city:san antonio

  • U.S. is using unreliable dental exams to hold teen migrants in adult detention

    The young Bangladeshi sitting in the dentist’s chair last October thought he was getting checked for diseases.

    Dental staff examined his teeth, gave him a cleaning and sent him back to the juvenile facility where he had been held for months since illegally crossing the border in July.

    But a checkup wasn’t the real purpose of the dental work. The government wanted to figure out if “I.J.,” as the young migrant has been identified, really was 16, as he said, or an adult.

    The use of dental exams to help determine the age of migrants increased sharply in the last year, one aspect of the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration and illegal border crossings.

    The accuracy of forensic testing to help determine the age of migrants is very much a subject of the debate. And with the stakes so high, the exams are becoming another legal battleground for the government.

    Federal law prohibits the government from relying exclusively on forensic testing of bones and teeth to determine age. But a review of court records shows that in at least three cases – including I.J.’s – the government did just that, causing federal judges to later order the minors released from adult detention.

    In a case last year, a Guatemalan migrant was held in adult detention for nearly a year after a dental exam showed he was likely 18, until his attorneys fought to get his birth certificate, which proved he was 17.

    For I.J., the results had serious ramifications. Based on the development of his teeth, the analysis showed an 87.70% probability that he had turned 18.

    An immigration official reported that it was apparent to the case manager that I.J. “appeared physically older than 17 years of age,” and that he and his mother had not been able to provide a second type of identification that might prove his age.

    The next month, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents took him away in shackles and placed him in a medium-security prison that houses immigrant detainees.

    He spent about five months in adult detention and 24 of those days in segregated custody. Whenever he spoke with an officer, he would say he was a minor — unaware for more than a month that his teeth had landed him there.

    “I came to the United States with a big dream,” I.J. said. “My dream was finished.”

    But when the Arizona-based Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project took I.J.’s case to federal court, a district judge found that the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s age re-determination violated federal law and the agency’s own guidelines.

    In April, the judge ordered I.J. released back into Office of Refugee Resettlement custody, a program responsible for unaccompanied migrant children. He has since reunited with his family in New York. The Florence Project also filed another case in federal court that resulted in the government voluntarily returning a Bangladeshi minor to ORR custody and rescinding his age re-determination.

    As the government grappled with an influx of the number of families and children arriving at the border in fiscal year 2018, approvals of ORR age determination exams more than doubled.

    These handful of cases where a minor was released from adult detention is almost certainly an undercount, as most migrants held in adult detention do not have legal representation and are unlikely to fight their cases.

    It is unclear how often migrants pretend to be minors and turn out to be adults. In a call with reporters earlier this year, a Customs and Border Protection official said that from April 2018 to March 25 of this year, his agents had identified more than 3,100 individuals in family units making fraudulent claims, including those who misrepresented themselves as minors.

    Unaccompanied minors are given greater protections than adults after being apprehended. The government’s standard refers migrants to adult custody if a dental exam analysis shows at least a 75% probability that they are 18 or older. But other evidence is supposed to be considered.

    Dr. David Senn, the director of the Center for Education and Research in Forensics at UT Health San Antonio, has handled more than 2,000 age cases since 1998.

    A program that Senn helped develop estimates the mean age of a person and the probability that he or she is at least 18. In addition to looking at dental X-rays, he has also looked at skeletal X-rays and analyzed bone development in the hand and wrist area.

    He handled a larger number of cases in the early 2000s, but last year he saw his caseload triple — rising to 168. There appears to be a slowdown this calendar year for Senn, one of a few dentists the government uses for these analyses.

    He said making an exact age determination is not possible.

    “We can only tell you what the statistics say,” Senn said. “I think the really important thing to note is that most people who do this work are not trying to be policemen or to be Border Patrol agents or immigration …. what we’re trying to do is help. What we’re trying to do is protect children.”

    In 2007 and again in 2008, the House Appropriations Committee called on the Department of Homeland Security to stop relying on forensic testing of bones and teeth. But it was the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 that declared age determinations should take into account “multiple forms of evidence, including the non-exclusive use of radiographs.”

    In a Washington state case, an X-ray analysis by Senn showed a 92.55% probability that Bilal, a Somali migrant, already had reached 18 years of age. ICE removed him from his foster home and held him in an adult detention center.

    “Not only were they trying to save themselves money, which they paid to the foster family, but they were wrecking this kid’s life,” said Matt Adams, legal director for the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, which represented Bilal. “They were just rolling the dice.”

    In 2016, a federal judge found that the Office of Refugee Resettlement relied exclusively on the dental exam and overturned the age determination for the young Somali.

    Last year, in the case of an Eritrean migrant who said he was 17, Senn’s analysis of dental X-rays showed a 92.55% probability that he had turned 18, and provided a range of possible ages between 17.10 and 23.70.

    It was enough to prompt his removal from a juvenile facility and placement into an adult one.

    Again, a district judge found that the government had relied exclusively on the dental exam to determine his age and ordered the migrant released back into ORR custody.

    Danielle Bennett, an ICE spokeswoman, said the agency “does not track” information on such reversals.

    “We should never be used as the only method to determine age,” Senn said. “If those agencies are not following their own rules, they should have their feet held to the fire.”

    Similar concerns over medical age assessments have sprung up in other countries, including the United Kingdom and Sweden.

    The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ guidance about how adolescent migrants’ ages should be analyzed says that if countries use scientific procedures to determine age, that they should allow for margins of error. Michael Bochenek, an attorney specializing in children’s rights at Human Rights Watch, said that for adolescents, the margin of error in scientific tests is “so big that it doesn’t tell you anything.”

    An influx of Bangladeshi migrants claiming to be minors has contributed to the government’s recent use of dental exams. From October through March 8, more than 150 Bangladeshis who claimed to be minors and were determined to be adults were transferred from the Office of Refugee Resettlement to ICE custody, according to the agency.

    In fiscal year 2018, Border Patrol apprehensions of Bangladeshi migrants went up 109% over the year before, rising to 1,203. Similarly, the number of Bangladeshi minors in ORR custody increased about 221% between fiscal 2017 and fiscal 2018, reaching 392.

    Ali Riaz, a professor at Illinois State University, said Bangladeshis are leaving the country for reasons including high population density, high unemployment among the young, a deteriorating political environment and the “quest for a better life.”

    In October, Myriam Hillin, an ORR federal field specialist, was told that ICE had information showing that a number of Bangladeshi migrants in their custody claiming to be underage had passports with different birth dates than on their birth certificates.

    Bochenek said it’s common for migrant children to travel with fake passports that make them appear older, because in some countries minors are more likely to be intercepted or questioned by immigration agents.

    While I.J. was able to regain status as a minor, three Bangladeshi migrants who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally in the San Diego area in October 2018 are still trying to convince the government they are underage.

    Their passports didn’t match their birth certificates. Dental exams ordered by immigration officials found that each of them had about an 89% likelihood of being adults.

    “Both subjects were adamant that the passports were given to them by the ‘agent’ (smuggler), however, there is little reason to lie to any of the countries they flew into,” wrote one Border Patrol agent, describing the arrest of two of the migrants. “Also, it is extremely difficult to fake a passport, especially for no reason. I have seen [unaccompanied children] fly into each of the countries (except for Panama and Costa Rica) and pass through with no problem. This is a recent trend with Bangladeshis. They do it in order to be released from DHS custody faster.”

    During interviews, the young migrants, Shahadat, Shahriar and Tareq, told asylum officers that smugglers had given them the passports, according to records from the interviews.

    When asked why they had been given those birth dates, they said it had something to do with smugglers’ plans for their travel.

    “I don’t have that much idea,” Shahadat told an asylum officer, according to the officer’s notes in a summary-style transcript. “When I asked why, they told me that if I don’t give this [date of birth] there will be problems with travel.”

    Shahriar told the officer that the smuggler became aggressive when questioned.

    The migrants have submitted copies of birth certificates, school documents and signed statements from their parents attesting to their claimed birth dates. An online database of birth records maintained by the government of Bangladesh appears to confirm their date of birth claims.

    Shahriar also provided his parents’ birth certificates. If he were as old as immigration officials believe him to be, his mother would have been 12 years old when she had him.

    In each case, immigration officials stood by the passport dates.

    Shahadat and Shahriar are being held in Otay Mesa Detention Center. Tareq was held at the facility for months before being released on a $7,500 bond. All three are moving through the immigration system as adults, with asylum proceedings their only option to stay in the U.S..

    At least one of the migrants, Shahadat, was placed in administrative segregation, a version of solitary confinement in immigration detention, when his age came into question, according to documents provided by their attorney.

    A judge ordered him deported.
    #tests_osseux #os #âge #USA #Etats-Unis #mineurs #enfants #enfance #rétention #détention_administrative #dents #migrations #asile #réfugiés #USA #Etats-Unis

  • Baltimore paralysée par un virus informatique en partie créé par la NSA

    Le problème, c’est que, trois semaines plus tard, l’affaire n’est toujours pas résolue. Les serveurs et les e-mails de la ville restent désespérément bloqués. « Service limité », indiquent les écriteaux à l’entrée les bâtiments municipaux. Les équipes municipales, le FBI, les services de renseignement américains et les firmes informatiques de la Côte ouest s’y sont tous mis : impossible de débarrasser les dix mille ordinateurs de la ville de ce virus, un rançongiciel. Et pour cause : selon le New York Times, l’un des composants de ce programme virulent a été créé par les services secrets américains, la National Security Agency (NSA), qui ont exploité une faille du logiciel Windows de Microsoft. L’ennui, c’est que la NSA s’est fait voler en 2017 cette arme informatique devenue quasi impossible à contrôler.

    Alors, beaucoup de bruit pour rien ? Non, à cause du rôle trouble de la NSA. Selon le New York Times, celle-ci a développé un outil, EternalBlue (« bleu éternel »), en cherchant pendant plus d’une année une faille dans le logiciel de Microsoft.

    L’ennui, c’est que l’outil a été volé par un groupe intitulé les Shadow Brokers (« courtiers de l’ombre »), sans que l’on sache s’il s’agit d’une puissance étrangère ou de hackeurs américains. Les Nord-Coréens l’ont utilisé en premier en 2017 lors d’une attaque baptisée Wannacry, qui a paralysé le système de santé britannique et touché les chemins de fer allemands. Puis ce fut au tour de la Russie de s’en servir pour attaquer l’Ukraine : code de l’opération NotPetya. L’offensive a atteint des entreprises, comme l’entreprise de messagerie FedEx et le laboratoire pharmaceutique Merck, qui auraient perdu respectivement 400 millions et 670 millions de dollars.

    Depuis, EternalBlue n’en finit pas d’être utilisé, par la Chine ou l’Iran, notamment. Et aux Etats-Unis, contre des organisations vulnérables, telle la ville de Baltimore, mais aussi celles de San Antonio (Texas) ou Allentown (Pennsylvanie). L’affaire est jugée, à certains égards, plus grave que la fuite géante d’informations par l’ancien informaticien Edward Snowden en 2013.

    Le débat s’ouvre à nouveau sur la responsabilité de la NSA, qui n’aurait informé Microsoft de la faille de son réseau qu’après s’être fait voler son outil. Trop tard. En dépit d’un correctif, des centaines de milliers d’ordinateurs n’ayant pas appliqué la mise à jour restent non protégés. Un de ses anciens dirigeants, l’amiral Michael Rogers, a tenté de dédouaner son ancienne agence en expliquant que, si un terroriste remplissait un pick-up Toyota d’explosifs, on n’allait pas accuser Toyota. « L’outil qu’a développé la NSA n’a pas été conçu pour faire ce qu’il a fait », a-t-il argué.

    Tom Burt, responsable chez Microsoft de la confiance des consommateurs, se dit « en total désaccord » avec ce propos lénifiant : « Ces programmes sont développés et gardés secrètement par les gouvernements dans le but précis de les utiliser comme armes ou outils d’espionnage. Ils sont, en soi, dangereux. Quand quelqu’un prend cela, il ne le transforme pas en bombe : c’est déjà une bombe », a-t-il protesté dans le New York Times.

    #Virus #NSA #Baltimore #Cybersécurité

  • #CBP terminates controversial $297 million #Accenture contract amid continued staffing struggles

    #Customs_and_Border_Protection on Thursday ended its controversial $297 million hiring contract with Accenture, according to two senior DHS officials and an Accenture representative.
    As of December, when CBP terminated part of its contract, the company had only completed processing 58 applicants and only 22 had made it onto the payroll about a year after the company was hired.
    At the time, the 3,500 applicants that remained in the Accenture hiring pipeline were transferred to CBP’s own hiring center to complete the process.

    CBP cut ties with Accenture on processing applicants a few months ago, it retained some services, including marketing, advertising and applicant support.
    This week, the entire contract was terminated for “convenience,” government speak for agreeing to part ways without placing blame on Accenture.
    While government hiring is “slow and onerous, it’s also part of being in the government” and that’s “something we have to accept and deal with as we go forward,” said one of the officials.
    For its efforts, CBP paid Accenture around $19 million in start-up costs, and around $2 million for 58 people who got job offers, according to the officials.
    Over the last couple of months, CBP explored how to modify the contract, but ultimately decided to completely stop work and return any remaining funds to taxpayers.
    But it’s unclear how much money, if any, that will be.

    In addition, to the funds already paid to Accenture, CBP has around $39 million left to “settle and close the books” with the company, an amount which has yet to be determined.
    In November 2017, CBP awarded Accenture the contract to help meet the hiring demands of an executive order on border security that President Donald Trump signed during his first week in office. The administration directed CBP to hire an additional 7,500 agents and officers on top of its current hiring goals.
    “We were in a situation where we needed to try something new” and “break the cycle of going backwards,” said a DHS official about why the agency started the contract.

    Meanwhile, hiring remains difficult for the agency amid a surge of migrants at the southern border that is stretching CBP resources thin.
    It “continues to be a very challenging environment,” said one official about hiring efforts this year.

    In fact, one of the reasons that CBP didn’t need Accenture to process applicants, is because the agency didn’t receive as many applications as it initially planned for.
    The agency has been focused on beating attrition and has been able to recently “beat it by a modest amount,” said the official. “Ultimately we would like to beat it by a heck of a lot, but we’re not there yet.”
    #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #USA #Ests-Unis #complexe_militaro-industriel #business

    • Border Profiteers

      On a recent sunny spring afternoon in Texas, a couple hundred Border Patrol agents, Homeland Security officials, and salespeople from a wide array of defense and security contractors gathered at the Bandera Gun Club about an hour northwest of San Antonio to eat barbecue and shoot each other’s guns. The techies wore flip-flops; the veterans wore combat boots. Everyone had a good time. They were letting loose, having spent the last forty-eight hours cooped up in suits and ties back at San Antonio’s Henry B. Gonzalez convention center, mingling and schmoozing, hawking their wares, and listening to immigration officials rail about how those serving in enforcement agencies are not, under any circumstances, Nazis.

      These profiteers and bureaucrats of the immigration-industrial complex were fresh from the 2019 #Border_Security_Expo —essentially a trade show for state violence, where law enforcement officers and weapons manufacturers gather, per the Expo’s marketing materials, to “identify and address new and emerging border challenges and opportunities through technology, partnership, and innovation.” The previous two days of panels, speeches, and presentations had been informative, a major in the Argentine Special Forces told me at the gun range, but boring. He was glad to be outside, where handguns popped and automatic rifles spat around us. I emptied a pistol into a target while a man in a Three Percenter militia baseball hat told me that I was a “natural-born killer.” A drone buzzed overhead until, in a demonstration of a company’s new anti-drone technology, a device that looked like a rocket launcher and fired a sort of exploding net took it down. “This is music to me,” the Argentine major said.

      Perhaps it’s not surprising the Border Security Expo attendees were so eager to blow off steam. This year’s event found many of them in a defensive posture, given the waves of bad press they’d endured since President Trump’s inauguration, and especially since the disastrous implementation of his family separation policy, officially announced by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in April of 2018, before being rescinded by Trump two-and-a-half months later. Throughout the Expo, in public events and in background roundtable conversations with reporters, officials from the various component parts of the Department of Homeland Security rolled out a series of carefully rehearsed talking points: Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) need more money, personnel, and technology; taking migrants to hospitals distracts CBP officers from their real mission; and the 1997 Flores court settlement, which prohibits immigration enforcement agencies from detaining migrant families with children for more than twenty days, is undermining the very sovereignty of the United States. “We want a secure border, we want an immigration system that has integrity,” Ronald Vitiello, then–acting head of ICE, said in a keynote address to the hundreds of people gathered in San Antonio. “We have a generous immigration system in this country, but it has to have integrity in order for us to continue to be so generous.”

      More of a technocrat than his thuggish predecessor Thomas Homan, Vitiello also spoke at length about using the “dark web” to take down smugglers and the importance of having the most up-to-date data-management technology. But he spoke most adamantly about needing “a fix” for the Flores settlement. “If you prosecute crimes and you give people consequences, you get less of it,” he said. “With Flores, there’s no consequence, and everybody knows that,” a senior ICE official echoed to reporters during a background conversation immediately following Vitiello’s keynote remarks. “That’s why you’re seeing so many family units. We cannot apply a consequence to a family unit, because we have to release them.”

      Meanwhile, around 550 miles to the west, in El Paso, hundreds of migrants, including children and families, were being held by CBP under a bridge, reportedly forced to sleep on the ground, with inadequate medical attention. “They treated us like we are animals,” one Honduran man told Texas Monthly. “I felt what they were trying to do was to hurt us psychologically, so we would understand that this is a lesson we were being taught, that we shouldn’t have crossed.” Less than a week after the holding pen beneath the bridge closed, Vitiello’s nomination to run ICE would be pulled amid a spate of firings across DHS; President Trump wanted to go “in a tougher direction.”

      Family Values

      On the second day of the Border Security Expo, in a speech over catered lunch, Scott Luck, deputy chief of Customs and Border Protection and a career Border Patrol agent, lamented that the influx of children and families at the border meant that resources were being diverted from traditional enforcement practices. “Every day, about 150 agents spend their shifts at hospitals and medical facilities with illegal aliens receiving treatment,” he said. “The annual salary cost for agents on hospital watch is more than $11.5 million. Budget analysts estimate that 13 percent of our operational budget—the budget that we use to buy equipment, to buy vehicles for our men and women—is now used for transportation, medical expenses, diapers, food, and other necessities to care for illegal aliens in Border Patrol custody.”

      As far as Luck was concerned, every dollar spent on food and diapers is one not spent on drones and weapons, and every hour an agent spends guarding a migrant in a hospital is an hour they don’t spend on the border. “It’s not what they signed up for. The mission they signed up for is to protect the United States border, to protect the communities in which they live and serve,” he told reporters after his speech. “The influx, the volume, the clutter that this creates is frustrating.” Vitiello applied an Orwellian inversion: “We’re not helping them as fast as we want to,” he said of migrant families apprehended at the border.

      Even when discussing the intimate needs of detained migrant families, the language border officials used to describe their remit throughout the Expo was explicitly militaristic: achieving “operational control,” Luck said, requires “impedance and denial” and “situational awareness.” He referred to technology as a “vital force multiplier.” He at least stopped short of endorsing the president’s framing that what is happening on the border constitutes an invasion, instead describing it as a “deluge.”

      According to the Migration Policy Institute, a non-partisan think tank, the U.S. immigrant population has continued to grow—although at a slower rate than it did before the 2007 recession, and undocumented people appear to make up a smaller proportion of the overall population. Regardless, in fiscal year 2018, both ICE and CBP stepped up their enforcement activities, arresting, apprehending, and deporting people at significantly higher rates than the previous year. More than three times as many family members were apprehended at the border last year than in 2017, the Pew Research Center reports, and in the first six months of FY 2019 alone there were 189,584 apprehensions of “family units”: more than half of all apprehensions at the border during that time, and more than the full-year total of apprehended families for any other year on record. While the overall numbers have not yet begun to approach those of the 1980s and 1990s, when apprehensions regularly exceeded one million per year, the demographics of who is arriving at the United States southern border are changing: fewer single men from Mexico and more children and families from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador—in other words, an ever-wider range of desperate victims of drug gangs and American policies that have long supported corrupt regimes.

      This change has presented people like Luck with problems they insist are merely logistical: aging Border Patrol stations, he told us at the Expo, “are not luxurious in any way, and they were never intended to handle families and children.” The solution, according to Vitiello, is “continued capital investment” in those facilities, as well as the cars and trucks necessary to patrol the border region and transport those apprehended from CBP custody to ICE detention centers, the IT necessary to sift through vast amounts of data accumulated through untold surveillance methods, and all of “the systems by which we do our work.”

      Neither Vitiello nor Luck would consider whether those systems—wherein thousands of children, ostensibly under the federal government’s care, have been sexually abused and five, from December through May of this year, have died—ought to be questioned. Both laughed off calls from migrant justice organizers, activists, and politicians to abolish ICE. “The concept of the Department of Homeland Security—and ICE as an agency within it—was designed for us to learn the lessons from 9/11,” Vitiello said. “Those needs still exist in this society. We’re gonna do our part.” DHS officials have even considered holding migrant children at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, according to the New York Times, where a new $23 million “contingency mass migration complex” is being built. The complex, which is to be completed by the end of the year, will have a capacity of thirteen thousand.

      Violence is the Point

      The existence of ICE may be a consequence of 9/11, but the first sections of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border—originally to contain livestock—went up in 1909 through 1911. In 1945, in response to a shift in border crossings from Texas to California, the U.S. Border Patrol and the Immigration and Naturalization Service recycled fencing wire and posts from internment camps in Crystal City, Texas, where more than a hundred thousand Japanese Americans had been imprisoned during World War II. “Although the INS could not erect a continuous line of fence along the border, they hoped that strategic placement of the fence would ‘compel persons seeking to enter the United States illegally to attempt to go around the ends of the fence,’” historian Kelly Lytle Hernández, quoting from government documents, writes in Migra! A History of the U.S. Border Patrol. “What lay at the end of the fences and canals were desert lands and mountains extremely dangerous to cross without guidance or sufficient water. The fences, therefore, discouraged illegal immigration by exposing undocumented border crossers to the dangers of daytime dehydration and nighttime hypothermia.”

      Apprehension and deportation tactics continued to escalate in the years following World War II—including Operation Wetback, the infamous (and heavily propagandized) mass-deportation campaign of 1954—but the modern, militarized border era was greatly boosted by Bill Clinton. It was during Clinton’s first administration that Border Patrol released its “Strategic Plan: 1994 and Beyond,” which introduced the idea of “prevention through deterrence,” a theory of border policing that built on the logic of the original wall and hinges upon increasing the “cost” of migration “to the point that many will consider it futile to continue to attempt illegal entry.” With the Strategic Plan, the agency was requesting more money, officers, and equipment in order to “enhance national security and safeguard our immigration heritage.”

      The plan also noted that “a strong interior enforcement posture works well for border control,” and in 1996, amid a flurry of legislation targeting people of color and the poor, Congress passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, which empowered the federal government to deport more people more quickly and made it nearly impossible for undocumented immigrants to obtain legal status. “Before 1996, internal enforcement activities had not played a very significant role in immigration enforcement,” the sociologists Douglas Massey and Karen A. Pren wrote in 2012. “Afterward these activities rose to levels not seen since the deportation campaigns of the Great Depression.” With the passage of the Patriot Act in 2001 and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2002, immigration was further securitized and criminalized, paving the way for an explosion in border policing technology that has further aligned the state with the defense and security industry. And at least one of Border Patrol’s “key assumptions,” explicitly stated in the 1994 strategy document, has borne out: “Violence will increase as effects of strategy are felt.”

      What this phrasing obscures, however, is that violence is the border strategy. In practice, what “prevention through deterrence” has meant is forcing migrants to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in the desert, putting already vulnerable people at even greater risk. Closing urban points of entry, for example, or making asylum-seekers wait indefinitely in Mexico while their claims are processed, pushes migrants into remote areas where there is a higher likelihood they will suffer injury and death, as in the case of seven-year-old Jakil Caal Maquin, who died of dehydration and shock after being taken into CBP custody in December. (A spokesperson for CBP, in an email response, deflected questions about whether the agency considers children dying in its custody a deterrent.) Maquin is one of many thousands who have died attempting to cross into the United States: the most conservative estimate comes from CBP itself, which has recovered the remains of 7,505 people from its southwest border sectors between 1998 and 2018. This figure accounts for neither those who die on the Mexican side of the border, nor those whose bodies remain lost to the desert.

      Draconian immigration policing causes migrants to resort to smugglers and traffickers, creating the conditions for their exploitation by cartels and other violent actors and increasing the likelihood that they will be kidnapped, coerced, or extorted. As a result, some migrants have sought the safety of collective action in the form of the “caravan” or “exodus,” which has then led the U.S. media and immigration enforcement agencies to justify further militarization of the border. Indeed, in his keynote address at the Expo, Luck described “the emerging prevalence of large groups of one hundred people or more” as “troubling and especially dangerous.” Later, a sales representative for the gun manufacturer Glock very confidently explained to me that this was because agents of al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Somalia, were embedded with the caravans.

      Branding the Border

      Unsurprisingly, caravans came up frequently at the Border Security Expo. (An ICE spokesperson would later decline to explain what specific threat they pose to national security, instead citing general statistics about the terrorist watchlist, “special interest aliens,” and “suspicious travel patterns.”) During his own keynote speech, Vitiello described how ICE, and specifically its subcomponent Homeland Security Investigations, had deployed surveillance and intelligence-gathering techniques to monitor the progress of caravans toward the border. “When these caravans have come, we’ve had trained, vetted individuals on the ground in those countries reporting in real time what they were seeing: who the organizers were, how they were being funded,” he said, before going on an astonishing tangent:

      That’s the kind of capability that also does amazing things to protecting brands, property rights, economic security. Think about it. If you start a company, introduce a product that’s innovative, there are people in the world who can take that, deconstruct it, and create their own version of it and sell it as yours. All the sweat that went into whatever that product was, to build your brand, they’ll take it away and slap it on some substandard product. It’s not good for consumers, it’s not good for public safety, and it’s certainly an economic drain on the country. That’s part of the mission.

      That the then–acting director of ICE, the germ-cell of fascism in the bourgeois American state, would admit that an important part of his agency’s mission is the protection of private property is a testament to the Trump administration’s commitment to saying the quiet part out loud.

      In fact, brands and private industry had pride of place at the Border Security Expo. A memorial ceremony for men and women of Border Patrol who have been killed in the line of duty was sponsored by Sava Solutions, an IT firm that has been awarded at least $482 million in federal contracts since 2008. Sava, whose president spent twenty-four years with the DEA and whose director of business development spent twenty with the FBI, was just one of the scores of firms in attendance at the Expo, each hoping to persuade the bureaucrats in charge of acquiring new gear for border security agencies that their drones, their facial recognition technology, their “smart” fences were the best of the bunch. Corporate sponsors included familiar names like Verizon and Motorola, and other less well-known ones, like Elbit Systems of America, a subsidiary of Israel’s largest private defense contractor, as well as a handful of IT firms with aggressive slogans like “Ever Vigilant” (CACI), “Securing the Future” (ManTech), and “Securing Your Tomorrow” (Unisys).

      The presence of these firms—and indeed the very existence of the Expo—underscores an important truth that anyone attempting to understand immigration politics must reckon with: border security is big business. The “homeland security and emergency management market,” driven by “increasing terrorist threats and biohazard attacks and occurrence of unpredictable natural disasters,” is projected to grow to more than $742 billion by 2023 from $557 billion in 2018, one financial analysis has found. In the coming decades, as more people are displaced by climate catastrophe and economic crises—estimates vary between 150 million and 1 billion by 2050—the industry dedicated to policing the vulnerable stands to profit enormously. By 2013, the United States was already spending more on federal immigration enforcement than all other federal law enforcement agencies combined, including the FBI and DEA; ICE’s budget has doubled since its inception in 2003, while CBP’s has nearly tripled. Between 1993 and 2018, the number of Border Patrol agents grew from 4,139 to 19,555. And year after year, Democrats and Republicans alike have been happy to fuel an ever more high-tech deportation machine. “Congress has given us a lot of money in technology,” Luck told reporters after his keynote speech. “They’ve given us over what we’ve asked for in technology!”

      “As all of this rhetoric around security has increased, so has the impetus to give them more weapons and more tools and more gadgets,” Jacinta Gonzalez, a senior campaign organizer with Mijente, a national network of migrant justice activists, told me. “That’s also where the profiteering comes in.” She continued: “Industries understand what’s good for business and adapt themselves to what they see is happening. If they see an administration coming into power that is pro-militarization, anti-immigrant, pro-police, anti-communities of color, then that’s going to shape where they put their money.”

      By way of example, Gonzalez pointed to Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, who spent $1.25 million supporting Trump’s 2016 election campaign and followed that up last year by donating $1 million to the Club for Growth—a far-right libertarian organization founded by Heritage Foundation fellow and one-time Federal Reserve Board prospect Stephen Moore—as well as about $350,000 to the Republican National Committee and other GOP groups. ICE has awarded Palantir, the $20 billion surveillance firm founded by Thiel, several contracts worth tens of millions of dollars to manage its data streams—a partnership the agency considers “mission critical,” according to documents reviewed by The Intercept. Palantir, in turn, runs on Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing service provided by the world’s most valuable public company, which is itself a key contractor in managing the Department of Homeland Security’s $6.8 billion IT portfolio.

      Meanwhile, former DHS secretary John Kelly, who was Trump’s chief of staff when the administration enacted its “zero-tolerance” border policy, has joined the board of Caliburn International—parent organization of the only for-profit company operating shelters for migrant children. “Border enforcement and immigration policy,” Caliburn reported in an SEC filing last year, “is driving significant growth.” As Harsha Walia writes in Undoing Border Imperialism, “the state and capitalism are again in mutual alliance.”

      Triumph of the Techno-Nativists

      At one point during the Expo, between speeches, I stopped by a booth for Network Integrity Systems, a security firm that had set up a demonstration of its Sentinel™ Perimeter Intrusion Detection System. A sales representative stuck out his hand and introduced himself, eager to explain how his employer’s fiber optic motion sensors could be used at the border, or—he paused to correct himself—“any kind of perimeter.” He invited me to step inside the space that his coworkers had built, starting to say “cage” but then correcting himself, again, to say “small enclosure.” (It was literally a cage.) If I could get out, climbing over the fencing, without triggering the alarm, I would win a $500 Amazon gift card. I did not succeed.

      Overwhelmingly, the vendors in attendance at the Expo were there to promote this kind of technology: not concrete and steel, but motion sensors, high-powered cameras, and drones. Customs and Border Patrol’s chief operating officer John Sanders—whose biography on the CBP website describes him as a “seasoned entrepreneur and innovator” who has “served on the Board of Directors for several leading providers of contraband detection, geospatial intelligence, and data analytics solutions”—concluded his address by bestowing on CBP the highest compliment he could muster: declaring the agency comparable “to any start-up.” Rhetoric like Sanders’s, ubiquitous at the Expo, renders the border both bureaucratic and boring: a problem to be solved with some algorithmic mixture of brutality and Big Data. The future of border security, as shaped by the material interests that benefit from border securitization, is not a wall of the sort imagined by President Trump, but a “smart” wall.

      High-ranking Democrats—leaders in the second party of capital—and Republicans from the border region have championed this compromise. During the 2018-2019 government shutdown, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson told reporters that Democrats would appropriate $5.7 billion for “border security,” so long as that did not include a wall of Trump’s description. “Walls are primitive. What we need to do is have border security,” House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said in January. He later expanded to CNN: “I’ve said that we ought to have a smart wall. I defined that as a wall using drones to make it too high to get over, using x-ray equipment to make it too wide to get around, and using scanners to go deep enough not to be able to tunnel under it. To me, that would be a smart thing to do.”

      Even the social democratic vision of Senator Bernie Sanders stops short at the border. “If you open the borders, my God, there’s a lot of poverty in this world, and you’re going to have people from all over the world,” he told Iowa voters in early April, “and I don’t think that’s something that we can do at this point.” Over a week later, during a Fox News town hall with Pennsylvania voters, he recommitted: “We need border security. Of course we do. Who argues with that? That goes without saying.”

      To the extent that Trump’s rhetoric, his administration’s immigration policies, and the enforcement agencies’ practices have made the “border crisis” more visible than ever before, they’ve done so on terms that most Democrats and liberals fundamentally agree with: immigration must be controlled and policed; the border must be enforced. One need look no further than the high priest of sensible centrism, Thomas Friedman, whose major complaint about Trump’s immigration politics is that he is “wasting” the crisis—an allusion to Rahm Emanuel’s now-clichéd remark that “you never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” (Frequently stripped of context, it is worth remembering that Emanuel made this comment in the throes of the 2008 financial meltdown, at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council, shortly following President Obama’s election.) “Regarding the border, the right place for Democrats to be is for a high wall with a big gate,” Friedman wrote in November of 2018. A few months later, a tour led by Border Patrol agents of the San Ysidro port of entry in San Diego left Friedman “more certain than ever that we have a real immigration crisis and that the solution is a high wall with a big gate—but a smart gate.”

      As reasonable as this might sound to anxious New York Times readers looking for what passes as humanitarian thinking in James Bennet’s opinion pages, the horror of Friedman’s logic eventually reveals itself when he considers who might pass through the big, smart gate in the high, high wall: “those who deserve asylum” and “a steady flow of legal, high-energy, and high-I.Q. immigrants.” Friedman’s tortured hypothetical shows us who he considers to be acceptable subjects of deportation and deprivation: the poor, the lazy, and the stupid. This is corporate-sponsored, state-sanctioned eugenics: the nativism of technocrats.

      The vision of a hermetically sealed border being sold, in different ways, by Trump and his allies, by Democrats, and by the Border Security Expo is in reality a selectively permeable one that strictly regulates the movement of migrant labor while allowing for the unimpeded flow of capital. Immigrants in the United States, regardless of their legal status, are caught between two factions of the capitalist class, each of which seek their immiseration: the citrus farmers, construction firms, and meat packing plants that benefit from an underclass of unorganized and impoverished workers, and the defense and security firms that keep them in a state of constant criminality and deportability.

      You could even argue that nobody in a position of power really wants a literal wall. Even before taking office, Trump himself knew he could only go so far. “We’re going to do a wall,” he said on the campaign trail in 2015. However: “We’re going to have a big, fat beautiful door on the wall.” In January 2019, speaking to the American Farm Bureau Association, Trump acknowledged the necessity of a mechanism allowing seasonal farmworkers from Mexico to cross the border, actually promising to loosen regulations on employers who rely on temporary migrant labor. “It’s going to be easier for them to get in than what they have to go through now,” he said, “I know a lot about the farming world.”

      At bottom, there is little material difference between this and what Friedman imagines to be the smarter, more humane approach. While establishment liberals would no doubt prefer that immigration enforcement be undertaken quietly, quickly, and efficiently, they have no categorical objection to the idea that noncitizens should enjoy fewer rights than citizens or be subject to different standards of due process (standards that are already applied in deeply inequitable fashion).

      As the smorgasbord of technologies and services so garishly on display at the Border Security Expo attests, maintaining the contradiction between citizens and noncitizens (or between the imperial core and the colonized periphery) requires an ever-expanding security apparatus, which itself becomes a source of ever-expanding profit. The border, shaped by centuries of bourgeois interests and the genocidal machinations of the settler-colonial nation-state, constantly generates fresh crises on which the immigration-industrial complex feeds. In other words, there is not a crisis at the border; the border is the crisis.

      CBP has recently allowed Anduril, a start-up founded by one of Peter Thiel’s mentees, Palmer Luckey, to begin testing its artificial intelligence-powered surveillance towers and drones in Texas and California. Sam Ecker, an Anduril engineer, expounded on the benefits of such technology at the Expo. “A tower doesn’t get tired. It doesn’t care about being in the middle of the desert or a river around the clock,” he told me. “We just let the computers do what they do best.”

  • #Venezuela : samedi, toute la journée, la Colombie «  restreindra les franchissements de la frontière  » avec le Venezuela (interdira,…) pour les réserver au passage de l’aide humanitaire.

    Colombia limitará paso en puentes fronterizos para ingresar ayuda al país


    El gobierno colombiano restringirá desde este sábado el paso de personas por los cuatro puentes internacionales que conectan a Colombia con Venezuela para facilitar el ingreso de ayuda humanitaria al país petrolero, informaron este jueves fuentes oficiales.

    Christian Krüger Sarmiento, director de Migración Colombia, afirmó en un comunicado de su despacho que la decisión afecta a los puentes internacionales Simón Bolívar, Francisco de Paula Santander, La Unión y Tienditas.

    «La idea es que solo se encuentren en el puente aquellas personas que van a participar en la movilización de las ayudas. Somos conscientes de los inconvenientes que esta decisión puede ocasionar, pero le pedimos tanto al pueblo venezolano, como colombiano, su comprensión y colaboración», afirmó Krüger.

    Cúcuta, capital del departamento colombiano de Norte de Santander, está comunicada por el puente internacional Simón Bolívar con la ciudad venezolana de San Antonio, en el estado Táchira.

    El puente Francisco de Paula Santander une a Cúcuta con la localidad de Ureña, al igual que el de Tienditas, terminado en 2016 y nunca puesto en servicio, y en cuyo lado colombiano está almacenada la ayuda humanitaria para el país caribeño.

    Un cuarto puente en la zona, el de La Unión, es una estructura más pequeña entre las localidades de Puerto Santander (Colombia), vecina a Cúcuta y la venezolana de Boca del Grita.

    La restricción empezará desde las 05.00 hora local del sábado) y se extenderá hasta la medianoche del mismo día.

  • A Brief Numerical Overview of the #texas #startup Ecosystem

    © AltalogyAt Altalogy, we deliver software development services for two Houston-based clients. A few weeks ago, I was discussing the pros and cons of Houston startup ecosystem with Dommonic Nelson, Clever Box Company Founder.The following point was made“When it comes to startups and tech in Texas, Austin outperforms Houston by order of magnitude”.I was a bit surprised by that fact and decided to see how other cities in Texas compare. As a source of information, I selected Angel List. I’m fully aware of the bias that some companies may not be present there though.The comparison includes 4 Largest Cities — Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin.Disclaimer: I live in Central Europe 7 hours time zone away from Texas, and the only time I’ve seen the Lone Star State myself was from an aircraft (...)

    #texas-startup-ecosystem #texas-startup #startup-life

  • Who writes history? The fight to commemorate a massacre by the Texas #rangers

    In 1918, a state-sanctioned vigilante force killed 15 unarmed Mexicans in #Porvenir. When their descendants applied for a historical marker a century later, they learned that not everyone wants to remember one of Texas’ darkest days.

    The name of the town was Porvenir, or “future.” In the early morning hours of January 28, 1918, 15 unarmed Mexicans and Mexican Americans were awakened by a state-sanctioned vigilante force of Texas Rangers, U.S. Army cavalry and local ranchers. The men and boys ranged in age from 16 to 72. They were taken from their homes, led to a bluff over the Rio Grande and shot from 3 feet away by a firing squad. The remaining residents of the isolated farm and ranch community fled across the river to Mexico, where they buried the dead in a mass grave. Days later, the cavalry returned to burn the abandoned village to the ground.

    These, historians broadly agree, are the facts of what happened at Porvenir. But 100 years later, the meaning of those facts remains fiercely contested. In 2015, as the centennial of the massacre approached, a group of historians and Porvenir descendants applied for and was granted a Texas Historical Commission (THC) marker. After a three-year review process, the THC approved the final text in July. A rush order was sent to the foundry so that the marker would be ready in time for a Labor Day weekend dedication ceremony planned by descendants. Then, on August 3, Presidio County Historical Commission Chair Mona Blocker Garcia sent an email to the THC that upended everything. Though THC records show that the Presidio commission had been consulted throughout the marker approval process, Garcia claimed to be “shocked” that the text was approved. She further asserted, without basis, that “the militant Hispanics have turned this marker request into a political rally and want reparations from the federal government for a 100-year-old-plus tragic event.”

    Four days later, Presidio County Attorney Rod Ponton sent a follow-up letter. Without identifying specific errors in the marker text, he demanded that the dedication ceremony be canceled and the marker’s production halted until new language could be agreed upon. Ponton speculated, falsely, that the event was planned as a “major political rally” for Beto O’Rourke with the participation of La Raza Unida founding member José Ángel Gutiérrez, neither of whom was involved. Nonetheless, THC History Programs Director Charles Sadnick sent an email to agency staff the same day: “After getting some more context about where the marker sponsor may be coming from, we’re halting production on the marker.”

    The American Historical Association quickly condemned the THC’s decision, as did the office of state Senator José Rodríguez, a Democrat whose district includes both Presidio County and El Paso, where the ceremony was to be held. Historians across the country also spoke out against the decision. Sarah Zenaida Gould, director of the Museo del Westside in San Antonio and cofounder of Latinos in Heritage Conservation, responded in an email to the agency that encapsulates the views of many of the historians I interviewed: “Halting the marker process to address this statement as though it were a valid concern instead of a dog whistle is insulting to all people of color who have personally or through family history experienced state violence.”

    How did a last-gasp effort, characterized by factual errors and inflammatory language, manage to convince the state agency for historic preservation to reverse course on a marker three years in the making and sponsored by a young Latina historian with an Ivy League pedigree and Texas-Mexico border roots? An Observer investigation, involving dozens of interviews and hundreds of emails obtained through an open records request, reveals a county still struggling to move on from a racist and violent past, far-right amateur historians sowing disinformation and a state agency that acted against its own best judgment.

    The Porvenir massacre controversy is about more than just the fate of a single marker destined for a lonely part of West Texas. It’s about who gets to tell history, and the continuing relevance of the border’s contested, violent and racist past to events today.

    Several rooms in Benita Albarado’s home in Uvalde are almost overwhelmed by filing cabinets and stacks of clipboards, the ever-growing archive of her research into what happened at Porvenir. For most of her life, Benita, 74, knew nothing about the massacre. What she did know was that her father, Juan Flores, had terrible nightmares, and that in 1950 he checked himself in to a state mental hospital for symptoms that today would be recognized as PTSD. When she asked her mother what was wrong with him, she always received the same vague response: “You don’t understand what he’s been through.”

    In 1998, Benita and her husband, Buddy, began tracing their family trees. Benita was perplexed that she couldn’t find any documentation about her grandfather, Longino Flores. Then she came across the archival papers of Harry Warren, a schoolteacher, lawyer and son-in-law of Tiburcio Jáquez, one of the men who was murdered. Warren had made a list of the victims, and Longino’s name was among them. Warren also described how one of his students from Porvenir had come to his house the next morning to tell him what happened, and then traveled with him to the massacre site to identify the bodies, many of which were so mutilated as to be virtually unrecognizable. Benita immediately saw the possible connection. Her father, 12 at the time, matched Warren’s description of the student.

    Benita and Buddy drove from Uvalde to Odessa, where her father lived, with her photocopied papers. “Is that you?” she asked. He said yes. Then, for the first time in 80 years, he began to tell the story of how he was kidnapped with the men, but then sent home because of his age; he was told that the others were only going to be questioned. To Benita and Buddy’s amazement, he remembered the names of 12 of the men who had been murdered. They were the same as those in Harry Warren’s papers. He also remembered the names of the ranchers who had shown up at his door. Some of those, including the ancestors of prominent families still in Presidio County, had never been found in any document.

    Talking about the massacre proved healing for Flores. His nightmares stopped. In 2000, at age 96, he decided that he wanted to return to Porvenir. Buddy drove them down an old mine road in a four-wheel-drive truck. Flores pointed out where his old neighbors used to live, even though the buildings were gone. He guided Buddy to the bluff where the men were killed — a different location than the one commonly believed by local ranchers to be the massacre site. His memory proved to be uncanny: At the bluff, the family discovered a pre-1918 military bullet casing, still lying on the Chihuahuan desert ground.

    Benita and Buddy began advocating for a historical marker in 2000, soon after their trip to Porvenir. “A lot of people say that this was a lie,” Buddy told me. “But if you’ve got a historical marker, the state has to acknowledge what happened.” Their efforts were met by resistance from powerful ranching families, who held sway over the local historical commission. The Albarados had already given up when they met Monica Muñoz Martinez, a Yale graduate student from Uvalde, who interviewed them for her dissertation. In 2013, Martinez, by then an assistant professor at Brown University, co-founded Refusing to Forget, a group of historians aiming to create broader public awareness of border violence, including Porvenir and other extrajudicial killings of Mexicans by Texas Rangers during the same period. The most horrific of these was La Matanza, in which dozens of Mexicans and Mexican Americans were murdered in the Rio Grande Valley in 1915.

    In 2006, the THC created the Undertold Markers program, which seemed tailor-made for Porvenir. According to its website, the program is designed to “address historical gaps, promote diversity of topics, and proactively document significant underrepresented subjects or untold stories.” Unlike the agency’s other marker programs, anyone can apply for an undertold marker, not just county historical commissions. Martinez’s application for a Porvenir massacre marker was accepted in 2015.

    Though the approval process for the Porvenir marker took longer than usual, by the summer of 2018 everything appeared to be falling into place. On June 1, Presidio County Historical Commission chair Garcia approved the final text. (Garcia told me that she thought she was approving a different text. Her confusion is difficult to understand, since the text was attached to the digital form she submitted approving it.) Martinez began coordinating with the THC and Arlinda Valencia, a descendant of one of the victims, to organize a dedication ceremony in El Paso.
    “They weren’t just simple farmers. I seriously doubt that they were just killed for no reason.”

    In mid-June, Valencia invited other descendants to the event and posted it on Facebook. She began planning a program to include a priest’s benediction, a mariachi performance and brief remarks by Martinez, Senator Rodríguez and a representative from the THC. The event’s climax would be the unveiling of the plaque with the names of the 15 victims.

    Then the backlash began.

    “Why do you call it a massacre?” is the first thing Jim White III said over the phone when I told him I was researching the Porvenir massacre. White is the trustee of the Brite Ranch, the site of a cross-border raid by Mexicans on Christmas Day 1917, about a month before the Porvenir massacre. When I explained that the state-sanctioned extrajudicial execution of 15 men and boys met all the criteria I could think of for a massacre, he shot back, “It sounds like you already have your opinion.”

    For generations, ranching families like the Brites have dominated the social, economic and political life of Presidio County. In a visit to the Marfa & Presidio County Museum, I was told that there were almost no Hispanic surnames in any of the exhibits, though 84 percent of the county is Hispanic. The Brite family name, however, was everywhere.

    White and others in Presidio County subscribe to an alternative history of the Porvenir massacre, centering on the notion that the Porvenir residents were involved in the bloody Christmas Day raid.

    “They weren’t just simple farmers,” White told me, referring to the victims. “I seriously doubt that they were just killed for no reason.” Once he’d heard about the historical marker, he said, he’d talked to everyone he knew about it, including former Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Mona Blocker Garcia.

    I visited Garcia at her Marfa home, an 1886 adobe that’s the same age as the venerable Marfa County Courthouse down the street. Garcia, 82, is Anglo, and married to a former oil executive whose ancestry, she explained, is Spanish and French Basque. A Houston native, she retired in the 1990s to Marfa, where she befriended the Brite family and became involved in local history. She told me that she had shared a draft text of the marker with the Brites, and they had agreed that it was factually inaccurate.

    Garcia cited a story a Brite descendant had told her about a young goat herder from Porvenir who purportedly witnessed the Christmas Day raid, told authorities about the perpetrators from his community and then disappeared without a trace into a witness protection program in Oklahoma. When I asked if there was any evidence that the boy actually existed, she acknowledged the story was “folklore.” Still, she said, “the story has lasted 100 years. Why would anybody make something like that up?”

    The actual history is quite clear. In the days after the massacre, the Texas Rangers commander, Captain J.M. Fox, initially reported that Porvenir residents had fired on the Rangers. Later, he claimed that residents had participated in the Christmas Day raid. Subsequent investigations by the Mexican consulate, the U.S. Army and state Representative J.T. Canales concluded that the murdered men were unarmed and innocent, targeted solely because of their ethnicity by a vigilante force organized at the Brite Ranch. As a result, in June 1918, five Rangers were dismissed, Fox was forced to resign and Company B of the Texas Rangers was disbanded.

    But justice remained elusive. In the coming years, Fox re-enlisted as captain of Company A, while three of the dismissed lawmen found new employment. One re-enlisted as a Ranger, a second became a U.S. customs inspector and the third was hired by the Brite Ranch. No one was ever prosecuted. As time passed, the historical records of the massacre, including Harry Warren’s papers, affidavits from widows and other relatives and witness testimony from the various investigations, were largely forgotten. In their place came texts like Walter Prescott Webb’s The Texas Rangers: A Century of Frontier Defense, which played an outsize role in the creation of the heroic myth of the Texas Rangers. Relying entirely on interviews with the murderers themselves, Webb accepted at face value Fox’s discredited version of events. For more than 50 years, Webb’s account was considered the definitive one of the massacre — though, unsurprisingly, he didn’t use that word.

    An Observer review of hundreds of emails shows that the state commission was aware of potential controversy over the marker from the very beginning. In an email from 2015, Executive Director Mark Wolfe gave John Nau, the chair of the THC’s executive committee, a heads-up that while the marker was supported by historical scholarship, “the [Presidio County Historical Commission] opposes the marker.” The emails also demonstrate that the agency viewed the claims of historical inaccuracies in the marker text made by Mona Blocker Garcia and the county commission as minor issues of wording.

    On August 6, the day before the decision to halt the marker, Charles Sadnick, the history programs director, wrote Wolfe to say that the “bigger problem” was the ceremony, where he worried there might be disagreements among Presidio County residents, and which he described as “involving some politics which we don’t want a part of.”

    What were the politics that the commission was worried about, and where were these concerns coming from? Garcia’s last-minute letter may have been a factor, but it wasn’t the only one. For the entire summer, Glenn Justice, a right-wing amateur historian who lives in a rural gated community an hour outside San Angelo, had been the driving force behind a whisper campaign to discredit Martinez and scuttle the dedication ceremony.

    “There are radicals in the ‘brown power’ movement that only want the story told of Rangers and [the] Army and gringos killing innocent Mexicans,” Justice told me when we met in his garage, which doubles as the office for Rimrock Press, a publishing company whose catalog consists entirely of Justice’s own work. He was referring to Refusing to Forget and in particular Martinez, the marker’s sponsor.

    Justice has been researching the Porvenir massacre for more than 30 years, starting when he first visited the Big Bend as a graduate student. He claims to be, and probably is, the first person since schoolteacher Harry Warren to call Porvenir a “massacre” in print, in a master’s thesis published by the University of Texas at El Paso in 1991. Unlike White and Garcia, Justice doesn’t question the innocence of the Porvenir victims. But he believes that additional “context” is necessary to understand the reasons for the massacre, which he views as an aberration, rather than a representatively violent part of a long history of racism. “There have never been any problems between the races to speak of [in Presidio County],” he told me.

    In 2015, Justice teamed up with former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Sul Ross State University archaeologist David Keller on a privately funded excavation at the massacre site. He is working on a new book about the bullets and bullet casings they found — which he believes implicate the U.S. Army cavalry in the shooting — and also partnered with Patterson to produce a documentary. But they’d run out of money, and the film was taken over by noted Austin filmmaker Andrew Shapter, who pitched the project to PBS and Netflix. In the transition, Justice was demoted to the role of one of 12 consulting historians. Meanwhile, Martinez was given a prominent role on camera.

    Justice was disgruntled when he learned that the dedication ceremony would take place in El Paso. He complained to organizer Arlinda Valencia and local historical commission members before contacting Ponton, the county attorney, and Amanda Shields, a descendant of massacre victim Manuel Moralez.

    “I didn’t want to take my father to a mob scene,” Shields told me over the phone, by way of explaining her opposition to the dedication ceremony. She believed the rumor that O’Rourke and Gutiérrez would be involved.

    In August, Shields called Valencia to demand details about the program for the ceremony. At the time, she expressed particular concern about a potential Q&A event with Martinez that would focus on parallels between border politics and violence in 1918 and today.

    “This is not a political issue,” Shields told me. “It’s a historical issue. With everything that was going on, we didn’t want the ugliness of politics involved in it.” By “everything,” she explained, she was referring primarily to the issue of family separation. Benita and Buddy Albarado told me that Shields’ views represent a small minority of descendants.

    Martinez said that the idea of ignoring the connections between past and present went against her reasons for fighting to get a marker in the first place. “I’m a historian,” she said. “It’s hard to commemorate such a period of violence, in the midst of another ongoing humanitarian crisis, when this period of violence shaped the institutions of policing that we have today. And that cannot be relegated to the past.”

    After communicating with Justice and Shields, Ponton phoned THC Commissioner Gilbert “Pete” Peterson, who is a bank investment officer in Alpine. That call set in motion the sequence of events that would ultimately derail the marker. Peterson immediately emailed Wolfe, the state commission’s executive director, to say that the marker was becoming “a major political issue.” Initially, though, Wolfe defended the agency’s handling of the marker. “Frankly,” Wolfe wrote in his reply, “this might just be one where the [Presidio County Historical Commission] isn’t going to be happy, and that’s why these stories have been untold for so long.” Peterson wrote back to say that he had been in touch with members of the THC executive committee, which consists of 15 members appointed by either former Governor Rick Perry or Governor Greg Abbott, and that an email about the controversy had been forwarded to THC chair John Nau. Two days later, Peterson added, “This whole thing is a burning football that will be thrown to the media.”

    At a meeting of the Presidio County Historical Commission on August 17, Peterson suggested that the executive board played a major role in the decision to pause production of the marker. “I stopped the marker after talking to Rod [Ponton],” Peterson said. “I’ve spent quite a bit of time talking with the chairman and vice-chairman [of the THC]. What we have said, fairly emphatically, is that there will not be a dedication in El Paso.” Through a spokesperson, Wolfe said that the executive committee is routinely consulted and the decision was ultimately his.

    The spokesperson said, “The big reason that the marker was delayed was to be certain about its accuracy. We want these markers to stand for generations and to be as accurate as possible.”

    With no marker to unveil, Valencia still organized a small commemoration. Many descendants, including Benita and Buddy Albarado, chose not to attend. Still, the event was described by Jeff Davis, a THC representative in attendance, as “a near perfect event” whose tone was “somber and respectful but hopeful.”

    Most of THC’s executive committee members are not historians. The chair, John Nau, is CEO of the nation’s largest Anheuser-Busch distributor and a major Republican party donor. His involvement in the Porvenir controversy was not limited to temporarily halting the marker. In August, he also instructed THC staff to ask the Presidio historical commission to submit applications for markers commemorating raids by Mexicans on white ranches during the Mexican Revolution, which Nau described as “a significant but largely forgotten incident in the state’s history.”

    Garcia confirmed that she had been approached by THC staff. She added that the THC had suggested two specific topics: the Christmas Day raid and a subsequent raid at the Neville Ranch.

    The idea of additional plaques to provide so-called context that could be interpreted as justifying the massacre — or at the very least setting up a false moral equivalence — appears to have mollified critics like White, Garcia and Justice. The work on a revised Porvenir massacre text proceeded quickly, with few points of contention, once it began in mid-September. The marker was sent to the foundry on September 18.
    “It’s hard to commemorate such a period of violence, in the midst of another ongoing humanitarian crisis, when this period of violence shaped the institutions of policing that we have today.”

    In the end, the Porvenir descendants will get their marker — but it may come at a cost. Martinez called the idea of multiple markers “deeply unsettling” and not appropriate for the Undertold Marker program. “Events like the Brite Ranch raid and the Neville raid have been documented by historians for over a century,” she said. “These are not undertold histories. My concern with having a series of markers is that, again, it casts suspicion on the victims of these historical events. It creates the logic that these raids caused this massacre, that it was retribution for these men and boys participating.”

    In early November, the THC unexpectedly announced a dedication ceremony for Friday, November 30. The date was one of just a few on which Martinez, who was still planning on organizing several public history events in conjunction with the unveiling, had told the agency months prior that she had a schedule conflict. In an email to Martinez, Sadnick said that it was the only date Nau could attend this year, and that it was impossible for agency officials to make “secure travel plans” once the legislative session began in January.

    A handful of descendants, including Shields and the Albarados, still plan to attend. “This is about families having closure,” Shields told me. “Now, this can finally be put to rest.”

    The Albarados are livid that the THC chose a date that, in their view, prioritized the convenience of state and county officials over the attendance of descendants — including their own daughters, who feared they wouldn’t be able to get off work. They also hope to organize a second, unofficial gathering at the marker site next year, with the participation of more descendants and the Refusing to Forget historians. “We want people to know the truth of what really happened [at Porvenir],” Buddy told me, “and to know who it was that got this historical marker put there.”

    Others, like Arlinda Valencia, planned to stay home. “Over 100 years ago, our ancestors were massacred, and the reason they were massacred was because of lies that people were stating as facts,” she told me in El Paso. “They called them ‘bandits,’ when all they were doing was working and trying to make a living. And now, it’s happening again.”

    #mémoire #histoire #Texas #USA #massacre #assassinat #méxicains #violence #migrations #commémoration #historicisation #frontières #violence_aux_frontières #violent_borders #Mexique

  • Trump border wall construction underway in #Chihuahuita in Downtown #El_Paso

    Construction of the border wall in the Chihuahuita neighborhood of Downtown El Paso continued Wednesday beneath the Stanton Street International Bridge. The U.S. Border Patrol announced Friday that the new wall would replace existing fencing south of Downtown El Paso and that construction would begin Saturday as part of President Donald Trump’s executive order authorizing construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall.
    The wall starts in Chihuahuita and continues east for four miles. Chihuahuita is El Paso’s oldest neighborhood, with about 100 people currently living in the area. The southern boundary of the neighborhood is the border fence separating El Paso from #Juárez.

    The existing fence will be removed, and an 18-foot-high steel bollard wall will be constructed in its place. The construction project is expected to be completed in late April. The estimated cost for the project is $22 million.
    #murs #barrières_frontalières #frontières #mexique #usa #Etats-Unis

    • Border Wall Gate Construction Begins Friday

      Construction of several border wall #gates along the Rio Grande Valley border is set to begin Friday.

      U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Army Corps of Engineers awarded a contract to #Gideon_Contracting LLC in early October.

      The agencies approved over $3.5 million for the San Antonio-based company, which is set to install the first seven border wall gates and includes options for four additional gates.

    • TPWD: Border wall will be built on #Bentsen State Park property in Mission

      The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has confirmed the border wall will be built on #Bentsen_State_Park property in Mission.

      The department wrote several letters to Customs and Border Protection on their concerns on the border wall, even suggesting an alternative design.

      According to Josh Havens, spokesperson for Texas Parks and Wildlife he says since the federal government has federal domain over the park, construction will go as planned.

      Bentsen State Park is considered to be one of the top bird watching destinations in Texas.

      “At first, we came for three or four days. Last year, we came for seven and this time we are coming for eight days,” said Charles Allen, who has been visiting the park for several years now.

      Allen says the border wall would be a setback for the park.

      “It would really be a disaster for the plants and the butterflies and for people who come to visit,” stated Allen.

      CBP announced the construction of the border wall on the IBWC levee earlier this month.

      The levee stretches through Mission and lies on park property.

      “The federal government has confirmed with us that the initial six miles, I believe, of the construction of the wall is going to go across the levee that is at Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park,” said Havens.

      According to Havens, the construction will split the park into two, separating the main visitor center from the rest of the park.

      CBP plans to clear out 150 feet south of the levee for the construction, according to Havens.

      “The native plants here have some purpose either a butterfly or several butterflies, or moths or some other birds or other larger animals,” said Allen.

      Havens says they are aware of the ecological importance the vegetation of the park has and is planning to work with CBP on minimizing the vegetation loss.

      Still park visitors feel there should be something else done to protect the park.

      “I hate to see them tear this park in half can there be other way to be done? I’m sure there are options,” mentioned Larry McGuire, a winter Texan who visits the park.

      According to Havens, it is way too early to tell if the park will close after the construction of the border wall.

      They will have to gauge visitation after construction to determine that.

  • Cambridge Analytica est morte, vive Data Propria !

    Au cœur d’un scandale d’exploitation de données d’utilisateurs de Facebook en 2016, la société a fermé, sans disparaître. D’anciens cadres ont pris la relève, pour servir Trump et les élus républicains.

    Après plusieurs mois de scandale, la société de marketing politique Cambridge Analytica a dû fermer définitivement, en mai 2018. Les médias et une partie de la classe politique américaine lui reprochaient d’avoir siphonné, puis exploité les données personnelles de 87 millions d’utilisateurs de Facebook au cours de la campagne électorale américaine de 2016, pour soutenir la candidature de Donald Trump et de divers candidats républicains grâce à des messages ciblés sur Internet et les réseaux sociaux.

    Exit donc Cambridge Analytica ? Pas vraiment ! En réalité, les équipes chargées de ces opérations ne se sont pas dispersées ; leurs algorithmes et leurs bases de données n’ont pas disparu. En fait, les stratèges électoraux du président Trump ont effectué une restructuration juridique et financière de leurs sociétés, sans se soucier de la tempête médiatique, qui s’est déjà essoufflée. Leur objectif à court terme est de mettre leurs talents au service des républicains lors les élections de mi-mandat, qui se dérouleront le 6 novembre. Par ailleurs, ils ont déjà lancé la campagne en vue de la réélection de Donald Trump en 2020.

    Au cœur de cette nouvelle galaxie gravite un Texan barbu mesurant plus de deux mètres, Brad Parscale. La trajectoire de M. Parscale, âgé de 42 ans , est singulière. Patron d’une petite entreprise Internet sise à San Antonio (Texas), il travaillait depuis 2011 comme simple designer et administrateur de sites Web pour le groupe immobilier Trump. Cela lui a donné l’occasion de rencontrer Donald Trump en personne, puis de gagner sa confiance. En 2015, le candidat milliardaire lui confie la création de ses sites électoraux, et le nomme, l’année suivante, directeur des médias numériques de sa campagne.

    Facebook, « l’autoroute » grâce à laquelle Trump a gagné

    D’emblée, M. Parscale mise sur les réseaux sociaux. Dans un entretien accordé en octobre 2017 à la chaîne de télévision CBS, il résume ainsi sa stratégie : « J’ai compris très tôt que Trump gagnerait grâce à Facebook. Il parlait aux gens sur Twitter, mais il allait gagner sur Facebook (…). Facebook a été sa méthode, l’autoroute sur laquelle sa voiture a roulé. » Pendant toute la campagne, son équipe bénéficie de l’aide directe d’employés de Facebook, dont certains sont installés dans ses locaux.

    Afin d’étoffer sa force de frappe, il passe un contrat avec Cambridge Analytica, qui l’aide à affiner le ciblage des électeurs dans les régions les plus disputées. L’une des techniques utilisées est la « psychographie », qui consiste à classer chaque cible uniquement en fonction de ses traits de caractère et de sa personnalité. En analysant le comportement d’un utilisateur sur Facebook, il est loisible de dresser son profil psychologique : est-il capable de s’ouvrir aux autres, est-il plus ou moins consciencieux, extraverti, agréable, névrosé ? Il sera ensuite possible de lui envoyer des messages politiques ou commerciaux dont le contenu et le style ont été conçus pour lui correspondre, et qui le toucheront réellement.

    Lorsque Brad Parscale rejoint le quartier général de campagne du candidat Trump à New York, il délègue la direction de son équipe, restée à San Antonio, à l’un des responsables techniques de Cambridge Analytica, Matt Oczkowski. Auparavant, M. Oczkowski avait fondé une agence de marketing spécialisée dans « l’analyse des motivations » des consommateurs et des électeurs. Il fut aussi le « directeur numérique » du gouverneur républicain du Wisconsin (nord) Scott Walker pendant trois ans.

    Après la victoire de M. Trump, Brad Parscale intègre le cercle des proches du nouveau locataire de la Maison Blanche. Il embauche même Lara Trump, l’épouse d’Eric, le fils cadet du président. Parallèlement, il se réorganise : il regroupe ses activités de publicité politique au sein d’une nouvelle entité, Parscale Strategy, qu’il transfère à Miami (Floride), et qui reste sous son contrôle exclusif. Puis, il vend l’autre département, chargé du marketing commercial, à CloudCommerce, une petite société californienne jusque-là spécialisée dans les logiciels de commerce en ligne, installée dans la station balnéaire de Santa Barbara. Du même coup, il devient actionnaire et membre du conseil d’administration du nouvel ensemble.

    « Science politique, big data et psychologie »

    En février 2018, M. Parscale est nommé directeur de la « campagne pour la réélection de Donald Trump en 2020 », c’est-à-dire chef de l’ensemble des opérations, au-delà du numérique. Dans le même, temps, sous son impulsion, CloudCommerce crée une nouvelle filiale de marketing numérique baptisée « Data Propria », enregistrée au Nevada (ouest), domiciliée en Californie et installée à San Antonio. La direction de Data Propria est confiée à Matt Oczkowsky, qui, dès son arrivée, embauche plusieurs de ses anciens collègues de Cambridge Analytica.

    Cependant, une chose intrigue : le profil du patron officiel de CloudCommerce, Andrew Van Noy, 36 ans. Dans son CV en ligne, M. Van Noy se vante d’avoir créé dès son adolescence une entreprise de jardinage très prospère, avant de se tourner vers la finance, comme tradeur à la banque Morgan Stanley. Mais, selon une enquête menée par l’agence Associated Press, la réalité serait moins reluisante : Andrew Van Noy fut, dans sa jeunesse, plusieurs fois condamné pour fraude immobilière et faillite douteuse. Quant à CloudCommerce, qui a changé quatre fois de nom depuis 1999, c’était jusqu’en 2017 une petite société sans envergure, qui n’avait dégagé aucun bénéfice depuis dix ans.

    L’apparition de Data Propria, en plein scandale Cambridge Analytica, n’est pas passée inaperçue. Fin juin 2018, trois élus démocrates de la Chambre des représentants de Washington envoient une lettre à Matt Oczkowsky pour lui demander de venir témoigner devant une commission. Ils veulent savoir s’il a hérité des bases de données frauduleuses de Cambridge Analytica, et s’il s’est procuré d’autres données de Facebook par ses propres moyens. Aucun élu républicain ne s’est associé à cette requête, et à ce jour, la Chambre des représentants n’a pas indiqué si Matt Oczkowsky lui avait répondu.

    Reste à savoir si les techniques « psychographiques » sont toujours à la mode chez les stratèges républicains. Echaudé par le scandale, Matt Oczkowski, de Data Propria, reste évasif, mais sur différents sites professionnels, il continue à s’enorgueillir de son passage chez Cambridge Analytica, où il a su « fusionner la science politique, le big data et la psychologie comportementaliste pour influencer les électeurs ». Il démarche aussi des grandes entreprises privées, notamment des compagnies d’assurances, en insistant sur la dimension psychologique de ses méthodes.

    La machine est relancée

    En revanche, Brad Parscale, dans des déclarations aux médias américains, émet régulièrement des doutes sur l’infaillibilité de la psychographie. Il semble partisan du retour à une forme de publicité politique axée sur les opinions, les valeurs et les préoccupations des cibles (par exemple « hommes de plus de 40 ans soucieux de l’état des infrastructures routières »). Cela étant dit, tous les stratèges s’accordent sur un point : le champ de bataille prioritaire sera la « Middle America », la classe moyenne laborieuse vivant dans les Etats du centre du pays, qui a porté Donald Trump au pouvoir en 2016 et qui pourrait le refaire en 2020.

    Par ailleurs, les stratèges du marketing ciblé vont aussi devoir s’adapter aux modifications récemment introduites par Facebook. Désormais, les annonceurs, commerciaux et responsables politiques ne peuvent plus croiser les données personnelles fournies par Facebook avec celles provenant des « data brokers » classiques (banques de données commerciales, bancaires…). Le réseau social veut ainsi faire un geste vers le Congrès américain et la Commission européenne, soucieux de la protection de la vie privée des citoyens, tout en marginalisant ses grands concurrents sur le marché des données personnelles.

    Il a aussi supprimé certaines combinaisons multicritères jugées intrusives ou trop précises – race, religion, pays d’origine, orientation sexuelle, handicaps, statut militaire… Enfin, les propagandistes politiques de tout bord doivent désormais communiquer leur nom, leur domicile et leurs sources de financement à Facebook, qui les vérifiera.

    Ces changements ne devraient pas entraver sérieusement l’action de Data Propria, qui a déjà noué des contrats avec la direction nationale du Parti républicain et les équipes de campagne de différents candidats conservateurs à travers le pays. De son côté, selon Associated Press, la société Parscale Strategy encaisse, depuis le début de 2018, près de 1 million de dollars (850 000 euros) par mois grâce à des commandes publicitaires d’organisations soutenant Donald Trump et ses alliés, contre 5 millions pour l’ensemble de 2017. La machine est relancée, les électeurs des régions jugées prioritaires sont de nouveau soumis à une avalanche de messages ciblés sur le Web et les réseaux sociaux.

  • The next local control fight? Like Uber before, city regulations for AirBnB and HomeAway are in the crosshairs | The Texas Tribune

    This time, the fight is happening in the courts after attempts to overturn short-term rental ordinances failed in the Legislature.

    by Emma Platoff April 19, 2018 12 AM

    When the Zaataris moved to Texas from Lebanon, part of the draw was the American Dream. In Austin, they’re working toward that dream in the real estate business.

    The young couple wants to grow their family — “I’m negotiating for three,” Ahmad Zaatari joked — but they rely on the income from their short-term rental property to support the one child they already have. But with overburdensome regulation, some argue, “the City of Austin wants to shut them down.”

    That claim appears in glossy detail in a promotional video compiled recently by one of Texas’ most influential conservative think tanks. The video closes: “The Zaatari family believed in the American Dream. The Center for the American Future is fighting to keep it alive.”

    The Zataaris are two in a small group of plaintiffs represented by the Center for the American Future, a legal arm of the Texas Public Policy Foundation that filed a suit against the city of Austin in 2016 calling the city’s short-term rental ordinance unconstitutional. That case, which is now winding its way through state appeals courts, has emerged as a likely candidate for review at the state’s highest civil court. And it’s been bolstered by Attorney General Ken Paxton, Texas’ top lawyer, who has sided several times with the homeowners, most recently in a 102-page brief.

    Short-term rentals, a longtime local reality especially widespread in vacation destinations like Austin and Galveston, have become astronomically more popular in the last decade with the rise of web platforms like AirBnB and Austin-based HomeAway. That ubiquity has ripened them for regulation — and for litigation, including more than one case pending before the Texas Supreme Court. In Texas, it’s a new frontier for the simmering state-city fight over local control. Left unresolved last session by the Legislature, short-term rental ordinances have become an issue for the courts.
    From the state house to the courthouse

    More than a dozen Texas cities have some sort of ordinance regulating short-term rental policies, according to a list compiled by the Texas Municipal League. Among the most prominent are Galveston and Fort Worth; San Antonio is bickering over its own. They range widely in scope and severity: Some regulate the number of people who can stay in a short-term rental and what activities they may do while there, while others require little more than a licensing permit.

    The rental services allow people to offer up houses or apartments to travelers for short-term stays. Some landlords are city residents just hoping to make some money off their spare bedrooms. But investors are also known to buy homes for the sole purpose of renting them on AirBnB or HomeAway.

    As short-term rentals grew more popular, cities began to worry that their quiet residential neighborhoods would be overrun with thrill-seeking vacationers or that the investment properties would drive up the cost of housing. Local officials say that short-term renters too often create disruptive party environments that agitate nearby families. But critics of the local regulations say there are already laws in place to regulate that kind of public nuisance.

    Austin’s ordinance, which aims to phase out certain types of short-term rentals entirely and limits how many can exist in any particular area, is one of the state’s oldest and strictest — and it’s situated, of course, in a red state’s blue capital city, making it the perfect backdrop for a familiar fight.

    Rob Henneke, the TPPF lawyer representing the Zaataris, says Austin’s ordinance violates fundamental rights like equal protection — why should short-term renters be treated any different from long-term renters? — and property rights — why should owners be kept from leasing their homes however they choose?

    “It is a fundamental right to lease your property,” Henneke said. “It makes no sense — and is inconsistent with that — to try to bracket that right in some way.”

    The city counters that it has the right to regulate commercial activity within its boundaries and that its ordinance is important for city planning purposes. The ordinance addresses critical issues in the city like rising real estate prices and noise complaints from obnoxious “party houses,” said Austin City Council member Kathie Tovo.

    Beyond the question of whether short-term rentals should be regulated is the question of who should regulate them. For Tovo, it recalls the recent fight over Uber and Lyft, which ended when the Legislature overturned Austin’s safety regulations for the ride-hailing apps. City officials sit closer to their constituents, she said, so they are better positioned to write rules that benefit their communities.

    “It is an example of what we regard as state overreach," she said. “And those of us on the ground who represent our communities are in the best position to know what ordinance and regulations are responses to their needs.”

    Henneke, meanwhile, advocates for uniformity statewide — if there are to be restrictions at all.

    “If short-term rentals are going to be regulated, it should be at the state level to ensure statewide consistency and to protect property owners from a patchwork quilt of overly burdensome regulations at the local level,” Henneke said.

    The current fight, said Texas Municipal League Executive Director Bennett Sandlin, fits into a disturbing pattern of state lawmakers trying to consolidate power at the Capitol by taking it away from the cities.

    “It’s absolutely a recent … concerted effort to say that — the allegation that cities are against liberty, and you should have the liberty to do anything you want to do with your house including turn it into a party barn,” he said. “We support liberty but we also support liberty of the neighbors to keep their property values up and keep their yards free of beer cans.”

    The Legislature did try to tackle the short-term issue last year. The effort that went furthest was a bill by state Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, that passed the upper chamber but died in the House in the waning days of the regular session. A similar bill championed by state Rep. Tan Parker, R-Flower Mound, never even got a committee vote. Neither Hancock nor Parker returned requests for comment.

    Those measures struggled to find sufficient support even in a session rife with local control issues. All told, by the end of August, the 85th Legislature had passed state laws overriding city rule on issues ranging from tree maintenance to ride-hailing regulations. Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, even expressed support for a “broad-based law” to pre-empt local regulations, but no such bill passed.

    Short-term rental ordinances, some say, share all the hallmarks of the memorable fight over ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft. A new technology platform makes an age-old practice simpler; a liberal-leaning city council moves to regulate it. Eventually, the state steps in and opposes that local ordinance to protect “freedom and free enterprise.”

    But while local control battles have raged in Texas since Abbott took office decrying a “patchwork of local regulations,” they have mostly been fought on the floors of the Legislature. (One notable exception is an ongoing legal fight over the city of Laredo’s ban on plastic bags, a case the Texas Supreme Court is expected to resolve in the next few months.) This court fight is a comparatively new playbook for opponents of local control.

    “Opponents of local government are happy to challenge these ordinances either in the state House or in the courthouse,” Sandlin said. “They will absolutely take any avenue they can to go after it.”
    “Business” or “residential”?

    The Zaatari case isn’t the only lawsuit that has challenged a local short-term rental ordinance, but it is the most prominent. A Houston appeals court ruled in 2015 that in certain circumstances short-term rental ordinances can violate property rights; in Travis County, another pending case asks whether Austin’s ordinance is unconstitutionally vague.

    “Part of it seems to be that local government takes unusual positions when suddenly the internet becomes involved. ... Here in Austin, it’s been documented that short-term rentals have been an encouraged practice for over 100 years, and yet suddenly when the internet provides a way of efficiently connecting buyer and seller, everybody just has to go crazy and adopt a bunch of rules,” Henneke said. “I think it’s a need for control and a need for regulation for the sake of regulation.”

    In the meantime, the issue is being litigated on other fronts.

    A Texas Supreme Court case argued in February asks whether, for the purposes of homeowners’ associations’ hyperlocal deed restrictions, short-term rentals should be considered primarily “business” or “residential.” That case won’t have direct legal bearing on local ordinances, but the fact that it’s ascended to the state’s highest civil court signals that the issue is set for a legal reckoning.

    About a decade after the industry grew popular, “a lot of issues are coming to a head,” said Patrick Sutton, a lawyer arguing that Texas Supreme Court case and many other short-term rental lawsuits.

    Short-term rental companies like HomeAway say they agree that their industry should be regulated — they say they’re eager, in fact, to collaborate on regulations. But many involved in the issue think those restrictions are best established democratically.

    “Sharing presents a new set of public policy challenges,” Sutton said. “What upsets me is that these issues should be worked out politically. They should be worked out in the state house, and they should be worked out in the voting hall at subdivisions… But that didn’t happen.”

    Disclosure: The Texas Public Policy Foundation, HomeAway, the Texas Municipal League, Uber and Lyft have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism.

    #Airbnb #tourisme #logement #USA #Texas #Austin

  • New Specialized Transport Buses

    The expansion of the #Karnes_County_Residential_Center (#KCRC) was completed in early December 2015, and increased the capacity to 1,158 beds.

    The expansion created new demands to an already unique transportation mission by requiring larger capacity vehicles to provide offsite field trips. These field trips are part of the contract with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Field trips are provided to all children, ages four through seventeen enrolled in educational programs provided by the John H. Wood Charter School, located at KCRC. Field trips consist of going to a variety of places, such as the San Antonio Zoo, seeing a movie at the local theater, going to the park, etc.

    The transportation requirements to handle the increased school enrollment were presented to corporate officials at the end of the 3rd quarter 2015. On February 4, 2016, two new fleet vehicles were delivered to the KCRC to fulfill contractual obligations. The first vehicle is an eighteen-seat passenger #bus that is ADA compliant with rear wheelchair lift system and the second bus has twenty-six seats. These vehicles do not have standard GTI security equipment such as steel cages or window bars or screens. Both buses have camera systems and digital video recorders to record all activity during transport.

    Due to the unique transportation criteria, KCRC officials worked very closely with GTI Vice President Ed Stubbs and Corporate Fleet Manager Paul Gossard, to outfit and configure the bus cabins to meet ICE requirements and to be compliant with the terms of this unique contract. Both buses are outfitted with standard commercial grade cushioned seating. Each seat has a convertible child safety seat and is equipped with a DVD system with four drop down screens to provide entertainment to the children with onboard movies during transport missions.

    At every loading, children are assisted into the safety seat systems either by a nurse, a teacher, or case manager, and secured into the harness system. Once this is done, the GTI drivers check each child to ensure correct application and fit to the harness system. The GTI drivers have all received specialized training and are certified child restraint seat installers. All other passengers not required to be in a safety seat, are also checked for seat belt systems being latched and secure.

    For every offsite trip of this nature, an operational plan is developed and submitted to ICE for review and approval. Each trip, and vehicle, requires a minimum of one nurse, two teachers and one case manager. For control and security, GTI staff seat all adult chaperones evenly dispersed throughout the cabin to maintain order and safety of the children during transit.

    To date, the field trips have been a huge success and the frequency and numbers of school aged children being transported offsite for these sanctioned activities is expected to increase in the future.

    These specialized missions are in addition to normal transportation requirements for offsite medical appointments, offsite medical emergency transports and transports of residents to federal court in San Antonio, Texas or to the ICE Field Office appointments in San Antonio. The administration and transportation department are extremely proud and grateful to have these two new buses that are outfitted to meet sometimes unusual transportation requirements, added to the local fleet. The entire GTI team at the Karnes County Residential Center is dedicated to provide safe, secure and efficient transportation of our “precious cargo”-the children and mothers assigned to our facility.
    #it_has_begun #asile #migrations #réfugiés #enfants #enfance #privatisation #USA #Etats-Unis #déshumanisation #sorties_éducative (sic) #GRACO #sécurité #surveillance #détention_administrative #rétention #sortie_de_classe #école #éducation #mineurs

    Je mets en évidence quelques horreurs :

    - Field trips are provided to all children

    - Field trips consist of going to a variety of places, such as the San Antonio Zoo, seeing a movie at the local theater, going to the park, etc.

    - These vehicles do not have standard GTI security equipment such as steel cages or window bars or screens. Both buses have camera systems and digital video recorders to record all activity during transport.

    - Each seat has a convertible child safety seat and is equipped with a DVD system with four drop down screens to provide entertainment to the children with onboard movies during transport missions.

    via @isskein

  • Les États-Unis séparent désormais les parents migrants de leurs enfants |

    Avant l’élection de Donald Trump, les familles de migrants et demandeurs d’asiles qui étaient interpellées à la frontière mexicaine étaient détenus ensemble dans des centres de rétention, en attente de jugement. Mais les directives du gouvernement ont changé : maintenant, les parents et enfants sont détenus séparément, parfois dans des villes différentes, et même dans le cas d’enfants très jeunes.

    Depuis plusieurs mois, des centaines de cas de séparations ont été rencensés par les associations de défense des droits civiques.

    « Ce qui se passe ici est sans précédent. Ici en Arizona, nous avons vu plus de 200 cas de parents séparés de leurs enfants. Certains de ces enfants sont très jeunes, nous voyons régulièrement des enfants de deux ans, et la semaine dernière, il y avait un enfant de 53 semaines sans ses parents », expliquait Laura St. John de l’organisation The Florence Project, sur MSNBC.

    L’association de défense des droits civiques ACLU a engagé une procédure légale contre cette pratique du gouvernement, qu’ils considèrent comme une violation de la Constitution des États-Unis.

    Sur Twitter, le journaliste Chris Hayes a partagé des extraits de la plainte dans lesquels sont décrits plusieurs cas de séparation, comme celui de Miriam, venue du Honduras, qui dit avoir été séparée de son bébé de dix-huit mois et ne pas l’avoir vu pendant plus d’un mois. En mars, un procès de l’ACLU avait permis de réunifier une mère congolaise demandeuse d’asile avec sa fille de sept ans. Elles avaient été séparées pendant quatre mois.

    La nouvelle approche, introduite par le ministère de la Justice, consiste à condamner les personnes qui ont traversé la frontière illégalement à des crimes, et non plus à des infractions civiles, comme c’était le cas auparavant. Les adultes sont donc placés en prison, et non en centre de rétention, alors que les enfants sont gérés par une autre entité administrative, qui détient habituellement les mineurs qui traversent seuls la frontière.

    Interviewé par MSNBC, un avocat de l’ACLU a dit que c’était « la pire chose » qu’il avait vue en 25 ans de travail sur les droits des immigrés.

    « Je parle à ces mères et elles décrivent leurs enfants qui hurlent "maman, maman, ne les laisse pas m’emmener". »

    Il y a quelques jours, le chef de cabinet de la Maison Blanche John Kelly a défendu la pratique en disant qu’il s’agissait d’une dissuasion efficace et que les enfants seraient « placés dans des foyers ou autres ».

    • New York (États-Unis), de notre correspondant.- « Les fédéraux ont perdu, oui, perdu, 1 475 enfants migrants. » L’éditorial de The Arizona Republic a révolté les réseaux sociaux. Des Américains se sont pris en photo avec cette question : « Où sont les enfants ? » (#wherearethechildren), devenue en quelques jours un mot-clé populaire. « L’inhumanité doit cesser », explique Joaquín Castro, représentant démocrate du Texas, qui appelle à une manifestation cette semaine à San Antonio.

      À l’origine de cette indignation, l’information rapportée par The Arizona Republic est, de fait, assez spectaculaire. Le 26 avril, Steven Wagner, un responsable du Département de la santé américain chargé de la gestion des réfugiés, a annoncé au cours d’une audition au Sénat que ses services, alors qu’ils tentaient de prendre contact avec 7 635 mineurs placés chez des proches ou dans des familles d’accueil, se sont révélés « incapables de localiser 1 475 » d’entre eux, soit 19 % de l’échantillon contacté.

      9 mai 2018. Cette famille vient de franchir la frontière entre le Mexique et les États-Unis près de McAllen, Texas. © Reuters 9 mai 2018. Cette famille vient de franchir la frontière entre le Mexique et les États-Unis près de McAllen, Texas. © Reuters

      Il s’agit de mineurs non accompagnés, la plupart originaires du Honduras, du Guatemala et du Salvador, des pays d’Amérique centrale ravagés par les violences. Placés quelques semaines en foyer après avoir tenté de traverser la frontière avec les États-Unis via le Mexique, ils sont ensuite confiés par les autorités à des proches, des parents ou des familles d’accueil en attendant l’examen de leur dossier par les services de l’immigration.

      Les 1 500 enfants manquant à l’appel ne sont pas forcément aux mains de trafiquants, exploités à vil prix ou livrés à eux-mêmes. « On ne sait pas combien d’entre eux n’ont pas été localisés parce que eux ou leurs proches, qui peuvent très bien être leurs parents, sont partis sans laisser d’adresse pour réduire les risques d’être renvoyés dans leur pays », explique la journaliste Dara Lind, spécialiste des questions migratoires sur

      Mais l’incertitude qui pèse sur leur sort a de quoi inquiéter : plusieurs médias, comme Associated Press et la chaîne PBS, ont révélé des cas de violences sexuelles, de travail forcé ou de mauvais traitement.

      « Vous êtes la plus mauvaise famille d’accueil du monde. Vous ne savez même pas où ils sont », a lancé à Steven Wagner la sénatrice Heidi Heitkamp. L’accusation de l’élue démocrate tape juste, sauf que sous l’administration Obama, qui avait dû faire face à une explosion du nombre de mineurs non accompagnés, le suivi était tout aussi défaillant.

      En 2014, les procédures de vérification des familles d’accueil avaient même été allégées pour faciliter les placements, livrant les enfants à des dangers accrus. En 2016, le Sénat avait préconisé des mesures de suivi renforcées, qui n’ont jamais été mises en place, faute de ressources et de volonté politique : le département de la santé considère en effet qu’une fois placés, les mineurs ne sont plus de sa responsabilité…

      Il y a un mois, l’« aveu » de Steven Wagner devant le Sénat n’aurait ainsi pas fait beaucoup de bruit. Mais tout a changé depuis que le président Trump, frustré de ne pas voir avancer son projet de mur avec le Mexique, en colère contre sa propre directrice du Département de la sécurité intérieure (DHS), a autorisé des mesures d’une extrême sévérité contre l’immigration irrégulière.

      Au nom de la « tolérance zéro », Jeff Sessions, “attorney general” (l’équivalent du ministre de la justice), un dur de dur connu pour sa hargne contre les clandestins, a annoncé le 7 mai la poursuite systématique des étrangers qui « traversent la frontière de façon illégale », une façon de décourager les candidats à l’immigration – au rythme de 40 000 personnes « appréhendées » chaque mois, on voit mal comment les procureurs vont suivre. Il a surtout déclaré que les enfants « clandestins » seront désormais « séparés » de leurs parents. De quoi susciter l’indignation générale. Au vu de la façon dont les mineurs non accompagnés sont traités dans les familles d’accueil, cette annonce sonne comme une provocation.

      « Cette horreur est insupportable, a twitté Walter Schaub, ancien directeur sous Obama et Trump du Bureau pour l’éthique gouvernementale, une agence fédérale anticorruption. Décider d’arrêter encore plus d’enfants alors même qu’on sait déjà que ce qui leur arrive est une violation immorale des droits humains. »

      « C’est de la torture », commente l’ACLU, une grande organisation de défense des libertés publiques, qui a engagé une action en justice collective contre le gouvernement. « La pire chose que j’ai vue en vingt-cinq ans, dit Lee Gelernt, l’avocat de l’ACLU, interrogé sur la chaîne MSNBC. Ces mères vous racontent leurs enfants qui crient “maman ! maman !”, “ne les laisse pas m’emmener !”, des enfants de cinq ans, de six ans. On va traumatiser ces enfants pour toujours. »

      « Cette pratique viole les droits des demandeurs d’asile inscrits dans la Constitution », ajoute Eunice Lee, codirectrice du centre de recherche sur le genre et les réfugiés Hastings College of the Law à San Francisco (Californie).

      Reuters Reuters

      Fin avril, le New York Times, citant des données officielles, a révélé que cette pratique est en réalité d’ores et déjà en place. Entre octobre et avril, écrit le quotidien, 700 enfants, dont 100 tout-petits de moins de quatre ans, ont été privés de leurs parents. Le département de la santé refuse de dire combien de ces familles restent aujourd’hui éclatées.

      Au vu des positions de l’administration Trump, qui cherche à lutter contre l’immigration mais aussi à décourager par tous les moyens l’exercice du droit d’asile, cette politique n’est guère surprenante. Elle avait été évoquée quelques semaines après l’investiture de Donald Trump par John Kelly, alors directeur de la sécurité nationale. Aujourd’hui chef de cabinet de Donald Trump, Kelly a affirmé à la radio publique NPR que non seulement la séparation des familles n’est « pas cruelle », mais qu’elle est aussi un « puissant moyen de dissuasion » contre l’immigration.

      Pendant sa campagne, et depuis son entrée à la Maison Blanche, Donald Trump a promis de « stopper » l’immigration illégale. Il s’en est pris aux Mexicains « violeurs » et « criminels », aux « pays de merde », a taxé publiquement des immigrés d’« animaux ». Il a annoncé l’envoi de la garde nationale à la frontière et a attisé sa base en s’en prenant à une « caravane » de réfugiés d’Amérique centrale qui cherchaient à obtenir l’asile aux États-Unis.

      Depuis son arrivée à la Maison Blanche, son administration s’est employée à détricoter les dispositifs protégeant les jeunes migrants. Trump lui-même a estimé que les mineurs qui passent la frontière « ne sont pas tous innocents » et nourrissent la violence des gangs.

      « Les enfants seront pris en charge, placés dans des foyers ou autre », a promis John Kelly. En l’occurrence, le « ou autre » pourrait désigner des bases militaires. Selon le Washington Post, des enfants séparés de leurs familles pourraient être bientôt placés dans des centres de l’armée, au Texas ou dans l’Arkansas.

  • Massive mysterious ‘globster’ sea creature washes up on beach in the Philippines | Daily Mail Online

    It’s an Unidentified FLOATING Object: Experts baffled as massive mysterious ’globster’ sea creature washes up on beach in the Philippines
    • Beast surfaced in the town of San Antonio in Oriental Mindoro province May 11
    • Villagers flocked to see the enormous carcass of the unidentified organic mass
    • Marine workers took samples from creature for testing and it will be disposed of 

    A huge hairy sea creature has been found washed up on a beach in the Philippines - sparking fears it is an omen that a natural disaster is looming.

    The body of the mystery 20-foot-long animal surfaced in the town of San Antonio in Oriental Mindoro province at about 7pm on May 11.

    Villagers flocked to see the enormous carcass of the ’globster’ - an unidentified organic mass - and pose for selfies.

  • #Medellín (Colombie) : #expulsion de terrains squattés dans la communauté de San Antonio de Prado

    Selon la mairie de Medellín, plusieurs familles ont « envahi » un terrain lui appartenant, dans le quartier Limonar de San Antonio de Prado, communauté autochtone du sud-ouest de Medellín. Dans la matinée du mercredi 11 avril 2018, la mairie a donc fait recours à la police pour lancer une opération d’expulsion, puisque ce qui importe à […]

    #Amériques #Antioquia #Colombie

  • Socialism is surging on college campuses this fall – VICE News

    “This is only a good thing for the Democratic Party,” said Sabrina Singh, the deputy communications director at the Democratic National Committee, said of the rise of YDSA [Young Democratic Socialists of America]. “There is incredible enthusiasm on college campuses across the country, and we’ve seen a number of groups rise to bring about progressive change and get involved in Democratic politics.”

    But eight YDSA organizers at colleges across the country said that helping the Democrats is not their goal. Instead, they want to remain distinct and offer a more progressive alternative to the Democratic Party. “Democrats have more moderation, but it’s the same policy of class war as the Republicans,” Chance Walker, the co-chair of the new YDSA chapter at University of Texas San Antonio, told VICE News.

    At UT San Antonio — where half of the student body is Hispanic, a key constituency for Democrats — there is now only a socialists club and not a Democratic one. The College Dems club at UT San Antonio went kaput in 2016, according to the university, and Walker helped start a YDSA chapter this past fall.

    #etats-unis #socialisme

  • Déclaration du Congrès national indigène
    Mexique, le 24 février 2016

    Aux peuples du monde,

    Sœurs, frères,

    Marchant sur les pas laissés par nos anciens au fil des chemins issus de la Chaire Tata Juan Chávez Alonso, nous nous sommes réunis le 30 janvier 2016 dans la communauté chinantèque de San Antonio Las Palmas, municipalité de Tuxtepec, Oaxaca. Étaient présents des délégués des peuples mazatèque, binniza, chinantèque, maya, purépecha, otomí, nahua, wixárika, tepehua, tsotzil, chol, popoluca, zoque et tseltal, provenant de trente-deux communautés des États du Chiapas, d’Oaxaca, Veracruz, Yucatán, Campeche, Guerrero, Michoacán, État de Mexico, Morelos, District fédéral et Jalisco.

    Nous nous sommes réunis pour nous voir et nous écouter en l’autre, celui qui vit chaque jour la spoliation, la répression, le mépris et l’exploitation dans chacun des recoins de la géographie indigène, là où s’annoncent les éclairs de la tempête qui recouvre nos territoires, cette tourmente engendrée dans l’obscurité du capitalisme. (...)

    #Mexique #peuples_originaires #résistance #prisonniers

  • Thousands of children crossed US-Mexico border in October - The Washington Post

    SAN ANTONIO — Nearly 5,000 unaccompanied immigrant children were caught illegally crossing the U.S. border with Mexico in October, almost double the number from October 2014, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data.

    Also, in the figures released Tuesday, the number of family members crossing together nearly tripled from October 2014 — from 2,162 to 6,029.

    The numbers spiked despite expectations of lower numbers as a result of the colder winter months coming, better enforcement along the border and efforts by Mexican authorities to stem the stream of Central American migrants to the United States. Though tens of thousands of women and children from Central America were caught at the border in summer 2014, it had dropped by nearly half during the 2015 federal fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.

    #frontière #états-unis #mexique #enfants #enfance

  • Des centaines de Colombiens expulsés du Venezuela

    Des centaines de Colombiens ont été expulsés du Venezuela vers la Colombie depuis que le président vénézuélien, Nicolas Maduro, a ordonné, samedi 22 août, la fermeture indéfinie de la frontière entre les deux pays. Cette décision fait suite à une embuscade dans laquelle trois militaires et un civil vénézuéliens ont été blessés. Le président Maduro tient les « paramilitaires colombiens » pour responsables et a déclaré l’état d’urgence dans six municipalités de l’Etat frontalier du Tachira, pour une durée prorogeable de soixante jours. Les Colombiens qui, à Cucuta, s’entassent dans les centres d’accueil mis en place, disent avoir été expulsés sans ménagement. Certains d’entre eux ont vu les forces de l’ordre vénézuéliennes détruire leur maison.

    Y paraît que : L’armée vénézuélienne est la plus morale du monde à ce qu’ils disent. Et il paraît que les destructions sont légales, parce que les bâtiments n’avaient pas de permis de construire légal. Et puis enfin, les migrants étaient clandestins, et le Vénézuela faisant parti de l’espace Schengen, il peut appliquer la loi européenne démocratique et expulser les illégaux.

    Remarquez que sur les vidéos, visiblement, les expulsés ont le temps de prendre leurs congélateurs et leurs éviers... C’est pas chez nous qu’on leur laisserait de la sorte emporter les biens qui leurs appartiennent ! (se souvenir de la façon dont les réfugiés sont virés à coup de bulldozer à Paris ou ailleurs sans avoir le temps de récupérer rien que leurs papiers d’identités...)

    Je sais, je déblatère, mais la façon de traiter ce genre d’infos parallèlement au traitement du même genre d’infos chez nous... c’est assez impressionnant comme... les rédactions sont capables de dissociation !

  • More deaths linked to Ashley Madison hack as scammers move in • The Register

    The Ashley Madison leak may have driven another two people to suicide, police in Toronto, Canada, fear.

    And scammers are harassing anyone named in the databases, which were swiped from the website by hackers and published online.

    Word of the two Ashley Madison-linked deaths in Canada came after a government worker in San Antonio, Texas, reportedly killed himself last week. His name had appeared among 33 million others in the leaked databases.
    Evans warned that miscreants were already moving in on panicked users of the websites, offering – for a fee of course – to remove the offending details from the database in exchange for one Bitcoin. This is, of course, impossible because the data is already out there, but Evans said this hadn’t stopped the scammers trying it on.

    The Canadian police have also discovered cases of scammers contacting people on the database and threatening to expose them to family and work colleagues if a payment wasn’t sent. Anyone threatened in this way is urged to get in contact with the police via a special website or telephone number set up by Toronto police.

  • Encore 2 problèmes avec des lacs , un en Ukraine et l’autre aux États-Unis

    Lake San Antonio is seen in 2014 on the left and in 2011 on the right. Le Conseil de surveillance du comté de Monterey a voté en faveur de la fermeture de toutes les installations récréatives a... Georgie , USA - un lac disparaît en une nuit Source de...

  • USA : Californie, le lac San Antonio ferme. Il n’existe plus !

    Lake San Antonio is seen in 2014 on the left and in 2011 on the right. Le Conseil de surveillance du comté de Monterey a voté en faveur de la fermeture de toutes les installations récréatives au lac San Antonio, à compter du 1er Juillet. Lac San Antonio...

  • Uber Security Staffer Went Undercover At Taxi Conference

    A former Air Force investigator who now works in “Global Security” for the transit company Uber omitted his employer’s name — and scrubbed it from his LinkedIn profile — when he attended the conference of Uber’s archenemy, the taxi lobby, last month.

    The security staffer, Roger Kaiser, left his Uber affiliation off the form at the Taxicab, Limousine, and Paratransit Association’s (TLPA) annual conference in San Antonio last month, TLPA spokesperson John Boit confirmed to BuzzFeed News — and the apparent undercover operation prompted a furious response from the group.

    “This is just more evidence of Uber buying into its own myth that they supposedly need to conduct clandestine research against anyone — organizations or journalists — who are against them,” Mike Fogarty, the president of the TLPA, told BuzzFeed News. “They aren’t in a political campaign. They are simply a business that is not following the rules. All I can say is that I hope this gentleman from Uber, and whoever else they had in the room, learned a thing or two about how a responsible transportation company operates.”

  • Feds Planning Massive Family Detention Center in South Texas

    Federal officials are planning a new for-profit family detention lockup for immigrant children and their parents in South Texas. The 2,400-bed “South Texas Family Detention Center”—as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is referring to it—is slated for a 50-acre site just outside the town of Dilley, 70 miles southwest of San Antonio.

    #Texas #détention #détention_administrative #rétention #USA #Etats-Unis #migration