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Feds accused of targeting mothers and children in new immigration raids

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U.S. immigration officials have kicked off a new round of raids intended to deport hundreds of Central American mothers and children who have entered the country illegally, according to a legal group that works with the immigrants.

Immigration enforcement officers as of Friday had arrested about 40 women and children encompassing at least 18 Central American family groups in Texas, North Carolina, South Dakota and possibly other states, said Laura Lichter, an immigration lawyer and a former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Reuters reported on May 12 that the raids were planned for May and June and likely would be the largest deportation sweep targeting immigrant families by the administration of President Barack Obama this year after similar raids in which 121 people were arrested over two days in January.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokeswoman Jennifer Elzea declined to confirm that the new round of raids had begun but defended the administration’s deportation operations as a whole.

“We stress that these operations are limited to those who were apprehended at the border after January 1, 2014, have been ordered removed by an immigration court, and have no pending appeal or pending claim for asylum,” Elzea said.

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The immigrants arrested in the latest raids have been sent to two ICE detention centers in Texas, according to Belle Woods, a spokeswoman for the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

The deportation operations are intended to deter illegal immigration from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala and curb crossings of the U.S.-Mexican border by Central Americans, U.S. officials have said.

Lichter said ICE was not following its own policy in the raids. “It’s the same thing we saw in January. These people deserve asylum, but didn’t get a proper chance to have their cases heard,” Lichter said.

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The issue of illegal immigration has figured prominently in the U.S. presidential campaign, with presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump promising to deport all roughly 11 million people who are in the United States illegally.

The White House on May 13 defended its deportation policy after complaints from Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and congressional leaders that the sweep targeting Central American illegal immigrants is inhumane.

“I’m against large-scale raids that tear families apart and sow fear in communities,” Clinton said at the time.

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(Reporting by Julia Edwards; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Will Dunham)


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2020 Election

Do politicians actually care about your opinions? This researcher says no

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Earlier this month, a New York Times op-ed written by two political science professors, Ethan Porter of George Washington University and Joshua Kalla of Yale, discussed their troubling research findings: State legislators, the two claim, don't much care about the opinions of their constituents, even if they're given detailed data regarding their views.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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Black Georgia lawmaker accuses white man of demanding she ‘go back where she came from’ in supermarket diatribe

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On Friday evening, Erica Thomas, and African-American Democratic lawmaker in the Georgia House of Representatives, was shopping at a Publix supermarket in Mableton when a white customer came up to her and shouted at her, telling her to "go back where you came from" — words echoing President Donald Trump's recent racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color.

Thomas' crime? She had too many items for the express checkout line.

Today I was verbally assaulted in the grocery store by a white man who told me I was a lazy SOB and to go back to where I came from bc I had to many items in the express lane. My husband wasn’t there to defend me because he is on Active Duty serving the country I came from USA!

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Trump offers to guarantee bail for rapper A$AP Rocky

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US President Donald Trump offered Saturday to guarantee the bail of rapper ASAP Rocky, detained in Sweden on suspicion of assault following a street brawl.

Trump tweeted that he had spoken with Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, who he said gave assurances that the singer would be treated fairly.

"Likewise, I assured him that A$AP was not a flight risk and offered to personally vouch for his bail, or an alternative," Trump wrote.

There is no system of bail in Sweden.

Trump said he and Lofven had agreed to speak again over the next 48 hours.

Fans, fellow artists and US Congress members have campaigned for the 30-year-old artist, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, to be freed since his arrest on July 3 following the fight on June 30.

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