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Daily Archives: July 28, 2014

The Surge of Unaccompanied Children from Central America

The Surge of Unaccompanied Children from Central America – Root Causes and Policy Solutions, bDan Restrepo and Ann Garcia | July 24, 2014

“Over the past few years, and in particular over the past few months, the number of children and families leaving the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras and arriving in neighboring countries and at our southern border has grown significantly. Already in fiscal year 2014, more than 57,000 children have arrived in the United States, double the number who made it to the U.S. southern border in FY 2013. The number of families arriving at the border, consisting mostly of mothers with infants and toddlers, has increased in similar proportions. In fiscal year 2013, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, apprehended fewer than 10,000 families per year; yet, more than 55,000 families were apprehended in the first nine months of fiscal year 2014 alone. The majority of unaccompanied children and families who are arriving come from a region of Central America known as the “Northern Triangle,” where high rates of violence and homicide have prevailed in recent years and economic opportunity is increasingly hard to come by. Officials believe a total of at least 90,000 children will arrive on the U.S.-Mexico border by the end of this fiscal year in September. This brief aims to shed light on this complex situation by putting the numbers of people leaving the Northern Triangle into context; analyzing the broad host of drivers in Central America that have caused a significant uptick in children leaving their countries; and prescribing a series of foreign policy steps to facilitate management of this crisis and also to address the long-term root causes pushing these children to flee their home countries. This brief, however, does not delve into the needed domestic policy changes in the areas of immigration and refugee law.”

Free Exercise of Religion by Closely Held Corporations – CRS

Free Exercise of Religion by Closely Held Corporations: Implications of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. Cynthia Brougher, Legislative Attorney. July 23, 2014 “One of the ongoing controversies related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been the scope of exemption from certain health care coverage requirements, including the contraceptive coverage requirement. Though closely divided, the U.S. Supreme Court’sContinue Reading

How Large-Scale US Surveillance is Harming Journalism, Law and American Democracy

With Liberty to Monitor All – How Large-Scale US Surveillance is Harming Journalism, Law, and American Democracy. Human Rights Watch / ACLU, July 2014. “The United States government today is implementing a wide variety of surveillance  programs that, thanks to developments in its technological capacity, allow it to scoop up  personal information and the content ofContinue Reading

Tree and forest effects on air quality and human health in the United States

Tree and forest effects on air quality and human health in the United States. David J. Nowak, Satoshi Hirabayashi, Allison Bodine, Eric Greenfield. Environmental Pollution, October 2014. “Trees remove air pollution by the interception of particulate matter on plant surfaces and the absorption of gaseous pollutants through the leaf stomata. However, the magnitude and value of the effects of trees andContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – CFPB, Drinking Water, Media Ownership, Railroad Retirement, Security Clearances

CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU: Opportunity Exists to Improve Transparency of Civil Penalty Fund Activities, GAO-14-551: Published: Jun 26, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 28, 2014. DRINKING WATER: EPA Program to Protect Underground Sources from Injection of Fluids Associated with Oil and Gas Production Needs Improvement, GAO-14-555: Published: Jun 27, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 28, 2014. MEDIA OWNERSHIP: FCC Should Review the Effects ofContinue Reading

FTC Recommends Mobile Industry Changes to Combat Mobile Cramming

News release: “In a report issued today, the Federal Trade Commission staff recommends steps that mobile carriers and other companies should take to prevent consumers from being stuck with unauthorized charges on their mobile phone bills, an unlawful practice known as mobile cramming. The report focuses on the multi-billion dollar business known as carrier billing, whichContinue Reading

The hallowed ground of World War I, then and now – WaPo

“Today marks 100 years since the start of WW I. On July 28, 1914, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria the month before, thrusting the world into a war unlike any seen before. It would rage on until November 1918, killing more than 5 million troopsContinue Reading

Social Security Board of Trustees: No Change in Projected Year of Trust Fund Reserve Depletion

“The Social Security Board of Trustees today released its annual report on the long-term financial status of the Social Security Trust Funds. The combined asset reserves of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trust Funds are projected to become depleted in 2033, unchanged from last year, with 77 percent of benefits still payableContinue Reading