<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Political News, Bay Area Politics]]>Copyright 2018https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/politics http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area https://www.nbcbayarea.comen-usSun, 24 Jun 2018 17:52:05 -0700Sun, 24 Jun 2018 17:52:05 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Protesters in Tornillo, TX, Call For Trump To Reunite Separated Families]]> Sun, 24 Jun 2018 15:19:22 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SAMPLE+TIMELINE.00_01_05_27.Still003.jpg

Protesters gathered at a tent city in Tornillo, Tx, to call for the president to reunite separated children with their families.

<![CDATA[Democrats Visit Detention Center In McAllen, Texas]]> Sat, 23 Jun 2018 13:40:12 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SAMPLE+TIMELINE.00_00_42_29.Still004.jpg

A delegation comprised of 25 Democratic members of Congress visited a detention center in McAllen, Texas, on Saturday and criticized the Trump Administration over its immigration policies.>

<![CDATA[Gay Rights Pioneer Dick Leitsch Dies at 83]]> Sat, 23 Jun 2018 10:42:41 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/dickleitsch.jpg

Dick Leitsch, a titan of the early gay rights movement who led "sip-in" protests in the 1960s, died in New York City on Friday, Ken Lustbader, the co-director of NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project confirmed to NBC News. He was 83.

Leitsch became an icon of the LGBTQ movement after leading protests that pre-dated the Stonewall Inn uprising, increasing the momentum of the gay rights movement.

Born on May 11, 1935, Leitsch moved to New York City in 1959 from his home state of Kentucky.

He went on to lead the New York City chapter of the Mattachine Society, one of the oldest gay rights organizations in the country. It was during his time at the Mattachine Society that he came up with the idea for "sip-ins," where demonstrators would go to bars, announce they were gay and ask to be served.

Photo Credit: Louis Liotta/New York Post Archives /(c) NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[It's Getting Tougher for Migrants to Claim Asylum]]> Sat, 23 Jun 2018 04:32:56 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/PortsofEntryImmigration.jpg

Migrants are finding it harder to claim asylum at U.S. ports of entry due to the facilities being overcrowded, part of an effort by U.S. officials to curb the number of migrants setting foot on U.S. territory, NBC News reported

Under international and U.S. law, a person that has touched down on U.S. soil must legally be allowed to make a claim for asylum. 

U.S. officials at the border have reportedly told families that there is no room for them at the ports of entry and that they should either wait for foot traffic to cease or come back another time. 

Photo Credit: Matt York/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Trump to GOP: Stop Wasting Time on Immigration]]> Fri, 22 Jun 2018 09:35:57 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NC_gopdelaysimmigrationvote_1500x845.jpg

After repeatedly calling on Congress to solve the immigration problem, President Donald Trump now wants lawmakers to delay immigration reform until after the midterm elections in November. 

<![CDATA[Photos: Melania Trump's Style]]> Fri, 22 Jun 2018 06:53:23 -0700 and called for Congress to act on immigration reform. The green, hooded jacket she wore while departing from and returning to Washington sent a more puzzling message for many. The $39 Zara item had writing on the back that read: "I really don't care, do u?"

"It's a jacket," her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, said. "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." Yet President Donald Trump offered his own spin, tweeting that the jacket "refers to the Fake News Media. Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!"]]>
and called for Congress to act on immigration reform. The green, hooded jacket she wore while departing from and returning to Washington sent a more puzzling message for many. The $39 Zara item had writing on the back that read: "I really don't care, do u?"

"It's a jacket," her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, said. "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." Yet President Donald Trump offered his own spin, tweeting that the jacket "refers to the Fake News Media. Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!"]]>
First lady Melania Trump brought her fashion sense as a former model to the campaign trail and the White House.

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images; Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Congress to Vote on Immigration Bills]]> Thu, 21 Jun 2018 12:17:37 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Screen+Shot+2018-06-21+at+10.53.47+AM.png

The House of Representatives is set to vote on two comprehensive immigration bills Thursday - one by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte that is popular with immigration hard-liners, and a second measure that reflects a deal between GOP conservatives and moderates. The compromise bill would provide nearly $25 billion in funding for President Trump's border wall, limit legal and illegal immigration and provide a path to citizenship for DACA recipients.

<![CDATA[Melania Trump Makes Unannounced Visit to Border Facilities ]]> Thu, 21 Jun 2018 11:21:35 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Screen-Shot-2018-06-21-at-12.27.39-PM.jpg

First lady Melania Trump made an unexpected and unannounced call to detention centers and facilities at McAllen, Texas, on June 21, 2018. The visits come a day after President Donald Trump reversed a policy that separated migrant children from their families once they were detained at the border. 

Photo Credit: NBC ]]>
<![CDATA[Tech Companies Working With ICE as Border Crisis Continues]]> Thu, 21 Jun 2018 03:43:21 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ICEGettyImages-688613960.jpg

Several high-profile data and technology companies have been profiting off of contracts with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency for the last several months, NBC News reported

Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Thomson Reuters, Microsoft, Motorola Solutions and Palantir all have active contracts with ICE, according to a public records search. Their contracts show how many tech companies are putting their innovations to use with the U.S. government in ways that are not often visible to the public. 

Palantir, for example, has a $39 million contract with the agency that began in 2015. Thomson Reuters Special Services, a subsidiary of the mass-media firm and news agency Thomson Reuters, signed a $6.8 million contract with ICE in March. 

Palantir and Motorola Solutions did not respond to requests for comment. Hewlett Packard and Microsoft condemned the administration's family separation policy, while Thomson Reuters would not comment on it.  

Photo Credit: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post/Getty Images, File ]]>
<![CDATA[Military Lawyers Being Sent to Border for Immigration Cases]]> Thu, 21 Jun 2018 04:10:06 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DOD-logoGettyImages-626284132.jpg

The Department of Defense said Wednesday night that 21 military lawyers are being sent to Arizona, Texas and New Mexico to help prosecute illegal immigration cases, NBC News reported

The lawyers will be appointed as full-time special assistant United States attorneys for up to 179 days, or about six months. They are to have "criminal trial experience." Emails obtained by MSNBC appear to show the Justice Department sought applicants "while we staff up" with permanent U.S. attorneys. 

The military lawyers will be given basic training in immigration law and federal criminal procedure to assist regular federal prosecutors in Yuma, Arizona; Las Cruces, New Mexico; and El Paso, Del Rio, Laredo and McAllen in Texas.

Photo Credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images, File ]]>
<![CDATA[White Nationalists Planning Rally Near White House]]> Thu, 21 Jun 2018 09:24:56 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/062018+charlottesville2.jpg

The group behind the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year is planning a one-year anniversary rally near the White House in August — and the National Park Service has given organizers initial approval. 

Organizers of the 2017 Unite the Right rally want to host the event in Lafayette Square Park on August 11 and 12. About 400 people are expected to participate, according to the application filed on May 8.

Jason Kessler, the organizer of the rally, wrote on the application that the purpose of the event was to protest the “civil rights abuse” in Charlottesville, and host a “white civil rights” rally.

The rally in D.C. would be held exactly a year after a driver in Charlottesville plowed into a crowd of people peacefully protesting the white nationalist rally, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring dozens of others.

Initial approval of Kessler's application indicates that no other individual or group already has a permit for the requested location or time, National Park Service (NPS) spokesman Mike Litterst told News4.

NPS is required to be "content neutral" in considering whether to grant permits for events, he said.

"This is the First Amendment right of all Americans to speak freely and assemble peaceably, regardless of what their message is," the NPS spokesman said.

In December, Kessler submitted a permit application to host the anniversary rally in Charlottesville, but, the city rejected it, saying the event would present a danger to public safety. Kessler has filed a lawsuit against the city over its denial.

He stated in the application for the D.C. rally that he expects members of Antifa-affiliated groups to protest.

Antifa, which stands for “anti-fascist,” is an organized group of protesters, left-wing activists and self-described anarchists who aim to confront those who support bigoted or totalitarian views.

Kessler wrote in the application that attendees would meet at a rally point and march to Lafayette Square Park to give speeches. Afterward, the group would march back to the rally point alongside law enforcement.

James Fields, the driver accused in the 2017 attack, faces 10 felony counts, including first-degree murder.

NPS is getting additional information from the rally organizers, Litterst said. The NPS permitting office will review the application in coordination with U.S. Park Police. If NPS grants a permit, they then would coordinate with U.S. Park Police, D.C. police and the Secret Service. It's not clear yet when a permit will be approved or denied.

Andrea Swalec contributed reporting.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Touts Executive Order at Minnesota Rally]]> Wed, 20 Jun 2018 19:25:26 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DIT+NAT+TRUMP+RALLY+062018.00_00_22_17+THUMB.jpg

President Donald Trump promised the crowd at a campaign-style rally in Duluth, Minnesota, Wednesday night that a border wall will soon be fully funded. The rally came hours after Trump signed an executive order temporarily halting family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border.

<![CDATA[Advocates Warn Against Detaining Families Indefinitely]]> Thu, 21 Jun 2018 14:37:01 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/protect-the-children.jpg

Immigrant advocates applauded President Trump’s decision on Wednesday to end the separation of migrant families crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally but fear a return to long detentions while the families’ court cases are decided.

“We’re going to go from family separation, which is a terrible practice and we shouldn’t be doing it, but we’re going to go back to longtime family detention, which is just as abhorrent a practice,” said Jacquelyn Kline, a lawyer who has represented parents and children being held at Berks County Residential Center in Leesport, Pennsylvania.

Outrage over the images of children behind chain-link fences and sounds of small children crying after they were removed from their parents forced Trump to reverse his policy. But warnings from advocates about the medical, physical and emotional damage of long detentions have not gotten the same response, she said.

“There hasn’t been as much of the same outcry,” Kline said.

A number of court rulings require that migrant children be released from the custody of government officials. Under the 1997 settlement of a class-action lawsuit, the Flores settlement, officials must turn over children who crossed the border unaccompanied to parents or other relatives — or if that is not possible to the “least restrictive” setting. A federal judge in Los Angeles in 2015 added those protections to children caught with their parents.

Meanwhile the 2008 Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act guarantees deportation hearings for child migrants not from Mexico or Canada and without relatives in the United States.

Families with children are held in three centers in the United States — Berks County Residential Center, Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City, Texas, and South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas.

The Los Angeles judge, Dolly Gee of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, also found that the Texas detention centers violated the Flores settlement, which required that the facilities be licensed to take care of children and not be secured or prison-like.

Advocates have opposed licensing for all three centers and at the end of 2016, a Texas judge found licenses for the two Texas facilities to be invalid. The decision was appealed.

Meanwhile the Berks County Residential Center failed to receive a renewal of its license, though it continues to hold families while officials there also appeal, Kline said. It, like the Texas facilities, is a secured facility, she said.

Advocates say it is ill suited for children, who are woken up every 15 minutes for bed checks, do not get home-cooked meals and can outside under under supervision of guards. In 2016, a guard was found guilty of raping a 19-year-old Honduran woman being held there. 

An annual inspection by the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday found several violations, but none that required an emergency closure, it said. 

The executive order signed by Trump on Wednesday does not reverse the “zero tolerance” policy that prompted the chaos — the decision in April to charge all people entering the country illegally, typically with a misdemeanor. As adults were placed in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service, children were sent to facilities run by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Now instead of removing children from their parents while they are prosecuted, the Trump administration will keep the families together, though it is not clear how it will not run afoul of the Flores settlement. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is directed to ask a federal court to modify the settlement’s prohibition against holding children in detention for longer than 20 days in an unlicensed facility.

Trump claims that once in the country, migrants disappear and do not return to court for their cases. Only 3 percent come back, he has said, an inaccurate statement according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice's annual yearbook of immigration statistics. According to the Department of Justice, between 2012 and 2016, from 11 percent to 28 percent of migrants have failed to show up for court sessions. Immigrants advocates say many more return if they are given legal assistance.  

Then there is the question of where the families will be held. Since the “zero tolerance” policy went into effect at the beginning of May, more than 2,300 children have been taken from their parents, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

“There are not enough facilities in the United States,” Kline said.

The executive order calls for the use of any existing facilities available for housing and the construction of new facilities by the Department of Defense if necessary. Officials have been examining whether families can be housed on military bases.

The American Academy of Pediatrics objected to the new policy, saying that detention centers were no place for children even with their families. Studies of detained immigrants have shown that children and parents may suffer anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result, the group said.

“We urge our government to stop exposing children to conditions or settings that may re-traumatize them, such as those that exist in immigration detention,” it said in a statement.

Conditions in U.S. detention facilities, in which children have been forced to sleep on cement floors, use open toilets, and be subjected to constant light, insufficient food and water, no bathing facilities, and extremely cold temperatures, are traumatizing, it said. No child should ever have to endure these conditions, it said

The American Civil Liberties Union, in a statement said that the crisis would end only when every child was reunited with his or her parent.

“This executive order would replace one crisis for another,” said Anthony D. Romero, the executive director. “Children don’t belong in jail at all, even with their parents, under any set of circumstances. If the president thinks placing families in jail indefinitely is what people have been asking for, he is grossly mistaken.”

The ACLU had asked a federal judge in California for an injunction against further family separations and for the reunification of families already split apart. On Thursday, it said it would continue to press its case despite the executive order. 

The administration has not said how it plans to reunite families although on Thursday, the first lady, Melania Trump, visited a children's center on the border in McAllen, Texas, and asked how she could help bring children and parents back together as quickly as possible. 

And the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, said that by detaining families, the administration would continue to treat them like criminals. 

“(Trump) needs to stop using people’s lives and futures as political bargaining chips to get funding for an expensive wall that won’t solve anything,” the center's president, Richard Cohen, said in a statement.

Photo Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Trump's Order Could Hold Families Together Indefinitely]]> Wed, 20 Jun 2018 20:20:30 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/guatemalan-sisters-asylum.jpg

The executive order President Donald Trump signed on Wednesday may put an end to separation of families, but it sets the stage for children whose parents are prosecuted to be held in indefinite detention with their parents while the family goes through immigration proceedings.

Among many other issues, that raises the question of where these families will be held as they await court hearings.

Family detention centers run by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have a current capacity of 3,335 beds, according to the latest federal budget allocations. But on average, 420 parents and kids are crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in family groups each day, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data obtained by NBC News.

At that rate, the family detention centers will be full within eight days — and an unknown number of those beds are already occupied.

Photo Credit: Eric Gay/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Analysis: Why Trump Had to Back Down on Family Separations]]> Wed, 20 Jun 2018 15:06:43 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/trump-pauses.jpg

President Donald Trump's sudden scramble to distance himself from his own “zero tolerance” family-separation policy shows there is a point around the nexus of political sensitivity and shame where he will change his own behavior.

The president denies that he was forced to back down, but make no mistake: Trump was pushed into abandoning his policy of separating children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to NBC News analysis. He created it, defended it in dishonest terms and then suspended it under pressure.

There is no evidence he believes the policy was wrong — when he tweeted about the need to have compassion, he put “heart” in quotation marks — but it was clearly causing pain for him and his allies. When he pointed to reasons for eliminating the policy, he zeroed in on appearances: "I didn't like the sight or the feeling of families being separated.”

Photo Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP]]>