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July 13, 2018

It was apparently the very night that then-candidate Donald Trump called on Russia to find his opponent Hillary Clinton's "missing" emails in July 2016 that Russian operatives "attempted after hours to spearfish for the first time email accounts at a domain hosted by a third-party provider and used by Clinton's personal office," Special Counsel Robert Mueller's latest indictment says. The Justice Department's discovery — that "on or about July 27, 2016" Russian intelligence agents apparently heeded Trump's call — casts uncertainty over the White House's claim that Trump was just "joking" when he asked for Russia to hack Clinton.

Earlier on July 27, 2016, Trump had said, "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing." Just days later, WikiLeaks began publishing hacked Democratic National Committee emails, NBC News reports. On Friday, the DOJ indicted 12 Russian intelligence officials over that hacking, with the intention of interfering in the outcome of the election.

Trump has repeatedly maintained that Russia did not meddle in the 2016 election. "The phony Russian Collusion was a made up Hoax," the president tweeted as recently as June 17, 2018. "Too bad they didn't look at Crooked Hillary like this." Jeva Lange

July 11, 2018
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When former President George W. Bush's administration saw a spike in arrests at America's southern border, he spearheaded Operation Streamline and opened a handful of fast-paced courts to clear a backlog of immigration trials.

The program still exists today, and can crank out eight deportation verdicts in as little as four minutes. That's about one verdict every 30 seconds — a rapid-fire pace that lawyers, and even one judge, say is probably too fast for defendants to understand, BuzzFeed News reports.

Operation Streamline kicked off in 2005 with a few courts in Texas. It's since expanded to New Mexico, Arizona, and, just this week, California. Under the program, migrants are given public attorneys who are often juggling multiple cases in a day, BuzzFeed News says. The defendants get 20 to 40 minutes with a lawyer before they're shuffled into a courtroom with a handful of other migrants, where they're given headsets that translate English proceedings to Spanish — even if that's not their native language.

Attorneys and activists say the system results in most migrants pleading guilty and being deported, likely without a clue what's happening. Lawyers who spoke to BuzzFeed News acknowledge how problematic this can seem — and so did one immigration judge. "I am aware that a person could probably make it through the proceedings without a thorough understanding of their rights and the court proceedings," U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Bowman said during one case.

But some defense attorneys say the quick pace is actually better than proceedings before Operation Streamline. Under the previous process, migrants often waited in detention for weeks or months before getting a trial; now, they're detained for less than 72 hours and sent on the first bus home. Read more at BuzzFeed News. Kathryn Krawczyk

July 11, 2018
GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration is struggling to figure out how to reunite the immigrant families it separated as part of its "zero tolerance" enforcement policy, with DNA tests becoming a go-to method for the scrambling officials. Immigrant advocates have already expressed alarm over the method, saying children cannot give informed consent for the tests, but now The Daily Beast has learned that some migrant parents are being told that they have to pay for the tests themselves if they want to be reunited with their kids.

Ruben Garcia, the director of Annunciation House in El Paso, said that four women in the shelter were told they had to pay for the tests to be reunited with their relatives. One immigration attorney who works with Annunciation House said her clients had to pay between $700 and $800 to prove their relationships to the government.

"None of them have the money [for the tests], so it's going to fall back on us to push back on that," said Garcia.

It isn't clear how widespread it is for the government to ask for payment, but the Office of Refugee Resettlement maintains that the tests are done at "no cost." Read more about the history of DNA tests and immigration at The Daily Beast. Jeva Lange

July 6, 2018

President Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is being kept in solitary confinement at Virginia's Northern Neck Regional Jail, his lawyer said in court documents filed this week. "He is locked in his cell for at least 23 hours per day (excluding visits from his attorneys)," wrote his defense attorney, Kevin Downing, noting that the decision is in order to "guarantee [Manafort's] safety."

Manafort lived under house arrest after he was accused by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team of crimes including conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy against the United States. He was jailed in June 2018 over witness tampering. Trump has tried to distance himself from Manafort, who worked on his campaign for five months in 2016, telling the press: "Manafort has nothing to do with our campaign." Jeva Lange

July 5, 2018

A startling number of Americans report that they are not having children because of fears about "global instability" and "domestic politics," a New York Times/Morning Consult survey of 1,858 men and women between the ages of 20 and 45 has found. While the overwhelming reason why the United States had a record low number of births last year was because of various economic anxieties, 37 percent of Americans said they have had or expect to have "fewer children than they considered ideal" specifically because of "global instability," while 36 percent cited "domestic politics."

Another group of young adults who said they didn't want children or weren't sure about having children also cited concerns about the world around them: 18 percent said global instability, and 10 percent cited domestic politics. Another 11 percent voiced climate change as a reason for questioning having children.

Would-be mothers who have decided against having children in the Trump era told Vice last year that "getting pregnant would involve lying to ourselves." One 33-year-old black, biracial woman explained: "We had about a month of trying to get pregnant [in 2016]. When Trump got elected we both freaked out. We just lost our nerve."

There were just 60.2 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age in 2017, a record low in the U.S. Total fertility is also below the replacement level of developed countries, 2.1 percent, down to 1.8 percent. See more of the results below, and read more analysis at The New York Times. Jeva Lange

June 28, 2018
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Deportation isn't just for undocumented criminals, as President Trump has suggested.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has set its sights on lawful permanent residents who have committed minor crimes, some more than 20 years ago, the Los Angeles Times reports. These immigrants have green cards, but 15 were still scooped up in a three-day ICE raid on "public safety threats" in the Los Angeles area.

Jose Luis Garcia is one of those legal immigrants, arrested in the June 10 roundup while watering his lawn, per The Mercury News. The 62-year-old grandfather left Mexico when he was 13 and earned legal status in 1988. But his 2001 misdemeanor arrest for domestic violence made him a target for deportation; an immigration lawyer told the Times that domestic violence is "always a deportable crime."

Garcia's green card may have even made him more likely to be picked up. An ICE agent reportedly told his team that some raids' targets had green cards, "so we should have a good address on them," per the Times. If he'd applied for naturalization, ICE could've been alerted to Garcia's arrest even earlier.

Most of those targeted in the operation were undocumented immigrants, the Times says. But Garcia is still in ICE custody, and his wife — also a lawful permanent resident — is warning others against putting faith in their green cards.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times. Kathryn Krawczyk

June 23, 2018

Former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee posted a tweet Saturday morning in which he suggested House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is in league with the MS-13 gang, a favorite subject of President Trump and his allies when talking immigration policy:

Huckabee's comment appears to come in response to Pelosi's pushback on Trump's repeated use of the word "animals" to describe gang members: Pelosi said she believes the label is inappropriate because it ignores the basic human dignity and "spark of divinity" in every person. Trump has said this means she "loves MS-13."

The tweet promptly came under fire on Saturday:

As The Washington Post's Dave Weigel noted, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is actually responsible for electing Democrats to the House, and its "chairman (Ben Ray Lujan) and executive director (Dan Sena) are both Hispanic." The president will be a guest on Huckabee's TV show Saturday night. Bonnie Kristian

June 15, 2018
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The Trump administration is separating an average of two children from their families every single hour at the border, MSNBC's David Gura tweeted Friday, using data obtained by The Associated Press. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's statistics show that 1,995 minors have been separated from 1,940 adults in the six-week period between April 19 and May 31 as part of the administration's new "zero tolerance" policy for immigrants illegally trying to enter the U.S., as announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in May.

Sessions has defended the administration's policy by citing the Bible, leading frustrated reporters to confront White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday. In addition to the nearly 2,000 children separated at the border, another 35 minors were separated at ports of entry in May and early June, and more than 50 were separated at official designated border crossings in March and April.

President Trump has attempted to pin his administration's heavily criticized policy on Democrats. "The Democrats are forcing the breakup of families at the border with their horrible and cruel legislative agenda," he tweeted Friday, although that is a lie. Jeva Lange

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