For Immediate Release                                        For Immediate Release

Press Contact: Herb Mintz

(415) 759-9679

Photos and Interviews: Steve Zeltzer

(415) 867-0628

25th Annual LaborFest 2018

Surviving The Billionaire Robot Assault in

 the 21st Century

San Francisco:  LaborFest opens its 25th annual festival on July 1, 2018 with a month of timely events inspired by local and international labor activists and labor history.  The program schedule includes eleven international and local films, labor history walks, a labor history bike ride, a maritime history boat ride, lectures, forums, readings and theater and music performances. Most events are free of charge and are presented in San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland and San Jose.

This year LaborFest continues to commemorate the San Francisco General Strike of 1934 with a series of lectures and walks.  LaborFest will also focus on the role of technology on workers from Silicon Valley to UBER, Lyft and taxi drivers, workers in the so-called 'gig economy' as well the role of Airbnb on hotel workers and communities and neighborhoods in San Francisco.  The FilmWorks United International Working Class Film and Video Festival will feature films not only from the United States but China, Turkey, South Korea, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.  Directors will be present to introduce some of the films.

Particular events in this year's LaborFest include a forum on the 50th Anniversary of the student strike at San Francisco State University, a concert by labor musician extraordinaire Charlie King, a screening of the LGBT historical comedy-drama film Pride, a book reading from Matilda Rabinowitz's memoir, Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman, a night of labor and immigration history inspired song by the Rockin' Solidarity Labor Chorus and a panel entitled Workplace Racism: Hanging Nooses and Fightback sponsored by United Public Workers.


LaborFest is the premier labor cultural arts and film festival in the United States.  LaborFest recognizes the role of working people in the building of America and making it work with over 50 events.  Most of these events are free or ask for a voluntary donation.  The festival is self-funded with contributions from unions and other organizations that support and celebrate the contributions of working people.

For more details and to read or download a full schedule and description of LaborFest 2018 events, go here: http://www.laborfest.net /events/2018-07/





All Hands on Deck:  Get Malik Washington out of Ad-Seg!

Several weeks ago, friends and supporters of incarcerated freedom fighter Comrade Malik Washington were overjoyed to hear that he was getting released, finally, from Administrative Segregation (solitary confinement) at Eastham Unit in Texas--until TDCJ pulled a fast one, falsely claiming that he refused to participate in the Ad-Seg Transition Program to get him released back to general population.  

This is a complete lie:  Malik has been fighting to get out of Ad-Seg from the moment he was thrown in there two years ago on a bogus riot charge (which was, itself, retaliation for prison strike organizing and agitating against inhumane, discriminatory conditions).  

Here's what actually happened:  when Malik arrived at Ramsey Unit on June 21, he was assigned to a top bunk, which is prohibited by his medical restrictions as a seizure patient.  TDCJ had failed to transfer his medical restrictions records, or had erased them, and are now claiming no record of these restrictions, which have been on file and in place for the past ten years.  Malik wrote a detailed statement requesting to be placed on a lower bunk in order to avoid injury; later that night, he was abruptly transferred back to Ad-Seg at a new Unit (McConnell).  

Malik was told that Ramsey staff claimed he refused to participate in the Ad-Seg Transition program--this is NOT true, and he needs to be re-instated to the program immediately!  He also urgently needs his medical restrictions put back into his records!


We are extremely concerned for Malik's safety, and urgently need the help of everyone reading this. Please take one or more of the following actions, and get a couple friends to do the same!

1. Call Senior Warden Phillip Sifuentes at Malik's current facility (McConnell) and tell them Keith Washington (#1487958) must be transferred out of McConnell and re-admitted to the Ad-Seg Transition Program!

Phone #: (361) 362-2300 (**048) 00 --  ask to be connected to the senior warden's office/receptionist--try to talk to someone, but also can leave a message. 

Sample Script: "Hello, I'm calling because I'm concerned about Keith H. Washington (#1487958) who was recently transferred to your facility.  I understand he was transferred there from Ramsey Unit, because he supposedly refused to participate in the Ad-Seg transition program there, but this is not true; Malik never refused to participate, and he needs to be re-admitted to the transition program immediately!  I am also concerned that his heat restrictions seem to have been removed from his records.  He is a seizure patient and has been on heat and work restriction for years, and these restrictions must be reinstated immediately."

Please let us know how your call goes at blueridgeABC@riseup.net

2. Flood TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier with calls/emails!  You can use the above phone script as a guide for emails.  

(936) 437-2101 / (936) 437-2123

3. Flood TDCJ with emails demanding that Malik's health restrictions and work restrictions be restored: Health.services@tdcj.texas.gov

You can use the call script above as a guide; you don't need to mention the Ad-Seg situation, but just focus on the need to restore his heat and work restrictions!

4. File a complaint with the Ombudsman's Office (the office in charge of investigating departmental misconduct); you can use the above phone script as a guide for emails.

5. Write to Malik!  Every letter he receives lifts his spirit and PROTECTS him, because prison officials know he has people around him, watching for what happens to him.

Keith H. Washington


McConnell Unit

3100 South Emily Drive

Beeville, TX 78103



Listen to 'The Daily': Was Kevin Cooper Framed for Murder?

By Michael Barbaro, May 30, 2018


Listen and subscribe to our podcast from your mobile deviceVia Apple Podcasts | Via RadioPublic | Via Stitcher

The sole survivor of an attack in which four people were murdered identified the perpetrators as three white men. The police ignored suspects who fit the description and arrested a young black man instead. He is now awaiting execution.

On today's episode:

• Kevin Cooper, who has been on death row at San Quentin State Prison in California for three decades.



Feds extend deadline for public comments on future draft

The feds initially provided only a few days for the public to submit comments regarding the future of the draft in the United States. This mirrored their process of announcing public hearings with only a few days notice. Due to pressure, they have extended the deadline for your online comments until September. 

They need to hear from us!

  • It's time to end draft registration once and for all.
  • Don't expand the draft to women. End it for everyone.
  • No national service linked to the military--including immigration enforcement.
  • Until the US is invaded by a foreign power, stop pretending that the draft is about anything other than empire.
  • Submit your own comments online here.

As we have been reporting to you, a federal commission has been formed to address the future of draft registration in the United States and whether the draft should end or be extended.

The press release states "The Commission wants to learn why people serve and why people don't; the barriers to participation; whether modifications to the selective service system are needed; ways to increase the number of Americans in service; and more."

Public hearings are currently scheduled for the following cities. We encourage folks to attend these hearings by checking the commission's website for the actual dates and locations of these hearings (usually annouced only days before).

  • July 19/20, 2018: Waco, TX
  • August 16/17, 2018: Memphis, TN
  • September 19/21, 2018: Los Angeles, CA

For more background information, read our recent post "Why is the government soliciting feedback on the draft now?"

Courage to Resist Podcast: The Future of Draft Registration in the United States

We had draft registration resister Edward Hasbrouck on the Courage to Resistpodcast this week to explain what's going on. Edward talks about his own history of going to prison for refusing to register for the draft in 1983, the background on this new federal commission, and addresses liberal arguments in favor of involuntary service. Edward explains:

When you say, "I'm not willing to be drafted", you're saying, "I'm going to make my own choices about which wars we should be fighting", and when you say, "You should submit to the draft", you're saying, "You should let the politicians decide for you."

What's happening right now is that a National Commission … has been appointed to study the question of whether draft registration should be continued, whether it should be expanded to make women, as well as men register for the draft, whether a draft itself should be started, whether there should be some other kind of Compulsory National Service enacted.

The Pentagon would say, and it's true, they don't want a draft. It's not plan A, but it's always been plan B, and it's always been the assumption that if we can't get enough volunteers, if we get in over our head, if we pick a larger fight than we can pursue, we always have that option in our back pocket that, "If not enough people volunteer, we're just going to go go to the draft, go to the benches, and dragoon enough people to fight these wars."

The first real meaningful opportunity for a national debate 

about the draft in decades . . .

Courage to Resist -- Support the Troops Who Refuse to Fight!

484 Lake Park Ave. No. 41, Oakland, CA 94610




Incarceration Nation

Emergency Action Alert:


In October, 2017, the 2 year court monitoring period of the Ashker v. Governor settlement to limit solitary confinement in California expired. Since then, the four drafters of the Agreement to End Hostilities and lead hunger strike negotiators – Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, Arturo Castellanos, George Franco, and Todd Ashker, have all been removed from general population and put in solitary in Administrative Segregation Units, based on fabricated information created by staff and/or collaborating "inmate informants." In Todd Ashker's case, he is being isolated "for his own protection," although he does not ask for nor desire to be placed in isolation for this or any reason. Sitawa has since been returned to population, but can still not have visitors.

Please contact CDCr Secretary Scott Kernan and Governor Edmund G. Brown and demand CDCr:

• Immediately release back into general population any of the four lead organizers still held in solitary

• Return other Ashker class members to general population who have been placed in Ad Seg 

• Stop the retaliation against all Ashker class members and offer them meaningful rehabilitation opportunities

Contact Scott Kernan. He prefers mailed letters to 1515 S Street, Sacramento 95811. If you call 916-324-7308, press 0 for the Communications office. Email matthew.westbrook@cdcr.ca.gov and cc: scott.kernan@cdcr.ca.gov

Contact Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.,  c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814; Phone: (916) 445-2841Fax: (916) 558-3160; Email: https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov39mail/

As a result of the administrative reviews established after the second prisoner hunger strike in 2011 and the Ashker settlement of 2015, California's SHU population has decreased from 3923 people in October 2012 to 537 in January 2018.  Returning these four men and many other hunger strikers back to solitary in the form of Ad Seg represents an intentional effort to undermine the Agreement to End Hostilities and the settlement, and return to the lock 'em up mentality of the 1980's.

Sitawa writes: "What many of you on the outside may not know is the long sordid history of CDCr's ISU [Institutional Services Unit]/ IGI [Institutional Gang Investigator]/Green Wall syndicate's [organized groups of guards who act with impunity] pattern and practice, here and throughout its prison system, of retaliating, reprisals, intimidating, harassing, coercing, bad-jacketing [making false entries in prisoner files], setting prisoners up, planting evidence, fabricating and falsifying reports (i.e., state documents), excessive force upon unarmed prisoners, [and] stealing their personal property . . ." 

CDCr officials are targeting the Ashker v. Governor class members to prevent them from being able to organize based on the Agreement to End Hostilities, and to obstruct their peaceful efforts to effect genuine changes - for rehabilitation, returning home, productively contributing to the improvement of their communities, and deterring recidivism.

Please help put a stop to this retaliation with impunity. Contact Kernan and Brown today:

Scott Kernan prefers mailed letters to 1515 S Street, Sacramento 95811. If you call 916-324-7308, press 0 for the Communications office. Email matthew.westbrook@cdcr.ca.gov and cc: scott.kernan@cdcr.ca.gov

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.,  c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814; Phone: (916) 445-2841Fax: (916) 558-3160; Email: https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov39mail/

Read statements from the reps: 

Todd – We stand together so prisoners never have to go through the years of torture we did  (with Open Letter to Gov. Brown, CA legislators and CDCR Secretary Kernan)



"There Was a Crooked Prez"

By Dr. Nayvin Gordon

There was a crooked Prez, and he walked a crooked mile,

He found a crooked lawyer upon a crooked isle,

They bought a crooked election which caught a crooked mission,

And they both lived together in a little crooked prison.

April 28, 2018

Dr. Gordon is a California Family Physician who has written many articles on health and politics.



It is so beautiful to see young people in this country rising up to demand an end to gun violence. But what is Donald Trump's response? Instead of banning assault weapons, he wants to give guns to teachers and militarize our schools. But one of the reasons for mass school shootings is precisely because our schools are already militarized. Florida shooter, Nikolas Cruz, was trained by U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) program while he was in high school.

Yesterday, Divest from the War Machine coalition member, Pat Elder, was featured on Democracy Now discussing his recent article about the JROTC in our schools. The JROTC teaches children how to shoot weapons. It is often taught by retired soldiers who have no background in teaching. They are allowed to teach classes that are given at least equal weight as classes taught by certified and trained teachers. We are pulling our children away from classes that expand their minds and putting them in classes that teach them how to be killing machines. The JROTC program costs our schools money. It sends equipment. But, the instructors and facilities must be constructed and paid for by the school.

The JROTC puts our children's futures at risk. Children who participate in JROTC shooting programs are exposed to lead bullets from guns. They are at an increased risk when the shooting ranges are inside. The JROTC program is designed to "put a jump start on your military career." Children are funneled into JROTC to make them compliant and to feed the military with young bodies which are prepared to be assimilated into the war machine. Instead of funneling children into the military, we should be channeling them into jobs that support peace and sustainable development. 

Tell Senator McCain and Representative Thornberry to take the war machine out of our schools! The JROTC program must end immediately. The money should be directed back into classrooms that educate our children.

The Divest from the War Machine campaign is working to remove our money from the hands of companies that make a killing on killing. We must take on the systems that keep fueling war, death, and destruction around the globe. AND, we must take on the systems that are creating an endless cycle of children who are being indoctrinated at vulnerable ages to become the next killing machine.  Don't forget to post this message on Facebook and Twitter.

Onward in divestment,

Ann, Ariel, Brienne, Jodie, Kelly, Kirsten, Mark, Medea, Nancy, Natasha, Paki, Sarah, Sophia and Tighe

P.S. Do you want to do more? Start a campaign to get the JROTC out of your school district or state. Email divest@codepink.org and we'll get you started!



October 20-21, 2018

Cindy Sheehan and the Women's March on the Pentagon

A movement not just a protest

By Whitney Webb

WASHINGTON—In the last few years, arguably the most visible and well-publicized march on the U.S. capital has been the "Women's March," a movement aimed at advocating for legislation and policies promoting women's rights as well as a protest against the misogynistic actions and statements of high-profile U.S. politicians. The second Women's March, which took place this past year, attracted over a million protesters nationwide, with 500,000 estimated to have participated in Los Angeles alone.

However, absent from this women's movement has been a public antiwar voice, as its stated goal of "ending violence" does not include violence produced by the state. The absence of this voice seemed both odd and troubling to legendary peace activist Cindy Sheehan, whose iconic protest against the invasion and occupation of Iraq made her a household name for many.

Sheehan was taken aback by how some prominent organizers of this year's Women's March were unwilling to express antiwar positions and argued for excluding the issue of peace entirely from the event and movement as a whole. In an interview with MintPress, Sheehan recounted how a prominent leader of the march had told her, "I appreciate that war is your issue Cindy, but the Women's March will never address the war issue as long as women aren't free."

War is indeed Sheehan's issue and she has been fighting against the U.S.' penchant for war for nearly 13 years. After her son Casey was killed in action while serving in Iraq in 2004, Sheehan drew international media attention for her extended protest in front of the Bush residence in Crawford, Texas, which later served as the launching point for many protests against U.S. military action in Iraq.

Sheehan rejected the notion that women could be "free" without addressing war and empire. She countered the dismissive comment of the march organizer by stating that divorcing peace activism from women's issues "ignored the voices of the women of the world who are being bombed and oppressed by U.S. military occupation."

Indeed, women are directly impacted by war—whether through displacement, the destruction of their homes, kidnapping, or torture. Women also suffer uniquely and differently from men in war as armed conflicts often result in an increase in sexual violence against women.

For example, of the estimated half-a-million civilians killed in the U.S. invasion of Iraq, many of them were women and children. In the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, the number of female casualties has been rising on average over 20 percent every year since 2015. In 2014 alone when Israel attacked Gaza in "Operation Protective Edge," Israeli forces, which receives $10 million in U.S. military aid every day, killed over two thousand Palestinians—half of them were women and children. Many of the casualties were pregnant women, who had been deliberately targeted.

Given the Women's March's apparent rejection of peace activism in its official platform, Sheehan was inspired to organize another Women's March that would address what many women's rights advocates, including Sheehan, believe to be an issue central to promoting women's rights.

Dubbed the "Women's March on the Pentagon," the event is scheduled to take place on October 21—the same date as an iconic antiwar march of the Vietnam era—with a mission aimed at countering the "bipartisan war machine." Though men, women and children are encouraged to attend, the march seeks to highlight women's issues as they relate to the disastrous consequences of war.

The effort of women in confronting the "war machine" will be highlighted at the event, as Sheehan remarked that "women have always tried to confront the war-makers," as the mothers, daughters, sisters and wives of the men and women in the military, as well as those innocent civilians killed in the U.S.' foreign wars. As a result, the push for change needs to come from women, according to Sheehan, because "we [women] are the only ones that can affect [the situation] in a positive way." All that's missing is an organized, antiwar women's movement.

Sheehan noted the march will seek to highlight the direct relationship between peace activism and women's rights, since "no woman is free until all women are free" and such "freedom also includes the freedom from U.S. imperial plunder, murder and aggression"that is part of the daily lives of women living both within and beyond the United States. Raising awareness of how the military-industrial complex negatively affects women everywhere is key, says Sheehan, as "unless there is a sense of international solidarity and a broader base for feminism, then there aren't going to be any solutions to any problems, [certainly not] if we don't stop giving trillions of dollars to the Pentagon."

Sheehan also urged that, even though U.S. military adventurism has long been an issue and the subject of protests, a march to confront the military-industrial complex is more important now than ever: "I'm not alarmist by nature but I feel like the threat of nuclear annihilation is much closer than it has been for a long time," adding that, despite the assertion of some in the current administration and U.S. military, "there is no such thing as 'limited' nuclear war." This makes "the need to get out in massive numbers" and march against this more imperative than ever.

Sheehan also noted that Trump's presidency has helped to make the Pentagon's influence on U.S. politics more obvious by bringing it to the forefront: "Even though militarism had been under wraps [under previous presidents], Trump has made very obvious the fact that he has given control of foreign policy to the 'generals.'"

Indeed, as MintPress has reported on several occasions, the Pentagon—beginning in March of last year—has been given the freedom to "engage the enemy" at will, without the oversight of the executive branch or Congress. As a result, the deaths of innocent civilians abroad as a consequence of U.S. military action has spiked. While opposing Trump is not the focus of the march, Sheehan opined that Trump's war-powers giveaway to the Pentagon, as well as his unpopularity, have helped to spark widespread interest in the event.

Different wings of the same warbird

Sheehan has rejected accusations that the march is partisan, as it is, by nature, focused on confronting the bipartisan nature of the military-industrial complex. She told MintPress that she has recently come under pressure owing to the march's proximity to the 2018 midterm elections—as some have ironically accused the march's bipartisan focus as "trying to harm the chances of the Democrats" in the ensuing electoral contest.

In response, Sheehan stated that: 

"Democrats and Republicans are different wings of the same warbird. We are protesting militarism and imperialism. The march is nonpartisan in nature because both parties are equally complicit. We have to end wars for the planet and for the future. I could really care less who wins in November."

She also noted that even when the Democrats were in power under Obama, nothing was done to change the government's militarism nor to address the host of issues that events like the Women's March have claimed to champion.

"We just got finished with eight years of a Democratic regime," Sheehan told MintPress. "For two of those years, they had complete control of Congress and the presidency and a [filibuster-proof] majority in the Senate and they did nothing" productive except to help "expand the war machine." She also emphasized that this march is in no way a "get out the vote" march for any political party.

Even though planning began less than a month ago, support has been pouring in for the march since it was first announced on Sheehan's website, Cindy Sheehan Soapbox. Encouraged by the amount of interest already received, Sheehan is busy working with activists to organize the events and will be taking her first organizing trip to the east coast in April of this year. 

In addition, those who are unable to travel to Washington are encouraged to participate in any number of solidarity protests that will be planned to take place around the world or to plan and attend rallies in front of U.S. embassies, military installations, and the corporate headquarters of war profiteers.

Early endorsers of the event include journalists Abby Martin, Mnar Muhawesh and Margaret Kimberley; Nobel Peace Prize nominee Kathy Kelly; FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley; and U.S. politicians like former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. Activist groups that have pledged their support include CodePink, United National Antiwar Coalition, Answer Coalition, Women's EcoPeace and World Beyond War.

Though October is eight months away, Sheehan has high hopes for the march. More than anything else, though, she hopes that the event will give birth to a "real revolutionary women's movement that recognizes the emancipation and liberation of all peoples—and that means [freeing] all people from war and empire, which is the biggest crime against humanity and against this planet." By building "a movement and not just a protest," the event's impact will not only be long-lasting, but grow into a force that could meaningfully challenge the U.S. military-industrial complex that threatens us all. God knows the world needs it.

For those eager to help the march, you can help spread the word through social media by joining the march's Facebook page or following the march'sTwitter account, as well as by word of mouth. In addition, supporting independent media outlets—such as MintPress, which will be reporting on the march—can help keep you and others informed as October approaches.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer forMintPress News who has written for several news organizations in both English and Spanish; her stories have been featured on ZeroHedge, theAnti-Media, and21st Century Wire among others. She currently lives in Southern Chile.

MPN News, February 20, 2018






Major George Tillery




April 25, 2018-- The arrest of two young men in Starbucks for the crime of "sitting while black," and the four years prison sentence to rapper Meek Mill for a minor parole violation are racist outrages in Philadelphia, PA that made national news in the past weeks. Yesterday Meek Mills was released on bail after a high profile defense campaign and a Pa Supreme Court decision citing evidence his conviction was based solely on a cop's false testimony.

These events underscore the racism, frame-up, corruption and brutality at the core of the criminal injustice system. Pennsylvania "lifer" Major Tillery's fight for freedom puts a spotlight on the conviction of innocent men with no evidence except the lying testimony of jailhouse snitches who have been coerced and given favors by cops and prosecutors.

Sex for Lies and Manufactured Testimony

For thirty-five years Major Tillery has fought against his 1983 arrest, then conviction and sentence of life imprisonment without parole for an unsolved 1976 pool hall murder and assault. Major Tillery's defense has always been his innocence. The police and prosecution knew Tillery did not commit these crimes. Jailhouse informant Emanuel Claitt gave lying testimony that Tillery was one of the shooters.

Homicide detectives and prosecutors threatened Claitt with a false unrelated murder charge, and induced him to lie with promises of little or no jail time on over twenty pending felonies, and being released from jail despite a parole violation. In addition, homicide detectives arranged for Claitt, while in custody, to have private sexual liaisons with his girlfriends in police interview rooms.

In May and June 2016, Emanuel Claitt gave sworn statements that his testimony was a total lie, and that the homicide cops and the prosecutors told him what to say and coached him before trial. Not only was he coerced to lie that Major Tillery was a shooter, but to lie and claim there were no plea deals made in exchange for his testimony. He provided the information about the specific homicide detectives and prosecutors involved in manufacturing his testimony and details about being allowed "sex for lies". In August 2016, Claitt reaffirmed his sworn statements in a videotape, posted on YouTube and on JusticeforMajorTillery.org.

Without the coerced and false testimony of Claitt there was no evidence against Major Tillery. There were no ballistics or any other physical evidence linking him to the shootings. The surviving victim's statement naming others as the shooters was not allowed into evidence.

The trial took place in May 1985 during the last days of the siege and firebombing of the MOVE family Osage Avenue home in Philadelphia that killed 13 Black people, including 5 children. The prosecution claimed that Major Tillery was part of an organized crime group, and falsely described it as run by the Nation of Islam. This prejudiced and inflamed the majority white jury against Tillery, to make up for the absence of any evidence that Tillery was involved in the shootings.

This was a frame-up conviction from top to bottom. Claitt was the sole or primary witness in five other murder cases in the early 1980s. Coercing and inducing jailhouse informants to falsely testify is a standard routine in criminal prosecutions. It goes hand in hand with prosecutors suppressing favorable evidence from the defense.

Major Tillery has filed a petition based on his actual innocence to the Philadelphia District Attorney's Larry Krasner's Conviction Review Unit. A full review and investigation should lead to reversal of Major Tillery's conviction. He also asks that the DA's office to release the full police and prosecution files on his case under the new  "open files" policy. In the meantime, Major Tillery continues his own investigation. He needs your support.

Major Tillery has Fought his Conviction and Advocated for Other Prisoners for over 30 Years

The Pennsylvania courts have rejected three rounds of appeals challenging Major Tillery's conviction based on his innocence, the prosecution's intentional presentation of false evidence against him and his trial attorney's conflict of interest. On June 15, 2016 Major Tillery filed a new post-conviction petition based on the same evidence now in the petition to the District Attorney's Conviction Review Unit. Despite the written and video-taped statements from Emanuel Claitt that that his testimony against Major Tillery was a lie and the result of police and prosecutorial misconduct, Judge Leon Tucker dismissed Major Tillery's petition as "untimely" without even holding a hearing. Major Tillery appealed that dismissal and the appeal is pending in the Superior Court.

During the decades of imprisonment Tillery has advocated for other prisoners challenging solitary confinement, lack of medical and mental health care and the inhumane conditions of imprisonment. In 1990, he won the lawsuit, Tillery v. Owens, that forced the PA Department of Corrections (DOC) to end double celling (4 men to a small cell) at SCI Pittsburgh, which later resulted in the closing and then "renovation" of that prison.

Three years ago Major Tillery stood up for political prisoner and journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal and demanded prison Superintendent John Kerestes get Mumia to a hospital because "Mumia is dying."  For defending Mumia and advocating for medical treatment for himself and others, prison officials retaliated. Tillery was shipped out of SCI Mahanoy, where Mumia was also held, to maximum security SCI Frackville and then set-up for a prison violation and a disciplinary penalty of months in solitary confinement. See, Messing with Major by Mumia Abu-Jamal. Major Tillery's federal lawsuit against the DOC for that retaliation is being litigated. Major Tillery continues as an advocate for all prisoners. He is fighting to get the DOC to establish a program for elderly prisoners.

Major Tillery Needs Your Help:

Well-known criminal defense attorney Stephen Patrizio represents Major pro bonoin challenging his conviction. More investigation is underway. We can't count on the district attorney's office to make the findings of misconduct against the police detectives and prosecutors who framed Major without continuing to dig up the evidence.

Major Tillery is now 67 years old. He's done hard time, imprisoned for almost 35 years, some 20 years in solitary confinement in max prisons for a crime he did not commit. He recently won hepatitis C treatment, denied to him for a decade by the DOC. He has severe liver problems as well as arthritis and rheumatism, back problems, and a continuing itchy skin rash. Within the past couple of weeks he was diagnosed with an extremely high heartbeat and is getting treatment.

Major Tillery does not want to die in prison. He and his family, daughters, sons and grandchildren are fighting to get him home. The newly filed petition for Conviction Review to the Philadelphia District Attorney's office lays out the evidence Major Tillery has uncovered, evidence suppressed by the prosecution through all these years he has been imprisoned and brought legal challenges into court. It is time for the District Attorney's to act on the fact that Major Tillery is innocent and was framed by police detectives and prosecutors who manufactured the evidence to convict him. Major Tillery's conviction should be vacated and he should be freed.

Major Tillery and family


    Financial Support—Tillery's investigation is ongoing. He badly needs funds to fight for his freedom.

    Go to JPay.com;

    code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

    Tell Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner:

    The Conviction Review Unit should investigate Major Tillery's case. He is innocent. The only evidence at trial was from lying jail house informants who now admit it was false.

    Call: 215-686-8000 or

    Write to:

    Major Tillery AM 9786

    SCI Frackville

    1111 Altamont Blvd.

    Frackville, PA 17931

    For More Information, Go To: JusticeForMajorTillery.org


    Kamilah Iddeen (717) 379-9009, Kamilah29@yahoo.com

    Rachel Wolkenstein (917) 689-4009, RachelWolkenstein@gmail.com



    Free Leonard Peltier!

    On my 43rd year in prison I yearn to hug my grandchildren.

    By Leonard Peltier

    Art by Leonard Peltier

    Write to:

    Leonard Peltier 89637-132 

    USP Coleman I 

    P.O. Box 1033 

    Coleman, FL 33521

    Donations can be made on Leonard's behalf to the ILPD national office, 116 W. Osborne Ave, Tampa, FL 33603



    Reality's trial

    is postponed 

    until October 15th.

    That's 500 Days in Jail,

    Without Bail!


    Whistleblower Reality Winner's trial has (again) been postponed.
    Her new trial date is October 15, 2018, based on the new official proceedings schedule (fifth version). She will have spent 500 days jailed without bail by then. Today is day #301.
    And her trial may likely be pushed back even further into the Spring of 2019.

    We urge you to remain informed and engaged with our campaign until she is free! 

    One supporter's excellent report

    on the details of Winner's imprisonment

    ~Check out these highlights & then go read the full article here~

    "*Guilty Until Proven Innocent*

    Winner is also not allowed to change from her orange jumpsuit for her court dates, even though she is "innocent until proven guilty."  Not only that, but during any court proceedings, only her wrists are unshackled, her ankles stay.  And a US Marshal sits in front of her, face to face, during the proceedings.  Winner is not allowed to turn around and look into the courtroom at all . . .

    Upon checking the inmate registry, it starts to become clear how hush hush the government wants this case against Winner to be.  Whether pre-whistleblowing, or in her orange jumpsuit, photos of Winner have surfaced on the web.  That's why it was so interesting that there's no photo of her next to her name on the inmate registry . . .

    For the past hundred years, the Espionage Act has been debated and amended, and used to charge whistleblowers that are seeking to help the country they love, not harm it.  Sometimes we have to learn when past amendments no longer do anything to justify the treatment of an American truth teller as a political prisoner. The act is outdated and amending it needs to be seriously looked at, or else we need to develop laws that protect our whistleblowers.

    The Espionage Act is widely agreed by many experts to be unconstitutionally vague and a violation of the First Amendment of Free Speech.  Even though a Supreme Court had ruled that the Espionage Act does not infringe upon the 1st Amendment back in 1919, it's constitutionality has been back and forth in court ever sense.

    Because of being charged under the Espionage Act, Winner's defense's hands are tied.  No one is allowed to mention the classified document, even though the public already knows that the information in it is true, that Russia hacked into our election support companies." 

     Want to take action in support of Reality?

    Step up to defend our whistleblower of conscience ► DONATE NOW

    c/o Courage to Resist, 484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610 ~ 510-488-3559


    @standbyreality (Twitter)

     Friends of Reality Winner (Facebook)



    Working people are helping to feed the poor hungry corporations! 

    Charity for the Wealthy!

    GOP Tax Plan Would Give 15 of America's Largest Corporations a $236B Tax Cut: Report

    By Jake Johnson, December 18, 2017






    1) Mugger Mick Mulvaney—Trump's Sadist-in-Chief

    By Ralph Nader, June 27, 2018


    "Mugger Mick is a walking candidate for impeachment." (Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP)

    Mr. Mulvaney's title seems uninterestingly bureaucratic—director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). But as Trump's chief hatchet man extraordinaire, Mugger Mick Mulvaney is easily one of the cruelest, most vicious presidential henchman in modern American history. From his powerful perch next door to the White House, he is carving a bloody trail against tens of millions of Americans who are poor, disabled, frail, and elderly. He has gone after defenseless children and injured or sick patients with little or no access to health care.

    It is difficult to exaggerate the relentless, savage delight that this former Congressman from South Carolina—handpicked for Trump by the brutish, oil funded Heritage Foundation—takes in attacking the most vulnerable members of our society.

    A human wrecking ball, Mugger Mick has pushed to eliminate the Meals-on-Wheels assistance for isolated elderly, to increase rents for poor tenants, to severely gut SNAP (food stamps) and nutritious food standards, and to diminish Medicaid. In addition the Trump administration wants to impose work requirements in Medicaid as a condition of eligibility.  Many adult Medicaid recipients are already working. Where will the new jobs come from? Those who want to work but can't find jobs are not Mr. Mulvaney's concern.

    His hellish agenda, undertaken on behalf of his plutocratic rulers, is comprehensive. He wants to smash consumer, environmental, and workplace health and safety standards. To Mugger Mick, killing and disabling Americans doesn't even qualify as collateral damage. To Mulvaney's fevered, psychopathic mind, eliminating Americans' health and safety protections is worth it if it means "efficiency" and less spending of tax dollars (more on that lie later).

    He even would plunge a dagger into Social Security and Medicare. President Trump has the political sense to restrain Mugger Mick from this attack on the elderly. However, biding his time, Mulvaney has led the campaign for the enacted corporate and wealthy tax cuts that are already swelling the forthcoming massive deficits.  Mulvaney wants to use the deficit to persuade Trump eventually to butcher these two pillars of our society's foresight and compassion for seniors.

    The New York Times reports that Mulvaney is at the core of the Trump regime's "rollback in the enforcement of fair housing, educational equity, payday lending and civil rights cases pursued aggressively under the Obama administration intended to protect vulnerable populations from discrimination and abusive business practices."

    Nowhere has Mugger Mick been more blatant about his ugly mission than in his efforts to freeze and dismantle the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB was created after the Wall Street collapse of the economy, which displaced millions of workers and drained trillions of dollars from pension and mutual funds. Remember Wall Street then had to be bailed out by America's taxpayers.

    Mulvaney has jettisoned ongoing enforcement actions, driven or reassigned personnel, zeroed out the CFPB's first quarter budget, and prioritized the protection of Wall Street in the CFPB mission statement.  How grotesque a response to the corporate crime wave in this country that has been stealing trillions of dollars from defenseless consumers, workers, and investors!

    There is, of course, more to this colossal bully.  Mulvaney is also a colossal coward and a greasy hypocrite at that. He shuts his foul mouth when it comes to the bloated defense budget and the corporate contractors profiting from endless Pentagon golden handshakes. He shuts his mouth when confronted with thousands of corporate subsidies, handouts, giveaways, and bailouts. In these crony capitalistic binge arenas, he demands no corporate self-reliance or worries about taxpayer losses. Why would he argue with his future paymasters and the corporate donors who funded his prior Congressional campaigns?

    Mugger Mick is a walking candidate for impeachment, a poster boy for high crimes and misdemeanors, as well as a lawsuit by members of Congress for the deliberate dereliction of duties that aids and abets corporate criminality. Every day he has been systematically defying and violating existing Congressional mandates, called federal statutes.

    So where are the Democrats? Aside a few members such as Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown pummeling Mugger Mick at Congressional hearings that go nowhere, action by the Democratic Party on Capitol Hill is largely AWOL. Mulvaney just laughs at the Democrats' verbal darts.

    Forget about their own pride, these lawmakers have little fortitude in preserving the best work of their forbears in Congress and in the White House. They're too busy having fun ridiculing Trump's foibles, fibs, and fantasies. Such distractions may well cause them not to urgently focus on what is happening to the American peoples' freedom, urgent necessities and livelihoods emanating from the Trumpsters and their media ditto heads.

    November is coming fast.



    2) White America's Age-Old, Misguided Obsession With Civility

    By Thomas J. Sugrue, June 29, 2018


    1n 1963 the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a mass demonstration in Birmingham, Ala., to pressure the Kennedy administration to actively defend the civil rights of black citizens.

    Recent disruptive protests — from diners at Mexican restaurants in the capital calling the White House adviser Stephen Miller a fascist to protesters in Pittsburgh blocking rush-hour traffic after a police shooting of an unarmed teen — have provoked bipartisan alarm. The CNN commentator David Gergen compared the anti-Trump resistance unfavorably to 1960s protests, saying, "The antiwar movement in Vietnam, the civil rights movement in the '60s and early '70s, both of those were more civil in tone — even the antiwar movement was more civil in tone, but certainly the civil rights movement, among the people who were protesting."

    But those who say that the civil rights movement prevailed because of civil dialogue misunderstand protest and political change.

    This misunderstanding is widespread. Democratic leaders have lashed out at an epidemic of uncivil behavior in their own ranks. Senator Charles Schumer described the "harassment of political opponents" as "not American." His alternative: polite debate. "If you disagree with someone or something, stand up, make your voice heard, explain why you think they're wrong and why you're right." Democrat Cory Booker joined the chorus. "We've got to get to a point in our country where we can talk to each other, where we are all seeking a more beloved community. And some of those tactics that people are advocating for, to me, don't reflect that spirit."

    The theme: We need a little more love, a little more Martin Luther King, a dollop of Gandhi. Be polite, be civil, present arguments thoughtfully and reasonably. Appeal to people's better angels. Take the moral high ground above Trump and his supporters' low road. Above all, don't disrupt.

    This sugarcoating of protest has a long history. During the last major skirmish in the civility wars two decades ago, when President Bill Clinton held a national conversation about race to dampen tempers about welfare reform, affirmative action and a controversial crime bill, the Yale law professor Stephen Carter argued that King "understood that uncivil dialogue serves no democratic function."

    But, in fact, civil rights leaders, while they did believe in the power of nonviolence, knew that their success depended on disruption and coercion as much — sometimes more — than on dialogue and persuasion. They knew that the vast majority of whites who were indifferent or openly hostile to the demands of civil rights would not be moved by appeals to the American creed or to bromides about liberty and justice for all. Polite words would not change their behavior.

    For King and his allies, the key moment was spring 1963, a contentious season when polite discourse gave way to what many called the "Negro Revolt." That year, King led a mass demonstration in Birmingham, Ala., deliberately planned to provoke police violence. After the infamous police commissioner Bull Connor sicced dogs on schoolchildren and arrested hundreds, including King, angry black protesters looted Birmingham's downtown shopping district. Protesters against workplace discrimination in Philadelphia and New York deployed increasingly disruptive tactics, including blockading construction sites, chaining themselves to cranes and clashing with law enforcement officials. Police forces around the United States began girding for what they feared was an impending race war.

    Whites both North and South, moderate and conservative, continued to denounce advocates of civil rights as "un-American" and destructive throughout the 1960s. Agonized moderates argued that mass protest was counterproductive. It would alienate potential white allies and set the goal of racial equality back years, if not decades. Conservatives more harshly criticized the movement. By 1966, more than two-thirds of Americans disapproved of King.

    King aimed some of his harshest words toward advocates of civility, whose concerns aligned with the hand-wringing of many of today's politicians and pundits. From his Birmingham jail cell, King wrote: "I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice." King knew that whites' insistence on civility usually stymied civil rights.

    Those methods of direct action — disruptive and threatening — spurred the Kennedy administration to move decisively. On June 11, the president addressed the nation on the "fires of frustration and discord that are burning in every city, North and South, where legal remedies are not at hand." Kennedy, like today's advocates of civility, was skeptical of "passionate movements." He criticized "demonstrations, parades and protests which create tensions and threaten violence and threaten lives." But he also had to put out those fires. He tasked his staff with drafting what could eventually become the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. Dialogue was necessary but far from sufficient for passage of civil rights laws. Disruption catalyzed change.

    That history is a reminder that civility is in the eye of the beholder. And when the beholder wants to maintain an unequal status quo, it's easy to accuse picketers, protesters and preachers alike of incivility, as much because of their message as their methods. For those upset by disruptive protests, the history of civil rights offers an unsettling reminder that the path to change is seldom polite. ☐

    Thomas J. Sugrue is professor of history and social and cultural analysis at New York University.



    3) What it Costs to Be Smuggled Across the U.S. Border

    By Nicholas Kulish, June 30, 2018


    Mr. Cruz crossed into Guatemala legally with his national identity card. Fred Ramos for The New York Times

    As Christopher Cruz made his way to the American border, his smugglers sometimes identified him by a numeric code or an assumed name, or simply called him "the package." Christopher Lee for The New York Times

    MATAMOROS, Mexico — Shortly before dawn one Sunday last August, a driver in an S.U.V. picked up Christopher Cruz at a stash house in this border city near the Gulf of Mexico. The 22-year-old from El Salvador was glad to leave the one-story building, where smugglers kept bundles of cocaine and marijuana alongside their human cargo, but he was anxious about what lay ahead.

    The driver deposited Mr. Cruz at an illegal crossing point on the edge of the Rio Grande. A smuggler took a smartphone photograph to confirm his identity and sent it using WhatsApp to a driver waiting to pick him up on the other side of the frontier when — if — he made it across.

    The nearly 2,000-mile trip had already cost Mr. Cruz's family more than $6,000 and brought him within sight of Brownsville, Tex. The remaining 500 miles to Houston — terrain prowled by the United States Border Patrol as well as the state and local police — would set them back another $6,500.

    It was an almost inconceivable amount of money for someone who earned just a few dollars a day picking coffee beans back home. But he wasn't weighing the benefits of a higher-paying job. He was fleeing violence and what he said was near-certain death at the hands of local gangs.

    "There's no other option," Mr. Cruz said. "The first thought I had was, 'I just need to get out of here at whatever cost.'"

    The stretch of southwest border where he intended to cross has become the epicenter of the raging battle over the Trump administration's immigration crackdown. One clear consequence of the tightening American border and the growing perils getting there is that more and more desperate families are turning to increasingly sophisticated smuggling operations to get relatives into the United States.

    Mr. Cruz's story provides an unusually detailed anatomy of the price of the journey. The money paid for a network of drivers who concealed him in tractor-trailers and minibuses, a series of houses where he hid out, handlers tied to criminal organizations who arranged his passage, and bribes for Mexican police officers to look the other way as he passed.

    Even with his family's payment, he slept amid filth and vermin. He watched guides abandon some migrants who could not keep up, and guards prod others to become drug mules. Sometimes the smugglers identified him by a numeric code, other times by an assumed name. But as often as not, they simply called him "the package," to be moved for profit like an illicit good.

    For Mr. Cruz, it was worth it. "They can build as many walls as they want," he said, referring to American officials. "They can send as many soldiers to the border as they want, but a people's need and desire for a better life is stronger."

    President Trump and his supporters have called for greater vigilance along the border to keep out people like Mr. Cruz, a low-skilled worker who followed in the path of other family members who also arrived illegally, and who hopes those left behind will join him.

    Pledging to halt illegal immigration, Mr. Trump has pushed for a 1,000-mile wall, ordered National Guard units to the border and encouraged workplace roundups of undocumented immigrants, which had largely been curtailed during the Obama years.

    The number of illegal crossings has dropped significantly in the last decade, but responding to a surge in recent months of Central Americans arriving at the southern border or sneaking across it, the administration has embraced even tougher measures: "zero tolerance"for those arriving illegally, by requiring criminal prosecutions; family separation, a policy from which Mr. Trump was forced to retreat after images of children wailing for their parents provoked a public outcry; and eliminating domestic violence and gang violence as grounds for granting asylum to migrants who arrived at legal crossing points.

    "The zero-tolerance policy and the publicity surrounding the child separations will further strengthen the smuggling networks and reinforce the patterns we have observed, as the risks, costs and fees are significantly growing," said Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a professor at George Mason University and an expert on organized crime. "This will certainly increase the demand for smugglers and will further strengthen the connection between human smugglers and other criminal actors, such as drug cartels and corrupt local law enforcement."

    The homeland security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, told lawmakers in May that migrants paid $500 million a year to groups fueling violence and instability in the region. A decade ago, Mexicans and Central Americans paid between $1,000 and $3,000 for clandestine passage into the United States. Now they hand over up to $9,200 for the same journey, the Department of Homeland Security reported last year. Those figures have continued to rise, according to interviews at migrant shelters in Mexico.

    To trace Mr. Cruz's journey from El Salvador, The New York Times relied on extensive interviews with him and his family, and reviewed contemporaneous photographs, text messages, receipts and GPS positions.

    His uncle in the United States checked in constantly by Facebook Messenger during his weeks on the road. He asked for proof-of-life selfies and confirmed his locations along the route using the Find My iPhone app before wiring money for each leg of the journey.

    The Times also interviewed dozens of experts, academics, and current and former law enforcement officials about the underground economy of human smuggling. Reporters reviewed more than 200 recent criminal complaints in smuggling cases along the southwest border, including those brought against drivers, stash-house operators, foot guides and migrants.

    That day at the Rio Grande last summer, a guide prepared to lead Mr. Cruz and some two dozen other migrants to the far side of the river while three lookouts perched in trees, scanning the horizon for any hint of the Border Patrol.

    When he arrived at the crossing, Mr. Cruz found that the river wasn't wide, at most a few hundred feet, but the water was murky and full of debris. The smugglers had gathered the migrants at the water's edge, with giant inflated inner tubes for those who couldn't swim. They said the makeshift rafts were slower than swimming, so Mr. Cruz pulled off his skinny-leg khakis and T-shirt and paddled to the other side in his boxer shorts.

    After climbing up the bank, his first tenuous toehold in the United States, he crouched, wet and shivering, in the brush and got dressed. Mr. Cruz's face had lost much of its roundness as he had shed 30 pounds over a month of hard travel. A life of skateboarding, tinkering with computers and eating his grandmother's cooking had not prepared him for the demands of the road.

    The smugglers almost hadn't let him cross, because they worried that his coughing fits from a respiratory infection might give the group away. But he had made it. The foot guide passed along the all-clear signal from the sentries in the trees, and the small crowd of migrants began to sprint toward the 18-foot steel security fence blocking their passage into the United States. That area of the border, which Mr. Trump wants to fortify with a new wall, was already among the stretches best defended by the Americans.

    Mr. Cruz had climbed halfway up the fence when he heard a helicopter overhead and saw patrol cars converging. Agents grabbed those already over the fence and began to arrest them.

    "When I saw that, I slid down and I ran back," Mr. Cruz recalled. He dived again into the Rio Grande, his only hope to escape back to Mexico.

    Under Fear of Death

    Mr. Cruz grew up in San Miguel, the fourth-largest city in El Salvador. Gang violence is virtually endemic in the country, and Mr. Cruz dropped out of high school when the infamous MS-13 became too dangerous there. His family relocated to Berlín, about an hour's drive away, which had less of a gang problem than the big cities.

    Mr. Cruz's mother lived in the United States, but he was much closer to her brother there, an uncle he considered a father figure and called "Papi." Mr. Cruz lived with his grandmother and younger sister. He also had a 2-year-old son to provide for, though he and the boy's mother had broken up.

    During coffee-picking season he rose at 4 in the morning, walked an hour to the farm where he worked, then plucked ripe red coffee cherries until dark. He usually earned $15 to $20 a week. Outside harvest season, Mr. Cruz painted murals and cleaned streets for the local government. He briefly worked as a bartender at a restaurant an hour's bus ride away.

    The police had all but declared open season on gang-age men, Mr. Cruz said, and he and his friends were harassed and beaten by the security forces. Meanwhile, gang members regularly threatened him and shook him down for money because they realized he received support from his uncle in the United States.

    One night, Mr. Cruz and his friends were walking home when they noticed a blue Honda creeping behind them. When the young men started to run, the car accelerated, then followed Mr. Cruz as the group split up.

    "I got to my house and it was locked," he recalled. He considered climbing over the front gate but worried the men who were following him might kill his grandmother and sister too. Over his shoulder he saw the gang members draw guns as he fled across a soccer field before taking refuge in a nearby health clinic.

    After that night, he resolved to leave. "That is the reality of El Salvador," he said. "You are scared of both, the gangs and the police." He did not consider trying to enter United States legally to seek asylum; even under the more lenient asylum policies a year ago only a fraction of gang-violence victims won that status.

    Mr. Cruz had never gone farther than neighboring Honduras. But in some Central American cities, smuggling services to the United States are openly promoted on the streets, with hawkers luring customers the way agents at tourist destinations advertise sailing or snorkeling excursions. They take potential customers to a back room of a nearby store, where salesmen pitch them on a smuggling route. Some would-be migrants give up homes, cars, livestock and even farmland tilled by their families for generations and take on debt to pay the fees.

    Mr. Cruz's uncle, who now has legal status in the United States after arriving illegally years ago, spoke to a woman in his local Salvadoran community. She told him of smugglers who brought her three children over for a flat $20,000 fee after gang members back home killed her husband. The uncle used WhatsApp to contact a woman in Mexico representing the smuggling network, who became the point of contact throughout Mr. Cruz's journey.

    "Would it be possible to pick up my nephew as close as possible to the edge of San Salvador?" the uncle asked her in one message. "The boy is 22 years old but acts more like 12." The uncle spoke on the condition of anonymity because he, like other relatives of unauthorized immigrants, feared he could be prosecuted for trafficking a family member.

    Mr. Cruz worried about the trip. His best friend had made the same journey the year before only to be kidnapped near the American border and held for two months. His family paid $20,000 to free him, and he ended up back in El Salvador. And a female friend of Mr. Cruz had been raped by smugglers on the American side of the border, caught by the authorities and then deported.

    His uncle assured him over Facebook Messenger that everything would be fine.

    Mr. Cruz's aunt and uncle earned enough to advance him the money for the journey, but Mr. Cruz would have to pay them back. They wired $800 to El Salvador the day he set out on the initial leg of the trip. "Any opportunity you have to connect, send me a message with your location," the uncle wrote.

    "Activate Find My iPhone so you can find out my location from the iCloud," Mr. Cruz answered. "That way you'll know the route I'm taking." Mr. Cruz set off for the United States with a backpack carrying three changes of clothes, deodorant, cookies and a charger for the iPhone 5 that would be his connection and lifeline.

    'You Already Know How Much This Is'

    His trip began with an idling pickup truck outside a mall in Soyapango, on the edge of San Salvador. The smuggler who would accompany him through El Salvador and Guatemala sat behind the wheel.

    In the beginning, it was almost like being a tourist. Mr. Cruz crossed into Guatemala legally at La Hachadura, close to El Salvador's Pacific coast, with his national identity card. He even received a printed receipt.

    The driver left the pickup truck behind in El Salvador and chaperoned him by bus to the capital, Guatemala City. The two of them transferred buses and traveled a few hours further to Huehuetenango, in the western highlands, which serves as a jumping-off point for the Mexican border.

    They spent a night in a cheap hotel and traveled the next day to La Mesilla along the Mexican frontier. Vendors under colorful umbrellas sold drinks and snacks at the crossing. A blue sign wished travelers a "feliz viaje," or nice trip, above the gate separating the two countries.

    To skirt the border police outpost, the smuggler directed Mr. Cruz to a nearby industrial area where he walked alone up a gravel path and into Mexico. For the first time, he became an illegal immigrant.

    Mr. Cruz boarded a minibus, filled with local passengers, to begin his trip through the southern state of Chiapas. As instructed by the driver, at toll plazas he hunched down between the seats and covered himself with the passengers' backpacks, suitcases and packages. The driver whistled when it was safe to come out.

    He was vulnerable to criminals who might try to kidnap him, police officers seeking bribes and the more robust immigration enforcement that has taken root in recent years in southern Mexico. Under pressure from Washington, the Mexican government has cracked down on migrants passing through its territory. Because of the greater vigilance along the smuggling routes, between 80 and 95 percent of migrants bound for the United States used so-called coyotes in recent years, compared with fewer than half in the early 1970s, Border Patrol surveys of captured migrants found.

    Just two days into Mr. Cruz's journey, his family had to wire the smuggling network $1,900 to get him through southern Mexico.

    Mr. Cruz spent several days in a small house near Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the capital of Chiapas, sleeping on a sofa. It was comfortable enough, but he wondered what the holdup was. "They want to move you even more than you do," his uncle assured him, "because they have to pay for every day that you're there but I don't pay extra."

    When the smugglers finally continued the trip, Mr. Cruz spent a night on a hammock at an isolated spot near the Malpaso Dam, surrounded by trees. "I was headed for Puebla yesterday, but immigration stopped two people who had gone ahead," he texted his uncle. "So they moved me here instead."

    The next morning, Mr. Cruz climbed into the cab of a tractor-trailer and rode alongside the driver. At a toll area, he had his first run-in with the police. Officers stopped the truck for a routine check, and after seeing Mr. Cruz's Salvadoran ID, realized that he was in Mexico illegally. They demanded money or else they would deport him, Mr. Cruz said.

    He fished out $170 he had hidden in his shoes. Mr. Cruz remembered one of the police officers telling him it was his lucky day. "I was getting out of trouble. I was able to get away because I had this money on me," he said.

    The officers stole the truck driver's cash as well. Once they left, the driver threatened to hand the migrant over to violent drug traffickers unless Mr. Cruz got him $600. Panicked, Mr. Cruz called his aunt and uncle in the United States for help, but they didn't answer.

    Thousands of miles away, the couple emerged from a water park — a rare day off with their young daughter — to find the missed calls. They had been observing Mr. Cruz's progress on their smartphones and computers, watching him move northward through small towns, streets full of pastel houses and parking lots for Walmarts and Pemex gas stations.

    On the phone with his relatives, he described the police theft and the driver's threat. His uncle quickly turned to the Mexican woman at the smuggling network, who found another driver to carry Mr. Cruz to Puebla. The uncle asked Mr. Cruz to remain calm.

    "Stay calm, stay calm, everyone keeps saying that," Mr. Cruz responded in a Facebook message. "Knowing I've never been away from home. That I'm easily frightened in a situation like this. And you want me to keep calm and keep calm. I can't."

    On subsequent traffic stops, the bribe for the police was always the same: 1,500 Mexican pesos, or about $84. At first Mr. Cruz tried to lie, saying he wasn't a migrant but was on his way to Monterrey to make a delivery. Eventually he dropped any pretense. The fourth time he was stopped for a payoff, the cop simply said, "You already know how much this is."

    Doors Locked, Windows Barred

    Mr. Cruz made it as far as Puebla, southeast of Mexico City and a pivot point on the journey. His family wired $450 to the smugglers, including pocket money for Mr. Cruz for food and bribes.

    The woman he stayed with in Puebla treated him well, feeding him the local delicacy "chiles en nogada," chiles in cream sauce with pomegranate seeds: green, white and red like the Mexican flag. She took him to buy soap, shampoo and toothpaste, but also got rid of his shoes — Bracos, a brand that the Mexican authorities would recognize as Salvadoran — and gave him another pair.

    After four days there the smugglers tried to move him north, but word came that some migrants had been killed near Monterrey, his next stop, so they brought him back to Puebla. After waiting three more days, Mr. Cruz hid with a young woman and her infant son in the sleeping compartment of a tractor-trailer for the overnight drive to Monterrey.

    The driver insisted they each take a pill, saying it was to keep them alert in case they were stopped. He then ground another pill into powder and mixed part of it in the baby's bottle before snorting the rest himself. Mr. Cruz said that he did not know what was in the pill but that after taking it he couldn't have slept even if he had tried.

    He arrived in Monterrey, the third-largest metropolitan area in Mexico and an industrial and commercial hub. Far from the booming downtown, behind a metal front gate, the windows and doors were shut and barred on the cinder-block house where Mr. Cruz was kept. Trash was everywhere. The small courtyard was filled with mud and debris. Ants and cockroaches crawled indoors. The only water ran brown and unfiltered from the faucet. A terrible smell wafted from the bathroom.

    "It was like a prison," Mr. Cruz said.

    Migrants like Mr. Cruz had to pay their captors to bring them bottled water or snacks, if they even had the cash to pay prices that were triple those at the local convenience store. Otherwise food arrived only every other day, in the form of a carton of 30 eggs to feed the dozen or so people typically there. At night, Mr. Cruz said, he lay on a thin mat on the floor but couldn't sleep with mice and insects running over him.

    Every day smugglers dropped off and picked up migrants, who were kept locked inside. A Guatemalan man everyone called "el dueño," "the owner," was in charge because he had been there the longest. He had run out of money to continue his journey a month and a half earlier.

    Mr. Cruz was stuck there for four days. His uncle sent $2,800, and they carried him onward to the eastern Mexican border state of Tamaulipas, just below southern Texas. His journey took him first to Ciudad Miguel Alemán, across from Roma, Tex., before he boarded a bus for Matamoros, two and a half hours away, with the assumed name Carlos Hernandez on his ticket.

    Tamaulipas has become known for violent confrontations between organized crime groups, and migrants caught in the middle have been massacred. In the summer of 2010, the corpses of 72 migrants killed by cartel members were discovered there in San Fernando. The message was clear: Crossing into the United States without permission from the drug traffickers, or narcos, who controlled the border territory could be lethal.

    Rodolfo Casillas, an expert on illegal migration at the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales in Mexico, estimated that up to $1,000 of the total smuggling price went to pay off the narcos for the "derecho de paso," or right to pass. One migrant testifying in a human-smuggling case in Texas last year told the authorities that he had paid 11,000 pesos, or about $630, for protection from the Zetas criminal organization, and just 1,500 pesos for assistance with the river crossing.

    The house where Mr. Cruz was kept in Matamoros was better maintained than the hovel in Monterrey. He and the 30 other migrants could bathe with buckets of water from a pair of concrete basins with spigots outside. The men watching the house, tied to the narcos, brought them beers and even offered them drugs from bundles of cocaine and marijuana.

    "If you ran out of money, that's when they would offer to cross you as a mule," Mr. Cruz said.

    Some migrants at the house agreed to ferry drugs.

    After sending off the migrants with drugs one day, the traffickers returned to the stash house seething. "They were extremely angry," Mr. Cruz recalled, not because the migrants had been arrested but because they had lost their shipment of drugs.

    Back and Forth Across the Rio Grande

    Mr. Cruz was sick. The temperature along his journey had yo-yoed 40 degrees as the altitude climbed to 7,000 feet in Puebla before dropping to sea level in Matamoros. The unsanitary conditions in Monterrey probably hadn't helped.

    Mr. Cruz was eager to leave the house in Matamoros, but his coughing spasms gave the smugglers pause. They didn't want him giving their position away as a group tried to slip past Border Patrol agents.

    His uncle asked Mr. Cruz if the Mexican woman from the smuggling network could insist that they move him anyway. But Mr. Cruz realized she had little sway at the border. "Someone else decides who leaves," he told his uncle, "and she pays them."

    His family sent $180 to the smugglers, who said half would go toward medicine and half for a backup phone. Doses of cough syrup, along with several days of rest, seemed to help. That Saturday night Mr. Cruz wrote to his uncle, "They're going to say if I leave in the morning." Shortly after midnight he wrote again, saying, "At 4 o'clock in the morning I go."

    The region, where the Rio Grande coils and bends in switchbacks, has become the central battleground of the southwest frontier for illegal entries. Some 138,000 people were caught trying to cross here in 2017, close to half of all those apprehended from the California coast all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

    Illegal crossings fell significantly in the initial months of the Trump administration but shot up this year: From March to May, the number of migrants apprehended along the southwest border was triple the total for the same period in 2017, though far below the levels of a decade or two ago. Last year Customs and Border Protection intercepted 303,916 people there — compared with more than 1.6 million in 2000.

    As part of the $1.3 trillion spending bill that Congress passed in March, $1.375 billion in funding went for more than 90 miles of physical barriers along the border with Mexico. Of that, 33 miles will be built in the Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas, where Mr. Cruz was trying to cross.

    For all the debate about Mr. Trump's proposed wall, a virtual barrier was steadily strengthened under previous administrations. Doughy blimps equipped with cameras provide video surveillance, with thermal imaging for nighttime. Migrants unknowingly trip advanced seismic sensors with their first steps on American soil. The number of Border Patrol agents has grown to about 20,000 from roughly 9,000 in 2001, while budgets have quadrupled, spent on everything from all-terrain vehicles and horse patrols to helicopters and advanced reconnaissance drones.

    That gives the Border Patrol a much better chance of combating criminal smuggling networks, which use Facebook and Craigslist to recruit drivers, satellite phones and encrypted communication applications to direct them, night-vision technology to scan for patrols, and off-the shelf tracking devices to monitor moving vehicles.

    "They have evolved as the technology has evolved, and we have as well," said Benjamine Huffman, chief of strategic planning and analysis for the Border Patrol.

    Early that morning, the smugglers gathered Mr. Cruz, one of two dozen migrants from two stash houses in town, and crammed them into the back of an S.U.V., stacking them like cordwood. Wedged into a corner of the trunk with the weight of his fellow migrants crushing down on him, Mr. Cruz struggled to catch his breath.

    Once at the Rio Grande, he swam to the other side, while those who couldn't swim were pulled on the inner tubes. The migrants in his group began to mount the border fence. But the Border Patrol descended, grabbing some of the first arrivals. He realized he had to turn back.

    "There was no other alternative but to cross the river," Mr. Cruz said.

    As was customary, the smugglers would give him three tries to make it across safely. One chance was gone. Mr. Cruz steeled himself to try again at a different bend along the river.

    The temperature had climbed to 93 degrees by midday Sunday when Mr. Cruz made his second illegal visit to the United States, at another crossing nearby. It was even shorter than his first.

    Border Patrol agents swarmed the group as they made landfall on the north bank again. One agent got a hand on Mr. Cruz's back but, instead of arresting him, sent him sprawling into the river. Swallowing water and struggling to stay afloat, Mr. Cruz said, he barely managed to swim back to Mexico.

    The sun was low and dusk approaching by the time the coyotes brought the migrants to their third crossing point. The smugglers said the spot, more isolated, was usually reserved for moving drug shipments, more valuable than migrants. Mr. Cruz would have to swim across the Rio Grande for the fifth time that day.

    Of the 17 people left from the two dozen in the morning, Mr. Cruz recalled, five were women, including one who appeared about eight months pregnant and another in her 50s, he guessed. He wondered how they would make it, but his family had warned him: Worry about yourself. Do not stop for anyone.

    Mr. Cruz could hardly believe the determination of the pregnant woman as they emerged from the river again and started to run. But the older woman slipped behind and fell to the ground. The guide did nothing. "He just left her there," Mr. Cruz said.

    Checkpoints and Hidden Compartments

    The driver of the waiting S.U.V. honked his horn to get their attention. He was angry, expecting just a few migrants to crawl out of the South Texas field and instead finding 16 people. In a region full of Border Patrol agents, it was a risky load to carry.

    The driver told Mr. Cruz to ride shotgun, and he saw bundles of cocaine on the passenger seat. But it was only a short drive to a parking lot where the smugglers separated the group into different cars, depending on their destinations. Mr. Cruz and five others got into a Cadillac headed an hour northwest to a stash house in McAllen, Tex.

    Drop-offs and pickups are often meticulously planned so that migrants are ready to jump in as soon as the car pulls up. Smugglers sometimes mark migrants with colored tape to quickly sort who is going where. Smugglers often drive two cars, using one to draw the attention of law enforcement and another to carry the migrants.

    Border Patrol officers have grown more aggressive in their search for unauthorized immigrants throughout the 100-mile band of territory inside the United States border, where they have authority to establish checkpoints and perform searches.

    At the stash house in McAllen, the caretakers took away phones and even migrants' shoes so they wouldn't run away. "One particular person, they beat him up and kicked him because he wasn't paying attention," Mr. Cruz said.

    He estimated there were 70 people inside. They were given no food and were not allowed to speak to one another or even move without permission. Neighbors in border regions can be quick to report suspected stash houses. More than a third of all those busted by Customs and Border Protection last year — 140 out of 407 in the Southwest — were in the Rio Grande Valley, where Mr. Cruz was.

    After just a day and a half in McAllen, Mr. Cruz huddled with four other migrants in the sleeping compartment of a tractor-trailer headed to San Antonio. They were nearly discovered by agents during a routine search at a highway checkpoint, cowering under blankets as they felt someone check the bedding they were hiding under. Mr. Cruz was transferred to a minivan with a concealed compartment built under the back seat, where he hid for part of the ride.

    Mr. Cruz was brought to one last stash house, stripped to just his boxer shorts in a room "with no electricity, no light coming through, no windows and one big bed with four men," as he described it, essentially a hostage until the final payments were made. Two days passed.

    His family had to transfer the remaining $6,500 to the smuggling network. Although a record $28.8 billion in remittances was sent to Mexico last year, the authorities regularly flag suspicious transactions. Mr. Cruz's uncle had to break up the sum into smaller, less conspicuous transfers.

    Even with the precautions, one of the payments was flagged, canceled and had to be re-sent to a different recipient. Only when the final installment arrived in Mexico could Mr. Cruz go. "They gave me my clothes to put back on, and they blindfolded me again," he said.

    The smugglers drove him to a gas station. There he saw the familiar face of his uncle. Mr. Cruz began to cry.

    Relief at finishing his journey did not last long. Mr. Cruz was now in an unfamiliar country, where he did not speak the language and could not legally hold a job. He would have to hide in plain sight. He was $12,630 in debt. But, he said, at least he didn't fear for his life. "Here I know I'm safe," he said.

    His uncle found him tougher and more mature after the journey's hardships. Mr. Cruz looked ahead to earning enough money to begin the cycle again, paying for his son, his sister and his grandmother to join him in the United States. "I dream of bringing them over here," he said.

    Reporting was contributed by Ron Nixon in San Antonio, Nadia T. Rodriguez in New York and Cecilia Ballí in Matamoros. Kitty Bennett contributed research.

    Produced by Beth Flynn, Rebecca Lieberman and Derek Watkins.



    4) Parents and Children Remain Separated by Miles and Bureaucracy

    By Annie Correal, June 30, 2018


    Yeni González and her lawyer, José Xavier Orochena, after her release from immigration detention in Arizona. She is seeking to be reunited with her children who are in New York. 

    Ms. Gonzalez's children, from left, Deyuin, Jamelin and Lester, were photographed by their lawyer during a visit at the Cayuga Centers, an agency in New York that placed them in a foster home.

    Yeni González emerged into the warm evening air in Eloy, Ariz., her hair braided by the other women in the detention center. We're braiding up all your strength, they had told her in Spanish. You can do it.

    Ms. González, who had been released on a bond, was meeting her lawyer on Thursday and would soon join the volunteers who were driving her to New York City to find her three young children — Lester, Jamelin and Deyuin — who had been taken away from her more than a month before at the southern border.

    She is one of the rare ones.

    With protests being held around the country on Saturday to demand the reunification of parents and children separated at the border, progress on putting families back together has been painfully slow. Despite a federal judge's order requiring reunification within 30 days, more than 2,000 children remain scattered across 17 states, including some 300 in New York. Their parents too have been sent around the country — to detention centers in Arizona, Colorado and as far away as Washington State.

    How will federal authorities reunite them? "There is no answer that I'm aware of about how the reunification will happen to the parents who are in detention," said Mario Russell, the director of Immigrant & Refugee Services for Catholic Charities, the nonprofit charged with representing the children sent to New York.

    Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services said this weekthat they were facilitating communication between children and parents, but did not plan to release children while their parents were being detained. Under the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy, thousands have been detained and face prosecution on charges of illegally entering the United States.

    Citing the possibility that human traffickers might pose as parents, officials said that the government intends to aggressively "vet" those who wish to gain custody of children, including running background checks on them and requiring fingerprinting for every adult in their household, even if it slows down the reunification process.

    The administration declined to say how many children had been reunited with their relatives since President Trump ended the separation policy with an executive order more than a week ago.

    Yolany Padilla, 24, is one of about 50 parents who have been sent to two detention centers in Seattle. In a phone call from the Federal Detention Center at Seatac, she said the only trace she still has of Jelsin, her 6-year-old son, is the little case for his eyeglasses.

    For close to a month after they were separated, she had no idea where he was.

    She had been given a slip of paper with his alien number after they were separated at a detention center near Laredo, Tex., she said, but employees of Immigration and Customs Enforcement took it from her — along with their birth certificates and the backpacks she and Jelsin had carried from the tiny village of Los Puentes, HondurasSo it had been no use calling the toll-free number set up by the federal refugee office for separated families.

    For weeks, she knew nothing. "I dreamed of him, sometimes bad things," she said, speaking in Spanish. "I couldn't sleep, I just hid under the blanket and cried."

    Honduran consular officials recently came to the detention center looking for parents who had been separated from their children. And last week, Ms. Padilla finally got a call from a social worker at Cayuga Centers, a child welfare agency in New York City.

    "Oof," she said, "It felt like they lifted a huge weight off me."

    When Jelsin got on the phone, Ms. Padilla said neither one of them could speak because they were both crying so hard. She coaxed a few words from her little boy, who she says loves to read and to ride his bicycle.

    Yes, he was eating, he told her, but he didn't like the vegetables. They had cut his hair. He was one of six children staying in his foster home.

    Ms. Padilla's case is particularly difficult to move forward, said her lawyer, Aimee Souza — who recently came on as a volunteer to represent Ms. Padilla in immigration court as she applies for asylum — because her client is being held in federal detention, which is more restrictive than immigration detention. "That throws 45 wrenches into the process," said Ms. Souza. "I can't easily get in there. I can't easily call. The only way to communicate is snail mail, visiting her," or waiting for her to call.

    The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project filed a lawsuit in federal court this week challenging the administration's practice of family separation on behalf of the parents sent to Washington. Ms. Padilla is one of three plaintiffs named in the lawsuit.

    Jorge Barón, the executive director of the organization, said it's unclear how the reunification process will play out.

    He hopes that parents might be able to be released on bond, perhaps with ankle monitors, and then be reunited with their children while they await immigration hearings.

    Alternatively, he said, "they could open new facilities and keep them together and locked up. But we're hoping that doesn't happen."

    Even if parents are released on a bond, physically getting them across thousands of miles is difficult, especially if authorities hold their identification while the parents go through immigration proceedings. Without proper identification, they cannot board airplanes. That is why Ms. González, the mother held in Arizona, is being driven to New York by a team of volunteers.

    Ms. González, who is from Guatemala, contacted relatives living in North Carolina after learning her children were in New York. The relatives contacted a lawyer there and sent him copies of the children's birth certificates.

    The lawyer, José Xavier Orochena, then confirmed that the children — who are 6, 9 and 11 — were placed in foster homes through Cayuga, the largest of the agencies in New York.

    After he spoke about the case on television and radio, a group of artists and parents in the New York area started a crowdfunding campaign for Ms. González that raised the money to cover her $7,500 bond and arranged her cross-country trip.

    "I feel very happy to be free, and very grateful for all the help," Ms. González, 29, said through tears after her release, speaking in Spanish. "I'm free and now I can fight for my children."

    Mr. Orochena said he expected the family to be reunited for the first time early next week. "It's not unfettered, but Cayuga says she can see the children as much as she wants, from 9 to 5."

    Their relative in North Carolina has applied to become the children's sponsor, meaning that the children might not have to remain in federal custody while their mother's asylum case makes its way through immigration court — a solution that many families might pursue.

    But that too could complicate things. Every adult living in a child's house must be included in the sponsorship petition. So Ms. González might not be allowed to live with her children.

    But at least she will be near them. Many more parents will likely remain in detention for some time, thousands of miles from their children. "I tell myself, God will help us, because we are not criminals," said Ms. Padilla, the mother being held in Seattle.

    There, she waits in her tan-colored prison uniform for her son's calls, and turns his nine-digit alien number over in her mind like a rosary.

    Liz Robbins contributed reporting.



    5) The Firebrand Leftist Far Ahead in Mexico's Presidential Polls

    By Adam Ahmad, June 29, 2018


    The presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador during the closing rally of his campaign on Wednesday in Mexico City.CreditAlfredo Estrella/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Andrés Manuel López Obrador nodded at the sea of red T-shirts and flag-waving devotees jammed into a plaza in Guadalajara.

    Never before had such a crowd welcomed him here. In his previous campaigns for the president's office, residents of Guadalajara, the wealthy capital of the state of Jalisco, shunned him, considering his leftist platform too radical.

    But this time, only days before one of Mexico's most important elections in decades, the cheers reflected a nationwide shift — and the ability of Mr. López Obrador to ride it.

    "We have had three transformations in the history of our country: our independence, the reform and the revolution," he told the crowd. "We are going to pull off the fourth."

    As corruption and violence gnaw at Mexico's patience, voters have turned to a familiar face in Mr. López Obrador, a three-time candidate for president who once shut down Mexico City for months after a narrow loss, refusing to accept defeat.

    Brandishing a deep connection with the poor, built over more than a decade of visits to every corner of this country of 120 million, he has managed a staggering lead ahead of Sunday's vote.

    If the poll numbers bear out on Election Day, Mr. López Obrador — who has promised to sell the presidential plane and convert the opulent presidential palace into a public park — could win by a landslide, putting a leftist leader in charge of Latin America's second-largest country for the first time in decades.

    He is currently 20 to 30 percentage points ahead of his closest rival, a stunning reversal for a politician whose future was far from clear just a few years ago. But a broad disgust with Mexico's political establishment has brought him back into the graces of the electorate.

    Now, he may confront an American president whose broadsides against Mexico have plunged relations between the two nations to their lowest point in recent history.

    But for all the brash, confrontational stances he has taken, Mr. López Obrador has been surprisingly moderate on the topic of President Trump, adopting a pragmatic approach that sounds a lot like the Mexican establishment figures he hopes to topple.

    "We are going to maintain a good relationship" with the United States, Mr. López Obrador said in an interview. "Or rather, we will aim to have a good bilateral relationship because it is indispensable."

    In fact, Mr. López Obrador has earned more than a few comparisons to Mr. Trump.

    Both men lash out at their critics and perceived enemies. Both are suspicious of the press and checks on their power. A sense of nationalism and nostalgia for a lost past are central to their platforms and appeal.

    But where Mr. Trump tacks right, Mr. López Obrador goes left. And while Mr. Trump has made Mexico a favorite target, Mr. López Obrador describes the North American Free Trade Agreement as a vital part of Mexico's livelihood.

    "I mean, the Brazilians, the French can fight with the U.S., but Mexico, for geopolitical reasons, we simply cannot," he added. "We have to come to an agreement."

    For much of his career, Mr. López Obrador has focused on two central issues, poverty and corruption, national scourges he views as inseparable. For the masses in Mexico, the twin pillars of his platform hold a powerful appeal.

    He vows to increase pensions for older citizens, and educational grants for the young. He promises to reduce the top salaries in government, including his own, and lift the wages of the lowest-paid public workers instead. He says he will fight corruption and use the billions of dollars a year in savings to pay for social programs.

    Many doubt he can eliminate graft or come up with the windfall he has promised. But after spending the past 18 years vacillating between Mexico's two dominant parties, voters appear increasingly willing to try something else.

    Mr. López Obrador's positions are largely unchanged from his time as a young organizer for indigenous communities in his home state, Tabasco.

    What has changed is the political climate of Mexico.

    Stubborn poverty rates and vast inequality, coupled with corruption scandals and a rise in violence, have pushed voters toward Mr. López Obrador, who last held elected office in 2005 as mayor of Mexico City.

    Beyond that, young people, who are expected to make up about 40 percent of the vote in this election, have widely embraced Mr. López Obrador, who, at 64, happens to be the oldest candidate in the race.

    "It's sort of like a pox on all their houses," said Roberta S. Jacobson, the former American ambassador to Mexico. "He was the only one who could successfully paint himself as an outsider — and there are a lot of people in Mexico who feel that they are outside."

    Indeed, Mr. López Obrador's electoral prospects owe as much to the current president, Enrique Peña Nieto, as to his populist language and promises to take on the powerful.

    Presidents in Mexico are allowed just one six-year term, and Mr. Peña Nieto's tenure was marked by corruption. After it was revealed that his wife had bought a luxury home at a steep discount from a government contractor, a federal investigation cleared him of any wrongdoing.

    After his administration's plodding response to the disappearance of 43 students was challenged by outside experts, they were essentially kicked out of the country. After evidence of illegal spying on journalists and human rights activists surfaced, a government investigation went nowhere.

    Mr. López Obrador is now reaping the rewards of Mr. Peña Nieto's missteps.

    Notably, the election debate has had little to do with Mr. Trump, who has taken aim at many aspects of life in Mexico, especially trade and migration.

    But all the main candidates in Mexico have been united in their opposition to Mr. Trump's threats. The primary drivers of this election are domestic issues — corruption, violence, poverty — that play right into Mr. López Obrador's hands.

    As for a personal relationship with Mr. Trump, even some of Mr. López Obrador's closest aides said they were unsure how Mr. López Obrador might react to the insults that the current president of Mexico has taken on the chin.

    Mr. López Obrador, for his part, says Mr. Trump is simply playing to his base.

    "Trump is a politician, more than what people assume, he acts politically, and it worked for him, his anti-immigrant policy and anti-Mexican rhetoric, the wall," he said. "He tapped into a nationalist sentiment in certain sectors of American society."

    Mr. López Obrador has instead focused internally, frightening many Mexicans with his vow to take on the "mafia of power," his shorthand for the business and political elite.

    He says he can save more than $20 billion a year by attacking corruption, a figure he wields in speeches but whose provenance is unclear.

    To critics, his crusade is representative of the dangers a López Obrador presidency might bring. Some fear he oversimplifies the problem of graft and the task of eradicating it — as well as the price tag for his grand ambitions.

    These same critics note that when he ran Mexico City, despite his broad popularity, he was unable to rid it of corruption.

    Mr. López Obrador is keenly aware of the ways Mexicans, who have long suffered at the hands of the wealthy and powerful, can be drawn into his orbit.

    In both style and message, he conveys simplicity. He lives in a modest two-story townhouse, flies coach to his campaign events and owns just a handful of suits.

    But behind the humility of his approach is a complex and unflinching ambition to reshape Mexico. For some, arguably including Mr. López Obrador himself, he is something of a messiah, the chosen leader to cure his nation's ills.

    "He genuinely thinks he is the best outcome for Mexico," said Kathleen Bruhn, a professor at the University of California Santa Barbara who has studied Mr. López Obrador's career. "But I don't think that is incompatible with him wanting to accumulate a lot of power."

    "People talk about his rhetoric and how he will be like Hugo Chávez," the polarizing and domineering former president of Venezuela, Ms. Bruhn added. But "there is a streak of pragmatism that I hope comes out."

    For others, his imperious temperament and sense of destiny are recipes for disaster.

    Mr. López Obrador often divides the world in two: the good versus the elite, who have robbed the country of equality and justice.

    His division between good and bad extends to critics and institutions that he feels do not serve his agenda. Many worry that his assumed moral authority will put him at odds with the same institutions he should protect.

    He has fought with the Mexican news media, accusing it of corruption and bias. And while the news media here has long survived on government money, which heavily influences coverage, his anger is a sign to many of a worrisome characteristic: an inability to take criticism.

    Much like Mr. Trump, he often attacks critics personally, and is a master of name-calling.

    Members of the rich elite are referred to as fifis, the equivalent of bourgeois. But civil rights and pro-democracy groups are also sometimes dismissed by Mr. López Obrador, despite being among the few counterbalances to the rampant impunity in Mexico.

    Many of the nation's most prominent anti-corruption advocates are fearful of a López Obrador presidency, worried that their nascent movement will be all but frozen out of the discussion.

    When Mr. López Obrador was mayor of Mexico City, organizers planned a march to protest the rising number of kidnappings, a tragic outcome of the nation's war on drugs.

    He initially refused to meet with the organizers, derisively referring to their initiatives as projects of the wealthy.

    María Elena Moreira, who now runs the nonprofit group Common Cause and helped organize the march, said she worried that Mr. López Obrador would marginalize outside efforts to improve Mexico's democracy.

    "You have to understand how to institutionalize this change, not tie all of it to just one person's mission," she added.

    Mr. López Obrador has essentially been campaigning full-time for more than a decade, and his party, Morena, is built entirely around him. Now, it is on the cusp of upending politics in Mexico, leaving longtime parties on the brink of ruin.

    Few thought that a leftist leader could take the helm of Mexico. It remains by the standards of Latin America a very conservative, Catholic nation.

    But Mr. López Obrador has managed to stitch together a broad movement that includes unions, far-right conservatives, religious groups, traditional leftists and some of the same tarnished officials he spends his days railing against.

    In some respects, what Mr. López Obrador has built resembles the current president's Institutional Revolutionary Party, known as the PRI — a party willing to incorporate just about everyone within its walls in the pursuit of power. Some members of the PRI have already defected to Mr. López Obrador's party, fearful of the drubbing to come.

    He has also tapped a television executive from a station widely reliant on government money — precisely the kind he attacks as compromised — to serve as his secretary of education if he wins.

    While some view his closeness with the unions and the far-right as contradictory, others view the alliances as evidence of his pragmatic side.

    As mayor of Mexico City, he maintained tight limits on spending and worked with the private sector, including the telecom magnate Carlos Slim. He built a highway to ease congestion, a project that largely benefited the middle class, not his typical base.

    If elected president, he has promised to practice fiscal austerity. To reassure the business community, he has promised not to nationalize businesses.

    When he left office, Mr. López Obrador enjoyed close to an 80 percent approval rating. The presidency did not seem out of the question. But the conservative National Action Party, which held the presidency, managed to paint him as a radical and a threat to democracy.

    In a hard-fought battle, Mr. López Obrador lost by less than 1 percent in the 2006 election, and almost immediately took to the streets to protest what he claimed was widespread fraud. His supporters took over the central plaza downtown and blocked one of the main traffic arteries through the city, Reforma Avenue.

    He then held an inauguration ceremony for himself and named a shadow cabinet to govern the nation, declaring himself the rightful president.

    The move seemed to validate some of the harshest criticisms of him, alienating some of his supporters. Eventually, he packed up and moved on, and many commentators wrote him off.

    He lost again in 2012, by a significantly larger margin. But Mr. López Obrador continued to build his coalition and prepare for another run.



    6)  Cages Are Cruel. The Desert Is, Too.

    By Francisco Cantú, June 30, 2018


    A marker over an immigrant's grave in Holtville, Calif. Hundreds of immigrants, many of whom died while crossing the desert from Mexico into the United States, are buried in a cemetery there.CreditJohn Moore/Getty Images

    TUCSON — During the three and a half years I worked for the United States Border Patrol, from 2008 to 2012, America's immigration enforcement never made less sense to me than when I tried to explain it to those most affected by it.

    Once, patrolling the border fence, I was flagged down by a woman on the other side. She asked for information about her son. She didn't know where or how long ago he had crossed, or whether he had been detained or become lost somewhere along the way. She didn't even know whether he was still alive.

    I struggle to remember what I told her. It's possible I explained that crossing often entailed walking for days or weeks through the desert. It's possible I suggested filing a missing persons report. It's possible I gave her the number of a hotline that could match her son's name and birth date to a person deep within the immigration detention system — a person regarded as a criminal by the United States government, another body filling a bed in a private detention center, a person who, to the woman trembling at the fence, represented the entire world.

    After a month of outrage at the cruelty of President Trump's "zero tolerance" policy, last week we saw a stream of confounding and divergent statements on immigration: The president suggested depriving undocumented migrants of due process; Attorney General Jeff Sessions insisted that every adult who crossed illegally would be prosecuted; and the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection announced that families would once again be released together to await trial. Meanwhile, thousands of separated children and their parents remain trapped in a web of shelters and detention facilities run by nonprofit groups and private prison, security and defense companies.

    It is important to understand that the crisis of separation manufactured by the Trump administration is only the most visibly abhorrent manifestation of a decades-long project to create a "state of exception" along our southern border.

    This concept was used by the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben in the aftermath of Sept. 11 to describe the states of emergency declared by governments to suspend or diminish rights and protections. In April, when the president deployed National Guard troops to the border (an action also taken by his two predecessors), he declared that "the situation at the border has now reached a point of crisis." In fact, despite recent upticks, border crossings remained at historic lows and the border was more secure than ever — though we might ask, secure for whom?

    For most Americans, what happens on the border remains out of sight and out of mind. But in the immigration enforcement community, the militarization of the border has given rise to a culture imbued with the language and tactics of war.

    Border agents refer to migrants as "criminals," "aliens," "illegals," "bodies" or "toncs" (possibly an acronym for "temporarily out of native country" or "territory of origin not known" — or a reference to the sound of a Maglite hitting a migrant's skull). They are equipped with drones, helicopters, infrared cameras, radar, ground sensors and explosion-resistant vehicles. But their most deadly tool is geographic — the desert itself.

    "Prevention Through Deterrence" came to define border enforcement in the 1990s, when the Border Patrol cracked down on migrant crossings in cities like El Paso. Walls were built, budgets ballooned and scores of new agents were hired to patrol border towns. Everywhere else, it was assumed, the hostile desert would do the dirty work of deterring crossers, away from the public eye.

    Doris Meissner, the commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service from 1993 to 2000, told The Arizona Republic that the agency believed "that geography would be an ally to us" and that border crossings "would go down to a trickle once people realized what it's like."

    But even as it became obvious that large numbers were risking the desert crossing and a hundred or more were dying each year from exposure, the government did not change course. "The idea of abandoning any kind of strengthened border enforcement because of that consequence was not a point of serious discussion," Ms. Meissner admitted. In other words, migrant deaths continued by design.

    The Border Patrol often cites its search-and-rescue operations as evidence that its practices are somehow humane. But this is like firefighters asking to be thanked for putting out a blaze started by their own chief. Receiving training as an E.M.T. allowed me to cling to the idea that I was helping migrants by administering aid while ignoring the fact that I was participating in pushing them toward death.

    Such defenses also gloss over the patrol's casual brutality: I have witnessed agents scattering migrant groups in remote areas and destroying their water supplies, acts that have also been extensively documented by humanitarian groups.

    The principle of deterrence is behind the current administration's zero-tolerance policy. In an interview with Laura Ingraham on Fox News, Mr. Sessions, pressed on whether children were being separated from parents to deter crossers, conceded, "Yes, hopefully people will get the message."

    Administration officials have claimed that even this policy is "humanitarian," in part because it may dissuade future migrants from bringing their children on the dangerous journey.

    This ignores decades of proof that no matter what version of hell migrants are made to pass through at the border, they will endure it to escape far more tangible threats of violence in their home countries, to reunite with family or to secure some semblance of economic stability.

    Policymakers also ignore that new enforcement measures almost always strengthen cartel-aligned human trafficking networks, giving them cause to increase their smuggling fees and push vulnerable migrants to make riskier crossings to avoid detection.

    Jason De León, the director of the Undocumented Migration Project, argues that the government sees undocumented migrants as people "whose lives have no political or social value" and "whose deaths are of little consequence."

    This devaluation of migrant life is not just rhetorical: CNN recently revealed that the Border Patrol has been undercounting migrant deaths, failing to include more than 500 in its official tally of more than 6,000 deaths over 16 years — a literal erasure of lives.

    The logic of deterrence is not unlike that of war: It has transformed the border into a state of exception where some of the most vulnerable people on earth face death and disappearance and where children are torn from their parents to send the message You are not safe here. In this sense, the situation at the border has reached a point of crisis — not one of criminality but of disregard for human life.

    We cannot return to indifference. In the aftermath of our nation's outcry against family separation, it is vital that we direct our outrage toward the violent policies that enabled it.

    Francisco Cantú, a former Border Patrol agent, is the author of "The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches From the Border."




    7)  Protests Across U.S. Call for End to Migrant Family Separations

    By By Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks and Zoe Greenberg, June 30, 2018


    A group gathered in San Francisco.CreditJim Wilson/The New York Times


    A group of demonstrators in front of the U.S. Port of Entry in El Paso.CreditVictor J. Blue for The New York Times


    People rallied in New York, including marching across the Brooklyn Bridge, on Saturday to protest President Trump's immigration policies.CreditChristopher Lee for The New York Times

    WASHINGTON — Protesters marched into Lafayette Square opposite the White House on Saturday and chanted "families belong together" to counter President Trump's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, and were joined in declaring that message by dozens of other rallies from New York to California. While the occupant of the White House was away for the weekend at his Bedminster, N.J., golf club, images of the rallies were broadcast by cable news networks throughout the day.

    Animated by what they view as the cruel treatment of migrants seeking refuge in the United States from violence in their home countries, the crowds turned out Saturday bearing homemade signs that read "Abolish ICE" — the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency — and "Zero tolerance for family separation."

    For two sisters, Claudia Thomas and Monica Escobar, the sight of immigrant children being taken from their parents hit close to home. When they were young, they immigrated to the United States from Guatemala, one of several Central American countries that is a source of migrants today. They said they were out at Saturday's protest in the nation's capital to stand up for "human decency."

    "No human being should be going through what they're going through," Ms. Escobar said. "God bless those families."

    While Washington was the political epicenter of the protests, similar scenes unfolded in cities around the country, including large, border cities like El Paso, state capitals like Salt Lake City and Atlanta, and smaller, interior towns like Redding, Calif. In total, organizers anticipated more than 700 protests, in all 50 states and even internationally.

    The protests were largely peaceful, though there were a few arrests.

    In Huntsville, Ala., police said one man was arrested after he got into a scuffle with protesters and pulled out a handgun; no one was injured. In Columbus, Ohio, one person was arrested on a charge of obstructing official business, police said. And the Dallas Police Department said five people were arrested during a protest outside of an ICE building.

    Otherwise, the protests caused few disturbances as demonstrators descended on statehouses and Immigration and Customs Enforcement buildings, and gathered in plazas and in parks, where they danced, chanted and sang. Many clutched signs in one hand with messages berating Mr. Trump and his immigration policies. And, given the summer heat, many clutched water bottles in the other hand, as they sweltered under temperatures that across much of the United States crept into the 90s.

    In Chicago, all police stations, fire departments and hospitals opened as cooling stations, and in Washington fire trucks misted attendees with water, to cheers.

    Celebrities like Kerry Washington, star of the hit ABC series "Scandal," and the comedian Amy Schumer joined the protests in New York, and politicians like Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, joined the demonstration in Boston. Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of "Hamilton," and Alicia Keys, the singer, songwriter and pianist, performed in Washington.

    Mr. Trump signed an executive order on June 20 meant to quell outrage over the separation of families by housing parents and children together, for an indefinite period, in ad hoc detention centers. The order explicitly states that the authorities will continue to criminally prosecute adults who cross the border illegally.

    Many of the more than 2,300 children separated from their migrant parents remain at makeshift shelters and foster homes. Although a federal judge in San Diego issued an order on Tuesday calling for the reunification of families separated at the border within 30 days, White House officials have said that following the ordered timetable would be difficult.

    "We don't want a situation where we're replacing baby jails with family camps," said Karthik Ganapathy, a spokesman for MoveOn, a progressive advocacy organization that helped organized the protest.

    The Washington rally was in many ways a festive affair, a moment of unification under a scorching sun. One protester arrived dressed as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; another wore a shirt saying "It's Mueller time," a reference to the special counsel leading the inquiry into Russian meddling in the election.

    Adam Unger, a local software engineer, wore a five-gallon bucket turned into a drum, with a felt covering depicting an American flag with the insignia of the Rebel Alliance from "Star Wars" replacing the stars. "This drum has gotten its use over the last year and a half," Mr. Unger said. He first used it to protest Mr. Trump's travel ban on people from several predominantly Muslim countries when it was announced in January 2017.Some showed up because they said they were angry; others, because they said they had not been angrier sooner. Maggie Mason, a new mother, said that for two weeks she could not go on Facebook because of news stories about children in detention centers, such as the audio published by ProPublica of immigrant children crying after being separated from their parents. Now, with her 7-week-old baby sleeping in the stroller next to her, she said it was time to come out.

    Over the past month, marches across the country have cropped up, adding to the pressure on the Trump administration to yield to calls to end the practice of splitting up or detaining families.

    "The idea of kids in cages and asylum seekers in prisons and moms being separated from breast-feeding children, this is just beyond politics, it really is just about right and wrong," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington State. On Thursday, she was arrested with more than 500 other women who occupied a Senate office building as part of a Women's March protest against Mr. Trump's immigration policy.

    Ms. Jayapal said she has visited a federal prison just south of Seattle and met with 174 women and several dozen men who had been transferred from the Texas border. She said she was moved by the stories of asylum seekers and parents — stories of family members killed, of children left behind, of violent physical attacks and domestic abuse.

    "I promised them that I would get their stories out and I promised them I would do everything I could to reunite their families," Ms. Jayapal said.

    In New York, protesters overflowed Foley Square in Lower Manhattan and filled the surrounding sidewalks. At every intersection on the way to the central march location, clusters of people chanted, "When children are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!"

    Crowds also inched across the Brooklyn Bridge, a little more than a mile long, for more than two hours. On one side, in Brooklyn, protesters filed into Cadman Plaza, where people stood in the center or sat in the shade, displaying colorful signs and listening to speakers onstage.

    "We were walking by cars and all the people driving were honking, giving us the peace sign, shaking fists," said Laura Rittenhouse, who lives in Manhattan and walked across the bridge. "The most important question is what is the process to reunite these families?" she asked.

    Carmela Huang, from Brooklyn, brought her two young children to the march. Both children were carrying rectangular cardboard signs they had made this morning that read "REUNITE" in large sharpie letters.

    Ms. Huang said they had not been to a protest yet in 2018. "But today feels really important," she said. "I've had my head in the sand, just feeling tremendously sad." She described the march as "reassuring, energizing and rejuvenating."

    Some protesters carried rainbow umbrellas and blew bubbles, while a trombone player accented chants of activists.

    Sadatu Mamah-Trawill, a community organizer with the group African Communities Together, brought her 9-year-old son to the protest. A Muslim woman, Ms. Mamah-Trawill said she still had family in Ghana, her place of birth, and could not imagine being separated from her children.

    "I'm hoping our government hears us very clearly," she said. "This is big. I don't think anybody should miss it."

    A small group of mostly women and children rallied in Marquette, Mich., in one of the few counties in the state that voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. Silke-Maria Weineck, a German studies and comparative literature professor at the University of Michigan, dressed her service dog, Meemo, with an "Abolish ICE" sign for the occasion.

    "It's certainly a conservative part of the country," she added, "but people feel very strongly about their children."

    Outside the Bedminster country club where Mr. Trump was spending the weekend, a few protesters could be seen. "My civility is locked in a cage," said one sign. "Reunite families now."

    Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks reported from Washington and Zoe Greenberg from New York. Mihir Zaveri and Sarah Mervosh contributed reporting from New York.



    8) For Puerto Rican Storm Evacuees, Another Moving Day Looms

    By Patricia Mazzel, June 30, 2018


    Puerto Rican families on Saturday packed their belongings and prepared to leave a Super 8 motel in Kissimmee, Fla., where they have been living since fleeing Hurricane Maria.CreditSaul Martinez for The New York Times

    KISSIMMEE, Fla. — It was moving day at a Super 8 motel in this city of strip malls, not far from the hubbub of Disney World. Minivans and S.U.V.s lined the parking lot on Saturday, as families in flip-flops packed the few things they had accumulated since fleeing Hurricane Maria nine months ago: a purple folding chair, a hot plate, a hamper full of laundry.

    The checkout deadline loomed. By 11 a.m. Sunday, most of the few dozen Puerto Ricans who for months have called this motel home expected to be gone, unable to afford the nightly room rate of about $60 without help. The Federal Emergency Management Agency's temporary sheltering assistance program, which had paid for their stays until now, was scheduled to end Saturday night.

    But late Saturday, the evacuees received a reprieve. A federal judge stayed their departures until at least Tuesday. A civil rights advocacy organization, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, filed a class-action lawsuit Saturday afternoon seeking to stop FEMA from ending its temporary shelter assistance for displaced hurricane victims from Puerto Rico, saying it would put evacuees "at risk of homelessness and other irreparable injury."

    A hearing will be Monday, and evacuees can effectively remain in their accommodations until checkout time Wednesday.

    Most of the displaced Puerto Ricans have already moved on to apartments of their own, according to FEMA. But not all of them. Those moving out now say they will miss not only the federal aid, but the community they formed among their fellow survivors. Few plan to go back to the storm-damaged island.

    "When I came here, I didn't know anybody," said David Olmeda, 26, as he and his wife folded clothing into suitcases to take to their newly rented apartment down the road. "Now, we're a family."

    Florida had the highest number of Maria evacuees still relying on temporary sheltering assistance as of Friday, according to FEMA: 589 displaced families, out of the 1,744 across the country, including some inside Puerto Rico. Most of the evacuees in Florida settled in Central Florida, including in the heavily Puerto Rican enclave of Kissimmee, just south of Orlando.

    About 56 percent of Puerto Ricans who arrived in Florida before and after the hurricane plan to stay "indefinitely," according to a survey released Saturday by Florida International University. The survey, which interviewed 1,000 Puerto Ricans in the state, also found that about 90 percent of respondents had received some public assistance.

    Most cited Puerto Rico's tough economic conditions as the reason for leaving, with 61 percent saying they had been able to find work. Just 11 percent specifically cited the hurricane.

    The Central Florida families affected by Saturday's FEMA deadline were scattered across town, many of them in the motels that line Route 192, a long drag of fast-food joints, souvenir shops and gas stations en route to Disney World. Just off the same highway is the purple Magic Castle Inn, the setting for "The Florida Project" — a movie about, yes, a family living in a motel.

    The Super 8, nestled between a coin laundry and an IHOP, has become the community's focal point. Its open layout lends itself to socializing, and a common room in the lobby, outfitted with a few tables and a coffee machine, brings guests together in the mornings for breakfast and in the evenings to chat.

    Television news crews regularly come by for interviews. Politicians frequently drop in. Representative Darren Soto, an Orlando Democrat who was the first Puerto Rican elected to Congress from Florida, visited Friday evening. One of his aides held office hours at the motel on Saturday, as a World Cup match between Uruguay and Portugal played in the background.

    By then, it had become clear that FEMA, which has extended the temporary shelter assistance three times, would not offer any such relief, despite pleas from Mr. Soto and other Democrats, including Senator Bill Nelson of Florida. Mr. Nelson urged FEMA to activate a separate disaster housing assistance program to provide rent subsidies to families, as the agency did after Hurricane Katrina until 2009.

    Lenisha Smith, a FEMA spokeswoman, said there was "no need" for that aid because another program, called direct lease assistance, provides similar services "without the additional complexities and red tape." However, critics like Christiaan Perez, a spokesman for LatinoJustice PRLDEF, say direct lease is too narrow to benefit most of the needy Puerto Rican families.

    The group sued Saturday in federal court in Massachusetts, which has the highest population of families receiving temporary sheltering assistance after Florida and Puerto Rico. Federal District Judge Leo T. Sorokin issued a limited temporary restraining order in the case late Saturday.

    FEMA has spent more than $84 million on temporary sheltering assistance for Puerto Rican evacuees of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Ms. Smith said.

    With little hope to stay in their motel rooms — and no interest in taking FEMA up on free airfare back to Puerto Rico by Sunday — the Super 8 families prepared on Saturday to say goodbye. At least two families were headed to board a bus to Ohio; a recent local job fair featuring Ohio companies, including an auto parts manufacturer, resulted in several job offers.

    Others, like Mr. Olmeda, found apartments locally after extensive searching. His wife, Christine González, 26, said her husband would come home at 6 a.m. from his overnight shift at the Home Depot, sleep until 8 a.m., and spend the rest of the day hunting for a place to rent. The hurricane blew away their home in Cayey, the couple said; they found their infant son's crib strewn on the street outside.

    "We're not going back," Ms. González, who is working for a local advocacy group, said as she scooped up her son, Kahil, who is now 1. "Things in Puerto Rico are still bad."

    Manny Ayala, director of community engagement for the local Episcopal Office of Latino Assistance, said his agency, which continues to staff a disaster relief center and steer families to a monthly food pantry, sees new Puerto Rican families every week.

    "They don't know the public transportation system. They don't know the language. They don't know about food stamps," he said. "They don't know that you pay car insurance monthly."

    Public housing units have long wait lists. Many evacuees have trouble affording a security deposit and first and last month's rent, as well as condo background checks and application fees.

    "I'm crazy to go back, but my daughter doesn't want me to," said Angela Vásquez, 83.

    Her daughter, Yolanda Aguirre, said her sons, ages 19 and 14, don't want to return. The 19-year-old found a job at Disney, she said, and her husband is working at an AutoZone. They found an apartment.

    "You can't expect the government to be giving you everything," Ms. Aguirre said, adding that the family was very grateful for FEMA's assistance.

    Some Puerto Ricans were hesitant to talk about their precarious financial situations, fearing backlash from Puerto Ricans on the island who question their dependence on public assistance, they said.

    "People on Facebook say we Puerto Ricans are begging to the government," said Luz González, 41. "'How nice it must be to be on vacation for seven months.' We're not at the pool. We're not at Disney."

    "Boricuas criticizing boricuas," lamented her mother, Guadalupe Berdecía, 61, using a Spanish term for Puerto Ricans.

    Ms. Berdecía said she had arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes and thyroid problems. Ms. González stays home to help her but knows she must soon find work. On Sunday, the two will leave their motel room for an apartment with a rent of $1,310 a month. She said they were approved as tenants only after Ms. González showed them her mother's bank statement showing $8,000 from FEMA, compensation for losing their possessions in Puerto Rico.

    Cellphone pictures show the family's home on the island shredded by the storm. Ms. González said they arrived in Florida with three pairs of pants and three shirts each. On Saturday, mother and daughter wore clothes given to them by the Red Cross. Ms. Berdecía's shirt was blue and said "MERICA."

    Frances Robles contributed reporting.



    9)  Neighbor Calls the Police on a 12-Year-Old Boy Mowing the Grass

    By Jeffery C. Mays, July 1, 2018


    Lucille Holt-Colden hired Reginald Fields, 12, to mow her lawn last month. Her neighbors called the police after he cut grass on their side of the property line.CreditBrandy Fields

    In the video she streamed live on Facebook, Lucille Holt-Colden is effusive in her praise of 12-year-old Reginald Fields and his friends as they mow the front lawn of her Ohio home.

    Reginald, who is known as Reggie and owns Mr. Reggie's Lawn Cutting Service, can be seen pushing a lawn mower while another boy rakes and two girls shake open a garbage bag.

    "All young people ain't out here doing wrong," Ms. Holt-Colden says in the June 23 video. "I'm loving it."

    Half an hour later, Ms. Holt-Colden was not so pleased.

    In another video, titled "This is RIDICULOUS!!!," a police vehicle can be seen in the background after a neighbor called to complain that Reggie had cut the grass on his side of the property line.

    "If they would have been four white children, the police would not have been called," Ms. Holt-Colden, who, like Reggie, is black, said on Saturday. "A lot of it is racially motivated."

    The episode in Maple Heights, outside Cleveland, was the latest example of the police being called on black people engaged in innocuous behavior, such as barbecuingselling bottles of watersitting in a Starbucks or napping in a college lounge.

    Ms. Holt-Colden said she had spotted Reggie and some of his siblings and cousins pushing their equipment outside a store.

    Impressed that they had all the tools needed to do the job, she gave the children her address and told them that her lawn needed to be mowed. They were working for about 30 minutes when the police showed up.

    "I thought they were going to punish me for cutting the grass," Reggie said on Saturday.

    Ms. Holt-Colden was not surprised. "I automatically knew who was calling," she said.

    Since she began renting the house in October, Ms. Holt-Colden said, her neighbors have called the police on her at least five times, including when her children had a snowball fight and when her son parked his car on the grass in her backyard.

    "I did not know I was getting the neighbors from hell," Ms. Holt-Colden said.

    Her neighbors see things differently.

    Linda Krakora, who is white, said she had lived in the house with her husband, Randy, and their family for more than 30 years. She said that Ms. Holt-Colden and her family were the bad neighbors, and that their relationship had become so tense that she now communicates with her through the police.

    "The police were not called on the young boy — the police were called on the garbage I have next door," Ms. Krakora said. "We called the police to ask the woman to have the kids stop mowing on our property because we can't talk to her."

    When her husband called the police about the grass, it had nothing to do with race, Ms. Krakora said. "I don't have an issue with color or I would have moved years ago," she said.

    A spokesman for the police in Maple Heights confirmed that officers responded to Ms. Holt-Colden's home but said that no action was taken.

    Reggie's mother, Brandy Fields, said she hoped the police were not called because her son is black. Her son comes from a family of entrepreneurs, she said, and is known to be outgoing.

    "Everybody who knows Reggie loves Reggie," she said. "I raise my kids to respect adults."

    After her video gained attention, Ms. Holt-Colden said people asked what they could do to help. She started an online fund-raiser that garnered $7,600 from nearly 300 donors as of Saturday afternoon.

    The money will go to help Reggie expand his business, including buying a new shed for his tools and maybe even starting a college fund to help him study business someday.

    "It feels excellent," Reggie said. He said he was getting 15 to 20 calls per week to mow lawns, up from just four or five before the video.

    Ms. Fields said she was overwhelmed by the response.

    Referring to the Krakoras, she said: "I want to go over there and introduce myself. I want to thank them because they gave my son exposure, but I want them to learn to be open-minded."

    Ms. Holt-Colden runs a support group called Love Out Loud for teenagers who are grieving or feeling depressed. She said the episode came as the city was mourning the death of a 9-year-old Maple Heights girl who was caught in the crossfire of two groups of people shooting at one another in Cleveland.

    "I always say what the Devil meant for bad, God turned into good," Ms. Holt-Colden said. "That's exactly what's happening in this case."



    10) Sponsors of Migrant Children Face Steep Transport Fees and Red Tape

    By Miriam Jordan, July 1, 2018


    Brenda Garcia sees her 7-year-old son, Kevin, for the first time in 34 days at Dulles International Airport in Virginia on Friday morning. Garcia paid more than $500 to fly the boy to Washington so they could be reunited.CreditRyan Christopher Jones for The New York Times

    LOS ANGELES — Marlon Parada, a construction worker in Los Angeles, already was worried when he got an urgent call from his cousin in Honduras, asking if he would agree to take in the cousin's 14-year-old daughter. She'd been taken from her mother while attempting to cross the border and detained in Houston, he said. She couldn't be released unless a family member agreed to take her in.

    Parada, an immigrant himself who is supporting his wife and three daughters on $3,000 a month, wondered how he could afford to take on another responsibility. Then he learned that he would have to pay $1,800 to fly Anyi and an escort from Houston to Los Angeles.

    "It caught me by surprise when they demanded all that money. I asked them to just put her on a bus, but they wouldn't," said Mr. Parada, who scrambled to amass the cash from friends and wired it to the operator of the migrant shelter where Anyi was being held.

    But that was only one of the hurdles he would have to surmount to take custody of the girl. Families hoping to win release for the thousands of migrant children being held by federal immigration authorities are finding they have to navigate an exhausting, intimidating — and sometimes expensive — thicket of requirements before the youngsters can be released.

    Candidates for sponsorship must produce a plethora of documents to prove they are legitimate relatives and financially capable sponsors, including rent receipts, utility bills and proof of income. Home visits are increasingly common as part of the process. And once those conditions are met, many families must pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars in airfare to bring the children home.

    "The government is creating impossible barriers and penalizing poverty," said Neha Desai, director of immigration at the National Center for Youth Law in Oakland.

    An estimated 11,000 children and teenagers apprehended after crossing the border are currently housed in up to 100 government-contracted facilities across the country. Their numbers have grown in recent weeks as the Trump administration has imposed a "zero-tolerance" policy on border enforcement, purporting to end the strategy of "catch and release" under which migrants were often allowed to go free pending hearings in the immigration courts.

    Under the most controversial part of the new strategy, more than 2,300 children were separated from their families and placed in shelters occupied mainly by young people who had made their way across the border alone. President Trump relented last week and ordered that families be kept together whenever possible, but authorities now are struggling to process the estimated 2,000 separated children still remaining in federal facilities.

    The Office of Refugee Resettlement, which has official custody of migrant children under detention and establishes conditions for releasing them, has made it clear that the requirements are intended to make sure children are not released to traffickers, and will be well cared for in their new homes.

    In testimony to the Senate in late April, Steven Wagner, the acting assistant secretary of health and human services, said that in assessing a sponsor's suitability, the agency "evaluates the sponsor's ability to provide for the child's physical and mental well-being, but also the sponsor's ability to ensure the child's presence at future immigration proceedings."

    The requirement for sponsors to pay transportation costs has long been part of the agency's procedures and was not initiated by the Trump administration, officials said.

    Immigrant advocates say that migrant families often have spent their entire savings to reach the United States border, and their relatives in the United States may not have much money, either.

    One potential sponsor was rejected recently because authorities decided she could not afford the child's medication, Ms. Desai said. A mother of two was told that her house was not large enough to accommodate a third child. Another was told that she had to move to a better neighborhood if she wanted to be approved.

    A new condition requires that all adults in the household where a migrant child will reside submit fingerprints to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Such a requirement has intimidated many undocumented immigrants, who represent the majority of sponsors but fear being targeted for deportation themselves.

    "Previously, people readily identified themselves" to sponsor a child, said Lisa Rivera, managing attorney at the New York Legal Assistance Group. But, she added, "This is not an environment where someone is going to call and say, 'I want to take my child, niece or nephew.' They have to find someone who has legal status."

    A Guatemalan immigrant in New York dreaded submitting her fingerprints in order to sponsor two teenage family members being detained at a shelter in Texas, but felt she had no choice.

    "I wouldn't even be able to ask someone else to be their sponsor. All my family and friends are undocumented and afraid," said the woman, who declined to be identified by name because she fears attracting the attention of authorities.

    The last straw: She had to borrow money to pay the $2,500 to fly them earlier this year from Texas to New York, where she lives.

    "It was a nearly impossible amount for a single mother earning $200 a week," said Crystal Fleming, the lawyer at the Legal Assistance Group representing the teenagers.

    Brenda, a Salvadoran migrant who was separated from her 7-year-old son Kevin at the border on May 27, was charged $576.20 to cover the boy's airfare from Miami to Virginia. His escort collected the money order at Washington Dulles airport on Friday upon handing over the child to his mother.

    "I was shocked that they had to pay for the boy's airfare," said Astrid Lockwood, the lawyer for the mother and child, who had been held at a shelter in Florida. Ms. Lockwood said that in a decade of practicing immigration law she had never seen this requirement, but noted that she also had not encountered children placed in facilities thousands of miles from their ultimate destination, as has occurred in recent weeks.

    Under the policy manual of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, sponsors are responsible for paying transportation costs for both the child and any escort, along with fees charged by airlines for handling transport of unaccompanied minors.

    The payment requirement was also in place during the Obama administration, though in 2016, when a surge of families crossing the border created large populations in migrant shelters, it was waived. Shelter operators were instructed to pay for transportation to enable families to reunite more quickly, and were then reimbursed by the government, said Bob Carey, who led the refugee resettlement office during the Obama administration.

    The thinking was, "It's counterintuitive to keep a child in care," he said.

    "The human cost incurred aside," he added, "the financial cost for the government is significant. One day of care could cover transportation costs."

    Each day that a child remains in a facility costs the government upwards of $600 a day, and costs can rise to as much as $1,000 daily if a provider has to absorb new children on short notice, Mr. Carey said.

    On a case-by-case basis, immigrant families sometimes get help with transport costs. Nonprofits may help cover the airfare. Sometimes lawyers and other advocates convince a child's case manager to reduce the travel fee or waive it altogether due to hardship.

    A shelter in South Texas asked a Salvadoran woman for $4,000 to fly her niece, 12, and nephew, 10, with an escort to California. They were there a month, until she convinced them that she could not pay, said Fred Morris, president of the San Fernando Valley Refugee Children Center, a nonprofit that helped her locate the children. The siblings arrived in Los Angeles on Saturday.

    It took Oscar Garcia of Anaheim, Calif., a month to complete the paperwork to sponsor his nephew, Diego, 11, who was held at a facility in southern Texas after crossing the border from El Salvador. As part of the process, Mr. Garcia, a father of three who does remodeling work on homes, sent pictures of his two-bedroom house to the case manager via Whatsapp. He also submitted fingerprints for a background check.

    "When everything was done, they told me it would cost $1,400 to bring the boy here," he recalled. He borrowed $900 from his brother-in-law and depleted his $500 in savings to afford tickets for the boy and an escort. The child landed in Los Angeles in May.

    "I didn't want to leave him stuck there," said Mr. Garcia.

    In the case of the Parada family in Los Angeles, Mr. Parada said both Anyi and her mother had been through a lot in their journey and subsequent detention, and he knew it was important to get the girl out of the shelter as quickly as he could.

    Mother and daughter had traveled over land by bus and car to reach the southwest border in early May. After wading through the Rio Grande to reach Texas, they were promptly intercepted by the Border Patrol, Anyi told her family. They were then separated: Anyi's mother was transferred to a detention center in Seattle; the girl was transported to Casa Quetzal, a shelter for minors in Houston that is operated by Southwest Key, one of the country's largest shelter operators for minors.

    The separation prompted Anyi's father in Honduras to reach out to his cousin in California.

    After compiling dozens of documents and submitting his fingerprints for a background check, Mr. Parada learned that he would have to pay the $1,800 in airfare: one way for the girl, round trip for her escort.

    "They notified me a day before her release," he said. "I had no choice."



    11) In Denmark, Harsh New Laws for Immigrant 'Ghettos'

    By Ellen Barry and Martin Selsoe Sorensen, July 1, 2018

    An intersection near Mjolnerparken, a housing project in Copenhagen that is classified as a ghetto by the Danish government.CreditMauricio Lima for The New York Times

    COPENHAGEN — When Rokhaia Naassan gives birth in the coming days, she and her baby boy will enter a new category in the eyes of Danish law. Because she lives in a low-income immigrant neighborhood described by the government as a "ghetto," Rokhaia will be what the Danish newspapers call a "ghetto parent" and he will be a "ghetto child."

    Starting at the age of 1, "ghetto children" must be separated from their families for at least 25 hours a week, not including nap time, for mandatory instruction in "Danish values," including the traditions of Christmas and Easter, and Danish language. Noncompliance could result in a stoppage of welfare payments. Other Danish citizens are free to choose whether to enroll children in preschool up to the age of six.

    Denmark's government is introducing a new set of laws to regulate life in 25 low-income and heavily Muslim enclaves, saying that if families there do not willingly merge into the country's mainstream, they should be compelled.

    For decades, integrating immigrants has posed a thorny challenge to the Danish model, intended to serve a small, homogeneous population. Leaders are focusing their ire on urban neighborhoods where immigrants, some of them placed there by the government, live in dense concentrations with high rates of unemployment and gang violence.

    Politicians' description of the ghettos has become increasingly sinister. In his annual New Year's speech, Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen warned that ghettos could "reach out their tentacles onto the streets" by spreading violence, and that because of ghettos, "cracks have appeared on the map of Denmark." Politicians who once used the word "integration" now call frankly for "assimilation."

    That tough approach is embodied in the "ghetto package." Of 22 proposals presented by the government in early March, most have been agreed upon by a parliamentary majority, and more will be subject to a vote in the fall.

    Some are punitive: One measure under consideration would allow courts to double the punishment for certain crimes if they are committed in one of the 25 neighborhoods classified as ghettos, based on residents' income, employment status, education levels, number of criminal convictions and "non-Western background." Another would impose a four-year prison sentence on immigrant parents who force their children to make extended visits to their country of origin — described here as "re-education trips" —in that way damaging their "schooling, language and well-being." Another would allow local authorities to increase their monitoring and surveillance of "ghetto" families.

    Some proposals have been rejected as too radical, like one from the far-right Danish People's Party that would confine "ghetto children" to their homes after 8 p.m. (Challenged on how this would be enforced, Martin Henriksen, the chairman of Parliament's integration committee, suggested in earnest that young people in these areas could be fitted with electronic ankle bracelets.)

    At this summer's Folkemodet, an annual political gathering on the island of Bornholm, the justice minister, Soren Pape Poulsen, shrugged off the rights-based objection.

    "Some will wail and say, 'We're not equal before the law in this country,' and 'Certain groups are punished harder,' but that's nonsense," he said, adding that the increased penalties would affect only people who break the law.

    To those claiming the measures single out Muslims, he said: "That's nonsense and rubbish. To me this is about, no matter who lives in these areas and who they believe in, they have to profess to the values required to have a good life in Denmark."

    Yildiz Akdogan, a Social Democrat whose parliamentary constituency includes Tingbjerg, which is classified as a ghetto, said Danes had become so desensitized to harsh rhetoric about immigrants that they no longer register the negative connotation of the word "ghetto" and its echoes of Nazi Germany's separation of Jews.

    "We call them 'ghetto children, ghetto parents,' it's so crazy," Ms. Akdogan said. "It is becoming a mainstream word, which is so dangerous. People who know a little about history, our European not-so-nice period, we know what the word 'ghetto' is associated with."

    She pulled out her phone to display a Facebook post from a right-wing politician, railing furiously at a Danish supermarket for selling a cake reading "Eid Mubarak," for the Muslim holiday of Eid. "Right now, facts don't matter so much, it's only feelings," she said. "This is the dangerous part of it."

    For their part, many residents of Danish "ghettos" say they would move if they could afford to live elsewhere. On a recent afternoon, Ms. Naassan was sitting with her four sisters in Mjolnerparken, a four-story, red brick housing complex that is, by the numbers, one of Denmark's worst ghettos: forty-three percent of its residents are unemployed, 82 percent come from "non-Western backgrounds," 53 percent have scant education and 51 percent have relatively low earnings.

    The Naassan sisters wondered aloud why they were subject to these new measures. The children of Lebanese refugees, they speak Danish without an accent and converse with their children in Danish; their children, they complain, speak so little Arabic that they can barely communicate with their grandparents. Years ago, growing up in Jutland, in Denmark's west, they rarely encountered any anti-Muslim feeling, said Sara, 32.

    "Maybe this is what they always thought, and now it's out in the open," she said. "Danish politics is just about Muslims now. They want us to get more assimilated or get out. I don't know when they will be satisfied with us."

    Rokhaia, her due date fast approaching, flared with anger at the mandatory preschool program approved by the government last month: Already, she said, her daughter was being taught so much about Christmas in kindergarten that she came home begging for presents from Santa Claus.

    "Nobody should tell me whether or how my daughter should go to preschool. Or when," she said. "I'd rather lose my benefits than submit to force."

    Barwaqo Jama Hussein, 18, a Somali refugee, noted that many immigrant families, including her own, had been settled in "ghetto" neighborhoods by the government. She moved to Denmark when she was 5 and has lived in the Tingbjerg ghetto area since she was 13. She said the politicians' description of "parallel societies" simply did not fit her, or Tingbjerg.

    "It hurts that they don't see us as equal people," she said. "We actually live in Danish society. We follow the rules, we go to school. The only thing we don't do is eat pork."

    About 12 miles south of the city, in the middle-class suburb of Greve, though, voters gushed with approval over the new laws.

    "They spend too much Danish money," said Dorthe Pedersen, a hairdresser, daubing chestnut dye on a client's hairline. "We pay their rent, their clothing, their food, and then they come in broken Danish and say, 'We can't work because we've got a pain.'"

    Her client, Anni Larsen, told a story about being invited by a Turkish immigrant to their child's wedding and being scandalized to discover that the guests were separated by gender and seated in different rooms. "I think there were only 10 people from Denmark," she said, appalled. "If you ask me, I think they shouldn't have invited us."

    Anette Jacobsen, 64, a retired pharmacist's assistant, said she so treasured Denmark's welfare system, which had provided her four children with free education and health care, that she felt a surge of gratitude every time she paid her taxes, more than 50 percent of her yearly income. As for immigrants using the system, she said, "There is always a cat door for someone to sneak in."

    "Morally, they should be grateful to be allowed into our system, which was built over generations," she said.

    Her husband, Jesper, a former merchant sailor whose ship once docked in Lebanon, said he had watched laborers there being shot for laziness and replaced by truckloads of new workers gathered in the countryside.

    "I think they are 300 to 400 years behind us," Jesper said.

    "Their culture doesn't fit here," Anette said.

    The new hard-edge push to force Muslims to integrate struck both of them as positive. "The young people will see what it is to be Danish and they will not be like their parents," Jesper said.

    "The grandmothers will die sometime," Anette said. "They are the ones resisting change."

    By focusing heavily on the collective cost of supporting refugee and immigrant families, the Danish People's Party has won many voters away from the center-left Social Democrats, who had long been seen as the defenders of the welfare state. With a general election approaching next year, the Social Democrat party has shifted to the right on immigration, saying tougher measures are necessary to protect the welfare state.

    Nearly 87 percent of Denmark's 5.7 million people are of Danish descent, with immigrants and their descendants accounting for the rest. Two-thirds of the immigrants, around half a million, are from Muslim backgrounds, a group that swelled with the waves of Afghan, Iraqi and Syrian refugees crossing Europe.

    Critics would say "the state cannot force children away from their parents in the daytime, that's disproportionate use of force," said Rune Lykkeberg, the editor in chief of Dagbladet Information, a left-liberal daily newspaper. "But the Social Democrats say, 'We give people money, and we want something for this money.' This is a system of rights and obligations."

    Danes have a high level of trust in the state, including as a central shaper of children's ideology and beliefs, he said. "The Anglo-Saxon conception is that man is free in nature, and then comes the state" constraining that freedom, he said. "Our conception of freedom is the opposite, that man is only free in society."

    "You could say, of course, parents have the right to bring up their own kids," he added. "We would say they do not have the right to destroy the future freedom of their children."

    Of course, he added, "There is always a strong sense of authoritarian risk."

    Ms. Hussain, the high school student from Tingbjerg, is accustomed to anti-immigrant talk surging ahead of elections, but says this year it is harsher than she can ever remember.

    "If you create new kinds of laws that apply to only one part of society, then you can keep adding to them," she said. "It will turn into the parallel society they're so afraid of. They will create it themselves."

    Anna Schaverien contributed reporting from London.




    12) Woman Assaulted Black Boy After Telling Him He 'Did Not Belong' at Pool, Officials Say

    By Sarah Mervosh, July 1, 2018

    Stephanie Sebby-Strempel, who the authorities say hit a black teenager at a neighborhood pool and told him and his friends to leave because they did not belong there, has been charged with assault.CreditDorchester County, S.C., Detention Center

    First, there was BBQ Becky.

    Then came Permit Patty.

    Now, a South Carolina woman has been nicknamed Pool Patrol Paula after a widely shared video showed her accosting a black boy and his friends at a neighborhood pool, telling them to "get out" or she would call the police.

    "There's three numbers I could dial: 911. O.K.?" the woman said in the video, which was posted on Facebook on June 24 and was viewed more than a million times in a week. "Get out! Little punks."

    The authorities identified the woman as Stephanie Sebby-Strempel, 38, of Summerville, S.C., according to The News & Observer. The newspaper reported that she told the boy, 15, and his friends that "they did not belong" at the pool, instructed them to leave and hit the teenager in his face and chest.

    The teenager had been invited to the private community pool by a friend who lived in the neighborhood, his lawyer, Marvin Pendarvis, said.

    Ms. Sebby-Strempel was charged with third-degree assault related to the teenager, as well as two counts of assaulting a police officer while resisting arrest, The News & Observer reported.

    She could not be reached for comment. Representatives for the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office were unavailable to comment.

    The episode comes after other cases of the police being called on black people for minor or nonexistent transgressions, such as taking a nap in a Yale common room or sitting down and asking to use the restroom in a Starbucks without buying anything.

    Some of these cases — often involving white people — have spawned alliterative nicknames for those at the center of the episode: #BBQBecky, for a white woman in Oakland, Calif., who called the police on black men for using a charcoal grill in a park; #PermitPatty, for a white woman in San Francisco who appeared to call the authorities on an 8-year-old black girl for "illegally selling water without a permit"; and now #PoolPatrolPaula, for Ms. Sebby-Strempel.

    Ms. Sebby-Strempel appeared to target the only black children at the pool at the time, Mr. Pendarvis said. He said his client's name was not being released because he is a minor.

    "She obviously took a look at them and said they don't belong there," Mr. Pendarvis said. "She had no reason to single them out. They weren't doing anything."

    It's unclear what happened leading up to the video clip, which shows Ms. Sebby-Strempel swatting at the camera. Mr. Pendarvis said she hit his client after the recording ended.

    The teenager's mother, Deanna RocQuermore, condemned the attack on her son at a news conference, the television station WCSC reported.

    "No child, including mine or anybody else's, ever, ever deserves that type of abuse or treatment or to be struck not once, not twice but three times by someone that is upset because of the color of someone's skin," she said.

    Ms. Sebby-Strempel was released from jail on $65,000 bail on Tuesday, according to the Dorchester County Detention Center. (Jail records identified her by a single last name, Strempel.)

    At a bond hearing that day, her legal representative told the judge that there was more than one side to the story, WCSC reported.




    13) The Things They Carried: Items Confiscated From Migrants in the Last Decade

    By Laura M. Holson, July 2, 2018

    "Pink Combs and Brushes," a photograph taken in 2012 by Tom Kiefer, who worked as a janitor at a Customs and Border Protection center in Arizona for more than a decade. He collected items confiscated by Border Patrol agents from migrants crossing the United States border with Mexico. Combs, brushes and mirrors were considered nonessential and possibly dangerous, he said. "They are discarded when migrants arrive."CreditTom Kiefer

    For Tom Kiefer, they were symbols of humanity.

    Half-used bars of soap. Bibles with pages earmarked and worn from prayer. Wallets with credit cards and driver's licenses. And lots of unopened cans of tuna.

    For more than a decade, Mr. Kiefer worked as a janitor at the Customs and Border Protection center in Why, Ariz., before leaving in 2014.

    There, he collected tens of thousands of items that were confiscated and thrown in the trash by Border Patrol agents from undocumented migrants crossing the border from Mexico into the United States. He began photographing the items in 2007. 

    "I couldn't leave them," he said.

    The result was "El Sueño Americano" (The American Dream), a series of 600 photographs that has been exhibited at museums and galleries and has drawn considerable media attention. In October, more than 100 of those photographs will go on view at Michigan's Saugatuck Center for the Arts.

    Mr. Kiefer began working with Customs and Border Protection in 2003, during the George W. Bush administration, and left late into Barack Obama's second term.

    When migrants are apprehended, Daniel Hernandez, a Border Patrol spokesman, said agents confiscate items migrants carry with them, much like when a person is admitted to jail. Even as the immigration debate has reignited under President Trump, Mr. Hernandez said that little has changed with regard to what undocumented migrants are allowed to keep when stopped by agents.

    Items are cataloged, stored and, later, returned, he said. But possessions are often left behind and end up in the trash: soiled clothing, books, wallets and photographs. Other items are seized, including food, lighters, knives and anything deemed dangerous.

    In an interview, Mr. Kiefer, who lives in Ajo, Ariz., discussed several photographs he took of confiscated items. His comments have been condensed for clarity.

    'Tuny,' 2014

    Mr. Kiefer first came across the confiscated items when he was rummaging through trash looking for packaged food to donate to a food bank. There, he found cans of tuna fish, a rich source of protein and easy to carry. "Perfectly good food was being thrown away," he said. "The agents didn't like seeing food thrown away either. So I started to collect it. Then I started seeing other things, like Bibles and toys and rosaries. It was so heartbreaking. I couldn't let those things remain in the trash."

    'Oral Hygiene,' 2013

    "The first thing that surprised me was seeing all the toothbrushes," Mr. Kiefer said. "There were dozens and dozens of them in the trash. I wasn't thinking of collecting them in memoriam. I was thinking they should not go in the landfill. I found Swiss Army knives. Combs. I found half full bottles of water. That was annoying. I had to empty them out. But that was my job."

    'Nuevo Testamentos,' 2013

    "I've never done a complete inventory, but I have 15 to 20 of them," Mr. Kiefer said of the Bibles he collected. "There were these pocket-size New Testament Gideons Bibles that came out of Tennessee. They were printed in Spanish. So I called the company in Tennessee and explained that I live near the border and wanted to know more about them. I was curious about how these were distributed and who they went to. The woman I talked to thought I was doing some kind of investigative report. She never told me."

    'Billfolds and Wallets,' 2013

    "They'd still have their identification in the wallet," Mr. Kiefer said of the many billfolds and wallets he found in the trash. "And credit cards. It was just cruel. They were safe with me, but it didn't seem right that the janitor could find this. These should be secure."

    'Gloves,' 2013

    "When people see this, they reference the Holocaust Museum," Mr. Kiefer explained, speaking of the thousands of shoes confiscated at concentration camps that are on display at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. "I don't feel comfortable talking about that."

    'Soap,' 2013

    "The migrants would be required to give up their backpacks," he said. "The agents would go through them and toss out what they could. Agents found soap in the backpacks. It didn't even dawn on me to collect soap. I mean, they couldn't even have their own soap."

    'Condoms' 2014; 'Contraceptives,' 2013

    All types of birth control were confiscated at the border, Mr. Kiefer said. He readily spotted packaged condoms, but he said birth control pills were harder to identify because the packaging was less obvious to him. "I have packages of over-the-counter medicine," he said. "I had to figure this out along the way."

    'Toy Car Pile-Up,' 2016

    Mr. Kiefer moved to Ajo, Ariz., in 2001, which is 10 miles from the Border Patrol center in Why. There, he could afford to own his own home and pursue his love of photography. "I have a studio where I store everything in boxes, hundreds of boxes," he said. He was struck by the number of toys he found in trash bags, including a Curious George stuffed animal, dolls and dozens of metal cars. "I wanted to follow in the footsteps of Walker Evans and Robert Frank," he said, referring to famous photographers who documented American life. "I wanted to photograph America."

    Laura M. Holson is an award-winning feature writer from New York. She joined The Times in 1998 and has written about Hollywood, Wall Street and Silicon Valley. A movie producer once held a butter knife to her neck.



    14)  820 Children Under 6 in Public Housing Tested High for Lead

    By Luis Ferré-Sadurní,  July 1, 2018

    The Grant Houses in Harlem, one of scores of developments run by the New York City Housing Authority where lead paint has been found in apartments.CreditJoshua Bright for The New York Times


    Even though the New York City Housing Authority has been under a microscope for flouting lead-paint safety regulations for years, the exact number of children residing in public housing poisoned by lead was never disclosed.

    Over the weekend, the city department of health offered a number: It said that 820 children younger than 6 were found to have elevated levels of lead in their blood between 2012 and 2016.

    The children tested positive for lead levels of 5 to 9 micrograms per deciliter, the minimum amount for which the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that localities intervene. The health department sent "detailed letters" alerting the children's parents and health care providers and offering guidance on how to reduce exposure, said Olivia Lapeyrolerie, a spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio.

    But the health department did not inspect apartments the children lived in because the city policy — which city officials say follows federal recommendations — requires a lead level of 10 micrograms per deciliter before an apartment would be inspected and Nycha, as the housing authority is known, would be notified.

    The number of cases, first reported by The New York Daily News, is significantly larger than noted by the United States attorney last month in a civil complaint filed against Nycha after a yearslong investigation that accused it of mismanagement and malfeasance.

    Federal prosecutors said that at least 19 children were found to have been exposed to deteriorated lead paint in their Nycha apartments. But they cautioned that "this number understates the true extent of the harm likely caused by Nycha's violations."

    Ms. Lapeyrolerie said "the city has never said that the 19 were the entire universe of Nycha with lead exposure."

    The new number expands the extent of lead paint exposure in New York City's public housing complexes after the housing authority admitted in a consent decree that there was lead paint inside apartments in at least 92 of its 325 housing developments. The authority also admitted that it failed to inspect for lead paint hazards from at least 2012 to 2016 and to ensure that its staff was trained to safely remediate the hazard.

    As part of the consent decree, the authority is awaiting a court-appointed monitor who will ensure the agency's compliance with regulations and oversee an infusion of at least $2 billion in operational and capital funds from the city.

    The higher number outraged some officials, including the city comptroller, Scott M. Stringer, who said in a statement that his office would investigate "the city's procedures for addressing lead poisoning hazards to protect the health of all children."

    "It is horrifying that the department of health kept this information under wraps and it is outrageous that the city continues to justify and minimize this scandal," Mr. Stringer said.

    In response, Ms. Lapeyrolerie said that the health department always abided by federal guidelines.

    Lead can cause devastating harm in children, stunting their intellectual growth and affecting cardiovascular, hormone and immune systems.

    A health department official said the city has recently changed its policy and has begun inspecting all Nycha apartments where children under 18 years old have been found with a lead level of 5 micrograms per deciliter or more. And, on Sunday, the city said it would expand that policy citywide by the end of the year.

    "We expect to reach thousands of children this way," said Corinne Schiff, the deputy commissioner of environmental health at the health department.

    The data released by city officials also showed that the number of children under age 6 in public housing with elevated blood levels has steadily decreased from 229 in 2012 to 114 in 2016. Health officials said the five-year figure of 820 represents primarily individual children rather than the same children being tested year after year. Close to one-third of the 400,000 residents living in public housing are children.

    Citywide, childhood lead poisoning has decreased by 87 percent from 37,344 cases in 2005 to 4,928 in 2016.

    Dr. Philip Landrigan, a professor of preventive medicine and pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said new research has shown that lead is toxic even at low levels.

    "The city is responding to new information," Dr. Landrigan said. "I think the city is trying to do the right thing here."




































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