Monday, July 1, 2019
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1/ A federal judge ordered Customs and Border Patrol to let health experts into detention facilities holding migrant children in order to assess the children's needs and ensure the facilities are "safe and sanitary." The order includes all CBP facilities in the El Paso and Rio Grande Valley sectors. U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee made the ruling despite requests from Attorney General William Barr and others that the court "set a schedule for briefing these issues that provides defendants with a full and fair opportunity to respond to the allegations that plaintiffs have lodged against them." Last week, lawyers asked Judge Gee to hold the Trump administration in contempt and to order immediate improvements at the facilities. (CNN / The Hill)
- Roughly 9,500 current and former Border Patrol agents are part of a secret Facebook group that jokes about migrant deaths, discusses throwing burritos at Latino members of Congress, and posts illustration depicting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez engaged in oral sex with a detained migrant, among other things. The group was created in August 2016 and is called "I'm 10-15" – the Border Patrol code for "aliens in custody." (ProPublica)
2/ Inspectors warned Homeland Security in May that conditions at an El Paso migrant detention facility were so bad that border agents were arming themselves against possible riots. According to a report by the Homeland Security Inspector General's office, there were only four showers available for the 756 immigrants, more than half of the immigrants were being held outside, and there were five times as many people being held in cells beyond the maximum capacity allowed. One cell was so overcrowded that the men inside could not lie down to sleep, and temperatures in the cells were often higher than 80 degrees. "With limited access to showers and clean clothing," the report said, "detainees were wearing soiled clothing for days or weeks." Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan, meanwhile, claimed that reports of poor conditions at the facility were "unsubstantiated." (NBC News)
3/ A federal judge blocked Trump from using $2.5 billion in military funding to build a wall at the southern border. The permanent injunction halts border wall construction at different sites in New Mexico, California, Arizona and Texas. Trump declared a national emergency earlier this year in order to divert roughly $6 billion in Defense Department funds toward border wall construction, arguing that the use of the military funds was lawful under the scope of the national emergency, because the need for funding was "unforeseen." (NPR / The Hill / Mother Jones)
4/ A new study correlates Trump's rise in popularity during the 2016 campaign with social media activity by the Russian trolls and bots of the Internet Research Agency. While the study does not prove that Russian interference swung the election, researchers at the University of Tennessee found that for every 25,000 re-tweets by accounts connected to ...
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