U.S. judge weighs expanding lawsuit over family separations to cover more children

2/22/2019 – Reuters

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(REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez)

By Kristina Cooke

(Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Thursday appeared open to ordering the government to find potentially thousands of additional children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border by the Trump administration, which could greatly expand the scope of a lawsuit challenging the separations.

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego called a January report by an internal government watchdog that found the U.S. government had started implementing its policy of separating families months before it was announced “a very significant event.”

The Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said in a report published earlier this year that the agency had identified many more children in addition to the 2,737 included as part of the class action lawsuit challenging family separations brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) last year. In response to the lawsuit, Sabraw ordered the families identified through a court process to be reunited with their children.

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Mexico’s national guard won’t be military-led, in government step-down

2/22/2019 – Reuters

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(REUTERS/Violeta Schmidt)

By Reuters

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s Senate on Thursday approved President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s plan to create a new national guard, a central plank of the government’s strategy to subdue gang violence that has claimed tens of thousands of lives over the past decade.

he bill was passed unanimously by 127 senators but only after Lopez Obrador’s party agreed to put the new security force, which will be made up of soldiers and police, under civilian instead of military control.

The step caps weeks of wrangling over the so-called Guardia Nacional after initial plans to give the military control of the force met with resistance from human rights groups, opposition lawmakers and some close political allies of Lopez Obrador.

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‘Roma’ made Yalitza Aparicio a star. Now she’s giving a voice to her indigenous fans.

2/21/2019 – The Washington Post

Long before Yalitza Aparicio became the first indigenous woman nominated for best actress at the Oscars, she applied for a retail position at a clothing store in her hometown of Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca.

She didn’t get the job. Aparicio, now in the same conversations as Glenn Close and Lady Gaga, recalls the store manager’s exact words: “It’s your skin color.”

She wasn’t surprised. It isn’t unusual for people with indigenous features to face discrimination in Mexico. But now Aparicio, who had never acted before landing the lead role in the critically lauded “Roma,” has gone from aspiring public school teacher in a city of less than 18,000 to the first indigenous woman on Vogue Mexico’s cover. Fans tout her as the face of indigenous Mexico. Trolls leave racist comments on her social media. And at just 25 years old, she’s wrestling with the rewards and burdens of fame.

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Trump Claims His Wall Is Being Built. It’s Just a Replacement of Old Barriers.

2/21/2019 – The New York Times

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(US Customs and Border Protection)

By Michael Tackett

The president showcased a video of construction on Twitter, but the work he highlighted was from funds previously allocated to replace damaged fencing.

President Trump has been eager to show progress on construction of his long-promised wall on the border with Mexico. So eager that on Wednesday he sent a tweet showing the building of steel fencing in southern New Mexico with the video sped up to add a sense of both efficiency and urgency.

He retweeted himself on Thursday with the all-caps proclamation “THE WALL IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION RIGHT NOW!”

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House Democrats to File Resolution on Trump’s Border Emergency

2/21/2019 – Bloomberg

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Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

By Billy House

Democrats in the U.S. House plan to file a resolution on Friday seeking to block President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration to build a wall on the southern U.S. border.

Representative Joaquin Castro of Texas outlined plans to introduce the measure in an email circulated to colleagues that was obtained Wednesday by Bloomberg News. The resolution has 92 co-sponsors in the Democratic-controlled House.

The resolution is likely to pass the House and may get enough Republican support to pass the GOP-led Senate. Trump has vowed to veto it.

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Mexico President Says No More Pemex Oil Joint Ventures for Now

2/21/2019 – The New York Times

21-02-2019-FOTO-06-CONFERENCIA-DE-PRENSA-MATUTINA-768x1024.jpgMEXICO CITY — President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Thursday Mexico will not offer more oil joint ventures between private companies and state energy company Pemex indefinitely, raising doubts about auctions set for October.

In reply to a question about the contracts, known in the industry as “farm-outs,” Lopez Obrador said the country would not offer more until existing projects began producing oil.

Credit ratings agency Fitch downgraded Pemex in January, citing precarious finances and a collapse in oil output.

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U.S. Agriculture Secretary says hopes U.S. will ratify new North American trade deal by summer

2/21/2019 – Reuters

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REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

By Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Thursday that he hopes the United States will ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal known as USMCA by summer, after Congress has a chance to understand the accord’s provisions.

“I would hope, certainly… I am always optimistic… by summer,” he said at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual forum in response to a question about when USMCA would be ratified. “It’s never over till it’s over, with any legislation.”

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