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A Year in Review: 2020 Gun Deaths in the U.S.

April 28, 2022

This report illustrates the enormous toll gun violence has in the U.S. The report provides an in-depth analysis of the 2020 CDC firearm fatality data, which was made public in December 2021; a look at demographic and state-level geographic differences; and a comparison of other injury fatalities. The report also highlights evidence-based policy recommendations states can implement to help curb gun violence in all its forms.

What Counties and Cities Can Do To Curb Gun Violence in Texas

May 25, 2022

Gun violence presents a significant challenge in Texas, approximately half of whose residents own a firearm and where a person is killed with a gun every two hours. High levels of gun ownership coupled with Texas' high rate of gun violence create a danger to public health.According to Rand Corp., an average of 46 percent of Texas residents owned a firearm from 1980 to 2016. However, this percentage likely increased after 2020, when the country saw a surge in gun sales associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. In contrast, estimates suggest that 32 percent of U.S. adults owned a firearm by the end of 2020. Texas is also home to numerous federal firearm licensed (FFL) dealers. Information from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) indicates that as of January 2022, the state had almost 10 percent--5,089--of all FFL dealers in the country. Studies also report that thousands of gun shows6 are organized in Texas every year.

Pain in the Nation: The Epidemics of Alcohol, Drug, and Suicide Deaths 2022

May 24, 2022

COVID-19 has intensified the nation's troubling long-term trends for alcohol, drug, and suicide deaths. Between 2019 and 2020, these deaths increased a stunning 20 percent, driven by a 27 percent increase in the rate of alcohol-induced deaths and a 30 percent increase in drug-induced deaths. Increases were particularly large among communities of color and young adults. The rise in deaths occurred across all states and the District of Columbia, except for New Hampshire. And for the first time, two states--West Virginia and New Mexico--surpassed 100 deaths from alcohol, drugs, and suicide per 100,000 people. 

The Open Technology Fund: Strengthening U.S. Capacity to Counter Digital Authoritarianism

May 24, 2022

Authoritarian governments, including Russia and the People's Republic of China, use information technology to repress, surveille, and manipulate domestic and foreign populations. It is more important than ever for us to present an affirmative vision of the digital world.Promoting internet freedom around the world has been a longstanding bipartisan national security priority in the United States. In a new Lincoln Policy report, The Open Technology Fund: Strengthening U.S. Capacity to Counter Digital Authoritarianism, Dan Lips and Deepesh Chaudhari analyze one of the U.S. government's most promising initiatives to advance global freedom. Since 2012, the Open Technology Fund (OTF), a non-profit organization supported by the U.S. Agency for Global Media, has incubated censorship-circumvention technologies that promote free speech and internet freedom.Over the past decade, OTF's projects have created some of the widest-used security tools on the planet, utilized by billions of people. They include Signal, a secure messaging and communications application widely used around the globe to protect the integrity of personal communications.But the OTF could easily expand its research and impact. OTF has vetted more than 3,500 requests for support totaling more than $450 million. This is 400 percent more than OTF's funding capacity over that period.In FY2022, the Open Technology Fund is slated to receive $27 million from Congress. Leveraging growing bipartisan support, Congress should strengthen the OTF to leverage its incredibly successful work by increasing its appropriations, thus bolstering Internet freedom, security, and freedom of speech at a time of growing digital authoritarianism.

Safety concerns were top of mind for many Black Americans before Buffalo shooting

May 20, 2022

Safety concerns were top of mind for many Black Americans well before a White gunman killed 10 people -- all of them Black -- in a mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, on May 14.A chart showing that about a third of Black U.S. adults worry regularly about being threatened or attacked because of their race or ethnicity, and some have changed their daily routines due to these concernsIn a Pew Research Center survey conducted in mid-April, around a third of Black adults (32%) said they worried every day or almost every day that they might be threatened or attacked because of their race or ethnicity. Around one-in-five Asian Americans (21%) said the same, as did 14% of Hispanic adults and 4% of White adults.In the same survey, around three-in-ten Black adults who said being threatened or attacked was ever a concern (28%) said they had made changes to their daily schedule or routine in the past year due to those fears. Around a third of Asian adults (36%) and around one-in-five Hispanic adults (22%) said they had taken such precautions, as did 12% of White adults.

Translating Abortion Disinformation: The Spanish-Language Anti-Choice Landscape

May 18, 2022

NARAL Pro-Choice America's research team is committed to exposing the anti-choice movement's use of disinformation to attack abortion access and reproductive freedom. In 2021, we began a long-term research project aiming to expand our understanding of how anti-choice disinformation disseminates online in Spanish-language spaces and how it could impact Spanish-speaking communities in the United States.Our research sought to identify influential Spanish-language activists and Facebook pages that oppose abortion and spread disinformation and determine what overlap exists between English-language and Spanish-language anti-choice groups, influencers, and messages. We also wanted to understand more about social media engagement with Spanishlanguage news coverage of abortion and expose what messages anti-choice groups and activists advertised to Spanish speakers in the United States, particularly in a political context.As we approach the 2022 midterm elections and a U.S. Supreme Court decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization with the potential to overturn Roe v. Wade and radically shift the landscape of abortion access across the United States, it is more important than ever to combat anti-choice messages and disinformation targeting Spanishspeaking communities.

New Analyses on US Immigrant Health Care Access Underscore the Need to Eliminate Discriminatory Policies

May 18, 2022

Previous Guttmacher Institute research has described sexual and reproductive health disparities between immigrant women and their US-born counterparts. We present new analyses, based on two nationally representative surveys, that show inequities in health insurance coverage by citizenship status and race or ethnicity, and health care service use by citizenship status. These new findings are consistent with existing evidence indicating a need for policies to eliminate sexual and reproductive health inequities that have long persisted along lines of race and ethnicity, immigration status and income in the United States.These analyses make it clear that policymakers need to address these inequities. Two bills, the Health Equity and Access Under the Law (HEAL) for Immigrant Families Act and the Lifting Immigrant Families Through Benefits Access Restoration (LIFT the BAR) Act, represent opportunities to do just that.

Everything is Climate Now: New Directions for Industrial Policy from Biden’s Supply Chain Reports

May 17, 2022

On February 24, 2022, the Biden administration unveiled a massive, history-making collection of supply chain reports. A combined 1,358 pages in length, these 19 reports were written by seven federal agencies and numerous staff from a network of 17 national labs. Collectively, they represent the first time since the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration that the US federal government has taken it upon itself to not only inventory the industrial resources of the national and global economies, but also set out detailed industrial policy targets designed to equip those industries to meet today's most important existential challenges. Released on the same day as Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine, the reports understandably received little notice from the press and public. But amid the growing geo-economic rift wrought by the war, policymakers of democracies are attempting to rapidly unwind their economic exposure to autocracies—making the reports even more relevant.This issue brief highlights three of the reports' most important contributions. First, the reports demonstrate that everything is related to climate now. Whether the authoring agency is seen as having an environmental mandate or not, and whether the industry under study in a given report is obviously climate-related (like green hydrogen) or not (semiconductors), guaranteeing the future resilience of every industry requires planning for the destabilization that the climate crisis has brought and will continue to bring. Second, the supply chain reports show that policy in Washington is increasingly oriented toward a broader conception of the role of the state in the economy that goes beyond remedying narrow market failures. The final—and crucial—point these reports demonstrate is that policymakers have still not settled on a fully fledged paradigm for what precisely this broader role for the state could or should look like, nor what governance institutions should be formed to support that new role. The scope of this new role could include fostering better coordination among competing and complementary demands for scarce resources, standing up new institutions and sticks to hold industry accountable, and directly producing and owning needed resources. Additionally, policymakers should rewrite international rules to better support this agenda and learn to leverage the power of organized labor as a partner in industrial policy, which can in turn aid racial justice and material equality.

USCIS Records Reveal Systemic Disparities in Asylum Decisions

May 17, 2022

Government records received by Human Rights First from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) asylum office through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request show years-long, systemic disparities in asylum adjudications based on the nationality of the asylum seeker and the asylum office handling the case.The current administration must urgently act to address racial, nationality, and asylum office-based disparities in asylum adjudication. USCIS should ensure that cases qualifying for refugee protection are actually granted by the asylum office, rather than being referred for immigration court adjudications. The over-referral of cases exacerbates already years-long delays for many asylum seekers and needlessly contributes to court backlogs for cases that are overwhelmingly later granted by immigration judges. These reforms are particularly crucial given new asylum process rules, set to go into effect at the end of May 2022, under which more asylum seekers would undergo initial, full asylum adjudications by the asylum office.

English Learner Testing during the Pandemic: An Early Readout and Look Ahead

May 17, 2022

In addition to upending daily life in the classroom, the pandemic has affected how states administer annual assessments to their students—disrupting a key means of collecting data on new or growing learning gaps that demand attention. This report explores how states have approached testing English Learners during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what 2020-21 assessment data can and cannot tell us.

Public Opinion on Abortion

May 17, 2022

Abortion has long been a contentious issue in the United States, and it is one that sharply divides Americans along partisan, ideological and religious lines. This Fact Sheet draws on data from a survey conducted March 7-13, 2022. Trend lines show aggregated data from polls conducted in each year. Data from 2019 and later come from Pew Research Center's online American Trends Panel; prior data from telephone surveys.

Oversight of Immigration Detention: An Overview

May 16, 2022

At any given time, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detains tens of thousands of people in the nearly two hundred detention centers it has at its disposal across the United States. Individuals in ICE custody, their attorneys, and immigrant advocates frequently allege inhumane conditions, violations of due process, medical neglect, and various types of abuse in these facilities. The responsibility of holding ICE accountable for such violations is spread across various offices within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Congress also has detention oversight responsibilities and procedures, which are beyond the scope of this fact sheet.The first section of this fact sheet briefly describes the organizational structure of the detention oversight offices within DHS and the standards by which detention centers are governed. The second section describes the various offices to which detained individuals, their attorneys, or advocates can file complaints regarding ICE detention. It describes each office's oversight responsibility, its organizational structure, the scope of the complaints it receives, the complaint submission process, the process by which the office responds to complaints submitted, and how the office reports to Congress and the public. The third and fourth sections provide information, respectively, on offices that conduct inspections of ICE detention centers and offices that manage the related detention contracts. Some offices are featured in multiple sections because they have separate suboffices for the investigation of complaints and regular facility inspections. It is important to note that while this fact sheet describes the oversight responsibilities officially assigned to each office, these offices often fail to hold ICE accountable in a meaningful way.