IF THERE’S ONE thing the men locked inside the Otay Mesa Detention Center want the world to know, it’s that Carlos Ernesto Escobar Mejia didn’t need to die. The 57-year-old passed away in a southern California hospital on May 6, becoming the first person in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody to lose their life to Covid-19. The men who knew him fear that he won’t be the last.
The U.S. government is still taking children from their parents after they cross the border. Since the supposed end of family separation — in the summer of 2018, after a federal judge’s injunction and President Donald Trump’s executive order reversing the deeply controversial policy — more than 1,100 children have been taken from their parents, according to the government’s own data. There may be more, since that data has been plagued by bad record keeping and inconsistencies. The government alleges that separations now only happen when a parent has a criminal history or is unfit to care for a child, but an ongoing lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union argues that the current policy still violates the rights of children and families. Border Patrol agents, untrained in child welfare, make decisions that some parents are unfit to stay with their children based solely on brief interactions with them while they are held in custody.
For most of the past year, ICE’s fake college sting has resulted in a long string of arrests, but not very many prosecutions.The sting involved a fictitious university set up by ICE to ensnare foreigners seeking to extend their US stays by complying with the law. That’s the underlying truth that was dismantled by ICE’s fiction. Visitors on student visas are allowed to stay in the country as long as they continue their studies.
Internal emails and other ICE documents he obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, since reviewed by CNN, show that other officers across the five-state region where Oxley worked had improperly signed warrants on behalf of their supervisors — especially on evenings or weekends. Some supervisors even gave their officers pre-signed blank warrants — in effect, illegally handing them the authority to begin the deportation process.
CIA-backed data-mining business Palantir is reportedly in talks with banks to take the company public for a blockbuster sum, and could move as early as next year.Peter Thiel’s company – known for its work with the US government, spy agencies and police as well as its reported links to the Cambridge Analytica data-harvesting saga – has raised some $2bn since its inception in 2004.
Toiletries and clean clothes were in constant shortage and sick detainees were sometimes left in their soiled clothes, he told The Intercept. Detainees worked in the center’s kitchens for as little as $1 a day — or took cleaning shifts for no money but an extra ration of food. The food itself was so bad that it was sometimes infested with maggots, yet there was always too little of it — so that detainees would be forced to buy more at the center’s commissary. “It’s all about money,” said Hidalgo, who is now free on bond.Staff at Adelanto ignored all but the most serious medical emergencies. After Hidalgo witnessed a detainee suffer seizures and staff do nothing to help him, he started organizing a detainee-run response team to help those suffering medical and mental health crises, which were frequent. When he asked the center’s staff for help, those working with the GEO Group, the private detention company that runs the center, would refer him to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “If I asked ICE, they’d say, it’s GEO’s house, so ask them and go through them,” Hidalgo said. “Back and forth, so you end up getting nothing.”
THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S intensifying border crackdown has seen as many as 2,000 cases involving children separated from their parents, according to an estimate by a lead attorney litigating a high-profile class-action lawsuit challenging the practice. Hundreds of new incidents of children being separated from their parents have emerged in the last month alone. “I think it’s between 1,500 and 2,000,” Lee Gelernt, a veteran attorney with American Civil Liberties Union, told The Intercept on Thursday, referring to the ballooning total of separation cases. Gelernt based the figure on recent testimony from U.S. officials and government disclosures, arguing that the total reflects the emerging scale of a practice that will have lasting impacts on a generation of kids who happened to arrive in the U.S. at this particular moment.
A bailiff pushed Jabar Ali Refaie’s wheelchair into a federal courtroom in Tampa, Florida, on September 20. Dressed in an orange jumpsuit and looking weak from not having had the drugs he takes to treat his multiple sclerosis, the 37-year-old Refaie was here for a bond hearing after being indicted on felony charges that allege he sold counterfeit BMW logos and diagnostic software on eBay.