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Frequent crossers of US-Mexico border fret over threatened shutdown

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Workers and students who frequently cross the U.S. border with Mexico worried over the weekend about the impact on their lives if President Donald Trump follows through on a threat to shut entry points used by hundreds of thousands of people every day.

Faced with a surge of asylum seekers from Central American countries who travel through Mexico, Trump said on Friday that there was a “good likelihood” he would close the border this coming week if Mexico does not stop unauthorized immigrants from reaching the United States.

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Shutting the southern frontier completely would disrupt billions of dollars in trade and millions of legal border crossings, including those made by U.S. citizen Andrea Torres.

The 22-year-old student spends weekdays with her aunt in El Paso, where she attends the local campus of the University of Texas, and weekends with her mother in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

On the border bridge linking the two cities, so many students cross every day that authorities have assigned them their own pedestrian lane.

“Right now, it’s better for me to stay in El Paso because I need to finish school,” Torres, who is studying art history, said on Friday as she headed to Juarez for the weekend.

That would mean missing her mom. “It would be really hard,” Torres said. “I’m really close to her.”

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Gerardo Pozas, a 38-year-old mechanic, moved to El Paso from Juarez in 1997 to attend high school and later became a U.S. citizen. He has always retained strong ties with his birthplace. He worried what he would do if Trump closed the border.

“My family, my church and my girlfriend are (in Juarez). I wouldn’t be able to go,” Pozas said. “But if I stay there, in Ciudad Juarez, I wouldn’t be able to come to my house.”

Department of Homeland Security officials had already warned traffic with Mexico could slow as the agency shifts personnel from ports of entry to help process asylum seekers.

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Delays were already being felt on Friday, with waiting times longer than usual on the Mexican side of the crossing between Juarez and El Paso, and hours-long lines for trucks carrying goods from Mexican factories into the United States.

Trade between the United States and its third-largest trading partner totaled $612 billion last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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Trump, who launched his presidential campaign in 2015 with a promise to crack down on illegal immigration, has repeatedly threatened to close the border during his two years in office but has not followed through.

Mexico has played down the possibility of a border shutdown. On Friday its foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, said the country does not act on the basis of threats.


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Internet reacts as Obama breaks silence on George Floyd: ‘Great to hear from a real president’

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On Wednesday, former President Barack Obama gave an address on the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests against police brutality — giving words of encouragement to peaceful demonstrators and calling for major structural reform to heal the divisions between police and the communities they serve.

Barack Obama: "As tragic as these past few weeks have been, as difficult and scary and uncertain as they've been, they've also been an incredible opportunity for people to be awakened to some of these underlying trends and they offer an opportunity for us to all work together..." pic.twitter.com/wLBhmRy4aT

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Analysis finds nearly one third of owed unemployment benefits have not been paid

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Bloomberg found a $67 billion gap between the sum of benefits paid out by the Treasury Department and the amount that is owed to jobless Americans.

Bloomberg analysis released Tuesday estimates that nearly a third of the unemployment benefits owed to jobless Americans have not yet been paid out, a finding critics described as a "scandal" deserving of more media attention as millions of people struggle to afford basic expenses due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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DC cop explains why it was so important for him to kneel with protesters

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Officer Carlton Wilhoit scrolled through social media posts before he went to work on Sunday reading many anti-police statements.

As the Washington Post describes it, he suited up and went to work as protesters continued to surround the White House. He, along with his colleagues, were standing in the middle of 16th Street with a crowd of about 60 protesters implored him, "kneel for us." He said he knew he had to.

https://twitter.com/simonmadowa/status/1267448881169731587

“For me, kneeling was the right thing to do,” the young officer told the Post. “At the end of the day, I’m black first. If I were to lose my job today or tomorrow, or if I were to choose a different career path, one thing that would still remain when I take this uniform off is I’m a black man.”

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