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Biden administration releasing families from migrant centers

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Biden administration releasing families from migrant centers

The Biden administration will transform two Texas facilities where detained migrant families are held into Ellis Island-style rapid processing centers, meaning adults and children who cross the border will be housed for a maximum of 72 hours before being released into the U.S.

In a court filing Friday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said families will continue to be detained at a 2,400-bed detention center in Karnes City and an 839-bed detention center in Dilley in Texas, but the U.S. government intends to hold adults and children at those sites for three days or less.

Migrant families previously held at a third facility, the 96-bed Berks County family detention center in Leesport, Pa., have all been released, according the ICE disclosure made Friday in the decades-old Flores lawsuit filed on behalf of migrant children. That detention center will instead be used by ICE to hold adults.

All three family detention centers opened when now-President Biden was vice president to President Barack Obama. While running for president, Biden pledged to release detained families.

Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security has preliminary plans to transform the two facilities in southern Texas into rapid processing centers aimed at screening 100 families per day, The Washington Post first reported, citing internal emails outlining the previously unpublicized changes.

The number of unaccompanied minors and families arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border this year “are expected to be the highest numbers observed in over 20 years,” Russell Hott, a senior official with ICE, wrote in an email sent to staff members on Thursday.

Even as the two facilities in southern Texas are transformed into rapid-processing centers, that “may not be sufficient to keep pace with apprehensions,” Hott warned in the email reviewed by the Post. And those who cannot be housed at those centers even for 72 hours will be transferred to nearby hotels.

ICE-contractor MVM will transport families unable to be housed at those facilities to hotels, and the company plans to select hotels in McAllen, El Paso and Phoenix, Ariz., Hott wrote.

The detention centers in Dilley and Karnes will served as quick-release intake facilities, where unaccompanied minors and families would undergo background checks and be released before preliminary court hearings, unnamed DHS officials told the Post. Some migrants would enroll in alternatives to detention, such as ankle-monitoring programs.

Anyone who tests positive would quarantine for 10 days, the officials said. Non-profit partners would work to organized airplane and bus tickets to their final destinations in the U.S., often to stay with family members or friends while awaiting their court hearings.

In an op-ed published by Fox News on Friday, Thomas Homan, the former Acting Director of ICE under the Trump administration argued Biden’s team created a crisis at the border in “record time” by ending accomplishments made by the Trump administration within the first 40 days since Inauguration Day.

Homan said illegal crossings at the southern border were at historic lows when Trump left office, an achievement reached in part through agreements with Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. He credited Trump for the Remain in Mexico Program, as well as the border wall to slow illegal entry into the U.S. and the Title 42 designation that would require most illegal aliens to be immediately returned to Mexico because of the COVID pandemic.

Homan said Biden’s rollback of most of Trump’s policies are “facilitating illegal entry” into the U.S. The Biden administration is also under criticism from Republicans for considering changing the names of some facilities at the border to “reception centers” to communicate a message that people will be rapidly released, the Washington Examiner reported.

But lawyers who work with detained immigrant families welcomed the new 72-hour release plans and credited the Biden administration for announcing the shift. They noted that even shorter detention stays could be harmful to children.

“Family detention will never truly be over until the facilities are closed and the contracts with ICE end,” Bridget Cambria, executive director of the legal group Aldea – The People’s Justice Center, told The Associated Press.

The Biden administration has already released several families seeking asylum who had been detained for a year or longer in Texas and in some cases came within hours of deportation. Those families will pursue their cases while remaining subject to ICE monitoring.

In his early days, Biden has confronted increasing numbers of families and unaccompanied children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, leading to shortages of space in Border Patrol holding cells and long-term facilities for children operated by Health and Human Services. In the case of the Border Patrol, hundreds of children in recent weeks have been detained longer than 72 hours, the general limit set by the agency’s standards.

Biden stopped the practice initiated by former President Donald Trump of expelling unaccompanied immigrant children under public health authority. Officials expelled thousands of children to their countries of origin without giving them a chance to seek asylum or other protections under federal law.

The Biden administration continues to expel immigrant families and adults.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Brooklyn Center city manager fired

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Brooklyn Center city manager fired

Brooklyn Center City Manager Curt Boganey was fired on Monday evening, hours after he publicly disagreed with Mayor Mike Elliott’s assertion that the police officer who fatally shot a black man in the Minneapolis suburb should be immediately fired in response to the incident.

“Effective immediately our city manager has been relieved of his duties, and the deputy city manager will be assuming his duties moving forward,” Elliott wrote on Twitter. “I will continue to work my hardest to ensure good leadership at all levels of our city government.”

Daunte Wright, 20, was fatally shot during a traffic stop. Bodycam footage showed three officers gathered near a stopped car that police said was pulled over for an expired registration. Police attempted to arrest the man, later identified as Wright, for an outstanding warrant. A struggle ensued, followed by the fatal shooting.

Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said the officer who shot and killed Wright had intended to fire a Taser, not their service weapon. Authorities have not released the name of the female officer involved in the shooting.

The Brooklyn Center City Council voted to fire Boganey, a longtime city employee, during an emergency meeting, the Star Tribune reported. At the same meeting, the council voted to give the mayor command authority over the city’s police department.

During a virtual workshop after the meeting, Council Member Kris Lawrence-Anderson said she voted to fire Boganey out of fear of potential reprisals from protestors if she did not, according to the newspaper.

“He was doing a great job. I respect him dearly,” Lawrence-Anderson said. “I didn’t want repercussions at a personal level.”

Both Elliott and Boganey addressed potential disciplinary action toward the officer during a press conference earlier in the day. At the time, Elliott called for the officer to be fired.

“Let me be very clear – my position is that we cannot afford to make mistakes that lead to the loss of life of other people in our profession,” Elliott said. “I do fully support releasing the officer of her duties.”

Before leaving the podium, Elliott noted that Boganey, as city manager, had the authority to determine whether the officer would be fired. Boganey noted that he would not take immediate action to remove the officer.

“All employees working for the city of Brooklyn Center are entitled to due process with respect to discipline,” Boganey said. “This employee will receive due process and that’s really all that I can say today.”

When pressed on whether he personally felt the officer should be fired, Boganey again called for due process.

“If I were to answer that question, I’d be contradicting what I said a moment ago — which is to say that all employees are entitled to due process and after that due process, discipline will be determined,” Boganey said. “If I were to say anything else, I would actually be contradicting the idea of due process.”

This is a breaking story. Check back for updates.

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China launches traffic signal for camels

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China launches traffic signal for camels

Lights, camels, action!

Chinese officials have launched what they say is the world’s first traffic light for camels.

The signal came into operation Sunday at the Mingsha Mountain and Crescent Spring in Dunhuang City, Chinese state media outlet ECNS said Monday.

The area, in the country’s north-central Gansu province, has become increasingly popular with tourists in recent years, according to CNN.

Camel-riding tours especially are a big attraction for visitors — who will now be safe from bumpy travel, thanks to the new traffic light.

The contraption has signals for both tourists and camels, which turn green for go and red for stop.

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Widow says that late hubby killed missing mom and her son in 2002

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Widow says that late hubby killed missing mom and her son in 2002

A woman confessed that her late husband killed a young mom and her 4-year-old son who vanished in Arkansas in 2002 — bringing the two decade-old cold case to a close, authorities said.

Barbara Krusen told the FBI earlier this month that her husband Clarence Krusen admitted to her that “done away with” 20-year-old Angela Mack Cox and little Thomas “Mikey” Rettew and burned their bodies in a furnace.

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday that this new information had helped them close the missing persons investigation into the mom and son, who were last heard from in December 2002.

Detectives first spoke to Barbara last year, and she admitted to meeting Cox in the fall of 2002, when the mom came to work on the Krusen’s farm in Alton, Missouri.

Cox wanted to move to California and had agreed to let the couple adopt her son, even signing the papers, the widow told police.

However, Barbara said the mom later had a change of heart, and told Clarence she wanted to come back to retrieve her boy.

“Barbara stated that it angered both her and Clarence,” a statement on the case states. “She told Angela she needed to come back and pick up Mikey. That she didn’t want to just be a babysitter.”

The couple sent Cox a bus ticket and picked her up in Springfield, Mo., before heading back to their farm, Barbara said.

The next morning, little Thomas and his mom were gone.

Investigators later asked Barbara, now based in Virginia, to give a polygraph test, which she did on April 2 — and failed, according to the sheriff’s office.

During an interview after the lie-detecting test, Barbara finally admitted that her late husband had told her he’d gotten rid of the victims by “killing them and destroying their bodies in a furnace that they had attached to their farmhouse.”

When the couple eventually left the farm, Clarence told Barbara that they had to remove the furnace because of what it had been used for, she told the authorities.

He was fatally shot in Laredo, Tx., in 2012, the sheriff’s office said.

What happened to Cox and her son would remain a mystery for eight more years.

Detectives have never been able to locate any trace of their remains, but said they believe Barbara’s account.

She will not face charges in connection with the case.

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