Inspection reveals unnecessary deaths, unsanitary conditions at Memphis VA

BY , WREG

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A federal review of the Memphis Veteran Affairs Medical Center shows some major violations.

From unsanitary conditions to veterans unnecessarily dying in their care, there are a lot of areas in need of improvement.

The inspection was conducted over a week-long period in January.

Veteran Sean Higgins worked at the hospital for a decade before being fired for what the VA called “disruptive behavior” and has reported several violations to the state noted in the review.

“We deserve better than what we’re getting. We truly do,” he said. “They are truly a house of horrors.”

Along with unsanitary conditions, such as soiled furniture and dirty air ducts where food is prepared, there are also treatment concerns.

In a two-year period, nine patients developed pressure ulcers while at the facility, 16 patients with serious treatable conditions died at the facility and two patients developed catheter-related bloodstream infections.

“Out of every 2,000 veterans, a veteran dies in the Memphis VA and that’s unacceptable,” Higgins said.

The hospital blamed the issues on lack of communication, personnel and training.

They’ve hired more people and said they’re working to fix all of the listed problems.

“This has been going on for far too long,” Higgins said.

The report says the facility generally has stable executive leadership and active engagement with employees.

However, only half of the patients said they’d recommend the hospital to their friends and family.

Higgins says it’s clear drastic changes need to be made.

“They need to fire everyone from the director on down to front-line management. It’s the only way you’re going to get the corrosive environment out of that facility.”

He says he’s been spearheading this fight for years now and hopes others will speak up and join him.

The VA released the following statement:

Memphis VA Medical Center appreciates the inspector general’s review, which focuses mostly on events that occurred under the facility’s previous leadership dating back to 2014.

Since then, VA has appointed a new facility director, made a number of key leadership changes and lowered the facility’s mortality rate to .81 percent – among the lowest of all VA facilities in this region.

Our leadership team continues to make significant improvements in patient care, customer service, and infrastructure.

While the inspector general found a number of opportunities for improvement, we welcome the scrutiny and consider this an opportunity to redouble our efforts to serve Veterans.

The Memphis VA Medical Center is under new leadership and on a new path, and we look forward to working with Veterans, community stakeholders and local and national VA leaders in order to complete all of the inspector general’s recommendations.

We also reached out to Congressman Steve Cohen’s Office since he’s been vocal about improving conditions at the hospital.

“While the report has some disturbing findings,” Cohen said, “it also notes that, under its relatively new and permanent leadership, it has greater stability than before and that progress on all fronts is being made.”

More: https://wreg.com/2018/06/20/inspection-reveals-unnecessary-deaths-unsanitary-conditions-at-memphis-va/

Melania wears ‘I really don’t care do u?’ jacket on migrant visit

BBC – First Lady Melania Trump has been criticised for her choice of jacket worn on a trip to a migrant child detention centre in Texas.

Mrs Trump was spotted in the coat, which featured graffiti writing on the back with the words “I really don’t care do u?”, as she boarded a plane.

Her spokeswoman said “there was no hidden message” in the former fashion model’s sartorial choice.

The $39 (£29) jacket from Zara caused an uproar on social media.

US President Donald Trump later tweeted his wife’s coat “refers to the Fake News Media”.

Hours after the photo of her departure outfit went viral, she again donned the jacket to disembark from the plane at an Air Force base outside Washington DC.

She ignored questions from reporters as she entered the presidential motorcade.

Mrs Trump’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham lambasted US media on Twitter for focusing on her fashion choice.

Mrs Trump was not seen wearing the coat when she first arrived in Texas, but had it on again when she returned to Washington DC.


Pretty tone deaf

Katty Kay, BBC World News presenter, Washington

Melania Trump’s empathetic visit to the Mexican border risks being overshadowed by the unempathetic message on the back of her coat.

It stretches credulity that the first lady would make the effort to fly down to Texas, visit children, talk to staff and engage in this heartbreaking story only to deliberately undermine it with a callous choice of clothing.

It’s not clear how this was allowed to slip through the careful White House protocols but it’s a mistake on the part of her staff.

I give her the benefit of the doubt on compassion – but if she chose to wear this without thinking, it was pretty tone deaf.

Mrs Trump made the previously unannounced visit to a child migrant detention centre on Thursday, saying she wanted to help reunite migrant children who were separated from their families.

Her tour of the federally-funded New Hope Children’s Shelter in McAllen, Texas, housing dozens of Central American children came as her husband’s administration sought to quell the firestorm over migrant separations.

The majority of the 55 children housed at the facility crossed the border unaccompanied, but some were separated from their parents as part of the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy towards illegal immigration.

Programme director Rogelio De La Cerda Jr told Mrs Trump that the majority of the children had arrived from Guatemala, and are normally “very distraught” when they first arrive.

Mrs Trump mingled with children during their lessons, asking them how long they had been in the facility and how often they are able to speak to their parents.

“Be kind and nice to others, OK?,” she said, with her words at times being translated into Spanish.

“Good luck,” she told another group of children.

Social media goes into meltdown

Twitter users were quick to criticise what they saw as the first lady’s jacket faux pas and what some called the not-so-hidden message.

One user made the point the jacket would likely have been received far better online, had it been worn on any other occasion.

This is not the first time Mrs Trump has come under fire for her wardrobe.

Ahead of a visit with victims of Hurricane Harvey last year, photos of the first lady heading to the airport in stiletto heels drew ire on social media.

She changed into trainers before landing in Texas, but people still questioned her decision.

More: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44570688

Supreme Court Ruling May Make Online Buys Pricier

Justices allow states to collect sales tax
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 21, 2018 10:00 AM CDT
Updated Jun 21, 2018 2:11 PM CDT

(NEWSER) – The Supreme Court delivered a huge decision Thursday about online shopping, ruling that states can collect sales taxes on internet purchases. The 5-4 decision in Wayfair vs. South Dakota overturns a 1992 ruling—written in the age of mail-order catalogs—essentially declaring that states could only collect taxes on businesses that had a physical presence within their borders. The new ruling is seen as a win not just for states, who say they have missed out on billions in revenue, but also for brick-and-mortar stores that have long complained of being at a disadvantage, reports the Wall Street Journal.

  • Amazon, others: Online retailers such as Wayfair, Overstock, Etsy, eBay, and Newegg were taking a hit on share prices. Amazon, too, though to a lesser extent because it already collects state sales taxes on direct purchases. It doesn’t require independent merchants on its site to do so, however. Generally, shares of online retailers were down and those of brick-and-mortar chains such as Target were up, reports MarketWatch.
  • Your bottom line: “If you are buying a lot of furniture that you are having delivered to your house from a pretty big seller, you are going to start paying taxes,” a National Retail Federation exec tells CNNMoney. But if you buy smaller artisanal items from Etsy or eBay, for example, the ruling may not matter as much because the decision is likely to affect bigger-ticket online retailers. Much remains unclear, however, until states begin revising laws and setting thresholds.
  • Seeking clarity: Politico notes that both supporters and critics of the decision now want Congress to provide some clarity. “Remote retailers—many of whom are small businesses—may soon be forced to keep track of the thousands of taxing jurisdictions across the country, many with their own rates, bases, rules and regulations,” says an official with the American Legislative Exchange Council. “Congress remains the only solution to this threat.”
  • The votes: They didn’t break down along the familiar lines: Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority decision, joined by Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch, per USA Today. Chief Justice John Roberts dissented, arguing that online sales were such an important part of the economy that only Congress should change the rules. He was joined by Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.
  • Aiming at Wayfair: Kennedy’s opinion singled out online furniture seller Wayfair, notes the New York Times. “Its advertising seeks to create an image of beautiful, peaceful homes, but it also says that ‘one of the best things about buying through Wayfair is that we do not have to charge sales tax,'” Kennedy wrote. “What Wayfair ignores in its subtle offer to assist in tax evasion is that creating a dream home assumes solvent state and local governments.” (In a statement, Wayfair says it already collects sales taxes on most orders and doesn’t expect to see a big hit to business.)
  • Where it doesn’t matter: Five states do not have sales taxes at all, per the Tax Foundation: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon. Of the rest, 31 states already have some kind of online sales tax, and it’s safe bet that others will join the ranks.

More: http://www.newser.com/story/260936/supreme-court-says-states-can-collect-online-sales-tax.html

Trump administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ border prosecutions led to time served, $10 fees

Brad Heath, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration border crackdown that has separated thousands of children from their parents is built on a mountain of small-time criminal prosecutions that typically end with people sentenced to spend no additional time in jail and pay a $10 fee, according to a USA TODAY analysis of thousands of cases.

The “zero tolerance” push along the U.S. border with Mexico was meant to deter migrants by bringing criminal charges against everyone caught entering the United States illegally. In addition, it served as the legal machinery for splitting children from parents who were accompanying them across the border. Since the crackdown began in May, border agents have separated about 2,300 children from their families.

The administration gave little sign that it would ease that stance Thursday despite an international backlash so intense that even some of the president’s allies had threatened to break with the White House. The Justice Department said there would be “no change” in its enforcement push, and Trump insisted the government must to maintain “a very tough policy” along the border.

Anexamination of thousands of pages of federal court records show that those cases are seldom more than a symbolic undertaking. In many cases, migrants are taken from an immigration holding facility, bused to federal court, quickly plead guilty to having entered the country illegally, and are sentenced to whatever time they have already spent in the government’s custody and a $10 court fee. Then they’re returned to immigration authorities to be processed for deportation.

“There is no reason for the government to do this other than to be cruel and send the message that you are not welcome,” said Marjorie Meyers, the chief federal public defender in southern Texas. “The thing that’s just horrible is that they’re using it to take the children.”

USA TODAY examined 2,598 written judgments in border-crossing cases filed in federal courts along the border since mid-May. In nearly 70 percent of those cases, migrants pleaded guilty and immediately received a sentence of time served, meaning they would spend no additional time in jail. Another 13 percent were sentenced to unsupervised probation, including a condition that they not illegally re-enter the United States. In both cases, that meant they would immediately be returned to immigration officials to be processed for deportation, leaving them in essentially the same position as if they had not been prosecuted.

Still, Meyers and other defense lawyers said that by the time some of their clients returned to the immigration facilities where they had been held, their children were gone.

President Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order instructing officials to attempt to keep children with their parents. But he also left in place the zero-tolerance policy that pushed the parents into federal court.

We don’t like to see families separated,” Trump said after signing it. “At the same time, we don’t want people coming into our country illegally. This takes care of the problem.”

Exactly how it would take care of the problem remained unclear Thursday. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement that it “will continue to refer for prosecution adults who cross the border illegally.” And a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, Sarah Isgur Flores, said in a statement there had been “no change” in its policy of prosecuting everyone who crosses the border illegally.

Still, defense lawyers said Thursday there were hints the government might have softened its position. Border agents bused 17 people to court in McAllen, Texas on Thursday, then abruptly returned them to an immigration facility without filing charges, assistant U.S. attorney James Sturgis said during a hearing. Meyers said the Border Patrol told her staff that they were taking people who had been caught along with their children off of the docket.

It wasn’t clear whether the government might charge them in the future.

“They were not prosecuted today but they are still separated from their children. They’re still having to endure the pain of being separated,” said Azalea Aleman-Bendiks, a public defender. “Every day that goes by, these children are continuing to suffer the pain of being separated from their parents.”

 Since the beginning of June, authorities have brought criminal charges against at least 4,174 people for entering the U.S. illegally along the southwest border. Hundreds of others were charged with the more serious crime of re-entering the country after having been deported.

Justice Department officials did not respond to questions about why the government pursues such minor cases so vigorously. Last month, when he announced the crackdown to a gathering of police officials in San Diego, Attorney General Jeff Sessions offered this explanation: “We are not going to let this country be overwhelmed. People are not going to caravan or otherwise stampede our border,” he said.

And he was clear on the consequences of that plan: “If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law.”

Stephen McCue, the chief federal public defender in New Mexico said he doubted the threat of a misdemeanor conviction would be much of a deterrent. “It’s a life or death decision for people,” he said. “No one brings their kids up here just for the heck of it. They come because they have to.”

Federal prosecutors have been bringing those charges against some border-crossers for more than a decade, but seldom did so in cases involving children because of the risk of breaking up families. Even when they didn’t end in much of a sentence, prosecutors used them as a way to identify repeat offenders. “It’s graduated punishment,” said Kenneth Magidson, who was the U.S. attorney in Houston during the Obama administration. “You have to start at square one. Next time it’s going to be more.”

Still, he said, until the start of the administration’s zero-tolerance push, prosecutors had the ability to decline to bring charges if they thought the harm would outweigh the benefit. “When you have a zero tolerance policy on any kind of crime, you take away the discretion that allows us to look at cases individually, to balance the scales of justice,” Magidson said.

The zero-tolerance push has brought a swift increase in the number of minor criminal cases filed in federal courts along the border. The number of criminal filings in some the courthouses in Brownsville, Laredo and McAllen, Texas more than doubled, court records show.

Those records seldom reflect whether the migrants charged with crimes were arrested with their child, let alone whether they were separated or where the child ended up. Defense lawyers said they try to alert judges when people have been separated, but in many cases, the assembly line moves so fast that there’s no record on the courts’ public docket. In at least a few cases, however, judges have ordered the government to do more.

On Monday, agents brought a Honduran man, Mariano Torres-Perdomo, into court to face a misdemeanor charge of entering the country illegally. Border agents had caught him two days earlier crossing into Texas with his 6-year-old son. He quickly pleaded guilty. But court records show that before Magistrate Judge Ignacio Torteya would sentence the man, he demanded to know what had happened to his child. A prosecutor replied that he thought the boy was in San Diego, but couldn’t be sure whether he was in California or Texas.

It took the government until the next day to notify the judge that the boy was in a detention facility in El Cajon, Calif., 1,400 miles away. Torteya sentenced the man to time served and a $10 fee.

In El Paso on Thursday, Josue Saul Aguilar-Sanchez waited in a federal courtroom in handcuffs and a blue jail uniform to find out what had happened to his 16-year-old daughter, who crossed the border with him last week.

His lawyer, Alex Almanzan, peppered a Border Patrol agent with questions abut what had happened to the girl. The agent replied that he did not know anything about where she was being kept.

More: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/06/21/trumps-zero-tolerance-border-prosecutions-led-time-served-and-10-fee/722237002/

Memphis Grizzlies select Jaren Jackson Jr. and Jevon Carter in NBA Draft

, Memphis Commercial Appeal

More than two hours after the Memphis Grizzlies selected Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson Jr. with the No. 4 overall pick Thursday night in the 2018 NBA draft, the 18-year-old had an announcement that will almost certainly endear him to this barbecue-loving city.

“Y’all about to get a big rib eater,” Jackson declared during a conference call with Memphis-area reporters.

What the Grizzlies will get on the court from their highest draft pick since 2009, at least immediately, remains uncertain. At 6-foot-11, Jackson is a tantalizing talent, particularly on the defensive end. He is the reigning Big Ten defensive player of the year after averaging three blocks per game in his lone college season.

`Defense also factored heavily into what Memphis did in the second round Thursday night, selecting West Virginia point guard Jevon Carter with the No. 32 overall pick. He was a consensus second team all-American as a senior and the two-time defending Big 12 defensive player of the year.

“We got a shot of ‘Grit and Grind’ back tonight,” Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace said late Thursday night. He went on to call Jackson the best shot blocker in the draft and Jackson the top perimeter defender.

Carter worked out for Memphis earlier this month. Jackson, meanwhile, did not and it added to the mystery of what he could do in the NBA moving forward.

It will present an interesting dynamic given Grizzlies owner Robert Pera’s hopes that the team will win more than 50 games next season with aging stars Mike Conley and Marc Gasol back in the fold.

“I definitely want to come in and do whatever it takes to win, but at the same time I know that I’m young and I think that there’s always growing to go,” said Jackson, who is the highest NBA draft pick out of Michigan State since Magic Johnson.

“Every player has to go through a lot of growing curves and I think with the vets they got there, it’ll help me speed up the process because you got a guy like Marc Gasol who can give me the ins and outs of being a big and you’re playing with a point guard like Mike Conley, who’s just ridiculous. He’s just ridiculous. He’s so smart. I’ve been watching him play for years, and they’re established.”

In Memphis, a buzz filtered through FedExForum Thursday night during the moments before the Grizzlies were on the clock in the first round.

 On the Jumbotron, ESPN had just announced a trade between the Atlanta Hawks and the Dallas Mavericks. Dallas would get Slovenian sensation Luka Doncic. Atlanta would receive Oklahoma star Trae Young. But the deal would only work if the status quo prevailed and Young remained available at No. 5.

The Grizzlies ultimately obliged, choosing Jackson to a mixture of cheers and jeers from the fans at FedExForum who aren’t sure exactly how this draft pick will fit in with the franchise’s current trajectory.

“I’m just trying to come in and extend the culture they’ve already set,” Jackson said. “I think the unique thing about Memphis aside from other teams is we have a unique mix of a bunch of different things. You have a new coach, mixed with veteran players, mixed with young players who are just as excited to be there. So there’s a lot of people who can teach you, a lot of new things you can learn, as well as a winning culture with the front office, that wants to be the best team in the Western Conference.”

Added Wallace, who envisions Jackson playing at power forward and center initially: “Because he’s a young colt type of guy and got so much upside and room to grow doesn’t mean he can’t give you something right now.”

In New York, Jackson walked the stage and shook NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s hand wearing a dapper pink crushed velvet jacket. He then conducted an interview with ESPN alongside his parents.

Jaren Jackson Sr. played 12 seasons in the NBA with nine different teams and won an NBA championship with the Spurs in 1999, the same year Jaren Jackson Jr. was born. Jackson’s mother, Terri, is currently the director of operations for the WNBA’s Players’ Association.

Both parents flashed their championship ring from 1999 to the TV cameras.

Jackson, meanwhile, flashed his engaging personality and made it easy to forget the pre-draft rumblings suggesting he didn’t want to be selected by the the Grizzlies.

In recent days, reports emerged that Jackson wouldn’t share his medical records with the Grizzlies and hoped to avoid Memphis. On Thursday night, Jackson insisted those rumors were “a tad out of context,” and that scheduling conflicts led him to not work out for the team before the draft.

Wallace confirmed the team received trade offers for its draft picks, but ultimately decided none were worth pursuing with Jackson and Carter still on the board.

 Instead, Jackson said he received a phone call from Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff in the middle of his media obligations Wednesday in New York and it appears to have convinced him the Grizzlies were a better fit than he initially thought.

And so as he walked off the Barclays Center stage in Brooklyn, Jackson was shown on camera singing lyrics from Memphis rapper BlocBoy JB’s song, “Shoot.” He later shouted out Yo Gotti and Young Dolph, noting he planned to listen to them back at his hotel and on the plane ride to his new home Friday morning.

“I was happy to go anywhere,” Jackson said, “but definitely when you sit down and think about it and think about the team, take a deep breath and exhale, I’m actually glad it was Memphis.”

More: https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/sports/nba/grizzlies/2018/06/21/2018-nba-draft-memphis-grizzlies-draft-jaren-jackson-jr-no-4-pick-michigan-state/718461002/

Weekend Fun

THU – MON: Memphis Redbirds homestand with “Darth” Bader bobbleheads to the 1st 1500 Friday

FRI: Britt Floyd (Pink Floyd tribute) at The Orpheum, Mike Farris and The Roseland Rythym Review at The Shell, Almost Elton John at Lafayette’s, Blunts and Blondes, Bommer and Hesh at New Daisy

SAT: Forever Abbey Road at Lafayette’s, Feast on the Farm Gala at The Agricenter to benefit agricultural education programs, The LEGO Movie at CTI Theater at Pink Palace

SUN: “Loss and Found” premiere movie screening, silent auction, drinks, etc at the Dogs 2nd Chance Rescue benefit event at The Rumba Room at 2, Ray Wylie Hubbard at The Shell

More here

Restoration Saturday to Help Reinstate Drivers (this Saturday)

From the Office of District Attorney Amy Weirich

For Immediate Release

June 19, 2018 – Memphis drivers whose licenses have been cancelled, suspended or revoked will have an opportunity to get “renewed, restored and relieved” on Restoration Saturday this weekend, Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich said Tuesday.

Five churches throughout the city each will host representatives from the Tennessee Department of Safety, Maximus (child support), the DA’s Office (expungement), General Sessions Criminal Court Clerk’s Office, and Memphis City Court Clerk’s Office to help get drivers back in compliance.

“Each year we have roughly 30,000 cases of drivers charged with driving on revoked licenses and that’s causing problems for everyone, both on the streets and in the already crowded courtrooms,” said Gen. Weirich. “Restoration Saturday will offer drivers a chance to either get their licenses back on the spot, or to get them on the right path to doing so.”

The event will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday (June 23) at these locations:

-Pursuit of God Church at 3171 Signal St.;

-Rising Sun Outreach at 5255 Tulane Road;

-Impact Baptist Church at 2025 Clifton Ave.;

-Pavilion of Hope at 4170 Riverdale Road, and

-Iglesia Nueva Vida at 4945 Winchester Road.

The idea for the Restoration Saturday grew out of a meeting last month of a group called Pastors, Police and Prosecutors whose broad-based mission is the betterment of Memphis.

More at scdag.com

Fact-checking Trump on immigration, family separations

By Tal Kopan, CNN

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump on Tuesday delivered a stream-of-consciousness-style speech on immigration as furor over his administration’s separation of families at the border reaches a fever pitch.

But his speech at a small business event in Washington contained several factual inaccuracies. Here is what Trump said, and what the reality is.
Trump said the family separations at the border are “a result of Democrat-supported loopholes in our federal laws” that he said could be easily changed.
“These are crippling loopholes that cause family separation, which we don’t want,” Trump said.
The reality: Trump’s administration made a decision to prosecute 100% of adults caught crossing the border illegally even if they came with children, and thus are separating parents from their kids at the border with no clear plan to reunite them after the parents return from jail and court proceedings.
The administration has long wanted to roll back a law unanimously passed under President George W. Bush and a court settlement dating back decades but most recently affirmed under the Obama administration — citing those two provisions as “loopholes.” Both were designed to protect immigrant children from dangers like human trafficking and to provide minimum standards for their care, including turning them over to the Department of Health and Human Services for resettlement within three days of arrest, as opposed to being held in lengthy detention, and dictating that children with their families also cannot be held in detention or jail-like conditions longer than three weeks.
The administration has complained the laws make it harder to immediately deport or reject immigrants at the border, and that they are not able to detain families indefinitely.

False claim: Thousands of judges

Trump said his administration was hiring “thousands and thousands” of immigration judges, that the US already has “thousands” of immigration judges and that other countries don’t have immigration judges.
In reality, there the Justice Department’s immigration courts division has 335 judges nationwide, with more than 100 more judges budgeted for, according to a DOJ spokesman.
Because of a massive backlog in the immigration courts, it can take years for those cases to work their way to completion, and many immigrants are allowed to work and live in the US in the meantime, putting down roots. The funding for immigration courts and judges has increased only modestly over the years as funding and resources for enforcement have increased dramatically. A proposal from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to address the family separation issue would double the number of judges to 750.
Trump’s comments Tuesday echoed remarks he made last month. In a May Fox News interview, he claimed the United States was “essentially the only country that has judges” to handle immigration cases. But that is incorrect.
A number of other countries have immigration court systems or a part of the judiciary reserved for immigration and asylum cases, including Sweden, the United Kingdom and Canada.

False claim: Virtually all immigrants disappear

Trump also claimed falsely that when immigrants are let into the country to have their cases heard by a court, they virtually all go into hiding.
“And by the way, when we release the people, they never come back to the judge, anyway. They’re gone,” Trump said. “Do you know if a person comes in and puts one foot on our ground, it’s essentially, ‘Welcome to America, welcome to our country.’ You never get them out because they take their name, they bring the name down, they file it, then they let the person go. … Like 3% come back.”
In reality, the number of immigrants who don’t show up to court proceedings is far lower. And many of the immigrants released from detention are given monitoring devices such as ankle bracelets to ensure they return.
According to the annual Justice Department yearbook of immigration statistics from fiscal year 2016, the most recent year for which data is available, 25% of immigration court cases were decided “in absentia” — meaning the immigrant wasn’t present in court. In that year, there were 137,875 cases. The number of cases decided “in absentia” between fiscal year 2012 and fiscal year 2016 was between 11% and 28%.
When White House legislative chief Marc Short made a similarly inaccurate claim on Monday, the White House pointed to a statistic about the high percentage of deportation orders for undocumented children that were delivered in absentia, but amid total case completions for minors, the number of in absentia orders has ranged from 40% to 50% in recent years.
Advocates for immigrants attribute some of the missed hearings to often not receiving a court notice mailed to an old address or not having an attorney who can adequately explain the process to the child. Studies have shown that with legal advice and guidance, immigrants are far more likely to show up for hearings and have their claims ultimately be successful.

False claim: Countries are sending bad eggs to the US

Trump said that countries deserve to be punished for illegal immigration, and that they “send” bad eggs to the US.
“They send these people up, and they’re not sending their finest,” Trump said.
He continued: ‘When countries abuse us by sending people up — not their best — we’re not going to give any more aid to those countries.”
In fact, there is no evidence that countries “send” anyone in particular to the US — rather analyses of recent immigration flows have shown that in recent years, a much higher number of Central Americans have come to the US fleeing rampant gang violence and instability in especially the countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Experts who study the countries agree that cutting aid would only further destabilize the region, likely making illegal immigration worse, not better.
Though gang members do cross the border illegally alongside those fleeing violence, the administration has never been able to provide numbers showing that those are a large percentage of the cases. Only a handful of such prosecutions occur a year, while more than 300,000 people were apprehended trying to cross the border illegally last fiscal year. Nearly 120,000 defensive asylum applications were filed last year, according to government data, meaning those individuals believed they were fleeing violent situations back home.

False Claim: Mexico isn’t helping the US

Mexico, Trump said, “does nothing for us.”
As for Mexico’s contribution, experts say the country’s crackdown on immigrants within its borders has been a major help to the US in recent years. According to statistics from the US and Mexican governments compiled by the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute and shared with CNN, over the past three years, Mexico has deported tens of thousands more migrants back to the primary countries in Central America that drive immigration north. Each of the last three years, Mexican removals exceeded US removals to those countries.
Mexico is also apprehending tens of thousands of Central Americans before they reach the US. According to the data, Mexico intercepted 173,000 Central Americans in fiscal year 2015, 151,000 in fiscal year 2016 and just under 100,000 in fiscal year 2017.
In the past two years, Mexico has lagged behind the US in apprehensions, but Migration Policy Institute President Andrew Selee, an expert on Mexican policy, said that could be due to a number of factors including smugglers successfully changing their routes to avoid detection or relations with Trump.
More: https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/19/politics/fact-check-trump-family-separations-immigration/index.html