U.S. Immigrations and Custom Enforcement acknowledged Thursday night that it is transferring more than 1,600 people arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border to federal Bureau of Prisons facilities, including parents separated from their children. ICE said it will use 1,000 beds at a federal prison in Victorville, California; 209 beds in SeaTac, Washington; 230 beds in La Tuna, Texas; 230 beds in Sheridan, Oregon; and 102 beds in Phoenix. The use of federal prisons "is intended to be a temporary measure until ICE can obtain additional long-term contracts for new detention facilities or until the surge in illegal border crossings subsides," an ICE spokeswoman said.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) and Attorney General Bob Ferguson asked ICE for more information on the detentions Thursday night, arguing that "the Trump administration's new family separation policy is inflicting intentional, gratuitous, and permanent trauma on young children who have done nothing wrong and on parents who often have valid claims for refugee or asylum status." Crossing the border illegally is usually a misdemeanor, and historically, migrants with no criminal history who are seeking asylum or refugee status were released while their cases proceeded; Trump ended that policy in May.
Immigration advocates aren't the only one upset about ICE's new move. John Kostelnik, head of the union local that represents workers at the Victorville prison, warned in a letter that "we are not staffed adequately to accommodate this change in our mission."
On Wednesday, a federal judge in California criticized Trump's new policy of separating children from their parents at the border, saying the American Civil Liberties Union can move forward with its lawsuit to end the policy. If Trump's "zero tolerance" policy is being carried out as the ACLU describes, wrote U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, a George W. Bush appointee, it is "brutal, offensive, and fails to comport with traditional notions of fair play and decency." Peter Weber
The deputy chief of staff for operations at the White House will step down next month after serving under four Republican administrations as a top aide, CNN reported Tuesday.
Officials announced the departure of Joe Hagin, who took the reigns in planning the logistics of the summit between President Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un that took place earlier this month, on Tuesday, explaining that he plans to work in the private sector. In a statement, Trump said he would "miss him in the office and even more on the road. I am thankful for his remarkable service to our great country."
Hagin worked as an aide under former Presidents George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan, reports Reuters. He is one of the highest-ranking members of the White House staff. Hagin's departure is the latest in a Trump White House with a record-breaking turnover rate.
Hagin reportedly wanted to resign several months ago, but was persuaded to stay aboard by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. Commenting on his departure, Kelly praised Hagin's "selfless devotion to this nation and the institution of the presidency." Summer Meza
The government didn't really lose 1,500 migrant children after they left federal custody.
It may be four times that.
McClatchy reviewed U.S. government data and found that during the Trump presidency, the government appears to have lost track of nearly 6,000 unaccompanied immigrant minors. The widely reported smaller number referred only to a three-month span last fall.
Yet contrary to assumptions that sparked outrage last month, an untraceable child could be better off. The Office of Refugee Resettlement couldn't get ahold of 1,475 resettled immigrant children 30 days after their release after placing a single phone call, per policy. But those families often have a good reason for not picking up, New York Civil Liberties Union lawyer Paige Austin told WNYC's On the Media last month: Families may wish to cut ties with the government in an effort to protect other undocumented immigrants they may be living with. Ninety percent of resettled children end up with a family member, per ORR data, and those people may or may not have legal status.
The number of actually lost children gets trickier to solidify, seeing as some families did answer and confirmed a child was gone, McClatchy says. And the numbers are only from 2017. Things could fluctuate further now that children and parents are being separated at the border, leaving more children unaccompanied and more immigrants afraid of authorities. Read more at McClatchy. Kathryn Krawczyk
Lawmakers will likely clash over how to handle the Trump administration's zero tolerance immigration policy that separates immigrant families at the border, debating two immigration bills that contain other contingencies, Politico reported Tuesday.
President Trump will meet with GOP leaders to offer his input on two bills. The more conservative bill written by Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R) would require the Department of Homeland Security to house detained immigrant families together, but the White House said it would be "tough" to get it through the House. A second, more moderate compromise bill that would give Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients a path to citizenship while putting $25 billion toward border security and the border wall is also under consideration.
Congressional Democrats unanimously supported a bill authored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Monday that sought to outlaw nearly every case of family separations. But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he wasn't interested in a GOP-led bill that would keep families together while detained, telling reporters that he wants to keep the onus on President Trump to end the controversial separations. "There are so many obstacles to legislation and when the president can do it with his own pen, it makes no sense," said Schumer. "Unacceptable additions have bogged down every piece of legislation we've done." Republicans have also called for Trump to take executive action to speed things along.
The multiple competing bills, including another introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), all include different provisions that offer varying compromises to end the policy that separates families. Sources told Politico that despite the president's mild support for some aspects of each bill, it's unclear exactly how he will choose to move forward, further fracturing the Republican Party as they seek to unite for quick-acting legislation. Read more at Politico. Summer Meza
It's bear season once more at Alaska's Katmai National Park, and the 24-hour cameras are back up and running in multiple locations. For those who are uninitiated to the most riveting thing you'll watch all summer, the park's cameras give viewers the opportunity to get up close and personal with the state's majestic brown bears — from the comfort of your safe, fortified, bear-proof home, of course.
While there are several locations to choose from, Brooks Falls is always a good bet for spotting bears in the river feasting on salmon that are swimming upstream to spawn:
There is also an underwater bear cam, which has the potential to give you a dramatic close-up of some ursine choppers. Watch that one below. Jeva Lange
Modern Family showrunner Steve Levitan is leaving Fox Studio in response to Fox News' coverage of the Trump administration's policy of separating immigrant parents from their children at the border, CNN reports.
Levitan expressed his anger with Fox News late Monday night, responding to Laura Ingraham calling the child detention centers "essentially summer camps." "Let me officially join Seth MacFarlane in saying I'm disgusted to work at a company that has anything whatsoever to do with Fox News," tweeted Levitan. "This bulls--t is the opposite of what #ModernFamily stands for." He added in a subsequent tweet: "I have no problem with fact-based conservatism (such as [The Wall Street Journal]), but [Fox News'] 23-hour-a-day support of the NRA, conspiracy theories, and Trump's lies gets harder to swallow every day as I drive onto that lot to make a show about inclusion."
Levitan's remarks followed calls by Judd Apatow and Seth MacFarlane to speak out against the company. "I haven't worked with Fox since 2002," Apatow had tweeted. "That family promotes evil ideas and greed and corruption. We all choose who to work with. I understand why that is easier for some than others but many powerful people are powerful enough to speak up to their bosses at a moment like this." Jeva Lange
So, you wanna be startin' a musical? Just look to Michael Jackson for inspiration.
A biographical musical about the pop legend, developed by Jackson's estate and production company Columbia Live Stage, is set to hit Broadway in 2020, Playbill reports. The show will feature Jackson's own songs to tell the story of his life.
This may be a P.Y.M. (Pretty Young Musical), but Lynn Nottage, the double-Pulitzer-winning playwright for Ruined and Sweat, is already slated to write it. Christopher Wheeldon, a Tony winner for choreographing An American in Paris, will choreograph and direct, per Variety.
The unnamed show moonwalks in the footsteps of jukebox musicals like Jersey Boys and Beautiful:The Carole King Musical, where musicians' songs describe their careers. And they all relay one piece of advice: Don't stop 'til you get a musical. Kathryn Krawczyk
Fewer Americans are smoking than ever before, Time reported Tuesday. New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics put the number of adult smokers in the year 2017 at about 14 percent of the population, over 30 million people nationwide. The figure was around 16 percent in 2016, and 20 percent back in 2007.
This trend points to "a general decline" in the smoking population, NBC News reported. "Everything is pointed in the right direction," said Dr. K. Michael Cummings, an addiction researcher at the Medical University of South Carolina, who also noted that sales of cigarettes have fallen in recent years.
But additional data shows that electronic cigarettes may account for some of the declining figures, Time explained. Recent data shows that about 3 percent of U.S. adults used e-cigarettes in 2016. Although e-cigarettes don't contain the same harmful byproducts as cigarettes, the long-term effects of vaping aren't well-known.