Commentary

Has Trump made another deal with Dems on DACA? Hardliners call him “Amnesty Don”

It appears from various national news reports this morning that President Trump has backed away from his disastrous plan to deport hundreds of thousands of young people who have benefited from President Obama’s DACA program. This is from Associated Press and the Greensboro News & Record:

“The top House and Senate Democrats said Wednesday they had reached agreement with President Donald Trump to protect thousands of younger immigrants from deportation and fund some border security enhancements — not including Trump’s long-sought border wall.

The deal announced by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi following a White House dinner would enshrine protections for the nearly 800,000 immigrants brought illegally to this country as kids who had benefited from former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. The program provided temporary work permits and protection from deportation.

Trump ended the program earlier this month and had given Congress six months to come up with a legislative fix before the statuses of the so-called ‘Dreamers’ begin to expire.

‘We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides,’ Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement.

Of course, with Trump’s record for dishonesty, double-crosses and flip-flops, it’s anyone’s guess if this deal will really come to fruition. This is from a story in the New York Times:

“In its own statement, the White House was far more muted, mentioning DACA as merely one of several issues that were discussed, including tax reform and infrastructure. It called the meeting, which came a week after the president struck a stunning spending-and-debt deal with the Democratic leaders, ‘a positive step toward the president’s strong commitment to bipartisan solutions.’

…In a tweet, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, disputed the Democrats’ characterization of Mr. Trump’s stance on the border wall. ‘While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to,’ she wrote.

Mr. Schumer’s communications director, Matt House, fired back on Twitter: ‘The President made clear he would continue pushing the wall, just not as part of this agreement.’

While Democratic leaders sought to frame the Wednesday dinner as a victory for their priorities, Republican votes will be needed for any immigration overhaul. Hard-liners in Congress were flummoxed by word of a potential deal on DACA, one that could push some of Mr. Trump’s electoral base away from him.

Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, wrote on Twitter that if the reports were true, ‘Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible.’ The website Breitbart, run by Mr. Trump’s former chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, had the headline ‘Amnesty Don.’”

NC Policy Watch will post more details as they become available.

News

Surprising mayoral result in Charlotte

Vi Lyles

Mayor Jennifer Roberts is out in Charlotte. She lost the Democratic primary to the city’s Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles. While surprising and perhaps disappointing to some who appreciated Roberts’ stand on HB2, the Lyles win assures that Democrats will be lead by a progressive in the November election in the state’s largest city. Lyles will face Republican Kenny Smith. Conservative Democrat Joel Ford, who had support from many Republicans in Raleigh, was a distant third in the Democratic primary.

This is from the Charlotte Observer lead story:

“Charlotte Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles Tuesday won the Democratic mayoral nomination by upsetting Mayor Jennifer Roberts – a polarizing leader who made national headlines over House Bill 2.

Lyles, a former city budget director and assistant city manager, won in virtually every corner of the city, from the northwest to the southeast. She carried African-American precincts off Beatties Ford Road as well as those in Myers Park and Dilworth. She faces Republican Kenny Smith in November….

Lyles said she will emphasize affordable housing, the need for good jobs and the need for trust between the public and police department in the upcoming general election.

Meanwhile, City Council member Smith rolled past two rivals – Gary Dunn and Kimberley Paige Barnette – for the Republican nomination.

With 165 of 168 precincts in, Lyles had 46 percent of the vote to Roberts’ 36 percent. Ford had 16 percent.

Lyles had the support of the Black Political Caucus as well as establishment leaders such as former Bank of America Chairman Hugh McColl Jr….

Lyles starts the general election campaign at a distinct financial disadvantage. At the end of August she had $43,000 in her campaign account compared to Smith’s $325,000.

But she overcame a financial disadvantage in the primary. Through August, Roberts raised $468,000, far more than her rivals. That helped her stay on TV consistently since Aug. 21, while none of her Democratic opponents aired a single ad.”

 

Commentary

Editorials: NC got lucky on Irma, but more are coming

Hurricane Irma is finally spinning itself into a tropical depression today and none too soon. Sadly, Irma’s demise comes after several days of horrific destruction in the Caribbean and parts of Florida and Georgia.

But, of course, it could have been much worse. A lucky break in timing and wind patterns spared Florida’s Tampa Bay from much of the storm surge that had been feared. Meanwhile, North Carolina is largely escaping the storms’ fury.

Here’s the thing though: We all know that in the age of climate change more super storms are coming. As this morning’s lead editorial in Raleigh’s News & Observer puts it:

“While Hurricanes Irma and Harvey did not deliver a major blow to North Carolina, they did deliver a major warning. Hurricanes fueled by warmer air and ocean temperatures are getting more intense, and rising sea levels increase the level of flooding from sea water.

North Carolina, with its long coast jutting into a frequent hurricane path and its wide, low-lying coastal plain, is especially vulnerable to hurricanes and inland flooding. Now that vulnerability is rising with climate change, but preparations are not keeping pace….

On the side of getting ready, North Carolina is falling behind. Despite warnings about climate change and sea-level rise, the issue has not become urgent. Coastal development continues in harm’s way, water and sewer systems are too easily overwhelmed and river flooding needs to be better controlled.

The Republican-led General Assembly has focused on reducing environmental regulations, including putting limits on riparian buffers, or strips of vegetation, along streams and rivers. The buffers help control stormwater runoff and filter the pollution carried into waterways. Meanwhile, more resources should be devoted to inspecting and strengthening the more than 5,600 small dams in the state that are categorized as high-hazard because a break could lead to deaths or property damage of more than $250,000.”

In other words, this is no time to put our heads in the sand. Rather, it’s an “all hands on deck” situation. North Carolina needs to move aggressively to lower its contributions to global warming and overhaul the way it regulates land, water and development in order to make our infrastructure more resilient and better insulate the population from the next superstorm.
As an editorial in this morning’s Wilmington Star-News rightfully observes:

“Unless more reports of damage and injuries emerge, Floridians probably will count themselves lucky. Considering the strength and size of Irma, the thousands that evacuated risky areas did the right thing.

Luck, of course, is not always on our side. That’s why we need to make sure that preparedness, reasonable caution and well-informed long-term efforts to mitigate hurricane damage are.”

Commentary

The best op-ed of the weekend

NCAE President Mark Jewell

In case you missed it yesterday, Mark Jewell, the President of the N.C. Association of Educators had an excellent op-ed on WRAL.com about the start of the new school year and the inadequate response of state legislators.

Here’s the conclusion to “Standing strong for public schools is best school choice”:

“As bells ring in a new school year, too many of our elected leaders are tardy, or worse yet absent, when it comes to investing in our students’ future. National rankings confirmed that North Carolina continues to be one of the worst states in the nation in spending per student. Worse yet, North Carolina is projected to fall another spot to 43rd this year, more than $3,000 per student behind the national average. Instead of investing in our classrooms, the General Assembly’s leadership focusing on bolstering corporate boardrooms and millionaires through a series of tax cuts.

The Budget & Tax Center estimates that tax cuts over the last four years result in an estimated $3.5 billion in less annual revenue – money that isn’t going to boost classroom technology or instructional supplies — compared to the tax system in place prior to 2013. Public school teachers and parents have had to resort to GoFundMe campaigns just to provide for our students’ most basic needs.

As the General Assembly sends money to big business and the wealthy, it deprives public schools by diverting tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to private schools through a voucher scheme. By the end of this decade, at the current rate, North Carolina will spend more on private school vouchers than on textbooks and digital resources for 1.5 million public school students.

In the last century, public education has transformed North Carolina into a beacon of opportunity. Public schools have made – and can continue to make — a dramatic impact on generations of families. But we must make a choice:

Instead of sitting quietly through the systematic dismantling of public schools, we should stand strong for the heart and soul of our state—a thriving public education system.”

Commentary

Attorney General Stein takes a principled and courageous stand

Attorney General Josh Stein

In case you missed it, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has joined with 14 other state attorneys general in a federal court challenge to the Trump administration’s cruel and destructive decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in New York yesterday, asks the court to declare the Trump order unconstitutional and unlawful and to prohibit the administration from “using information obtained in any DACA application or renewal request to identify, apprehend, detain, or deport any DACA applicant or member of any DACA applicant’s family, or take any action against a DACA applicant’s current or former employer….”

For those looking for a good explanation of the destructive impact that DACA repeal would have in North Carolina, pages 26-28 of the complaint do a fine job. You can find some excerpts after the page break.

Kudos to Stein for representing our state so well. Let’s hope the court issues a swift and stern rebuke to Trump. Read more