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What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.

This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Young Migrants Crowd Shelters, Posing Test for Biden - The New York Times

Young Migrants Crowd Shelters, Posing Test for Biden

Eileen Sullivan Zolan Kanno-Youngs Michael D. Shear,  
The New York Times
The administration is under intensifying pressure to expand its capacity to care for as many as 35,000 unaccompanied minors, part of a wave of people crossing the border.
A group of migrants waiting in La Joya, Texas, to board a bus from Customs and Border Protection after crossing the Rio Grande in March. Last month, border agents encountered nearly 19,000 children at the border.Credit...Adrees Latif/Reuters
A group of migrants waiting in La Joya, Texas, to board a bus from Customs and Border Protection after crossing the Rio Grande in March. Last month, border agents encountered nearly 19,000 children at the border.Credit...Adrees Latif/Reuters

By and

WASHINGTON — The desperate plea landed this week in the email inboxes of employees in government agencies like the Department of Homeland Security and NASA: Will you consider taking a four-month paid leave from your job to help care for migrant children in government-run shelters packed with new arrivals at the border?

The request to much of the federal work force came from the Department of Health and Human Services, which is at the heart of a frantic effort by the Biden administration to keep up with a surge in young people crossing the southwestern border hoping to reunite with relatives already in the United States.

The numbers are daunting. In March, border agents encountered nearly 19,000 children at the border — the largest number recorded in a single month — most of them fleeing poverty and violence in Central America. And the flow of migrant children is expected to only increase in coming weeks.

More than 20,000 children and teenagers are in the custody of a government system that is already at “103 percent of capacity,” including nearly 17,000 in shelters run by the health department, according to briefing materials from Operation Artemis, a response to the border crisis led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Government projections obtained by The New York Times show there could be more than 35,000 migrant children to be cared for by June — a prospect that one former senior health and human services official called “terrifying.”

Over 4,100 minors were stuck in border facilities this week, far more than the 2,600 detained in border jails under the Trump administration at the peak of a similar surge in 2019.Credit...Adrees Latif/Reuters
Over 4,100 minors were stuck in border facilities this week, far more than the 2,600 detained in border jails under the Trump administration at the peak of a similar surge in 2019.Credit...Adrees Latif/Reuters
Credit...Dario Lopez-Mills/Associated Press

The ability of the Department of Health and Human Services to build shelters, move children quickly into them and then unite them with relatives and other sponsors in the United States is the first major test of whether the Biden administration can respond swiftly and effectively to a growing immigration crisis that has far-reaching political and human ramifications.

The pressure is producing tension inside the White House. President Biden expressed frustration with Xavier Becerra, his new secretary of health and human services, in a White House meeting on March 30, for what the president views as bureaucratic holdups in increasing capacity, according to two administration officials familiar with the exchange.

Susan Rice, the director of the Domestic Policy Council, and Amy Pope, the president’s senior adviser for migration issues, have been aggressively pressing officials from the health department and other immigration agencies for explanations about the failure to quickly move more than 4,000 migrant youths out of jail-like detention facilities run by Border Patrol, according to several people familiar with the meetings.

When they first cross the border, unaccompanied children and teenagers are taken to border jails. By law, they are supposed to be held there for no more than three days before being moved to about 150 shelters and other facilities and group homes overseen by the Health and Human Services Department.

But because of a lack of available space in the shelters, the young people are often being held for far longer in the often-harsh conditions of the border facilities. When they eventually are shipped to the health department’s shelters around the country — where they are required to receive schooling, medical care, psychological services and recreation while officials vet family members, friends or foster parents who can take them in — they typically face further long waits.

“Despite inheriting a broken immigration system decimated by four years of neglect and poor policy decisions, the Biden administration continues to remain focused on expanding capacity and bed space,” said Vedant R. Patel, a White House spokesman.

The images of cramped cells full of teenagers and toddlers in border jails intended for adults are the direct result of an urgent lack of space in shelters that were originally meant as short-term facilities but during other immigration surges have typically ended up housing migrant children for at least a month and often longer.

Credit...John Moore/Getty Images
Credit...Pool photo by Dario Lopez-Mills

The latest surge, on pace to be larger than those that prompted crises for President Barack Obama in 2014 and 2016 and for President Donald J. Trump in 2019, has administration officials racing to erect facilities and recruit staff for them.

Officials have opened a dozen emergency shelters in vacant spaces like convention centers in Dallas and San Diego, an expo center in San Antonio, and a military site and a former camp for oil workers in Texas.

They have also moved to cut the time it takes to conduct background checks for parents in an effort to release the young migrants from the shelters more quickly and open up spots for those being held in border jails. But even with the early signs of progress, over 4,100 minors were stuck in border facilities earlier this week, far more than the 2,600 detained in border jails at the peak of the surge in 2019.

Republicans have seized on the issue to claim that Mr. Biden did not act swiftly enough to expand the shelter system even as he focused on unwinding his predecessor’s restrictive border policies.

A flurry of executive orders issued weeks after Mr. Biden took office targeted other parts of his immigration agenda, including reviewing the Trump administration’s policies that limited asylum and halting border wall construction. And the president waited until March to call on FEMA to assist in the effort to find shelter space for the children, after the number of minors stuck in border jails surpassed 3,000.

Former health officials under Mr. Trump — whose policies were intended to make conditions for migrants at the border bad enough to deter more people from coming — said they had pushed during the last two years of his administration to expand the number of available beds for migrant children and to reduce the amount of time that children spend in the department’s care.

Two senior former officials said that by the time Mr. Trump left office, the department was on track to expand the system’s ability to deal with further surges by adding thousands of beds over time that could be quickly activated in an emergency.

Credit...John Moore/Getty Images
Credit...Justin Hamel/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“The United States has the capacity to be compassionate,” said Lynn Johnson, the former assistant secretary of the health department’s Administration for Children and Families under Mr. Trump. “But we’re not compassionate when we don’t have a process in place and we let what’s happening, happen. We have got to fix this.”

Aides to Mr. Trump said career officials warned the incoming Biden team of the likely surge of arrivals in the spring, but said the new administration did not move quickly to begin reactivating emergency facilities for added space.

Biden administration officials reject that criticism, saying they were not given enough information during the transition and they notified Congress of the need to begin adding emergency capacity in early February.

They said they were also hampered by a decision by Trump administration officials during the pandemic to freeze hiring at the health department’s Office of Refugee Resettlement, which oversees the shelters. And they accused their predecessors of merely relying on the existence of Mr. Trump’s harsh policies that blocked migrants from entering the country.

“They were turning away unaccompanied migrant kids so they were not taking efforts to expand the shelter system,” said Cecilia Muñoz, one of Mr. Biden’s top immigration officials during the transition.

With the permanent shelters out of space, the administration is increasingly turning to temporary spaces that are more like hurricane shelters, with cots rather than beds and few of the more school-like services that the health department offers at its licensed facilities.

Mr. Biden’s aides are scouting additional locations, including a convention center in Long Beach, Calif., and a Navy boot camp in Illinois. Officials are also planning on expanding the number of tent camps attached to the border jails. Government documents show the administration also still needs to ramp up hiring of medical officials and case managers.

Credit...Adrees Latif/Reuters
Credit...Go Nakamura/Reuters
Credit...Adrees Latif/Reuters

A briefing memo sent to administration officials this week directed the health department to “identify and deploy all available federal volunteers to support” the effort to address the increase of minors, a drive reflected by the email seeking government workers to help. As of Friday, 2,722 employees across the government have volunteered, in most cases with their salaries being picked up by the health department. Some are caring for children at shelters. Others are helping with case management, I.T. services, food delivery, transportation and other logistics.

Officials said hiring for the shelters was often a challenge because the care of migrant children has become a highly charged, political issue, with critics often making no distinction between Border Patrol jails and the health department’s shelters.

Government contractors who run many of the shelters on behalf of the government have struggled to find staff willing to endure criticism. And the intense immigration debate has made it harder to recruit foster parents.

Chris and Kristen Umphlett, who have welcomed migrant children to their home in Lansing, Mich., since last year, said the requests for help from organizations working on behalf of the government were becoming more urgent as the crisis worsened.

“They’ve made explicit asks. ‘Do you know anyone? Tell people about this. Refer people to us,’” said Mr. Umphlett, a data analyst at a software company. “Part of the problem is they need to get people into the funnel of qualifying for foster care.”

The United States has long struggled to quickly move children out of the government’s care to make room for new arrivals.

Most are eventually matched with a parent who is already in the country. But others are handed over to more distant relatives, friends or foster parents. The more distant the connection, the longer the children are typically held in the shelters while health officials do background checks to ensure their safety.

Of the roughly 2,000 minors released to sponsors in the past week, about half were reunited with parents or legal guardians after an average of 23 days. Those with more distant relatives had to wait on average nearly two months.

Health department officials acknowledged that the vetting process was arduous. Officials require the families, many with limited English, to provide specific documents proving their relationship and to send in fingerprints of certain relatives for background checks.

The administration has made efforts to streamline that process, rescinding a Trump-era program backed by Stephen Miller, the architect of Mr. Trump’s immigration agenda, which had sought to determine legal status of relatives before children could be placed with them. Under Mr. Miller’s policy, the health department was required to share background check information on all adults in a child’s prospective household with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which would then determine their legal status.

Critics said the policy discouraged some relatives from coming forward to retrieve migrant children from the health department. Under Mr. Biden, the department no longer routinely shares the information with ICE and does not require such extensive background checks to other members of the household.

Credit...Edgard Garrido/Reuters

But speed must be balanced with security concerns for the children, officials said, particularly after a 2016 Senate report revealed that more than a dozen immigrant children were forced into labor at an egg farm or placed into trafficking rings after the health department failed to conduct background checks of caregivers.

“From the outside it may not appear to be an ideal system but at its core it is one that emphasizes safety, which is critical when it comes to vulnerable children,” said Krish Vignarajah, the president of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, which helps unite minors with sponsors.

The Biden administration has made progress in recent days, bringing the number of minors in border detention facilities down by more than 1,000 from the height of 5,000 last month. But the internal documents show that to handle a surge that the administration has said will continue to grow into the summer, the health department will need to release more than 800 minors a day by June, compared with the roughly 300 children currently being released daily.

Officials are also looking to reduce the flow of migrants from Central America, including children, with diplomatic outreach, new immigration programs and financial investment in the region. But Roberta Jacobson, a former ambassador to Mexico who has been spearheading diplomacy with the region, announced on Friday that she would leave the administration at the end of April as planned."

Young Migrants Crowd Shelters, Posing Test for Biden - The New York Times

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Parents speak out after day care accused of feeding white children before Black children – WSB-TV Channel 2 - Atlanta

Parents speak out after day care accused of feeding white children before Black children

Kids R Kids daycare Day care shut down after video appears to show white children being fed before Black children. 

"ROSWELL, Ga, — Parents are coming forward after a picture that appeared to show white children being fed lunch before their Black classmates at a metro Atlanta day care.

Channel 2′s Audrey Washington was at the Kids ‘R’ Kids day care in Roswell, where soon after the picture went viral, the location shut down.

The sign is already covered up and the children have been moved to other facilities.

Washington talked to several parents in a group interview Saturday.

“When I first saw it, I was very upset,” Diona Howard said.

“It was sickening. When I saw, it was just disappointing,” Adryan McCauley said. “It’s disheartening. You think your kids are safe.”

The parents say staff at the Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academy purposefully fed their children, who are all Black, lunch after the white children.

McCauley said one of his family members noticed the scene on the day care’s video livestream and snapped a picture. McCauley then posted that picture to Instagram.

“I felt like light needed to be exposed on this situation,” McCauley said.

“I’m looking at the picture, like, ‘That’s my daughter!’” Tony Murrell said. “I was livid. I was very much displeased.”

The attorney representing the parents, Mawuli Davis, thinks that what the children experienced was damaging. Davis has already met with a child psychologist about the incident.

“At this age, the idea of preference is already in play. So out of that, children begin to question their own value, even at this young age,” Davis said. “They went from table to table serving the white children and not serving the Black children. That’s what the picture shows.”

Washington reached out to the president of Kids ‘R’ Kids International. In a statement, he said, in part that the interactions captured on video were disturbing and “…not in accordance with the inclusive culture that we promote at Kids ‘R’ Kids amongst our families, their children or our staff. After further review and much consideration of the photo/video in question, our company has decided to terminate that franchisee’s Kids ‘R’ Kids contract and branding, effective immediately, leaving them to operate independently.”

“We apologize to the family, the community and all of those impacted by this situation and will use this as a learning tool to remind our Kids ‘R’ Kids staff on the importance of diversity and inclusivity,” he added.

All of the parents pulled their children out of the day care immediately.

Davis said the investigation is just starting.

“We’re going to continue to investigate and see if there is a pattern at this particular day care, throughout Georgia or throughout the country,” Davis said."

Parents speak out after day care accused of feeding white children before Black children – WSB-TV Channel 2 - Atlanta

Kemp’s Georgia 'Opening' Message Causes Confusion Over State’s COVID-19 Rules | 90.1 FM WABE

Kemp’s Georgia ‘Opening’ Message Causes Confusion Over State’s COVID-19 Rules

In a video statement, Gov. Brian Kemp said that he was “loosening the remaining restrictions on our economy here in Georgia,” which, he said, among other changes, means “distance requirements for bars, restaurants and other places of business will be a thing of the past.” But the 34-page executive order, which went into effect Thursday and expires at the end of April, still includes some distance requirements.

In a video statement, Gov. Brian Kemp said that he was “loosening the remaining restrictions on our economy here in Georgia,” which, he said, among other changes, means “distance requirements for bars, restaurants and other places of business will be a thing of the past.” But the 34-page executive order, which went into effect Thursday and expires at the end of April, still includes some distance requirements.

Credit Brynn Anderson /  Associated PRess

"On Thursday, Gov. Brian Kemp scaled back many of Georgia’s COVID-19 restrictions that had been in place for months. But messaging around the regulatory changes led to confusion about what guidelines actually remain in place. 

Dozens of regulations remain on the books. 

A press release from the governor’s office late Wednesday titled “Georgia is Open for Business” highlighted the recently signed executive order “rolling back the remaining COVID-19 restrictions on Georgia’s economy.”

In a video statement, Kemp said that he was “loosening the remaining restrictions on our economy here in Georgia,” which, he said, among other changes, means “distance requirements for bars, restaurants and other places of business will be a thing of the past.”

But the 34-page executive order, which went into effect Thursday and expires at the end of April, still includes some distance requirements.

The executive order keeps in place distancing rules for movie theaters (3 feet) and group classes at fitness centers (6 feet). It mandates seats at bars and restaurants be spaced at least 3.5 feet apart. 

And while the order does eliminate a number of restrictions that had been in place for months –such as those banning gatherings of a certain size and mandating vulnerable populations to shelter in place –it still includes dozens of rules impacting health care facilities, schools and businesses. 

“There was a slight error in the Governor’s recorded video message,” Cody Hall, the governor’s director of communications, said in a statement Thursday. 

“Bars and restaurants will still be expected to observe distancing between seated groups, which is typically recommended by public health officials,” he continued. 

“Fitness facilities and theatres will also be required to observe minimal distancing between patrons or groups as outlined by the order. The Governor’s order does significantly reduce, or roll back, the remaining restrictions on businesses – including those mentioned above,” Hall said. 

Most importantly, he said, “under this executive order, all businesses will be able to resume operations safely.”

Signs of confusion about the state’s COVID-19 rules were apparent Thursday.

The conservative group Tea Party Patriots Action sent out a release applauding Kemp for “lifting all Covid restrictions.” The Democratic Party of Georgia sent out a petition for signatures that claimed “Brian Kemp is rolling back ALL of Georgia’s COVID-19 restrictions.”

Misinformation about the restrictions also spread on social media, like in this Facebook group where members have called for months for Georgia’s COVID-19 rules to be relaxed.

Regardless of whether or not people fully understand the state’s new rules, many public health experts say they’re being scaled back too soon.

“The announcement sends a signal to Georgians that the pandemic is over when it is very much not over,” said Amber Schmidtke, a public health researcher who tracks the pandemic in the state. “I fear the governor’s announcement will encourage Georgians to give up on masks, social distancing, etc., when we can least afford to do so.”

Last week, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention met with governors around the country to encourage them to press pause on rolling back COVID-19 restrictions as newly confirmed cases have been rising nationwide.

While Georgia’s coronavirus statistics have been steadily improving, Schmidtke says there is still good reason to be cautious as infection rates remain high and Georgia continues to fall behind other states when it comes to vaccinating residents.

“I would just remind people to make good choices because the virus is just looking for the next person to infect. When we get together, we give the virus the opportunity to infect others.”

Kemp’s Georgia 'Opening' Message Causes Confusion Over State’s COVID-19 Rules | 90.1 FM WABE

Do The Needs Of The Many Outweigh The Needs Of The Few?

Merrick Garland Should Investigate Voter Suppression Efforts, Says Rep. ...

Proud Boys and other far-right groups raise millions via Christian funding site | The far right | The Guardian

Proud Boys and other far-right groups raise millions via Christian funding site

Anybody depending on somebody else's gods is depending on a fox not to eat chickens.

- Zora Neale Hurston

"A data breach from Christian crowdfunding site GiveSendGo has revealed that millions of dollars have been raised on the site for far-right causes and groups, many of whom are banned from raising funds on other platforms.

It also identifies previously anonymous high-dollar donors to far-right actors, some of whom enjoy positions of wealth, power or public responsibility.

Some of the biggest beneficiaries have been members of groups such as the Proud Boys, designated as a terrorist group in Canada, many of whose fundraising efforts were directly related to the 6 January attack on the United States Capitol.

The breach, shared with journalists by transparency group Distributed Denial of Secrets, shows the site was used for a wide range of legitimate charitable purposes, such as crowdfunding medical bills, aid projects and religious missions.

But the site’s permissive stance towards far-right actors meant groups who had been banned from other fundraising platforms and payment processors following episodes of hate speech and violence have also used the platform.

Across at least 11 crowdfunding campaigns associated with the Proud Boys, members of the group, including some now facing conspiracy charges related to the Capitol attack, raised over $375,000. Some of these fundraisers netted large amounts of money in a short period.

After the Proud Boys chairman, Enrique Tarrio, was arrested on 4 January on charges related to firearms and the vandalism of a black church at a previous rally, a fundraiser billed as a “defense fund” made $113,000 in just four days.

A large proportion of that money came from a number of high-dollar donors who elected to be anonymous on the website, but whose identifying details were nevertheless preserved by GiveSendGo.

The anonymous donations included $1,000 from an email address associated with Gabe Carrera, a Florida-based personal injury lawyer who bills himself as the attorney who rides. Another $1,000 which came to Tarrio was associated with an email address belonging to Paul C Gill, a Honolulu-based Hawaiian Airlines employee and former pilot who has previously made donations to Donald Trump’s campaigns and to the Republican party, and who has offered public political commentary in the form of letters to the editor in local newspapers.

Of Tarrio’s donors, none immediately responded to requests for comment except for Gerardo G Gonzalez, who anonymously donated $1,000 to Tarrio on 7 January.

Public records show that Florida-based Gonzalez is a former pharmacist who owns at least six properties in Miami Beach and Homestead, Florida. His apartments, apartment buildings and an acreage lot have an assessed value in excess of $2.4m, and in prior decades has sold other properties worth millions more.

In a telephone conversation, Gonzalez said that his support of the Proud Boys was motivated by his belief that “there is no systemic racism in this country”, and his opposition to “BLM and Antifa” who he said represented “the real extremism” in the United States. He also used derogatory terms for Latinos and Democrats.

Other Proud Boy fundraisers raised large amounts, and attracted a similar range of high-value anonymous donations.

Following the Capitol riots, a fundraiser in the name of “Medical Assistance to DC Proud Boy victims” made $106,107 on just 6 and 7 January. One anonymous donation for $5,000 was associated with an email address belonging to Ou Yin Lu, a Hacienda Heights, California, resident and businesswoman who had previously donated $14,640 to Trump’s campaign funds, the Republican National Committee and a former California state representative Bob Huff during the 2020 campaign funding cycle.

Also, after charges were laid on the Proud Boys organizer Joe Biggs for his alleged role in the Capitol attack, an anonymous donation for $1,000 came from an email address belonging to a New York woman whose social media accounts list her as a state-employed special education teacher. Overall, Biggs raised over $6,000 on the site.

Other Proud Boy-related fundraisers included one for North Carolina Proud Boy, Jeremy Bertino, also known as Noble Beard, who was stabbed at a contentious rally in Washington DC on 12 December. Between 16 and 19 December, the effort netted $61,355.

Several parallel fundraisers sought to finance travel and equipment for Proud Boys who sought to attend the 6 January rally in person.

Two separate fundraisers asked patrons to fund protective gear and communications equipment for regional Proud Boys chapters, raising $4,876 and $12,900 respectively.

Later, fundraisers were mounted in the name of individual activists who are now facing serious charges arising from the events of 6 January.

One that netted $6,475 in just one day was for the benefit of the Washington state Proud Boy and national elder Ethan Nordean also known as Rufio Panman. Another for Nick Ochs, the self-described leader of the Proud Boys’ Hawaiian chapter, brought in $19,687 between 8 and 13 January.

Candyce Kelshall, the president of the Canadian Association for Security and Intelligence Studies-Vancouver, who at at Simon Fraser University researches violent transnational social movements, said that far-right crowdfunding on GiveSendGo was just “the tip of the iceberg”, and similar efforts were happening across up to 54 other crowdfunding sites that her research had revealed.

She said, however, that GiveSendGo was “particularly insidious” due to its presentation of such crowdfunding in the guise of religion-based charity.

... we have a small favour to ask. You’ve read in the last year, making you one of our top readers globally. And you’re not alone; through these turbulent and challenging times, millions rely on the Guardian for independent journalism that stands for truth and integrity. Readers chose to support us financially more than 1.5 million times in 2020, joining existing supporters in 180 countries.

With your help, we will continue to provide high-impact reporting that can counter misinformation and offer an authoritative, trustworthy source of news for everyone. With no shareholders or billionaire owner, we set our own agenda and provide truth-seeking journalism that’s free from commercial and political influence. When it’s never mattered more, we can investigate and challenge without fear or favour. 

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Proud Boys and other far-right groups raise millions via Christian funding site | The far right | The Guardian

Migrant boy found wandering alone in Texas had been deported and kidnapped - The Washington Post

Migrant boy found wandering alone in Texas had been deported and kidnapped

Boy was seen by many in viral video as emblematic of desperation of migrant children.

The agent recorded the interaction, which was widely shared on the Internet, seen by many as a glimpse into the desperation of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border.

But the story behind the video of Wilton Obregon, according to relatives, shows how the Biden administration is putting migrant families in even more peril after they cross the border, in some cases deporting them into the hands of criminal groups.

Wilton and his mother, Meylin, 30, crossed the border into Texas last month to seek asylum after fleeing their native Nicaragua. But they were immediately sent back to Mexico under Title 42, a pandemic-era policy that expels migrants who cross the border without allowing them to apply for protection.

Hours after being expelled to northern Mexico, they were kidnapped, according to Misael Obregon, Meylin’s brother, who lives in Miami.

Misael received a call from the kidnappers. They wanted $10,000 to release Meylin and Wilton.

“They threaten to hurt them both, or worse,” Misael Obregon said. “These people are capable of anything.”

Misael could come up with only $5,000. He sent the cash through a money transfer company. The kidnappers agreed to release Wilton, but not his mother.

The smugglers then abandoned Wilton after leading him across the border, leaving him to wander through the arid farmland of South Texas looking for assistance, until he found the Border Patrol agent who recorded his encounter with the boy.

“I came looking because I didn’t know where to go, and they can also rob or kidnap me or something,” he told the agent.

Meylin remains in the custody of kidnappers. She called Misael Obregon on Friday morning, crying after seeing the video of her bleary-eyed son.

“Now I’m worried that she’s going to die,” said Obregon, “that she’s not going to make it through this.”

The Nicaraguan government on Friday identified Wilton as being the boy in the video, but it did not mention the kidnapping. It said Nicaraguan police had interviewed the boy’s father, who confirmed that Meylin had told him in their last conversation that she and Wilton were preparing to cross the border together because they were “in danger.”

In a speech, the vice president of Nicaragua, Rosario Murillo, said she had called on Interpol to locate the boy and his mother.

“Our national police, our Ministry of the Interior, have made and continue to make inquiries to the United States authorities, Mexican authorities to obtain information that lead us to locate Meylin and the child,” she said.

Wilton is currently in U.S. government custody, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The video of the boy was raised at a White House news conference this week. “I don’t have any response from the president directly. What I can convey is, for any of us who have seen that video, it is heartbreaking,” said press secretary Jen Psaki.

Relatives say the boy and his mother were in part fleeing domestic violence in Nicaragua.

Wilton’s grandmother, Socorro Leiva, described the scramble to pay the ransom.

“The family managed to raise a little money to free the child but we have not been able to pay her part,” Leiva said through tears from her home in the municipality of El Rama.

Thirty-three percent of families who crossed the border last month were expelled to Mexico, according to CBP statistics.

President Biden had long complained about the humanitarian consequences of the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, which forced asylum seekers to wait for the their court hearings in Mexico. Many of them were kidnapped and abused during their months waiting.

Under Title 42, though, which began under President Donald Trump and continues under Biden, asylum seekers are again in the same desperate situation. It’s unclear how many of them have been kidnapped.

“The Biden administration is winding down one of the Trump administration’s most notorious policies but at the same time it is expelling other asylum seekers back to the very same dangers, attacks and kidnappings through its continued use of the Trump administration’s Title 42 policy to evade U.S. refugee law,” Eleanor Acer, senior director of refugee protection at Human Rights First, said in a statement."

Migrant boy found wandering alone in Texas had been deported and kidnapped - The Washington Post

Racism Makes Me Question Everything. I Got the Vaccine Anyway. Surviving in an anti-Black society requires some personal negotiations. This was one of them.

Racism Makes Me Question Everything. I Got the Vaccine Anyway.

“Surviving in an anti-Black society requires some personal negotiations. This was one of them.

By Damon Young

Mr. Young is a contributing opinion writer and the author of “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir In Essays.”

Illustration by Anthony François

Last summer, when Covid-19 vaccines were in development, friends on text threads and Zoom calls asked if I’d get one. My response was always the same: Sure, I’ll be right in line — after 100 million of y’all go first. I told them I’d seen too many zombie movies. But my hesitancy was actually grounded in a less cinematic reality: I just don’t trust America enough.

This mistrust comes from an awareness of the ubiquity of American anti-Blackness — a dynamic that can, um, modify your sense of reality. That’s what happened, for instance, with the persistent myth of Tommy Hilfiger’s racist comments.

In 1996, owning a Tommy Hilfiger shirt was everything to 17-year-old me. But a year later, I’d completely extracted Hilfiger fits from my rotation. Word had spread that Tommy Hilfiger, in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, had complained about Black people wearing his clothes. The shirts, windbreakers and parka I owned were immediately relegated to the deepest parts of my closet.

Mr. Hilfiger never actually made those racist comments. In fact, he hadn’t even been a guest on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” when the rumors started. But the myth wouldn’t die because it felt so true that to question it felt like gaslighting your own Blackness. Of course this white man with aggressively preppy oxfords and an American flag aesthetic would believe that people like me sullied his brand. It just fit.

The same way, a story about Dorothy Dandridge and a pool just fits: As the urban legend goes, the movie star was visiting a hotel in Las Vegas in the 1950s, and she dipped a single toe into the all-white swimming pool. This so disgusted the hotel’s management that they drained the entire thing. This story, which was also depicted in the HBO biopic about her life, has never actually been confirmed. But to anyone familiar with the history of America’s relationship with its Black citizens, the anecdote is believable. Maybe it ain’t true, but it also ain’t exactly a lie.

To question whether this bottomless skepticism is justified is like asking whether a cow has cause to be wary of butchers. From redlining and gerrymandering to the Tuskegee experiment and Cointelpro, the proven conspiracies against Black Americans are so devious, so deep and so absurd that they blast open pathways for true-sounding non-truths to enter, too.

The terrible spoken word poems I wrote in college (“We’ll never get justice, because justice for just-us just-aint-for-us”) habitually referenced the so-called Willie Lynch letter — an instruction manual for controlling Black slaves that I, along with many others, believed was written by a slave owner in 1712 and contained deep insights into modern race relations. The truth: Willie Lynch never existed and the document was forged. I believed that the government conspired to track my thoughts and movements — as if my flaccid stanzas and banded collar Wilsons Leather biker jackets were a threat to the state. I even once allowed myself to entertain an argument that the natural color of milk is not white, but brown. (Don’t ask.)

The term “hotep” has become a catchall among Black people to describe other Black people who still believe some of these easily debunked stories — but the reality is that most of us have some hotep in us. And not because we don’t know how America really works, but because we know too much. The lack of trust in our nation’s systems and structures is a force field; a bulwark shielding us from the lie of the American dream. And nowhere is this skepticism more justified than with the institution of medicine.

I don’t trust doctors, nurses, physician assistants, hospitals, emergency rooms, waiting rooms, surgeries, prescriptions, X-rays, MRIs, medical bills, insurance companies or even the food from hospital cafeterias. My awareness of the pronounced racial disparities in our health care system strips me of any confidence I would have otherwise had in it. As critics of a recent Saturday Night Live skit suggesting that Black people are illogically set against getting vaccinated pointed out, the vaccine hesitancy isn’t due to some uniquely Black pathology. It’s a direct response to centuries of anecdote, experience and data. (Also, the demographic among the least likely to get a vaccine? White evangelicals.)

Despite all this, in March, I stood in a long line to receive my first dose of a vaccine to prevent me from becoming seriously ill from a virus that I had no idea even existed 14 months ago.

My journey from “I don’t even eat hospital pizza” to “voluntary Pfizer guinea pig” is complicated, but not singular. Existing in America while Black requires a ceaseless assemblage of negotiations and compromises. Even while recognizing the anti-Blackness embedded in society, participation is still necessary to survive.

For instance, I am dubious that American schools are able to sufficiently nurture and prepare Black children for 21st-century life. But my interest in home-schooling my kids is the same as my interest in letting them attend school on Neptune. So my compromise is to allow them to attend school, but then to also fortify them with as many academic, social, and political supplements as possible.

Sometimes the negotiation is just the choice to participate: My parents were two of the tens of thousands of Black victims in the subprime lending crisis. I watched them be evicted from their home after loan terms they just couldn’t meet kept multiplying. But when I was ready to buy a house, the gateway to homeownership was through those same banks.

The trust still isn’t there. Will never be there. But the negotiation that placed me in that vaccination line last month required me to weigh that distrust against all that I miss. I miss the year we just lost. I miss playing basketball. I miss watching it with my dad. I miss barbecues. Malls. Movie theaters. Restaurants. Cities other than Pittsburgh. I miss only needing to be hypervigilant about racism and gluten, and not whether the air inside of a Giant Eagle supermarket might kill me too. And I know other people miss their years and their hobbies and their dads and their homies. With the disproportionate havoc this plague has wreaked on Black and brown people, my desire to return to some semblance of normalcy and prevent more death is a force greater than my cynicism.

I’ve already begun to fantasize about the cookout I’ll host after I get my second shot, and each of my equally-suspicious-about-America family members and homies get their shots, and enough time has passed to feel safe gathering. Maybe we’ll laugh about how us seeing each other was only possible because we trusted an institution that has been pathologically untrustworthy. Or maybe we won’t. Because that’s not actually funny.“