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Arrests at border steadily in decline

News

Wednesday April 5, 2017

Michael Tarm

AP Legal Affairs Writer

Associated Press

Rodrigo Abd/AP Photo A man in Nogales, Ariz., talks to his daughter and her mother who are standing on the other side of the border fence in Nogales, Mexico. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly says arrests of people entering the United States illegally across the Mexican border plummeted in March 2017. That’s a signal that fewer people are trying to sneak into the U.S. It’s also unclear if migrants are waiting south of the border to see how Trump’s border security efforts and plans for a wall develop. In his testimony for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Kelly said fewer than 12,500 people were caught crossing the border illegally last month. That compares with more than 43,000 in December. Kelly told lawmakers that the number of families and children traveling alone — groups that accounted for hundreds of thousands of illegal border crossers in recent years — also declined steeply. Last month fewer than 1,000 children were caught at the border and fewer than 1,100 people traveling as families were found. In recent years most of the families and children traveling alone have been from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

Kelly has said his agency is considering separating parents and children as a way to dissuade parents from making the trek from Central America. News of the dramatic decrease in arrests comes on the same day that proposals for Trump’s border wall were due to the government. Last month, Customs and Border Protection published two notices asking for private companies to bid on the project. The government intended to have successful bidders build prototypes in San Diego this year before selecting a final design. Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan told reporters Tuesday that while the Trump administration’s budget request for a more than $2 billion down payment on the wall appears unlikely to win approval in Congress this year, Homeland Security has the money to start the process and fund the prototypes.

Border agency fields border wall pitches Elliot Spagat Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — One bidder wants to cover President Donald Trump’s border wall with solar panels. Another suggests building a wall large enough for a deck that would offer tourists scenic views of the desert. In the competition to build the wall, traditional bids are interspersed with more whimsical ideas. As Tuesday’s deadline for bids passed, U.S. Customs and Border Protection declined to identify bidders or say how many there were, which is standard practice in government contracting. The federal government expects to announce around June 1 which companies will be hired to build prototypes. Designs must be able to repel pickaxes and sledgehammers for at least an hour and be aesthetically pleasing from the north side. Trump’s multibillion-dollar plan promises potentially big

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Court: Civil Rights law protects LGBT

Alicia A. Caldwell WASHINGTON — Arrests of people caught trying to sneak into the United States across the Mexican border plummeted in March to the lowest monthly figure in more than 17 years, the head of the Department of Homeland Security reported. That’s a likely sign that fewer immigrants are trying to make the trek into the United States. Secretary John Kelly said the steep decline in arrests is “no accident” and credited President Donald Trump’s approach to illegal immigration. Kelly reported the figures in written testimony submitted to a Senate committee ahead of an appearance Wednesday. The Associated Press obtained a copy of his testimony. Though the Trump administration has not yet changed how the border is patrolled, the president’s tough talk on immigration — including plans to build a border wall — and his stepped-up arrests of immigrants living in the country illegally have likely acted as deterrents. It’s unclear if the declines will continue. The number of people caught trying to enter the United States typically increases as the weather warms. Arrests during the normally slower winter months were higher than in past years. It is possible that some migrants rushed to the border after the election and before Trump took office.

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profits but also risks inviting a backlash from people who oppose the project. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico said last week that Mexican companies expressing interest were betraying their country. “This isn’t the kind of project that you’d want to put in your portfolio, said Gene Grabowski, a partner in kglobal, a Washington public-relations firm. “Unlike a dam or bridge, this is one where the risk of being associated with the political philosophy of the administration can be damaging to current and future business.” That did not stop some companies from releasing their plans — some traditional, some more imaginative. Concrete Contractors Interstate proposed a polished concrete wall augmented with stones and artifacts that are tailored to different sections of the 2,000mile border. “The idea is to make the wall a piece of art,” said Russ Baumgartner, chief executive

DarkPulse Technologies Inc via AP This undated rendering provided by DarkPulse Technologies Inc. shows a proposed border wall between Mexico and the U.S. The wall proposed by Arizona-based DarkPulse Technologies would be constructed with ballistic concrete that can withstand tampering or attacks of any kind, according to founder Dennis O’Leary. “You could fire a tank round at it and it will take the impact,” he told The Associated Press. officer of the San Diego-based company. Gleason Partners LLC of Las Vegas said its solar panels would generate 2 megawatts of electricity an hour. Both proposals were first reported by The San Diego UnionTribune. “For the younger generation, they say if there is going to be a wall, let’s have it be green,” said Gleason Managing Partner Thomas Gleason. The other specifications, like preventing people from digging tunnels beneath the wall, will eliminate some designs immediately. Winners must also

have done border security or similar projects worth $25 million or more in the past five years. A U.S. official with knowledge of the plans who spoke on condition of anonymity because the details have not been made public said four to 10 bidders are expected to be chosen to build prototypes for $200,000 to $500,000 each. The prototypes will be constructed on a quarter-mile (400-meter) strip of federally owned land in San Diego within 120 feet (37 meters) of the border, though a final decision has not been made on the precise spot, the official said.

CHICAGO — A federal appeals court ruled for the first time Tuesday that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects LGBT employees from workplace discrimination, setting up a likely battle before the Supreme Court as gay rights advocates push to broaden the scope of the 53-year-old law. The decision by the full 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago comes just three weeks after a three-judge panel in Atlanta ruled the opposite, saying employers aren’t prohibited from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation. It also comes as President Donald Trump’s administration has begun setting its own policies on LGBT rights. Late in January, the White House declared Trump would enforce an Obama administration order barring companies that do federal work from workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual identity. But in February, it revoked guidance on transgender students’ use of public school bathrooms, deferring to states. The case stems from a lawsuit by Indiana teacher Kimberly Hively alleging that the Ivy Tech Community College in South Bend didn’t hire her full time because she is a lesbian. Hively said she agreed to bring the case because she felt she was being “bullied.” She told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that the time has come “to stop punishing people for being gay, being lesbian, being transgender.” The Chicago ruling followed a so-called en banc hearing of all the judges in the appeals court, with eight agreeing that the civil rights law prohibits discrimination because of sexual orientation, and three dissenting. The vote is notable because the 7th Circuit is considered a relatively conservative appeals court. Eight out of the 11 judges were appointed by Republican presidents. “This decision is game changer for lesbian and gay employees facing discrimination in the workplace and sends a clear message to employers: it is against the law to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation,” said Greg Nevins, Employment Fairness Program Director for Lambda Legal, which brought the case on behalf of Hively. The issue could still land before the Supreme Court at some point. A GOP-majority House and Senate make it unlikely the Congress will amend the Civil Rights Act, which outlaws discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin and requires equal access to public places and employment.

Profile for The HCC Egalitarian

April 5, 2017 issue of The Egalitarian  

Photo club ventures out to NOLA, The Beautiful Struggle follows student from homelessness to HCC, Astros start season off strong with win in...

April 5, 2017 issue of The Egalitarian  

Photo club ventures out to NOLA, The Beautiful Struggle follows student from homelessness to HCC, Astros start season off strong with win in...

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