TPS holder Cristina Morales, center; her American citizen daughter Crista Morales, left; and Benjamin Zepeda, right, are plaintiffs in case against the Department of Homeland Security and the Trump administration. Photo: Leighton Woodhouse

By Leighton Akio Woodhouse

When President Donald Trump referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and an assortment of African nations as “shithole countries” during a closed-door meeting with congressional leaders and Cabinet members in January, he may have unwittingly planted the seed for the unraveling of a critical part of his deportation agenda.

Last Friday, in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, the first hearing was held for a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s revocation of Temporary Protected Status for over 200,000 foreign nationals from four countries who currently live in the United States. …


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By Lee Fang

Lobbyists for the largest technology and telecommunication firms have only three days to prevent the California Consumer Privacy Act, a ballot initiative that would usher in the strongest consumer privacy standards in the country, from going before state voters this November.

The initiative allows consumers to opt out of the sale and collection of their personal data, and vastly expands the definition of personal information to include geolocation, biometrics, and browsing history. The initiative also allows consumers to pursue legal action for violations of the law.

The idea that Californians might gain sweeping new privacy rights has…


By Debbie Nathan

A Guatemalan woman whose child was taken from her last month by immigration authorities in Texas after coming to the U.S. seeking asylum was released after 38 days in detention last week. Immediately after being freed, she went to the federally funded facility that was managing her 5-year-old son’s care and recovered him.

Immigrants rights activists and attorneys say this may be the first such family — at least in Texas — to be separated and then reunited since Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on May 7 that migrant parents and their children at the border…


By Jordan Smith

Photo by Zulmaury Saavedra on Unsplash

Shannon Edmonds and Stacey Soule looked confident sitting before a panel of lawmakers in the Texas Capitol late last month. Soule is the state’s prosecuting attorney, whose office litigates cases before the state’s highest criminal court, the Court of Criminal Appeals. Edmonds is a staff attorney and the government relations expert for the powerful Texas District and County Attorneys Association. As such, he’s used to lawmakers heeding his counsel; criminal justice reform is nearly impossible without the support of his association.

The pair was sitting before the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee for a hearing regarding prosecutorial misconduct…


Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

By John Thomason

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that suicide rates have increased dramatically across the United States. From 1999 to 2016, 49 states saw suicides increase by 5 percent or more, and 25 of those states saw increases of a staggering 30 percent or higher. By 2016, almost 45,000 Americans were taking their own lives every year.

While the CDC report notes that guns are the most common method for these suicides — accounting for about half of all cases — it fails to underscore the extent to which these alarming rates…


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By Micah Lee, Alice Speri

Shortly after Chelsea Manning posted what appeared to be two suicidal tweets on May 27, police broke into her home with their weapons drawn as if conducting a raid, in what is known as a “wellness” or “welfare check” on a person experiencing a mental health crisis. Manning, a former Army intelligence analyst turned whistleblower and U.S. Senate candidate, was not at home, but video obtained by The Intercept shows officers pointing their guns as they searched her empty apartment.

The footage, captured by a security camera, shows an officer with the Montgomery County Police…


Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

By Zaid Jilani

An often overlooked provision in the 1996 welfare reform act barred felons with drug convictions from obtaining welfare — including participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) — unless states actively waived those restrictions.

Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, who was responsible for adding this provision to the bill, argued at the time that he was merely “asking a higher standard of behavior of people on welfare.”

But Cynthia Godsoe, writing in the Berkeley Women’s Law Journal two years after the law’s passage, objected: “This comment reflects the opinion that people are…


Photo by Arthur Osipyan on Unsplash

By David Dayen

A Washington-based advocacy organization that purports to be a voice for startup tech companies is actually a sock puppet for Google, according to a report released Wednesday that details numerous links between the two.

According to the report, startup advocacy group Engine has at least seven former Google employees and consultants on its board of directors and advisory board. Its three founders all previously worked at Google; they founded a startup incubator that Google eventually bought. Google has given Engine an undisclosed amount of funding over the past five years. The two share a lobbying firm called…


The photo shows a mass trial of immigrants at the Lucius D. Bunton Federal Courthouse in Pecos, Texas.

By Debbie Nathan

Federal Magistrate Judge Ronald G. Morgan is in his 60s, with a bright-pink face and a crisp, friendly manner — though lately he has been making disconcerting little mistakes in court. He has spent eight years on the bench in Brownsville, a small Texas city on the U.S.-Mexico border. Morgan knows how to run a court smoothly, but during a morning session I attended in early May, he announced that he’d just dealt with 35 defendants — all at one time — when the actual number was 40. And after the proceedings, he forgot to pronounce their…


Top photo: A man walks among piles of talc at a processing plant near Jalalabad in 2017. Photo: Courtesy of Global Witness

By Murtaza Hussain

Lucrative mining sites in Afghanistan are under the control of Taliban and Islamic State Khorasan Province, or ISKP, militants, who are making millions from the export of minerals, according to a new report by the conflict monitoring organization Global Witness. The report, titled “At Any Price We Will Take the Mines,” documents how the trade in minerals like talc, marble, and lapis lazuli is generating revenue for insurgent groups and helping to fuel a deadly cycle of violence in the country.

While control over resources has long been a driver of conflict in Afghanistan, this dynamic has…

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