Connect with us

Americas

DACA on the Brink

Published

on

American dreamers. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Since the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program affecting nearly 800,000 undocumented young (im)migrants, the backlash of many devastated by this decision continues to wage on with political and social action. The DACA program was first introduced by the Obama administration around 5 years ago to allow children of immigrants who were brought to the United States at a young age relief from deportation and a visa to work. The turbulent time period from the initial announcement from the Trump administration to rescind the program that protected thousands of undocumented students, is finally being taken to the Supreme Court. In the words of poet Langston Hughes- “what happens to a dream deferred?”

The protests that have taken place nationwide with powerful slogans such as “education not deportation” have symbolized the spirit of the original American dream, and how people across the states are standing with these DACA recipients and not letting their fates fall into the hands of the hegemonic current administration. An administration who seem to be adamant on reversing the programs established during Obama’s presidency. Since it was first announced that the program would be retracted, the public was encouraged to send texts and make calls to their local lawmakers in solidarity and resistance. In terms of public outcry, demonstrations have already lead to the arrest of countless amount of protesters. These protesters feel it is their “moral responsibility” as Walter Johnson a Harvard professor stated, when dozens of professors were arrested in September. Since it first surfaced that DACA was set to be canceled,  protesters have risked their own freedom in civil disobedience to stand up to the injustice of a repeal that would jeopardize the lives of more than just the ‘daca-mented’ youth. The complete cease of DACA will ripple throughout communities and families.

The original dream of the (im)migrants who came to the United States and brought their children was to create a better life than the one they had in their own countries. The epitome of the American dream as imagined by James Truslow Adams in his book the Epic of America (1931)  is “a dream of a social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.” Adams is attributed to coining the term the “American Dream” and the United States has a deeply rooted history of being founded by immigrants. However, marginalized individuals within the United States share a different narrative of the attainment of this dream.

The “DREAM” movement for immigration reform began with the nine young activists in July 22nd of 2013, wore caps and gowns as they tried to reenter the United States after seeing grandparents and family members they hadn’t seen since when they had first arrived to the United States. In Latinx culture this is manifested as familismo, which is the cultural value that is a deep attachment to nuclear and extended families. The caps and gowns that the DREAM 9 wore in their grassroots movement represented the outstanding adversaries that undocumented students have to face in education, in a time where the country has been polarized over a comprehensive plan for immigration reform. The people eligible for DACA at the time that it was first introduced in June 2012 had to meet a certain amount of criteria, such as being in the United States for 5 consecutive years and not holding a criminal record as this could disqualify them from the program. Those eligible for DACA also had to be enrolled in school, or hold a high school diploma or equivalent.

Under DACA, the type of liberties that the applicants under this program were able to do was to work, and obtain a driver’s license while also protecting people from deportation. For some of the undocumented youth living in the United States, some of them weren’t even aware of their status until attempting to apply to universities or trying to apply to jobs. Some of the effects of this program can’t even be quantified, but some research from the Center of American Progress  by Tom K. Wong of UC San Diego has studied the upward mobility of dacamented youth. The research shows that 80% of annual earnings increase for those under DACA equating to an average of $20,000 to one of  $36,000. In the same studies they found that 16% bought homes, and 65% had bought their first automobile. This immigration program made specifically for people who had arrived before the age of 16, and were enrolled in high school or had a high school equivalent diploma, was later met with opposition. The opposition to this immigration program began during the Obama administration, but legislation against DREAMers has been going on for about 15 years.

The Dream Act is a bill passed in August of 2001, known as the Development, Relief and Education for Alien minors act. The bill was passed as a multi-phase process that would lead to the legalization of 11 million (im)migrants in the United States. However, during the George Bush Era, it couldn’t break 60 votes in the Senate with Democrats and Republicans divided on immigration reform. Today, the amnesty being proposed is for a ‘Clean Dream Act’ in hopes of reaching a bipartisan solution for the 2.1 million (im)migrant youth and adults that came to the U.S. at a young age. The proposed bill would qualify those who entered the U.S. before 18 conditional residence status, lawful permanent status after 8 years, and after these 8 years would be eligible for citizenship after 5 years (with a faster track to citizenship for DACA recipients). The Clean Dream Act hopes to create a path to citizenship, immigration reform without using young (im)migrants as bargaining chips that can harm communities. After the rescind of DACA, Trump called on Congress a couple of months to provide a permanent fix. As the year comes to a close, Democrats feel they have run out of time for this act to be included in the spending bill. Waiting until March does not seem a feasible option for some economists, who estimate detrimental effects to the U.S. economy with enormous job losses estimated at around 30,000 per month (ThinkProgess). The numbers cultivated of the economic impact are an estimated $460 billion in gross domestic products that these DACA recipients can generate.

For now, this decision has disheartened many feeling that it will affect the political, social, and economic sphere of the United States and potentially risk the livelihoods of millions of (im)migrants.

First- generation Mexican American graduate of the University of California Santa Barbara.

Continue Reading
Comments

Americas

From Russia with Love: Will Mexico be Putin’s Next Guinea Pig?

Lisdey Espinoza Pedraza

Published

on

Next July 2018, Mexico will elect over 3000 public posts all over the country, including a new president, members of the Congress, local officials and several state governors. The result of such election will be determinant in Mexico’s future for years to come as it remains unclear which direction the country will take not only domestically, but also regionally and internationally.

The so-called leftist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been the clear front runner of the contested election for several months. This should not come as a surprise as Mexico’s political environment is facing a perplexed field of presidential candidates: José Antonio Meade, the PRI’s candidate, is a well-seasoned public servant with ample experience in public administration, but a very clumsy campaigner that has the difficult task of defending the dire legacy of the incumbent president, Enrique Peña Nieto; Ricardo Anaya, the third candidate is running on a brittle right-left coalition that has been struggling to find its sense of direction.

If these circumstances were not enough, Mexico is being squeezed at the same time by Trump’s United States, and more recently by Putin’s Russia; each pursuing a completely divergent agenda, yet, ironically, contributing to the very same electoral result: The rise of Obrador. Over the last few days, there have been increasing rumours about a possible Russian interference in Mexican elections. So far, any predictions of such involvement remain speculative, yet they are not irrational. Due to its proximity, there is no other country in the world that influences the US as much as Mexico. Both nations are deeply interwoven, and they depend on one another to strengthen security, trade, investment, as well as improve the lives of their citizens in who are residents in either country. They are the homes of the largest US and Mexican diasporas. It is estimated that approximately 37 million Mexicans reside in the US, and over one million Americans live in Mexico.

Hence, for both countries the current high stakes make the prospect of any potential Russian meddling even more substantial. Mexico’s fragile democracy faces a variety of threats before this year’s elections, therefore, it must take every measure available to avoid being the next Guinea pig in Putin’s geopolitical experiment. Russia’s interference in world politics should not be easily dismissed. American intelligence and security agencies have confirmed there was indeed some sort of interference with the 2016 American election; there is also substantial evidence that Russia sought to influence elections held in France, Germany, the Netherlands; and there are growing fears that Russia will try to influence Italy’s May general election.

If Russia truly seeks to damage the US, Mexico’s 2018 elections offer a rewarding and vulnerable target. Social media and the Internet remain for many Mexicans as their main source of information. Mexico, unlike the US and most western countries, does not have a specialised agency to expose any fake news neither its electoral institutions have the expertise to address weaknesses and controversies. A few days ago, Obrador discredited accusations directed at his possible links with Russia as fabricated and aimed at ruining his lead in the electoral positions. He was seen joking about this issue. However, Obrador needs to get serious and address any potential conflict of interest that may arise within his team before shrugging off any suspicions.

A few weeks ago, when he announced his would-be cabinet should he become the next president, a name popped out: Irma Eréndira Sandoval. She would be the one in charge of leading the fight against corruption within bureaucracy. Irma, however, has too much baggage for such a position. Her partner is John Ackerman, who has ben given considerable amount of air time on RT, the Kremlin´s unofficial television network. They have gone as far as describing him as “our man in Mexico.” Ackerman is a trusted contributor to such network. Consequently, the potential to influence and destabilise Mexico’s presidential elections, as well as the potential conflict of interest within Obrador’s inner circle is not a laughing matter.

Judging by Putin’s record, one could surmise where Mexico’s elections could fit in the Russian puzzle. Putin has largely sought to discredit democracy and weaken the west along with it. The twin goals bolster the Kremlin’s global power as well as strengthen Putin’s standing back home: the more disillusioned people living in democracies are, the less ordinary Russians will demand democratisation of their government. Disinformation campaigns are also most effective when they prey on deep-seated beliefs and latent conflicts, such is the case of Mexico. A Russian misinformation campaign can easily exaggerate and amplify hard feelings. Mexico needs to safeguard its electoral process from tampering their choice. Mexicans should be given the freedom to choose the candidate they want; their choice next July should be theirs and none else’s. Mexicans do not need Russian social media telling them that their politicians are prone to corruption and their democracy is flawed. The country has vast experience in that field. In an election that could be won by a wafer-thin victory, similarly to what happened in the US, a little push from Russians intensifying the message on social media could end up making a decisive difference.

Continue Reading

Americas

US diplomacy of re-engagement continues: From ‘intent’ to withdrawal from Paris Agreement to ‘COP23’

Abhishek Trivedi

Published

on

In a major setback decision taken by Trump administration on June 1, 2017, showing his intention to withdraw in future from the Paris accord has diplomatically pushed the world community one step back in climate negotiation regime as almost all major players in climate regime have registered their disappointment with this decision. Joint statement by France, Germany,and Italy says the deal can not be renegotiated, while other countries reaffirm commitment to carbon reduction. China sees the USA withdrawal as an unfortunate development, and implications of it will be global. In the words of UN Secretary-General that “The decision by the United States to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change is a major disappointment for global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote global security.” However, Secretary-General has shown his confidence in the US including cities, states,and businesses within the US that will continue to demonstrate vision and leadership by working for the low-carbon, resilient economic growth that will create quality jobs and markets for21st-century prosperity.The Secretary-General also looks forward to engaging with the American government and all actors in the United States and around the world to build the sustainable future.

The letter sent to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres by the US representative to the UN Nikki Haley reads as:

“The is to inform the Secretary-General, in connection with the Paris Agreement, adopted on December 12, 2015 (“the Agreement”), that the United States intends to exercise its right to withdraw from the Agreement. Unless the US identifies suitable terms for reengagement, the US will submit to the Secretary-General, in accordance with Article 28, paragraph 1 of the Agreement, formal written notification of its withdrawal as soon as it is eligible to do so. Pending the submission of that notification, in the interest of transparency for parties to the Agreement, the United States requests that the Secretary-General inform the parties to the Agreement and the States entitled to become parties to the Agreement of this communication relating to the Agreement.”

Interestingly, it must be noted that Article 28, paragraph 1 of the Paris Agreement does nowhere suggest that a State party to the Agreement can circulate such type of ‘written notification showing its intent to withdraw from the Agreement.’ Article 28, Paragraph 1 reads as “At any time after three years from the date on which this Agreement has entered into force for a Party, that Party may withdraw from this Agreement by giving written notification to the Depositary.”

It is clear from the language of Article 28, paragraph 1, that under the terms of the accord, no State can withdraw until November 2020 and cannot even formally notify the UN of its intention to leave until 2019. So the communication serves only for Donald Trump to remind the world that he is seeking ‘suitable terms for re-engagement.’The United States accepted the Paris Agreement on 3 September 2016, and the Agreement entered into force for the United States on 4 November 2016. Therefore, according to Article 28, paragraph 1, US will not be eligible to withdraw from the Agreement till November 4, 2019.

The USA’ ‘suitable terms’ for re-engagement

The US in his written submission to the Secretary-General highlighted that,unless it identifies ‘suitable terms for reengagement,’ it will submit to the Secretary-General aformal written notification of its withdrawal as soon as it is eligible to do so. Now, it is far from theclarity that what would be the suitable terms for theUS to make it re-engage again in climate change negotiation regime. Till now, there is no explicit indication, neither from the USA official statement including press release nor its submission to the UN Secretary-General, that on what ‘suitable or most favourable’ terms Trump administration will agree for reengagement that will, perhaps, be more in tune with his popular political slogan ‘make America great again.’However, there might be four possible speculative ways in which theUSA could establish different terms for participation. These may include:

That US could seek to renegotiate few aspects of the Agreement itself. Though several countries have made it clear that the Agreement is ‘irreversible.’ In this background, this option would hardly work for the USA. However, theoffice of UN Secretary-General welcomes any effort to re-engage in the Paris Agreement by the United States.  Secretary-General has also shown his interest in engaging with the American government and all other actors in the US. Meanwhile, Secretary-General of the UNFCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) said that the Paris Agreement remains a historic treaty signed by 194 and ratified by 147 countries. Therefore, it can not be renegotiated based on the request of single Party. However, Secretary-General (UNFCC) showed her interest in engaging in dialogue with the United States government regarding the implications of this decision of withdrawal.

That US could also seek to modify its ‘nationally determined contribution,’ i.e., the US emission target. The media-note also appears to be addressing this issue when it refers to the Administration’s support to “climate policy that lowers emissions while promoting economic growth and ensuring energy security.”The US further affirms that it will continue to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions through innovation and technology breakthroughs, given the importance of energy and security in many nationally determined contributions.

That, thirdly, US could seek ‘more favourable’ terms within the Paris-related guidelines that are still being negotiated for reporting and review. Such guidelines are due to be completed in 2018. It is perhaps this reason that the media note states that the US will continue to participate in the Paris-related negotiations, to protect US interests and ensure all future policy options remain open to the administration.” And possibly,for this reason, US has shown his intention to walk out only from the Paris accord, not also from the UNFCC convention.

That US might also seek improved terms of negotiation outside the framework of the agreement, such as bilateral or multilateral energy-related cooperation. As it is perhaps precisely indicated from the media-note that the US will “work with other countries to help them access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently, and deploy renewable and other clean energy sources.

Continuation of policy of re-engagement in COP23

COP23/CMP13 was decided to be hosted in Germany and presided over by Fiji from November 6 to November 17, 2017. In its opening joint plenary meeting held on November 6, US retreated its earlier position regarding withdrawal from the Paris accord unless it finds suitable terms for renegotiation. US said that “the US will withdraw from the Paris Agreement unless he can identify terms for reengagement that are more favourable to the American people.” “The Administration’s position remains unchanged.” Again, in the closing joint plenary session held on the last day of the conference,i.e., November 17, 2017, US said that U.S. participation in COP-23, including negotiations at this session relating to the Paris Agreement, does not indicate a change in the U.S. position.

One more political-cum-legal aspect to note here in COP23 that theUS has very smartly carried on its monetary diplomacy for future climate negotiation. The US has made it clear in very explicit terms that the financial pledges made under by the last administration are not legally binding. Moreover, with regard toeconomic matters, and in particular the $100 billion collective finance goal, the US has already taken a position that the finance goal is aspirational in nature, is not legally binding, and does not create rights or obligations.And it remains a domestic decision of the US or any other country for that matter.

As Trump administration said in media note that it will continue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through innovation and technology, and enhance resilience activities where mutually beneficial to its broader foreign policy, economic development, and national security objectives, it reaffirms its endeavor to work closely with other countries to help them access to clean and efficient renewable energy sources. Here, US seems to be more in futuristic diplomatic engagement on climate issues, to bargain either bilaterally or multilaterally, perhaps outside of the UN Climate negotiation regime. From here, it would be not easy to assess which way US position will be tumbled precisely.

However, keeping in mind the dangerous multi-dimensional ramifications and impacts of climate change on the existence of human being and their future survival, it becomes imperative for the world community including USA to come together and address the multi-faceted issues of climate change taking place around the world. The USA must take the lead in tackling climate issue since it also emits world most substantial greenhouse gases. In addition to that, US also possesses themore financial capability, technological access, and infrastructure facilities along with thecapacity to mitigate greenhouse gases.

Continue Reading

Americas

Combating the Deep State Online

Published

on

Now that President Donald Trump has declared an outright and open war on international terrorism all around the world, joining forces with Russian President Putin and Chinese Premier Xi, and scores of other world leaders to combat this enemy of civilization, in order to absolutely decimate violent actors around the planet who use destructive and disruptive means and methods other than political discourse to settle their differences, so too must he begin to now do, with regards to internet terrorism, slander, libel, defamation, terrorist threats, incitement to violence, and targeted harassment online.

As President Trump knows only too well, as he is a prime target of the Deep State/Oligarch/Global Terrorist Network online, with their relentless attacks on him, his wife, his family and his administration, when he developed the term “Fake News,” he is also the only one who can finally find the balance between the U.S. Constitution First Amendment and terrorism carried out online.

Trump has repeatedly promised to “look at the libel laws,” but what he should specifically look at is how to hold websites, their hosts, and their advertisers responsible and liable for their egregious taking advantage of the broad based immunities and protections afforded by the Communications Decency Act of 1996 Section 230 (aka “CDA 230“), drafted and passed by U.S. legislators such as Ron Wyden and Christopher Cox, which literally opened the floodgates to trillions of dollars of damage to individuals, small and large business, domestic and global relationships, national security, and global cohesion.

True enough, freedom of speech is paramount, and essential to the American constitutional experiment – but after 20 years of this “wild west” of internet speech, we know and have learned many things.

Various organized criminal enterprises have sprung up all over the world, extorting and blackmailing innocent people and businesses to pay them exorbitant amounts of money to remove/challenge anonymous, cowardly, false, defamatory, slanderous, libelous, terroristic, and incitement to violent threats online, always hiding behind the immunity and protection afforded by CDA 230 to both their own mafia-like “reputation management” websites, their web hosts, and their advertisers.

Much has also been revealed about the “ties” by and between these “reputation management” websites, and the offending websites themselves, so that if one pays one of these extortionate websites for “arbitration” or “challenging offending posts,” one will suddenly find a dramatic increase in the exact same or similar postings on other offending websites, thus increasing damages, exposure, and of course, the “costs” attendant to getting these offensive and threatening posts off of the internet.

This is a classic racketeering enterprise, and each and every country has their own rules and laws governing such type of criminal activity, and in the United States, the most lax and forgiving of all of these types of crimes, it is called “RICO,” or the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization act.

This RICO law is a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization.

The RICO Act focuses specifically on racketeering, and it allows the leaders of a syndicate to be tried for the crimes which they ordered others to do or assisted them in doing, closing a perceived loophole that allowed a person who instructed someone else to, to be exempt from the trial because they did not actually commit the crime personally.

Under RICO, a person who has committed “at least two acts of racketeering activity” drawn from a list of 35 crimes – 27 federal crimes and 8 state crimes – within a 10 year period can be charged with racketeering if such acts are related to an “enterprise.”

Those found guilty of racketeering can be fined up to $25,000 and sentenced to 20 years in prison per racketeering count.

In addition, the racketeer must forfeit all ill-gotten gains and interest in any business gained through a pattern of “racketeering activity.”

This statute could easily be used against most of the “reputation management” websites which, like the Mafia, literally aid and abet, if not “create” the online internet threats, targeting, harassment, incitement to violence, and terrorist threats in order to then charge a hefty “fee” to either “eradicate” or “combat” those self-created threats.

Indeed many business, banking, financial, communication, personal, and professional relationships can easily be discovered by and between these “reputation management” organized crime websites, and the other “offending websites” containing such illegal and unethical content.

The problem is that since at least 1996, the “Deep State” has successfully used the protections afforded by the CDA 230 to target their enemies online, discrediting and hobbling them at will, while simultaneously being able to weather the proverbial storm against themselves, because they are directly connected to the international central bankers with unlimited amounts of cash to survive personal or professional online destruction, while their targeted Deep State enemies are, by definition, “swimming upstream” against them, struggling barely to survive.

This is by no means a fair fight, and hundreds of millions of “dead” businesses and individuals have washed up on the shore in their wake, while Deep State connected individuals and businesses always seem to stay afloat.

So if President Donald Trump, arguably the greatest victim of the above referenced type of global online criminal activity on behalf of the Deep State, which is still relentlessly trying to destroy him, his family, his administration and his legacy, as well as average American individuals and businesses that he professes to care so much about, and if he is truly serious about “looking at the libel laws” as he has repeatedly stated/promised, then perhaps this is the best place for him to start.

Continue Reading

Latest

Newsdesk18 hours ago

Focus on GDP Fuelling Inequality and Short-Termism

Decades of prioritizing economic growth over social equity has led to historically high levels of wealth and income inequality and...

Economy23 hours ago

The geopolitical and financial significance of Bitcoin

Bitcoin and the other “cryptocurrencies”, namely Ethereum and Litcoin- although there are 33 additional currencies arriving on the Internet –...

Middle East23 hours ago

Iran at the top of the new regional order

Syria’s field developments have practically changed regional equilibrium, as analysts today report the new regional order in Western Asia. The...

Intelligence24 hours ago

Islam Between Fatwa and Suicide Attack

Jihad of the Moderate Islam against Salafi-Jihadist groups Pakistan seems to take active measures against the ideology of radical Islamism...

Middle East1 day ago

Whither Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ‘moderate’ Islam?

Recent Algerian media reports detailing Saudi propagation of a quietist, apolitical yet supremacist and anti-pluralistic form of Sunni Muslim ultra-conservatism...

Economy1 day ago

Reskilling Revolution: A Future of Jobs for All

The global economy faces a reskilling crisis with 1.4 million jobs in the US alone vulnerable to disruption from technology...

Newsdesk1 day ago

Connecting Armenia’s Regions with Technology to Ensure Greater Opportunities for Young People

Just over two months ago, an economist, an IT specialist, a historian and a linguist teamed up at the Vanadzor...

Newsletter

Trending

Copyright © 2018 Modern Diplomacy