Podcast: Wall, slats, barrier at the border

Mexico mapPresident Trump took his campaign for a wall to the US-Mexico border this week, hoping to drum up support for a $5.7 billion barrier while some federal workers struggle to survive without pay because of the government shutdown. Earlier, the president denied that he ever said Mexico would “write a check” to pay for the wall, which was a cornerstone of his campaign. Trump has also said the barrier could be built out of steel slats instead of concrete. In this podcast, Tamara Keith of NPR examines the history of Trump’s wall and how his statements sometimes contradict each other.

How Trump’s national security threat to build wall would face legal challenges

President Donald TrumpPresident Trump says he’s considering inflating what he claims is a crisis into a national emergency so he can find a way to build a wall at the US-Mexico border that Congress has so far refused to fund. The federal government remains in a partial shutdown over the $5 billion the Trump administration is holding out for to fund construction of the wall. Reuters has more on the twin legal challenges the Trump administration is likely to face if it decides to declare the situation a national emergency to circumvent congressional funding.

Estate debate: mothers, stepfathers and dead heirs

A complicated estate case has one heir wondering whether he should file a petition to be named executor of his stepfather’s will after his mother left everything to the stepfather following her death. The Moneyist at Marketwatch has advice for the heir, who says his stepfather’s will leaves everything in his estate to the stepfather’s deceased daughter. What should an heir do in a situation like this? Read why The Moneyist says that the heir has one thing in his favor.

Bankruptcy filings drop to 10-year low

Both consumer and corporate bankruptcy filings are at their lowest point in 10 years, according to a new report by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. The number of new filings has been cut by more than half since 2010, reports Marketwatch. The numbers show there were nearly 1.6 million filings as of September 2010, with 1.53 million of those consumer bankruptcies. In September 2018, there were more than 770,000 bankruptcy filings, with 97% of those on behalf of consumers. Roberts’ report shows that bankruptcy filings haven’t been this low since 2007. Marketwatch has more on why the falling number of bankruptcy filings might not be the good news you might expect.

Video: Why disability rights are central to social justice work

disabilityThe Ford Foundation just produced this video that shows how disability inclusion has changed their work and improved their impact. You can read more about the Ford Foundation’s policy about including disabled people in their work here. Noorain Khan with the Ford Foundation talks about why disability rights are central to social justice work.

Video: Fact-checking Trump’s latest border claims

President Donald TrumpPresident Trump continues to keep parts of the federal government shut down over his demands for $5 billion in funding for his proposed wall along the Mexican border. CNN’s Dana Bash and Abby Phillip fact check Trump’s latest claims about the wall that he once claimed Mexico would pay for.

Video: A visitor’s guide to the border wall

Mexico mapWhile President Trump and Congress continue to wrestle over the $5 billion the administration wants to build a wall along the Mexican border, filmmaker David Freid noticed something was missing: no one was talking to the people who actually live there. So, Freid went to Big Bend National Park, which contains 13 percent of the US-Mexico border. Once there, he talked to Mike Davidson, the captain of the only international ferry operating on the Rio Grande river. According to The Atlantic: 

Freid’s short documentary Ferryman at the Wall is the story of two countries that, for the most part, peacefully coexist where it matters most: at the dividing line. “When there’s a fire in Big Bend National Park, residents from Boquillas, Mexico, come up to help fight it,” Freid said. Davidson, an American, has homes in both Texas and Mexico; he speaks Spanish and English fluently. Freid found that this cultural melding was commonplace in the towns adjacent to Big Bend.

“There isn’t just a straight line where one country ends and the other begins,” Freid said. “People’s family and friends extend in both directions. The land on either side of the Rio Grande is identical, and the people are close to identical as well. The two countries bleed into each other.”

Thanks to The Atlantic for making this video available.

Appeals court to decide if immigrant children get court-appointed attorneys

immigrant child in custodyEleven federal appeals court judges have heard testimony in a lawsuit over whether undocumented children have the right to a government-paid lawyer. Lawyers for an immigrant minor who was unrepresented in immigration hearings argue that the Fifth Amendment guarantees the minor the right to an attorney, according to KPIX. 

“We want a ruling that children facing deportation are entitled to legal representation,” said C.J.’s lawyer Ahilan Arulanantham, told reporters after the hearing. Arulanantham, who is Senior Counsel at the ACLU of Southern California, argued the case before the judges.

Cost is an issue. If each of the 102,000 migrant juveniles apprehended near the US-Mexico border were provided an attorney, it would cost more than $276 million, KPIX reports. Meanwhile, the minor plaintiff in the lawsuit is attending high school in Los Angeles while he awaits the panel’s decision, which is expected in 2019.

Asylum claims jump nearly 70% in 2018

migrant familiesDespite the Trump administration’s tougher immigration policies, the Department of Homeland Security says the number of migrants seeking asylum in the US along the border with Mexico went up nearly 70% from 2017 to 2018, according to CNN. You may recall that President Trump signed a proclamation in November preventing migrants who enter the country illegally from seeking asylum. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan says the dramatic increase in asylum-seekers is “straining border security.” He also says Congress needs to “Address these vulnerabilities in our immigration system which continue to negatively impact border security efforts.”

Disabled senior swindled out of savings by son

disabilityAn 81-year-old disabled senior is seeking advice after signing over his life savings to his son, who he says is refusing to return the money. In a letter to The Moneyist at Marketwatch, the man says he financially supported his son, an artist, for years after raising him alone following a divorce. The disabled parent had planned to move into a long-term care facility, and his son advised him to place his savings in the son’s name for protection. However, after the father’s plans changed, he says his son is refusing to transfer his savings back into his name. What kind of advice would you offer the senior? Read more about the dilemma at Marketwatch.