MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough slams Trump and supporters as ‘openly racist’

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough took a shot at both President Trump and his supporters Friday, labeling both as “openly racist.”

The scathing comments during “Morning Joe,” which Scarborough co-hosts with Mika Brzezinski, came amid a highly controversial immigration debate over the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy that led to children being separated from their parents after coming across the U.S. border.

Scarborough leveled that people “cannot say, ’Oh, I’m just supporting him because he’s giving them hell in Washington.’ No, he’s been openly racist, just like we said back in December of 2015, openly racist.

“And if you support him, then you’re supporting that, and you are that,” Scarborough continued. “It’s that simple. And that’s what we’ve come to now.”

CRYING MIGRANT GIRL ON TIME MAGAZINE COVER WAS NOT SEPARATED FROM MOTHER, FAMILY SAYS

The host shared similar remarks earlier in the show, following a discussion about the whereabouts of the seperated children.

“It’s unbelievable. And you know, the wretchedness of what Donald Trump has done here,” Scarborough said. “And I must add, those who are supporting Donald Trump blindly, claiming that sending young children … young children to places 2,000 miles away from where their parents are is like sending them to summer camp … the wretchedness of that. That mindset, the wretchedness, the depravity.

“You do wonder what actually has happened to people who speak like that in defense of a president,” he said, adding that he “deserves no defense. Certainly not in this case.”

TRUMP SAYS ‘RED WAVE’ NEEDED TO PASS IMMIGRATION BILL OVER ‘OBSTRUCTING DEMOCRATS’

Brzezinski said she thought Trump “will be forever remembered as the president who traumatized little children.”

“I mean, he has built up to this moment to the point where now he is the president of the United States of America who took our country on a collision course downhill, tearing at every seam, being the president who abused little children,” she said. “And you see in this White House a sinking ship.”

She further claimed that Trump changed course on immigration “because this is a massive PR failure” and the administration is concerned with “what it looks like.”

“It’s deranged, its abusive, its cruel, its evil and the entire world is watching,” she added.

Scarborough, a former GOP congressman from Florida, has not been shy in his recent criticisms of the Trump administration’s immigration policy. 

Speaking about White House press secretary Sarah Sanders’ June 14 press briefing – in which she sparred with reporters over the separation of families attempting to cross the border – Scarborough accused Sanders of excessive lying.

“So why is she lying this much?” Scarborough asked. “I know children are being ripped from their mother’s arms, even while they’re being breast-fed. I know children are being marched away to showers, marched away to showers. Being told they are — just like the Nazis — said that they were taking people to the showers and then they never came back,” he said.

The White House said those remarks were “inflammatory and unacceptable.”

Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.

Latino non-profit faces questions over big money, involvement in immigrant kids’ housing

As debate continues over the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, questions are being asked about a non-profit group that has collected huge amounts of government money to house and care for thousands of immigrant children being held in the system.

Texas-based Southwest Key Programs has taken in roughly $1 billion in federal contracts since the Obama administration, and is expected to receive about $500 million this year to house and provide services for immigrant children, according to reports. 

And Southwest officials receive significant compensation for their efforts. WQAD reported tax filings show Juan Sanchez, the group’s founder and CEO, received nearly $1.5 million in 2016 – nearly twice the previous year’s salary, of $786,822. His wife, Jennifer, vice president of Southwest Key, received about $280,000 in 2015 in total compensation, WQAD reported.

Sanchez, who according to his biography information grew up in a poor neighborhood in South Texas and went on to receive a doctorate in education from Harvard University, is a well-connected figure in the Latino community. Hispanic Business Magazine ranked Southwest Key number four in its list of the top 25 Latino non-profits in the country several years ago. And the League of United Latin American Citizens honored Sanchez with its “Rise to the Challenge” award.

From 2007 to 2013, Sanchez also served on the board of the former National Council of La Raza (NCLR), which was one of the nation’s largest and oldest Latino advocacy groups.

La Raza was at the forefront of fighting for many issues of importance to Hispanics. But it was also long criticized by those who charge that it is racist, and sympathetic to separatist ideology. The group rebranded, and changed its name in 2017 to UnidosUS. 

Another board member, Anselmo Villarreal, was on the NCLR board from 2006 to 2012. Villarreal is president and chief executive of Wisconsin-based La Casa de Esperanza, which provides services to immigrants at locations nationwide.

Villarreal has taken high-profile positions against Trump immigration policies, and last month participated in a march against a Wisconsin county’s plans to work with federal immigration officials.

Young immigrants are lifted over a puddle as they arrive with their parents at the Catholic Charities RGV after they were processed and released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Tuesday, June 19, 2018, in McAllen, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

 (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Despite the huge government contracts, Sanchez and Southwest Key Programs stayed on the margins of public awareness – and controversy – until recently. Now the group faces more scrutiny for, among other things, operating the largest licensed shelter for immigrant children in the United States.

A 250,000-square-foot facility at a former WalMart superstore in Brownsville, Texas, today houses some 1,500 boys between the ages of 10 and 17 who illegally entered the U.S. Southwest Key bought the facility in 2016, but its former owners aren’t happy with how it’s turned out.

“We’re really disturbed by how our former store is being used,” Walmart said in a tweet on Wednesday. “When we sold the building in 2016 we had no idea it’d be used for this.”

Southwest Key holds a total of more than 5,000 immigrant children, about 10 percent of whom are said to have been separated from their families since May, when the new policy was announced. Its shelters for immigrants minors are in Texas, Arizona and California.

Juan Sanchez

Southwest Key Programs CEO Juan Sanchez

 (Southwest Key Programs)

Many Latinos, lawmakers, and immigrant rights activists fuming over the idea that a charity whose image was one of standing up for Latino and underprivileged children is actively involved in the housing of minors. Even Southwest Key’s own board of directors are divided over its role.

“It’s inhumane to me,” Southwest Key’s board treasurer Rosa Santis said to the Boston Globe. “I think it’s terrible that they’re really separating kids from their parents.”

Cynthia Valadez, a deputy director at the Austin chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), told the Globe Sanchez “is enabling the federal government to divide us and imprison us and separate us.”

“It is a tragedy that in our own Latino community we have someone who is setting himself up to be a Latino leader who is making money off the imprisonment of children and the suffering that’s been inflicted.”

In an effort that appeared aimed at the growing criticism, Southwest Key’s website now includes a message expressing opposition to the separation of families at the border, and stressing its role in helping children.

“For 30 years, our work in offering youth justice alternatives, immigrant children’s shelters, and education has served to improve the lives of thousands of young people,” the message said. “We believe keeping families together is better for the children, parents and our communities, and we remain committed to providing compassionate care and reunification.”

In this photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, people who've been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the United States, sit in one of the cages at a facility in McAllen, Texas, Sunday, June 17, 2018. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley Sector via AP)

“For every child who has come through our shelter doors, we start on day one to reunite them with their parents or a family sponsor and to provide the kind of service that will help them thrive. This has been our priority for decades.”

Efforts by Fox News to interview Sanchez, the CEO, were unsuccessful. He did speak to some media outlets earlier in the week.

“We’re not the bad guys,” Sanchez told KRGV-TV. “We’re the good guys. We’re the people taking these kids, putting them in a shelter — providing the best care that we can for them and reunite them with their families.”

Sanchez told the Boston Globe there were discussions at Southwest Key about its role in housing children who were in the custody of the U.S. government because of immigration violations. “What we see are kids without families. We don’t see policy, we see kids with needs … Our focus is on taking care of the kids.”

Sanchez also said there were no plans to curtail his group’s activities, despite the criticism.

“If we don’t do the work we do, somebody else is going to do the work,” Sanchez said. “These are people who do not understand these kids’ language or these kids’ culture…There would be plenty of other folks who would take this on and not care.”

On its website, the non-profit says it “contracts with government agencies and private foundations to operate three types of programs throughout the country: youth justice programs, charter schools for kids in underserved neighborhoods, and shelters for immigrant youth.”

Some immigrant and Latino rights groups argued it is better for non-profits such as Southwest Key and religious organizations to take over the day-to-day care of the children than to leave it to private prison management companies.

“Southwest has a track record of caring for kids outside of [the immigration issue],” said Clarissa Martinez-de-Castro, deputy vice president of UnidosUS. “What we’re talking about here is that these organizations do not support the immigration and detention policy, they do not lobby the administration to conduct itself in this way.”

“They are running a shelter, not a detention center. Their work has always been driven by providing for the welfare of children.”

Lupe Torres, director of the Texas chapter of LULAC, told Fox News a Latino-run charity is the best positioned to make the children, who are from Latin American countries, as comfortable as possible given the common language and culture most of staff share with the minors.

“That doesn’t mean it doesn’t give me discomfort that these children are held in shelters right now,” said Torres. “It’s a moral issue. But Southwest Key have a program that offers better understanding and sensitivity to these children and they have a humane way of dealing with the trauma these children are going through.”

Elizabeth Llorente is Senior Reporter for FoxNews.com, and can be reached at Elizabeth.Llorente@Foxnews.com. Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Llorente.

 

Gun owner saves pregnant pizza driver from beating, robbery: police

Talk about being a good neighbor.

A pregnant pizza driver was being beaten with a rifle by two teens in southwest Atlanta on Wednesday night when a gun-owning nearby resident saw the incident and sprang into action, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“Drop the gun or I’ll drop you.”

– Dennis Madaris, gun owner who broke up robbery attempt

Dennis Madaris told the station he pulled out his weapon and told the suspects, “Drop the gun or I’ll drop you,” according to the station.

That’s when Madaris said the teens ditched the weapon and took off running.

A 16-year-old boy and girl were later arrested in connection with the attack. They were charged with assault, possession of a firearm and attempt to commit robbery, the station reported.

The pregnant woman suffered minor injuries and was taken to a hospital as a precaution. 

Benjamin Brown is a reporter for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bdbrown473.

Boy’s ‘suspicious’ death prompts removal of 7 other children from home: police

Authorities in California on Thursday were investigating the “suspicious” death of a 10-year-old boy at a home in northern Los Angeles County where police and social workers had previously responded to child abuse allegations.

Anthony Avalos was found unresponsive Wednesday at his Lancaster apartment and taken to a hospital where died early the next morning, a Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department news release said. The boy reportedly suffered injuries in a fall, but the coroner’s office had yet to determine a cause of death.

“Anthony was the sweetest boy ever. Always full of life, always happy,” Maria Barron, the child’s aunt, told KCBS-TV.

“Anthony was the sweetest boy ever. Always full of life, always happy.”

– Maria Barron, Aunt of Anthony Avalos

After the child’s “suspicious” death, officials removed seven other children, ranging in age from 11 months to 12 years, from the home pending further investigation, police said. The children either lived at the home or were associated with the victim’s family.

Barron told KCBS-TV the boy’s skull was fractured in an apparent fall inside the apartment where he lived with his mother and her boyfriend. She said the boy’s mother, who reported the incident to police, called it an accident.

Barron told the station that she and two other family members reported suspected child abuse to authorities three years ago. While police investigated, she said they didn’t find enough evidence to take the children away.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Nicole Nishida confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that authorities had contact with the family “prior to this incident” but didn’t give further details.

A source familiar with the investigation told the paper that the alleged prior child abuse involved another child in the house, and not the 10-year-old.

While officials were continuing to investigate the death, no arrests had been made.

Michelle Obama discusses new memoir at library conference

Former first lady Michelle Obama will discuss her upcoming memoir “Becoming” as she kicks off the American Library Association’s annual conference in New Orleans.

Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden will moderate a conversation Friday with Obama at the city’s convention center.

Obama’s book chronicles the experiences that have shaped her, from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive and her time at the White House. It’s being released in the U.S. through the Crown Publishing Group, a Penguin Random House division.

The publisher says, “‘Becoming’ is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations — and whose story inspires us to do the same.”

The conference is expected to draw more than 15,000 participants.

Remains of missing woman found after California flood, officials say

Human bones found near a Central California reservoir are those of an elderly woman who went missing during massive flooding three months ago, authorities confirmed Thursday.

Dental records confirmed that the remains are those of Carol Brown, 72, of Catheys Valley, about a three-hour drive southeast of San Francisco, the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office reported.

Brown had left her home in the rural area March 22 to check on some horses during heavy rain and flooding.

More than 70 people had been continuously searching for her, officials said. Rescue crews found her remains last weekend, the Fresno Bee reported. Cadaver dogs helped the crews find the remains near the Bear Reservoir, about 9 miles downstream from where she disappeared.

Her utility vehicle was later found on its side in a small creek that because of rain had become a fast-moving river up to 10 feet deep.

“While this is a tragic event, we are thankful we were able to locate her and help her family find closure,” the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office said in a release.

CALIFORNIA MUDSLIDES DEATH TOLL RISES AFTER WOMAN’S BODY IS FOUND

Meanwhile, John Honesto, a second person who went missing during the flood, has not been found, the Bee reported.

Honesto’s vehicle was found destroyed in a stream near a local highway, the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Amy Lieu is a news editor and reporter for Fox News.

The Latest: Governor says Arkansas base may house migrants

The Latest on the separation of immigrant children from their parents following President Donald Trump’s order allowing them to remain with their parents (all times local):

5:45 p.m.

Arkansas’ Republican governor says he’s opposed to the federal government using any facilities in the state to house migrant children who are separated from their parents.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Thursday he understands that officials are looking at the Little Rock Air Force Base and unused federal land in south Arkansas to house immigrants and that the decision on using the facilities is being made in Washington and not at the state level.

Hutchinson says any costs for housing immigrant families would be paid by the federal government.

Hutchinson a day earlier rejected calls from Democratic leaders in the majority-Republican legislature to recall the state’s National Guard soldiers deployed to assist in border surveillance.

4:50 p.m.

Pope Francis says countries should take in as many migrants as they can handle and properly integrate into their societies.

Speaking to reporters aboard his airplane as he flew back to Rome on Thursday after a daylong trip to Geneva, Francis reiterated that he supports the U.S. bishops who condemned the immigration policy of separating children from parents who enter the United States illegally.

Francis also endorsed European proposals to develop jobs and education in African countries to combat trafficking of migrants seeking better lives in Europe.

The pope decried that migrants sent back to Libya suffer torture and other abuse in prisons he likened to World War II concentration camps.

He said: “Each country can accept the migrants that they can handle and integrate,” including by having enough jobs.

___

4:10 p.m.

Two Pennsylvania facilities are housing immigrant children separated from their families at the border under President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that about 50 children have been sent to the Holy Family Institute in Emsworth, about 8 miles (13 kilometers) north of Pittsburgh since April.

Facility CEO Sister Linda Yankoski confirmed the Institute is under contract with the Office of Refugee Resettlement, is housing the children and has housed unaccompanied minors since 2010.

WHYY radio reports at least nine children have been sent to another shelter in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley.

Elizabeth Yaeger, supervising attorney for HIAS Pennsylvania’s Immigrant Youth Advocacy Project said she could not disclose the exact location or name of the shelter.

___

3:30 p.m.

An attorney representing immigrant children says a decades-old court settlement doesn’t require or even imply that the U.S. government should separate families entering the country illegally.

Peter Schey said Thursday that he will oppose a Trump administration request for a federal judge in Los Angeles to alter the longstanding agreement that ensures children are released from detention facilities.

Schey says the administration is seeking to deflect blame for its recent family separation policy after public outcry and called the government’s filing “deceptive and dishonest.”

The judge ruled during the Obama administration that children had to be released from family detention facilities after authorities began detaining mothers with children in response to a surge in Central American immigrants seeking asylum.

___

3:15 p.m.

The prospect of the U.S. government housing up to 20,000 migrant children on military bases has raised questions on Capitol Hill.

Sen. Chuck Schumer said Thursday that he wants to know how many children are already being held after illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border and in what conditions.

A defense official says the Department Health and Human Services asked for the space and the Pentagon agreed. The official had knowledge of the request and spoke on condition of anonymity because the arrangement hasn’t yet been announced.

Schumer asked why reporters haven’t been allowed to tour detention facilities and how the new plan would work. The New York Democrat also wondered how the Trump administration was keeping track of families separated under its “zero tolerance” policy on illegal border crossings.

— Associated Press journalist Robert Burns in Washington

___

3:15 p.m.

A Florida criminal defendant says he’s been working at a Miami-area facility housing dozens of children separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Miami Herald reported that Franky Santos told Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jeri Cohen this week that his job was “like a day care,” overseeing children ages 12 to 17. He said he wasn’t supposed to discuss it publicly.

Santos faces felony drug possession charges from a 2017 traffic stop where an officer found 20 grams of marijuana. He said the contractor running the facility knew his criminal history.

Cohen said Santos’ hiring was “a disgrace” and urged him to quit. She said people with pending criminal cases shouldn’t be working there.

The contractor, Comprehensive Health Services Inc., referred questions to the Department Health and Human Services.

___

2:45 p.m.

A defense official says the Pentagon has agreed to provide housing on military bases for up to 20,000 migrant children detained after illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

The official says the Department Health and Human Services asked for the space and the Pentagon agreed to support it. The official had knowledge of the request and spoke on condition of anonymity because the arrangement has not yet been announced.

It was first reported by The Washington Post.

It’s unclear which military bases would be used to house the children. HHS has assessed four military bases as prospective housing for child migrants.

Three are in Texas: Fort Bliss, Goodfellow Air Force Base and Dyess Air Force Base. The fourth is Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas. It’s not clear whether other bases are under consideration.

— Associated Press journalist Robert Burns in Washington

___

2:45 p.m.

Washington and more than a half-dozen other states say they plan to sue the Trump administration over a policy that separated immigrant families illegally entering the United States.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson made the announcement Thursday outside a federal prison in the city of SeaTac, south of Seattle, where about 200 immigration detainees have been transferred — including women separated from their children.

Ferguson says the separations violate the due process rights of children and their parents and that Trump’s executive order Wednesday halting the practice hasn’t resolved the legal concerns.

Massachusetts, California, Maryland, Oregon, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Minnesota plan to join the lawsuit. New York has separately announced plans to sue.

___

1:05 p.m.

First lady Melania Trump boarded a flight to a facility housing migrant children separated from their parents wearing a jacket that read “I really don’t care, do u?”

The green hooded spring military jacket has the words written graffiti-style on the back.

When asked what message the first lady’s jacket intended to send, spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said: “It’s a jacket. There was no hidden message.”

Mrs. Trump wore a different pale yellow jacket when the plane landed in McAllen, Texas, for a visit to the Upbring New Hope Children’s Center, which houses 55 migrant children.

The trendy jacket sharply contrasts with the first lady’s typically bold, foreign-flavored wardrobe.

In public appearances, the first lady has worn designs by Dolce & Gabbana, Del Pozo, Christian Dior, Emilio Pucci, Givenchy and Valentino, often with daringly high Christian Louboutin heels.

___

1 p.m.

The Justice Department has agreed to release a child separated from his migrant mother after she sued in federal court.

Justice Department lawyer Sarah Fabian told U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman at a hearing Thursday that the child would be released in the afternoon.

The mother is Beata Mariana de Jesus Mejia-Mejia. She filed for political asylum after crossing the border with her 7-year old son Darwin following a trek from Guatemala.

Mother and son will be reunited in the Washington area before traveling to Texas, where they will live while her asylum claim is being decided.

___

12:30 p.m.

The Justice Department has formally asked a federal judge to change the rules on detaining families caught at the border.

Lawyers on Thursday filed a memorandum to a class-settlement that governs how children are handled when they are caught crossing the U.S. border illegally.

The Flores settlement states that families cannot be detained longer than 20 days.

The move is aimed at stopping the separation of children from their families amid a new policy where anyone caught crossing the border is charged criminally.

President Donald Trump signed an order Wednesday stopping the practice that has resulted in the separation of more than 2,300 children from their families. Homeland Security officials will detain families together.

It’s not clear what will happen with the children already separated.

12:25 p.m.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has ordered state officials to investigate claims made by immigrant teens of severe physical abuse at a juvenile detention facility.

Northam announced the probe in a tweet on Thursday, hours after The Associated Press reported on a half-dozen sworn statements from Latino teens held at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center.

Youths as young as 14 say they were beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete cells.

Detainees also say the guards stripped them of their clothes and strapped them to chairs with bags placed over their heads.

The governor, a Democrat, said the allegations are disturbing and ordered the state’s secretary of public safety and homeland security to report back to him about conditions inside the facility.

The center’s lawyers deny all abuse allegations.

___

12:20 p.m.

Melania Trump in a visit to Texas facility got a firsthand look at some of the migrant children sent there by the U.S. government after their families entered the country illegally.

The first lady’s stop Thursday at Upbring New Hope Children’s Center came the morning after President Donald Trump signed an executive order halting the practice of separating these families.

She visited a one-story red brick building, which houses 55 children between the ages of 12 and 17.

Third-graders welcomed the first lady with a large paper American flag they’d signed taped to a wall.

With the words, “Welcome! First Lady” written in black marker across the red and white bars, Mrs. Trump also signed the flag, which the children gave to her.

___

11:20 a.m.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Portland has been closed for a second day because of a demonstration against Trump administration immigration policies.

Agency spokeswoman Carissa Cutrell says people who had appointments scheduled for Thursday will be contacted by deportation officers to have their meetings rescheduled. The appointments will not be reported as missed check-ins.

Cutrell declined to say how many people work at the Portland office, or if they have been working from home.

The round-the-clock protest began Sunday, with protesters calling for an end to the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy in which all unlawful border crossings are referred for prosecution.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, a Trump critic, says he does not want city police involved in any effort to end the protest.

___

11:10 a.m.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice says a report is inaccurate that parents who try to illegally cross the border with children will no longer be criminally prosecuted.

Spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores says there has been no change to the “zero tolerance” policy that resulted in the separation of more than 2,300 children from their parents.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an order to stop the separations. Justice Department lawyers are working on a legal challenge to allow families to be detained longer than 20 days.

The Washington Post reported that the policy was suspended until U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement could find space to detain them.

In McAllen, Texas, a civil rights group attorney says federal prosecutors unexpectedly dropped misdemeanor charges against 17 adult immigrants who crossed the border with children Thursday.

___

10:50 a.m.

Mayors who gathered at a holding facility for immigrant children at Texas’ border with Mexico say that President Trump has failed to address a humanitarian crisis of his own making with an executive order to halt the separation minors from families that are detained crossing the U.S. border illegally.

Seattle Mayor and former U.S. attorney Jenny Durkan said Thursday at a news conference on the outskirts of El Paso that immigrant shelters have been overwhelmed by criminal prosecutions ordered by the Trump administration.

She joined about 20 mayors from cities across the country to call for the immediate reunification of immigrant children with their families.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says that separated immigrant children still don’t know when they will see their parents again.

Columbia, South Carolina Mayor Steve Benjamin says a request to tour the holding facility for minors at Tornillo, Texas, was denied by the Department of Health and Human Services.

___

9:50 a.m.

An official says three immigrant children who have been staying in a Catholic Charities shelter in Fort Worth, Texas, are expected to be reunited with their family Thursday.

Heather Reynolds, the nonprofit’s director, says the three are among 12 immigrant children at the shelter who were separated from their parents under a Trump administration “zero tolerance” policy. She says half are boys and half are girls, and they range in age from age 5 to 12.

Reynolds declined to provide details about the three kids who are expected to be reunited with family Thursday.

She says Present Donald Trump’s executive order Wednesday allowing immigrant kids to remain with their parents mentions how future illegal border crossing will be handled, but it doesn’t address the more than 2,000 children who have already been separated since May. She says this leaves groups like hers “uncertain” about how to manage those kids already in detention in the U.S.

___

9 a.m.

A civil rights group attorney says federal prosecutors unexpectedly dropped misdemeanor charges against 17 adult immigrants who crossed the border with children.

Efren Olivares, a lawyer with the Texas Civil Rights Project, said outside of the federal courthouse in McAllen, Texas, that the 17 immigrants were supposed to have been sentenced Thursday morning for improperly entering the U.S.

Olivares says the 17 will likely be placed in immigration detention, though he didn’t know whether they would be reunited immediately with their children or released altogether. Asked if they had any reaction to the charges against them being dropped, he said, “They’re asking about their children, frankly.”

The Texas Civil Rights Project is interviewing adults to track them and their children through separate government systems.

The dropping of the charges comes a day after President Donald Trump reversed a policy of forcibly separating immigrant children from their parents upon entering the U.S. without permission.

Burrito-eating driver crashes in Oregon, deputies say: Snack is ‘only casualty’

Did this driver need to “taco” break? 

Deputies in Oregon said a distracted 20-year-old motorist crashed his vehicle while chowing down on a burrito — and they’re using evidence of the crash to warn locals against eating and driving.

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office state posted a photo of the car, which could be seen in a ditch on the side of the road.

“[The driver] ended up down the side of Corbett Hill Road,” deputies tweeted Thursday. “Driver did not sustain any injuries… the burrito was the only casualty.”

MASSACHUSETTS STATE POLICE STOP TRUCK STUFFED WITH FURNITURE ON INTERSTATE

Several people, encouraged by the police station’s sense of humor, replied to the tweet.

“Pics of the burrito plz, want to make sure it’s going to be ok,” one man wrote.

“Burrito shrapnel was everywhere!” a woman joked.

MASSACHUSETTS STATE POLICE STOP TRUCK STUFFED WITH FURNITURE ON INTERSTATE: ‘WHAT COULD GO WRONG?’

“RIBurrito,” another replied.

The crash took place on Wednesday evening, KOMO reports. 

 

Daniel Henninger: Here’s another Trumpian solution to illegal immigration: Let the economy control it

W.C. Fields, the great and wise film comedian, once said that doing a scene with children was perilous because they will steal it. Someone should have warned the Trump White House.

No doubt buried somewhere inside the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on illegal border crossings is an important issue related to the rule of law or national sovereignty. Just don’t expect anything resembling serious thought to compete with images of kids in Border Patrol processing cages.

President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday ending the parental separations. Reassembling these families may slow the bleeding for Republicans, but it won’t solve anything related to illegal immigration.

In 1986, after a mighty legislative struggle during the Reagan administration, Congress passed the Simpson-Mazzoli Immigration Reform and Control Act. Its purpose was to control the flow of illegal immigrants into the U.S. More than 30 years later, we are putting them in holding pens.

To continue reading Daniel Henninger’s column from the Wall Street Journal, click here.

Daniel Henninger is the Wonder Land columnist for The Wall Street Journal where he serves as Deputy Editorial Page Editor. Follow him on Twitter @DanHenninger.

Man who cyberstalked ex-girlfriend, posted her info on prostitution site, gets 4 years in prison

A New York man who confessed to cyberstalking his ex-girlfriend, posting her personal information on a prostitution site and mailing her drugs at college in an attempt to get her arrested, was sentenced to four years in prison on Wednesday.

Thomas Traficante, 23, of Seaford, was convicted of “cyberstalking and distribution of a controlled substance” after U.S. District Judge David Larimer wound Traficante’s actions “despicable,” the Democrat & Chronicle reported. 

“If you had a modicum of intelligence, you should know that what you did, repeatedly, was despicable,” Larimer said.

Raymond Perini, Traficante’s lawyer, said they planned to appeal the sentencing. In March, Traficante pleaded guilty to cyberstalking and distribution of a controlled substance.

NY TIMES SENIOR STAFF EDITOR TAUNTED ANTONIN SCALIA AFTER JUSTICE’S DEATH, REPORT SAYS

Traficante, a student at St. John’s University in Queens, met his former girlfriend, a SUNY Geneseo student who was not identified, through an online dating website. The two broke up on Oct. 26, 2017.

The spurned lover then started sending his ex-girlfriend and her sorority sisters cryptic text messages telling them “it’s not safe out there tonight” and “there are various people among different orgs who have me. My plan is to hurt them,” prosecutors said.

At one point, Traficante reportedly used a device to alter his voice, telling the woman’s roommates “I’m in the house.” The woman changed her cell phone number, but Traficante was able to find the new one and threaten her further, prosecutors said.

In November, Traficante mailed the woman drugs, including cocaine and methamphetamines, to her college mailbox. He then notified police about the drugs in order to set up the woman.

Newsday reported the woman’s room was searched but nothing was found. The victim told officers her ex-boyfriend was “controlling.” She also showed officers texts from Traficante in which he threatened to share her personal information on a prostitution site if “she did something he strongly disagreed with.”

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG REPORTEDLY COMMITTING $80M TO DEMOCRATS FOR MIDTERMS 

The Democrat & Chronicle reported Traficante posted the woman’s information on Backpage.com, under a prostitution category, and she received some 60 calls from men asking for sex. She also said her former boyfriend hacked into her Amazon account and sent her a book titled “I’m Watching You.” He also allegedly hacked into her email, cellphone and social media accounts.

The woman also claimed Traficante gained access to her school account and took quizzes under her name, purposely getting her a failing grade. Traficante was also accused of shooting the victim’s parents’ home with a BB gun.

When police arrested him at his mother’s home in December 2017, a loaded AR-15 rifle was found. It was not immediately clear if Traficante had purchased the gun legally. Traficante was enrolled in a master’s degree program at the time of his arrest.

Traficante’s victim was in the courtroom on Wednesday. Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Marangola said the woman was thinking of changing her name after what she endured.

Traficante has been accused of stalking previously. From 2014 to 2015, another woman claimed she was cyberstalked by Traficante, but he was not charged in that case.

Yemeni prisoners say Emirati officers sexually torture them

The 15 officers who arrived at the prison in southern Yemen hid their faces behind headdresses, but their accents were clearly foreign — from the United Arab Emirates. They lined up the detainees and ordered them to undress and lie down. The officers then searched the anal cavity of each prisoner, claiming that they were looking for contraband cellphones.

The men screamed and wept. Those who resisted were threatened by barking dogs and beaten until they bled.

Hundreds of detainees suffered similar sexual abuse during the event on March 10 at Beir Ahmed prison in the southern city of Aden, according to seven witnesses interviewed by The Associated Press. Descriptions of the mass abuse offer a window into a world of rampant sexual torture and impunity in UAE-controlled prisons in Yemen.

The UAE is a key U.S. ally whose secret prisons and widespread torture were exposed by an AP investigation last June. The AP has since identified at least five prisons where security forces use sexual torture to brutalize and break inmates.

Yemen’s war began in 2015, after Iranian-backed Houthi rebels took over much of the country’s north. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are leading a coalition to fight the rebels, but UAE forces have overtaken wide swaths of territory, towns and cities in the south. The U.S. is backing the coalition with billions of dollars in arms, and partners with the Emiratis in anti-terrorism campaigns.

Emiratis have swept up hundreds of Yemeni men into a network of at least 18 hidden prisons on suspicion of being al-Qaida or Islamic State militants. The prisoners are held without charges or trials.

The AP first asked the Pentagon about grave rights abuses committed by the UAE one year ago. But despite well-documented reports of torture reported by the AP, human rights groups and even the United Nations, Marine Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman, said the U.S. has seen no evidence of detainee abuse in Yemen.

Still, he called the allegations “disturbing” and said, “The United States take all allegations of abuse seriously, although we have no substantiating information at this time.”

U.S. officials have acknowledged that American forces receive intelligence from UAE partners and have participated in interrogations in Yemen. But Rankine-Galloway said he could not comment on intelligence sharing with partners.

Reacting to the AP’s report, the State Department called the allegations “disturbing” and called on the UAE to investigate.

“We call on all parties to the conflict, including the UAE, to treat prisoners and detainees humanely and to ensure that allegations of abuse are investigated quickly and thoroughly,” the department said in a statement.

UAE officials did not respond to requests for comment, but the country’s permanent mission to the United Nations in Geneva released a statement after publication claiming that the Yemeni government is in complete control of its prisons.

“The UAE has never managed or run prisons or secret detention centers in Yemen,” the mission said.

But Yemen’s interior minister has said he does not have authority over prisons and must ask for UAE permission to enter Aden, where witnesses documented much of the sexual torture.

Witnesses said Yemeni guards working under the direction of Emirati officers have used various methods of sexual torture and humiliation. They raped detainees while other guards filmed the assaults. They electrocuted prisoners’ genitals or hung rocks from their testicles. They sexually violated others with wooden and steel poles.

“They strip you naked, then tie your hands to a steel pole from the right and the left so you are spread open in front of them. Then the sodomizing starts,” said one father of four.

From inside the prison in Aden, detainees smuggled letters and drawings to the AP about the sexual abuse. The drawings were made on plastic plates with blue ink pen.

The artist told the AP that he was detained last year and has been in three different prisons. “They tortured me without even accusing me of anything. Sometimes I wish they would give me a charge so I can confess and end this pain,” he said. “The worst thing about it is that I wish for death every day and I can’t find it.”

He spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of further abuse.

The drawings show a man hanging naked from chains while he is being electrocuted, another inmate on the floor surrounded by snarling dogs as several people kick him, and graphic depictions of anal rape.

“Naked after beating,” one Arabic caption says. Another drawing shows a man’s rectum being forced open.

“This is how they search the prisoners,” the caption reads.

Of the five prisons where the AP found sexual torture, four are in Aden, according to three Yemeni security and military officials who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.

One is at the Buriqa base — the headquarters for the Emirati forces. A second is at the house of Shallal Shaye, the Aden security chief closely allied with the UAE, and a third is at a nightclub-turned-prison called Wadah. The fourth is at Beir Ahmed, where the March atrocities occurred.

U.S. personnel have been seen at the Buriqa base, along with Colombian mercenaries, according to two prisoners and two security officials. The detainees could not say whether the Americans, some of whom wear military uniforms, are members of the U.S. government or mercenaries.

But it is the UAE that has taken the lead in southern Yemen.

The humiliation of the entire prison population in March may have been triggered by a series of hunger strikes among prisoners, who are held for months or years. At least 70 detainees were ordered released earlier this year by state prosecutors but most remain in detention. The Yemeni government has said that it has no control over the UAE-run prisons and Hadi has ordered an investigation into reports of torture.

The incident in March began when soldiers opened cells at 8 a.m., ordered all detainees out to the prison yard, then lined them up and forced them to stand under the sun until noon. When the Emirati force arrived, the detainees were blind-folded, handcuffed and led in groups or individually into a room. The Emiratis told the victims to undress and lie down — and then spread their legs open, touched their genitals and probed their rectums.

“You are killing my dignity,” one prisoner was heard crying. A second screamed to the Emiratis, “Did you come to liberate us or strip our clothes off?”

The Emiratis shouted back: “This is our job!”

One prisoner said that when the Emiratis forced them to stand naked, “All I could think of was Abu Ghraib” — referring to the prison outside Baghdad where U.S. soldiers committed abuses against detainees during the Iraq war.

“They were searching for mobile phones inside our bodies,” another witness told the AP. “Do you believe this! How could anyone hide a phone in there?”

In the same city, at the UAE-run prison inside the Buriqa military base, two prisoners told the AP they think American personnel in uniform must be aware of the torture – either because they have heard screams or seen marks of torture. Prisoners said that they have no knowledge of Americans being directly involved in the abuse.

“Americans use Emiratis as gloves to do their dirty work,” said one senior security official at the Riyan Prison in the city of Mukalla. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of security concerns.

Two other security officials, who were once close to the Emiratis, said that mercenaries including Americans are present at all the Emirati military camps and sites, including the prisons. Their mission is mainly to guard.

The father of four said that sometimes the screaming from the beatings is so intense that he can feel his cell shake.

“It’s beyond imagination,” he said.

A former security chief who himself was involved in torturing detainees to extract confessions told the AP that rape is used as a way to force detainees to cooperate with the Emiratis in spying.

“In some cases, they rape the detainee, film him while raping, use it as a way to force him to work for them,” he said. He spoke on condition of anonymity, because of security concerns.

Based on the AP investigation last year, the House of Representatives voted on May 24 to require Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to determine whether U.S. military or intelligence personnel violated the law in interrogations of detainees in Yemen.

The House adopted the measure as part of the 2019 defense authorization bill, which is still under consideration by the Senate. The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Ro Khanna, a Democrat from California. The Defense Department would have to submit a report within 120 days to Congress.

Khanna called the AP’s report Wednesday “a shocking revelation of the ongoing human rights abuses happening in Yemen.”

“Now, with greater urgency than ever before, we need the Pentagon to launch an investigation and determine whether our nation has been involved in torturing prisoners in Yemen,” he said.

Amnesty International said it had also documented “systematic grave violations” in UAE-run prisons in Yemen. Responding to the AP report, the group said it was “shocking” that U.S. officials “continue to dismiss these credible allegations.”

Kristine Beckerle, a researcher for Human Rights Watch in Yemen, said her group had also documented abuses. “U.S. claims that they found no evidence of detainee abuse shows they weren’t looking very hard,” she said.

Yemen’s war has left over 10,000 people dead, displaced millions, and pushed the already poor country to the edge of famine .

After Houthi rebels forced out the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, he fled to Riyadh, where the Saudi government kept him for more than a year. He was only allowed to return to Yemen Thursday at the beginning of an offensive led by the UAE to take control of the major port city of Hodeida, the key entry point for humanitarian aid.

The UAE’s control over southern Yemen, and the prisons, has left many Yemenis worried that innocent civilians are being pushed into the arms of the very extremists that Emirati forces claim they are fighting.

“In the prisons, they are committing the most brutal crimes,” said a Yemeni commander currently in Riyadh. “Joining ISIS and al-Qaida became a way to take revenge for all the sexual abuses and sodomization. From here, the prisons, they are manufacturing ISIS.”

He spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid retaliation from the Emiratis.

One middle-aged man said he has been in prison since 2016, and has been moved across the network of secret prisons multiple times. He said he was interrogated 21 times, during which he was tortured with electricity, beatings, and attack dogs while he was blindfolded and chained.

“They beat me up with electric wires, with steel, an electric shock, or they take off the clothes except for the underwear and stomp on my body and face with their boots. The soldiers would carry you up in the air and dump you on the ground.”

The AP previously confirmed 18 detention sites, but he named 21, including 13 prisons and 8 military camps.

Another prisoner gave the AP what he said were the real names of five Emirati torturers. UAE officials did not respond to requests for comment about the men.

One of the most brutal torturers is Yemeni, a former prisoner called Awad al-Wahsh, who was detained and tortured before agreeing to work with the Emiratis, four witnesses told the AP. His supervisor, Yosran al-Maqtari, could not be reached for comment. Al-Maqtari is Aden’s chief of anti-terrorism.

Other torturers named by detainees are Emirati officers known to prisoners by their noms de guerre: Abu Udai, Abu Ismail, and Hitler.

The prisoners who were sexually abused in March had tried to fight back. They had organized three hunger strikes to protest their treatment. They had launched a campaign with their families to get human rights groups to secure their release.

That’s when the 15 Emirati officers showed up with their dogs.

___

The Associated Press reported this story with help from a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

___

Associated Press reporters Lolita C. Baldor and Desmond Butler in Washington contributed to this report.

Sexual abuses rampant in UAE-controlled prisons in Yemen

The torturers followed a schedule.

Beatings on Saturdays, torture on Sundays, and Monday was a break. The next three days were the same routine. On Fridays, it was time for solitary confinement.

From inside a Yemeni prison controlled by the United Arab Emirates — a top U.S. ally — a Yemeni detainee held without charges chronicled torture and sexual abuses through drawings. Smuggled to The Associated Press from the Beir Ahmed prison in the southern city of Aden, the drawings offer a grim glimpse into a hidden world of flagrant human rights abuses by UAE officers acting with impunity.

Sexual violence is a primary tool aimed at brutalizing the detainees and extracting “confessions,” the artist and six other detainees told the AP.

The drawings — made on plastic plates — show a man hanging naked from chains while he is being subjected to electric shocks, another inmate on the floor surrounded by snarling dogs as several people kick him, and graphic depictions of anal rape.

“The worst thing about it is that I wish for death every day and I can’t find it,” the artist said, summing up nearly two years in detention that started last year after he spoke against the Emiratis in public.

The UAE’s secret prisons and widespread torture were exposed by an AP investigation last June. The AP has since identified at least five prisons where security forces use sexual torture to brutalize and break inmates.

Yemen’s war began in 2015, after Iranian-backed Houthi rebels took over much of the country’s north. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are leading a coalition to fight the rebels, but UAE forces have overtaken wide swaths of territory, towns and cities in the south. The U.S. is backing the coalition with billions of dollars in arms, and partners with the Emiratis in anti-terrorism campaigns.

Emiratis have swept up hundreds of Yemeni men on suspicion of being al-Qaida or Islamic State militants. The prisoners are held in at least 18 hidden prisons without charges or trials.

Witnesses said Yemeni guards working under the direction of Emirati officers use various methods of sexual torture and humiliation. They rape detainees while filming the assaults. They subject prisoners’ genitals to electric shocks or hang rocks from their testicles. They sexually violate others with wooden and steel poles.

“They strip you naked, then tie your hands to a steel pole from the right and the left so you are spread open in front of them. Then sodomizing starts,” said one father of four who has been in detention for more than two years and who, like other detainees, spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.

A former security chief who was involved in torturing to extract confessions told the AP that rape is used as a way to force detainees to cooperate with the Emiratis in spying.

“In some cases, they rape the detainee, film him while raping, use it as a way to force him to work for them,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of concerns for his safety. The official has since defected from the Emirates and fled the country.

American officials confirmed last year that the U.S. has interrogated some detainees at the secret prisons run by the UAE. The Pentagon has insisted that it had no knowledge of human rights abuses. Obtaining intelligence extracted by torture would violate international law.

The AP first asked the Pentagon about grave rights abuses committed by the UAE, its partner, one year ago. But despite well-documented reports of UAE involvement in torture by the AP, human rights groups and even the United Nations, Marine Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman, said that the U.S. has seen no evidence of detainee abuse in Yemen.

Still, he called the allegations “disturbing” and said, “The United States take all allegations of abuse seriously, although we have no substantiating information at this time.”

On May 24, the House of Representatives voted to require Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to investigate the scope of U.S. involvement in UAE black sites. The language, which would still need to pass the Senate, would require the Defense Department to submit a report within 120 days to Congress.

Reacting to the AP’s report, the State Department called the allegations “disturbing” and called on the UAE to investigate.

UAE officials did not respond to requests for comment, but the country’s permanent mission to the United Nations in Geneva released a statement after publication.

“The UAE has never managed or run prisons or secret detention centers in Yemen,” the mission said.

But Yemen’s interior minister has said he does not have authority over prisons and must ask for UAE permission to enter Aden. Of five prisons where the AP found sexual torture, four are in Aden, according to three Yemeni security and military officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared retalitation.

One is at Aden’s Buriqa base — the headquarters for the Emirati forces and where American officers were seen along with Colombian mercenaries, according to two prisoners and two security officials. Inside, prisoners said that American personnel in uniform weren’t directly involved but were aware of the torture — either by hearing the screams or seeing the marks.

“Americans use Emiratis as gloves to do their dirty work,” said one senior security official at the Riyan prison in Mukalla, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of security concerns.

“Joining ISIS and al-Qaida became a way to take revenge for all the sexual abuses and sodomy,” said a top Yemeni commander currently in Riyadh, referring to the Emiratis. He used an alternate acronym for IS and spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.

___

The Associated Press reported this story with help from a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

___

Associated Press reporters Lolita C. Baldor and Desmond Butler in Washington contributed to this report.

Ex-Marine charged with jumping White House barrier has PTSD, family says

A California man who had been missing for several weeks was arrested Monday after jumping a security barrier at the White House.

Alexander Miner, 29, of Danville, a former Marine, allegedly told a federal agent he had been under divine orders to slap or punch President Donald Trump and “make him cry like a b—-,” the Mercury News reported.

Miner accused Trump of harassing him through emails and also called Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama “child molesters,” court records indicate.

He was arrested after tossing a backpack and attempting to scale a barrier, authorities said.

Miner’s family in Walnut Creek, Calif. — about 25 miles east of San Francisco – said he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. According to public records, Miner’s landlord reported him missing in late May.

Lincoln Miner, Alexander’s father, filed a missing persons report three weeks ago, fearing his son might be a paranoid schizophrenic who had gone “off the deep end,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

“He’s got some serious conspiracy issues, paranoid issues maybe it’s gone from PTSD into something else. I want professional help for him to find out what’s going on and I think he does too.”

– Lincoln Miner, father of suspect

“He’s got some serious conspiracy issues, paranoid issues maybe it’s gone from PTSD into something else,” Lincoln Miner said. “I want professional help for him to find out what’s going on and I think he does too.”

An investigation led authorities to a woman in Virginia who claimed Miner began stalking her 11 years ago. She told police he had claimed to be an old friend, but that she didn’t recognize him. When Miner allegedly showed up her home in Virginia, she called the police.

The next day, she said, Miner left her 200 Facebook messages in which he allegedly threatened to rape her “across the coals of hell” and “rip her from limb to limb,” court records said.

Miner was charged with attempted burglary and entering and remaining on restricted grounds without authority, the Mercury News reported. Federal authorities said Miner will undergo a mental health evaluation.  

Bradford Betz is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bradford_betz.

‘Great job,’ says Trump: Nielsen back in good graces for now

Kirstjen Nielsen has one hard-earned presidential signing pen.

President Donald Trump used the black marker Wednesday to sign an executive order halting family separations at the U.S. border — then handed it to Nielsen, his Homeland Security secretary.

Such pens are typically framed and displayed in lobbies and office waiting areas all over Washington as trophies of presidential proximity and power. Nielsen’s was tougher to come by than most.

By the time Trump used it to reverse his policy, Nielsen had been both yelled at and praised by Trump and pilloried for repeating his falsehoods. She was forced to deny that the policy amounted to child abuse. On Tuesday night, she cut short a working dinner at a Mexican restaurant after protesters shouted, “Shame!” until, finally, she left.

Yet there she stood Wednesday in the Oval Office, right at Trump’s side, as he reversed the policy she had defended — and had vowed the administration would not apologize for.

With Vice President Mike Pence at Trump’s opposite shoulder, the president invited Nielsen to speak. She thanked him for his leadership.

“Great job,” Trump said over his shoulder to her. He signed the order and handed Nielsen the pen.

With that, Nielsen was apparently back in the president’s good graces. But fairly or not, the Georgetown and University of Virginia-educated lawyer will probably always be the face of a policy that ignited nearly ubiquitous outrage.

According to people close to the secretary, family separations weren’t her idea. One person who, like the others, spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly, said Nielsen had been “working nonstop” to find a solution.

The polarizing path Nielsen has taken is somewhat surprising for a government bureaucrat and policy wonk known more for her loyalty to White House chief of staff John Kelly and her expertise in cybersecurity than for the hard-line immigration views espoused by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and White House adviser Stephen Miller.

Nielsen, 46, was considered an expert in both homeland and national security policy who worked in President George W. Bush’s administration and had a role in its handling of Hurricane Katrina.

Two years after the 2005 hurricane, Congress issued reports that faulted the White House Homeland Security Council — where Nielsen directed preparedness and response — for failing to take the lead in staying on top of the unfolding disaster.

Following Trump’s election, Nielsen joined the transition team to help guide Kelly through the confirmation process to become Trump’s secretary of Homeland Security. Nielsen quickly won the retired general’s trust, impressing him with her work ethic and command of the issues.

Trump eventually tapped Nielsen to take over as head of DHS, and the Senate confirmed her Dec. 5.

By April, Sessions announced there would be “zero tolerance” at the border for people crossing illegally. That meant that anyone who did not arrive at a designated port of entry and claimed asylum would be arrested.

As public backlash grew, Nielsen misled the public by denying that separating families was part of U.S. policy. While the policy never specifically called for children to be taken from parents, separation became inevitable. That’s because adults were detained and charged — and any children traveling with them couldn’t go to jail.

Nielsen, like Trump, also suggested that it was up to Congress to fix the problem — even though the enforcement of laws happens at the president’s discretion. The Bush and Obama administrations largely allowed families to stay together.

While her allies say she was merely following the law, it is likely there was another reason Nielsen tirelessly defended the policy: She has a track record of working to make her bosses happy. Also, her history with Trump was bumpy. Earlier this spring, Trump had unloaded on Nielsen during a Cabinet meeting over an increase in border apprehensions and legal setbacks, according to people familiar with the exchange but not authorized to speak publicly.

Nielsen, one person said, tried to explain that the issues were complex and that the department’s powers were limited by legal restrictions. She told the president her team was doing everything it could, but the president was left unconvinced.

After news of the dressing-down spread, Nielsen did not deny the meeting had grown heated and issued a statement saying, “I share his frustration.”

___

Associated Press writers Colleen Long and Jill Colvin contributed to this report.

___

Follow Kellman and Flaherty at http://www.twitter.com/@APLaurieKellman and http://www.twitter.com/@AnneKFlaherty

East Pittsburgh sees protests in police shooting that killed Antwon Rose, 17

Protests erupted outside of the East Pittsburgh Police station over a 17-year-old boy shot and killed by a police officer late Tuesday as he ran from a traffic stop related to a separate shooting.

The gathering for Antwon Rose, which spread across social media with photos and video, saw demonstrators praying, chanting, marching and calling for an end to violence and police brutality, KDKA reported.

One video, as The Tribune-Review reported, showed a cop car trying to push through the crowd; others showed protesters linking arms as well as shouting for justice.

The protests continued even after heavy rain swept through the area. Another protest is scheduled for Thursday at noon in front of the Allegheny County courthouse.   

“From all accounts, he was a generous, hard-working and highly promising student. Affirmations of his generosity of spirit and genuine good heartedness have begun pouring in from all corners of the East Pittsburgh community where he lives,” his family’s attorney, D. Lee Merritt, said in a statement.

The Allegheny County medical examiner’s office said Rose, who worked for the wife of a candidate for lieutenant governor, died at the hospital. The brief report released Wednesday did not list a cause of death or say how many times or where the teenager was shot.

Investigators said Wednesday that the car stopped in East Pittsburgh matched the description of a vehicle being sought in a nonfatal shooting in a town a few miles away. An East Pittsburgh officer, who has not been identified, was taking the driver into custody when the two passengers, including 17-year-old Antwon Rose, ran off.

Investigators have said Rose was shot three times. They also said nobody fired a weapon at the officer during the stop and the teen did not have a weapon on him.

Merritt added: “We know very little about the circumstances surrounding his death at this early stage. We must emphasize that rumors of him being involved in a separate shooting are unsubstantiated. We know that he was not armed at the time he was shot down, that he posed no immediate threat to anyone, and that, significantly, the driver of the vehicle he occupied was released from police custody. The officer involved in this shooting had just been sworn into the Pittsburgh PD roughly three hours before this encounter. These facts, without more, simply leave very little room to justify the use of deadly force by this officer. Additional information concerning the background of the offending officer and the facts available to him at the time of the shooting is needed as we determine the appropriate action in this matter.”

Allegheny County Police Department Superintendent Coleman McDonough, as Fox News previously reported, said: “An investigation revealed that the shooter fired nine .40 caliber rounds at the victim from a passing vehicle. The victim also returned fire at the vehicle.”

He also revealed two firearms were recovered from the suspect’s vehicle.

McDonough added that the medical examiner would release further information.

McDonough noted there are circumstances when Pennsylvania law permits officers to use lethal force on a fleeing suspect. It’s allowed to prevent death or serious injury to an officer or another person or if the fleeing suspect has used or threatened violence or possesses a lethal weapon.

County police were called in to conduct an independent investigation, which is standard procedure, McDonough said. He said the officer has been placed on administrative leave.

Fox News’ Michelle Chavez in East Pittsburgh, Tamara Gitt and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

California drug bust nets methamphetamine, guns, hundreds of pot plants, $10G, authorities say

Seven people have been arrested and items including 46 pounds of methamphetamine and $10,000 in cash were seized following a drug operation that lasted eight months, authorities in California said Wednesday.

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office in a news release said that its officers, along with those from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and FBI, carried out the operation.

Three pounds of processed marijuana and five weapons also were confiscated, and 211 marijuana plants were “eradicated,” the sheriff’s office added.

The investigation kicked off last November, with the arrest of David Stuard, 55, the sheriff’s office said. Stuard was taken into custody after heroin, prescription pills and roughly one pound of methamphetamine was allegedly discovered in his vehicle following a traffic stop, according to authorities.

NEVADA SETS 1ST EXECUTION IN 12 YEARS AFTER FIGHT OVER DRUGS

“Detectives learned that Stuard would buy one kilogram (2.2 lbs.) of methamphetamine at a time and sell it in half- and one-pound quantities to smaller dealers,” the sheriff’s office said. “As detectives investigated further, they identified two Fresno men as being the major suppliers.”

Seven search warrants were ultimately served at separate locations and the case was handed to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California, the DEA and the FBI for prosecution, the sheriff’s office said.

meth ca drugs

Seven people were arrested following “an eight-month operation,” the sheriff’s department said.

 (Fresno County Sheriff’s Office)

SEAN PENN AND ROBIN WRIGHT’S SON, HOPPER, PLEADS NO CONTEST IN NEBRASKA DRUG CASE

Charged June 14 in a nine-count federal indictment were Victor Garcia, 33; Angel Rivera, 31; Adolfo Lopez-Rayas, 32; Patrick Shaun Burriel, 46; Michelle Madewell, 41; and Luis Chaves Torres, 38. Each was charged “with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and other narcotics offenses,” the sheriff’s office said, adding that Lopez-Rayas and Torres were also hit with charges for firearms offenses.

The same day, “another one-count indictment was returned against David Stuard, charging him with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine,” the sheriff’s office continued.

Protests break out in East Pittsburgh over 17-year-old shot dead by police

Protests erupted outside of the East Pittsburgh Police station over a 17-year-old boy shot and killed by a police officer late Tuesday as he ran from a traffic stop related to a separate shooting.

The gathering for Antwon Rose, which spread across social media with photos and video, saw demonstrators praying, chanting, marching and calling for an end to violence and police brutality, KDKA reported.

One video, as The Tribune-Review reported, showed a cop car trying to push through the crowd; others showed protesters linking arms as well as shouting for justice.

The protests continued even after heavy rain swept through the area. Another protest is scheduled for Thursday at noon in front of the Allegheny County courthouse.   

“From all accounts, he was a generous, hard-working and highly promising student. Affirmations of his generosity of spirit and genuine good heartedness have begun pouring in from all corners of the East Pittsburgh community where he lives,” his family’s attorney, D. Lee Merritt, said in a statement.

The Allegheny County medical examiner’s office said Rose, who worked for the wife of a candidate for lieutenant governor, died at the hospital. The brief report released Wednesday did not list a cause of death or say how many times or where the teenager was shot.

Investigators said Wednesday that the car stopped in East Pittsburgh matched the description of a vehicle being sought in a nonfatal shooting in a town a few miles away. An East Pittsburgh officer, who has not been identified, was taking the driver into custody when the two passengers, including 17-year-old Antwon Rose, ran off.

Investigators have said Rose was shot three times. They also said nobody fired a weapon at the officer during the stop and the teen did not have a weapon on him.

Merritt added: “We know very little about the circumstances surrounding his death at this early stage. We must emphasize that rumors of him being involved in a separate shooting are unsubstantiated. We know that he was not armed at the time he was shot down, that he posed no immediate threat to anyone, and that, significantly, the driver of the vehicle he occupied was released from police custody. The officer involved in this shooting had just been sworn into the Pittsburgh PD roughly three hours before this encounter. These facts, without more, simply leave very little room to justify the use of deadly force by this officer. Additional information concerning the background of the offending officer and the facts available to him at the time of the shooting is needed as we determine the appropriate action in this matter.”

Allegheny County Police Department Superintendent Coleman McDonough, as Fox News previously reported, said: “An investigation revealed that the shooter fired nine .40 caliber rounds at the victim from a passing vehicle. The victim also returned fire at the vehicle.”

He also revealed two firearms were recovered from the suspect’s vehicle.

McDonough added that the medical examiner would release further information.

McDonough noted there are circumstances when Pennsylvania law permits officers to use lethal force on a fleeing suspect. It’s allowed to prevent death or serious injury to an officer or another person or if the fleeing suspect has used or threatened violence or possesses a lethal weapon.

County police were called in to conduct an independent investigation, which is standard procedure, McDonough said. He said the officer has been placed on administrative leave.

Fox News’ Michelle Chavez in East Pittsburgh, Tamara Gitt and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Nevada sets 1st execution in 12 years after fight over drugs

Nevada plans to carry out its first execution in 12 years using a never-before-tried combination of drugs that drew a court challenge over concerns that a convicted murderer could suffer during the lethal injection.

Scott Raymond Dozier is scheduled to die July 11, Department of Corrections spokeswoman Brooke Santina said Wednesday, a day after a judge in Las Vegas signed the death warrant.

It comes after the state Supreme Court decided last month not to stop the execution on procedural grounds despite challenges by lawyers and a rights group, who argued that the procedure would be less humane than putting down a pet. There also were concerns that some of the state’s drugs would have expired.

“We have what we need to complete the execution order,” Santina told The Associated Press. “The same three drugs. We have some that are not expired.”

Dozier’s death warrant was signed Tuesday by Clark County District Court Judge Jennifer Togliatti, who last November blocked the scheduled execution over concerns that one drug in the three-drug cocktail would immobilize the inmate and mask any signs of pain and suffering. The warrant didn’t address her previous concerns.

Batches of the disputed muscle paralytic called cisatracurium began expiring April 1, but Santina has said the state had supplies that were good until Nov. 30.

The sedative diazepam, the powerful painkiller fentanyl and the paralytic cisatracurium have never been used for lethal injections in any state. Diazepam is commonly known as Valium. Fentanyl is synthetic opioid that has been blamed for overdose deaths nationwide during an opioid epidemic.

Nevada and other states have struggled in recent years to find drugs after pharmaceutical companies and distributors banned their use for executions.

Dozier, 47, has been on death row since 2007 for convictions in separate murders in Phoenix and Las Vegas. He has said repeatedly that he wants to be put to death as soon as possible and doesn’t care what drugs are used.

Dozier, who also used the name Chad Wyatt, would become the first person put to death in Nevada since 2006. His death would mark the first lethal injection since a new execution chamber was completed in 2016 at Ely State Prison, 250 miles (402 kilometers) north of Las Vegas.

Aides to Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval and state Attorney General Adam Laxalt did not immediately respond to messages Wednesday.

Jonathan Van Boskerck, a chief deputy Clark County district attorney involved in nearly a year of court hearings over Dozier’s fate, pointed to the death sentence by a jury and the state high court ruling last month.

“The decision of this jury deserves respect,” he said.

Michigan residents receiving unusual envelopes in the mail, police say

Did you get one of these packages?

Several people have gotten odd envelopes in the mail, police in St. Johns, Michigan, announced this week. 

The St. Johns Police Department shared a photo of a brown envelope in a Monday Facebook post, which has been shared by more than 220 people.

“We were contacted late this morning by a resident that received this envelope in the mail,” police explained. “The envelope contained a CD and a typed letter.”

Since then, police said they’ve fielded complaints from several other residents — both men and women — who have received similar packages.

“We did listen to the CD and looked into the person that signed the letter and believe at this time there is nothing to worry about,” authorities said.

That didn’t stop people from flagging their concerns to the police department, however.

“I’m not a programmer, but isn’t it possible that the cd has some kind of sleeper or Trojan virus?” one person asked. “Something that wouldn’t be obvious? Do the people who put these into their computers need to get their systems checked out? (I didn’t).” 

Police replied, “We took one of the CD’s that was turned in at our office over to the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department and had their Deputy who is a forensic computer analyst check the CD for any viruses or threats before we put it in a computer. There was nothing of any danger found.” 

Authorities told curious commenters what was on the CD.

“Just [a man] telling his story,” they wrote. “It’s about 40 minutes long.” 

Asked about the CD and letter’s contents, Chief David Kirk told Fox News in a Wednesday email, “The CD’s [sic] that we have received and reviewed are the author of the letter simply reading the letter that is contained in the same package.” 

WILX reports that one woman in Michigan said the CD and note detailed “how the justice system is corrupt.” The news station identified the sender as David Warren, who confirmed he’s been sending the packages.

“I’m going to keep doing it,” Warren told WILX. “I don’t care if I have to hock what I have, until I find out that somebody has read it. That’s all my parents would say I’m responsible for, is to make people aware of it.”

17-year-old shot dead by police while running away from traffic stop

A 17-year-old was shot three times and killed by a police officer in Pennsylvania while running away from a car that was pulled over in connection to a reported shooting in the area on Tuesday, officials said.

Officers from Allegheny County Police Department responded to multiple 911 calls around 8.20 p.m. reporting that a man had been shot in North Braddock, located just outside of Pittsburgh.

Police found a 22-year-old gunshot victim, who later was rushed to a hospital and subsequently released.

Witnesses reported that a vehicle was seen fleeing the scene and an East Pittsburgh officer saw a vehicle matching the description nearby, which had ballistic damage to the rear window.

BLACK MAN FATALLY SHOT IN BACKYARD AFTER OFFICERS MISTAKE CELL PHONE FOR ‘TOOL BAR’, POLICE SAY

When the officer took the driver out of the car and handcuffed him, two passengers ran from the vehicle, at which point one of them, 17-year-old Antwon Rose, was shot dead by police. 

east pittsburgh

A 17-year-old boy was shot dead by police in East Pittsburgh while attempting to flee a traffic stop; it is thought he was linked to another shooting earlier Tuesday

 (KDKA via NNS)

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, ACPD Superintendent Coleman McDonough said: “An investigation revealed that the shooter fired nine .40 caliber rounds at the victim from a passing vehicle. The victim also returned fire at the vehicle.”

He also revealed two firearms were recovered from the suspect’s vehicle.

When McDonough was asked if Rose had been shot in the back, he responded that the teen was shot in “various places on his body,” adding that the medical examiner would release further information.

“I understand in today’s atmosphere anytime a young man is killed there’s cause for outrage in some areas,” he said. “However, I would urge people to give us time to conduct an objective investigation, to gather facts.”

Dramatic video captured by an eyewitness shows the two passengers suddenly bolting from the vehicle and police shooting after them. One of the two can be seen falling to the ground.

The person recording the video can be heard saying: “Why are they shooting at him? Why are they shooting? All they did was run and they’re shooting at them?”

The footage has sparked outrage in the community of East Pittsburgh, located around 15 miles from Pittsburgh.

Selena Brooklin asked the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Why did they have to shoot him when he is running away? What is the justification for that? There is no justification. There is no answer. You shot a man in the back while he was running away.”

OFFICERS KILLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY IN 2018

Rose was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police are still seeking the second passenger. McDonough has asked for the passenger who remains at large to turn himself in so he can provide further information.

The East Pittsburgh officer has been place on administrative leave, McDonough said.

Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto said that loss of the teenager was “tragic.” 

“Any loss of life is tragic, and especially the loss of life of a child,” he said in a statement. “This is a devastating situation and I am saddened for Antwon Rose and his family.”

“While Tuesday’s shooting was not within the city’s official borders it impacts all of us in the Pittsburgh region, and particularly those in the African American community,” Peduto said.

Chris Irvine is Senior News Editor at Fox News. His Twitter can be found @chrisirvine86