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WASHINGTON – When Immigration and Customs Enforcement ((ICE)) agents arrested at least 680 undocumented immigrants in cities around the United States last week, immigration advocates hailed it as the first “mass enforcement operation” of the Donald Trump era.
“It is time to sound the national alarm bell,” said a group of organizations led by United We Dream.
But is it? The truth is more nuanced.
Barack Obama inherited and expanded the capacity to identify, apprehend, and deport unauthorized immigrants, according to the Migration Policy Institute, and he used it as president, deporting more than 2.5 million people between 2009 and 2015.
At the border, there was a “near zero tolerance system, where unauthorized immigrants were increasingly subject to formal removal and criminal charges.”
Immigration enforcement, as laid out in a 2014 memo, also focused on immigrants who committed crimes and those who arrived after the beginning of 2014.
“A more robust enforcement system inevitably inflicts damage on established families and communities,” the Migration Policy Institute report said.
What ICE did not do during the Obama era was detain people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. ICE was instructed to arrest only people who were targeted in advance and not just anybody swept up in a raid, so-called collateral arrests.
Obama said his government did not have the desire to deport millions of undocumented immigrants whose only crime was to enter the country illegally.
President Donald Trump’s Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States executive order shows that collateral arrests are not to be avoided.
“Many aliens who illegally enter the United States and those who overstay or otherwise violate the terms of their visas present a significant threat to national security and public safety,” the order says.
After last week’s enforcement operations, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly said that 75 percent of the people apprehended had criminal records. This implies that 25 percent of the 680 arrests reported by DHS were non-criminals.
ICE said during “targeted” enforcement operations officers frequently encounter additional suspects who may be in violation of federal immigration laws. “Those persons will be evaluated on a case by case basis and, when appropriate, arrested by ICE,” the agency said.
Rep. Michelle Grisham, D-N.M., speaks during the third day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 27, 2016
On Capitol Hill, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has requested a meeting with ICE’s acting director to learn about the location of last week’s operations, the reason for apprehensions, the number of people detained with criminal convictions and the number of parents with minors arrested along with the arresting reason.
“The request to have the meeting, of course, is to get real information, data, about who is apprehended, who are the targets, where, and confirm that information with our constituents … and to make sure that we are following the law, and we’re clear that people are getting due process and that they know their rights, and the fact that we are not causing, which we are, fear and panic in our communities,” New Mexico congresswoman and caucus chair Michelle Grisham said.
A sign alerts customers a bakery is closed for the day as part of an immigration protest, Feb. 16, 2017, in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.
Building a basis for comparison
While fear is running high in immigrant communities, it is still too early to say how different the Trump administration’s policies will be from the previous ones.
Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) intends to follow it. TRAC is building a baseline “against which arrests by fugitive operation teams and other components of ICE can be compared under the new Trump administration.”
Using case-by-case records of both apprehensions and removals, TRAC has put together an initial report that shows 65,332 individuals were detained and deported by ICE during FY 2016, the last year of Obama’s presidency. TRAC says that amounts to approximately 1,250 per week.
Only a small part of those arrests, however, were the result of ICE raids or other enforcement operations. “Instead, most of these estimated weekly 1,250 ICE apprehensions happened when ICE assumed custody of individuals held by another law enforcement agency,” the TRAC report says.
Putting aside the other law enforcement agencies, TRAC says that “less than 300 individuals were arrested each week from their place of work, where they lived, or other places they may have been when found” by ICE.
The rate of U.S. adolescents and young adults dying of suicide has reached its highest level in nearly two decades, according to a report published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
In 2017, there were 47 percent more suicides among people aged 15 to 19 than in the year 2000. Overall, there are 36 percent more people aged 20 to 24 living in the U.S. today than at the turn of the century.
With more than 6,200 suicides among people aged 15 to 24, suicide ranked as the second-leading cause of death for people in that age group in 2017, trailing behind deaths from unintentional motor vehicle accidents, which claimed 6,697 lives.
To study the change, a team from Harvard Medical School pulled data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which tracks deaths and their “underlying cause” nationwide.
Suicide rates among females have been on the rise for several years in this time period, with the rates for 15- to 19-year-olds rising more quickly after 2009. An even more noticeable spike has occurred in suicides for adolescent and young adult males since 2014.
The researchers said that trend might be connected to the opioid crisis, because of the added stressors that come with addiction, said Oren Miron, a research associate at Harvard Medical School and one of the report’s authors.
Social media, as well as a reduced stigma for parents and coroners to report a child’s death as suicide (rather than as an accident), could also be playing a role in the increase, the researchers suggested.
But Miron cautioned that the study did not identify causes. Instead, they say that now the upward trend has been identified, more research can be done to pinpoint the factors contributing to the deaths.
The researchers found there were 11.8 deaths per 100,000 adolescents — aged 15 to 19 years — in 2017. That’s up from 2000 when there were eight deaths per 100,000.
For young adults aged 20 to 24 years old, the suicide rate was 17 per 100,000 in 2017, an increase from 12.5 per 100,000 in 2000.
A leap in the suicide rate “is not a predetermined curse that comes with modernization,” said Miron, noting the fluctuation from year to year.
The CDC has linked increased drug use to suicides and recommends a number of prevention measures, including encouraging adults to limit access to prescription drugs in the home. And experts in suicide prevention say paying attention to changes in lifestyle can help parents determine if their child is at risk.
For adolescents, using social media in a way that detracts from face-to-face interactions could be particularly detrimental to mental health. said Victor Schwartz, chief medical officer at suicide prevention nonprofit The Jed Foundation.
Yet while social media can facilitate bullying and lead to more anxiety and depression among young people, it can also be used to help those who are struggling with depression and can help loved ones pick up on warning signs early on.
“Dramatic changes are a sign,” said Schwartz. “Looking for changes in sleep, in social relationships — any of these big areas should start to raise big flags. Changes in substance use, even in the use of social media might suggest something is going on.”
FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man who pretended to be an Uber driver to sexually assault a college student has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Willie Foust pleaded guilty to sexual battery after the victim testified at his trial.
The woman was an 18-year-old Florida Gulf Coast University freshman when she summoned an Uber car to take her back to her dorm from a bar during a rainstorm.
Authorities say the 35-year-old Foust saw the woman and pulled up. She asked him if he was her Uber driver and he said yes. She got in and he drove her to a parking lot, where he assaulted her.
The State Attorney’s Office announced Monday that the sentencing happened last week.
Bill Cosby has earned backlash after a Father’s Day message referring to himself as “America’s dad” was shared on his social media channels.
The comedian, who is currently serving a prison sentence for aggravated indecent assault, shared the message on Saturday on Twitter and Instagram.
“Hey, Hey, Hey…It’s America’s Dad…” the message begins, in reference to Cosby’s former nickname.
“I know it’s late, but to all of the Dads… It’s an honor to be called a Father, so let’s make today a renewed oath to fulfilling our purpose – strengthening our families and communities.”
On both platforms, the message is accompanied by a video of Cosby in the 1968 CBS documentary Black History: Lost, Stolen or Strayed.
“And that’s some awful history to teach. Now, if you want to look history right straight in the eye, you’re going to get a black eye.”
He used several hashtags on Twitter and on Instagram, including #RenewedOathToOurCommunity, #AmericasFavoriteDad, and #FarFromFinished.
Cosby’s decision to call himself “America’s dad” was met with outraged reactions on social media.
“Just stop. This is awful,” one person wrote, while many others expressed their disagreement in gifs.
Cosby was sentenced in September last year to three to 10 years behind bars.
He was found guilty in April that year of three counts of aggravated indecent assault in a landmark trial.
In a Facebook post published Friday morning, Darden, who was on the prosecution team for the famed 1995 murder trial of O.J. Simpson, wrote that he was on his way to appear in People v. Holder for “the last time.”
“I filed a Motion to Withdraw from the case,” he wrote. “I thought I should tell you, my friends, first & before anyone else. As for my reasons for withdrawing I don’t know whether I will disclose them later or not.”
Darden received criticism from some people on social media for representing Holder, who was charged last month with murder and two counts of attempted murder in relation to the fatal shooting of Hussle on March 31. Holder pleaded not guilty to the murder and attempted murder charges.
Hussle, a Grammy-nominated rapper born Ermias Asghedom, was lauded for his community activism and efforts to revitalize the South Los Angeles community where he was raised.
He continued, “But allow me to say this; After centuries of a history of black men hung from trees without trial, or after the thousands of cases of black men tried, convicted and executed without counsel; after Gideon v. Wainwright & Powell v. Alabama, I cannot understand why in 2019 some people would deny a black man his 6th Amendment right to counsel of his choice.”
The attorney added that he and his family had received threats after he began representing Holder. He called the backlash reminiscent of 1995, an apparent reference to the response to his role in trying Simpson.
“These days these cowards don’t send letters instead they sit anonymously behind keyboards threatening a man’s mother and children. And some folks think that’s funny. It isn’t and I won’t ever forget it.”
A spokesperson for The Los Angeles District County Attorney’s Office confirmed to HuffPost via email that Holder is being represented by the public defenders’ office.
Darden told the Times that he has been practicing criminal defense for years and that he represents “regular people.”
He’s more of an accomplice.
Dennis Rodman is being accused of theft, along with three other men, after some very luxurious yoga clothes went missing..yea, yoga clothes. Sounds unbelievable but the whole thing was caught on tape. Video from VIBES Hot Yoga studio in Newport Beach show Rodman acting as a distraction to the employees while a female in his entourage stuffed items in her purse. At one point, he even shielded her from view while she put more items in her purse.
A male in the group broke a $2,500 art piece after stating they intended to buy it. The entire group eventually left with the broken art piece and refused to pay for it. At 57-years-old, Dennis Rodman doesn’t need another stint in jail (as he is currently on probation). No word on what charges he and the group will face as of now. But…
A 47-year-old woman from suburban Chicago paid the entirety of R Kelly’s bail, allowing the embattled R&B singer to be freed from jail as he awaits his trial on sexual abuse charges.
According to The Chicago Tribune, the unidentified woman — described as “a friend” of Kelly’s — posted the bail — 10% of the $1 million bond set by a judge on Monday.
Since his arrest on Friday, Kelly struggled to come up with the funds to cover his bail. His lawyer, Steve Greenberg, told the judge that the singer’s finances are a “mess” due to his ongoing legal issues.
After learning of Kelly’s financial plight, some of his female fans reportedly reached out to the county clerk offering to cover the cost of his bail.
Upon his release last night, a seemingly unfazed Kelly made a beeline to his favorite McDonald’s — a place where he previously found himself in trouble after picking up an underage girl on her prom night.
Kelly is due back in court on March 22nd. If convicted of the charges in Chicago, he faces between 40-70 years in prison.
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office says it is reviewing the legality of the sentence handed down last week to former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke for the murder of Laquan McDonald.
“We are going to do a careful review of the record and the law and make a determination based on our review,” Maura Possley, a spokeswoman for the office, said Wednesday afternoon.
Raoul, sworn in as attorney general this month, would not say whether he believes Van Dyke’s punishment is fair.
Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan last Friday sentenced Van Dyke to 81 months in prison — less than half of what prosecutors had sought. Van Dyke could be released in three years.
Outside the courtroom, Special Prosecutor Joseph McMahon said he was “satisfied” with the sentence.
“We achieved our goal of justice and holding Jason Van Dyke accountable for his actions,” McMahon said.
But many police-accountability activists viewed the sentence as a setback.
A jury in October convicted Van Dyke of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, one for each shot into McDonald.
Some legal experts say the best way to challenge Van Dyke’s sentence would be to seek a “mandamus” order from the Illinois Supreme Court. That court could find Gaughan violated the law by basing the punishment on the second-degree murder count, a Class 1 felony, instead of the battery counts, which carry a more serious designation, Class X.
A spokesman for McMahon on Wednesday said the special prosecutor is “still reviewing” the sentence. The spokesman would not say whether McMahon asked McDonald’s mother, Tina Hunter, for her view on whether the sentence should be challenged.
McDonald’s great uncle Rev. Marvin Hunter, the family’s spokesman, said “justice was not served” and accused Gaughan of treating Van Dyke as if the crime were a “minor drug offense.”
A staffer in Gaughan’s chambers on Wednesday said the judge declined to comment on the sentencing.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx did not answer what she thinks of the sentence or whether she would play a role in challenging it. A consideration for Foxx is her predecessor Anita Alvarez’s recusal of the office from the case after civil-rights groups accused her of pro-police bias.
Locke Bowman, an attorney who led the push for a special prosecutor in the case, said the Supreme Court has authority to toss out Gaughan’s “illegal” ruling that second-degree murder is the greater offense.
“If you turned the tables and if a young African-American man had regrettably fired 16 shots at a Chicago police officer and killed him,” Bowman said, “the judicial system would impose a massively punitive sentence.”
On Thursday, Van Dyke’s attorney slammed Raoul for reviewing the sentence.
“Another politician has chosen to exploit the tragic death of Laquan McDonald for his own political gain,” the attorney, Dan Herbert, said in a statement. “The judge in this case carefully considered the arguments made and issued the correct ruling under the law.”Van Dyke’s defense team says it is exploring its own options for challenging the sentence as well as the conviction.
Van Dyke began shooting McDonald, 17, as the teen carried a knife and walked away from officers on a South Side road in 2014. Many of the 16 shots hit the teen after he had collapsed to the pavement.
A police dashcam video contradicted reports by officers that McDonald was attacking Van Dyke.
Cook County Judge Domenica Stephenson last week acquitted three officers of charges they covered up for Van Dyke