Talking 'the talk': Black leaders in Arizona recall sobering rite of passage

PHOENIX – For any teen, getting a driver’s license is a rite of passage – a small taste of freedom in their adolescent lives. But for Black teens in America the little bit of freedom that comes with car keys also comes with “the talk”: The time when Black parents sit their children down and explain to them what to do if stopped by a police officer. It’s been happening for generations. Sometimes the talk comes earlier in life. Sometimes it’s in response to a headline-grabbing death of a Black p

Critics: Trump order to exclude undocumented migrants in Census will fail

PHOENIX – President Donald Trump said Tuesday he will exclude undocumented immigrants in the 2020 Census when it comes to allocating seats in Congress, a move critics called unconstitutional and unenforceable. Opponents immediately vowed to sue over Trump’s memorandum, which comes a little more than a year after the Supreme Court rejected the administration’s attempt to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. “Today’s memorandum from Donald Trump to Lyin’ (Commerce Secretary) Wilbur

USCIS balks on taking new DACA applications, despite court order

PHOENIX – The federal government is currently not accepting new applications for protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, despite a federal court’s order Friday that it resume doing so. A U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services spokesperson said Monday that “Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice are reviewing the court decision, and USCIS has no further comment at this time.” The order Friday by U.S. District Court Judge Paul Grimm in Maryl

House panel told deaths of children in CBP custody could have been prevented

PHOENIX – Medical experts told members of Congress Wednesday that the deaths of two children in Customs and Border Protection custody could have been prevented, but called the deaths “symptoms of a more extensive system that requires much improvement.” The comments came during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing that looked at the December 2018 deaths of Jakelin Caal Maquín, 7, and Felipe Gómez Alonzo, 8, from sepsis and a severe bacterial infection. The Department of Homeland Security

Migrant detention center operators defend response to COVID-19 in facilities

PHOENIX – The head of the private company that runs a migrant detention center in Eloy told a House panel Monday he is “immensely proud” of its operations, even as lawmakers questioned its response to the COVID-19 crisis. CoreCivic CEO Damon Hininger was one of four private contractors who testified before a House Homeland Security subcommittee Monday on their operation of detention facilities for Immigration and Customs Enforcement – contracts that are worth billions, committee Democrats noted

'I can breathe again': DACA recipients, experts react to Supreme Court ruling

PHOENIX – For almost three years, Phoenix resident Jennifer Rodriguez Garcia said she has lived with the fear immigration officials will deport her to a country she has never known and separate her from her 2-year-old daughter. “Today I can breathe again,” Rodriguez Garcia said, after learning that the Supreme Court reversed the Trump administration’s plan to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a 2012 program that has deferred deportation for as many as 700,000 immigrants – like her.

Administration unveils sweeping plan to tighten rules on asylum seekers

PHOENIX – The Trump administration has unveiled its furthest-reaching plan yet to change asylum law in the U.S., redefining the meaning of “persecution” and raising the bar for refugees seeking protection under the Convention Against Torture, among other changes. The 161-page proposal, officially posted Monday in the Federal Register, would also streamline the asylum-approval process, letting immigration judges rather than immigration courts make rulings in asylum cases and redefining the defin

Phoenix Council OKs budget with $3 million for new police review office

PHOENIX – The Phoenix City Council approved a sharp increase in funding for a new police oversight office Monday, after first making sure that the extra funds would not cut into a planned 1% pay raise for city workers. The 7-2 vote raised funding for the new Office of Accountability and Transparency from the original $400,000 to $3 million in the fiscal 2021 budget. At the same time, council members also rejected calls from speakers at a hearing last week to slash police funding, as protests ov

Phoenix Council rejects plan to boost funds for police oversight

PHOENIX – The Phoenix City Council narrowly rejected a plan Wednesday that would have sharply increased funding for a newly established civilian oversight committee for the police department. The council voted 5-4 against the proposal to raise funding for the new Office of Accountability and Transparency from $400,000 to $2.9 million, saying it was more important to get the office up and running first and that funds could be added later as needed.

COVID-19 can’t stop Muslims from celebrating Eid – with some tweaks

PHOENIX – Mahleej Zara woke up worried Sunday that celebrations for the end of Ramadan would be dampened by COVID-19 restrictions – but that was before the “car parade” let the Islamic Community Center in Tempe celebrate together while remaining safely distanced. It was just one of the changes that Arizona Muslims made this year for Eid al-Fitr, which ends the month of fasting of Ramadan. Other mosques held car parades for the holiday, encouraged prayers online or at home or, in one instance, a

Groups step up efforts to help refugees grappling with COVID-19 fallout

PHOENIX – Sharing meals is generally frowned upon in the socially distanced, stay-at-home world of COVID-19, but one aid group is embracing the notion – figuratively, at least. “Share a Meal With a Refugee,” a program run by the Welcome to America Project, collects donated gift cards to share with refugee families, a group that has been hit particularly hard by the effects of the coronavirus and its shutdowns.

Survey: Latino families, businesses say they were left out by CARES Act

PHOENIX – About half of low-income Latino households and just as many Latino-owned businesses said they have not received any support from the massive COVID-19 relief bills, according to a nationwide poll released Wednesday. The survey of 1,800 Latinos across all 50 states oversampled residents of six states, including Arizona. What it found was 48% of Latino households making under $25,000 did not receive any support. The same was true for small Latino-owned businesses, half which reported not

Reporte: Condado Maricopa en riesgo de conteo inexacto en el censo

Reporte: Condado Maricopa en riesgo de conteo inexacto en el censo PHOENIX – Un nuevo informe de la firma de datos Civis Analytics indica que el Condado Maricopa está en peligro de ser el segundo condado en no ser contado correctamente en el censo de 2020, lo que podría terminar en pérdidas de hasta $13.2 millones en fondos federales para algunas comunidades que ya están desatendidas. El reporte calcula que 70,500 habitantes del condado no fueron contados correctamente, lo que representa el 1.