• June 2018 TUSD Desegregation update from Latin@ Plaintiff representative

    Sylvia Campoy will be a guest on Wake Up Tucson, 1030-KVOI, this Wednesday, June 20th, at 8am to discuss the issues she addresses and the speak-out event on Thursday mentioned in this article.

  • Latino Students Plaintiff responds to TUSD Supt Trujillo over latest Deseg court filings attacking Latinos

    Last week on June 14th, 2018, TUSD Superintendent Gabriel Trujillo was on the Bill Buckmaster Show and was asked why TUSD is filing to dismiss the Latino Plaintiffs (Mendoza) from the over four-decades-old Desegregation Case. A short audio excerpt from the show is included below.

    Trujillo responds that this is not true, but rather TUSD “has complied with ALL provisions of the Unitary Status Plan [aka “Deseg Order”] as it pertains to the Mexican American student portion.”

    Trujillo goes on to say that this is “a radically different statement than saying ‘get rid of the plaintiff representative.’” Trujillo also goes on to agree with TUSD Board President Mark Stegeman’s claim that TUSD will be off of this Deseg Order within 4 years and explains how this will occur; that audio excerpt is also included in the video above for your convenience. read more

  • New studies add evidence to a possible link between Alzheimer’s and herpesvirus

    Read more of this story here from Latest Headlines | Science News by Leah Rosenbaum.

    Researchers saw higher levels of herpesvirus in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, which may contribute to plaque formation.
  • Seismic shift: Suns fans, executives hopeful selection of Ayton will change team’s fortunes

    Read more of this story here from Cronkite News RSS Feed by Cronkite News RSS Feed.

    Jordan Kaye

    Thursday, June 21, 2018

    Seismic shift: Suns fans, executives hopeful selection of Ayton will change team’s fortunes

    PHOENIX -- The jumbotron and screens the Suns set up for their draft party Thursday flipped to ESPN. The fans who filled up about three-quarters of Talking Stick Resort Arena’s lower bowl kept quiet. They didn’t move as the pre-draft montage flipped from Duke’s Marvin Bagley to Real Madrid’s Luka Doncic to Michigan State forward Jaren Jackson Jr. They collectively held their applause until they saw Arizona center Deandre Ayton. And when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called Ayton’s name first overall, despite the fact that Ayton had been linked to the Suns for weeks, fans let loose in jubilation. Decked out in the bright orange shirts the Suns handed out which read “Time to Rise,” the arena broke out in screams that would rival an NBA Finals victory. Without a product on the floor, people, for the first time in a long time, were excited about Suns basketball. “I think the Suns just turned basketball around,” said fan Merrill Matthews, who met with a Suns ticket rep about possibly buying tickets. “Everyone should be excited. Suns basketball is hot like it was when I moved out here 10 years ago.” Just a year after fans were reminded of the Suns’ illustrious history during their 50th anniversary celebration, a fanbase used to winning snapped back to attention after their team finished the 2017-18 season with the worst record in the NBA. Over the last few seasons, one could have confused Talking Stick Resort Arena for a library. With poor attendance, it was quiet. The product was bad. Fans weren’t enthused. On Thursday, though, thousands packed into the arena to watch a TV screen. Suns’ President Jason Rowley said the team’s plan when it got the No. 1 pick was to appeal to fans like Matthews. He said it didn’t matter whether they were selling tickets to longtime season-ticket holders or to those who never had them. The No. 1 pick is a fresh start. “The door’s always open and come on back,” Rowley said in an appearance at a Boys and Girls Club recently. “It definitely moved the needle on the business side.” Basketball fan Matthews wasn’t there to watch the Suns select Ayton. Heck, he was hardly there for the Suns, having come from Philadelphia as a 76ers fan. Instead he was there for the No. 1 pick. As a basketball fan who hails from one of the best basketball cities in Philadelphia, Matthews said that the No. 1 pick “is always a big thing.” With their second pick in the first-round, Phoenix traded away its 16th-overall pick, Zhaire Smith, and the 2021 unprotected Miami Heat pick that they held for Villanova’s Mikal Bridges. Matthews wasn’t too happy that the Suns stole Bridges away from his team. At least he can see him in person now. Connect with us on Facebook.
  • Immigration reform stalls in House, as GOP-backed plan is shot down

    Read more of this story here from Cronkite News RSS Feed by Cronkite News RSS Feed.

    Pat Poblete

    Thursday, June 21, 2018

    Immigration reform stalls in House, as GOP-backed plan is shot down

    WASHINGTON - Some conservative House Republicans bucked their party's leaders Thursday and joined Democrats to kill a GOP-backed immigration reform bill, dimming chances that any reform bill will pass the House. After the Securing America's Future Act failed on a 193-231 vote, House leaders quickly pulled back a second, more-moderate measure and called a late afternoon meeting with members of their caucus. A vote on the second, so-called compromise, bill could come Friday but some members leaving the caucus meeting Thursday told reporters that they think it will take longer to reach any sort of agreement. Both the first bill, sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, and the compromise bill met the "four pillars" that President Donald Trump has said must be included in any immigration reform bill for him to sign it. Those include increasing border security, cutting the diversity visa lottery, ending family reunification-based migration and extending protections for some recipients DACA, the program that deferred deportation of young immigrants who were brought this country illegally as children. Democrats saw the Goodlatte bill as too harsh, and all 190 voted against it Thursday, drawing charges from Trump that they "say no to everything. They're obstructionists." But the fatal blow to the Goodlatte bill came from 41 Republicans - including two from Arizona. Many of the Republicans, including some members of the conservative Freedom Caucus, were apparently upset that the bill included protection for DACA recipients. "Enacting amnesty in 1986 didn't result in increased border security or any of the other enforcement promises made when leg (legislation) was enacted that gave amnesty to 2.7M (million) people," said Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Prescott, in a tweet Thursday evening. "I oppose amnesty in all forms & will continue to fight & vote against any legislation that includes amnesty," said Gosar, who was joined by Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert, in voting against the bill. The other Republican members of Arizona's House delegation - Martha McSally of Tucson, Debbie Lesko of Peoria and David Schweikert of Fountain Hills - were among the 99 co-sponsors of the bill and all voted for it Thursday. "I strongly support passage of this legislation as the first significant proposal to solve these very serious issues that continue to impact communities in Arizona and the rest of the country," McSally said during the hours of floor debate on the bill. Lesko, called the Goodlatte bill "vital legislation for the state of Arizona." "My constituents back home know all too well how desperately we need our border secured,"ÿshe said on the House floor. Thursday's vote should have been a victory for Republicans, who last week agreed to take up the two measures. That agreement headed off a bipartisan maneuver, a so-called "discharge petition," that would have forced a series of votes on four bills, from both sides of the aisle. That petition was two signatures shy of the 218 needed to force a vote when House Speaker Paul Ryan convinced moderates members to go along with the two GOP-backed bills instead. But even before the first vote Thursday, Ryan did not sound optimistic about the chances that either of the bills could pass. "Our goal was to prevent a discharge petition," Ryan said in a morning news conference. "But a lot of our members want to be able to express themselves by voting for the policies which they like, so that they can express their votes on the floor." Ryan noted that even if the House can pass a bill that is acceptable to the president, it still has to get through the Senate, where Democrats are sure to have the 41 votes to extend debate and talk the bill to death. And even some Republicans have expressed reservations about the House bills. "Even if we get something out of here, you need nine (Senate) Democrats to stop trying to stop things ... and I don't see that happening," Ryan said.
  • As expected, Suns use first-ever NBA first pick on Arizona’s Ayton

    Read more of this story here from Cronkite News RSS Feed by Cronkite News RSS Feed.

    Bryan Pietsch

    Thursday, June 21, 2018

    As expected, Suns use first-ever NBA first pick on Arizona’s Ayton

    BROOKLYN, N.Y. - For the first time in franchise history, the Phoenix Suns had the first pick at the NBA draft Thursday and they looked close to home, choosing the University of Arizona forward Deandre Ayton. The choice came as no surprise to analysts who called it "the worst-kept secret" this year, to the characteristically boisterous crowd at Barclays Center - or to Ayton, who said after his only workout with the Suns, "I know I'm going No. 1," according to a report by ESPN. Despite Ayton's confidence heading into the draft, he said he was nervous before the Suns' pick was announced Thursday evening. He said he asked his mom repeatedly while they were seated in front of the stage if she thought he would be the first pick. "Having my name called to be the first pick for the Phoenix Suns was mind-blowing," Ayton said. "I just got up there and enjoyed the moment, and I saw the reaction on my mom's face. It was just priceless." Ayton, who played at Hillcrest Prep Academy in Phoenix, averaged 20.1 points per game last year for the Arizona Wildcats, earning him Pac-12 Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors in his only season in college basketball before declaring for the draft. The 7-foot-1-inch athlete said Thursday that he looks forward to the possibility of playing with the Suns' Devin Booker. Ayton said the two could form a power duo he called "Shaq and Kobe 2.0," referring to former Los Angeles Lakers teammates Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. [caption id="attachment_92623" align="alignleft" width="350"] NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, holding ball, poses with the expected top picks in Thursday's NBA draft, before selections began at Barclays Center. (Photo by Bryan Pietsch/Cronkite News)[/caption] "Having a guard like Devin Booker, who can really score the ball and me being a big man who can really pick-and-pop, very versatile, that's very dangerous," Ayton said. But Ayton is used to playing with other skilled athletes: At Hillcrest Prep, he briefly played with Marvin Bagley III, a Duke University player who went No. 2 in the draft behind Ayton. Bagley, a Tempe native, was selected by the Sacramento Kings. Ayton described growing up with Bagley and then being drafted right before him as "crazy." "We've been talking about it through high school, and now here we are," Ayton said. "It's breathtaking that my name was called ... and then his name was called. It's just a dream." Ayton, a native of the Bahamas, wore Jamaican and Nigerian flags inside his suit jacket as a tribute to his parents. He said that off the court, his dream is to start his own brand. He recently signed with Puma, which he said is the "main brand" in the Bahamas because it's more affordable than Nike or Adidas. "(I grew) up around that brand, I'm used to that brand," Ayton said. "I want to start my own thing. I want to be dominant in my own brand, and I want to have my own signature shoe one day to make it global." The Suns also had the 16th pick, which they used to choose Texas Tech freshman Zhaire Smith, who they immediately traded to the Philadelphia 76ers for Mikal Bridges, who had been selected from Villanova with the 10th pick.
  • Which Side Are You On?

    Read more of this story here from Truthdig RSS by Sonali Kolhatkar.

    A powerful song written by the wife of a union organizer in 1931, popularized by the radical folk singer Pete Seeger and later adapted by the civil rights movement, perfectly expresses the moral question of our particular political moment: “Which Side Are You On?” I hear the refrain of that song in my mind each time I read about a fresh new horror in the ongoing crisis of forced separation of undocumented immigrant families by President Donald Trump’s administration. The crisis has been building for months, but its hideous extent has only recently has come to light. Trump’s executive order calling for indefinite detention of whole families as a panacea for his choice to separate children from their parents is more of the same cruelty.

    So many figures in the Trump administration have in recent days exposed their stone-faced callousness even as heartbreaking photos of crying children and the stories behind them have gripped the nation. Among them is Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who gave a disastrous press conference on Monday. Unable to address valid questions from the press about why children were being mentally tortured en masse through separation from their parents, she resorted to technicalities, obfuscations and feigned ignorance.

    When a reporter played the gut-wrenching audio ProPublica said was of Central American kids aged 4 to 10 wailing for their parents at a detention center in Texas, Nielsen ignored the tape and eventually said, “I think that they reflect the focus of those who post such pictures and narratives.” In other words, Nielsen made it eminently clear which side she was on: the opposite of those who call out the torture of innocent children.

    The Root rightly distinguished Nielsen as having beaten out press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders for the title of “Most Hated Person in Trump’s White House” with her cold-blooded performance, writing, “Must be nice to insert robotic, formulaic answers to human questions about humanity.”

    Right up there with Nielsen is the man who in May first formally announced the U.S. policy of family separation: Attorney General Jeff Sessions. I wrote in an earlier column about his deliberately contradictory accusations that people were trafficking their own children. Asked whether the conditions in which undocumented children were being held was reminiscent of Nazi Germany, Sessions, instead of vehemently denouncing the comparison, decided to pick up on a nuanced difference between the two, saying that, “In Nazi Germany, they were keeping the Jews from leaving the country.” As Vox’s Zack Beauchamp wrote,“Whether the policy is literally identical to what the Nazis did is almost beside the point. If you need to explain why you aren’t like Hitler, you’ve already lost.” Sessions has effectively failed to assert that he is not on the side of Nazis.

    In a speech to law enforcement officers last week, Sessions quoted from the Bible, Romans 13, saying it was important “to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes.” He added, “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent and fair application of the law is in itself a good and moral thing, and that protects the weak and protects the lawful.” Except that Sessions invoked a part of the Bible that had been used to justify slavery in the South. In doing so, he made it clear which side he was on: that of the slave owners rather than the enslaved.

    Sessions’ own church has put him on notice. Hundreds of clergy from the United Methodist Church, of which he is a member, wrote a strongly worded letter in which they called him out for his “harmful actions” and “the damage he is currently causing to immigrants, particularly children and families.” The signatories issued a set of serious “church charges” against him that include child abuse, immorality and racial discrimination. In doing so these Methodist church members and clergy made it very clear that they were on the side of vulnerable undocumented children.

    If there was any doubt that the Trump administration is creating its own unique standards of morality, recent revelations about the so-called White House Bible Study group eviscerate them. The group’s weekly meetings are apparently attended by Nielsen, Sessions, Vice President Mike Pence and others, and are administered by a man named Ralph Drollinger of Capitol Ministries. Documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests reveal that Drollinger’s interpretation of the Bible includes justifying corporal punishment of children and is virulently anti-immigrant. One of his tenets apparently is, “God’s Word says He frowns on illegal immigrants—just like He says He frowns on children ruling the roost!”

    If Drollinger has influenced top Trump officials using the garbage logic of fundamentalist Christianity, it is presidential adviser Stephen Miller who has pushed the policy-level idea that using undocumented children as political pawns is a useful deterrent against immigration. “It was a simple decision by the administration to have a zero tolerance policy for illegal entry, period,” said Miller.”The message is that no one is exempt from immigration law.” Perhaps knowing that a recording of Miller saying these words would be used to further excoriate him and his president, the White House protested against The New York Times publishing the audio of Miller’s interview, and the paper complied. After all, Miller was the force behind the Muslim ban, and once famously minimized the Statue of Liberty’s pro-immigrant etchings. There is good reason why the 32-year-old has been labeled “the White House’s resident troll.” Like Nielsen and Sessions, Miller has made it eminently clear, even from behind the scenes, that he is on the side of child abusers.

    As for Trump himself, it is not relevant any more to ask which side the president is on. Trump is a side unto himself. Just as we may have asked whether one is on the side of Nazis or the anti-fascists, the slave-owning South or the abolitionist North, the KKK or the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, we ought to ask today whether one is on the side of Trump or the resistance to Trumpism. In one of his latest tweets dehumanizing immigrants, the president said, “Democrats … want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13.” The word “infest” deliberately invokes insects, pests and disease, and echoes what he said in his weekly address just days earlier that “MS-13 gang members are truly, and you’ve heard me say it, animals.” Last month, the White House even used the term “animals” in a written press release after Trump said it during a meeting. It matters little that the children and parents being separated from one another today have nothing to do with the MS-13 gang. It only matters to Trump that in the minds of his fanatical supporters the two disparate communities are conflated.

    So which side are Americans on? On the side of Trump and his child abusers or on the other side?

    So far, many Democrats and some Republicans are locating their humanity and balking at the images and sounds of children suffering. But not nearly enough lawmakers are signing on to the Keep Families Together Act to legislatively end the practice of family separation. Even if Trump would most likely veto any such bill were it to pass Congress, it is critical for all members to articulate which side they are on, and it is incumbent on us as their constituents to demand they pick a side—and pick the right one.

    It is not acceptable to let the administration set the agenda and, as Trump’s new executive order stipulates, normalize the locking up of whole families together, indefinitely, as a solution to locking up parents separately from their children.

    Americans involved in the machinery of government child abuse also ought to ask themselves which side they are on. The nonprofit group Southwest Key, which houses children separated from their parents in several detention centers for the government, is reportedly facing an internal “dilemma” about being part of a system that tortures children. Sadly, the organization appears to have chosen nearly a half-billion dollars in government contracts over a principled stand against family separation. One of the organization’s employees, Antar Davidson, chose the side of children when he resigned, saying, “I can no longer in good conscience work with Southwest Key programs,” adding, “I am feeling uneasy about the morality of some of the practices.”

    As we’ve seen before in U.S. history, this is a make-or-break moment for the nation. Just as Germans were forced to choose sides during World War II—the side of anti-fascists, Jews, progressives and others, or the side of the Nazis—so, too, Americans have had to choose in our own past between slave owners or the enslaved and abolitionists. We have had to choose between the lynch mobs and those fighting for equality. So, too, now we have to choose between the side of the children or the side of their kidnappers and torturers. Anti-fascist and anti-Trump Americans could demonstrate their choice by attending any of the countless protests that are being organized in front of ICE offices and elsewhere.

    In the matter of the lives of tens of thousands of children, there should be absolute clarity. There are no gray areas, no nuances when children’s lives are at stake. Those having trouble choosing the side of the children have catastrophically failed a basic test of humanity. They will find themselves on the wrong side of history—the same side that Nazis, slave owners and lynch mobs were on.

  • Jeff Sessions Says He Never Intended To Split Immigrant Families

    Read more of this story here from Newsy Headlines by Newsy Headlines.


    Watch Video

    It looks like the Trump administration is trying to soften its "zero-tolerance" immigration policy.

    The first step back was President Donald Trump's executive order addressing family separations at the border. And now in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the administration never wanted to separate parents and children in the first place.

    "We never really intended to do that. What we intended to do was to make sure that adults who bring children into the country are charged with the crime they've committed, instead of giving that special group of adults immunity from prosecution," Sessions told CBN

    But that's not what the AG said in early May, before family separations became a national crisis.

    "If you're smuggling a child, then we are going to prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you, probably, as required by law. If you don't want your child to be separated, then don't bring them across the border illegally," Sessions said in Arizona.

    And he said in California: "If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you, and that child may be separated from you as required by law."

    And the Trump administration started considering separating parents and children over a year ago.

    "Are Department of Homeland Security personnel going to separate the children from their moms and dads?" Wolf Blitzer asked.

    "We have tremendous experience in dealing with unaccompanied minors. We turn them over to HHS, and they do a very, very good job of putting them in, kind of, foster care or linking them up with parents or family members in the United States. Yes, I am considering it in order to deter more movement along this terribly dangerous network. I am considering exactly that," then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said.

  • AZ ACLU worries Trump’s executive order too vague to halt family separations

    Read more of this story here from Cronkite News RSS Feed by Cronkite News RSS Feed.

    Tayler Brown

    Thursday, June 21, 2018

    AZ ACLU worries Trump’s executive order too vague to halt family separations

    PHOENIX – Leaders of the Arizona ACLU and a Tucson-based coalition fighting to change immigration policy fear President Trump’s executive order will not end family separation and encouraged people to remain vigilant on immigration issues. Billy Peard, an attorney for the Arizona chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said Thursday that wording of the order is so vague that the Department of Homeland Security could continue to detain parents under the administration’s “zero tolerance” for illegal immigration. He said the order would “slightly” help families separated at the border but it will not completely end the practice. Trump, who has touted a tough immigration stance since he became president, in April instituted the policy that came under increasing fire from activists, pediatricians and Democratic and Republican lawmakers until he issued the executive order on Wednesday. Peard pointed to a section in the order that said separation could occur if there’s a “concern” that a child’s welfare is at risk. “Who is making that determination?” Peard said. “Would the Border Patrol have unilateral authority to determine whether there is a ‘concern’?” Maurice Goldman, a Tucson immigration lawyer, agreed risk to a child “is a very subjective standard that opens itself up to anyone’s review.” Tucson’s Free the Children Coalition said, given the uncertainty over child detentions, activists need to make a long-term commitment to improving immigration policy. That extends to doing things that may feel good but are ineffective. “The main focus is to get these people out of detention centers,” said Marion Chubon, a spokesperson for the coalition. Although some people are protesting at detention centers across the country, Chuban cautioned against it. Southwest Key may be housing some children, according to azcentral, and a Tucson news station said people were protesting at the facility. The coalition, on its Facebook page, says demonstrations where migrant children are being held may scare children or cause the children to be removed to other, less safe facilities. Peard said protests at detention centers are misplaced. “By protesting Southwest Key, I think it falsely gives the impression to the public that they are the ‘villain.’ They aren’t the one setting the policy here,” Peard said. Instead of impromptu protesting, the coalition’s Facebook page says, people who feel passionately about the issue should attend training to become effective in civil disobedience, call lawmakers or donate to organizations that have expertise in immigration issues. Pro-immigration advocates are planning a national day of protest on June 30. “We are in this for the long haul,” Chubon said. Trump’s executive order only marks the beginning to a long legal battle, Goldman said. “There is definitely the possibility of immigration reform on the horizon,” he said. “You have to figure out what you want to see as vital changes to a system that is in vital need of change.” Connect with us on Facebook.
  • Native American lawmakers combat Trump stance on immigration

    Read more of this story here from Cronkite News RSS Feed by Cronkite News RSS Feed.

    Vivian Meza

    Thursday, June 21, 2018

    Native American lawmakers combat Trump stance on immigration

    PHOENIX – Native American lawmakers in Arizona said Thursday that indigenous and native people are among immigrant families who are being separated at the border, and called on Arizona tribal members to join a battle to fight the Trump administration “zero tolerance” policy. Democrats said the immigration fight sprawls onto reservations, across the U.S. and into Latin America. “This is still the sacred land of the tribes, and this is still Indian country,” said Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai, a Democrat who represents Cameron in northern Arizona. “Nonaction is not an option for us as indigenous people.” She called on tribal councils and other tribal organizations to unite. “A sacred teaching we are all taught is that we have a duty to each other, to take care of one another. This is a step in that direction,” she said. Peshlakai was among the members of the Arizona Legislature’s Indigenous Peoples Caucus who spoke at a news conference at the state Capitol, the day after President Trump issued an executive order halting his policy of separating children from their parents who crossed the border. Trump and advocates for the policy had said separation was unfortunate but cracking down on illegal immigration is important to protecting the border. But four Native American leaders questioned whether that will really happen and said separation of indigenous children from their families has been going on for some time – and goes back for generations. Rep. Wenona Benally, D-Window Rock, told the story of a six-year-old indigenous girl from Guatemala, who came with her mother to the border in August. They spoke Mayan and struggled to understand the Border Patrol agents who detained and later separated them. [related-story-right box-title="Related story" link="https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2018/05/30/backstory-shows-complexity-of-missing-immigrant-childrens-story/" image="https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/BorderProtection1-1.jpg" headline="Story of the 1,475 missing immigrant children is more complex than it appears"] Nearly a year later, the girl is in the custody of a U.S. relative, has forgotten most of her native language and has not seen her mother since she was deported to Guatemala, she said. “We are once again experiencing the horrible policy of forced removal of our children,” Benally said. “This is cultural genocide and is in direct violation of our human rights.” The group mentioned the Indian boarding schools that were established in the late 19th century. For decades, Native American children were taken from their families and forced into institutions in an attempt to assimilate them into mainstream American culture. Today, tribal lands make up nearly 30 percent of land in Arizona, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Some tribes, like the Tohono O’odham Nation, have lands along the U.S.-Mexico border. Gonzales said some members even live across the border in Mexico. Native American people have also encountered immigrants attempting to cross the border. Peter Yucupicio, vice chairman of the Pascua Yaqui tribe, talked about how he once had to identify the bodies of an immigrant mother and her baby who had just crossed the border near the reservation. “It is so sad to know that they were afraid of a process and the treatment and everything that they resorted to trying to get in another way, and it cost them their lives,” Yucupicio said. Connect with us on Facebook.

Seismic shift: Suns fans, executives hopeful selection of Ayton will change team’s fortunes

Read more of this story here from Cronkite News RSS Feed by Cronkite News RSS Feed.

Jordan Kaye

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Seismic shift: Suns fans, executives hopeful selection of Ayton will change team’s fortunes

PHOENIX -- The jumbotron and screens the Suns set up for their draft party Thursday flipped to ESPN. The fans who filled up about three-quarters of Talking Stick Resort Arena’s lower bowl kept quiet. They didn’t move as the pre-draft montage flipped from Duke’s Marvin Bagley to Real Madrid’s Luka Doncic to Michigan State forward Jaren Jackson Jr. They collectively held their applause until they saw Arizona center Deandre Ayton. And when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called Ayton’s name first overall, despite the fact that Ayton had been linked to the Suns for weeks, fans let loose in jubilation. Decked out in the bright orange shirts the Suns handed out which read “Time to Rise,” the arena broke out in screams that would rival an NBA Finals victory. Without a product on the floor, people, for the first time in a long time, were excited about Suns basketball. “I think the Suns just turned basketball around,” said fan Merrill Matthews, who met with a Suns ticket rep about possibly buying tickets. “Everyone should be excited. Suns basketball is hot like it was when I moved out here 10 years ago.” Just a year after fans were reminded of the Suns’ illustrious history during their 50th anniversary celebration, a fanbase used to winning snapped back to attention after their team finished the 2017-18 season with the worst record in the NBA. Over the last few seasons, one could have confused Talking Stick Resort Arena for a library. With poor attendance, it was quiet. The product was bad. Fans weren’t enthused. On Thursday, though, thousands packed into the arena to watch a TV screen. Suns’ President Jason Rowley said the team’s plan when it got the No. 1 pick was to appeal to fans like Matthews. He said it didn’t matter whether they were selling tickets to longtime season-ticket holders or to those who never had them. The No. 1 pick is a fresh start. “The door’s always open and come on back,” Rowley said in an appearance at a Boys and Girls Club recently. “It definitely moved the needle on the business side.” Basketball fan Matthews wasn’t there to watch the Suns select Ayton. Heck, he was hardly there for the Suns, having come from Philadelphia as a 76ers fan. Instead he was there for the No. 1 pick. As a basketball fan who hails from one of the best basketball cities in Philadelphia, Matthews said that the No. 1 pick “is always a big thing.” With their second pick in the first-round, Phoenix traded away its 16th-overall pick, Zhaire Smith, and the 2021 unprotected Miami Heat pick that they held for Villanova’s Mikal Bridges. Matthews wasn’t too happy that the Suns stole Bridges away from his team. At least he can see him in person now. Connect with us on Facebook. Read more

Apache Stronghold — Native American Issues Heard by Congressional Panel

Read more of this story here from CENSORED NEWS by Brenda Norrell.

Native American issues heard by Congressional Panel The Poor People’s Campaign Apache Messenger/ 6-20-2018 Republished with permission Censored News     A Congressional hearing led by Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Elijah Cummings on June 12, 2018 to welcome the Poor Peoples Campaign: a National Call for Moral Revival, to the Capital for a powerfully important Read more

50th anniversary of East LA school walkouts: When will TUSD students resume walkouts over MAS?

Three Sonorans is out of town this weekend at UCLA celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1968 East LA Walkouts. Sadly in Tucson, we now we live in an age were white students proudly walk out over constitutionally-protected guns, but TUSD students still have not walked out to demand that their beloved Mexican American Studies Department be brought back after the Federal Court found that Arizona’s ban of it was unconstitutional.

Perhaps this is the main reason the new watered-down Culturally Relevant Classes that replaced MAS in TUSD are kept; they have tamed the young indigenous scholar to accept, to not protest and to not walkout and to not demand the return of their wrongfully taken classes? All while these writing essays on the East LA Walkouts… or how MAS students used to walkout (see video above). read more

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Latino Students Plaintiff responds to TUSD Supt Trujillo over latest Deseg court filings attacking Latinos

Last week on June 14th, 2018, TUSD Superintendent Gabriel Trujillo was on the Bill Buckmaster Show and was asked why TUSD is filing to dismiss the Latino Plaintiffs (Mendoza) from the over four-decades-old Desegregation Case. A short audio excerpt from the show is included below.

Trujillo responds that this is not true, but rather TUSD “has complied with ALL provisions of the Unitary Status Plan [aka “Deseg Order”] as it pertains to the Mexican American student portion.”

Trujillo goes on to say that this is “a radically different statement than saying ‘get rid of the plaintiff representative.’” Trujillo also goes on to agree with TUSD Board President Mark Stegeman’s claim that TUSD will be off of this Deseg Order within 4 years and explains how this will occur; that audio excerpt is also included in the video above for your convenience. read more

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Seismic shift: Suns fans, executives hopeful selection of Ayton will change team’s fortunes

Read more of this story here from Cronkite News RSS Feed by Cronkite News RSS Feed.

Jordan Kaye

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Seismic shift: Suns fans, executives hopeful selection of Ayton will change team’s fortunes

PHOENIX -- The jumbotron and screens the Suns set up for their draft party Thursday flipped to ESPN. The fans who filled up about three-quarters of Talking Stick Resort Arena’s lower bowl kept quiet. They didn’t move as the pre-draft montage flipped from Duke’s Marvin Bagley to Real Madrid’s Luka Doncic to Michigan State forward Jaren Jackson Jr. They collectively held their applause until they saw Arizona center Deandre Ayton. And when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called Ayton’s name first overall, despite the fact that Ayton had been linked to the Suns for weeks, fans let loose in jubilation. Decked out in the bright orange shirts the Suns handed out which read “Time to Rise,” the arena broke out in screams that would rival an NBA Finals victory. Without a product on the floor, people, for the first time in a long time, were excited about Suns basketball. “I think the Suns just turned basketball around,” said fan Merrill Matthews, who met with a Suns ticket rep about possibly buying tickets. “Everyone should be excited. Suns basketball is hot like it was when I moved out here 10 years ago.” Just a year after fans were reminded of the Suns’ illustrious history during their 50th anniversary celebration, a fanbase used to winning snapped back to attention after their team finished the 2017-18 season with the worst record in the NBA. Over the last few seasons, one could have confused Talking Stick Resort Arena for a library. With poor attendance, it was quiet. The product was bad. Fans weren’t enthused. On Thursday, though, thousands packed into the arena to watch a TV screen. Suns’ President Jason Rowley said the team’s plan when it got the No. 1 pick was to appeal to fans like Matthews. He said it didn’t matter whether they were selling tickets to longtime season-ticket holders or to those who never had them. The No. 1 pick is a fresh start. “The door’s always open and come on back,” Rowley said in an appearance at a Boys and Girls Club recently. “It definitely moved the needle on the business side.” Basketball fan Matthews wasn’t there to watch the Suns select Ayton. Heck, he was hardly there for the Suns, having come from Philadelphia as a 76ers fan. Instead he was there for the No. 1 pick. As a basketball fan who hails from one of the best basketball cities in Philadelphia, Matthews said that the No. 1 pick “is always a big thing.” With their second pick in the first-round, Phoenix traded away its 16th-overall pick, Zhaire Smith, and the 2021 unprotected Miami Heat pick that they held for Villanova’s Mikal Bridges. Matthews wasn’t too happy that the Suns stole Bridges away from his team. At least he can see him in person now. Connect with us on Facebook. Read more

Immigration reform stalls in House, as GOP-backed plan is shot down

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Pat Poblete

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Immigration reform stalls in House, as GOP-backed plan is shot down

WASHINGTON - Some conservative House Republicans bucked their party's leaders Thursday and joined Democrats to kill a GOP-backed immigration reform bill, dimming chances that any reform bill will pass the House. After the Securing America's Future Act failed on a 193-231 vote, House leaders quickly pulled back a second, more-moderate measure and called a late afternoon meeting with members of their caucus. A vote on the second, so-called compromise, bill could come Friday but some members leaving the caucus meeting Thursday told reporters that they think it will take longer to reach any sort of agreement. Both the first bill, sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, and the compromise bill met the "four pillars" that President Donald Trump has said must be included in any immigration reform bill for him to sign it. Those include increasing border security, cutting the diversity visa lottery, ending family reunification-based migration and extending protections for some recipients DACA, the program that deferred deportation of young immigrants who were brought this country illegally as children. Democrats saw the Goodlatte bill as too harsh, and all 190 voted against it Thursday, drawing charges from Trump that they "say no to everything. They're obstructionists." But the fatal blow to the Goodlatte bill came from 41 Republicans - including two from Arizona. Many of the Republicans, including some members of the conservative Freedom Caucus, were apparently upset that the bill included protection for DACA recipients. "Enacting amnesty in 1986 didn't result in increased border security or any of the other enforcement promises made when leg (legislation) was enacted that gave amnesty to 2.7M (million) people," said Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Prescott, in a tweet Thursday evening. "I oppose amnesty in all forms & will continue to fight & vote against any legislation that includes amnesty," said Gosar, who was joined by Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert, in voting against the bill. The other Republican members of Arizona's House delegation - Martha McSally of Tucson, Debbie Lesko of Peoria and David Schweikert of Fountain Hills - were among the 99 co-sponsors of the bill and all voted for it Thursday. "I strongly support passage of this legislation as the first significant proposal to solve these very serious issues that continue to impact communities in Arizona and the rest of the country," McSally said during the hours of floor debate on the bill. Lesko, called the Goodlatte bill "vital legislation for the state of Arizona." "My constituents back home know all too well how desperately we need our border secured,"ÿshe said on the House floor. Thursday's vote should have been a victory for Republicans, who last week agreed to take up the two measures. That agreement headed off a bipartisan maneuver, a so-called "discharge petition," that would have forced a series of votes on four bills, from both sides of the aisle. That petition was two signatures shy of the 218 needed to force a vote when House Speaker Paul Ryan convinced moderates members to go along with the two GOP-backed bills instead. But even before the first vote Thursday, Ryan did not sound optimistic about the chances that either of the bills could pass. "Our goal was to prevent a discharge petition," Ryan said in a morning news conference. "But a lot of our members want to be able to express themselves by voting for the policies which they like, so that they can express their votes on the floor." Ryan noted that even if the House can pass a bill that is acceptable to the president, it still has to get through the Senate, where Democrats are sure to have the 41 votes to extend debate and talk the bill to death. And even some Republicans have expressed reservations about the House bills. "Even if we get something out of here, you need nine (Senate) Democrats to stop trying to stop things ... and I don't see that happening," Ryan said. Read more

As expected, Suns use first-ever NBA first pick on Arizona’s Ayton

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Bryan Pietsch

Thursday, June 21, 2018

As expected, Suns use first-ever NBA first pick on Arizona’s Ayton

BROOKLYN, N.Y. - For the first time in franchise history, the Phoenix Suns had the first pick at the NBA draft Thursday and they looked close to home, choosing the University of Arizona forward Deandre Ayton. The choice came as no surprise to analysts who called it "the worst-kept secret" this year, to the characteristically boisterous crowd at Barclays Center - or to Ayton, who said after his only workout with the Suns, "I know I'm going No. 1," according to a report by ESPN. Despite Ayton's confidence heading into the draft, he said he was nervous before the Suns' pick was announced Thursday evening. He said he asked his mom repeatedly while they were seated in front of the stage if she thought he would be the first pick. "Having my name called to be the first pick for the Phoenix Suns was mind-blowing," Ayton said. "I just got up there and enjoyed the moment, and I saw the reaction on my mom's face. It was just priceless." Ayton, who played at Hillcrest Prep Academy in Phoenix, averaged 20.1 points per game last year for the Arizona Wildcats, earning him Pac-12 Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors in his only season in college basketball before declaring for the draft. The 7-foot-1-inch athlete said Thursday that he looks forward to the possibility of playing with the Suns' Devin Booker. Ayton said the two could form a power duo he called "Shaq and Kobe 2.0," referring to former Los Angeles Lakers teammates Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. [caption id="attachment_92623" align="alignleft" width="350"] NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, holding ball, poses with the expected top picks in Thursday's NBA draft, before selections began at Barclays Center. (Photo by Bryan Pietsch/Cronkite News)[/caption] "Having a guard like Devin Booker, who can really score the ball and me being a big man who can really pick-and-pop, very versatile, that's very dangerous," Ayton said. But Ayton is used to playing with other skilled athletes: At Hillcrest Prep, he briefly played with Marvin Bagley III, a Duke University player who went No. 2 in the draft behind Ayton. Bagley, a Tempe native, was selected by the Sacramento Kings. Ayton described growing up with Bagley and then being drafted right before him as "crazy." "We've been talking about it through high school, and now here we are," Ayton said. "It's breathtaking that my name was called ... and then his name was called. It's just a dream." Ayton, a native of the Bahamas, wore Jamaican and Nigerian flags inside his suit jacket as a tribute to his parents. He said that off the court, his dream is to start his own brand. He recently signed with Puma, which he said is the "main brand" in the Bahamas because it's more affordable than Nike or Adidas. "(I grew) up around that brand, I'm used to that brand," Ayton said. "I want to start my own thing. I want to be dominant in my own brand, and I want to have my own signature shoe one day to make it global." The Suns also had the 16th pick, which they used to choose Texas Tech freshman Zhaire Smith, who they immediately traded to the Philadelphia 76ers for Mikal Bridges, who had been selected from Villanova with the 10th pick. Read more

Which Side Are You On?

Read more of this story here from Truthdig RSS by Sonali Kolhatkar.

A powerful song written by the wife of a union organizer in 1931, popularized by the radical folk singer Pete Seeger and later adapted by the civil rights movement, perfectly expresses the moral question of our particular political moment: “Which Side Are You On?” I hear the refrain of that song in my mind each time I read about a fresh new horror in the ongoing crisis of forced separation of undocumented immigrant families by President Donald Trump’s administration. The crisis has been building for months, but its hideous extent has only recently has come to light. Trump’s executive order calling for indefinite detention of whole families as a panacea for his choice to separate children from their parents is more of the same cruelty.

So many figures in the Trump administration have in recent days exposed their stone-faced callousness even as heartbreaking photos of crying children and the stories behind them have gripped the nation. Among them is Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who gave a disastrous press conference on Monday. Unable to address valid questions from the press about why children were being mentally tortured en masse through separation from their parents, she resorted to technicalities, obfuscations and feigned ignorance.

When a reporter played the gut-wrenching audio ProPublica said was of Central American kids aged 4 to 10 wailing for their parents at a detention center in Texas, Nielsen ignored the tape and eventually said, “I think that they reflect the focus of those who post such pictures and narratives.” In other words, Nielsen made it eminently clear which side she was on: the opposite of those who call out the torture of innocent children.

The Root rightly distinguished Nielsen as having beaten out press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders for the title of “Most Hated Person in Trump’s White House” with her cold-blooded performance, writing, “Must be nice to insert robotic, formulaic answers to human questions about humanity.”

Right up there with Nielsen is the man who in May first formally announced the U.S. policy of family separation: Attorney General Jeff Sessions. I wrote in an earlier column about his deliberately contradictory accusations that people were trafficking their own children. Asked whether the conditions in which undocumented children were being held was reminiscent of Nazi Germany, Sessions, instead of vehemently denouncing the comparison, decided to pick up on a nuanced difference between the two, saying that, “In Nazi Germany, they were keeping the Jews from leaving the country.” As Vox’s Zack Beauchamp wrote,“Whether the policy is literally identical to what the Nazis did is almost beside the point. If you need to explain why you aren’t like Hitler, you’ve already lost.” Sessions has effectively failed to assert that he is not on the side of Nazis.

In a speech to law enforcement officers last week, Sessions quoted from the Bible, Romans 13, saying it was important “to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes.” He added, “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent and fair application of the law is in itself a good and moral thing, and that protects the weak and protects the lawful.” Except that Sessions invoked a part of the Bible that had been used to justify slavery in the South. In doing so, he made it clear which side he was on: that of the slave owners rather than the enslaved.

Sessions’ own church has put him on notice. Hundreds of clergy from the United Methodist Church, of which he is a member, wrote a strongly worded letter in which they called him out for his “harmful actions” and “the damage he is currently causing to immigrants, particularly children and families.” The signatories issued a set of serious “church charges” against him that include child abuse, immorality and racial discrimination. In doing so these Methodist church members and clergy made it very clear that they were on the side of vulnerable undocumented children.

If there was any doubt that the Trump administration is creating its own unique standards of morality, recent revelations about the so-called White House Bible Study group eviscerate them. The group’s weekly meetings are apparently attended by Nielsen, Sessions, Vice President Mike Pence and others, and are administered by a man named Ralph Drollinger of Capitol Ministries. Documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests reveal that Drollinger’s interpretation of the Bible includes justifying corporal punishment of children and is virulently anti-immigrant. One of his tenets apparently is, “God’s Word says He frowns on illegal immigrants—just like He says He frowns on children ruling the roost!”

If Drollinger has influenced top Trump officials using the garbage logic of fundamentalist Christianity, it is presidential adviser Stephen Miller who has pushed the policy-level idea that using undocumented children as political pawns is a useful deterrent against immigration. “It was a simple decision by the administration to have a zero tolerance policy for illegal entry, period,” said Miller.”The message is that no one is exempt from immigration law.” Perhaps knowing that a recording of Miller saying these words would be used to further excoriate him and his president, the White House protested against The New York Times publishing the audio of Miller’s interview, and the paper complied. After all, Miller was the force behind the Muslim ban, and once famously minimized the Statue of Liberty’s pro-immigrant etchings. There is good reason why the 32-year-old has been labeled “the White House’s resident troll.” Like Nielsen and Sessions, Miller has made it eminently clear, even from behind the scenes, that he is on the side of child abusers.

As for Trump himself, it is not relevant any more to ask which side the president is on. Trump is a side unto himself. Just as we may have asked whether one is on the side of Nazis or the anti-fascists, the slave-owning South or the abolitionist North, the KKK or the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, we ought to ask today whether one is on the side of Trump or the resistance to Trumpism. In one of his latest tweets dehumanizing immigrants, the president said, “Democrats … want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13.” The word “infest” deliberately invokes insects, pests and disease, and echoes what he said in his weekly address just days earlier that “MS-13 gang members are truly, and you’ve heard me say it, animals.” Last month, the White House even used the term “animals” in a written press release after Trump said it during a meeting. It matters little that the children and parents being separated from one another today have nothing to do with the MS-13 gang. It only matters to Trump that in the minds of his fanatical supporters the two disparate communities are conflated.

So which side are Americans on? On the side of Trump and his child abusers or on the other side?

So far, many Democrats and some Republicans are locating their humanity and balking at the images and sounds of children suffering. But not nearly enough lawmakers are signing on to the Keep Families Together Act to legislatively end the practice of family separation. Even if Trump would most likely veto any such bill were it to pass Congress, it is critical for all members to articulate which side they are on, and it is incumbent on us as their constituents to demand they pick a side—and pick the right one.

It is not acceptable to let the administration set the agenda and, as Trump’s new executive order stipulates, normalize the locking up of whole families together, indefinitely, as a solution to locking up parents separately from their children.

Americans involved in the machinery of government child abuse also ought to ask themselves which side they are on. The nonprofit group Southwest Key, which houses children separated from their parents in several detention centers for the government, is reportedly facing an internal “dilemma” about being part of a system that tortures children. Sadly, the organization appears to have chosen nearly a half-billion dollars in government contracts over a principled stand against family separation. One of the organization’s employees, Antar Davidson, chose the side of children when he resigned, saying, “I can no longer in good conscience work with Southwest Key programs,” adding, “I am feeling uneasy about the morality of some of the practices.”

As we’ve seen before in U.S. history, this is a make-or-break moment for the nation. Just as Germans were forced to choose sides during World War II—the side of anti-fascists, Jews, progressives and others, or the side of the Nazis—so, too, Americans have had to choose in our own past between slave owners or the enslaved and abolitionists. We have had to choose between the lynch mobs and those fighting for equality. So, too, now we have to choose between the side of the children or the side of their kidnappers and torturers. Anti-fascist and anti-Trump Americans could demonstrate their choice by attending any of the countless protests that are being organized in front of ICE offices and elsewhere.

In the matter of the lives of tens of thousands of children, there should be absolute clarity. There are no gray areas, no nuances when children’s lives are at stake. Those having trouble choosing the side of the children have catastrophically failed a basic test of humanity. They will find themselves on the wrong side of history—the same side that Nazis, slave owners and lynch mobs were on.

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Jeff Sessions Says He Never Intended To Split Immigrant Families

Read more of this story here from Newsy Headlines by Newsy Headlines.


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It looks like the Trump administration is trying to soften its "zero-tolerance" immigration policy.

The first step back was President Donald Trump's executive order addressing family separations at the border. And now in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the administration never wanted to separate parents and children in the first place.

"We never really intended to do that. What we intended to do was to make sure that adults who bring children into the country are charged with the crime they've committed, instead of giving that special group of adults immunity from prosecution," Sessions told CBN

But that's not what the AG said in early May, before family separations became a national crisis.

"If you're smuggling a child, then we are going to prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you, probably, as required by law. If you don't want your child to be separated, then don't bring them across the border illegally," Sessions said in Arizona.

And he said in California: "If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you, and that child may be separated from you as required by law."

And the Trump administration started considering separating parents and children over a year ago.

"Are Department of Homeland Security personnel going to separate the children from their moms and dads?" Wolf Blitzer asked.

"We have tremendous experience in dealing with unaccompanied minors. We turn them over to HHS, and they do a very, very good job of putting them in, kind of, foster care or linking them up with parents or family members in the United States. Yes, I am considering it in order to deter more movement along this terribly dangerous network. I am considering exactly that," then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said.

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AZ ACLU worries Trump’s executive order too vague to halt family separations

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Tayler Brown

Thursday, June 21, 2018

AZ ACLU worries Trump’s executive order too vague to halt family separations

PHOENIX – Leaders of the Arizona ACLU and a Tucson-based coalition fighting to change immigration policy fear President Trump’s executive order will not end family separation and encouraged people to remain vigilant on immigration issues. Billy Peard, an attorney for the Arizona chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said Thursday that wording of the order is so vague that the Department of Homeland Security could continue to detain parents under the administration’s “zero tolerance” for illegal immigration. He said the order would “slightly” help families separated at the border but it will not completely end the practice. Trump, who has touted a tough immigration stance since he became president, in April instituted the policy that came under increasing fire from activists, pediatricians and Democratic and Republican lawmakers until he issued the executive order on Wednesday. Peard pointed to a section in the order that said separation could occur if there’s a “concern” that a child’s welfare is at risk. “Who is making that determination?” Peard said. “Would the Border Patrol have unilateral authority to determine whether there is a ‘concern’?” Maurice Goldman, a Tucson immigration lawyer, agreed risk to a child “is a very subjective standard that opens itself up to anyone’s review.” Tucson’s Free the Children Coalition said, given the uncertainty over child detentions, activists need to make a long-term commitment to improving immigration policy. That extends to doing things that may feel good but are ineffective. “The main focus is to get these people out of detention centers,” said Marion Chubon, a spokesperson for the coalition. Although some people are protesting at detention centers across the country, Chuban cautioned against it. Southwest Key may be housing some children, according to azcentral, and a Tucson news station said people were protesting at the facility. The coalition, on its Facebook page, says demonstrations where migrant children are being held may scare children or cause the children to be removed to other, less safe facilities. Peard said protests at detention centers are misplaced. “By protesting Southwest Key, I think it falsely gives the impression to the public that they are the ‘villain.’ They aren’t the one setting the policy here,” Peard said. Instead of impromptu protesting, the coalition’s Facebook page says, people who feel passionately about the issue should attend training to become effective in civil disobedience, call lawmakers or donate to organizations that have expertise in immigration issues. Pro-immigration advocates are planning a national day of protest on June 30. “We are in this for the long haul,” Chubon said. Trump’s executive order only marks the beginning to a long legal battle, Goldman said. “There is definitely the possibility of immigration reform on the horizon,” he said. “You have to figure out what you want to see as vital changes to a system that is in vital need of change.” Connect with us on Facebook. Read more

Native American lawmakers combat Trump stance on immigration

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Vivian Meza

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Native American lawmakers combat Trump stance on immigration

PHOENIX – Native American lawmakers in Arizona said Thursday that indigenous and native people are among immigrant families who are being separated at the border, and called on Arizona tribal members to join a battle to fight the Trump administration “zero tolerance” policy. Democrats said the immigration fight sprawls onto reservations, across the U.S. and into Latin America. “This is still the sacred land of the tribes, and this is still Indian country,” said Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai, a Democrat who represents Cameron in northern Arizona. “Nonaction is not an option for us as indigenous people.” She called on tribal councils and other tribal organizations to unite. “A sacred teaching we are all taught is that we have a duty to each other, to take care of one another. This is a step in that direction,” she said. Peshlakai was among the members of the Arizona Legislature’s Indigenous Peoples Caucus who spoke at a news conference at the state Capitol, the day after President Trump issued an executive order halting his policy of separating children from their parents who crossed the border. Trump and advocates for the policy had said separation was unfortunate but cracking down on illegal immigration is important to protecting the border. But four Native American leaders questioned whether that will really happen and said separation of indigenous children from their families has been going on for some time – and goes back for generations. Rep. Wenona Benally, D-Window Rock, told the story of a six-year-old indigenous girl from Guatemala, who came with her mother to the border in August. They spoke Mayan and struggled to understand the Border Patrol agents who detained and later separated them. [related-story-right box-title="Related story" link="https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2018/05/30/backstory-shows-complexity-of-missing-immigrant-childrens-story/" image="https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/BorderProtection1-1.jpg" headline="Story of the 1,475 missing immigrant children is more complex than it appears"] Nearly a year later, the girl is in the custody of a U.S. relative, has forgotten most of her native language and has not seen her mother since she was deported to Guatemala, she said. “We are once again experiencing the horrible policy of forced removal of our children,” Benally said. “This is cultural genocide and is in direct violation of our human rights.” The group mentioned the Indian boarding schools that were established in the late 19th century. For decades, Native American children were taken from their families and forced into institutions in an attempt to assimilate them into mainstream American culture. Today, tribal lands make up nearly 30 percent of land in Arizona, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Some tribes, like the Tohono O’odham Nation, have lands along the U.S.-Mexico border. Gonzales said some members even live across the border in Mexico. Native American people have also encountered immigrants attempting to cross the border. Peter Yucupicio, vice chairman of the Pascua Yaqui tribe, talked about how he once had to identify the bodies of an immigrant mother and her baby who had just crossed the border near the reservation. “It is so sad to know that they were afraid of a process and the treatment and everything that they resorted to trying to get in another way, and it cost them their lives,” Yucupicio said. Connect with us on Facebook. Read more

Melania Trump Visits Migrant Children Near Border

Read more of this story here from Truthdig RSS by DARLENE SUPERVILLE / The Associated Press.

McALLEN, Texas — Melania Trump visited with migrant children Thursday during a brief stop at a Texas facility housing some of the youth separated from their parents as her husband’s administration prosecutes adults who enter the U.S. illegally from Mexico.

The first lady, who has a 12-year-old son, smiled and laughed with the migrant children. “Be kind and nice to each other, OK,” she said as she left one classroom at Upbring New Hope Children’s Center and headed for another.

Plans for her to visit a second facility where children housed in cages were seen by The Associated Press last week were canceled because of flooding there.

The first lady’s stop in McAllen came one day after President Donald Trump ordered a halt, at least for now, to the separation of immigrant families who are detained at the border.

Her visit to the one-story, red brick building was quickly arranged after Mrs. Trump decided earlier this week that she wanted to go, her spokeswoman said, adding that she wanted to lend support to children who have been separated from their parents. The facility housed 55 boys and girls, ages 12-17, on Thursday, but only about six of them had been separated from parents, officials said. The other children were placed there after they crossed into the U.S. alone.

“I’m here to learn about your facility,” the first lady said as she met with staff and federal health and border patrol officials. She asked how she could help “these children to reunite with their families as quickly as possible” and how often they communicate with their families. She learned the children are allowed a 10-minute phone call twice a week.

Students welcomed her with a large paper American flag taped to a wall that they’d signed. The words, “Welcome! First Lady” were written in black marker across the red and white bars. Mrs. Trump, herself an immigrant from Slovenia, signed the flag and gifted it back to the center.

She visited three classrooms, each time asking the children where they came from, their ages, how long they’d been at the center and their favorite subjects. Staff said the children, who are mostly from Guatemala, typically spend between 42 and 45 days at the facility, which is operated by a Lutheran social services organization contracted by the government.

The children are often distraught when they arrive, staff said, but they reassured Mrs. Trump the youth are quickly assessed for any physical or mental health issues and are well-cared for. The children attend school five days a week and have access to a variety of activities.

“We see them as if they were our own,” said Roy De La Cerda, the program director.

Mrs. Trump left Washington wearing a green, hooded military jacket that had “I really don’t care, do u?” written in graffiti-style on the back in white lettering that left the blogosphere wondering what message she was trying to send as she flew off to visit migrant children.

Asked about the message, spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said by email that it was just a jacket.

“There was no hidden message. After today’s important visit to Texas, I hope the media isn’t going to choose to focus on her wardrobe.” Grisham underscored that message with a tweet and the hashtags #SheCares and #ItsJustAJacket.

Mrs. Trump had changed into a pale yellow jacket before arriving in McAllen and wore that during the more than hour-long visit to the center, but donned the green jacket once again as she returned to the White House. She went straight to the Oval Office to brief the president, who later tweeted that the jacket’s message referred to her feelings about the “Fake News Media.”

The president had come under withering pressure to stop separating migrant families, including from the first lady, following a public outcry sparked by widespread government-distributed images of children held in fence-like structures.

Some 2,300 migrant children have been separated from their families since May, according to the government.

Mrs. Trump reached her decision to make Thursday’s trip before the president’s executive order to keep families together was in the works.

“She told her staff she wanted to go and we made that happen,” Grisham said. “She told him ‘I am headed down to Texas’ and he was supportive.”

Mrs. Trump, whose focus as first lady is on child well-being, appears to have been among those pushing him to act.

Grisham released a statement last weekend saying the first lady “hates” to see children separated from their families and “believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart.”

Shortly before Trump signed the executive order, a White House official revealed that Mrs. Trump had been voicing her opinion to the president for some time. The official refused to be identified discussing Trump’s private conversations with his wife.

___

Associated Press writer Catherine Lucey in Washington contributed to this report.

___

Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap

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Arizona reboots talks on drought plan while rest of Colorado River Basin watches

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Bret Jaspers

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Arizona reboots talks on drought plan while rest of Colorado River Basin watches

PHOENIX – Water managers in Arizona again are trying to strike a deal that would help prepare the state for future cuts to its water supply if Lake Mead drops below specific levels, which could come as early as 2020. The renewed effort to forge a drought-contingency plan comes after a year of anxiety and gridlock over the future of the Colorado River in a time of higher temperatures and dwindling precipitation. More than 40 million people rely on the river for water. And as Arizona tries again, the six other states in the vast Colorado River Basin – Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California, Wyoming and New Mexico – are watching intently. In 2017, the United States and Mexico agreed to a new strategy that would lead to increased savings of water by Mexico, but that agreement will only go into effect if Arizona, California and Nevada finalize internal agreements that will allow its agencies to join the drought plan for the Lower Basin. A brief recap: Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey held a series of water meetings last year that ended in a stalemate between the Arizona Department of Water Resources and the Central Arizona Project, which pumps Colorado River water to Phoenix and Tucson. This spring, representatives of Upper Basin states criticized Arizona’s lack of progress, as well as a CAP strategy to maximize water discharges from Lake Powell downriver to Lake Mead, which supplies Arizona. The Legislature adjourned in early May without producing meaningful new water laws. Progress on Arizona’s drought plan had stalled.

Time to reboot

In a joint interview, Tom Buschatzke, director the Arizona Department of Water Resources, and Ted Cooke, general manager of the Central Arizona Water Conservation District, which runs the CAP, said they have been discussing their differences for the past several weeks. Federal officials will visit Tempe next week for a briefing on the state of the Colorado. U.S. Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman, who in late May urged the Lower Basin states to finish their drought-contingency plan, will be among the speakers. “On the one hand, I don’t want to say that the only reason that Tom and I are (embarking on) this initiative is because we’ve been pressured to do so by folks,” Cooke said of the renewed effort to finish the plan. "On the other hand, I don’t want to say it’s a complete coincidence of timing." Buschatzke said having Burman kick off a public process will remind people that Arizona has been better off when it avoided lawsuits. “When the state has moved with the federal government into that paradigm, away from, ‘Let’s have a bunch of big fights and litigation,’ we better control our own destiny,” he said.

Eyes on Arizona

Fights and litigation would only delay a coordinated response to rising temperatures and falling water levels in Lakes Mead and Powell, the largest reservoirs on the Colorado. “The situation in Arizona is a topic of a lot of discussion in the Upper Basin,” said Jim Lochhead, CEO of Denver Water, adding that Arizona’s internal conflict has led to political problems in Colorado. “It puts pressure on Denver Water as a municipal utility, taking water out of the Colorado River,” he said, “and it exacerbates historic animosities and relationships between western Colorado and Denver Water.” Lochhead sent a letter to the CAP in April threatening to pull out of a program to conserve water unless the Lower Basin made real progress on its drought plan. Water shortages are so likely, California has agreed to take peremptory reductions – something not required under current rules. Pat Mulroy, a longtime water leader in Nevada who’s now at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, wonders why Arizona is moving so slowly. “You have to ask yourself, given the position that you’re in, why would you let that opportunity go by?” he asked.

Arizona issues

But before it can sign a Lower Basin plan, Arizona needs its own deal. One difficult subject is what to do about farmers in central Arizona, who would take a big hit under the current rules if the surface of Lake Mead falls below 1,075 feet above sea level. At that point, water deliveries to Arizona would be cut 11 percent. “How do we find a way to make things less painful for them?” Cooke asked. “Not completely painless, but less painful.” Another big issue is determining who gets to decide what water stays in Lake Mead. It’s a major question that Buschatzke said was still “under discussion.” “We will work that out,” Cooke added. To get to “yes,” he and Buschatzke agreed, they’ll have to avoid letting side issues divert the talks. Buschatzke said his task is “to find a collective way to create a package where everyone is better off with the package, even though there might be individual pieces of that package that they might not particularly like 100 percent.” This story is part of Elemental: Covering Sustainability, a new multimedia collaboration between Cronkite News, Arizona PBS, KJZZ, KPCC, Rocky Mountain PBS and PBS SoCal. Subscribe to the Cronkite News podcast In Focus on iTunes. Read more