We Make Complicated Stuff Clear Sat, 14 Oct 2017 19:18:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 43786300 Equifax Hack Affects Millions More Sat, 07 Oct 2017 22:42:21 +0000 by Barbara Nevins Taylor The Equifax hack may affect you because the company’s latest audit shows that the first count … Continue reading Equifax Hack Affects Millions More

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by Barbara Nevins Taylor

The Equifax hack may affect you because the company’s latest audit shows that the first count was off by 2.5 million people. Forensic investigators hired by Equifax now say thieves stole personal information, including Social Security numbers, of 145.5 million people, not 143 million in the U.S., as the company originally reported on September 7, 2017.

So what you do? 

Go to the website Equifax set up to try to provide answers to people the hack affects.


Equifax Hack May Affect You

They changed their policy and will now let you know immediately whether the hack may affect you. A screen will come up that tells you.


Then, if the hack affects you, they ask you to enroll in the Equifax TrustedID Premier program. That provides: 

  • Automatic alerts if someone inquires about your credit report at Equifax, or the two other major credit reporting companies, TransUnion and Experian

  •  A copy of your Equifax credit report

  • Equifax Credit Report lock, which allows you to lock your credit report so that no one can enquire about it, “with certain exceptions,” they say.

  • $1 million in identity theft protection in the event someone steals your identity. They say this helps pay for “out-of-pocket” expenses.

  • Social Security number scanning that searches suspicious websites for mention of your Social Security number.

In the meantime, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group has called for Congress to pass a law to would make sure all consumers in every state have the ability to freeze their credit reports for free.

You can get free credit freezes only in Indiana, Maine, North Carolina and South  Carolina. In some states, victims of identity theft can get free credit freezes. 

U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s Consumer Advocate Mike Litt says, “Free freezes are important because you need to pay fees to all three credit bureaus to be sure all the doors to your credit report are closed to identity theft.”

Two bills in the Senate and one in the House contain provisions to offer free credit freezes in every state. But those in Congress need to hear from consumers who want the protection, especially now.

Here’s how to get in touch with your U.S. Senator.

Here’s how to get in touch with your U.S. Representative


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Watch Kosciuszko Bridge Blow Sun, 01 Oct 2017 22:29:05 +0000 Boom! You can watch the old Kosciuszko Bridge blow up. Anyone who endured decades of traffic jams on this span … Continue reading Watch Kosciuszko Bridge Blow

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Boom! You can watch the old Kosciuszko Bridge blow up. Anyone who endured decades of traffic jams on this span over Newtown Creek linking Brooklyn and Queens will enjoy seeing the 78-year-old bridge come down. And anyone who never had the pleasure will still enjoy the two-and-a-half minute plus video, spectacularly shot by a drone camera.

Demolition workers with Controlled Demolition set 944 linear-shaped explosives on the old bridge. They had weakened it by making 1600 cuts in the steel at strategic points. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the explosives manufacturer “confirmed” the blasts would not spew hazardous bi-products into the air. 

The old hulking metal Kosciuszko Bridge rose 110 feet above the creek and was built for 10,000 cars a day. In recent years, more than 180,000 vehicles a day passed over it, mostly very slowly or at a crawl. 

Photo by New York State Department of Transportation

A new, delicate, cable-stay bridge replaced the old truss bridge in April 2017.  A twin span, still under construction, will complete the replacement project. Ultimately, it will provide provide twelve much-needed lanes for traffic on Interstate 278, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, known to us locals as the BQE.  The new, like the old, directly links Maspeth, Queens to Greenpoint, Brooklyn. 

The first bridge to span the creek went up in 1803 and for a long while it cost a penny to cross it. In 1939, it was replaced by the one that just came down at a cost of $6 million. Originally, it was called the Meeker Avenue Bridge. A year later, Mayor Fiorella La Guardia led a ceremony to rename it in honor of Tadeusz Kosciuszko, a Polish volunteer and general in the U.S. Revolutionary War.

Whether it’s the old or the new, we should point out that the often maddeningly slow ride across the Kosciuszko Bridge and the BQE offers a spectacular view of the New York skyline that always thrills those of us who love the city. 



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How To Help People In Puerto Rico and Mexico Tue, 26 Sep 2017 23:55:45 +0000 Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer Jonathan Lalley   by Nick Taylor President Trump now plans to visit Puerto Rico … Continue reading How To Help People In Puerto Rico and Mexico

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Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer Jonathan Lalley


by Nick Taylor

President Trump now plans to visit Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. But how do we help people there and in Mexico after the last devastating earthquake? These latest demonstrations of nature’s power test our hearts? So much need for relief.  So much damage in so little time, so many people suffering, so many lives to rebuild. 

Few of us paid attention back in June, when the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted an above-average hurricane season in the Atlantic this year. Boy, were they right!

Hurricane Maria blasted through the Caribbean seeming to take aim at the islands spared by Irma, and Puerto Rico took the brunt of it.  Maria decimated Puerto Rico’s power grid and water system. Governor Ricardo Rosselló said the U.S. territory was on the brink of a “humanitarian crisis” and begged U.S. legislators to give the island commonwealth the same assistance and attention that hurricane-ravaged states get. 

President Trump said he would visit Puerto Rico on Tuesday, October 3.  He described the island as “literally destroyed.”

Remember Mexico

And then there’s Mexico City and the earthquake that collapsed buildings trapping hundreds in piles of rubble. Interior Minister Luis Felipe Puente tweeted on September 26 and put the death toll at 333. 

The governments in charge are all stretched thin. So are relief organizations. But they can’t help at all without donations, so here are some of them.

So how to we help with relief?

First, the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster would like to hear from volunteers to work in Puerto Rico, Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The most effective charities and relief organizations in specific areas are often those with local ties.

In Puerto Rico those include:

Caritas Puerto Rico, formerly Catholic Social Services of Puerto Rico

Fondos Unidos de Puerto Rico (United Way)

The Community Foundation of Puerto Rico  

Hurricane Maria Children’s Relief Fund (Save the Children)

The American Red Cross is also on the ground in Puerto Rico providing assistance.

Unicef, Global Giving, Oxfam, Habitat for Humanity,  and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy also need donations to do their work in Puerto Rico.

To help in Mexico City, where actress Salma Hayek teamed up with Unicef and pledged to match the first $100,000 in donations to help earthquake victims, the front-line charities include, 

The International Community Foundation

Global Giving

Oxfam Mexico


The American Red Cross, while not entirely transparent in how it spends its money, is on the ground and working in Mexico and can use donations.

And Facebook friends tell me they donate through their church relief groups. For example, United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) responds to disasters worldwide and the church pays 100 percent of the administrative costs.

While many of us want to help, it’s a good idea to avoid charity scams that pop up and make sure that you put your money where it actually helps.

 New York Attorney General Eric  Schneiderman issued an alert about scams. And  his watch list provides good tips.

Give to Established Charities. Donate to organizations you are familiar with, or have an experience assisting in disaster relief. Get information about charities that pop up solely in response to the hurricane or those with unfamiliar names.

Be Cautious With Telephone Solicitations

Professional fundraiser often make the telephone calls asking for donations to charity. You can always hang up.  Or, ask whether the telemarketer is registered and how much of your donation goes to the charity and how much to the telemarketer. Many telemarketers receive most of the money they raise. Giving directly to a charity avoids those costs.

Check Before You Text A Contribution

Check the charity’s website or call the charity to confirm it has authorized contributions to be made via text message. One thing to keep in mind is that donations via text messaging may not reach the charity until after your phone bill is paid. So you might want to donate directly.

Check Before Donating to an Online Giving Site

Make sure your contribution to campaigns set up by individuals on sites such as GoFundMe or CrowdRise will go to charity and not to the person raising the funds. Don’t contribute unless you know that person.

Don’t Respond to Unsolicited Spam Emails

These formats are usually not associated with legitimate charities. Charities.

Never Give Cash

Give your contribution by credit card or a check made payable to the charity.

Be Careful About Personal Information

Avoid giving credit card or personal information over the phone or by text message. In all cases, make sure you are familiar with the organization and check to see that the fundraising campaign is legitimate before donating.

Charity Navigator and Charity Watch can help steer you to the organizations that will make the most of your donation dollar. 

Meanwhile, a week after the NOAA predicted a worst-than-usual hurricane season this year, the Trump administration announced it was cutting the agency’s budget by 16 percent and stripping $5 million from programs that are working on advanced modeling techniques to provide better storm and weather forecasting.

The budget also cuts federal money for a West Coast earthquake early warning system and tsunami monitoring stations. So the need to help the victims of hurricanes and other disasters will continue for a long time.


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You Can Blame Equifax For Data Breach Fri, 15 Sep 2017 01:04:57 +0000    You can blame Equifax for the data breach that affects 143 million of us. It apparently did not fix … Continue reading You Can Blame Equifax For Data Breach

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 You can blame Equifax for the data breach that affects 143 million of us. It apparently did not fix a security flaw that it knew about and had received a fix for. “The Equifax data compromise was due to their failure to install the security updates provided in a timely manner,” the Apache Software Foundation wrote on its September 14, 2017 blog. 

Apache provides open-source software called Apache Struts for Equifax and major financial institutions and government agencies. The website zdnet quotes Fintan Ryan, an analyst at Redmonk, saying that 65 percent of Fortune 500 companies use Apache Struts.

On its blog, Apache says it issued an update alert on March 07, 2017 and recommended that companies, or anyone using Apache Struts, install a security update.

Apparently, Equifax did not do that. Instead, it says it became vulnerable to a hack from mid-May to July 29. Equifax did not make this public until September 7, 2017.

The problem with the software allowed hackers to use file uploads to launch a bug that let them communicate with the servers and steal information including Social Security numbers, drivers license numbers, credit card numbers and other personal financial information.

But in the community of people involved with this type of software and cybersecurity, the word was out and they issued alert warnings. They may not directly blame Equifax, but the facts point in that direction.


In a March 8, 2017 blog, Nick Biasini with the Cisco Talos, a threat intelligence group, wrote, “Talos began investigating for exploitation attempts and found a high number of exploitation events.”

On March 9 another expert, Akamai SIRT, wrote on a blog titled Vulnerability Found In Apache Struts, “If you are currently running an affected version of the software, malicious users could execute code on the system remotely by using a maliciously crafted Content-Type header. Successful exploitation does not require the user to be authenticated. Apache has classified the vulnerability as a “possible remote code execution;” however, the vulnerability is easy to exploit and allows code to be executed using the user context of the account running the Tomcat server. At least two working exploits have been seen in the wild already.”

He also told users,”Upgrading Apache Struts to version 2.3.32 or will fix the current vulnerability.”

So that leaves us with the question about why Equifax didn’t fix the flaw that led to the breach and what happens to us and all of that stolen data now. 

So consumer advocates say you can blame Equifax for the giant mess the credit reporting company made for consumers. That’s why its a good idea to put a freeze on your credit report, as the U.S. Public Interest Group warns in a news release. 

“We’re recommending that consumers get credit freezes with all three credit bureaus. We’ve called on Equifax to pay for all those freezes, but consumers shouldn’t wait for that. Credit freezes are currently only free in seven states (about to be eight in October).

“We are working to make them free in other places like Illinois and Massachusetts, where state bills have been introduced. But Congress should lead and make credit freezes free for everyone in the country.”


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How We Can Help Irma Victims Tue, 12 Sep 2017 23:33:30 +0000   by Nick Taylor Generosity’s in high demand these days and you may wonder how we can help Irma victims … Continue reading How We Can Help Irma Victims

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by Nick Taylor

Generosity’s in high demand these days and you may wonder how we can help Irma victims now that the storm left a path of destruction in her wake.

Hurricane-irma-goes-floater-rainbow-courtesy wickimedia

No sooner did Texans flooded by Hurricane Harvey’s epic rains start drying out than Hurricane Irma sprinted across the Caribbean and up the Florida peninsula.  Together the two storms have caused damage estimated in the range of $200 billion, and that’s just in the U.S.

As usual, individuals, families and small businesses were hit the hardest. Some people in the Florida Keys won’t be able to go home for days, if at all, and may not have water or electricity for weeks. FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, says 25 percent of the homes in the Keys were destroyed in the storm and virtually all suffered some damage. Jacksonville suffered major flooding and also faces a long recovery. So do other parts of mainland Florida.


Irma wrecked the U.S. Virgin Islands of St. Thomas and St. John, St. Martin, a French protectorate, and British protectorates including Barbuda, Anguilla, and the British Virgin Islands. Looters ravaged broken store fronts and carried away ATM machines. Survivors slept in shifts to keep from being robbed. Store shelves emptied. Food and water were impossible to find and evacuation ships didn’t arrive until this week.  

hurricane-irma-damage-St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands Air Force photo by Capt. Lauren Hill

Air Force photo by Capt. Lauren Hill


Meanwhile, flooded Gulf Coast homes in Texas have sprouted mold and disease from unclean water. 

U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Zachary Wolf

An economic recovery will accompany the rebuilding after these twin disasters, but it’s a long time in the future. For the time being, people need help with the basics of life.

So we, like others, wonder who to call and how we can help Irma victims.

The United Way, for example, tell us that in areas hit by Hurricane Irma 2-1-1 is operational across all affected areas: “If someone you know needs help, they can call 2-1-1, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There may be a wait, but calls will be answered. In case of emergency, dial 9-1-1.

You can also text “Irma” to 898-211, or visit to find your local provider and more information.

“2-1-1 is a free, confidential service that connects people from all communities to essential health and human services—24 hours a day, seven days a week. 2-1-1 will remain open and ready to provide local information about shelters, food and water, health resources, and other needs related to hurricane recovery or anything else,” a United Way spokesperson said.

The United Way also has created the United Way Irma Recovery Fund to help Florida and Caribbean communities put themselves back together in hurricane’s aftermath.

You can also donate to the Irma Caribbean Strong Relief Fund.

A San Antonio TV station, KENS5, moved by the outpouring of support for Texas during Harvey’s worst days, has put together a list of organizations helping the Irma recovery effort.

The Miami Foundation compiled a list of national and local agencies working throughout Florida in the wake of the storm that can use your contributions. Here’s what they suggest.

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation is partnering with United Way to support Hurricane Irma victims in Southwest Florida. Donations can be general or designated to one of the following counties: Lee, Hendry, Glades, Charlotte or Collier Counties.

Click here to donate or text GIVESWFL to 444999.

Gulf Coast Community Foundation has established a disaster fund focused on making the region habitable again so residents can resume their daily lives. Click here to donate.

Catholic Relief Services is working with their partners in the smaller Caribbean islands to help with Hurricane Irma relief efforts and prepare for Hurricane Jose. Click here to donate

Feeding South Florida runs a disaster relief program, assisting evacuees from South Florida and surrounding counties. Click here to learn more about their efforts, and click here to donate. 

Goodwill of South Florida’s donation centers will receive clothing and household item donations. Click here to find a center near you. 

The Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald and United Way of Miami-Dade are partnering with local nonprofits to support immediate and long-term recovery needs. Click here to donate.

The New Florida Majority is recruiting volunteers in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. Click here for more information and to sign up. 

The Red Cross is recruiting volunteers to help Hurricane Irma victims.  Click here to learn more. 

United Way of Miami-Dade is recruiting volunteers for the county and United Way’s partner agencies. Click here to volunteer. 

Corporations big and small have also ponied up donations to help bring life in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean back to normal after the latest blows from Mother Nature. 

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Consumer Outrage Forces Equifax Backtrack Sun, 10 Sep 2017 00:18:19 +0000 updated September 15, 2017 Nick Taylor Consumer outrage forced Equifax to backtrack and respond to consumer inquiries and complaints in … Continue reading Consumer Outrage Forces Equifax Backtrack

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updated September 15, 2017

Nick Taylor

Consumer outrage forced Equifax to backtrack and respond to consumer inquiries and complaints in a more reasonable way in the wake of the data breach. The credit reporting giant says it added more staff, made services free for a longer time and changed the policy about your ability to sue.

The company will not bar victims of its massive data theft from joining class action lawsuits. That adds up to a big win for millions.

Hackers gained access to the accounts of 143 million people between May and July 29, 2017.  The information included names, birth dates, addresses, Social Security numbers and in some cases driver’s license numbers — anything a fraudster would need to get credit in your name.

Initially, the website Equifax set up to inform consumers if they were at risk included an “Agreement to resolve all disputes by binding individual arbitration.”  That’s a device to keep companies out of court and shield them from the potential for expensive judgments in lawsuits filed by groups of harmed consumers.  

But pressure from outraged consumers and advocates changed things quickly. Late Friday, September 8, Equifax issued a statement saying, “In response to consumer inquiries, we have made it clear that the arbitration clause and class action waiver included in the Equifax and TrustedID Premier terms of use does not apply to this cybersecurity incident.”

But although they say they added staff to help consumers, they still give you a date to get back in touch and enroll in their “TrustedID Premier.”

Take a few proactive steps to protect yourself.  

  • You can go on to the Equifax website or call 866-447-7559 to learn if your information hackers compromised your information.  If so, there are a few things you can do.

  • Consider putting a freeze on your credit report with Equifax. That means no one can open an account and borrow money in your name without you getting a call or email first.

  • Then you need to do the same with Experian and TransUnion. Freezing your credit files costs from nothing to $10 depending on the state you’re in, your age, and other factors, and here’s a list: 

  • If you don’t want to freeze your accounts, consider adding a 90-day fraud alert.
  • Keep a close eye on your credit and debit card and bank accounts for charges or withdrawals you don’t recognize.  
  • And don’t throw away those letters from the IRS in case somebody’s trying to use your Social Security number to land a job or get your tax refund.

You may also find yourself frustrated when you try to get your credit report online and here’s why.

Meanwhile, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman vowed to investigate the Equifax breach on behalf of 8 million New Yorkers compromised by the breach. “My office intends to get to the bottom of how and why this massive hack occurred,” he said.

The latest news about why the hack occurred infuriated us. You can read about that here.

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What Should You Do About Equifax Data Hack? Fri, 08 Sep 2017 18:39:43 +0000   updated October 7, 2017 by Barbara Nevins Taylor You heard and read about the data hack. Now what should … Continue reading What Should You Do About Equifax Data Hack?

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updated October 7, 2017

by Barbara Nevins Taylor

You heard and read about the data hack. Now what should you do to protect yourself after the Equifax breach? The theft affects millions of us in a bad way. We have no clue exactly how yet but you can find out if hackers got your personal information. I went on to the Equifax site and discovered hackers got mine. And we’ll explain how you can find out about whether the hack affects you and what to do.

It could. Hackers gained access to the accounts of 143 million people, that’s what Equifax said at first. After an investigation by outside forensic experts, the company upped the number affected to 145.5 million people in the United States. 

The data hack makes three-quarters of consumers with credit reports prime targets for identity theft.

In a news release, Equifax said it discovered the hack on July 29, 2017 and we and other consumer advocates wonder why they waited so long to let us know.

The company acknowledged the information stolen includes “. . . names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. In addition, credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers, were accessed. As part of its investigation of this application vulnerability, Equifax also identified unauthorized access to limited personal information for certain UK and Canadian residents.”

Next Step

Go to the website Equifax set up for this crisis:

They ask for your name and the last six digits of your social security number. Based on that, you’ll learn immediately whether hackers may have stolen your information.

Then push the “Enroll” button that takes you to the page for the “TrustedID Premier” program.”


Once you register, Equifax will offer free services for an unlimited time. Initially they promised a year, but consumer outrage forced the change.

  • Credit monitoring of Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit reports
  • Copies of Equifax credit reports
  • Give you the ability to lock and unlock Equifax credit reports
  • Identity theft insurance up to $1 million.
  • Internet scanning for Social Security numbers  

But the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) says Equifax doesn’t go far enough: “Consumers need the ability to “lock down” or freeze their credit reports at all three major credit bureaus, and for more than one year, because the stolen information could still be used to fraudulently apply for credit using a report from Experian or TransUnion as well.”

The NCLC, the U.S. Public Interest Group (USPIRG) and other advocates also demanded Equifax change its forced arbitration plan, which prevented consumers affected by the hack to sue, or join a class action lawsuit.

What should you do about the Equifax data hack now?

But both consumer groups suggest strongly that anyone harmed by the Equifax breach get security freezes immediately at EquifaxTransUnion and Experian.

This means that no loans, credit or services will get approved in your name without your approval. Depending upon your state and age, the credit bureaus offer it free, or charge $5 – $10. 

If you don’t want to do that, put a 90-day “initial fraud alert” in your credit report that tells businesses they should verify your identity before they issue credit. You have to renew an “initial fraud alert” every 90 days.


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DACA Supporters Sue Wed, 06 Sep 2017 23:32:33 +0000 photo by Daniel Ramirez DACA supporters promised to sue on behalf of Dreamers and they delivered. Fifteen states and the … Continue reading DACA Supporters Sue

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photo by Daniel Ramirez

DACA supporters promised to sue on behalf of Dreamers and they delivered. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit in Brooklyn federal court to block President Trump’s plan to end DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program that gave 800,000 undocumented young people temporary legal status.

The lawsuit filed in the Eastern District of New York asked the court to prevent Trump’s order eliminating the program from going into effect. The lawsuit charges that the president issued an unconstitutional order that deprives people of their rights. It said the White House action reflects “a culmination of President Trump’s oft-stated commitments . . . to punish and disparage people with Mexican roots.” 

President Obama established DACA in 2012 to help young immigrants make a good life for themselves in the United States. Obama’s executive order took the pressure off many of those brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents before they turned sixteen and allowed them to apply for legal status and work permits. Even with DACA, they needed to renew their application every two years. Under the Trump order, which goes into effect in six months, no one will get a renewal. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service will no longer accept first-time applications for DACA.

After he eliminated DACA, Trump called on Congress to draft legislation to help these young people. But it’s not clear what will happen.

The lawsuits could help.


Trump’s plan is “cruel, shortsighted, inhumane and driven by a personal bias against Mexicans and Latinos,” New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said.

States in the lawsuit include: New York, Massachusetts, Washington, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

California, with largest DACA population of about 220,000, plans to file a separate lawsuit, according to Bethany Lesser, a spokeswoman for California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

Courtesy Wikimedia

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Lawsuits To Keep DACA And Protect Dreamers Tue, 05 Sep 2017 23:14:22 +0000 The serious game of lawsuits, to protect 800,000 young immigrants, began within hours after the Trump administration announced an end … Continue reading Lawsuits To Keep DACA And Protect Dreamers

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The serious game of lawsuits, to protect 800,000 young immigrants, began within hours after the Trump administration announced an end to DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. And President Obama, who created the program in 2012, took to Facebook where he called Trump’s action unnecessary, political and wrong.

Obama said, “Ultimately, this is about basic decency. This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America, or whether we treat them the way we’d want our own kids to be treated. It’s about who we are as a people – and who we want to be. 

“This is about young people who grew up in America – kids who study in our schools, young adults who are starting careers, patriots who pledge allegiance to our flag. These Dreamers are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper.,  To target these young people is wrong – because they have done nothing wrong.”

Obama called on members of Congress, “to protect these young people.”

But action in the courts may make a difference. Martín Battala Vidal, a young immigrant, and the advocacy group Make The Road New York (MRNY) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. They argue that President Trump’s elimination of DACA violates federal law and the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee.

They asked the court to allow them to amend a 2016 lawsuit that challenged the Texas case that blocked Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). The National Immigration Law Center and the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School helped draft the suit.

In California, where the largest number of DACA young people live, more than 220,000 according to the Public Policy Institute of California,  California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra promised legal action to challenge Trump’s decision. He said ending the program was unconstitutional because the young immigrants followed the rules and Trump’s decision undermines their right to due process.

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo

and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said they will sue to protect the Dreamers.

Nearly 40,000 DACA recipients live in New York State. “We should not and cannot sit on the sidelines and watch the lives of these young people ruined.” Cuomo said.

President Obama created DACA with an executive order and it gave undocumented immigrants, brought here by their parents before their sixteenth birthdays, the opportunity to apply for legal status and work permits. It put an end to hiding and worrying about the possibility of deportation and it gave them hope.

President Trump said those with DACA status now will have a six month grace period and asked Congress to come up with a permanent program.

In a written statement he said. “I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents. But we must also recognize that we are nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws.”


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How We Donated To Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts Mon, 04 Sep 2017 00:14:05 +0000 by Nick Taylor We here at debated how to direct our small donation to Houston and coastal Texas in … Continue reading How We Donated To Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts

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by Nick Taylor

We here at debated how to direct our small donation to Houston and coastal Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.  Rescue-focused groups like Team Rubicon and the ad hoc volunteers from the Cajun Navy saved lives and gave comfort when the rising waters were filling city streets and neighborhoods. Then rescue gave way to the long, slow process of recovery, and we think that’s where our money can do the most good in the long run.

Cypress Creek, Texas, Army National Guard photo by Capt. Martha Nigrelle, Department of Defense

That challenged us. Which of the many charities that will help Texans in and around Houston rebuild their homes and lives should we choose?

There’s no one right answer.  Houston Rockets star James Harden

James Harden

Photo by James Allison, via Flickr, Creative Commons License

announced he would give $1 million to Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund being administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.  Rockets owner Leslie Alexander pledged $10 million.

This fund will spend its money primarily in Houston and Harris County, and it obviously knows local issues in a way that can guide its spending effectively.  NASA Map Hurricane Harvey

Image by NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC

But other parts of the Texas Gulf Coast also suffered major damage.  Beaumont, for example, lost its water system in Harvey-related flooding there.

We chose the United Way Relief Fund, with the thought that the United Way’s additional reach would help Houston’s neighbors and other areas along the coast as well.  We liked the choices we got when we went to its web page.  You could steer your donation to Harris or three adjoining counties or the one we chose: “Wherever it will do the most good.”  Actor Leonardo DiCaprio pledged a larger donation than ours, $1 million, to the United Way’s relief efforts.  

If you need to see the range of charities, ConsumerMojo listed charities and what they do here.


Texas National Guard, U.S. Air Force photo by/1st Lt. Zachary West

These reputable local and national charities, will help waterlogged Texans up and down the coast, and across the state line in Louisiana, as they work to rebuild their lives in the wake of Harvey’s devastation.

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