a history rooted in efforts to “contain” Black Americans. CityLab has a long explainer on how the policies were used in prior years and what they can teach us about today’s curfew policies.

That’s all for this week. Thanks for sticking around. Until next week, feel free to send tips, suggestions, and sound advice to: Follow at @gabemschneider. And don’t forget to become a MinnPost member.