Marcia Brown

Marcia Brown is a writing fellow at The American Prospect. Her email is

Recent Articles

Why Sonia Sotomayor Fears for the Judiciary—and for Justice

Last week, Trump took his fight against asylum seekers straight to the top, and the Supreme Court okayed it. Sotomayor and Ginsburg thought that set a scary precedent.

President Trump and his Department of Justice have used “every tool in the toolbox”—to use immigration official Ken Cuccinelli’s words—to keep migrants and asylum seekers out of the United States. The latest effort, a rule that bars virtually all Central American migrants from seeking asylum in the U.S., was first made public on July 15. It requires anyone seeking asylum in the U.S. to first apply for (and be denied) asylum in another eligible country before being eligible in the U.S. Immigrant rights groups immediately sued, and the case wound its way through the courts. First, a federal district court granted a nationwide stay. This prevented the rule from taking effect until the court decided on the merits of the case. Later, a federal appeals court decided that the injunction should only hold circuit-wide. Then, Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco submitted an emergency application to the Supreme Court seeking a stay of the earlier temporary...

African Asylum Seekers to the U.S. Stuck on the Mexico-Guatemala Border

Long-distance victims of Trump’s war on immigrants, African migrants have few options for refuge and fewer ways to support themselves while they wait.

A clash with Mexican national police on August 27 shows just how frustrated migrants in Mexico’s border towns are. For the past month, hundreds of African migrants have protested their situation in Tapachula, Chiapas, a Mexican town near the border with Guatemala. On August 29, they organized the Assembly of African Migrants in Tapachula and released a statement of their demands . The Assembly, made up of more than 3,000 migrants of African origin, argues that they were forced to leave their countries of origin by political, ideological, or religious persecution, or for belonging to a particular social group—all considered reasons to seek asylum under international law. The would-be asylum seekers hail from a list of nations including Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Senegal, Eritrea, Angola, and Burkina Faso. But changes in Mexican migration policy have barred migrants from moving farther north to the U.S. or Canada, where they want to seek asylum. The Mexican government is...

New Jersey Moves to Rein In Wasteful Tax Breaks for Businesses

Inspired by a recent Kansas-Missouri pact, Garden State lawmakers may warm to reforms that scale back competition with New York and Pennsylvania over jobs.

New Jersey has some of the most generous state business tax incentives in the country. The law that codified these incentives—the Economic Opportunity Act (EOA)—expired on July 1, and New Jersey lawmakers scrambled to renew $11 billion in incentive programs . But on August 23, Governor Phil Murphy issued a conditional veto of that legislation and, instead, called on state lawmakers to act on the sweeping reforms he proposed in late 2018 before he would sign a renewal into law. As the Garden State re-evaluates its controversial incentive programs, some tax reform advocates have been inspired by a recent tax incentive cease-fire between Kansas and Missouri. Five New Jersey state legislators called for a similar interstate truce for the New Jersey–New York–Pennsylvania labor market that would end the tristate competition for jobs that use increasingly generous tax breaks to steer new businesses to one particular state. Kansas and Missouri share a border and a...

Climate Activists Win Partial Victory in Climate Debate Battle

At the resolutions committee meeting Thursday morning, two hours of debate only yielded a non-DNC sanctioned discussion—not a climate debate.

In a packed hotel conference room in San Francisco, climate activists clambered for space to urge the DNC resolutions committee to finally approve what they had been pushing for since early spring. When the DNC ran out of credentials, activists poured in anyway. They ranged in age from teenagers to grandparents, all with the same agenda. Organized by groups like the Sunrise Movement, Climate Hawks Vote, and, the activists sported t-shirts and waved signs. But after more than two hours of discussion, the resolutions committee voted 17-8 against holding a DNC-sponsored climate debate. It’s possible that the climate debate could resurface as a full-floor vote on Saturday. The activists did score one partial victory: The DNC advanced a resolution reversing the ban on candidates’ side-by-side participation in non-DNC sanctioned events discussing the climate crisis. For months, activists had demanded a DNC-sponsored climate debate, an event with much more coverage and...

Activists Fear Imminent Betrayal From DNC Quashing Climate Debate

Tomorrow the DNC votes on a resolution to hold a climate debate, but Chair Tom Perez’s competing resolution would undermine that effort.

Since the 2012 election cycle, California DNC member Christine Pelosi has called for a climate debate. In every subsequent cycle, she has called for a climate debate. But now, calls for a climate debate are widespread. And DNC members are voting on all resolutions—including those on climate—on August 22, the first day of the DNC summer meeting. DNC Chair Tom Perez entered his own resolution on climate, which was met with vitriol from climate activists. Activists who already distrust the DNC view the language in the Perez resolution as yet another excuse to avoid an official debate. RL Miller, founder of the environmental group Climate Hawks Vote and chair of the California Democratic Environmental Caucus, says that the calls for a climate debate started with activism—not with Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s presidential campaign. Nonetheless, the governor’s sustained calls for a climate debate have been a boon to the movement. “It’s a...