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Are there really 600 criminals in the migrant caravan at the border?

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By Julia Ainsley and Jacob Soboroff

WASHINGTON — In defending the use of tear gas, troop deployment and other crowd control measures on the border, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said last week that 600 of the 8,500 migrants waiting to enter California from Mexico as part of the Honduran caravan were confirmed as convicted criminals.

NBC News has learned that more than three-quarters of those 600 have been charged with illegal entry into the United States, illegal re-entry after a deportation order, and drunk driving, according to two sources. The remainder have been charged with more serious crimes.

Kirstjen Nielsen, from center, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, tours the border area with San Diego Section Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott, from left, at Borderfield State Park along the United States-Mexico Border fence in San Ysidro, California on November 20, 2018.Sandy Huffaker / AFP – Getty Images file

The breakdown of charges provides context over what has become a fraught political issue. President Donald Trump repeatedly warned of dangers posed by the caravan ahead of the midterm election, even saying there could be terrorists from the Middle East among them

Immigrants routinely cross between ports of entry illegally because they are forced to wait for long periods in dangerous border towns if they attempt to cross at legal ports, and doing so does not make them a public safety threat, said Greg Chen, director of government relations at the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

“Many people who cross the border between ports of entry have valid asylum claims and have previously attempted to cross at ports of entry. People we have talked to have been blocked from entering and forced to return in weeks, or even months,” Chen said.

Still, some of the convictions are for more serious crimes. Those include at least one case each of murder, assault and sexual exploitation of a minor.

“I’d push back on the notion that because the crimes aren’t heinous they are not criminals,” said one official on the condition of anonymity.

Under U.S. law, it is a felony to re-enter the United States after being ordered deported. The Obama administration included these immigrants who attempted reentry as priorities for deportation when it focused Immigration and Customs Enforcement resources on criminals.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker recently used his authority to review an immigration court case that could set precedent for whether multiple convictions of driving under the influence should be taken into account in determining whether someone has “good moral character” and should be ruled ineligible for asylum.

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Revealed: The GLARING error on Theresa May’s begging Brexit letter to Jeremy Corbyn

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THERESA MAY attempted to pile the pressure on Jeremy Corbyn in a three-page letter, telling him she had met all his Brexit demands and urging him to compromise with her. But the Prime Minister made a glaring error that will leave her red-faced.

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Latino commission warns about accuracy in 2020 census, slams administration

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By Suzanne Gamboa

Americans for the first time will be able to respond to the census online next year, but there is skepticism that the change will lead to a more accurate count, particularly for Latinos.

The shift to digital, along with a potential question about U.S. citizenship, language barriers, underfunding and other issues, are combining to potentially make the 2020 census inaccurate and incomplete, according to the National Latino Commission on Census 2020.

“The census is at the greatest risk than it has ever been in our lifetime,” Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, which formed the commission, told NBC News.

The commission held hearings in Los Angeles, New York, San Antonio, Orlando, Florida, and Columbus, Ohio, on the impact of Trump administration’s policies on the census. Dozens of public officials, community organizers and others — many familiar with hard-to-count communities in their geographic area — provided input.

The commission’s report was released Wednesday at the National Press Club in Washington.

“We have the Census Bureau continually telling us everything is on track,” Vargas said. “This is a wake-up call. No. Everything is not fine. The Census Bureau needs to be proceeding, understanding the real problems it is facing and can’t be sugarcoating what is happening throughout the country.”

The Census Bureau declined NBC’s interview request. In response to questions sent by email, as required by the bureau, Michael Cook, a bureau spokesman, responded: “The goal of the 2020 census is a complete and accurate count. We are conducting significant outreach to hard-to-count communities, and it will be easier to respond to the census than ever before.”

The addition of a citizenship question is the largest concern, the commission found. The Supreme Court could deliver a ruling next month on the Trump administration’s plan to ask census takers if they are U.S. citizens, although the timing is not certain.

Grand Central Terminal in New York. Urban areas have higher rates of internet use than rural parts of the U.S., which could affect overall response rates for the digital form of the 2020 census, experts warn.Mario Tama / Getty Images file

In an April hearing, the court appeared willing to allow the question, even though there was agreement between the government and challengers that its inclusion would reduce response rates. In a New York trial challenging the question, a statistics expert from Duke University testified that the Census Bureau’s own research showed that asking citizenship would discourage responses from Latinos and noncitizens.

Members of the National Latino Commission on Census 2020, and witnesses who served on panels at hearings, roundly criticized the inclusion of the citizenship question. The bureau has not tested what effect the question would have on response rates, but is now planning to do so in July.

“Here in Los Angeles, the result of this would be disastrous,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told the commission at a hearing, according to the report.

Questions about online access

Another major concern is the Census Bureau’s plan to push for Americans to respond to the census online, the commission’s report said.

A primarily digital questionnaire raises many red flags, the commission said. Yanidsi Velez-Bonet, a deputy director in Florida with the Hispanic Federation, told the commission that with the lack of access to the internet among many Hispanics, along with language barriers, “we are basically setting ourselves up not to have a fair and accurate census.”

Alex Padilla, California’s secretary of state and a commission co-chair, said during one of the hearings that prioritizing digital responses “was driven as a cost saver, not as a result of new and proven methodologies that are more effective.”

According to the Pew Research Center, 72 percent of white adults in the U.S. used broadband at home in 2018, compared with 57 percent of black Americans and 47 percent of Hispanics.



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Brexit Party set to make European elections HISTORY – largest share of UK vote in 25 YEARS

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NIGEL FARAGE’S Brexit Party is set to make history by commanding the largest share of the UK vote in the European elections for 25 years.

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