December 2, 2018

Remembering the Humanity of George H.W. Bush; Asylum Seekers Began Hunger Strike Amidst Hard Conditions at the Border; and Good Luck in Finals!!!

President George H.W. Bush passed away on Friday in Houston at the age of 94. Memorials highlight his military career and foreign policy achievements. Yet perhaps the most touching are the countless stories of his kindness to others, specifically including the vulnerable. That kindness is attributed both to Bush and also his wife, Barbara, who passed away just six months ago. In 1989, Barbara Bush visited the “Grandma House” and famously cradled an infant stricken with AIDS, thereby melting away some of the then-existing stigma as she called for compassion. The Bushes were married 73 years, the longest ever for a First Couple. Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell described Bush as a man of “great humility” who never let his position go to his head. In his inaugural address Bush called for a “thousand points of light,” challenging America to help each other through community service. Bush also will be remembered for his simple plea for a “kinder, gentler” nation. His last words were to his son, George W. Bush: “I love you, too.”

Migrants seeking asylum at the California border announced a hunger strike to call attention to the meager conditions. The caravan of migrants, estimated at 6000, were pummeled with rain this last week as they waited in makeshift shelters. U.S. border officials reportedly have opined that under new Department of Justice policies, it could be months before all of the migrants can petition for asylum. As of March, an estimated 318,000 asylum cases were pending and that number eventually could grow to 690,000. Previously, children seeking asylum were housed by family members or sponsors. More recently, that has turned to ongoing detention, including those children separated from their parents. Many have called for relief from the debilitating delays, such as former immigration judge Susan Castro, who described the situation as “just brutal.” Judge Castro also expressed sadness over loopholes in immigration policies that lead to harsh results, such as deportation of those brought to America as children.

And here at Loyola – it’s Finals Time! Looking at this from a glass-three-quarters-filled perspective, do remember that Winter Break is on the horizon. Studying hard will make that brief respite from law school all the more rewarding. Good luck!!!

October 18, 2018

Canada Legalizes Marijuana; Threats to Prevent Migrants from Seeking Asylum; and Loyola Celebrates LGBTQ Spirit Day

Following Uruguay, Canada became the second country in the world to permit recreational use of cannabis. Those who partake must be 18 or 19, depending on the province. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fought hard for the change in policy. Rationales include that legalization ensures marijuana is subject to government standards and inspection. It also reduces crime by allowing purchases to occur through legitimate means, as opposed to street sales. How does this compare to the US? While federal law still bans recreational use of marijuana, eight states beg to differ, namely, Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington). You can also light up legally in the District of Columbia and the Northern Mariana Islands.

A new wave of Central American migrants plan to seek asylum in the United States. Analysts estimate the caravans include as many as 5000 men, women and children, many of whom fear for their life due to death threats in their own country. Others seek refuge because of environmental concerns, such as a drought in Guatemala and flooding in Honduras. Traveling in groups affords the migrants some degree of safety from criminals. In response, the Trump Administration threatened to cut off aid to certain Central American countries, such as Honduras. Today, the Trump Administration further threatened to entirely shut down the southern US border, a move that does not appear to have occurred since President George W. Bush temporarily and partially did so in the direct aftermath of 9/11.

Color Me Purple? Loyola proudly celebrated LGBTQ Spirit Day by donning purple apparallel to stand in solidarity with LGBTQ youth, who suffer disproportionate bullying and other invidious discrimination. The event, which annually takes place on the third Thursday of October, began in 2010 by Canadian Brittney McMillan to honor Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old American college student at Rutgers. Tyler jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge after his dorm-mate posted a video of Tyler kissing another man on social media. Spirit Day has been widely celebrated by civic and community leaders. Here at Loyola, Dean Waterstone and the Office of Student Affairs encouraged all staff, students, and faculty at Loyola to participate. For more information click here. #SPIRITDAY

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