Marcia Brown

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

Recent Articles

As Republican Legislators Seek to Ban Abortion, Voters in Every Single State Reject That Change

A new poll shows fewer than a quarter of voters in any state favor the outright abortion bans some Republicans are now trying to enact.

Yesterday in the Tennessee state senate, legislators held a hearing on an amendment to ban abortion in the state. Once “a viable pregnancy is presumed to exist or has been confirmed,” women would be banned from getting abortions. They explicitly discussed what’s the best strategy to get to the Supreme Court and win. This amendment goes even further than the so-called heartbeat bills that ban abortion at six weeks—or two weeks after a woman misses her period. The senators debated whether to add this even more stringent ban to the six-week abortion ban. “Most women don’t realize they’re pregnant until seven weeks or so, and women skip periods if they’re sick or if they’re traveling or if they’re irregular or if they’re on certain medications,” says Freda Levenson, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio. “Not everyone’s period is like clockwork, and two weeks late is not that late so they may not think they...

Kansas and Missouri Call a Truce in Corporate-Welfare Border War

Governments in both states have wooed Kansas City–area businesses with tax breaks to relocate across state lines. Now they’re partnering to stop the giveaways.

An executive order by Kansas Governor Laura Kelly and legislation signed by Missouri Governor Mike Parson mark the first time in U.S. history that two states have had a legally binding agreement that ends subsidies for corporations relocating within one labor market—in this case the Kansas City metro area—but across a state line. “I think it’s significant that two very red states did this first. I think it proves that this is not an elite coastal democratic idea but it is a local business fairness idea,” says Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, a Washington, D.C., organization that advocates for accountability in economic development. Companies can make huge amounts of money in tax breaks and other perks by skipping over the Kansas-Missouri state line in the Kansas City area and taking economic-development subsidies. This has been nicknamed the economic “ border war ,” with Kansas and Missouri state governments doing combat to...

We’re Having the Wrong Debate About the Border

Democrats are talking about decriminalizing the border, but they’re missing the point—and it will cost them.

The word “asylum” was spoken only six times during each of last week’s Democratic presidential debates. With a southern border more fortified than it ever has been, asylum is one of the primary ways migrants gain entrance to the U.S., and is responsible for the majority of the recent surge in border crossings . Indeed, the situation at the border can best be described as an asylum crisis. While Democrats recognize that asylum is a legal process that the U.S. must by law provide, they don’t seem to realize just how many people need asylum. A working asylum system would need to function more efficiently, humanely, and—frankly—allow entry to a lot more people. Instead of addressing everything Trump is doing to prevent asylum seekers from accessing the system, Democrats have been focused on decriminalizing the border , a solution that only addresses some of the host of challenges in our immigration system. Senator Bernie Sanders has proposed the main...

Who’s Writing the 2020 Candidates’ Policies?

A survey of the advisers and staffers behind the leading presidential hopefuls

The 2020 presidential campaign has been notable for its focus on policy (Thanks, Senator Warren!), with candidates drawing distinctions through plans and proposals. But we should reserve at least some thought for the backgrounds of the advisers helping candidates construct the policies. Campaigns often turn to experts in various fields, as well as a network of policy advisers with whom they feel comfortable, and these are the people a victorious candidate usually hires for their cabinet, too. “Voters really should want those questions asked and answered,” says Jeff Hauser. “Who is an adviser now would be who will be an executive adviser [to the president later].” Hauser , executive director of the Revolving Door Project, specializes in political corruption and has driven the idea that personnel, at least in the case of presidential campaigns, is policy. For this week’s debates, the Prospect has compiled some background on the main policy influencers in...

A Court Ruling Isn’t Enough to Save Asylum

The Trump administration’s latest rule sought to bar virtually all asylum seekers from filing in the U.S.—and a federal judge in California just blocked it.

The Trump administration, after weeks of incremental steps toward ending asylum in the U.S., entered a rule into the Federal Register to effectively bar all asylum seekers from filing at the southern border. But last night, a judge in California said that the rule went too far. Granting a preliminary injunction to the American Civil Liberties Union’s lawyers, Judge Jon Tigar, presiding over the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, handed the groups challenging Trump’s rule a major victory . The rule, Tigar notes, is “arbitrary and capricious,” and the injunction takes effect immediately. The federal judge’s decision may not be enough to prevent the administration from reaching its goal. Stephen Miller, a Trump adviser on immigration issues, wants zero refugees in the U.S.—and he’s said as much . Indeed, policies such as Migrant Protection Protocols, metering, proposed safe third country agreements, and others have made...