Conditions are still atrocious for thousands of migrant children in US government custody. Why hasn’t the Biden administration come up with a humane way to house these kids until they can be reunited with their families?
Meanwhile, a review of recent state Republican leadership elections shows that the party is still getting Trumpier, even though he’s out of office. And the trend is stronger in swing states.
And lastly, AOC and some fellow House Democrats are introducing a resolution to stop a massive arms sale to Israel, as the assault on Gaza continues. Better late than never!
THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:
This spotlight on America’s national shame comes from CBS News. Migrant children housed at two makeshift US government shelters, an Army base in west Texas and a Houston warehouse, described subpar living conditions, including limited access to showers, soiled clothes and undercooked food. Unaccompanied children at the two Department of Health and Human Services emergency housing facilities – which are not licensed to care for minors – also reported feeling sad and desperate while in US government custody. That’s according to attorney Leecia Welch, who cited recent interviews with more than thirty migrant girls and boys. Several migrant children reported suicidal thoughts and talk of self-harm among other youths, Welch said. The minors longed to be with their families, she added, but some had not spoken to case managers charged with facilitating their reunifications.
CBS reports that over the past several weeks, the Biden administration has dramatically reduced the number of unaccompanied children stuck in ill-suited Border Patrol facilities. However, the government is still housing more than nineteen thousand unaccompanied youths in facilities overseen by HHS, including the mass makeshift shelters, four of which are housing more than one thousand minors each. Welch said, "From a child welfare perspective, I disagree with housing hundreds of kids in shelters to begin with. And now we're being told the best long-term plan our government can come up with is to warehouse thousands of kids in tents on a military base?" Biden’s team really needs to fix this – and fast.
Swing State Republicans Getting Trumpier
Vice News brings us this update on GOP extremism. The Republican Party chairs of Texas and Wyoming have flirted with secession from the United States. Oklahoma’s Republican chair has called Islam a cancer. The Oregon GOP called the Capitol insurrection a false flag operation. And at least nineteen Republican state chairs publicly pushed Trump’s big lie about the election. A review of public positions of all fifty GOP state chairs shows many are pushing conspiracy theories, spouting unhinged rhetoric, and undermining voters’ trust in democracy. That includes the chairs of nearly every swing state in the US. And the trend is accelerating: Many of the most extreme chairs just won their chairmanships or have been reelected since Trump left office four months ago, a number of them with his endorsement. Former GOP officials say it was predictable that state parties would get Trumpier while he was president, but found it notable that the trend has continued since he left office.
According to Vice, it’s coming from the top down, too. The Republican National Committee launched a so-called Election Integrity Commission in February. Of the six state party chairs on the commission, just one has come close to acknowledging the legitimacy of Biden’s 2020 victory – South Carolina’s Drew McKissick. Three others on the commission pushed Trump’s claims that the election was stolen. There are plenty of Republican chairs who haven’t been willing to echo Trump’s lies. But most of them have refused to stand up for the truth. Profiles in cowardice!
AOC Seeks To Stop Israel Arms Deal
The Squad is working to protect Palestinian lives. Jewish Currents reports that amidst Israel’s devastating assault on Gaza, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Wisconsin Congressman Mark Pocan, and Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib are preparing to introduce a resolution that would block the United States’ planned $735 million sale of bombs to Israel. The resolution would halt the transfer of so-called J-DAMs, or Joint Direct Attack Munitions, and of Small Diameter Bombs. Both are bombs outfitted with special guidance systems to hit their targets. Both are made by Boeing. Israel has used J-DAMs and
Small Diameter Bombs in its current attack on Gaza. Additional co-sponsors include Representatives Cori Bush, Andre Carson, Pramila Jayapal, Betty McCollum, Ilhan Omar, and Ayanna Pressley.
Jewish Currents says that even if it doesn’t pass, the resolution could set up an unprecedented debate in the House of Representatives on the propriety of a bomb sale to Israel. As such, the proposed legislation is a rebuke of the Biden administration’s policy of facilitating the flow of weapons to a country that has killed at least two hundred and twenty Palestinians in ten days, including sixty three children. The US gives Israel $3.8 billion in annual military assistance, money that is used to purchase American weaponry. Tlaib said, "You cannot claim to support human rights and peace on Earth and continue to back the extremist Netanyahu regime, it’s that simple."
Finally, Israel’s Channel Twelve reports that a cease-fire will begin tomorrow. We’ll see.
AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:
The Washington Post reports that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will oppose legislation to create a commission tasked with investigating the January 6th attack on the Capitol – a signal that the legislation will not have the votes to get through the Senate. The House voted yesterday to pass a bill creating the commission. If Congress fails to fully investigate, at least we still have the press.
The Associated Press reports that the European Union took a step toward relaxing travel rules for tourists yesterday when EU ambassadors agreed on measures to allow in fully vaccinated visitors. But EU countries will keep the possibility to impose restrictive measures on tourists such as quarantines. So don’t imagine that summer travel will be stress-free.
Reuters reports that twenty-two people accused of trafficking children to work on cocoa farms in Ivory Coast have received prison sentences of up to twenty years. The case follows the rescue by police this month of sixty eight children working on cocoa farms. Ivory Coast is the world’s top cocoa producer and is under pressure to crack down on child slavery.
According to NBC News, the New York attorney general’s office is pursuing a criminal investigation into the Trump Organization, in addition to the ongoing civil probe. But, on the bright side, it looks like he might get state approval to open a casino at his resort in Doral, Florida. Win some, lose some!
AM QUICKIE - MAY 20, 2021
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner
WRITER - Corey Pein
PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn