DACA vs. Trump – 3rd Round

DACA vs. Trump – 3rd Round – DACA still standing
by José Enrique Perez

Phase out ordered by Trump, Congress negotiations, the Government Shutdown and now the Courts take over the fight. Certainly, the last few months have been a roller coaster for the Dreamers and DACA eligible immigrants.

In January, a court first ruled that DACA eligible immigrants could still apply to renew their status even if it has expired after Trump cancelled it. Then, another court ruled that ALL eligible DACA immigrants could apply to renew or apply as first time applicants. However, this case has not been decided in appeal yet. Then, the United States Supreme Court the last week of February decided not to take the DACA cases for review, which meant that the federal courts decisions maintaining DACA alive are the applicable law and Trump must follow it whether he likes it or not.

Specifically, on January 9, 2018, a federal judge in San Francisco, William Alsup, ruled in favor of the University of California and its president, former Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano. They sued to keep the program going after the Trump administration said in September that it would end it within six months. Alsup said Attorney General Jeff Sessions had wrongly concluded that DACA was put in place without proper legal authority. Trump’s Justice Department immediately said it would contest that ruling before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California. But government lawyers also asked the Supreme Court to take the highly unusual step of agreeing to hear the case, bypassing the appeals court.

The United States Supreme Court declined to bypass the appeals courts in order to take up a DACA case. The Supreme Court’s decision keeps in place lower court decisions that allow current DACA recipients to continue to apply for status renewals. Significantly, it may well mean that a final decision on the case will extend past next November’s midterm elections, meaning that if this Congress does not take long overdue action on the Dream Act, the next Congress will. While the Supreme Court’s denial gives Dreamers a breath of relief while the case works its way through lower courts, Congress must still act immediately to pass the Dream Act.

Under lower court orders that remain in effect, the Department of Homeland Security must continue to accept applications from the roughly 700,000 young people who are currently enrolled in the program. The Supreme Court now leaves the DACA challenge pending, expected to be taken up by the 2nd and 9th Circuit courts.

The lower court’s decision does not allow Dreamers to apply for DACA if they have never before applied for the initiative, including Dreamers who are aging into eligibility, couldn’t afford the filing fees, or are newly eligible for the initiative. These Dreamers remain at risk of deportation, as do the DACA recipients whose protections have expired while they wait for USCIS to process their renewal applications.

You should remember that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance about the current immigration issues and other immigration policies.

I represent individuals in immigration cases. If you have any questions or concerns about an immigration case, you can call me at (315) 422-5673, send me a fax at (315) 466-5673, or e-mail me at joseperez@joseperezyourlawyer.com. The Law Office of Jose Perez is located at 120 East Washington Street, Suite 925, Syracuse, New York 13202. Now with offices in Buffalo and Rochester!!! Please look for my next article in the April edition.

The Power of Lying

by Miguel Balbuena

In a column written on January 8 for the London-based newspaper Financial Times, John Thornhill seemed to suggest that having the capacity to lie is what distinguishes humans from non-human animals.

Furthermore, In his piece he made it sound as if lying is not such an easy game to play.

“Lying is a complicated business involving the masking of intention, an understanding of context and human psychology, and the coexistence of two versions of reality, one true, one false,” Thornhill wrote.

Then, he went on to quote Max Tegmark, a professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as having said, in his book “Life 3.0,” that consciousness enables meaning, and meaning is tied to the ability to appreciate subjective experiences, which this scientist called sentience. From here Tegmark postulated changing the categorization of the human species from Homo sapiens to Homo sentiens.

“Truth, it has been said, is the first casualty of war,” wrote the 1st Viscount Snowden in 1916, when he was a member of the British House of Commons. Later on, the Nazis even established a government agency, the German Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, which perfected lying to an exact science in World War II and its run-up. It was headed by Joseph Goebbels between 1933 and 1945. Another Nazi politician, Hermann Goering, the creator of the Gestapo, said: “The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked.”

But even in peacetime, it is alleged that lying in a massive scale can be encouraged.

“Lie, lie, that something is left.” This quote was on the blackboard when I came into my classroom after lunch break, during my senior year in high school, for what was supposed to be a religion lecture. The professor, Luis Fernando Figari, who wrote it, said authoritatively that the French Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire had penned this quote.

Voltaire was one of the major figures of the French Age of Reason – along with Montesquieu, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Denis Diderot and Jean-Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert. It seemed incongruous to me that Voltaire, having been an advocate for reason, all of a sudden would have started promoting lying as a way of life; as a general, systematic principle.

I had been sympathetic to Voltaire since my junior year when my world history professor, Humberto Arredondo, told my class that this philosopher had used humor in his writings to undermine the oppressive Bourbon absolutist monarchy to the point that King Louis XVI blamed him for having “destroyed” the royal dynastic rule over the masses.

Figari went on to suggest that students’ parents had complained about him to the school’s principal. He didn’t disclosed the nature of the grievances against him nor the specific identity of his accusers. The funny thing is that Voltaire never said verbatim what Figari attributed to him.

In fact, in his letter to Nicolas-Claude Thieriot on Oct. 21, 1736, Voltaire literally wrote, “Lie, my friends, lie; I will repay you one day.’

But the context of the letter explained everything. Earlier on, Voltaire had produced the play “The prodigal son.” As he wanted its audience to appraise it on its merits, not being biased by knowing who its author was, he sent letters to his best buddies Berger and Thieriot, who were in the secret, asking them to keep concealed the playwright’s name from the public.

By distorting Voltaire’s explicit text and hiding its context, Figari – while claiming to be defending himself from parents’ defamation – was himself defaming Voltaire either consciously or by gross negligence by not having verify his sources.

After he was done with Voltaire, he did the same thing to Spanish novelist Miguel de Cervantes.

“They bark Sancho, sign that we move forward” was the second quote that Figari had chalked on the blackboard to respond to his unnamed critics. He attributed it to Alonso Quixano, the main character of Cervantes’ book “Don Quixote de la Mancha”.

It turns out that this phrase is not in any of Cervantes’ publications.

About the author: Miguel Balbuena is a writer in the academic, scientific, journalistic and literary fields (in the fiction and non-fiction genres).

The shutdown, trump’s proposal, now what?

by José Enrique Perez

We all know that the federal government shut down for 3 days last month. Now, this month the government is in risk of shutting down again. DACA, the Dreamers, immigrants, were at the heart of the shutdown. They will be again.

In response to the shutdown, the President Trump presented (finally) his immigration plan. He supports a 10- to 12-year path to citizenship for not just the roughly 700,000 enrolled in the expiring DACA program but for other “DACA-eligible illegal immigrants” who are in the U.S. illegally and were brought to the country as children. The White House estimates that could cover up to 1.8 million people.

In exchange, the White House wants an immigration measure to include $25 billion for a border wall. However, based on the language of the proposal for the wall, it does not seem it is the coast-to-coast physical structure on the Southern border that Trump promised at campaign rallies, but, it “takes a combination of physical infrastructure, technology, personnel, and resources.”

Trump also wants changes to the legal immigration system, including policies that prioritize family members “to spouses and minor children only.” Finally, Trump wants to completely eliminate the visa lottery system, which the memo says “is riddled with fraud and abuse and does not serve the national interest.”

Immigrants and civil rights groups are shocked with this proposal. First of all, the DACA and Dreamers deserve a clean Dream Act not tied to any border enforcement or to be hostage in exchange of the elimination of family based immigration.

Starting with the wall and border security, all the experts agree (Except for Trump and his right wing allies) that expanding the border wall makes no sense, will harm the environment, and is counter to the desires of actual border communities. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has met and exceeded all previous “benchmarks for border security” proposed in bipartisan draft immigration legislation. According to DHS’s own reporting, it is more difficult to cross the southern border without authorization today than it has ever been before, with undocumented entries at their lowest since the early 1970s. Since DHS’s inception in 2003, its Customs and Border Protection (CBP) budget has more than doubled and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spending has grown 85%. The number of agents has ballooned. CBP and ICE’s budget is already 24% larger than the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Drug Enforcement Administration; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Secret Service; and U.S. Marshals combined.

It is proven that Family-based immigration leads to successful, strong American families. Adult children, brothers, and sisters, help run small businesses, help each other as they integrate into America, and support each other’s child care needs. One reason our family-based immigration system has been so successful is that extended family members in the U.S. to help immigrants settle, find jobs and housing and integrate and become successful Americans. Under the so-called merit-based plan, many of us would not be here today, except African Americans and Native Americans, our ancestors came to the U.S. with little money, struggling for a better life.

The termination of the Diversity Visa Lottery Program, which is a small program that allows 50,000 individuals from countries with historically low rates of immigration to come to the United States each year. Winners of the lottery go through the same intensive screening that all aspiring immigrants to the United States face. The lottery brings a small number of immigrants to the United States, but serves a critical goal of contributing to the rich diversity that keeps the United States vibrant.

These realities lead us to one conclusion: Trump’s proposal must be rejected by Congress and the Senate and a new deal MUST be reached; otherwise, the federal government will shut down again on February 8, 2018.

You should remember that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance about the current immigration issues and other immigration policies.

I represent individuals in immigration cases. If you have any questions or concerns about an immigration case, you can call me at (315) 422-5673, send me a fax at (315) 466-5673, or e-mail me at joseperez@joseperezyourlawyer.com. The Law Office of Jose Perez is located at 120 East Washington Street, Suite 925, Syracuse, New York 13202. Now with offices in Buffalo and Rochester!!! Please look for my next article in the March edition.


Human Trafficking
by Carolyn Gonzalez

What is human trafficking and why is it important to educate ourselves about it?

The Department of Homeland Security defines it as a modern day slavery that involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Globally the International Labor Organization estimates that there are 4.5 million people trapped in forced sexual exploitation globally and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates 1 in 6 endangered runaways reported to them were likely sex trafficking victims. In 2015 the FBI uncovered and dismantled a sex trafficking ring in Rochester, NY so this is both a global and local issue that can impact any vulnerable population. So what can we do about human trafficking and how may we help its victims? First we need to look for red flags so we can determine who might be a victim in danger of human trafficking.

According to the Rochester Regional Coalition Against Human Trafficking there are many potential signs that can indicate a person is a victim of human trafficking. First, their work and living conditions may appear suspicious. If they are not free to leave and come and go as they wish or have very strict work restrictions with high security measures they might be in danger. Second, if the individual has poor mental health or abnormal behavior where they appear fearful, depressed, anxious about law enforcement, and avoid eye contact that may also be a red flag. Third, their physical appearance may offer clues as to whether they are malnourished, physically abused, or even sexually abused. Lastly, if the person appears to have a lack of control over their whereabouts and has few to no possessions, including identification that may indicate they are a victim of human trafficking.

So what can you do if you suspect human trafficking in your area? You can call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 for help if you are a victim or to report about possible human trafficking in your area. There are also numerous internet resources as to how to volunteer and donate to victims of trafficking abuse. If you are a health care provider consider registering for the University of Rochester’s Anti-Human Trafficking Conference on January 27th, 2018. For more information about the conference please visit the site https://ursmdahtc.wordpress.com. Together we can spread awareness about this issue, help people currently in danger, and help those who are survivors heal from their past.

Carolyn Gonzalez is a native of Rochester, NY of Puerto Rican descent. She is finishing her second year at the University of Rochester’s School of Medicine and Dentistry. She completed her B.S. in Biology and Society with a double minor in Policy Analysis and Management and Inequalities Studies from Cornell University in 2011. Her medical specialty interests include primary care and psychiatry. She is on the executive board of the school’s chapter of the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) who are committed to contribute educational articles relevant to the Latino community.

Unpacking the Gateway Drug Theory

by Maximilian Eyle

The Gateway Drug Theory suggests that people who start using marijuana will go on to use more dangerous drugs. The argument that marijuana is a “Gateway Drug” is probably the most popular argument against the legalization of marijuana.

The gateway theory argues that because heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine users often used marijuana before graduating on to harder drugs, it must be a “gateway” to harder drug use. This theory suggests that marijuana infects people with a desire to take harder drugs.

There is absolutely no evidence that this is true but yet marijuana prohibitionists trot it out regularly. Even the DEA has come to admit that, “Little evidence supports the hypothesis that initiation of marijuana use leads to an abuse disorder with other illicit substances.”

The reason that it sounds believable to many people is that people don’t always understand the difference between “correlation” and “causation”. Sure most heroin addicts used to smoke marijuana… but they also used to smoke cigarettes, eat bread, and drink alcohol. The more important statistic is the proportion of marijuana users who later went on to use heroin, and this number is very low. Just because one thing comes before another does not mean it caused it. As the scientific axiom states: correlation does not imply causation.

In fact, the research shows the opposite: the vast majority of marijuana users do not go on to use hard drugs. Even the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences wrote: “There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs”. The “Gateway Theory” is raised again and again, even the Governor recently cited it as a reason for maintaining marijuana prohibition.

In addition to the gateway theory having been debunked, researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that opioid overdose deaths had gone down by an average of 25% in states where marijuana was legally available. This is because those people at risk for opioid abuse had a safer alternative available to them. This suggests an effect that some call the “reverse gateway”, where increased availability of marijuana prevents people from using more dangerous drugs.

Maximilian Eyle is a native of Syracuse, NY and a graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He has experience working in the drug policy field and writes about it every month for CNY Latino. Maximilian learned Spanish while living in Spain where he studied and worked as an English teacher.

We need Juanita

by Linda Brown-Robinson

I am part of a team of people who have joined together to take the unusual move of forming a campaign committee to encourage one of our neighbors to run for Mayor of Syracuse in 2017. We all deserve a leader who brings honor, integrity, discipline and life experience to the office. I’m inviting you to join us in encouraging Juanita Perez Williams to run for Mayor in 2017. For those of you who don’t know her let me provide you with an introduction to our friend Juanita.

Juanita Perez Williams was raised in southern California, the daughter of Ralph and Lydia Perez. Juanita’s family immigrated to America from Mexico in search of the American dream. Like so many of our family stories, Juanita’s family arrived with can-do spirit, a desire to work hard and a willingness to serve. Juanita was a product of Head Start and was a first generation college student. One of her core beliefs is that all the children of Syracuse deserve the same shot at success that she had.

From an early age, Juanita had an insatiable desire to follow family footsteps into military service and get a great education. She received her undergraduate at the University of California San Diego and her Juris Doctor from the California Western School of Law. From law school, Juanita went on to serve our country with distinction in the United States Navy, ranking as Lt. Commander serving as JAG counsel.

We are lucky that Juanita found home in Central New York after fulfilling her military obligation to raise her four lovely children while pursuing an astonishing career. Juanita worked as Regional Director of the New York State Education Department, Associate Dean of Students at Syracuse University and Assistant Attorney General for New York State. Many of us first became acquainted with Juanita as Corporation General Counsel for the city of Syracuse—the first Latina to hold that position. As the current regional director for the NYS Department of Labor, Juanita has hands on experience bringing workers, managers and business leaders together to create better opportunities for all.

You may ask: Why do we need Juanita? There are two undeniable facts about the city of Syracuse today. The first is tough to admit, but we know it’s true. Many of our neighbors in Syracuse are living in poverty. The other undeniable fact about Syracuse is that, for all our current issues and concerns, we are resilient and we remain optimistic. Syracuse needs a leader as good as its people, someone who will inspire us to get behind her.

Who better to tackle poverty than someone who comes from humble beginnings? We need Juanita not only because she can support and promote our economy, but also to speak to the souls of Syracuse children and tell them they can accomplish anything they put their minds to. Who can better understand the demands and rewards of the sandwich generation better than Juanita who is sharing her home with three generations of family?

As a mom and grandmother, Juanita understands our children are our most valuable asset, and if she runs, we trust she will make quality of life for our children a top priority. Moreover, she knows that we must attract and retain talented young people who have a place and purpose here….like us.

If you know me, you know that I call them like I see them. At the end of the day, I firmly believe we need Juanita because we cannot afford otherwise. Selecting our next Mayor is an important choice. If we can convince Juanita to run, we know she would make positive changes for us, our children and their children.

Running for Mayor is a daunting ask, a sacrifice taken on by one’s entire family. Juanita would need to make a career sacrifice were she to announce her intentions to run. These aren’t easy decisions to make. That is why we have banded together and unequivocally encourage Juanita to run.

Please join the movement to encourage Juanita Perez Williams to run for Mayor of Syracuse, and visit our website at www.weneedjuanita.com


Linda Brown-Robinson

Founding member, “We Need Juanita” Committee

Governor Cuomo’s Marijuana Policy

Governor Cuomo recently announced in his legislative plans that he would like to stop charging those caught with small amounts of marijuana. He explains that New York State has been wasting considerable resources by incarcerating non-violent marijuana users. However, Cuomo is quick to point out that he still wants to go after those who sell the drug. “The illegal sale of marijuana cannot and will not be tolerated in New York State, but data consistently show that recreational users of marijuana pose little to no threat to public safety,” the Governor wrote on page 191 of the report. In the announcement, he references the nationwide popularity of marijuana legalization as a primary motivation for softening his stance on the issue. So far, eight states across America have legalized marijuana for recreational adult use.

The Governor is right that we should stop persecuting non-violent marijuana users. This is clearly a futile battle that simply fills our prisons and creates criminals out of non-violent people. However, if he is serious about eliminating the problem of illegal marijuana trafficking in New York State – he should follow the example of other states that have ended their marijuana prohibition all together. When the U.S. attempted to prohibit alcohol, it created a black market led by such violent criminals as Al Capone and others. They made huge profits providing their drug to the American public who still wanted to use it. Once alcohol was legalized in 1933, this criminal industry disappeared. We can make the same choice today, if we so choose. 

Perhaps the most confusing aspect of the Governor’s announcement is that personal possession of small amounts of marijuana has already been decriminalized in New York State since the Marijuana Reform Act of 1977. So exactly what change is Cuomo proposing? And by allowing personal marijuana use but continuing to arrest dealers, he is essentially telling people it is alright to break the law. How can people be allowed to possess it but not purchase it? Where should it come from? If he really wants to address the crime and other problems that come with marijuana prohibition, he should legalize the sale of the drug for recreational adult use.

Maximilian Eyle is a native of Syracuse, NY and a graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He has experience working in the drug policy field and writes about it every month for CNY Latino. Maximilian learned Spanish while living in Spain where he studied and worked as an English teacher.