Tuesday, May 20, 2014

#HEADLINES: County Jails Profit From Immigrant Detainees, California Drought, Brazil World Cup Protests, Cuban Embargo, Miami's Metrorail at 30, Emergency Measures in Texas as Youths Cross Border Alone, Democrats Have a Millenials Problem

Dialing with Dollars: How County Jails Profit From Immigrant Detainees -- The Nation
"Arali and Milton are just two of thousands of undocumented immigrants across the United States who are charged exorbitant rates for calls from county jails that contract with ICE to hold immigrant detainees. About 50 percent of all immigrant detainees are held in county jails, according to ICE, and many of these cash-strapped jails, like Plymouth County Detention Center, have sought to raise revenue through contracts with phone companies that charge excessive rates and kick back part of the profits. Immigrant detainees end up paying the same inflated telephone rates charged to their citizen inmate counterparts, but unlike jail inmates charged with a crime, immigration detainees don’t have access to court-appointed attorneys. This means they are responsible for finding an attorney or representing themselves, both tasks that require affordable phone access."

***learn more about how your organization can set up a hotline for detainees in your area to call toll free at Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC)


The California Drought Is Far From Over, And The Entire State Is Suffering -- Huffington Post
"On Thursday, for the first time this century, the U.S. Drought Monitor declared that all of California is in a 'severe' drought, with many areas of the state in an even worse condition, from 'extreme" to 'exceptional,' the poorest possible rating.

"'This is a once-in-a-generation conversation,' Mark Svoboda, a climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center, told The Huffington Post. He added that the last time California experienced comparable conditions was in the mid-1970s.

"'The state has doubled its population between then and now,' Svoboda said. 'You’ve got a lot more people using a relatively finite amount of water.'"


'There Will Be No World Cup': Brazil on the Brink -- The Nation
"For people just tuning in, the idea that people in Brazil would be protesting the 2014 World Cup makes about as much sense as New Yorkers’ rebelling against pizza. And yet here we are, less than one month before the start of the Cup, and demonstrations bear the slogan #NãoVaiTerCopa, or 'There will be no Cup.'

"Protests, strikes and direct actions have been flaring up across the country as the 2014 FIFA World Cup approaches. Most notably, as many as 10,000 people in São Paolo under the banner of Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement, or MTST, has occupied a major lot next to Arena Corinthians, site of the World Cup’s opening match. They call their occupation 'The People’s Cup' and point out that the nearly half a billion dollars that went into building the 'FIFA quality stadium' next door could have been used to combat poverty or improve healthcare. The slogan 'we want FIFA quality hospitals and schools' still rings out as it did a year ago, when during the Confederation’s Cup, Brazil saw its largest protests in a generation. Now there is an even sharper desperation as the cup approaches. Maria das Dores Cirqueira, 44, a coordinator for the MTST, told the Los Angeles Times, 'When the government told us we would host the World Cup, we hoped there would be improvements for us. But they aren’t putting on a Cup for the people, they’re putting on a Cup for the gringos.'"




Open letter to Obama calls for new steps to promote change in Cuba -- Reuters
"The White House should expand licensed travel for all Americans to Cuba and increase support for civil society on the communist-ruled island, according to an open letter to President Barack Obama signed by an unprecedented group of 44 policy reform advocates and former U.S. officials.

"The letter released on Monday was signed by John Negroponte, the Director of National Intelligence under President George W. Bush, retired Admiral James Stavridis, who stepped down last year as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, and several former senior State Department officials and prominent Cuban Americans."


Miami's Metrorail at 30: Promises kept, promises broken -- Miami Herald
"When it opened at 6 a.m. May 20, 1984, Metrorail’s elevated trains ran only 11 miles, stopping at 10 stations from Overtown to Dadeland South. At the time, county officials promised a 52- or 54-mile system that would go to Miami International Airport, Miami Beach and other destinations, and carry more than 200,000 riders a day.

"After three decades of operation, the system grew to just 25 miles, added only one line — to MIA — and has never carried 200,000 riders daily. Nevertheless, Metrorail today is not doing as badly as early critics predicted, when they derisively referred to it as Metrofail.

"Metrorail hasn’t failed, but neither has it delivered on the promises of its early proponents. Over time, though, it has become indispensable to thousands of people who rely on public transit either because they cannot afford a car, don’t have a driver’s license or simply prefer trains and buses."


U.S. Setting Up Emergency Shelter in Texas as Youths Cross Border Alone -- New York Times
"The flow of child migrants has been building since 2011, when 4,059 unaccompanied youths were apprehended by border agents. Last year more than 21,000 minors were caught, and Border Patrol officials had said they were expecting more than 60,000 this year. But that projection has already been exceeded.

"By law, unaccompanied children caught crossing illegally from countries other than Mexico are treated differently from other migrants. After being apprehended by the Border Patrol, they must be turned over within 72 hours to a refugee resettlement office that is part of the Health Department. Health officials must try to find relatives or other adults in the United States who can care for them while their immigration cases move through the courts, a search that can take several weeks or more."


Democrats Have a Millenials Problem -- National Journal
"The survey found that although more than seven in 10 millennials lean progressive on a host of topics and policies and support a more involved government, only 28 percent said they will 'definitely vote' in the 2014 midterm elections.

"'That's a real challenge for Democrats, but also a real opportunity,' said Paul Harstad, of Harstad Strategic Research, during a conference call Thursday regarding the results.

"The poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, was conducted March 30 to April 4. Online polls do not provide the same statistical validity as surveys conducted through random landline and cell-phone calling, but they can offer a broad sense of attitudes, particularly with groups like young adults that are difficult to reach through traditional means."

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