Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Blogger Candidate Forum: Protecting DACA-Students

http://www.citylab.com; September 11, 2017


Hello Everyone:

What did you all think about Mr. Donald Trump's maiden speech before the United Nations?  Nothing like threatening to destroy another member nation to give diplomats and the assembled press corps the right impression.  Yours Truly thinks that Sir Elton John may have a copyright infringement case against Mr. Trump for his use of the moniker "Rocket Man."  The speech was so full of vitriol that Blogger half expected Mr. Trump be like late Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and bang his shoe on the podium.  The threats against North Korea sounds like nothing more than schoolyard taunts.  This is not to say that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is any better.  In fact, Blogger believes that both "men" are behaving more like two little boys.  Alright that aside, let us move on to a couple of more important things

First, Mexico has become Mother Nature's punching bag.  A few weeks ago a massive earthquake rocked the southern coast, then Hurricane Jose swept through the nation, now another massive earthquake shook central Mexico today.  What was that about about climate being a hoax?  Second and related to today's post, Rhode Island announced that it will pay the renewal application fee for DACA-recipients living the state.  Regardless, the October 5, 2017 deadline is looming large.  If you have not submitted your renewal form, DO IT NOW.  For more information please go to http://www.uscis.gov.  

Universities, across the United States, have joined forces to protect their DACA-recipient students from deportation, in the wake of Mr. Trump's cruel decision to end the program.  Blogger is happy to report that her alma mater, the University of Southern California, has promised to protect its DACA-students.  Janet Napolitano, the chancellor of the University of California system, has joined a suit against the administration, to block the administration from implementing this order.  On September 7, 2017, more than 30 people were arrested during a rally in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  The rally was staged by teachers to protest the adminstration's decision to end DACA (http://www.bostonglobe.com; Sept. 7, 2017; date accessed Sept. 19, 2017).  DACA-Deferred Action for Childhood Arrovals-allows undocumented young people, brought to the U.S. as children to live, work and go to school legally.

Organizer Kirsten Weld, an associate professor of history at Harvard, was among those arrested.  She told CityLab:

We wanted to send a message to our students that we are going to fight for them...We also wanted to show what actions educators can take, because to get this problem solved through signing petitions.

Mimi Kirk writes, with a contribution from Alastair Boone,  in her CityLab article, "How Universities Are Protecting Their DREAMers," "The arrests of Weld and her peers are indicative of the outrage that many colleges and universities are expressing in the wake of the announcement."  USA Today reported:

According to data collected by Educators for Fair Consideration,..., 2.1 million people in the United States might qualify for DACA deferrals.  The nonprofit estimated that about 65,000 undocumented immigrants graduate from high school each year, but only 10,000 graduate from college.  (college.usatoday.com; Feb. 8, 2017; date accessed Sept. 1, 2017)

Teachers and staff also benefit from the program.

The day after the Harvard rally, the UC system, home to 4,000 DACA-students (http://www.latimes.com; Sept. 8, 2017; date accessed Sept. 19, 2017) throughout its ten campuses, announced a lawsuit against the administration (univeristyofcalifornia.edu; Sept. 8, 2017; date accessed Sept. 19, 2017).  The lawsuit states: 

The DREAMers face expulsion from the only country that they call home, based on nothing more than unreasoned executive whim..."

Meng So, the director of UC Berkeley's Undocumented Student Program, called the lawsuit "a gauntlet to fight for justic and human dignity."  Mr. So told CityLab,

It's an invitation to all universities across the nation to join us in winning the battle.

Although it still remains to be seen whether or not other campuses will join the UC in the legal battle, "...the lawsuit take university resistance to deportations of undocumented of students to a new level."

Mimi Kirk reports, "While some institutions, such as Wesleyan University and Reed College, designated themse;ves 'sanctuary campuses,' last year, pledging not to assist federal authorities in the deportation of their students (at least without a warrant), university officials generally recognize that their campuses must ultimately comply with immigration law."  Tim Cresswell, the dean of faculty and Vice President for academic affairs at Trinity College, told The Atlantic  in 2016,

[Being a sanctuary campus] doesn't mean very much.  (http://www.theatlantic.com; Nov. 22, 2016; date accessed Sept. 19, 2017)

Meng So adds,

Community members push for [sanctuary campus status] out of a desire to keep students and staff safe, but we are unsure if it has legal bearing.

Berkeley's Undocumented Student Program, founded in 2012 and a first in the U.S., it has become a model of how universities and colleges can provide services to their DACA-students, "...even if those services fall short of legal protection."

For DACA-student blog readers: pay attention to the next part.  Ms. Kirk reports, "First, So recommends that universities offer free legal support to their undocumented students."  Immediately after that stunning decision, institutions such as Georgetown University (http://www.facebook.com/georgetownuniversity; Sept. 5, 2017; date accessed Sept. 19, 2017), the University of San Diego (http://www.sandiegotribune.com; Sept. 6, 2017; date accessed Sept.19, 2017), and the University of Iowa (http://www.press-citizen.com; Sept. 8, 2017; Sept. 19, 2017) are beginning to provide or augment their legal service.

Next, "Once undocumented students seek legal advice, So says about 30 percent of the time they discover they're eligible for more permenant relief, such as visas granted to victims of crime or human trafficking."  Following that heinous annoucement, unversities are looking to sign up their students in the final two-year DACA period.  This is the important part: "Those whose status expires between now and March 5, 2018, are eligible for enrollment, and the deadline is October 5."  Kirstin Weld said, "...Harvard is looking into helping its students pay the $495 application fee.

Without DACA, students will find more difficult to pay for school.  For example, DACA-students will not be able to secure a work-study job at their school.  Ms. Kirk reports, "With such resources under threat, So say he is looking to shift work study into a public service fellowship or community engagement grant for affected student so they can maintain financial stability."

With increased anxiety over the future, universities have stepped up their mental health services.  Mr. So told CityLab,

Our students should be losing sleep over school, not over whether they will be deported the next day.

In 2015, UC Berkeley hired a counselor to work with DACA-students and other campuses are following  Berkeley's lead.

Mimi Kirk reports, "At the University of New Mexico, for instance, student programs specialists Armando Bustamante is starting group therapy session [http://www.chronicle.com; Sept. 6, 2017; date accessed Sept. 19, 2017] for undocumented students and is working to cover costs for individual sessions.  Harvard President Drew Faust announced [http://www.thecrimson.com; Sept. 6, 2017; date accessed Sept. 19, 2017] a 24-hour hotline for undocumented Harvard affiliates and a weekly support group run by the university's mental health center."

The demand for these services has been extremely high.  "So says that last week his office saw a 350 percent increase in the number of students seeking mental health support, and the website received 108,000 page views in one day..."

Kristin Weld observes "while the Trump decision first and foremost affects DACA recipients, it's harmful to all member of a university community."  She told CityLab:

The federal government us talking about coming into our classrooms and dorms to drag our student and staff awa...This ensures that universities cannot be spaces of safety and sanctuary, and that's unacceptable for everyone.  Educators and institutions must rise to the occasion.

Monday, September 18, 2017

What Does Innovation Have To With Economic Segregation?

http://www.citylab.com; August 18, 2017

Hello Everyone:

Welcome to a new, albeit abbreviated, week on the blog.  The major Jewish holidays are upon us and blogger mama is demanding Blogger's attention.  That aside, a friendly reminder to all DACA-recipients and anyone who knows a DACA-recipient: the October 5th deadline is coming up quickly.  You must renew before this deadline if you want to remain eligible.  The United States Citizenship and Immigration agency is only accepting renewal forms.  For more information please go to http://www.uscis.gov.  Good luck and on to today's subject: innovation and economic segregation.

It seems that not too long ago, cities were doing whatever they could to attract high-tech companies, hoping that the companies would bring with them high paying jobs.  City after city created programs anticipating they would be the "next Silicon Valley." (http://www.citylab.com; June 20, 2017; date accessed Sept. 18, 2017)

However, with the backlash facing Airbnb and Uber and protests over the high tech companies' shuttle busses have combined to make the onetime saviors into villains.  The villains are being balminess for making cities less affordable and the increasing gap between the wealthy and poor.  Richard Florida points out in his CityLab article, "The Complex Relationship Between Innovation and Economic Segregation," "Indeed, America's leading high-tech centers-the Bay Area, Boston, New York, Washington D.C., San Diego, and Raleigh all rank highly on various measures of wage and income inequality."   (http://www.citylab.com; Apr 13, 2017; date accessed Sept. 18, 2017)

Thus, the question for today is "...to what degree do high-tech industry and economic segregation go together?"

A new study, Innovation, Skill, and Economic Segregation, published by Richard Florida and Charlotta Mellander (http://www.martinprosperity.org: July 28, 2017; Sept. 18, 2017), takes an in-depth look into this issue.  Mr. Florida explains their methodology, "Our analysis covers the majority of America's 350-plus metros.  Within them, we measure innovation both in terms of patents (the most commonly used measured of innovation by economists) and the concentration of high-tech industry.  We measure economic segregation through several models based on income, education, and occupation, as well as a combined measure of overall economic segregation based on all three."

Using these models, Mr. Florida and Ms. Mellander first looked at the connection between levels of innovation and economic segregation for the year 2010-the latest years of complete information.  Next, they studied the link between innovation and economic segregation between 2000-2010.  Combining regression analysis and Principal Component Analysis, the researchers examined "...the connections between innovation, high-tech industry and economic segregation.  Mr. Florida adds, "We control for factors like the population size, average income, and education levels of metros as well as levels of income inequality in order to make a distinction between high tech...and some of the factors that it may bring along with it."

Initial read, "innovation, high-tech industry and economic segregation appear to be closely connected."  A correlation analysis demonstrates the "close connection between economic segregation and patented innovations (0.26) and an even closer connection between economic segregation and the concentration of high-tech industry (0.63)."  The first number is about "the same age the correlation between economic segregation and income (0.26), while the latter is similar to the correlation between economic segregation and population (0.64) making it among the very highest in our analysis."

Be that as it may, the link between innovation, high-tech industry, and economic segregation becomes less obvious "...when we control for factors that are present even in low-tech metros-factors like population size and disproportionate levels of the rich and highly educated, which are also likely to bear  on economic segregation."  Richard Florida and Charlotta Mellander found just one example where the high-tech industry was directly connected to economic segregation.  "This is for occupational segregation, which describes the extent to which highly-paid knowledge workers are segregated from lower-wage blue collar and service workers."  However, across the remainder of their models, Mr. Florida and Ms. Mellander found that the high-tech industry was not statistically associated with economic segregation.

Instead, what they discovered was "...economic segregation appears to be more closely associated with three key factors: the population size, average income, and average education levels of a metro."

Mr. Florida reports, "In some cities, these factors may be partially attributable to high-tech industry, which has brought an influx of highly paid and highly educated workers to cities like Boston and San Francisco.  But many highly segregated cities don't have correspondingly high levels innovations."  When Mr. Florida do Ms. Mellander examined the 350-plus American metros, their study found that "innovation itself is not closely correlated with economic segregation as income and education levels are."  No surprise, they concluded that economic segregation closely hewed to income inequality.

In essence, "...economic segregation tends to be a function of the size and education levels of a metro, which are influenced by many industries other than tech n metros around the country."

Their research suggests that innovation alone may not be the cause for economic segregation in American cities.  However Mr. Florida adds this caveat, "...it is nonetheless in the interest of America's leading high-tech companies to stop extracting from the cities where they are located and use their tremendous resources and capabiities [http://www.technologyreview.com; June 20, 2017; date accessed Sept. 18, 2017] to make them less divided and more equitable-for example helping to improve infrastructure, rather than building exclusive transit systems."  It is these exclusive policies by specific companies that may be actually contributing to economic segregation and inequality.

The Trump Administration is threatening to cut off much needed aid to the high-tech companies' host cities.  The wise move would be for the companies to partner with the cities.  Richard Florida writes, "...high tech companies have no choice but to work with cities, neighborhoods, and residents to engender a new age of inclusive prosperity."

He concludes, "Innovation depends upon the clustering, diversity and intermixing of people in places." The level at which cities and metropolitans have become more segregated by income, education, and occupation, their ability to innovate and develop new technology is likely to decrease.  Over time, the increase in economic segregation is likely to deteriorate a metropolitan's innovation capabilities.  In essence, "The more segregated a place becomes, the less innovative it is likely to be."


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Blogger Candidate Forum: "Anti-Sanctuary" Cities

http://www.citylab.com; August 27, 2017

Hello Everyone:

Time for the weekly addition of Blogger Candidate Forum.  Once again, a couple of reminders: First, you can text donations to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma relief at 90999.  Second, today is September 13, 2017, only a few weeks left to renew your DACA application.  In order to protect yourself from possible deportation, you must renew by October 5, 2017.  Please go to uscis.gov for all the latest information.  This reminder is a nice segue way into today's subject: anti-sanctuary cities.

There is no question in Blogger's mind that Mr. Donald Trump's pardoning for former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio was one of the most egregiously unconscionable acts of his presidency.  In a tweeted (naturally) statement, the president said,

Throughout his time as sheriff, Arpaio continued his life's work of protect the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration... (http://www.twitter.com/chiraagbains; 5:21 pm Aug. 25, 2017; date accessed Sept. 13, 2017)

In a few words, Mr. Trump signaled his approval of the former sheriff's outrageous, abuse-laden crackdown on undocumented immigrants (http://www.twitter.com/phoenixnewtimes; 7:01PM Aug. 25, 2017; date accessed Sept. 13, 2017) and his persistent defiance of a federal court order to stop racial profile (http://www.npr.org; July 31, 2017; date accessed Sept. 13, 2017).  Tanvi Misra writes in her CityLab article, "'Anti-Sanctuary' Cities Continue to Multiply Under Trump," "The presidential pardon is likely to encourage other local governments to abandon any fears of litigation and sign-up to engage in similar behavior."  It could also increase the number of "anti-sanctuary" cities, which have been steadily multiplying since the president took office (http://www.citylab.com; March 1, 2017; date accessed Sept. 13, 2017).

During his tenure as sheriff, Mr. Arpaio participated in the 287(g) program-Delegation of Immigration Authority Section 287(g) Immigration and Nationality Act (http://www.ice.gov; date accessed Sept. 13, 2017).  This act invests local police and sheriff's deputies immigration enforcement powers, either in jails or in the field, or both.  The former sheriff spent who know how much taxpayer money (http://www.eastvalleytribune.com; date accessed Sept. 13, 2017) tracking down undocumented immigrants (and the lawsuits that followed [http://www.azcentral.com; March 28, 2017; date accessed Sept. 13, 2017]).  Mr. Arpaio was also infamous for the in humane and humiliating treatment of his immigrants in his custody (http://www.newyorker.com; July 20, 2009; date accessed Sept.13, 2017) clearly a violation of the Eight Amendment which forbids cruel and unusual punishment.  Ms. Misra cites some of the ways the former sheriff would treat his inmates: "...He'd move hundreds of male detainees to a new jail in nothing but pink underwear.  When the jails became overcrowded, he moved his prisoners to "concentration camps" [http://www.phoenixnewtimes; Aug. 2, 2010; date accessed Sept. 13, 2017]-tent cities with no respite from the temperatures as high as 135 degrees."  Inmates were physically abused (Ibid; July 2, 1997; date accessed Sept. 13, 2017) and deaths occurred at alarming rates (Ibid; Nov. 24, 2015; date accessed Sept. 13, 2017). 

Ms. Misra reports, "In 2011, a Justice Department Investigation [http://www.justic.gov; Dec. 15, 2011; date accessed Sept. 13, 2017] confirmed his civil rights violation and DHS revoked its agreement to let his officers carry out immigration enforcement in the field."  The results of this investigation came a year after two government watchdogs (oig.dhs.gov; March , 2010; date accessed Sept. 3, 2017) concluded that the 287(g) program operated without Immigration and Customs Enforcement oversight.  She continues, "For these reason, the program was scaled back in favor of other forms of cooperation under the Obama administration.  However, President Barack Obama is no longer in office and the current administration has revived and enhanced it (http://www.citylab.com; March 1, 2017), and actively encouraging municipalities to embrace it.  Not in Los Angeles.  Yay Mayor Eric Garcetti

Breaking news: according to the Phoenix New Times Motel 6 in Latino neighborhoods allegedly share their guest lists with ICE.  (twitter.com/phoenixnewtimes; Sept. 13, 2017; 8:00 AM)

In July, ICE announced that it signed new 287(g) agreements with 18 Texas counties (http://www.ice.gov; July 31, 2017; date accessed Sept. 13, 2017). This brings the total to 60 counties (Ibid), double the number from the previous year.  Tanvi Misra writes, "So far, these counties have opted for the 'jail enforcement model,' in which only jailers can carry out ICE's responsibilities."  This is a tamer version of 287(g) than the Arpaio iteration-it equally criticized for being cost ineffective (isa.unc.edu; Feb. 2010; date accessed Sept. 13, 2017) and counter productive (http://www.migrationpolicy.org; Jan. 2011; Sept. 13, 2017).

CityLab has generated an inter-active map of the counties that signed up or renewed a 287(g), which can be viewed at http://www.citylab.com.  Most of the counties that signed up are clustered in the Houston area.  Something to be aware of if you are a DACA-recipient seeking hurricane relief.  The full list is available at the ICE website.  Yours Truly is happy to report that Los Angeles County is not the list but the Orange County, California Sheriff's Office is on the list of places that practice jail enforcement of 287(g).

Tanvi Misra observes, "It seems that what Trump is selling, many sheriffs are willing to buy."  The sheriffs are are still on the fence about it (http://www.thedailybeast.com; Aug. 19, 2017; date accessed Sept. 13, 2017) may be offered a workaround (http://www.nytimes.com; Aug. 21, 2017; Sept. 13, 2017).  According to a New York Times report by Caitlin Dickerson, the workaround agreement,

...intended to circumvent court decisions that have thus far limited the role of local law enforcement in immigration.  It involves a legal move regarding detainers, which are requests by Immigration and Customs Enforcements to local sheriffs or police departments to hold people who are suspected of being in the country illegally, even after they have posted bail, finished their jail sentence or otherwise resolved their criminal cases.

In short, this plan circumvents court decisions that found the detainers  violation of the Fourth Amendment-unreasonable search and seizure.

The plan calls for the federal government to "contract" sheriffs' department to detain people's suspected of being undocumented immigrants.  What is not clear is what form these new agreements will take, but they are in the same vein as the 287(g) agreements (http://www.twitter.com/juliemaoster; 7:04 AM Aug. 21, 2017; date accessed Sept. 13, 2017.  Ms. Misra spoke with Daniel Stageman, director of research at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at City University of New York, who has been following these agreements.  On November 2, 2016, he post this article on The Crime Report,

...The parameters of such agreements, or the training that local law enforcements officers requires under them, are left ambiguous.  Notwithstanding the established practice of ICE under the Obama administration (the GW Bush administration prior to that), it is certainly conceivable that a Trump administration could severely reduce the rigor of established training requirements, along with the strictures laid out in ICE's current Memorandum of Agreement template [http://www.ice.gov; date accessed Sept. 13, 2017], leaving a loose and undemanding structure to induce local law enforcement agencies to join.  (http://www.thecrimereport.org; Nov. 2, 2016; date accessed Sept. 13, 2017)

Just as Mr. Stageman predicted, smaller Southern counties close to a large undocumented immigrant population are lining up to join, powered by the prospect of political and economic gain.  This makes it even more imperative for current DACA-recipients to renew their applications by October 5, 2017 because this current form of "anti-sanctuary" cities is also growing in number

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Golden Opportunity

http://www.citylab.com; September 7, 2017

Hello Everyone:

A lovely Tuesday to you all.  Blogger is in a good mood thanks to a couple of very nice developments in her personal life.  Before we get going on today's subject: Houston's redevelopment, time for the daily hurricane relief and DACA reminder.  Southeast Texas, Georgia, and Florida need your help as they begin to dig out from Harvey and Irma.  Please text 90999 (minimum $10) to the Red Cross.  Second, the clock is ticking for DACA-recipients.  You must renew by October 5, 2017 otherwise your application will no longer be under consideration.  Please go to uscis.gov for all the latest information. That done, shall we move on?

The images of a devastated Houston were horrific.  Whole communities were destroyed, streets flooded, people stranded on rooftops waiting for rescue.  However, do not write Houston off for good.  The city will rebound.  The Houston metropolitan area is one of the United States' fastest region with a population approaching "...seven million people and projected to grow to more than 11 million by 2050."  It economic is nearly $500 billion dollars, roughly equivalent to Sweden, Poland, or Belgium, ranking "...25th most productive nations in the world."  Houston is also the epicenter of high-tech energy production, with a plethora of highly regarded software engineers and high-tech talent that would make Silicon Valley envious (sorry).

Thus with all these abundance of talent and economic assets extolled by Richard Florida and Jonathan F.P. Rose in their CityLab article "Houston's Big Opportunity for Better Urban Development" and confidence in the city's ability to rebuild, the authors ask the very basic question: How?

How will Houston and now, the hardest hit areas of Florida will rebuild?  Natural disasters are a fact of life.  In California, we deal with earthquakes, fires, and floods.  Hurricane Harvey left at least 50 people dead, about 40,000 homes destroyed, and property damage that will easily the total $100 billion dollars.  As that oft-repeated Chinese proverbs goes: "with chaos comes opportunity."  In this case, Houston has the "...unprecedented opportunity to re-imagine growth itself, recasting urban infrastructure and economies in more resilient sustainable and inclusive ways."

Christopher Kennedy's book, The Evolution of Great World Cities (amazon.com), looks how great cities have reset their development path following natural or man-made disaster.  For example, London's rise to global commercial prominence in the 17th century was powered by the catastrophic 1666 fire, which led to major "...sweeping changes in the city's building codes and widening of its streets, which in turn led to increased densities, the adoption of new building techonologies, and ultimately remade the city in ways that put it on a new growth trajectory."

This, according to the authors, is what "Houston can and must do today."

Make no mistake, there is an awful lot of work that needs to get done right away: rebuild damaged homes, apartments, commercial buildings, and roads.  However, the author consider it "urban malpractice" if the Houston region did not seize the opportunity "to re-imagine its future, and create a long-term vision and plan for greater economical and economic resilience."  This re-imagining the future should be based on acknowledging increasingly volatile weather events and crafting a more economically sustainable and inclusive development model which enhances the quality of life for everyone.

The authors write, "Greater Houston has been widely admired for its entrepreneurial approach to land use and zoning, which fueled its growth.  But its lace of development guidelines has also come under fire for producing its low-slung, sprawling, auto dependent urban form with little permeable surface area, which as left vulnerable to devasting flooding."  If there is one good thing to come out of this catastrophe, the region has been granted the chance to rebuild in a more progressive minded, resilient, and inclusive manner.

Building more and better pipes, walls, and infrastructure is not the answer.  The solution is more efficient use of Houston's natural flood protection system and mitigation.  The authors report, "Philadelphia is now investing over $1.7 billion in its green infrastructure plan, planting trees, creating parks, gardens and swales in a way that will reduce the city's storm water outflow by  $85, and  saving another $7 billion in hard infrastructure costs."  Rotterdam's climate change strategy makes of use of its natural areas as type of "sponge" to absorb storm water and the canal to hold and move water during floods.  The authors opine, "Adding trees, gardens and green space during the city's rebuilding will help to more effectively absorbs storm water and reduce summer temperatures."  This is something that the Los Angeles region would be well advised to do.  Think about it, a more ecologically friendly approach to infrastructure will allow the Houston region to better manage floods, contribute to a better quality of life, make more attractive to talent that drives its knowledge-based economy.

As sea levels rise and weather becomes more volatile, the Greater Houston area will have to fight off the Gulf of Mexico edging its way on to its eastern shore and improve drainage capabilities in the city center in the west.  The authors observe, "Unfortunately, the region is very flat, sloping only four feet across its entire downtown."  Richard Florida and Jonathan F.P. Rose offer this solution, "...rebuild in a more dense  and clustered way which can be raised above the flood plain.  Green construction, energy efficient building technology and distributed energy systems will not only increase the region's resilience to flooding and weather events, it will reduce operating costs, and create a market for new technologies, industries and jobs."

Another area primed for a reset is the Houston region's transportation system (http://www.citylab.com; Sept. 5, 2017; date accessed Sept. 12, 2017).  The authors note, "Houston's notoriously car-dependent road and highway network has contributed to its sprawl and left it vulnerable to flooding."  In the wake of Harvey, waitlists for car rentals have grown by dizzying proportions and gas prices have gotten outrageous (Ibid).  This has Houstonians dealing with how to get to work and their children to school without a car.  Houston's famed "bus lady" Janis Scott (http://www.pbs.org; Oct. 15, 2017; date accessed Sept. 12, 2017) said,

I keep hearing on the radio that people won't be able to get anywhere...But this doesn't need to be the end of the world.  Now is the time to get with METRO.  (http://www.citylab.com; Sept. 5, 2017)

Although Los Angeles is the prennial leader in traffic congestion-the average driver will spend about 104 hours during peak travel periods driving in congestion (http://www.latimes.com; Feb 20, 2017; date accessed Sept. 12, 2017), Houston is right up there.  "The average Houstonian spends an average of 74 hours-roughly two full work weeks-stuck in traffic each giving it the fourth worst rate in the nation."  The clogged roads and highways make it nearly impossible to evacuate the city when disaster strikes.

Now is the time to invest in mass transit and rail.  This goes for Los Angeles as well.  The authors state, "It will not only make the region more compact, sustainable and resilient, it will increase the velocity of people, goods, and ideas, creating a better ecosystem for innovation."  In short, wise investment in mass transit and rail has the potential to greatly increase the scale and scope of its economy.  Consider this, a high speed rail system linking Houston to a mega-region spanning Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin would spawn an economic region of 20 million people, generating an economic output of $1.5 billion, making it one of the world's top ten economies, larger than Canada, Russia, Spain, and Australia.

One of Houston's most vexing issues exposed by Hurricane Harvey is growing gap between rich and poor; the declining middle class.  Here is a chance for the region to address income inequality and strengthen the middle class.  The authors report, "The metro suffers among the highest levels of inequality and segregation, ranking behind only New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco on composti measures of economic segregation and economic inequality."  Although its urban neighborhoods have revitalized, the city and region are a patchwork of "..concentrated advantages and concentrated disadvantages, with the latter neighborhoods most at risk from flooding and environmental disasters: More than three-quarters of the city's closed landfills and nearly 90 percent of its hazardous waste sites are located in low-income, largely minority neighborhoods."  Any and all rebuilding initiative must include a genuine effort to create an inclusive model "...based on mixed used development, affordable housing, and access to better jobs."

Houston's is a rapidly growing region with global ambitions.  Hurricane Harvey afforded the region a golden opportunity to redefine its economy and become a better example for coastal cities around the world.  Richard Florida and Jonathan F.P. Rose write, "Human civilization emerged in flood zones of river valleys, where soil was most fertile."  Further, "More than three-quarters of the world economy is based around coastal cities."  No surprise here that these coastal cities are the "...world's most innovative and productive places, but they are also among the most vulnerable."

As Houston emerges from the pummeling it took from Hurricane Harvey, it has the unique opportunity to not only recreate buildings and infrastructure but also the golden chance to remake its economy and development for the future.  Imagine what would happen if it replaces its expiring sprawling, automobile-oriented, energy-intensive model with an innovative model founded on clustered mixed use neighborhoods linked by transit and circled by abundant green space that incorporates green building technology.  By following this prescription, Houston will set the example for cities around the world in bad need of new model for building resilient, sustainable, economically robust and inclusive communities.


Monday, September 11, 2017

Here is How Cities Can Deal With Opioid Addiction And Mental Health

http://www.citylab.com; August 22, 2017


Hello Everyone:

 Welcome to a new week on the blog.  A few agenda items before we get going on today's subject-the  option crisis and mental health-First, new week, new hurricane.  Over the weekend, Hurricane Irma landed with a mighty force on the state of Florida.  Florida and Texas are now faced with the overwhelming task of cleaning up and rebuilding the affected areas.  If you would like to donate to hurricane relief, please text 90999 (minimum 10 dollars).  Second, if you are a DACA-recipient, you have until October 5, 2017 to renew your application.  For more information, go to uscis.gov immediately.  Finally, it may be early but the mid-term elections are looming in the horizon and naturally Blogger Candidate Forum will be blogging away.  Remember, if you have not done so already, register to vote.  Check with your state's Secretary of State website.  Thanks and onto opioid crisis and mental health.

The opioid crisis has reached national emergency levels.  Although, Mr. Donald Trump has yet to do anything of substance about, like he promised during the campaign, the cities have begun to take the lead in addressing this matter.  Brentin Mock writes in his CityLab article "What Cities Really Need to Tackle the Opioid and Mental Health," "In November 2015, New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray launched ThriveNYC [thrivenyc.cityofnewyork.us; date accessed Sept. 11, 2017], a comprehensive mental health prevention and treatment program funded by the city..."  The program is responsible for outreach campaigns (http://www.citylab.com; Apr. 19, 2016; date accessed Sept 11, 2017) around New York City with slogans like Anxiety doesn't define me (cdc.theatlantic.com; date accessed Sept. 11, 2017) and available training for 250,000 mental health "First Aid responders" (mentalhealthfirstaid.org; date accessed Sept. 11, 2017) to assist people with mental illness and substance abuse disorders.  So far, so good.  Good enough that Ms. McCray has expanded her campaign to 185 cities, under the banner "Cities Thrive Coalition."

Ms. McCray's initiative comes at the right when the White House and Congress have been trying to cut back funding for mental health (theatlantic.com; May 23, 2017; date accessed Sept. 11, 2017), alcohol-addiction treatment (nytimes.com; May 5, 2017; date accessed Sept. 11, 2017), provided by the American Healthcare Act, Medicaid, and related federal programs.  Mr. Mock observes, "Which is to say the Cities Thrive Coalition is congealing at a time when these 180-plus cities may only have each other to count on in the fight for mental wellness."

The initiative also comes at a time when police are under the microscope for responding violently to mentally ill people (treatmentadvocacycenter.org; date accessed Sept. 11, 2017), and as opioid overdose reaches national epidemic proportion (citylab.com; Dec. 27, 2016; date accessed Sept. 11, 2017).  Luckily ThriveNYC has made progress (nyc.gov; date accessed Sept. 11, 2017) on substance abuse and overdose, despite "flying into the federal headwinds of healthcare cuts."  Thus far, New York City has "...trained has trained over 2,500 NYPD officers in Crisis Intervention Training, so they can deploy tools other than guns and handcuffs when encountering people who might be suffering mental or drug-induced breakdowns."  Just as many New Yorkers (2,300 to be more precise) have been trained to identify the signs symptoms of a person having a depression episode, psychosis, or an overdose.

CityLab sat down with Chirlane McCray in New Orleans, where she and a Cities Thrive delegation spoke to the U.S. Conference of Mayors about the urgency of addressing this matter.  Her presentation coincided with the president finally declaring the opioid crisis a national emergency (theatlantic.com; Aug. 10, 2017; date accessed Sept. 11, 2017) after days he said he would not (washingtonpost.com; Aug. 8, 2017; date accessed Sept. 11, 2017).  What form this will take has yet to be seen, Ms. McCray  told CityLab that "...New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who headed Trump's opioid commission, didn't reach out to her, despite her work in this area."  Below are excerpts of what Ms. McCray had to say about the subject:

CL: "Why is it important that cities pay special attention to mental health and substance abuse problems?"

CMcC: We're working hard to change how people talk about and think about it.  The whole substance misuse and addiction problem should be under the umbrella of mental health for political and funding reasons...I'd say in at least half of the cases, mental illness and substance abuse go together because people often medicate to compensate for what's going on in the brain.

Thrive is about making change in those areas, but also, changing in the way people access services making it easier for people to get services where they live...because people don't want to go outside of their neighborhoods.  They don't want to talk to someone they don't trust or don't know.  And this is important background because people delay seeking help an average of ten years when they find themselves in mental distress...In poorer communities and communities of color, that can often be ten years or more.

Another thing that is not talked about enough is the fact that the signs and symptoms of mental illness in half of all case emerge before the age of 14-in 75 percent of the cases, it's before the age of 24.  So we have the opportunity to prevent some cases...and certainly an opportunity to intervene before mental illness continues,...What happens when you let diseases progress?  You end up spending more money, and people get more ill.  

CL: "How do you feel about the current Trump administration's response to the opioid crisis?"

CMcC:  Well, his response has been law and order.  They're talking about an epidemic and his first words are, "We're gonna get tough."  I want to see this talked about primarily as a public health problem because we know that addiction is a disease that can be treated.  Is there a role for law enforcement?  Absolutely...We want to work on the root causes of addicition, which we know and can address.  We can't in the current structure, and we can't if we have a repeal of the ACA.

On the one hand I'm excited that Trump is declaring it a national emergency.  On the other hand, I don't know what that means.  Does that mean more funding?  Does that mean more of the ability for people who are getting substance abuse treatment or are being treated for addiction, that they will be able to go other place places for treatment?

CL: "What would you like it to mean?"

CMcC: I would love for it to mean more funding, more flexibility so that people who have addictions can have have more outpatient services...I would like more encouragement for physicians to be able to administer buprenorphine [samhsa.gov; date accessed Sept. 11, 2017]...It stops the cravings and it allows someone to go to work or go to school and live their life, because addiction is a chronic disease, just l;Ike diabetes or asthma.  There should not be a stigma about that.

This particular epidemic requires outpatient care...the reality is because addicition is a chronic disease you can't live in a bed.  You can go and get your detox and rehab but at some point you have come out...that requires outpatient counseling, that requires medication-assisted treatment [theatlantic.com; Dec. 7, 2015; date accessed Sept. 11, 2017], which is the best evidence-based treatment we have.  And we don't don't have the resources that we need to provide it properly...

I hope they can go to their primary care doctors who have been trained and coached to administer buprenorphine.  I hope here are some kind of waivers so that people who are suffering from addiction can go some place other than a substance abuse clinic to get services because there's still such a stigma about these facilities...

CL: "The ACA seems to stand on fragile ground under the current Congress and White House.  How might its repeal impact the way cities deal with these problems?"

CMcC: We worked very hard to make sure that it wasn't repealed because the ACA has given parity to mental health treatment, by including addiction and substance abuse in its coverage, which we never had before...There's been an artificial separation in our healthcare system for way too long between physical health and mental health.  It's an artificial disconnect because what can you do without your brain?...it's important that people be able to access their health plan so that we would be affected of course if the ACA were repealed.

CL: "What about non-opiate addiction problem, that affect more people of color?"

CMcC: I think our plan addresses them all.  K2 as once a big problem, the synthetic drug that popped in the bodegas and in the streets and that's something we had to deal with...And of course we have alcohol, a huge problem that nobody talks about.  In fact it often works out that people have overdoses not just because they used opioids, but because they were also drinking...

We know this epidemic has been heavily to focused on white working-class communities but the numbers in communities of color is rising, so we have to be attentive and be ready to respond to that...When it was the crack epidemic, it was all brown and black people but our faces have been erased this time around...We have to take many paths to address all the different populations.

CL: "So how do you feel about the change in response based on race?  Obviously when crack was pervasive, there was no national outcry of empathy, there was the opposite"

CMcC: Right.  On one hand, I'm glad there is this response because if any assistance is coming down the pike and it's universal then we will still benefit.  But it's, of course, sad to see the disparity in terms of the inequities and attention that we received in the past.  I think there is another factor though: I have to say that people are recognizing addiction as a disease...even now there is still this perception that [addiciton is about] a lack of discipline or poor moral character...Ten, 15 years ago there was a lot more that and connected with black, brown people and low-income people that just multiplied that perception...

CL: "Do you think the opioid crisis would be called a national emergency if the face of the crisis was a black or brown faces?"

CMcC: To the extent that it is now?  No, I don't think so.  But if there were the same numbers of people dying, there would be some kind of outcry.

CL: "How have smaller cities in the Thrive coalition received these plans, especially in terms of coming up with funding to execute or put together plans like this?"

CMcC: I' please to say we have close to 200 mayors from around the country in coalition from both big cities and small cities.  This is a bipartisan effort and the reception has been fantastic. ThriveNYC is city-funded, but what we're doing with smaller cities and other cities in general is sharing our best practices,...For example, we had our health commissioner write an executive order that would allow anyone to go into into any of our chain pharmacies,...,to buy naloxone without prescription.

That doesn't cost any money, but it's a change of policy.  It's very import though because usually family members and friends know if someone close to them is using, and so if they have naloxone they could save a life.

We are working on creating a hub so that we can share our best practices and ideas, and we have monthly conference calls where we talk about what we're doing so that we can learn from one another.  it's not happening on the federal level, so we have to do it ourselves.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Blogger Candidate Forum: Only One Side To This Issue

 http://www.citylab.com; August 16, 2017


Hello Everyone:

It is time for the weekly edition of Blogger Candidate Forum.  Today's subject is a timely one: infrastructure.  However before we get going, a couple of things: first, the city of Houston is digging out from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.  Hurricane Irma is currently rampaging through the Caribbean and as its sights set on Florida.  The people in the affected are in great need of food, water, medicine, diapers.  If you would like to help, you can text 90999 (minimum $10) or go to redcross.org to make a donation or find a local blood drive.  Second, a follow up to yesterday's post on the impact of rescinding DACA.  If you are DACA-eligible and need to renew your application, do it immediately. You have until October 5, 2017.  The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will only consider renewals requests.  Please go to http://www.uscis.gov for all the latest information.  Now on to today's subject.

On last week's edition of #BloggerCandidateForum, yours truly mentioned that infamous press conference on August 15, 2017, at Trump Tower.  You know, the one where Mr. Donald Trump defended white supremacists and repeated his cringe inducing "violence on both sides" comments.  Lost in the commotion was the press conference's true purpose: to talk about accelerating infrastructure projects.  Laura Bliss writes in her CityLab article, "Trump's Infrastructure Plan Only Has One 'Side,'" "The conference began with a typical stunt: Standing amid cabinet officials Elaine Chao, Steve Mnuchin, and Mick Mulvaney, Trump unfurled a long, beautiful chart purporting to a 17-year environmental permitting process for an unnamed highway project."  The president proceeded to announce yet another one his executive order cutting the approval process down to two years.  The E.O. also called for one lead agency to take the lead for every major project subject to federal review.  Further, lost in chaos was the rescinding of former-President Barack Obama's Executive Order 13690: Flood Risk Assessment and Management Program which required "...new federal constructions to account for climate change's effect on storms and flooding."

The president told the pack:

We're going to get infrastructure built quickly, inexpensively, relatively speaking and the permitting process will go very, very quickly,...No longer will we accept a broken system that benefits consultants and lobbyists at the expense of hard-working Americans.

Laura Bliss concedes, "There is bipartisan agreement that environmental permitting can be unnecessarily arduous.  It is complicate even in normal circumstances, and drawn-out decisions can waste tax dollars."  Thus, it is little wonder that the permitting process is more beneficial to the "consultants" instead of the ecosystem that they were meant to protect.  President Obama issued his own set of E.Os intended to streamline the process for economically sensitive proposals.  His predecessor President George W. Bush launch a full on review (dare we say attack; http://www.upi.com; Sept. 5, 2003; date accessed Sept. 6, 2017) on the National Environmental Policy Act.

However, if Mr. Trump's intention was to protect the American taxpayer (it is not), "...the floodplain regulation would not come anywhere near it."  Common sense dictates floodplain regulation is designed to stall government from throwing money around like a drunken sailor.  Ms. Bliss points out, "Federal agencies have long required that their own construction projects avoid building in flood-prone areas so that tax dollars are not lost every year to storms."  Makes perfect sense.  Of course, that kind of rational thinking is lost on an administration that does not think that rising sea levels and worsen storms, like the rate Category 5 Hurricane Irma, have nothing to do with climate change.  That must have been part of the logic used by Mr. Trump when he decided to eliminate the regulation created by the Obama administration in 2015 (http://www.citylab.com; Sept. 2, 2016: date accessed Sept. 6, 2016) which-"...required federal projects that could not help but be situate in low-lying areas to take additional mitigation so in response to flood exacerbating effects of climate change."

Scaling back that policy defies climate science and all the common sense reccommendation of flood control engineers.  What do they know (sarcasm alert), right?  You migh as well take all this tax dollars and throw them into the rising tides.

The president's proposed infrastructure plan remains, like his tax reform plan, is still in the conceptual stage, considering that no real policy has emerged from the administration.  Be that as it may, if there is any guiding philosophy behind the "great" ideas offered up by the White House-outlined draft budgets and fact sheets ("Fact Sheet 2018 Budget: Infrastructure Initiative"; http://www.whitehouse.gov; date accessed Sept. 6, 2017)-it is: "Profit-minded, private interests should guide federal investments."

To finance the president's much-promised $1 trillion in infrastructure spending, "...the White has called to leverage $800 billion in private capital with $200 billion in federal funds."  This formula would only account for proposals guaranteed to produce study returns (http://www.citylab.com; May 23, 2017: date accessed Sept. 6, 2016) like: new toll roads, pipelines, and renovated airports (http://www.reuters.com; March 9, 2017; date accessed Sept. 6, 2017).  That sounds great but the not so lucrative projects like fixing crumbling roads, water pipe, and transit systems are by-and-large ignored.

During that infamous press conference, Mr. Trump once again boasted that his infrastructure "...will generate massive employment gains, invoking nationalistic pride and the country's largely vanished metal-making jobs (http://www.marketplace.org; Aug. 9, 2016; date accessed Sept. 6, 2017).  The president thumped his chest declaring,

We will rebuild our country with American workers, American iron, American aluminum, American steel,....We will create millions of new jobs and make millions of American dreams come true...quickly

Good, you can start in the areas hardest hit by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  By the way, some breaking news: two more hurricanes-Jose and Katia-are lining up in the Atlantic.

After reminding the pack "that America's infrastructure looks like that of a third world country," the president took questions from the reporters, who naturally queried Mr. Trump about his response to Charlottesville; that was when things got ugly, shocking members of the Republican Party (http://www.politico.com; Aug 13, 2017; date accessed Sept. 6, 2017) and his usually friendly conservative media (http://www.thehill.com; Aug. 15, 2017; date accessed Sept. 6, 2017).

Laura Bliss speculates, "Maybe they shouldn't have been so surprised.  The president's sympathies for those who marched in the name of white supremacy and Nazism do not appear unrelated to his obsession with building big things fast.  Behind them both lies certain authoritarian zeal."  This should give you all something to think about.

It is also worth pointing out that Mr. Trump has a history of praising dictators.  In an interview with NBC News, Christina Coleburn reported his comments about Fascist leader Benito Mussolini:

...It's okay to know it's Mussolini,...Mussolini was Mussolini...It's a very good quote.  It's very interesting quote...what difference does whether it's Mussolini or somebody else? 

The Italian fascist allied with Adolf Hitler as part of the Axis Powers in World War II.

During last year's primary season, then-candidate Trump tweeted:

@ilduce2016: "It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep @realDonaldTrump 4:13AM-Feb 28, 2016 (http://www.twitter.com)
(http://www.nbcnews.com; July 6, 2016; date accessed Sept. 6, 2017)

Ms. Bliss reminds us that the Italian dictato "built the world's first high-speed toll road designed for cars.  His Fascists also constructed a slew of airports and a network of passenger trains as part of a national leisure campaign (http://www.wikipedia.org; date accessed Sept. 6, 2017) which was intended to keep the working class happy (i.e. distracted) and indoctrinate the children, according to David Dudely (http://www.citylab.com; Nov. 15, 2016; date accessed Sept. 6, 2017).  According to former CityLab writer Eric Jaffe, Adolf broke ground on the Autobahn, the 

perfect demonstration...that his government could get things done in a way the Weimar government had not  (http://www.citylab.com; June 6 2014; date accessed Sept. 6, 2017).  

This allowed the German dictator to consolidate his power by connecting key voting blocs.

As Mr. Trump pointed out during the chaos, There are two sides to the country.  "Which side does his infrastructure hope to connect?"

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

#SaveDACA

http://www.citylab.com; September 1, 2017

Hello Everyone:

Yours Truly is back from a restful Labor Weekend and ready to go.  Before we get started on today's current events-inspired post, a quick reminder about Hurricane Harvey.  Donations are still needed and you can text 90999 (minimum $10) to the American Red Cross or go to http://www.redcross.org.  Thanks, now onward.

The news went hyper-viral this morning.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced this morning, 

...the Trump administration's intention to officially rescind the Deferred Action Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, effectively ending the 2012 program, that has deferred deportations for those who came to the United States as young immigrants... (http://www.cbsnews.com; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017)

This was a sort of expected announcement from an administration that has made immigration a high priority.  AG Sessions told assembled group:

We are people of compassion, and we're people of law-but there's nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration...(http://www.justice.gov; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017)

This argument was intended to emphasize the argument that DACA, enacted through an executive order, as an example of federal overreach. AG Sessions continued,

...The nation must set and enforce a limit on how many immigrants we accept each year, and that means all cannot be accepted...(Ibid)

This all-but-final (pending Congressional approval) decision, that Mr. Donald Trump allegedly vacillated on for months (http://www.nytimes.com; Sept. 4, 2017; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017), places the DACA-eligible in an extremely precarious state.  The DREAMers-the name for DACA-eligible young women and men referencing the 2001 DREAM Act (http://www.congress.gov; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017) lays out a path to citizenship-lose their protection in phases and be subject to deportation.  Hardly compassionate.

Rescinding this popular program is not only cruel but also morally unconscionable.  In an eloquent post on his Facebook page, former-President Barack Obama condemned the action.  Further, by rescinding DACA, the consequences are likely to have negative economic impact.  Tanvi Misra's CityLab article, "Which States Have Most to Lose From DACA Elimination," discusses the state-by-state ramifications of rescinding this order.

"Where the DACA-eligible live"

Ms. Misra writes, "Illegal immigration to the country rose after the 1965 immigration overhaul, which diversified the nation's immigrant population (http://www.citylab.com; Sept. 28 2015; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017) as a whole, but had the unintended consequenc of limiting already established flows from Mexico (http://www.washingtonpost.com; Sept. 25 2015; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017).  In the nineties, the U.S. strengthened its southern border and increased penalties for immigration offenses (http://www.vox.com; Apr. 28, 2017; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017). This stopped the historic cyclical flow of migration.  Princeton University Douglas Massey explained in Foreign Policy: "ramping up border security didn't keep migrants out; it kept them from returning home."  (http://www.foreignpolicy.com; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017)

Naturally, their families soon made the perilous border crossing to join their loved ones in the U.S. spreading out and building new lives across big cities, small towns [http:washingtonpost.com; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017], and rural areas [http://www.motherjones.com; Aug. 16, 2017; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017].  Their children, now adults in their twenties, have spent the majority of their lives in the U.S. are more like the second generation immigrants of the late-19th, early 20th-century: fluent in English and integrated into American culture.  Interestingly, "Many didn't even know they were undocumented [http://www.cnn; Dec 30, 2014; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017]."  Richard Cohen, the president of the Southern Poverty Law Center said in a statement today following the annoucement:

Many perhaps most, of these young people know no other home...They're Americans (http:splcenter.org)

University of California, San Diego professor Tom Wong surveyed over 3,000 DACA recipients last month.  Tanvi Misra reports, "He found that on average, respondents reported coming to America around the age of six."  The conclusions from the survey prove that DACA helped these young women and men come out from the shadows and become a productive part of American society: "They have been able to work in higher-paying jobs, get driver's licenses, start businesses [http://www.americanprogress.org; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017], go to college [http://www.news.harvard.edu; May 4, 2017; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017], buy homes, and take care of their children [http://www.vox.com; Sept 1, 2017; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017]."  In essence, become entirely self-sufficient and better positioned to meaningfully contribute to the economy.  In the survey, published by the Center for American Progress, Prof. Wong and his co-authors wrote,

Our findings could not paint a clearer picture: DACA has been unreservedly good for the U.S. economy and for U.S. society more generally... (http://www.americanprogress.org; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017)

Back to our original question, where do DACA-eligible young people live?  The Migration Policy Institute (http://www.migrationpolicy; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017) generated a handy inter-active map that allows the user to visualize where the DACA-eligible populations are in each state.  It also allows the user to zoom in on the counties where they make up the largest demographic.  No surprise, California has the largest share of DACA-eligible population-30 percent of the total U.S. population-followed by the bright red state of Texas, the equally blue state of New York, and the-just-as-red state of Florida.

"Where Eliminating DACA will cause most harm"

Tanvi Misra write, "In a press call preceding Sessions' announcement, Department of Homeland Security officials announced that they wind down the program an  in the lest disruptive fashion."  Right.  DHS's definition of least disruptive fashion is: "The administration will not accept any new applications, which means those who going to age into the program in 2017 will never see its benefits."  Current DACA-eligible recipients will forfeit their right to work as soon as a few months, or as late as 2019, thus targets for deportation once they lose their protection.  Current applications in the DHS system will be processed on an individual, case-by-case basis.  Ms, Misra writes, "The information on DACA recipients that the federal government currently has will not be proactively used for immigration enforcement, with few exceptions."

The Center for American Progress released "Study: The Impact of Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program Repeal On Jobs" (http://www.dreamers.fwd.us; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017), which calculated that "more than 30,000 individuals would lose their jobs every month as a result of DACA elimination, and around 700,000 total over the next two years."  An analysis released in July "A New Threat to DACA Could Cost States Billions of Dollars," (http://www.americanprogress.org; July 21, 2017; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017), CAP estimated "that a protracted blow will come over the next ten years in the form of a $460.3 billion loss to the national GDP."  CityLab created a map (http://www.citylab.com; Sept. 1, 2017; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017) based on CAP's state-by-state breakdown of annual GDP loss.

California, Texas, Washington, Illinois, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey, and New York would suffer the biggest annual GDP loss with the elimination of DACA.  Texas could potentially lose $6.2 billion.  The irony here is that the state has been leading the charge to eliminate DACA (http://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017).  California potentially has the most to lose: "$11.6 billion annually."

Never one to waste a tweet, the president chimed in early this morning:

Congress, get ready to your job-DACA @realDonaldTrump (http://www.twitter.com; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017)

His pre-dawn declaration puts the burden on Congress to provide relief for the DACA-eligible young women and men.  Considering the president has already alienated Congressional and Republican Party leadership, Blogger doubts that the House of Representatives and the Senate will readily comply with his demand.  DACA advocates are also pushing members of Congress, specially the Republicans to pass a bipartisan initiative, the Bridge Act introduced by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) with three co-sponsors. (http://www.huffpost.com; Jan. 12, 2017; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017).  While the Bridge Act would not grant full protection to DREAMers, instead it would provide provisional protection in the coming months (Ibid).  It has some merit and be the best option for DACA recipients.

Mr. Trump wants to believe that what he and his administration are doing is compassionate yet putting the rule of law first.  He genuinely believes that he is putting America and American jobs first. Rescinding DACA will spark a real conversation about immigration reform.  Yet, after his morally unconscionable pardon of former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and refusal to outright condemn white supremacists in the wake of Charlottesville, the current occupant of the Oval Office has lost all moral authority and credibility.  The next question is will Congressional Republicans finally grow a spine and stand up to this president?  Highly doubtful.  Yours Truly hardly thinks it is compassionate to tear apart families and forcibly remove 800,000 people from the only they know, sending them to place they have no connection to.  Rescinding DACA is a disgrace to United States and all of its values.