A new report from Amnesty International found that the Trump administration separated over 6,000 families at the US-Mexico border this spring and summer, more than double the numbers the administration disclosed. The report also documents illegal treatment of asylum seekers, including turning asylum seekers away at ports of entry and detaining and separating families seeking asylum, violating international human rights law. “The Trump administration is waging a deliberate campaign of widespread human rights violations in order to punish and deter people seeking safety at the US–Mexico border,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.
This week, proposed changes to the “public charge” rule were posted to the Federal Register, opening a 60-day comment period. In a New York Times op-ed, a doctor shares the way his patients may be affected by this rule change: “If the proposed rule is adopted, programs that are crucial for my patients’ health, including Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (once known as food stamps), housing assistance and Medicare Part D (the prescription drug benefit), would all count toward the designation of a public charge. Accordingly, my pregnant patient from Cameroon may have to decide whether becoming a permanent resident is more important than providing her unborn child with the nutrients required to live a long life. My patient from the Dominican Republic may have to decide whether becoming a permanent resident is more important than taking the medication that will strengthen her bones and prevent a hip fracture. Even if my patient from Ecuador decides the unthinkable, forgoing Medicaid and chemotherapy to let his cancer slowly consume his body, the federal government could identify his cancer as a reason for denying him legal permanent resident status. This is because health conditions, in and of themselves, would also become heavily weighted factors in a public charge designation under this rule. Among the stated reasons for the proposed change is that it will inspire an increase in “self-sufficiency,” feeding into the larger narrative that those who use these programs become dependent on the government. This notion is both factually baseless and harmful to my patients and their families. These public assistance programs often provide the gateway not only to health but also to economic self-sufficiency. Research published in 2012 found that access to food stamps during childhood led to a significant reduction in obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes in adulthood. Housing assistance via the federal Housing Choice Voucher, formerly known as Section 8, makes rent affordable and helps families avoid homelessness, putting parents in a better position to secure permanent employment.”
Jurors found Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke guilty of second-degree murder, after he shot and killed Laquan McDonald. According to ThinkProgress, “it took about 24 hours for jurors to reach the unanimous decision that Van Dyke’s actions that night constituted second-degree murder. He is just the 34th police officer to be convicted of homicide in an on-duty killing since the beginning of 2005, according to figures kept by Bowling Green State University professor Phil Stinson. Almost 60 other officers have been acquitted, won a mistrial, or remain in legal limbo on similar charges from the same period of time, with tens of thousands of other police killings never coming close to a criminal courtroom.”
Nadia Murad, a Yazidi woman who is a survivor of sexual violence perpetrated by the Islamic State, and Dr. Denis Mukwege, a gynecological surgeon who founded a hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo, were jointly awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for their activism against the use of rape as a weapon of war.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a report on the differences between 1.5°C in temperature rise and 2°C, part of the Paris Climate Agreement to help governments develop plans to limit greenhouse gas emissions: “By 2100, global sea-level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all would be lost with 2°C.” Achieving this goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C would require “unprecedented” global action. According to Vox, “many scientists welcomed the use of “net-zero emissions” as the target. The goal has a clarifying message: every sector of the economy needs to get to zero emissions if we are to stabilize our climate and the sooner we do it the better our chances… “The good news is that some of the kinds of actions that would be needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C are already underway around the world, but they would need to accelerate,” said Valerie Masson-Delmotte, director of French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission. Those actions are deploying more renewable sources of energy to displace fossil fuels, scaling up energy-storage technologies, cutting emissions of the fossil fuels we use through the use of carbon capture and storage, and developing negative-emissions technologies. “It’s clear that the benefits to the world of mitigating climate change are greater than the costs of mitigating climate change,” concluded Kristie Ebi of the University of Washington.