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Los Angeles Mayor Says City Will Step Up for Migrant Children

Los Angeles Mayor Says City Will Step Up for Migrant Children

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Tuesday that his city will open its arms to house migrant children as they await immigration processing, the Los Angeles Times reports.

“As a father, who are we as Americans if we don’t step forward first and say, these kids who are isolated, alone … let’s get them someplace safe and secure,” Garcetti said today, the paper reported. The exact details are as yet unclear, the mayor said.

Garcetti’s response is in stark contrast to that of Murrieta, Calif. mayor Alan Long, who encouraged residents to protest the proposed dropoff of migrants at his city’s Border Patrol station. Meanwhile in the border town of Oracle, Arizona, residents mimicked Murrieta on Tuesday with protests of their own meant to keep out boys who were set to be dropped off in town, NBC reported.

The crisis stems from the arrival of tens of thousands of migrant children from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala who are fleeing violence, forced recruitment into gangs, and poverty. Some 90,000 migrant children are expected to cross into the U.S. by year’s end. Despite steady increases in the number of arrivals since 2011, this year’s arrivals have made the crisis a “humanitarian situation,” according to the Obama administration.

UT Austin’s Affirmative Action Safe After Fifth Circuit Affirms Prior Ruling

UT Austin's Affirmative Action Safe After Fifth Circuit Affirms Prior Ruling

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower court’s summary judgment upholding the constitutionality of University of Texas’ race-conscious admissions policies, Politico reported. The Supreme Court sent the affirmative action case Fisher v. University of Texas back to the appellate court last year to take a closer look at whether the university’s consideration of race was narrowly tailored and whether the university exhausted other race-neutral alternatives. 

The case centered around the complaints of Abigail Fisher, a white plaintiff who sued the University of Texas after she was denied admission to the school. She argued that the university’s admissions policies discriminated against her as a white applicant. 

This decision should stand as a declaration of the ongoing importance and legality of affirmative action efforts that holistically evaluate applicants for admission in higher education and for the principle of stare decisis,” Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP-LDF, said in a statement.

Read more on last year’s Supreme Court decision in Fisher v. Texas which led to today’s Fifth Circuit ruling, and catch up on Colorlines’ affirmative action coverage. 

U.S. Begins Deportations of Central American Migrants

U.S. Begins Deportations of Central American Migrants

The U.S. is making good on promises to expedite the processing and removal of child migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. On Monday the first planeload of 40 women and children departed from New Mexico and landed in Honduras, where the migrants were greeted by much fanfare, including Honduras’ first lady Ana Garcia de Hernandez.

It’s not softening the removal, though. The Los Angeles Times’ Cindy Carcamo reports:

Critics said Honduran government inaction was largely responsible and that the welcome in San Pedro Sula, a city sometimes called the murder capital of the world, was mostly a show. Despite the government’s promise of job leads, a $500 stipend, psychological counseling and schooling, returning mother Angelica Galvez said she wasn’t expecting much.

“They haven’t helped me before,” said Galvez, 31, who was traveling with her 6-year-old daughter, Abigail. “Why should I believe them now?”

Immigration advocates have criticized the expedited removal of migrants, who are fleeing violence, widespread crime and corruption as counter to the humanitarian needs of those who are arriving at the U.S-Mexico border.

Jose Antonio Vargas Detained by Border Patrol

Jose Antonio Vargas Detained by Border Patrol

Pulitzer prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas—whose “Documented” film is still making rounds—has essentially been trapped near the U.S.-Mexico border for several days. Vargas has traveled around the United States without incident, but things change the closer one gets to the border. He had been reporting on child migrants in Texas, but soon realized that his passport from the Philippines might tip local authorities off. 

This morning, as Vargas tried to leave from the McAllen-Miller airport, he was detained by Border Patrol. HuffPost’s Ryan Grim tweeted about Vargas’s predicament:

Define American says that Vargas has been taken to the McAllen Border Patrol Station

Watch Onondaga Turtle Clan’s Alfred Jacques Make Lacrosse Sticks

Watch Onondaga Turtle Clan's Alfred Jacques Make Lacrosse Sticks

The Iroquois Nationals beat Australia 12-10 at the World Lacrosse Championship in Denver, Colo. Monday night; the team has won three of its four games in the tournament so far. After being barred from participating over a passport debacle in 2010, the team is back this year and scheduled to play against the United States tonight. 

Lacrosse remains a sacred game for the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois. In this short video, Onondaga stickmaker Alfred Jacques illustrates the importance of the craft he’s been honing for 50 years. 

Deadly Derailment in Moscow, Big Tobacco Merger and 603 Dead from Ebola

Deadly Derailment in Moscow, Big Tobacco Merger and 603 Dead from Ebola

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning: 

  • Tracy Morgan is still recovering from a deadly car crash in which he was critically injured, and speaks out to paparazzi for the first time since. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

The Iroquois Nationals Team Shines at the World Lacrosse Championship

The Iroquois Nationals Team Shines at the World Lacrosse Championship

The World Lacrosse Championship kicked off in 1967, and has been played every four years since 1974. But the game itself goes back much further, to time immemorial. According to the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois, creation story, the game was first played in the spirit world. Lacrosse is more than just a game for the Haudenosaunee: because it was handed down by the Creator, playing lacrosse is like sacred medicine. 

The Iroquois Nationals team was first admitted to the federation that runs the championship tournament in 1990, and remains the only First Nations/Native American team that is recognized to compete in an international tournament. The team has consistently placed in the top five each year it participates.

07-14-14-haudenosaunee-1.jpgThe Haudenosaunee is a confederacy of six nations: the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca and Tuscarora Nations are spread over what most people call Canada and the United States today. As a confederacy of sovereign tribal nations, the Haudenosaunee have their own passports. But when the team attempted to compete in Manchester in the 2010 World Lacrosse Championship, England declined the team entry because it refused to recognize the Haudenosaunee passport. The Iroquois Nationals fought the decision and are now back in this year’s tournament, which is being held in Denver, Colo. 

As the Denver Post reports, the Iroquois Nationals team is packed with amazing players:

The Thompson family — four brothers and a cousin on the Iroquois Nationals — are fueling a team that is poised to dominate. With 3-foot braids swinging below their helmets, the Thompsons — led by State University at Albany brothers Miles, 23, and Lyle, 21, and their 23-year-old cousin Ty — are bringing an instinctual, honed-since-birth style of box-lacrosse play to the international stage, promising to elevate the game their ancestors created.

The trio arguably comprises the three best young players in all of lacrosse. Miles and Lyle co-won the 2014 Tewaaraton Award, the Heisman Trophy of lacrosse, marking the first time the award has gone to an American Indian.

Lacrosse became popular with Europeans who arrived in the eastern part of North America—called Turtle Island by the Haudenosaunee. Over time, the game has grown internationally, and is sometimes associated with elite universities in the United States. But no one knows the game better, or has played as long, as the Haudenosaunee.

This year, the Iroquois Nationals beat England and Japan by big margins—and barely lost to Canada by just one point in Sunday night’s game. It faces off with Australia tonight, and against the United States on Tuesday evening. The tournament continues through Saturday. 

NYT: Violent Abuse of the Mentally Ill Is Routine, Widespread at Rikers Island

NYT: Violent Abuse of the Mentally Ill Is Routine, Widespread at Rikers Island

In a devastating investigation published on Monday, the New York Times details horrific abuses of mentally ill inmates taking place at the hands of guards behind the walls of New York City’s Rikers Island jail. In an 11-month span last year, 129 inmates at Rikers Island were seriously injured in “altercations” with guards, and more than three-quarters of them had received a mental illness diagnosis. Inmates have been getting beat up so badly that they require stitches, emergency surgery or care for broken bones.

Here are just two of multiple incidents New York Times reporters Michael Winerip and Michael Schwirtz uncovered in their investigation:

In August, Carlos Gonzalez, who suffered from depression and schizophrenia, was holding hands with his fiancée in a visiting area when a guard told him to let go. The guard threw him against a wall and told him to apologize for continuing to hold on, according to a Legal Aid Society complaint. In Mr. Gonzalez’s version of the events, he said he was sorry, but the guard told him to say it louder. When Mr. Gonzalez, who was arrested for violating an order of protection, refused, he said two guards punched him in the face. Mr. Gonzalez’s eardrum was ruptured, and he was so bloodied the guards made him change into a clean jumpsuit before he was taken to a clinic and later to Elmhurst Hospital Center.

In Brian Mack’s case, guards were allegedly settling a score. Mr. Mack, 57, who has been convicted of grand larceny, told investigators and health officials that he was assaulted in May 2013 by a captain and another officer after the captain challenged him over complaints he made about guards stealing inmates’ food. The captain struck him in the eye with his radio and the officer punched him in his jaw, Mr. Mack told investigators from the correction board.

Medical workers later reported that he had sustained “serious head trauma,” including a broken jaw and eye socket. Correction Department officials claimed Mr. Mack’s injuries came from a fight with other inmates, but board investigators could find no record of such a fight in the department’s log books.

It’s a story of aggression and brutality carried out with impunity and against particularly vulnerable inmates. It’s also a snapshot of New York City’s jail as it, like so many around the country, absorbs those with mental illness who might have been housed in other institutions. “Rikers now has about as many people with mental illnesses — roughly 4,000 of the 11,000 inmates — as all 24 psychiatric hospitals in New York State combined,” Winerip and Schwirtz write. And the proportions are on the rise. Read the article in full at the New York Times.

Bergdahl to Return to Active Duty, VW to Make SUV in Tenn., and Supermoon Photos

Bergdahl to Return to Active Duty, VW to Make SUV in Tenn., and Supermoon Photos

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning:

TAGS: Morning Rush

Murrieta’s Anti-Migrant Protests Cost City $50k in Police Overtime

Murrieta's Anti-Migrant Protests Cost City $50k in Police Overtime

Drawing out protestors has turned out to be a costly move for Murrieta, Calif., mayor Alan Long. Long projects that the city has doled out $50,000 in overtime for police officers who’ve had to work the protest lines in front of the city’s border patrol station, the Los Angeles Times reports. In recent weeks demonstrators, who Long encouraged to come out, have repeatedly blocked the attempted drop-off of child migrants. 

Tens of thousands of child migrants, the majority from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, have arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border in recent years. To deal with the incoming flows, the federal government has started processing migrants at border patrol stations around the country. None have made it to Murrieta, though, as protestors have blocked streets. On July 4, raucous protests ended in six arrests, The Desert Sun reported.

Read more of Colorlines’ coverage of the unaccompanied minors crisis. 

New York’s New Municipal ID Draws Criticism

New York's New Municipal ID Draws Criticism

Starting in January 2015, New York City residents will be eligible to apply for municipal identification cards. Similar measures have been met with success in New Haven, Conn., as well as several California cities. The New York City Identity Card is intended to provide a basic credential for some of the most marginalized people in the Big Apple. At a signing ceremony for the ID bill Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio touted the card’s potential beneficiaries: 

I want to emphasize this card is important for all New Yorkers. It is important for all of us to have a better city. Even for those who already have ID, we’re going to make sure that this card brings a lot to the equation, a lot of benefits that will go with it. But for those who don’t have ID, it’s going to be crucial. And that includes a lot of people - I mentioned almost half a million undocumented immigrants. That’s the size of a lot of major American cities in terms of total population - half a million of our fellow New Yorkers. What about adults re-entering society after incarceration? They need extra opportunities this ID will help. Young people in foster care. Transgender people. For the very first time, transgender people will be able to choose their gender marker on their ID, and that’s an important opportunity.

Opening a bank account or leasing an apartment is virtually impossible without ID and the city says it’s working with banks and credit unions to accept the card. But there are also federal regulations that need to be met in order to open an account, and it’s not yet clear whether the New York City Identity Card will be sufficient to meet those requirements.

Perhaps more troubling is the fact that the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) doesn’t back the new ID card. While the organization supported a previous version of the bill, it cites major problems with the final version signed yesterday. NYCLU’s advocacy director Johanna Miller released a statement outlining concerns:

Unfortunately, the bill that is before the mayor [Thursday] also provides for the city to copy and store people’s most sensitive documentation, like pay stubs, social security numbers, and even their children’s educational records. In this bill, the city has not done enough to protect those documents from being used by law enforcement. The NYPD, FBI, DHS and others can request these documents without having to show probable cause. And if they are requested, the city has no obligation to even notify the person so they might be able to defend their own privacy. For these reasons, the NYCLU regretfully cannot support this legislation.

The city ID will be available free of charge in its first year and can be obtained through enrollment centers in various municipal institutions starting in January. 

Marlene Pinnock’s Freeway Beating Revives Talk of Officers’ Responsibilities

Marlene Pinnock's Freeway Beating Revives Talk of Officers' Responsibilities

Civil rights activists have met with California Highway Patrol representatives, but questions still swirl around CHP officer’s violent beating of Marlene Pinnock, a black woman from Los Angeles.

Pinnock had a history of homelessness and interactions with law enforcement officers before July 1, when Pinnock was found walking barefoot on a busy Los Angeles freeway, the Los Angeles Times reports. A CHP officer, whose name has yet to be released, caught up with her and tried to subdue her before pulling her to the ground, straddling her and pummeling her with repeated punches to her face. The beating was caught on video by a passing motorist.

Pinnock’s beating has revived a longstanding conversation about the expanded role of police officers in the face of the dwindling mental health and social services. Police and law enforcement officers aren’t trained social workers, but they’re often the first to respond to crisis calls. Law enforcement agencies have been slow to adapt to this reality, though, and all too quick to resort to violence when they encounter people in crisis. People like Pinnock have gotten caught up in that gap. 

The Los Angeles Times reports:

To some experts, the incident was tragically familiar. The incident, they say, speaks to the ever-evolving, uneven and imperfect encounters that take place daily between law enforcement officers and people in crisis.

“Law enforcement officers are now street corner psychologists,” said Carla Jacobs, a prominent advocate for an effective mental health system. “Some are trained well. Some are not. But the reality is that they are cops. They are not psychologists.”

Read the rest at the Los Angeles Times.

Gun Violence and the Zimmerman Verdict, One Year Later

Gun Violence and the Zimmerman Verdict, One Year Later

This Sunday will mark the one-year anniversary of George Zimmerman’s acquittal in connection to the killing of Trayvon Martin. The verdict gave rise to a national dialogue about race and racial profiling, as people took to the streets in protest. One year later, Zimmerman remains a household name—but violence against unarmed black people continues.

In a personal essay over at Next City, organizer Dante Barry, who works with the Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, considers the ways in which black neighborhoods continue to be plagued by violence:

Although frustration still lingers from that tragic decision of injustice to acquit Zimmerman of all charges, over the last year, Million Hoodies has been busy bridging the gap between gun violence prevention and mass decriminalization. We recognize that the death of Trayvon Martin and even Jordan Davis, and many others like them, are deeply embedded in institutional injustice and structural violence. We must attack the core inequalities in our society if we are to put a stop to the senseless deaths and systemic violence inflicted on people of color every day.

Audre Lorde once said, “There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” We cannot just talk about gun violence and continue to ignore the criminalization of communities of color. Responses to certain forms of gun violence have resulted in the increase of school metal detectors and policies like stop-and-frisk. Arguably, stop-and-frisk is motivated by a desire to address public safety and the safety of our children. However, it disproportionately impacts young men of color. Stop-and-frisk is an experience far too common if you walk around Bed-Stuy and identify as poor or black.

I live down the street from a police precinct. I see officers patrol my street at night and will occasionally stand in front of my apartment building to surveil the area. Am I safe? Is this what security feels like?

Read the whole essay over at Next City

House Sues Obama, Amazon’s 55 MPH Drones, and A Roll-Up Television Screen

House Sues Obama, Amazon's 55 MPH Drones, and A Roll-Up Television Screen

It’s Friday! And here’s what I’m reading up on:

TAGS:

Texas City to ‘Refuse’ Refugee Child Migrants

Texas City to 'Refuse' Refugee Child Migrants

League City, Texas, council members voted on a measure set to reject any federal request to open an immigrant detention facility within the city.

The resolution was drafted by council member Heidi Thiess and approved 6-2—with support from the mayor. In addition to instructing all local institutions “to refuse requests or directives by federal agencies to permit or establish any facility for the purposes of processing, housing, or detaining any illegal aliens, designated as ‘refugee’ or otherwise”, the resolution also demands the state of Texas do the following:

  • Through State executive and legislative actions demand that the Federal government provide additional resources for new and/or existing Border Patrol checkpoints and employ a contiguous physical barrier where strategically prudent.
  • Demand the Texas State Legislature to enhance state smuggling and human trafficking laws and provide civil liability protections for Texan landowners against criminal trespassers.
  • Demand the Texas State Legislature abolish any and all state-controlled or sponsored magnets that exacerbate the problem of rampant illegal immigration, such as (but not limited to): in-state tuition subsidies, welfare benefits and free non-emergency health care for illegal aliens.
  • Require the State to perform a cost/benefit analysis of the illegal alien presence and report that cost to Texas taxpayers and state agencies.
  • Pass legislation to prohibit “sanctuary cities” which restrict law enforcement from determining the immigration status of detainees after the commission of a crime within our communities.

According to The Houston Chronicle, there are no plans to open a detention facility in League City. If challenged, the resolution holds little legal merit. 

(h/t Raw Story)

O.C. Sheriff’s Department Admits to Violating TRUST Act

O.C. Sheriff's Department Admits to Violating TRUST Act

Under the federal government’s Secure Communities program, the Department of Homeland Security accesses fingerprints whenever they’re entered in a local database. Those fingerprints are then screened, and jurisdictions are asked to hold undocumented immigrants at the request of the feds. Critics charge that the Secure Communities program is a massive dragnet that often targets people who haven’t even been accused of any serious crime for deportation. The program has also netted U.S.-born citizens. Local authorities aren’t forced to honor the federal government’s hold—it’s simply a request, made without a warrant. 

Under what’s known as the TRUST Act, California chose to stop cooperating with the program in January of this year, except in cases where the person in question is charged or has been convicted of a serious crime.

In California’s Orange Country, however, 25-year-old Samuel Sixtos-Gomez is now facing deportation because of an old warrant for driving without a license. As the OC Weekly’s Gabriel San Román reports, Sixtos-Gomez was walking down the street when local sheriff deputies began questioning him. When it was revealed that he had an outstanding warrant for driving without a license, he was arrested:

The misdemeanor offense for which police arrested Sixtos-Gomez that afternoon falls under the TRUST Act, which became law on Jan. 1 and protects undocumented, low-level offenders from being turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by law-enforcement agencies. But, on April 18, after several days in the Orange County Jail, Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) officials allowed ICE agents to fetch Sixtos-Gomez at the jail and transport the 25-year-old to San Bernardino County’s Adelanto Detention Center, a facility run by the Geo Group, a controversial, lawsuit-ridden private for-profit firm. He remains there until an immigration court decides if he should be deported.

Perhaps more alarming, however, is that the OC Weekly writes that the Orange County Sheriff Department’s spokesperson admits his agency violated the TRUST Act: “We’ve acknowledged our error of detaining and releasing Mr. Sixtos-Gomez into the custody of ICE in violation of the TRUST Act on April 18.”

Sixtos-Gomez—who has been deported six times, but returned to the place he’s called home since he was 8—remains in detention. Despite the TRUST Act, federal immigration law will likely back his removal.  

Read the whole story over at the OC Weekly

ABC Confuses Palestinians for Israelis, FIFA Bans Nigeria, and Disappearing Salamanders

ABC Confuses Palestinians for Israelis, FIFA Bans Nigeria, and Disappearing Salamanders

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning: 

  • Israel continues to bombard Gaza. But be careful what you read; ABC’s Diane Sawyer tells her audience that Palestinian victims are actually Israelis. 
  • Jobless claims fall again—and more than expected. 
  • 80 percent of adults with serious mental illnesses are unemployed
TAGS: Morning Rush

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin Sentenced to 10 Years

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin Sentenced to 10 Years

A federal judge sentenced former New Orleans, La., Mayor Ray Nagin to 10 years in prison for corruption. Nagin was convicted in February but learned his fate today. The former mayor, whose pleas for help during Hurricane Katrina drew national attention in 2005, was convicted in February of accepting bribes in the form of money, resources and vacations from companies that wanted city contacts. 

The New York Times offers details:

Mr. Nagin, a Democrat, was found guilty in February on 20 counts, most relating to kickbacks from contractors looking for city work. He was arrested in January 2013, nearly three years after he left office. He was charged with taking kickbacks in the form of cash, cross-country trips or help with the family-run granite countertop company; the bribes were handed out by men looking for city business ranging from software supplies to sidewalk repair. Many of the schemes, though not all, took place after Hurricane Katrina, when contractors crowded into the city for rebuilding work.

Many of those involved eventually pleaded guilty and testified at length against Mr. Nagin at his trial.

The corruption had been so thoroughly covered in the local news media that few people were surprised by the verdicts in February. Mr. Nagin had come into office in 2002 as a reformer from the business world and a foe of cronyism. But the city grew frustrated with his stewardship, particularly in his second term when the rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina stalled and Mr. Nagin seemed unengaged. By the time he left office in 2010, many in New Orleans had moved past frustration and were simply ready to see him go.

Nagin set to turn himself in to authorities to serve his time in federal prison in September. 

Glenn Beck’s ‘Open Heart’ for Migrant Children

Glenn Beck's 'Open Heart' for Migrant Children

Right-wing pundit Glenn Beck expressed what appears to be a genuine concern for Central American migrant children arriving at the southern border—and announced an effort to bring tractor-trailers full of food, water and teddy bears for migrant children in need. On his program, Beck also denounced the long history of U.S.-backed coups and destabilization in Latin America. 

Beck’s announcement is drawing attention—and suspicion—on all sides. That’s not lost on Beck, who says, “I’ve never taken a position more deadly to my career than this, and I have never, ever taken a position that is more right than this.”

In what appear to be contradictory phrases in the same “Glenn Beck Program” segment, Beck says that he’ll be heading to the border next weekend where he claims he’ll illustrate the “illegals who are being caught and released.” Nevertheless, he asks supporters to donate money for his humanitarian effort.

Meanwhile, a Senate commission is hearing testimony on unaccompanied child migrants this morning. The hearing, titled “Challenges at the Border: Examining the Causes, Consequences, and Responses to the Rise in Apprehensions at the Southern Border” is live, and all testimony is available for download on PDF online. 

Israel Strikes 400 Sites in Gaza, Germany Beats Brazil 7-1 and Smallpox Found in Old Box

Israel Strikes 400 Sites in Gaza, Germany Beats Brazil 7-1 and Smallpox Found in Old Box

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning:

  • Following Brazil’s devastating loss, Argentina is the last American team left in the World Cup; they take on the Netherlands today, with champion diver Robben. 
TAGS: Morning Rush
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