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July 18, 2021

Federal judge rules that Obama-era DACA program is illegal

Hello Americans,

A federal judge ruled that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama-era program shielding certain undocumented immigrants from deportation, is illegal. Judge Andrew Hanen’s ruling would bar future applications, and does not immediately cancel the hundreds of thousands of current permits. Hanen ruled that Congress had not granted the Department of Homeland Security the authority to create DACA and that it prevented immigration officials from enforcing expulsion terms of the Immigration and Nationality act. “Congress has not granted the Executive Branch free rein to grant lawful presence outside the ambit of the statutory scheme,” Hanen wrote. The Trump administration tried disbanding DACA in 2017 but was blocked by the Supreme Court.

In Oregon, smoke and heat from a massive wildfire are creating giant “fire clouds” — dangerous columns of smoke and ash that can reach up to 6 miles in the sky and are visible from more than 100 miles away. The Bootleg fire is currently the largest wildfire burning in the US, reaching about 75 square miles on Friday — bigger than the size of New York City. The fire was so dangerous that crews were pulled out. Meteorologists spotted a more extreme version of the fire clouds — colloquially referred to by NASA as the “fire-breathing dragon of clouds.” Both types of clouds pose serious risks for firefighters. “Please send positive thoughts and well wishes to the firefighters. … It’s a tough time for them right now,” the National Weather Service said via Twitter.

President Joe Biden accused Facebook of “killing people” amid the censorship kerfuffle. Biden was asked about his message for platforms like Facebook as he left the White House for a weekend trip to Camp David. “They’re killing people. The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. And they’re killing people,” Biden said. His comments came after White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden administration is “regularly” communicating with Facebook and other social media platforms on the “latest narratives dangerous to public health” that they think should be censored.

In California, two men were charged with plotting to attack the Democratic Party headquarters in Sacramento. According to the unsealed indictment, Ian Benjamin Rogers, 45, and Jarrod Copeland, 37, started coordinating to attack Democratic targets in the wake of the 2020 presidential election. Prosecutors said that Copeland reached out to the far-right group the Proud Boys in an effort to “recruit others to join the plot.” The pair exchanged numerous messages wherein they discussed blowing up buildings, the DOJ said. “I want to blow up a democrat building bad,” Rogers told Copeland in January 2021. “I agree,” Copeland responded. “Plan attack.” Authorities seized a stockpile of weapons from Rogers’ home including over 45 firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and five pipe bombs.

An 18-year-old will be accompanying a billionaire to space. The mystery bidder who put up a staggering $28 million for an 11-minute ride to the edge of space alongside Jeff Bezos will not make the trip, according to Bezos’rocket company Blue Origin. 18-year-old Oliver Daemen will take the seat instead, and will become the youngest person ever to fly to space. Daemen was a participant in the auction, but the amount he paid has not been disclosed. The flight is slated for July 20.

Illinois signed a bill into law that bars police from lying to minors during interrogations, becoming the first state to do so. Commonly used interrogation tactics like insinuating that incriminating evidence exists or promising leniency are officially banned in the state starting January 1, 2022. These types of interrogation methods have played a part in approximately 30% of all wrongful convictions later overturned by DNA, according to the Innocence Project. “In Illinois alone, there have been 100 wrongful convictions predicated on false confessions, including 31 involving people under 18 years of age,”  said Lauren Kaeseberg, legal director of the Illinois Innocence Project.

Stay safe,

Fraser Dixon

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