Immigrant families won't be separated anymore, thanks to a new order from President Trump, but that doesn't mean families will be reunited. Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday ending the practice of taking children away from parents who enter the U.S. illegally. Already, though, more than 2,000 children have been separated, according to the government, and advocates and attorneys for them fear they will never see their parents again. Despite Trump's order, there is no clear, publicly articulated plan to reunite families who are already detained. Parents are held in facilities near the border like McAllen, Texas, while their children are sent to foster-care homes as far as New York, Illinois, and Michigan. While the adults wait to be deported, their advocates must navigate multiple federal agencies to locate their children.
The Rhode Island Senate has passed a bill that would require presidential and vice presidential candidates to file five years' worth of tax returns in order to appear on the state's ballots. The Senate voted 33-3 to pass the measure. A House version has been held in a committee. Senate spokesman Greg Pare says if the bill becomes law, President Donald Trump wouldn't appear on a future ballot unless he filed his returns. read more
The latest cuts to the division that was once SolarCity -- a sales and installation company founded by two cousins of Tesla CEO Elon Musk -- include closing about a dozen installation facilities, according to internal company documents, and ending a retail partnership with Home Depot that the current and former employees said generated about half of its sales. read more
A closely divided Supreme Court upended the nation's Internet marketplace Thursday, ruling that states can collect sales taxes from most online retailers. The decision, which overturns an earlier Supreme Court precedent, will boost state revenues at the expense of consumers and sellers who have avoided sales taxes in the past. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the 5-4 decision, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch. Chief Justice John Roberts dissented, saying the decision should be left to Congress, and was joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. read more
The effort to pass a strong open internet law in California was killed off Wednesday morning by a handful of state legislators in a process described by many net neutrality advocates as corrupt and undemocratic. Four Democrats and four Republicans voted in favor of the weakening amendments, which offer gaping loopholes through which internet service providers could block web traffic and excise exorbitant fees. Rather than watch his bill get mutilated, State Senator Scott Wiener attempted to withdraw SB 822 entirely. The committee passed it anyway.
Less than a year after deadly clashes at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., the main organizer has gained federal approval for another demonstration -- across the street from the White House. The National Park Service announced Wednesday it had approved the "white civil rights" rally for Lafayette Square the weekend of Aug. 11-12. That is the anniversary of the "Unite the Right" protest, which sparked a national furor with its blatant displays of racism. ... The Charlottesville rally -- organized to protest the removal of Confederate monuments -- was one of the largest U.S. gatherings of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other extremist groups in more than a decade. read more
A United Nations report condemning entrenched poverty in the United States is a "misleading and politically motivated" document about "the wealthiest and freest country in the world," according to the Trump administration's ambassador to the world body ... The U.N. report also faulted the Trump administration for pursuing policies it said would exacerbate U.S. poverty ... "It is patently ridiculous for the United Nations to examine poverty in America," Haley wrote in a letter to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Thursday. "In our country, the President, Members of Congress, Governors, Mayors, and City Council members actively engage on poverty issues every day. Compare that to the many countries around the world, whose governments knowingly abuse human rights and cause pain and suffering." read more
The view that the Obama administration failed to adequately piece together intelligence about the Russian campaign and develop a forceful response has clearly gained traction with the intelligence committee. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the ranking Democrat on the panel, said in an opening statement that "we were caught flat-footed at the outset and our collective response was inadequate to meet Russia's escalation."
Sara Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, is charged with fraud and breach of trust over having ordered nearly $100,000 worth of food to be catered from pricey restaurants between 2010 and 2013. Prosecutors say she had the government pick up the tab -- and falsely claimed there wasn't a cook at the residence. read more
The business of housing, transporting and watching over migrant children detained along the southwest border is not a multimillion-dollar business. It's a billion-dollar one. The nonprofit Southwest Key Programs has won at least $955 million in federal contracts since 2015 to run shelters and provide other services to immigrant children in federal custody. Its shelter for migrant boys at a former Walmart Supercenter in South Texas has been the focus of nationwide scrutiny, but Southwest Key is but one player in the lucrative, secretive world of the migrant-shelter business.
As she boarded a plane at Joint Base Andrews on her way to McAllen, Texas, to visit a detention center holding immigrant children separated from their parents, Melania Trump wore a jacket with the words "I Really Don't Care, Do You?" on the back. The $39 jacket was taken off before she arrived in Texas, then she put it back on again upon her return to Washington D.C. Melania Trump's communications director Stephanie Grisham absurdly claimed, "It's a jacket. There was no hidden message." read more
Koko -- the gorilla known for her extraordinary mastery of sign language, and as the primary ambassador for her endangered species -- passed away yesterday morning in her sleep at the age of 46. Koko touched the lives of millions as an ambassador for all gorillas and an icon for interspecies communication and empathy. She was beloved and will be deeply missed. Koko, a western lowland gorilla, was born Hanabi-ko (Japanese for "Fireworks Child") on July 4, 1971 at the San Francisco Zoo. Dr. Francine "Penny" Patterson began working with Koko the next year, famously teaching her sign language. Dr. Patterson and Dr. Ronald Cohn moved Koko and the project to Stanford in 1974 and went on to establish The Gorilla Foundation. While at Stanford the project expanded to include a second western lowland gorilla, Michael. In 1979 Koko and The Gorilla Foundation moved to the Santa Cruz Mountains where Ndume joined them as a fellow ambassador for their species. read more
Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Charles Krauthammer has died, The Washington Post confirmed Thursday. He was 68. The announcement came nearly two weeks after the columnist and Fox News personality revealed in a Washington Post column that he only had weeks left to live. For most of the last year, he wrote, he'd been recovering from surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in his abdomen. Though the procedure was initially thought to be successful, the cancer returned and began spreading rapidly. "This is the final verdict," he wrote. "My fight is over."
Trump administration officials say they have no clear plan yet on how to reunite the thousands of children separated from their families at the border since the implementation of a zero-tolerance policy in which anyone caught entering the U.S. illegally is criminally prosecuted. "This policy is relatively new," said Steven Wagner, an acting assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services "We're still working through the experience of reunifying kids with their parents after adjudication." Lawyer Efren Olivares and his team with the Texas Civil Rights Project frantically scribble down children's names, birthdates and other details from handcuffed men and women waiting for court to begin. There are sometimes 80 of them in the same hearing. "If we don't get that information, then there's no way of knowing that child was separated," Olivares said. "No one else but the government will know that the separation happened if we don't document it there."
Staff working on the behalf of the Office of Refugee Resettlement are routinely drugging detained child migrants with psychotropics without their parents' consent, according to legal filings. Trump administration officials have repeatedly insisted that the family separation policy they implemented over the last six weeks is humane. But the ongoing lawsuit over the Flores agreement, a 1997 settlement that partly governs the detention of child migrants that the White House hopes to overturn, alleges a litany of wrongdoings at the ORR-contracted facilities. The drugging allegations are among the most disturbing. One child cited in the lawsuit reported taking up to nine pills in the morning and another seven in the evening, without knowing what the medication was.