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Legal News for July

JURIST – News – Legal News & Commentary
DOJ announces $2.2M funding to law enforcement agencies focused on community policing projects
Wed, 08 Jul 2020 20:00:14 +0000

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Tuesday that it will provide $2.2 million in funding to local law enforcement agencies that are focused on community policing projects.

This funding, which is through the Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Service (COPS Office) Community Policing Developing (CPD) Microgrants Program, provided awards ranging from $15,090 to $100,000. There were 29 awards granted overall, distributed in 21 different states.

The funds were awarded to applicants to help local, state, and tribal law enforcement agencies implement community policing strategies. Applicants had to propose projects that would advance crime fighting, community engagement, problem solving, or organizational changes to support community policing.

CPD Microgrants fund projects related to, among other things, hate crimes, human trafficking, violent crime, and youth engagement. The Narragansett Police Department in Rhode Island was awarded $99,993 to expand its response to individuals dealing with mental health issues. 

COPS Office Director Phil Keith stated, “The CPD Microgrants Program is a critical resource to advance innovative community policing projects across the country. These strategic investments from the COPS Office pay huge dividends to state and local law enforcement agencies and the communities that they serve.”

 

 

 

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Category: domestic
Appeals court rules refugees need not be denied asylum in Mexico before applying in US
Wed, 08 Jul 2020 18:24:44 +0000

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled Monday that refugees do not have to apply for and be denied asylum in Mexico before they can apply for asylum in the US. This decision struck down a rule by the Trump administration that requires refugees to apply for asylum in countries they travel through on their way to the US.

In 2019, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) created a joint interim final rule, entitled “Asylum Eligibility and Procedural Modifications,” which generally required refugees to apply for and be denied asylum in countries through which they travel on their way to the US.

The lower court initially granted a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the rule in the four states along the United States-Mexico Border. This preliminary injunction was stayed by the Supreme Court, pending the disposition of the appeals court.

The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found that the plaintiffs, who were nonprofit organizations representing asylum seekers, had standing because the rule diverted the plaintiffs’ resources from other sources and the plaintiffs would lose significant funding because of the rule.

The court held that the rule was unlawful under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) because the rule was inconsistent with  8 U.S.C. § 1158, which allows a refugee who is physically present in the US to apply for asylum.

The court also concluded that the rule was arbitrary and capricious because evidence indicated that refugees may not have safe options in Mexico, and the agencies did almost nothing to ensure that these other countries would be a safe option for refugees. The agencies also did not justify their assumption that an alien who did not apply for and receive asylum in another country was not likely to have a “meritorious asylum claim.” The rule would also adversely impact any unaccompanied minors seeking asylum.

Because of this, the court affirmed the preliminary injunction. The US District Court for the District of Columbia also struck down this rule on June 30. 

 

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Category: US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Trump formally withdraws US from WHO
Wed, 08 Jul 2020 18:02:27 +0000

President Donald Trump notified United Nation officials of US withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday, effective July 2021.

A White House official confirmed the UN notification. This comes after Trump signaled his intent to withdraw in May, resting his decision on the WHO’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The US currently donates 400 million dollars to the WHO annually.

Additionally, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) confirmed in a tweet that Congress received word of the US withdrawal.

Withdrawal from the WHO requires a 1 year notice, leaving the possibility of the US remaining in the organization dependent upon the upcoming 2020 presidential election. Presumptive Democratic candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden pledged to reverse the withdrawal. He tweeted: “Americans are safer when America is engaged in strengthening global health. On my first day as President, I will rejoin the WHO and restore our leadership on the world stage.”

A spokesperson for UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the request is under review. The UN must verify whether the US met all the conditions of withdrawal, including the one year notice and meeting financial obligations. 

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Category: WHO
Australia suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong
Thu, 09 Jul 2020 19:02:27 +0000

Australia announced in a statement released Thursday that it is suspending its extradition treaty with Hong Kong due to concerns over Hong Kong’s new security laws.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated:

The Australian Government remains deeply concerned about China’s imposition of a broad national security law on Hong Kong. The National Security Law erodes the democratic principles that have underpinned Hong Kong’s society and the One Country, Two Systems framework. It constitutes a fundamental change of circumstances in respect to our Extradition Agreement with Hong Kong.

Additionally, the Australian government issued a travel advisory.  They cite the new national security law as a reason for concern, advising, “You could break the law without intending to.” Further,  “You may be at increased risk of detention on vaguely defined national security grounds.”

The government also warns that the potentially arbitrary detention could result in life in prison.

The Australian statement comes a month after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to welcome 3 million Hong Kong residents upon enactment of the new security laws.

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Category: uk
US Supreme Court upholds order to block Keystone XL pipeline
Wed, 08 Jul 2020 17:26:33 +0000

The US Supreme Court stayed the Montana District Court’s vacatur and injunction of pipeline permits on Monday, except as applied to the Keystone XL pipeline. The Supreme Court did not issue a full explanation of its decision.

Previously, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied the Trump Administration’s request to stay the Montana District Court’s decision. The Montana District Court revoked the use of Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP 12) for pipeline projects pending a completed environmental impact assessment on endangered species. The US Supreme Court’s stay now allows NWP 12 to go back into effect for most pipelines, except for the Keystone XL pipeline project.

Overall, the Keystone XL pipeline is delayed. TC Energy must obtain NWP 12 to build the pipeline across US rivers and streams and to discharge into waters of the US.

The Ninth Circuit must now make a final decision on the appeal.

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Category: scotus