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Guilford, Elon sign 'friend of the court' brief in Supreme Court's DACA case

GREENSBORO — Two local colleges are standing with undocumented students in an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case.

Guilford College and Elon University are among 165 U.S. college and universities that signed a “friend of the court” brief in a case that could decide the fate of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — also known as DACA.

DACA allows more than 700,000 young immigrants to get work permits, attend colleges and avoid deportation. An estimated 120,000 DACA recipients are enrolled in post-secondary education.

Guilford College President Jane Fernandes said Tuesday that many DACA recipients are the first in their families to attend college.

“For our students ... DACA unlocked educational and career fields long thought unobtainable,” Fernandes said in a statement. “Our country cannot and must not slam shut the door of opportunity on these aspiring Americans.”

Elon University President Connie Ledoux Book said removing DACA would negatively affect some Elon students and alumni as well as other college students across the country.

A court decision that strikes down DACA, Book said in a statement Wednesday, “would be a tragedy for them and a great loss for colleges and universities and, indeed, our nation.”

The amicus brief was coordinated by the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, a group of college leaders that supports immigrant, international and undocumented students. Fernandes serves on the alliance’s national steering committee.

The brief was endorsed by public and private two-year and four-year schools in 32 states and the District of Columbia.

President Barack Obama authorized DACA by executive order in 2012. Five years later, President Donald Trump called the program illegal and rescinded the order. The DACA program has remained in place since then amid a series of legal challenges.

A federal court in California blocked the DACA repeal on procedural grounds in 2018.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear Trump’s appeal in the California case and two other related cases on Nov. 12.

September ends with seven killings in Greensboro. Four more this year would tie the 37 killings the city saw last year.

GREENSBORO — Police responded to seven homicides in September, bringing the total to 33 for the year. The city is now four homicides below last year’s total of 37.

The month began with five killings and ended with two more, making September the deadliest month this year.

The deaths resulted from domestic violence, a home invasion, unsolved shootings, a fatal robbery and a shooting at a gas Station. The victims:

  • Christopher Parson and Kendrick Gilbert Jr., both 24, were found shot to death in a home invasion that injured two other people.

Thomas Harper, 74, was found stabbed to death. His son has been charged.

  • Shamona Mosley, 30, was fatally shot outside Premier Federal Credit Union by her estranged husband, who then killed himself.
  • Alvin Perry, 54, was found shot to death in the 3200 block of Yanceyville Street.

Pravinbhai Suthar, 64, was found beaten to death at Rodeway Inn and Suites.

  • Lebar Lopez, 36, was shot at an Exxon Gas Station at 801 E. Market St.

September also saw 20 aggravated assaults with a firearm present and six shootings into occupied dwellings. By comparison, officers responded in August to 23 aggravated assaults with a gun present and 18 shootings into an occupied dwelling.

However, Greensboro police spokesman Ron Glenn said there has been a change to the number of homicides in August. He said police added one more after Alma Swann, 88, died this month from injuries she sustained at an assisted living home in August.

Glenn said she and another resident were part of an incident that resulted in Swann falling and breaking her leg. He would not elaborate on what the “incident” was. Glenn said the N.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled the death a homicide because the broken leg was a contributing factor. He said police do not anticipate pursuing charges against the other resident.

Ocracoke residents mystified after FEMA rejects individual Dorian aid for them

RALEIGH — Hurricane Dorian did not cause enough damage in North Carolina — including on Ocracoke Island — for residents in affected areas to receive aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Individual Assistance program, FEMA told Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday.

Cooper had sent a letter to the White House late last month seeking federal aid for households in Carteret, Dare, Hyde, and New Hanover counties. The individual assistance would have included funds for uninsured expenses including temporary housing, lodging reimbursement and repairs.

Other federal funds, including assistance for repairing infrastructure and public facilities, were approved last week in a 14-county disaster declaration by President Donald Trump.

The individual assistance was denied in a letter from FEMA dated Tuesday and released the following day by Cooper’s office.

The letter signed by FEMA Associate Administrator Jeff Byard states “it has been determined that the impact to the individuals and households from this event is not of such severity and magnitude to warrant the designation of Individual Assistance.”

The denial can be appealed.

Tom Pahl, who lives on Ocrocoke and represents the island on the Hyde County Board of Commissioners, said residents there are mystified by the government’s decision.

“It’s hard to understand,” he said. “Everyone is disappointed, as you might imagine. The justification in the letter is that the damage is not severe enough.

“It sure feels severe enough to the people here whose homes are being bulldozed or are uninhabitable,” Pahl said. “If this is not severe enough, we’re wondering, what is it going to take?”

Pahl said village leaders would meet today and talk with state and federal officials about what their next step will be.

Floodwaters from Hurricane Dorian in September unexpectedly inundated much of the inhabited part of Ocrocoke at what are believed to be record levels. Immediately after the flooding, electrical inspectors went to all the homes on the island and pulled the meters on 415 houses, because the meters had been inundated with water. The island has a total of about 1,200 homes.

Pahl said that most of the flooded homes were the older, lower-lying ones on the island that tend to be occupied by full-time residents. The flooding left more than 400 full-time residents displaced.

“I’m proud to report that we don’t have anyone living in cars or tent cities,” Pahl said. “All 400 of those people have been taken in by friends or family.”

But they need help rebuilding their homes, he said, and they were counting on some of that aid coming from FEMA’s Individual Assistance program, which provides grants and low-interest loans to help uninsured disaster victims get back into housing that is “safe, sanitary and secure.”

Pahl said permits have been issued for the demolition of seven homes in the village so far, and others have been requested. Videos and photos on social media chronicling the damage and the cleanup show house after house being stripped out and piles of their former furnishings, appliances and structural elements dragged to the street.

In a prepared statement, Ford Porter, a spokesman for Gov. Roy Cooper, said: “This is disappointing news for families who lost everything in Hurricane Dorian and still need help. The Governor will continue to work with our federal and state partners and North Carolina’s congressional delegation to determine a path forward to deliver assistance to those who need it.”

According to Cooper’s initial request, Dorian damaged 2,001 buildings across the four counties where individual assistance was requested. In Dare County, 1,205 homes were impacted by the storm.