Perchance to dream
College campuses are anxiously waiting for President Trump’s decision on whether to dismantle or even substantially change the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
DACA was an executive order from then-President Barack Obama in 2012 that stopped deportation of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children and who pose no security threat. But attorneys general in 10 southern states have given Trump an ultimatum to rescind the program by next Tuesday or they will take legal action to kill it.
It’s unknown what Trump will do. He had campaigned on a promise to scrap Obama’s order but has since moderated his view after taking office, expressing empathy for children who had no say in coming here.
With their future on the line, many young adults who had come out of the shadows to pursue the American Dream – hence the term “Dreamers’ Act” – are now fearful that they will be shipped out of the only country they’ve ever known back to places they have no connection to or familiarity with.
College and university presidents around the country have banded together to urge Trump not only to retain the program but expand it. Many schools, such as the University of Miami, have opened their doors to DACA students, offering a wide range of financial assistance up to and including full tuition and room and board.
With the booming higher education network in Massachusetts, it only goes to reason that school officials here would be out front.
“We, as a nation, have already made an investment in these young people, and we will benefit far more by permitting these students to put their skills to their highest use rather than by repealing DACA and forcing them to return to the shadows of our society,” Harvard University president Drew Faust wrote to Trump.
As some advocates point out, opening up some of these “dreamers” to deportation could split up families. Rep. Brian Murray of Milford, which has a growing Brazilian community, pointed out that some of those young adults have siblings who are US citizens because they were born here after the families came to this country and who wouldn’t be subject to deportation.
The higher education community is also on edge over changes in visa programs. The Customs and Immigration Service has resumed accepting H-1B applications for foreign workers from “cap-exempt” institutes such as colleges and universities. But the resumption created a flood of applications and the agency has put a hold on fast-track processing, creating a months-long backlog in a process that used to be completed in 15 days. The delays are having an effect on many schools, including Boston College.
“Even though [the suspension has] been lifted, there have been new restrictions or new forms required that in some cases has made it more cumbersome,” BC Vice Provost Billy Soo told the student newspaper The Heights. “One of the concerns we have with all the publicity surrounding the challenges people face in entering the country and applying for visas, we’re afraid that that scares away the talented international faculty who might have been interested in coming to BC and working in the United States.”
For many, the dream is turning into a nightmare.
Gov. Charlie Baker pushes legislation that would impose harsher penalties on those who peddle opioids that lead to overdose deaths. (State House News) The legislation would also make murder-for-hire a felony, something Dan Bennett, the governor’s public safety chief, is personally familiar with. (MassLive)
A union representing some of the state’s mental health workers delivered a petition to Baker pushing him to install metal detectors at the state’s seven mental health facilities. (Herald News)
A Herald editorial says Red Sox owner and Boston Globe publisher John Henry’s call to rename Yawkey Way is “cheap” and little more than “a grandstanding move that does nothing to advance racial understanding.”
The Freight Yard Pub, claiming its building is not being maintained properly, is withholding rent from its landlord, the North Adams Redevelopment Authority. As a result, the authority is on the verge of running out of cash. (Berkshire Eagle)
Braintree officials are discussing a proposal to raise the town’s lodging tax to pay for police patrols at the hotels. (Patriot Ledger)
Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia is in talks with the private Fall River Office of Economic Development to renew the fractured relationship between the city and the business nonprofit. (Herald News)
Mayor Marty Walsh convenes a meeting of Boston city officials to review disaster preparations in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. (Boston Herald)
For the second time in a month, the Ashland Board of Health deadlocked on a motion to remove the controversial chairwoman after one of the members once again abstained for “ethical” reasons, presumably because he would have become chairman with her removal. (MetroWest Daily News)
As the sun began to peek out, the death toll from Hurricane Harvey began to climb as flood waters slowly receded and recovery efforts were underway in Texas. (New York Times) Houston schools have received federal approval to give free meals to all students for the entire school year as part of the Hurricane Harvey recovery. (U.S. News & World Report)
Peter Gelzinis says there is comfort in knowing three former generals are in top positions around an erratic, ill-prepared president (Boston Herald), something the Download has highlighted as well. A Herald editorial sighs relief — and exasperation with the president — as Defense Secretary Jim Mattis taps the brakes on Trump’s order banning transgender service members.
Political strategist Doug Rubin has signed on to Dan Koh’s run for the congressional seat being vacated by Niki Tsongas. The Globe’s Frank Phillips says there could be bad blood between Rubin and UMass president Marty Meehan, whose ex-wife may also jump into the race. (Boston Globe)
President Trump traveled to Missouri to pitch his planned tax cut for businesses, touting it as a boon to the middle class while offering no details. (New York Times) The Globe’s Evan Horowitz says there are three reasons why Trump’s tax plan probably won’t work. Herald columnist Kimberly Atkins wonders whether there will be a repeat of the health care failure, with the administration short on details of the plan and relying on Congress to do the heavy lifting.
MassLive takes a tour of a medical marijuana growing and sales facility in Bridgewater.
A former Millbury monk and UMass Medical School sue cosmetics giant L’Oreal for allegedly stealing the formula for a patented anti-aging cream. (Telegram & Gazette)
A Globe editorial criticizes the city for caving in contract talks with Boston teachers and agreeing to a two-year deal that punts on the most crucial reform issue that was on the table.
Alan Dershowitz says both left-wing and right-wing extremism are threats to civil discourse at college campuses. (Boston Globe) Just in time to test his thesis, controversial author Charles Murray is scheduled to deliver a speech next week at Harvard. (Boston Globe)
UMass Amherst student Bradley Polumbo, in a Globe op-ed, says the university is wasting millions of dollars on things like athletic programs and high-end dining hall offerings, non-academic pursuits that students are paying for through constant tuition and fee increases. Meanwhile, college enrollment levels are plummeting nationally — as tuition costs soar. (Boston Herald)
The Food and Drug Administration approved the first gene therapy for cancer. (Time)
MBTA control board member Monica Tibbits-Nutt, who was on the advisory committee for the hiring of new T general manager Luis Ramirez, says she was not made aware of the lawsuit against him or the revised financial statements filed by the company he ran. (WBUR)
The MBTA’s David Block-Schachter and Beaudry Kock explore bus stops and digital place-making. (CommonWealth)
Gypsy moth caterpillars have defoliated nearly one-third of the state’s forests. (Boston Globe)
A 75 percent drop in the herring population may halt plans to lift the decade-old ban on fishing at the herring run in Middleboro. (The Enterprise)
A former Lawrence police officer agreed to plead guilty to extortion in a case where he threatened a drug dealer who turned out to be a federal informant. (Eagle-Tribune)A captain with the Bristol County Sheriff’s office has been arrested and charged by federal officials with conspiracy and aiding former New Bedford fishing magnate Carlos Rafael, the so-called “Codfather” convicted of smuggling money and violating catch quotas. (Standard-Times)
Corrections officers arrested a 25-year-old Dorchester woman for attempting to smuggle drugs into the Norfolk County jail after guards found $29,000 worth of the prescription drug Suboxone hidden in a necktie she dropped off for her boyfriend, who is a guest at the Dedham facility. (Patriot Ledger)