Democracy Now! - February 19, 2015

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Democracy Now! - February 19, 2015

President Obama’s plan to shield as many as five million immigrants from deportation was supposed to begin taking its first applications this week. But late Monday night, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Brownsville, Texas, issued an injunction after a motion filed by Texas and 25 other states. Now the administration says it will comply with the ruling and delay accepting applications for work permits and deportation reprieves. We speak with Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, which filed a court brief opposing the challenge to Obama’s order.

The Obama administration has delayed its deportation reprieve for millions of undocumented immigrants following this week’s ruling by a right-wing judge. President Obama’s executive order on immigration would apply to those brought to the U.S. illegally as children and who have lived here for at least five years, as well as those who have lived here for at least five years and are the parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. It remains on hold as the case is appealed, possibly ending up before the U.S. Supreme Court. We are joined by two immigrants on both sides of the reprieve divide: José Espinoza, an undocumented immigrant who had hoped to apply for relief when eligibility was supposed to begin on Wednesday, and Oscar Hernandez, who was granted relief in 2012 and is now a lead field organizer with United We Dream in Houston, where he has been helping to get eligible immigrants like Espinoza ready to apply.

As extreme cold temperatures blast the eastern third of the United States, the fossil fuel industry has seen a series of disasters in less than a week. On Wednesday, an explosion at an ExxonMobil refinery south of Los Angeles rocked the surrounding area with the equivalent of a 1.4-magnitude earthquake. The blast in California happened as oil tank cars from a derailed train remained on fire Wednesday in West Virginia, two days after the accident. The derailment forced the evacuation of two towns and destroyed a house. The derailment in West Virginia happened just two days after another oil train derailment in Ontario, Canada, which also left rail cars burning for days. We are joined by Stephen Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change International. "Climate policy and energy policy are not usually discussed together in this country," Kretzmann says. "Climate change means that we need to transition away from fossil fuels, sooner rather than later."

As many as 400,000 people marched through the pouring rain in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires on Wednesday demanding an independent judiciary. The march came one month after the mysterious death of special prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who had accused Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, of helping to cover up Iran’s role in the deadly 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center that killed 85 people and injured hundreds in Buenos Aires. On January 18, Nisman was found dead in his apartment of a gunshot wound to the head. His body was discovered just a day before he was due to testify before lawmakers on his findings on the 1994 attack. Just four days before his death, Nisman appeared on television and outlined his allegations against the president and Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman. Investigators initially said Nisman’s death appeared to be a suicide, but no gunpowder residue was found on his hands. If it was not a suicide, who killed him? That question has gripped Argentina for the past month. We make sense of this unfolding story with Sebastian Rotella, senior reporter for the investigative news website ProPublica. He first covered the investigation into the 1994 bombing as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times based in Buenos Aires.

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