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'The Next Wave' With Ricky Hurtado

Ricky Hurtado will be the first to tell you that his historic bid for a seat in the North Carolina legislature has stakes not just for the future of that swing state but for the nation.

A first-generation immigrant and a teacher, the 31-year-old Hurtado would be the first-ever Latino Democrat elected to the North Carolina state house. He’s running to represent a toss-up district in Alamance County, in the rapidly growing Triad region of North Carolina. While Donald Trump handily won Alamance in 2016, Hurtado’s opponent, GOP State Rep. Stephen Ross, won by a few hundred votes in 2018. Hurtado’s race is critical piece of North Carolina Democrats’ plan to wrest back control of at least one chamber in the state legislature, which in turn would have ramifications for the upcoming once-in-a-decade redistricting process.

For the past decade, North Carolina has been ground zero for extreme Republican gerrymandering and the use of untraceable dark money to dilute the power of voters of color while tilting the state’s policies in the direction of deregulation and free-market economics. The last round of redistricting in 2011, led by the GOP, resulted in half of North Carolina’s black population being packed into just one-fifth of the newly drawn state and congressional districts. “The districts here take us back to a day of segregation that most of us thought we’d moved away from,” State Sen. Dan Blue Jr., who was North Carolina’s first black House speaker, told the Nation in 2012.

Last year, the North Carolina Supreme Court tossed out the existing political maps as illegal gerrymanders. The redrawn district that Hurtado is running in is more competitive than it’s been in more than a decade, and Hurtado says drawing fair political maps in 2021 is a top issue for his campaign, and one that comes up in his conversations with voters. “People understand what this practice (of gerrymandering) means: It means that we do not have a voice in these elections, which means that the issues that people in our district care about aren’t being addressed,” he says. If Democrats retake at least chamber in the North Carolina legislature, he continues, “We will be able to implement maps that will have impact not just the two years but the next 10 years, which means greater representation in each community and it means fairer congressional districts. One race here in North Carolina, a group of 50,000-plus voters, could have a huge effect on what the make up of Congress looks like.”

While Hurtado’s race is just one of thousands of state legislative races nationwide this year, he has secured endorsements from Barack Obama, the Biden-Harris campaign, and the Latino Victory Fund, one of the largest national political groups focused entirely on electing Latinos and Latinas to elected office. Hurtado says he believes his campaign has not only the potential change the course of policy and politics in one of the nation’s most important swing states; he also hopes to create a pipeline for young Latinos and Latinas to work in politics and run for office themselves one day. “I want to make sure we are not just opening that door,” he says, “but breaking it down.”

Hurtado spoke with Rolling Stone for “The Next Wave”, a new video series spotlighting the politicians and activists shaping the future of America.

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The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the Trump administration's bid to exclude undocumented immigrants from the total population in this year's census

  • The Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments on whether President Donald Trump's administration can exclude undocumented immigrants from the total population count in the 2020 census. 
  • The Trump administration has said it's unfair that some states get more congressional representation due to having a larger population of undocumented immigrants. 
  • The census does not ask a citizenship question and it's unclear how this would be achieved. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether President Donald Trump's administration can exclude undocumented immigrants from the total population count in the 2020 census, several outlets reported. 

The Trump administration's proposal could shift political representation and federal funding away from communities across the country. 

Last month, a federal appeals court in Manhattan blocked the Commerce Department and the Census Bureau from including information on the number of undocumented immigrants. 

The court also blocked a July memorandum by Trump that would have allowed for undocumented immigrants to be excluded from the total population count, CNBC reported. 

The Washington Post said that in 2019, the Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration's efforts to add a citizenship question on the census. 

According to The Post, the current battle revolved are the fact that the number of representatives allotted to each state is based on the number of residents in that state, and that historically that has always meant all people living in that state, not just citizens.  

In his July memorandum, Trump argued that some states would get more representation than they "deserved" because of undocumented immigrants. 

Since the census does not ask about citizenship, it's not clear how the administration plans to assess this. 

"The Census Bureau is still evaluating the extent to which, as a practical matter, administrative records pertaining to immigration status can be used to identify and exclude illegal aliens from the apportionment population count," acting solicitor general Jeffrey B. Wall said in a filing to the Supreme Court, The Post reported. 

Oral arguments are scheduled for November 30.

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Federal prosecutors did a dry run of family separations in Texas and found that children younger than 12 shouldn't be taken away from their parents

  • In 2017, federal prosecutors found that kids under 12 wouldn't be able to find their families on their own if they were separated during a "pilot" family separation program, NBC News reported. 
  • The program took place from April to December of 2017. 
  • More than 300 families were separated in the program. 
  • In 2018, the Trump administration implemented a "zero-tolerance policy" program that separated kids as young as infants from their detained parents.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

In 2017, federal prosecutors found that kids under 12 wouldn't be able to find their families on their own if they were separated in a "pilot" program that would be a precursor to the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance policy," NBC News reported.

NBC News obtained a draft of the Department of Justice's inspector general's investigation into the  "zero-tolerance policy," which was rolled out in 2018 and separated thousands of children from their parents.

In the draft of Inspector General Michael Horowitz's investigation, which is subject to change, NBC News obtained a copy of a Justice Department memo, which said that the pilot program in El Paso, Texas, found that children younger than 12 should not be separated.

The following year, President Donald Trump's administration rolled out a program that separated kids as young as infants from their parents.

The memo about the 2017 pilot program was prepared for the US attorney for the Western District of Texas John Bash, but NBC News reported, citing the IG's draft report, it was never sent to DOJ officials in Washington, DC.

The pilot program took place from April to December of 2017, and by August of that year, the prosecutors realized that some of the children were too young to be separated, per NBC News.

More than 300 families were separated in the program, including 11 children who under one year old, 22 who were one year old, and 28 who were two years old.

"The analysis focused on whether the child was mature enough to be separated from the accompanying parent. The agents were to determine whether the child could effectively communicate where they were from, where they lived, their address, where they were going to, who they were to meet," the memo said, according to NBC News. 

Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that the draft report from the DOJ's inspector general said that former Attorney General Jeff Session and other top Justice Department officials were "a driving force" behind President Donald Trump's child separation policy at the US-Mexico border. 

Horowitz's investigation into the "zero tolerance" policy said Sessions and former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein called for the separation of children no matter how young they were. The draft, which is being reviewed by officials, is subject to change, the newspaper said.

"We need to take away children," Sessions reportedly told the prosecutors on a call that month.

Read the full NBC News report here »

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ICE put up billboards with the mugshots of immigrants who were released from police custody

  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement launched billboards in Pennsylvania that display mugshots of immigrants. 
  • There are six billboards that feature immigrants who were released from custody but were not handed over to ICE.
  • The move has been criticized as an attack on sanctuary cities. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement launched billboards in Pennsylvania that display mugshots of immigrants who were released into their communities from police custody. 

The agency said the billboards are a part of an effort "to educate the public about the dangers of non-cooperation policies," in a press release.

The billboards feature an image of an "at-large" immigrant who was arrested or convicted of a crime but were "released by: Philadelphia Police Department." The word "WANTED BY ICE" also accompanies the image. 

The move by ICE targets "sanctuary cities," CNN reported. Sanctuary cities limit the cooperation between ICE and their local law enforcement. 

"Too often sanctuary policies limiting cooperation with ICE result in significant public safety concerns," said Tony Pham, the senior official performing the duties of the ICE director. "ICE will continue to enforce immigration laws set forth by Congress through the efforts of the men and women of ICE to remove criminal aliens and making our communities safer."

So far, the agency has put up six billboards. BuzzFeed reported that all six men had already been released from jails either by serving their sentences or by paying their bond. This likely means the individuals were not being held by local officials and that local laws prevented them from being held for the duration ICE wanted, the report said. ICE wanted them transferred into their custody so they could be deported.

James Schwab, a former ICE spokesperson who resigned from the agency in 2018, told BuzzFeed: "The tactic is unusual, clearly political, and disappointing given the timing."

President Donald Trump has historically claimed that sanctuary cities in states like California, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New York are unsafe. In April, he even threatened that states with sanctuary cities wouldn't get coronavirus aid until they changed their policies. 

ICE is calling on the public to inform them if they have information on where the featured individuals are. 

John Sandweg, former acting ICE director, told CNN while soliciting tips is common, billboards are political. 

"How are they getting funding for it? How does that advance their mission?" Sandweg told CNN. "Running billboards, it's political messaging."

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