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The Trump Administration Is Signaling That Migrant Detention Is More Important That Disaster Relief

Just as Tropical Storm Dorian continues to barrel towards Puerto Rico on Tuesday, news broke that President Trump would be pulling $271 million from disaster relief funds. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that the pulled funds will be coming from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Coast Guard in part to support President Trump’s border enforcement efforts.

Specifically, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would receive $155 million, coming from FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund, to help build facilities for migrant related court cases. U.S. Coast Guard operations will be losing $116 million in order to fund nearly 6,800 more beds for immigrant detainees as well as transportation and deportation needs. According to NBC News, The new allocated $271 million in funding “would allow ICE to detain nearly 50,000 immigrants at one time.” 

The previously allocated money was originally given to FEMA over 10 years ago. The funds were originally given to be used in this year’s current budget to prepare to respond to natural disasters, such as hurricanes.

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DHS typically would have to get approval from Congress to reallocate funds from one of its agencies to another. This is because Congress appropriates each federal department’s annual budget. But instead, DHS sent a notice that said the administration has the authority to move the funds because of the “border emergency.”

“Given the rise of single adults crossing the border, ICE has already had to increase the number of detention beds above what Congress funded,” DHS said a statement. “Without additional funding for single adult detention beds and transportation from the U.S. Border Patrol to ICE detention facilities, ICE will not be able to support the influx of migrants from U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehensions.

The U.S. government has sent more than 30,000 people back to Mexico as part of it’s “Remain in Mexico” policy. This was done with efforts to have asylum seekers wait out their immigration cases and stop the influx of migrants from making the long journey to the U.S. The Trump administration also recently rolled out new policies that will allow migrant families, including those with children, to be detained indefinitely while their court cases are pending. Many speculate this is all being done to build more family detention facilities.

There has been criticism from Democrats who say the timing of these reallocated funds is a questionable move ahead of hurricane season.

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Democratic House members have already come out swiftly and strongly disagree with DHS reallocation efforts. They’ve also accused Homeland Security of going around appropriation rules without any requests from members of Congress.  

“I object to the use of funds for that purpose because the Department has provided no substantiation for a claim that this transfer is necessary due to ‘extraordinary circumstances that imminently threaten the safety of human life or the protection of property,’”  Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif said in a tweet. 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y, echoed a similar sentiment saying the allocated funds are crucial, especially during the incoming hurricane season.

“The Trump administration’s plan to divert money away from FEMA at the start of hurricane season to continue its efforts to separate and jail migrant families is backwards and cruel,” Schumer said in a statement. “Taking these critical funds from disaster preparedness and recovery efforts threatens lives and weakens the government’s ability to help Americans in the wake of natural disasters. Congress appropriated these funds to meet the American people’s priorities and I strongly oppose this effort to undermine our constitutional authority.”

President Trump weighed in on the pending storm but did so without mentioning the pulled $155 Million in funds. 

Credit: @realdonaldtrump / Twitter

This news comes as hurricane season quickly approaches here in the U.S. and as Hurricane Dorian is set to make landfall in Florida on Labor Day.The storm is already strengthening into a Category 1 hurricane that is leading the U.S. territory to declare a state of emergency.

On Tuesday morning, President Trump acknowledged the incoming Hurricane Dorian and lauded past relief efforts to Puerto Rico, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017. Yet there was no mention of the recently pulled FEMA funds.

“Wow! Yet another big storm heading to Puerto Rico. Will it ever end?” Trump tweeted. “Congress approved 92 Billion Dollars for Puerto Rico last year, an all time record of its kind for ‘anywhere.'”

President Trump was widely criticized for a lack of urgency and preparation in retaliation to Hurricane Maria which ravaged Puerto Rico. The storm knocked out power on the island for months and killed 2,975, a number that is still being disputed.

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As Trump Moves To Label ANTIFA A Terrorist Group, Why Hasn’t The KKK Been Labeled One?

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As Trump Moves To Label ANTIFA A Terrorist Group, Why Hasn’t The KKK Been Labeled One?

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ANTIFA has been the headlines recently as protests against the murder of George Floyd turned violent in some cities – with many groups blaming the group for the violence. In fact, the group has gained so many headlines that it drew the attention of Donal Trump, who now says he is working to label the organization as a domestic terror group.

However, white supremacist hate groups – like the KKK – have caused the vast majority of violence in the United States for generations. Yet the group, which has been around since the Civil War – has no such designation.

Association with a U.S. hate group is not illegal, and despite terrorizing minorities, gays, Jews and Catholics for over a century—committing atrocities designed to induce a state of terror among the public—the Klan is not designated as a terrorist organization. Why is that?

In the wake of marches and protests that turned violent, Trump has threatened to label ANTIFA as a terror organization.

Antifa, short for anti-fascists, describes a broad group of people whose political beliefs lean toward the left – often the far left. Antifa positions can be hard to define, but many members support oppressed populations and protest the amassing of wealth by corporations and elites. Some employ radical or militant tactics to get out their messages but many are peaceful protesters.

Whether you agree with antifa’s ideology or approach, the president’s announcement is shocking, given that many of the most violent hate groups in the United States aren’t designated as terrorists. One notable example is the Ku Klux Klan, which for decades has used bloodshed, intimidation and crime to terrorize Americans – especially Black Americans.

Trump should be more concerned about white supremacy-related violence since it’s the most deadly threat facing the U.S.

Credit: Anthony Cridder / Flickr

Antifa is responsible for zero deaths, ever. Right-wing terrorism is more common in the United States than Islamic terrorism, and, if not for two outlier events of Pulse and 9/11, would have a higher body count.

White supremacist extremism is currently the most lethal form of extremism in the U.S.,” American University professor Cynthia Miller-Idriss told Congress in September. According to the Anti-Defamation League, the far-right was the source of 73% of domestic extremist-related slayings from 2008 to 2019. 

However, Trump has been much more hesitant to declare these menacing groups as terrorists. In fact, Trump isn’t only ignoring the threat of white supremacist terrorism, he’s actively pushing government institutions to overlook it.

According to Reuters, Trump attempted to rename the Countering Violent Extremism program to “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism” — erasing white nationalist violence from its mission entirely. Under the current administration, federal prosecutors are limited in how they can bring white nationalists to justice. 

If Trump wants to label ANTIFA a terror organization, many are asking why not the KKK?

Credit: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

The original Ku Klux Klan, formed in the 1860s, was the largest and most violent domestic terrorist organization that the U.S. has ever known. It only lasted about 10 years, though.It’s since gone through several iterations but the current Klan is a hodgepodge of loosely organized groups with no central leadership.

For this reason, many legal experts agree that would be very difficult – if not unconstitutional – to label any domestic organization a terror group, including ANTIFA and the KKK.

As soon as Trump announced his intentions, a Change.org petition popped up urging him to label the KKK a terror group.

Over one million people have signed a Change.org petition urging the U.S. government to list the Ku Klux Klan as a domestic terror organization. The potion was launched in response to Trump’s plan to do just that against ANTIFA.

“This group has a long history of murder & intimidation of people based on colour and religion,” the petition outlines.

It goes onto say that the campaign aims to make racially motivated crime an act of terror and declare hate groups terrorists.

Tropical Storm Leaves At Least 20 Dead In El Salvador And Now Threatens The U.S. Gulf Coast

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Tropical Storm Leaves At Least 20 Dead In El Salvador And Now Threatens The U.S. Gulf Coast

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The 2020 Hurricane season is off to a very strong start – in fact, it’s a record breaking one. The season officially started on June 1st, however, we’re only on June 3rd and there have already been three named storms. Even before the season got started, officials were warning of an above average season and it seems their predictions are playing out.

Tropical Storm Amanda killed at least 20 people when it struck El Salvador, unleashing flooding and landslides.

After making landfall in El Salvador, Tropical Storm Amanda has been blamed for at least 20 deaths in the country. Officials there say that more than 7,000 people have been taken into shelters as the country attempts to recover from the devastating effects.

Torrential rains and strong winds destroyed hundreds of homes and left highways and roads out of service, stranding many in very dangerous situations.

Carolina Recinos, a senior aide to President Nayib Bukele, said the storm had dumped the equivalent of “almost 10 percent” of the annual rainfall on the country in a relatively short span of time.

Bukele declared a 15-day state of emergency to cope with the effects of Amanda, which he estimated to have caused $200 million in damage.

“We’ve never experienced this,” Maria Torres, whose house was damaged, told the Associated Press news agency. “The rain was so strong and suddenly, the water entered the homes, and we just saw how they fell.”

The storm came as the country of some 6.6 million people is grappling with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Credit: @Minerva_Juarez / Twitter

To date, El Salvador has reported 2,582 confirmed Covid-19 infections and 46 related deaths. It’s not been as hard hit as many other Latin American countries, but experts agree that the country is poorly equipped to handle any further strain.

“We are experiencing an unprecedented situation: one top-level emergency on top of another serious one,” said San Salvador Mayor Ernesto Muyshondt.

The country had already instituted some of the most strict lockdown measures across the region. Even a trip to the market is heavily regulated – you’re only allowed access depending on the numbers in your identity documents, and residents aren’t allowed to cross municipal boundaries, even to buy food or medicine.

The storm also lashed other countries across Central America.

Credit: @Minerva_Juarez / Twitter

Both Guatemala and Honduras were also badly hit by the storm. In Honduras, four were left dead after they were swept away by rising flood waters. Meanwhile, several communities were left buried under feed of mud and debris and mudslides happened across the country.

Two people were also killed and two injured in Guatemala, where authorities reported 500 homes damaged.

After weakening, the storm has now reformed as Tropical Storm Cristobal and could pose a risk to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Credit: NOAA

Tropical Storm Amanda weakened after impacting Central America and then entered the Gulf of Mexico, where it’s since reorganized into a new Tropical Storm – this time named Cristobal. This marks the first time in history that there have been three named storms so early in the hurricane season. Typically, the third named storm does not brew until way later in the season, occurring on average around Aug. 13

The weather disturbance is expected to move through the Gulf of Mexico in the coming days, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said, and is likely to severely impact the Mexican coastline in the coming days.

The storm is expected to take a northward turn, and it could gain strength over the Gulf of Mexico prior to reaching the southern United States coastline.