May 22, 2017: Weekly Actions
The news continues to come at a fast and furious pace—it's hard to believe that it's only been two weeks since Sally Yates testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. This past week we learned that the President revealed sensitive intelligence to Russian officials during their visit to the White House, that he interfered with the FBI's Russia investigation, that GOP leaders have suspected since last summer that he was being paid by Russia, and that his transition team knew about Michael Flynn being under investigation before they nominated him to be National Security Adviser. We also saw a huge win in the appointment of a special counsel in the Russia investigation, an investigation that now includes a possible cover-up, and which has a current senior White House official as a person of interest.
And that's not all! We also saw the GOP advance legislation to reduce the government's ability to implement necessary environmental, workplace, and consumer protections, and we saw the FCC vote to advance repeal of federal net neutrality protections.
There's a lot going on, and much of it is happening much more quickly than anyone anticipated. But when you start to feel overwhelmed, just remember: you are not in this alone. You are part of a movement that includes members in every state, and we continue to stand indivisible.
Recommended Weekly Actions
Last week, Border Patrol agents arrested a 22-year-old CSU Los Angeles student and immigrant-rights activist named Claudia Rueda Vidal. According to reporting by the LA Times, Rueda is eligible for DACA, and had recently led protests against the detention of her mother, who had been swept up in a drug raid that she was later cleared of any involvement in. Based on the timing, activists and Rueda's lawyer believe that Rueda's arrest was a form of retaliation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for her activism.
In the wake of Rueda's detention, a number of activists and organizations have joined to call for her release, using the #FreeClaudia hashtag on social media.
The Immigrant Youth Coalition recommends calling the ICE San Diego Field Office at (619) 557-6117 and directing the call to Field Office Director Gregory Archimbeault. They have provided the following call script:
"Hi, my name is ________________, and I am a concerned community member calling in support of Claudia Sarahi Rueda Vidal, (A# 213-081-680), a DACA eligible youth, college student and beloved community member from Boyle Heights. Claudia has been a mentor in the community. I call to urge Director Greg Archambault to grant Claudia prosecutorial discretion and release her immediately to her family and community."
You can also send this comment via email to SanDiego.Outreach@ice.dhs.gov.
SB-54 - California Values Act
Claudia Rueda's arrest by ICE reportedly involved collaboration between ICE and the LA County Sheriff, which highlights the need for states like California to clarify the relationship between federal immigration officers and state and local law enforcement. SB-54, the California Values Act, would designate the entire state of California as a sanctuary state, prohibiting state and local law enforcement from participating in immigration enforcement actions, and would limit the degree to which state and local governments or agencies from assisting federal immigration agencies. The bill passed the California Senate on April 3, and has now been referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee and the Assembly Public Safety Committee.
If your Assemblymember is on either of those committees, please contact them and ask them to support SB-54. (In San Diego County, Assemblymember Brian Maienschein (916-319-2077) is on the Judiciary Committee and Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (916-319-2080) is on the Public Safety Committee.) Here is a sample call script:
"Hi, my name is _____. I'm calling from _____ (zip code). I'd like to ask _____ (Assemblymember's name) to please support SB-54 in the [Judiciary/Public Safety] Committee. As Californians, we must do everything we can to protect our vulnerable immigrant communities, which are a vibrant and vital part of our state. Thank you."
Politico reported this morning that the White House is seeking a three-month deferral in the lawsuit over ACA cost-sharing subsidies. While that may sound like a good thing, pushing the question out into August will mean that insurers will continue to be unsure whether the subsidies—which are used to reduce out-of-pocket costs for low-income families—will continue to be available. In the face of that uncertainty, they will most likely respond by increasing premiums to cover the possibility that the subsidies will be ended.
5calls.org has put together an excellent call script for contacting the Department of Health and Human Services to let them know that healthcare is not a bargaining chip.
Trump Budget Proposal
The White House is expected to release a new budget proposal tomorrow, and according to reporting from Bloomberg News, it will include $1.7 trillion in cuts, including major cuts to food stamps, the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, and Medicaid. The Indivisible Team has put together an explainer about the budget proposal, including talking points for your calls. Please take a few minutes to read the Indivisible article and then call your representatives.
Although the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel in the Russia investigation is a great development, we still need to keep pressure on our representatives in Congress to establish an independent Russia commission. The Indivisible team has put together a "Truth or Trump" toolkit to explain the situation we're in and what we can do. Please take some time this week to look over these resources, and make sure to call your Senators and House Representative and ask for that independent commission.