Three Dozen Asylum Seekers End Hunger Strike In ICE Detention, But They Have No Idea When They Will Get Out

A woman stands in solidarity with organizers protesting President Obama’s deportation record. CREDIT: ThinkProgress/ Esther Y. Lee About three dozen Indian immigrants ended a ten-day hunger strike to protest their indefinite detention inside a Texas Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Processing Center last Wednesday, according to the Indian advocacy organization North American Punjabi Association (NAPA). The immigrants were separately detained for at least six months and went on a hunger strike to seek “early resolution of their plight” and called for officials to grant them asylum, according to a NAPA press statement. Between January and November 2013, about 100 Indian nationals in their early 20s crossed the southern United States- Mexican border without … [Read more...]

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Michigan Affirmative Action Ban

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld Michigan’s ban on affirmative action in higher education Tuesday morning, in the latest ruling to effectively weaken affirmative action without killing it. The ruling has significant policy repercussions: It means Michigan’s public universities no longer have the discretion to decide whether they want to use affirmative action policies to diversify their student bodies; they are banned by state law from considering race in admissions. In 2003, the University of Michigan took its right to implement an affirmative action policy all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court and won. But three years later, Michigan voters blocked admissions policies by passing a ban through a ballot initiative. Between 2006 and 2012, black enrollment fell 30 percent at … [Read more...]

Nebraska Enacts Progressive Reform To Expand Voting Rights

Voters cast their ballot in La Vista, Nebraska during the 2012 election. CREDIT: AP Photo/Nati Harnik Nobody would mistake Nebraska for a politically moderate state. It was the first state in the country to enact a 20-week abortion ban. They passed legislation restricting scientists’ ability to study climate change. Approximately 60 percent of voters cast a ballot for Mitt Romney in 2012, the ninth highest percentage of any state. So it was perhaps surprising when Gov. Dave Heineman (R) signed LB565 last week, a bill that enacts a form of same-day voter registration, one of the most progressive voting reforms in the country. The bill was passed by the nominally-nonpartisan-but-functionally-Republican unicameral legislature 37-3, with nine lawmakers abstaining. The new law allows … [Read more...]

How Medical Marijuana Went From Political Poison To Popular Policy

More than 40 years ago, psychiatry professor Lester Grinspoon wrote a groundbreaking book on marijuana that the New York Times dubbed at the time “the best dope on pot.” Like many in the medical marijuana community, Grinspoon started out as a skeptic intent on researching marijuana’s harms. But his perspective shifted after a personal experience: He had a son with leukemia who found relief only after he started using marijuana before his chemotherapy treatments. Once he started researching marijuana, Grinspoon found that existing information about marijuana was based on propaganda rather than rigorous scientific study. “I came to realize that I was the one who was misinformed — that despite my training in science and medicine, I had been brainwashed like just … [Read more...]

This May Be The Most Atrocious Political Ad Of 2014

CREDIT: (AP Photo/Alice Keeney, File) If you want to run for office some day, you better not believe that everyone is entitled to legal counsel before the government locks them away. Or, at least, that’s the message sent by a new Republican Governors Association ad targeting Vincent Sheheen, a former prosecutor who now represents civil and criminal clients in private practice. Sheheen is a Democratic candidate for governor against incumbent Nikki Haley (R-SC). The RGA’s ad attacks Sheheen for “defend[ing] violent criminals” and ends with the tagline “Vincent Sheheen protects criminals not South Carolina.” Watch it: The implication of this ad is that Sheheen is somehow unfit for public office because he once provided legal counsel to people accused of … [Read more...]