As a candidate, Trump promised to build an “impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful” wall on the border that would be paid for by Mexico.
….The Trump administration directed the construction of eight steel and concrete prototype walls that were built in Otay Mesa, California, just across the border from Tijuana, Mexico. …Trump settled on a steel slat, or steel bollard, design for the proposed border barrier additions. Steel bollard fencing has been used under previous administrations.
A photo exclusively obtained by NBC News shows the results of the test after military and Border Patrol personnel were instructed to attempt to destroy the barriers with common tools.
While it is true that previous administrations used this design, the prototype was built during his administration.
Hundreds of cannabis buyers are still cuffed each year for purchasing weed, and despite decades of data that show black and white populations consume the herb at equal rates, racial disparities in the arrests remain stark.
…Black people in Philly, who make up roughly 44 percent of the population, comprised 76 percent of all arrests for marijuana possession in Philadelphia between 2015 and 2018, the first four calendar years since decrim, according to data from the Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Reporting System. That rate is the same among juveniles arrested on the same charges.
And for those caught in the act of purchasing the crop — which remains a criminal offense, albeit rarely charged in Philadelphia — the discrepancy is even higher.
In those same years, 81 percent of all buyers arrested at the handoff were black. That was 1,454 out of 1,796 people, according to data provided to Billy Penn by the Philadelphia Police Department.
Mr. Webb had many supporters who suggested that he was right in the main. In retrospect, his broader suggestion that the C.I.A. knew or should have known that some of its allies were accused of being in the drug business remains unchallenged. The government’s casting of a blind eye while also fighting a war on drugs remains a shadowy part of American history.
…Mr. Webb was not the first journalist to come across what seemed more like an airport thriller novel. Way back in December 1985, The Associated Press reported that three contra groups had “engaged in cocaine trafficking, in part to help finance their war against Nicaragua.” In 1986, The San Francisco Examiner ran a large exposé covering similar terrain.
…“Planeloads of weapons were sent south from the U.S., and everyone knows that those planes didn’t come back empty, but the C.I.A. made sure that they never knew for sure what was in those planes,” he said. “But instead of going after that, they went after Webb, who didn’t really know what he had gotten into or where he was. The most surprising thing in doing the work to write this movie is how easy it was to destroy Gary Webb.”
…“Let me be frank about what we are finding,” he said. “There are instances where C.I.A. did not, in an expeditious or consistent fashion, cut off relationships with individuals supporting the contra program who were alleged to have engaged in drug-trafficking activity, or take action to resolve the allegations.”
However dark or extensive, the alliance Mr. Webb wrote about was a real one.
The tutoring she was promised to get her back on track didn’t materialize. An agreement with the high school principal to let her apply credits earned in summer courses toward graduation fell through. The special education plan that the school district developed for her, supposedly to help her catch up, instead laid out how she should be disciplined.
A wealth of rarely tapped data documents their plight. In public schools, white students are twice as likely as Native students to take at least one Advanced Placement course and Native students are more than twice as likely to be suspended.
…Only 65 percent of Native students were proficient or better in reading, compared with 94 percent of their white peers, and only 8 percent were proficient or better in math, compared with about half of the white students, according to the most recent state assessment data broken down by race from the 2013-14 school year. Just half of Wolf Point’s Native students graduate from high school, compared with about three-quarters of their white peers.
…According to the complaint and to interviews with dozens of students and families, Wolf Point schools provide fewer opportunities and social and academic supports to Native students, who make up more than half of the student body, than to the white minority. The junior and senior high schools, which together have about 300 students, shunt struggling Native students into a poorly funded, understaffed program for remedial students and truants, often against their will.
On the school’s basketball court, a coach has used derogatory slurs in front of Native students, such as “prairie Indians” and “dirty Indians,” according to the tribal board’s complaint. Female Native students were dropped from sports teams after giving birth, while white students were not, an apparent violation of federal law.
…Since passage of the Indian Education Act of 1972, Congress has tried to give tribes more resources and responsibility for educating their children. But most schools that serve Native youth remain under the authority of states and municipalities, which have historically rejected tribal input and insisted on control over curriculum, funding and staffing.
…In Anchorage, Alaska, a Native student said a school staff member addressed her as “squaw,” an offensive term. In Oklahoma City, federal officials heard about how a “Redskins” high school mascot led students to create posters alluding to skinning opponents and sending them “home on a ‘trail of tears.’”
…Dana Buckles, a member of the Tribal Executive Board since 2012 and a supporter of the complaint, said that his Wolf Point school pegged him as an “instigator” in the 1960s after he questioned why Native students were seated in the back rows.
…Ruth’s grades plummeted from the honor roll to F’s and D’s. …She never got the help she was promised, her family said, and still struggles in classes. “Broken promises — that’s all you get from the school,” Ruth said.
One year after Contreras requested it, the school drafted a formal education plan that was supposed to help Ruth academically. Instead, it set out disciplinary procedures for slow learning. Ruth would have “approximately 5 minutes to make a choice” on tasks and questions or face an in-school suspension.
…She soon found that its alternative program “was designed to punish those students that didn’t comply with the rules of traditional education,” she said. “They should be given other choices before they get to me.”
She said the town deployed Wolf Point’s official dog catcher and his van to take students home for behavior issues, a practice that has since been ended.
Ragland procured a refrigerator for her classroom, which she stocked with sandwich supplies, and a washer and dryer for homeless students. She allowed Native students to earn a biology credit for going fishing and bringing back their catch to dissect. She spurned worksheets and encouraged students to do research papers on topics of their interest.
In recent years, though, the school administration has given Ragland “little financial or other support,” according to the tribal board’s complaint. It has ordered her to stop developing Native American-centered curricula and taking students on field trips. At one point, it required learning center students to enter the school through a back door.
…In the past few years, she has filled out the paperwork for several state grants to help her address the trauma of her Native students. But the high school principal and district superintendent didn’t have the time or interest to sign off on her proposals, which were “shelved,” she said.
…She was given a public bench in the hallway to speak with students about sensitive issues like abuse and pregnancy. When she referred Native students to high school counselors, she said, she was frequently brushed off.
…Distraught after hearing about Jayden’s death, Cheek asked the high school counselor if she had followed up on her urgent request to check in on him. She hadn’t, Cheek said. About a week later, the superintendent, Osborne, banned Cheek from the district’s schools.
Jeezus… How inhumane.
One salient point here: This should go without saying but if a student reaches high school without reading or math proficiency, the fault is not their own. That is evidence of the school not doing its job. Period. And if steps aren’t taken by the school system to help the student, then they are abdicating their responsibilities and failing at the very job they exist to do.
So, our border is actually more secure than it has ever been, and illegal immigration is at historic lows. Instead of a wall, what should Congress be focused on?
…The drivers behind the exodus remain unaddressed. Conditions are still extremely bad; gang and domestic violence continues to terrorize huge numbers of people, and governments are too weak to do anything about it. In turn, this violence has led to economic breakdown — made even worse by environmental crises.
Meanwhile, our immigration system is breaking down from the flood of people seeking protection. There is currently a backlog of nearly 300,000 asylum cases, and it takes years for an asylum claim to be resolved.
…We also have to get our house in order by fixing the asylum system. Congress needs to ease the backlogs by hiring more immigration judges and asylum officers, and by changing the law to enable more expedited reviews, consistent with due process, as well as enabling some reviews to be done closer to the problem areas and away from our border.
…Farms depending on cheap labor from Mexico are facing labor shortages, and construction labor costs are making new homes more expensive than they used to be.
Ahhhh, the classic throwing the RA under the bus excuse. A centuries-old technique.