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HeadlinesJune 26, 2019

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DHS Moves 100 Children Back to Texas Border Patrol Station Deemed Unsafe and “Inhumane”

Jun 26, 2019

The Department of Homeland Security has moved 100 migrant children back to a Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas, where a recent visit from lawyers revealed that children of all ages have been locked up for weeks without adequate food, water, sanitation or medical care, with older children having to care for the younger ones. Around 300 children were removed from the facility Monday following widespread outrage over the reports.

Meanwhile, the acting head of Customs and Border Protection, John Sanders, announced he is stepping down, after just two months in the position. Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Mark Morgan is set to replace Sanders. Morgan, an immigration hard-liner, previously said in a Fox News interview that when he looked into the eyes of detained migrant children, he saw a “soon-to-be MS-13 gang member.” All top positions in Homeland Security agencies responsible for enforcing immigration policy are held by “acting” officials, meaning they were not approved by the Senate, as the Constitution requires. We’ll have more on this after headlines.

House Passes Contentious $4.5 Billion Emergency Border Bill

Jun 26, 2019

A divided House approved a contentious $4.5 billion emergency funding package to address the border crisis Tuesday, under growing pressure to address the Trump administration’s inhumane treatment of migrants. The bill passed largely along party lines, with some progressive Democrats voting in favor after negotiating to include provisions including new health and safety standards for jailed migrants. Four Democrats voted against the bill: Congressmembers Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib. Last week, they issued a statement condemning the bill and calling for the abolition of ICE. Congressmember Omar tweeted, “We should not be giving one more dollar to support this President’s deportation force that openly commits human rights abuses and refuses to be held accountable to the American people. Kids and families can’t continue to die & be terrorized.”

The Senate is slated to consider its own border funding measure this week, including President Trump’s original request for more than a billion dollars for Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“Defund Hate Campaign” Activists Call for Action on Migrant Deaths and Detention

Jun 26, 2019

Meanwhile, activists from the Defund Hate Campaign gathered in the Senate Rotunda Tuesday to remember migrants who have died while in the custody of the U.S. government and to call for funding cuts for ICE and CBP.

Trump Threatens to “Obliterate” Iran as Bipartisan Reps Seek to Avoid Unauthorized Strikes

Jun 26, 2019

President Trump threatened Tuesday to “obliterate” parts of Iran if it attacked “anything American.” The message, delivered via tweet, followed Iranian President Hassan Rouhani saying the White House was “mentally handicapped,” following news of new U.S. sanctions.

Meanwhile, Iran said it would speed up enrichment of uranium, pulling themselves further out of the Iran nuclear deal as a Thursday deadline given to European leaders to take more decisive action to protect the agreement approaches. The U.S. pulled out of the deal last year.

Back in the U.S., Democratic Congressmember Ro Khanna and Republican Matt Gaetz unveiled Tuesday an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act which would enshrine the need for congressional authorization before any military action can be taken against Iran.

Robert Mueller to Testify Before House in July

Jun 26, 2019

Former special counsel Robert Mueller is set to appear for a public testimony before the House on July 17. House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff and Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler said in a joint statement that Mueller agreed to testify after they issued subpoenas Tuesday. Mueller’s long-anticipated report found that the Trump campaign did not collude with Russia during the 2016 presidential elections, but did not come to any conclusions regarding possible obstruction of justice. Trump responded to the news via tweet: “Presidential Harassment!”

Tiffany Cabán Leading Queens DA Race

Jun 26, 2019

In New York City, Tiffany Cabán appears poised for victory in the Queens district attorney Democratic primary race. Cabán, a 31-year-old queer Latina public defender, would become the first woman to hold the post. She ran on ending cash bail, stopping the prosecution of low-level offenses, decriminalizing sex work, and going after bad landlords, cops and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Tiffany Cabán claimed victory last night in Queens.

Tiffany Cabán: “When we started this thing, they said I was too young. They said I didn’t look like a district attorney. They said we could not build a movement from the grassroots. They said we could not win. But we did it, y’all.”

Cabán holds a lead of just over 1,000 votes with 99% of precincts reporting, but her main opponent, Queens borough president and establishment candidate Melinda Katz says she will not concede without a recount and with over 3,000 absentee ballots remaining to be counted.
Cabán’s apparent win comes exactly one year after Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won the 2018 Democratic primary, toppling Joe Crowley—until then one of the most powerful Democrats in the House. Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Cabán in the race and tweeted Tuesday night as results rolled in, “We meet a machine with a movement.” Click here to see our recent interview with Tiffany Cabán.

U.S. and N. Korea in Talks for Third Summit

Jun 26, 2019

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said today North Korean and U.S. officials are holding “behind-the-scenes talks” in preparation for a third summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. The two heads of state last met in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February, but those talks fell apart after Trump walked away without making a deal. Although U.S. and North Korean leadership have hit a wall over the issue of sanctions relief—which North Korea says is a necessary condition for any denuclearization deal—Trump and Kim recently exchanged personal letters, which appeared to indicate a commitment to renewing talks.

Pompeo Says U.S. Hoping for a Peace Deal and Ready to Pull Out Troops in Afghanistan

Jun 26, 2019

The U.S. military reported two U.S. soldiers were killed in eastern Afghanistan today, one day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a surprise visit to Kabul. Pompeo said the U.S. is prepared to withdraw its approximately 14,000 troops from Afghanistan, but says there is no timeline for such a move, and said the U.S. hoped for a peace deal by September 1, ahead of upcoming presidential elections in Afghanistan. Pompeo’s visit came days before a new round of talks between the U.S. and the Taliban. The talks have not included the Afghan government, with which the Taliban refuses to negotiate.

Spanish Supreme Court Ups Conviction of Men Who Raped and Filmed Teenager in 2016

Jun 26, 2019

Spain’s highest court convicted five men who go by the collective nickname “the Wolf Pack” for the rape of a teenage girl at Pamplona’s bull-running festival in 2016, which they filmed on their cellphones. The ruling, which carries a 15 year prison sentence, overturns an earlier, much less severe conviction of “sexual abuse,” which triggered widespread outrage and mass protests around the country.

Illinois Legalizes Marijuana, Paving Way for Expungement of Nearly 800,000 Cases

Jun 26, 2019

Back in the U.S., Illinois has become the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana, after Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill Tuesday allowing for the possession and purchase of small amounts of the drug. The legislation will pardon anyone with a nonviolent marijuana conviction under 30 grams. Individuals can petition the court to vacate convictions that exceed 30 grams. Nearly 800,000 marijuana-related cases could be expunged thanks to the new law. The bill also sets up a program to invest in communities most affected by the war on drugs. Illinois is the first state to both legalize marijuana and set up a marketplace through the state Legislature. The law will go into effect on the first day of 2020.

San Francisco Set to Ban E-Cigarettes

Jun 26, 2019

San Francisco is set to become the first U.S. city to ban the sale of e-cigarettes. City officials unanimously voted in favor of the ban Tuesday, and Mayor London Breed has indicated she will sign off on it. The ban also applies to flavored tobacco products. Proponents of the bill say that e-cigarettes have not been properly assessed by the Food and Drug Administration for safety. The spread of vaping among young people in recent years has raised concerns about the long-term health effects of the products. Opponents of the bill say the ban could cause people to turn back to conventional cigarettes. Juul, the most popular producer of e-cigarettes, is headquartered in San Francisco.


#WayfairWalkOut Protests Furniture Retailer’s Participation in Migrant Detention

Jun 26, 2019

Employees of online home goods retailer Wayfair in Boston are walking out of work today to protest the company selling furniture to government contractor BCFS for its new migrant prison in Carrizo Springs, Texas. Last week, over 500 employees signed on to a letter demanding Wayfair stop working with the government in the “detention and mistreatment” of migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. They wrote, “We believe that the current actions of the United States and their contractors at the southern border do not represent an ethical partnership Wayfair should choose to be a part of.” Wayfair rejected the employees’ demand. Immigration rights and legal aid group RAICES applauded the action, writing, “No one who works for a company profiting from these camps should be standing idly by as children are dying. This takes a village.”

DOJ Alleges Rep. Duncan Hunter Used Campaign Money to Fund Multiple Affairs

Jun 26, 2019

The Justice Department is alleging that California Congressmember Duncan Hunter used campaign money to fund expenses related to at least five extramarital affairs. Court filings show that Hunter used the money to pay for hotel rooms, car services and bar tabs for relationships with congressional aides and lobbyists. Hunter and his wife were indicted last year after they allegedly spent a quarter of a million dollars of campaign funds on personal expenses including vacations and their children’s tuition. Hunter’s wife pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors earlier this month. Hunter’s trial is set to be held in September.

Hunter was one of the first members of Congress to endorse Trump for president in 2016. More recently, he came to the defense of accused war criminal Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, who is currently on trial for allegedly shooting unarmed Iraqi civilians and killing a wounded captive teenage combatant. Hunter defended Gallagher by saying he and his unit probably killed “hundreds of civilians” while serving in Iraq in 2004.

2020 Democratic Primary Debate Kicks Off as Activists Demand a Focus on Climate Change

Jun 26, 2019

And the first of a two-night-long Democratic primary debate kicks off in Miami, Florida, tonight. Ten candidates are set to take the stage each night. In order to qualify, candidates must either earn 1% support in at least three qualifying polls or gather support from 65,000 unique donors.

In Washington, D.C., climate activists from Sunrise Movement protested the DNC’s refusal to host a climate change-centered primary debate, camping out in front of DNC headquarters overnight.

Joshua Álvarez: “Become the model for a global, large nation and show to the rest of the world that it can be done, that we can transform our economy and our society into 100% renewable energy. And we can do it within the next 10 years, if the DNC has the guts to allow us to have a climate debate, because we need a president in the 2020 elections to have the courage to have a progressive and bold agenda.”

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