Victims’ families take plea to White House for stringent border laws

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Pat Poblete

Friday, June 22, 2018

Victims’ families take plea to White House for stringent border laws

WASHINGTON - Critics of the administration's policy of separating families at the border called it the equivalent of "psychological torture," and even President Donald Trump said he did not like it as he ordered the policy reversed this week. But the "Angel Families" who went to the White House Friday told the president that separation is a small price to pay for border security. The families, including two from Arizona, held pictures of their loved ones and shared stories as they praised the administration's policies - and they found a receptive audience in the president. "These are the stories that Democrats and people that are weak on immigration, they don't want to discuss, they don't want to hear, they don't want to see, they don't want to talk about," Trump said. "They don't talk about the death and destruction caused by people who shouldn't be here." Among those who did want to talk about it were Arizonans Mary Ann Mendoza and Steve Ronnebeck. Mendoza's son, Mesa Police Sgt. Brandon Mendoza, was killed in 2014 by a drunken driver who was in this country illegally, while Ronnebeck's son, Grant, was fatally shot in the robbery of a convenience store where he was working. "This is permanent separation," Ronnebeck said of Grant's 2015 killing by an undocumented immigrant. "For his birthday, I go to his grave. For Christmas, I set up a Christmas tree on Grant's grave." [su_pullquote align="right"]

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Trump ends family separations, stands firm no 'zero tolerance' policyFamily separations spark feuds across Capitol, DHS defends handling of casesNative American lawmakers combat Trump stance on immigrationsImmigration reform stalls in House, as GOP-backed plan is shot down [/su_pullquote] Trump on Wednesday reversed his administration's policy of separating families at the border if they tried to enter the country illegally. The separations were an outgrowth of the administration's "zero tolerance" policy on border enforcement that the Justice Department announced in April, saying anyone caught trying to enter illegally would be referred for criminal prosecution. Because authorities can only hold children for 20 days before they have to be released, the administration said it was forced to separate children from their parents to avoid so-called "catch and release" of undocumented immigrants. The resulting images and videos of crying children sparked a firestorm of criticism from advocates across the political spectrum and officials as diverse as former first ladies and members of Congress - including Arizona's two Republican senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake. "It is psychological torture, what this administration is doing," said Rep. Joe Crowley, D-New York, in a rally by Democrats on Wednesday. "And the Republicans in Congress are tolerating it, they are promoting it, promoting psychological torture against these young children." Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Illinois, said at the same rally that the way to halt illegal immigration is not to divide families but to stop "the rape, and the abuse and the exploitation of these children" in their home countries. "They are going to continue to come, fleeing for their lives. Separating children from their parents only continues to traumatize and abuse the very people coming here seeking relief," Gutierrez said. Trump, who had claimed that his hands were tied by immigration laws approved by Democrats, signed an executive order Wednesday reversing the policy, saying authorities should "maintain family unity, including by detaining alien families together where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources." But he did not back down from the zero-tolerance policy, and he pledged again to the Angel Families that "we're going to have a safe country." That is what Mendoza, Ronnebeck and the 11 other family members at the White House wanted to hear. "President Trump, Vice President Pence, you've been there for us and there are no words to describe what your support and your caring has meant to each and an every one of us," Mendoza said. Read more

Patriot Movement AZ supports preservation of Chinese Cultural Center

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Rebecca Spiess

Friday, June 22, 2018

Patriot Movement AZ supports preservation of Chinese Cultural Center

PHOENIX – Advocates for the preservation of the Chinese Cultural Center have gained support from the Patriot Movement AZ, a controversial, conservative pro-Trump group that supports Second Amendment rights and a border wall. Lesa Antone, who founded the group that has drawn criticism over confrontations with Black Lives Matter and Red for Ed supporters, said the cause of Chinese small-business owners reflects Patriot Movement AZ ideals. She said her organization supports immigrants – “just not undocumented ones.” Thomas Simon, a spokesman for members of the Chinese community who have fought for months against a development that would shut down the center in east Phoenix, also said the Patriot Movement aligns with a mission of supporting small businesses. “People from opposing views on a lot of things seem to come together on the issue of minority rights,” he said. “This is what we’re dealing with in this case: A small minority of Asian-Americans who feel like their rights are being trampled on by big business. “We take all supporters, no matter who they are, and we want more support.” At a Phoenix City Council meeting in early June, members of the two groups sat side-by-side, chatting, moments after Antone’s group conducted an impromptu counterprotest outside council chambers. [caption id="attachment_92679" align="alignright" width="300"] Thomas Simon, a spokesman for advocates of the Chinese Cultural Center, addresses the Phoenix City Council. (Photo by Rebecca Spiess/Cronkite News)[/caption] Patriots AZ members confronted protesters for Black Lives Matter and Puente Arizona, an immigrant-rights group, two groups that were at City Hall to protest what they say is racially motivated police brutality. One Patriot member, wearing a “Trump’s Army” T-shirt, used a megaphone while another live-streamed the encounter on Facebook. “Nobody’s falling for the race card anymore!” “Criminals are not victims!” “You reach for a firearm, you get shot!” Inside council chambers, Patriot Movement members and center supporters submitted a petition asking the council to condemn the new developer’s alleged use of “intimidation tactics” to get a tenant to vacate a restaurant space in the center. About eight members of the Patriot Movement sat near Simon and HongLei Tian, owner of the now-closed Beijing Garden. Two Patriot members later addressed the council to support the center, and they all cheered as 11-year-old Joanna Dong gave a heartfelt speech explaining why the center was important to her and her family, giving the council a handmade scroll with Chinese figures.

Cultural center fight

The center has been involved in controversy since last summer, when the complex’s new majority owner, 668 North, revealed plans to completely remodel the Chinese facade of the building and potentially make changes to a prayer garden. Compromise failed, and center supporters filed six lawsuits against 668 North or its parent company. [related-story-right box-title="Related story" link="https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2017/08/29/chinese-cultural-center/" image="https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/ChineseCenterOutside.jpg" headline="Phoenix Chinese community shocked by sale of cultural center property"] The petition asked the City Council to condemn 668 North, which advocates say used intimidation tactics to shut down Beijing Garden, whose five-year lease in the center ended in January. The restaurant owner claims 668 North cut phone and internet lines to the building, removed a ceiling ventilation fan and locked up equipment belonging to the owners. Christopher Payne, an attorney for 668 North, told the council the “self-help” measures were legal when facing a tenant whose lease had run out and refused to leave. Both sides say they tried to write a new lease and were ignored by the other. The Patriot Movement members and advocates for the center met in September, when Antone spoke at a lengthy City Council meeting to defend the police response to a Trump rally in Phoenix. Center supporters were at the same meeting to discuss the center, and Jinhui Chen, an activist for the center later wrote Antone, asking for her organization’s support. “It's a great step to help save the Chinese Cultural Center,” Jinhui Chen wrote, “and in the meantime, help defeat destructive Democratic candidates for whatever motion they might have.” Antone agreed to do so. “We spent nine hours getting to know these people and talking to them and listening to their stories and it’s heartbreaking – watching kids come up and cry at the thought of losing this place that means so much to them,” Antone said.

Patriot Movement controversy

Patriot Movement AZ members, who describe themselves as supportive of the Constitution and Second Amendment rights, have protested the Red for Ed movement advocating for higher teacher pay, and it opposes the student-led March for Our Lives gun-control movement. They protested a “die-in” earlier this month to honor victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Florida and advocate for tighter gun laws. In April, The Arizona Republic reported on backlash from Democrats and others after Gov. Doug Ducey posed for a photo with Patriot Movement AZ members, describing them “a small but vocal activist group known for bringing guns and yelling at people at events in metro Phoenix.” Ducey said he wasn’t familiar with the group and posed with them as he would with any constituents who asked for a photo. Antone told The Republic everyone at the public event recognized her organization. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors extremist groups, in a news release about a Trump unity rally in March, called the Arizona group “anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim activists.” [caption id="attachment_92682" align="alignright" width="300"] Joanna Dong, 11, who urged the Phoenix City Council to preserve the Chinese Cultural Center, talks outside council chambers with her father, Andy Dong, and Lesa Antone of Patriot Movement AZ. (Photo by Rebecca Spiess/Cronkite News)[/caption] Two women affiliated with the Patriots were arrested and accused of shouting anti-Muslim slurs after entering the grounds of a Tempe mosque while live-streaming on Facebook. The group denounced the women’s actions in a Facebook post. Both women were involved in Patriot Movement AZ activities, including one in which members were accused of “accosting” people of color at the Arizona Capitol in January. Carlos Garcia, a member of Puente Arizona, said Antone's group often protests his group’s events. “I think these particular folks – the ones who are particularly nasty – actually make our argument stronger because sometimes they’ll just be blatantly racist or say stupid things,” Garcia said. But Simon and Antone said the relationship between the groups is one of mutual respect. At the City Council meeting June, after Joanna Dong pleaded to keep the center open, Antone hugged the little girl. Sign up for CRONKITE DAILY to catch up on the latest news. Read more

The inside track: UA features only program focused solely on horse racing industry

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Margaret Naczek

Friday, June 22, 2018

The inside track: UA features only program focused solely on horse racing industry

TUCSON – Zach Taylor grew up around horses. His mother owned trail horses when Taylor was a boy in Fayetteville, Arkansas. But his love for racing took off while working in the electrical supply industry. He would take his customers to Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs for a weekend at the races. “The first time I went I had a great time at the track. The second time I went I learned how to read the (Daily Racing Form). The third time I went I had a pretty good day at the windows,” Taylor said of the track now known as Oaklawn Racing & Gaming. “It all snowballed from there.” [caption id="attachment_92375" align="alignright" width="300"] Zach Taylor is one of 23 students in the 2017/2018 RTIP program, which features students from Arizona to China. (Photo by Margaret Naczek/Cronkite News)[/caption] Taylor is one of 23 students at the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program (RTIP), a program that has attracted national attention for producing alumni such as top trainers Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher. It is the only collegiate program in the United States focused solely on the racetrack industry. Students receive a four-year Bachelor of Science degree in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The program is fairly small, with usually 30 to 40 students a year. During the 2017-2018 school year, RTIP graduated 12 students and had 23 in the program, said program director Wendy Davis, who graduated from RTIP in 1981. Students came from as close as Tucson to as far as China in the 2017-2018 academic year. “It really is a melting pot from all over the country here,” Taylor said. The industry hopes the success of Baffert, whose Justify helped the trainer win his second Triple Crown in four years on June 9, will be a boost for the program and the sport in general. A 2016 Harris Poll found only 1 percent of Americans listed horse racing as their favorite sport versus 4 percent in 1985. A trip to Arlington Park in the Chicago area grew Abel Zander’s love for the sport. The Chicagoan bet on a 3-year-old stallion with 70-to-1 odds in the Belmont Stakes. That horse -- Sarava -- went on to win the race and end War Emblem’s run for the Triple Crown. “I don’t think coming in I realized how much goes into the sport from all aspects, putting together races and then even running a barn,” Zander said. “There’s so many different moving parts, but they all come together, and for me, it’s been a real eye-opener.” RTIP offers two options for students: race track management, and racing and breeding animals. “There are really two different types of students who come here. One is the kind who wants to be a Bob Baffert or a Todd Pletcher. They want to be hands-on with the horses,” Davis said. “Then there’s also the other side who loves racing for the sport. They love the game.” [caption id="attachment_92376" align="alignright" width="300"] One of the most notable alumni at RTIP is Bob Baffert, who won his second Triple Crown as a trainer in 2018 with horse Justify. (Photo by Margaret Naczek/Cronkite News)[/caption] Taylor and Zander are both on the business side of the program. Their course curriculum focuses more on finance, law and market, Davis said. The equine side of the program includes more curriculum focusing on nutrition, physiology and reproduction, but students in both tracks take a core set of courses to learn all aspects of the racetrack industry. “I think that’s one of the reasons that our graduates do so well is they haven’t grown up in either the horse side or the business side with no understanding of the model of basically their partners,” Davis said. Despite his focus, Taylor has taken several courses on the equine side, such as the Equine Form and Function class. “Even though they are separate paths, you can’t have one without the other,” Taylor said. “My interests in the overall sport led me to take that class because I want to be able to look at a horse and have some sort of understanding about how it’s put together and how it might affect the performance.” Graduates have landed careers all over the globe. Evan Arkwright works as the commercial manager at The Curragh Racecourse in Ireland, the best-known track in that country, Davis said. Jim Kostas is the president of the Daily Racing Form, the industry’s top provider of data and editorial coverage, and Jim Mulvihill is the director of media and industry relations at the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. The small program size and faculty of just three professors and one administrative specialist who handles public relations and graphic design makes for a close-knit community. Davis believes the main success of RTIP is the networking opportunities. [caption id="attachment_92378" align="alignright" width="300"] Director of the Race Track Industry Program, Wendy Davis, was an 1981 alumni of the program before accepting her new role in 2017. (Photo by Margaret Naczek)[/caption] “This is a big business that feels like a small business. Everyone stays connected,” Davis said. “The wonderful thing is we have seen alumni hire graduates who then hire graduates. It’s a wonderful web. It’s a wonderful network.” Opportunities presented is what Taylor said best describes the program. “You can just walk up to a wall of doors that are open for you when you come in here and just pick which one you want to go through,” he said. The culmination of the four-year program is a required internship within the race track industry at locations including Churchill Downs, the American Quarter Horse Association, New York Racing Association and Santa Anita Park. Students also get to network with alumni and industry leaders in guest lectures and at the annual Global Symposium on Racing. Frank Vessels Jr., the founder of Los Alamitos Race Course in Southern California, and horseman Jack Goodman were part of the group that campaigned for a racing industry program in Arizona. It started in 1973 with a mission to “become future leaders in the racing industry,” according to RTIP’s 2017 “Year in Review.” “They came together seeing the need for educated people to come into racing because racing was getting a lot more complicated in those days,” Davis said. “It was growing, and it really needed to have people who understood not just the horse side but also the business side and the regulatory side to keep it moving forward.” It grew into something nationally recognized in the industry. “It’s great that we get the light shined on southern Arizona because of the program,” Taylor said. “One of the things that has become very clear is that you don’t have to be born in one of the hubs of horse racing,” Davis said. “We find that people who have been very, very successful come from sometimes the most unlikely places such as Bob Baffert and Nogales, Arizona.” Follow us on Twitter. Read more

Your vote, your voice: What do you want in election coverage?

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Victoria Valenzuela and Pat Poblete

Friday, June 22, 2018

Your vote, your voice: What do you want in election coverage?

Politics are confusing. Help us design the perfect political affairs show to change that. There were more than 3.6 million registered voters in Arizona in March, the most recent month for which figures are available from the Arizona Secretary of State's Office. With the midterm elections just five months away, Arizona voters face a plethora of political information to process. Politics can be confusing, and helping audiences stay informed on impactful Arizona news is something that Cronkite News takes great pride in. We want to ask you, our audience, what you want to know most about the top-polling Senate candidates. Your help in this crowd-sourced journalism project will help us make relevant, easy-to-understand Arizona political news coverage. To help us craft our political news segment, follow this link and answer a quick survey. The survey is anonymous, and will be used to generate a new show tailored to what you want to learn ahead of the midterm elections. Read more

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

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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

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