fresh voices from the front lines of change







Trump Crows Over Growth

G.D.P. grew at 4.1% Rate in U.S. in Latest Quarter. Here’s What That Means. NYT: "The Commerce Department released its initial estimate of second-quarter economic growth on Friday, providing the latest snapshot of the American economy. Economic growth surged in the second quarter — but don’t expect the boom to last. The second-quarter acceleration was widely anticipated by economists, a result of a confluence of events unlikely to recur. Most economists expect growth to slow in the second half of the year. Still, recent data does suggest that the pace of growth has picked up this year. Some economists think full-year growth in gross domestic product could hit 3 percent in 2018 for the first time in the nearly decade-long recovery, a prospect that became more likely following Friday’s strong numbers. The second quarter was the first time since 2014 that economic growth topped 4 percent in a quarter; the economy reached that level or higher just four times during the eight years of the Obama administration. Mr. Trump didn’t wait for the numbers to be released to herald rosy news. At an event in Iowa on Thursday, he said he was expecting very strong result, noting predictions that ran to 5 percent or higher. 'We’ll take anything with a four in front,' he said. Friday’s figures were pumped up by a surge in exports, which accounted for a quarter of the total growth for the quarter. Paradoxically, the export boom was driven in part by mounting trade tensions, which led foreign buyers to stock up on American products before their governments imposed tariffs. The trend is particularly clear in exports of soybeans, which were up more than 50 percent in May from a year earlier. Those buyers presumably didn’t want more soybeans than usual — they just wanted them sooner. Exports will almost certainly slump in the third and fourth quarters, and will turn into a drag on overall G.D.P. growth."

Trump Blows Deadline To Reunite Families

ACLU contends Trump administration misses deadline to reunite separated families. USA Today: "Trump administration officials announced late Thursday that 1,442 children had been reunited and that by the end of the day zero children would remain in custody with parents eligible for reunification. Earlier, government lawyers said 1,637 parents had been deemed eligible for reunification. An additional 771 children remained in government custody because their parents remained ineligible for reunification, including 431 with parents who may have already been deported, 120 with parents who waived reunification and 21 with parents who have criminal backgrounds. But an ACLU attorney on Thursday blasted the Trump administration for excluding 914 parents from the list of parents deemed eligible for reunification, including the more than 400 parents who may have already been deported without their children and several hundred others who he said may have mistakenly waived reunification either because they were pressured by the government or they didn't understand what they were doing. The administration missed its first deadline of reuniting the first group — children under age 5. The government reunited 57 of the 103 'tender age' children with their parents. 'I think it's accurate to say they didn't meet the deadline. The only deadline they met was their self-defined deadline,' said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project."

No Plan To Reunite Children With Deported Parents

What will happen to the 463 migrant children whose parents have been deported? The Atlantic: "While the 463 children of deported parents (or 431, depending on which statistics the government is using) would seem to represent the toughest challenge for this government—the most troublesome examples of its controversial policy—the administration, it seems, has effectively washed its hands of them: No plan is in place to assist these reunifications, no specific resources allocated. As Clara Long told her story, it struck me that the federal government had played no role in facilitating a solution to an unacceptable situation of its own creation: It had made no outreach, shared no records, and remained completely, apparently willfully, on the sidelines. 'They are leaving it to somebody else,' said Michelle Brané, director of Migrant Rights and Justice at the Women’s Refugee Commission. Lisa Frydman, the vice president of regional policy and initiatives at the advocacy group Kids in Need of Defense, told me, 'We have not seen [these cases] be a priority for the government—the focus on creating a plan and a process to reunify children whose parents have been deported.' Government lawyers, according to the Times, will not allow parents to return to the U.S to claim their children, but they have also stipulated that parents must be found and vetted before their children can go back home. And yet they are doing nothing to ensure that those parents can be found—or vetted. The administration has sought to justify this impossible position by creating false categories of “eligibility,” and effectively the shifting blame to the parents."

Judge Frees Pizza Man Jailed By ICE

Judge frees pizza deliveryman seized by ICE while doing his job. WaPo: "A federal judge ordered the immediate release of a New York City pizza deliveryman from immigration custody Tuesday, calling the undocumented Ecuadoran immigrant a 'model citizen' and pointedly questioning the U.S. government’s desire to immediately deport him. Pablo Villavicencio, father of two U.S. citizens, was arrested June 1 while delivering pasta to a Brooklyn military base, where Army security officers questioned his identification and alerted immigration authorities. At the time of his arrest, he was in the middle of seeking legal status. But the U.S. government sought to deport him as soon as possible, causing uproar among activists and public officials alike. U.S. District Judge Paul A. Crotty’s decision, however, stays Villavicencio’s removal so that he can continue pursuing permanent residency. To deny him that opportunity, Crotty wrote in the order, would violate his rights. 'Although he stayed in the United States unlawfully and is currently subject to a final order of removal, he has otherwise been a model citizen,' Crotty, a George W. Bush appointee, wrote in the order. Petitioner married... a United States citizen. He now has two children, both of whom are United States citizens. He has no criminal history. He has paid his taxes. And he has worked diligently to provide for his family.' Crotty’s decision came hours after oral arguments in the case Tuesday afternoon, a hearing that drew scores of protesters outside the federal courthouse in Manhattan."

ICE Ramps Up Workplace, Home Raids

ICE has conducted hundreds of raids in New York since Trump came to power. The Intercept: "Six men in black masks swept through an apartment in the early-morning hours, refusing to identify themselves as they herded the tenants into the living room. In another, seven plainclothes agents surrounded a taxi with guns drawn, taking away the passenger without saying who they were, leaving the man’s belongings, and one confused driver, in their wake. In a third, a couple was walking to the subway when two agents in jeans and sweatshirts tackled the boyfriend to the ground. When the girlfriend, six months pregnant, grabbed one of the unidentified men, she, too, was thrown to the pavement. There are other, less hands-on examples. There are numerous accounts of ICE targets being told that the voice on the other end of the phone was a municipal police officer looking to meet up to discuss an investigation, only to find, once they were in handcuffs, that that was never the case. There are instances of agents grabbing people before, after, and in court. There are stories of unmarked vehicles lurking outside targets’ homes for hours, and there are accounts of degradation, such as the man who said he was arrested by 10 agents with guns drawn, shackled, and told that he was a 'fucking immigrant' and a 'piece of shit.' And then there are stories that hint at the creation of lingering psychological trauma, like the time half a dozen agents and two local cops pounded on a residential door at dawn, refusing to slide a warrant underneath as a terrified 8-year-old boy hid in an attic above them. When the boy’s father eventually relented and opened the door, he was taken away."

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