When Norma finally reached the United States after more than a month-and-a-half of journeying from Guatemala with her 5-year-old son, the very same fear that had compelled her to flee home in the first place ended up happening anyway: Her child was taken from her — not by the Guatemalan men who had threatened just that, but by US border agents.
The Trump administration is giving Congress an ultimatum: overturn legal limits on the incarceration of children and expand family detention, or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will continue to separate families who illegally cross the border.
The government's surveillance and ongoing case against of Black activist Christopher Daniels, which may become the first prosecution of a person tracked under the new FBI classification of "Black Identity Extremist," could open the door to a wider dragnet for Black activists engaged in police reform and anti-racist organizing across the nation.
This story is the sixth piece in "America's Toxic Prisons," an investigative, collaborative series between Truthout and Earth Island Journal. This series dives deeply into the intersection between mass incarceration and environmental justice.
"It's been a hell of a few days," says Andrew Cobb, whose house in Houston's Fifth Ward was spared the brunt of Hurricane Harvey's flood waters. His decentralized, grassroots relief effort called the "West Street Response Team" started with a simple scouting mission to a nearby flood plain across Highway 59 on Sunday.
On a spring day in May, temperatures in Dallas, Texas, were already in the 90s. Sunlight glinted off the barbed wire perimeter outside the Hutchins State Jail, located just a mile down down the road from Hutchins High School. The first blooms of Castilleja, colloquially known here as "prairie fire," seemed to set a field across from the prison ablaze.
Matthew Morgenstern is convinced his Hodgkin's lymphoma was caused by exposure to toxic coal ash from the massive dump right across the road from SCI Fayette, a maximum-security prison in LaBelle, Pennsylvania, where he is currently serving a 5- to 10-year sentence. "In 2010 and until I left in 2013, the water always had a brown tint to it. Not to mention the dust clouds that used to come off the dump trucks ... which we all breathed in.... Every single day I would wake up and there would be a layer of dust on everything," he writes from inside the prison. When Morgenstern was sent back to SCI Fayette in 2016 after he violated parole, he found that the dust issue had abated a bit -- work at the dump has been stalled for a year due to litigation -- but the water still runs brownish and sometimes has "a funky smell." He says he knows that the environment in and around the prison is still "messed up" and he's concerned that his immune system, already weakened from fighting and overcoming cancer, won't be able to withstand another onslaught of toxic exposure. "I myself have no doubt that if I'm kept here at Fayette, I will once again become sick," he writes.
Lockdown at Trans-Pecos Pipeline Site in West Texas Consecrates New Indigenous-Led Resistance Camp (Video)
An Indigenous Water Protector and an Alpine, Texas, resident were arrested Saturday morning after locking themselves to pipe-laying equipment at an Energy Transfer Partner (ETP) easement and work site in Presidio County, Texas. The lockdown temporarily halted construction on the company's 143-mile Trans-Pecos pipeline that, if completed, would carry 1.4 billion cubic feet of fracked gas from West Texas to Mexico every day.
Copyright, Truthout.org. Reprinted with permission.