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January 18, 2019

Immigrant detainees have to use three days worth of wages to purchase tuna or a miniature deodorant at a California immigrant detention center, Reuters reports.

Daily wages may be as little as a few cents an hour at the Adelanto Detention Facility in California, and a can of commissary tuna costs $3.25 — more than four times the price at a nearby Target, per Reuters.

Immigration activists say facilities like Adelanto intentionally limit access to essentials like toothpaste and even food in an effort to force or coerce inmates into cheap labor. The paltry wages are then redirected back into commissaries where detainees buy ramen noodles and soap. A spokesman for the Geo Group, which owns the Adelanto facility and is the nation's largest for-profit prison operator, denied these allegations, saying the meals served are approved by dieticians, the labor program is strictly voluntary and wage rates are federally mandated, Reuters reports.

Concerns about commissary in U.S. immigration lockups aren't new — a 2017 report from the U.S. Office of the Inspector General documented problems at ICE lockups, finding spoiled, moldy and expired food at some, per Reuters.

Eleven U.S. senators sent letters last November to Geo Group and CoreCivic, the nation's second-largest for-profit prison operator, calling out the "perverse profit incentive at the core of the private prison business," Reuters reports. Marianne Dodson

1:46 a.m.

After the House of Representatives passed a resolution Tuesday condemning President Trump's "racist comments" against four Democratic congresswomen, Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) filed articles of impeachment against the president.

Trump tweeted at the lawmakers — all women of color — to "go back" to their home countries. In his resolution, Green wrote that "Trump has, by his statements, brought the high office of the president of the United States in contempt, ridicule, disgrace, and disrepute, has sown discord among the people of the United States, has demonstrated that he is unfit to be president, and has betrayed his trust as president of the United States to the manifest injury of the people of the United States, and has committed a high misdemeanor in office."

Green told Democratic leaders earlier in the day what he planned on doing, The Washington Post reports, and they now have three choices: let the vote proceed, attempt to table the impeachment articles, or refer them to the House Judiciary Committee. Under House rules, Green can force a vote in two legislative days. More than 80 members of the House of Representatives have said they want to launch an impeachment inquiry.

Democrats are divided on what to do about impeachment, with some all for it and others — especially those who represent districts won by Trump in 2016 — wary. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said she would rather the American people vote Trump out next year, and while Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) supports impeachment, he told the Post, "We're trying to keep the caucus together as we respond to the most lawless administration of our lifetimes. I'm enough of a political pragmatist to believe that you call votes when you think you can win them, not when you think you can lose them." Catherine Garcia

1:01 a.m.

It sounds like the premise of a horror movie or a Floridian fever dream — meth-addicted alligators cause chaos after crawling out of the sewers — but a police department in Tennessee warns that if people keep flushing their drugs down the toilet, this could happen.

The Loretto Police Department says that while serving a search warrant, a suspect recently attempted to flush 24 fluid ounces of liquid meth and miscellaneous drug paraphernalia down the toilet. He wasn't successful, which was good news for the city's sewer workers, who "are not really prepared for meth," the police department said. "Ducks, geese, and other fowl frequent our treatment ponds and we shudder to think what one all hyped up on meth would do."

Loretto Police Chief Bobby Joe Killen told ABC News that while the department is serious about not flushing drugs down the toilet, the idea of "methed-up gators" is just a joke. "When you work eight, 10-hour shifts in our line of work, there are times when we like to laugh a little bit," he said. For those who want to make sure the wild animals of Loretto stay sober, Killen said the police department is happy to help people with proper disposal. Catherine Garcia

July 16, 2019

Trevor Noah is a little confused by President Trump's demand that people who "hate our country" pack their bags and move away, he admitted on Tuesday's Daily Show.

In 2016, Trump's entire message was "America is failing, this country's not what it used to be, China's beating us," Noah said. "Instead of complaining, why didn't he just leave?" Trump on Sunday tweeted that four Democratic lawmakers, all women of color, need to "go back" to their home countries, and claimed on Tuesday that it wasn't racist because he would tell anyone who is "not happy here" that they are free to leave.

"How come he's never said anything like this to Bernie Sanders?" Noah asked. The senator from Vermont is always talking about how the United States can learn from other countries, "but Trump has never once told Bernie to go back where he comes from. I guess that's partly because ancient Greece doesn't exist anymore, but that's not the point."

Just because a person grumbles about their country, it doesn't mean they don't love it, Noah said, and sports fans are proof of this. "If the Knicks kicked out every fan who yelled at them to play better, Madison Square Garden would be emptier than Mike Pence's spice cabinet," he quipped. Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia

July 16, 2019

While he was serving his 13-month sentence in a Florida jail, financier Jeffrey Epstein continued to sexually abuse at least one of his victims, attorney Brad Edwards alleged during a press conference Tuesday.

Epstein was accused of molesting dozens of girls in the mid-2000s, but as part of a lenient plea agreement, was able to plead guilty to state charges of procuring and soliciting prostitution. During his 13-month sentence, Epstein left the jail six days a week to go to work, and Edwards claims he had "female visitors," including some who were under 21.

"All I can say is more than one person that visited him, they believed they were going there for something other than a sexual purpose," he said. "Once there, he turned his perfect master manipulation to turn the situation into something sexual." Edwards added that it's not clear what work was actually taking place at Epstein's office. "What he did on a daily basis was engage in these types of sex acts with minors and vulnerable women," he said. "Where did he make his money? I don't know."

A spokeswoman for the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office told The Daily Beast that while on work release, Epstein was picked up by a driver, and a sheriff's deputy met him at his office. She said the deputy was with Epstein the entire time he was in the building, and "was allowed no family, friends, or guests." Earlier this month, Epstein was arrested in New Jersey and charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy. Catherine Garcia

July 16, 2019

John Paul Stevens, the third longest-serving Supreme Court justice in history, died Tuesday in Florida of complications from a stroke. He was 99.

Nominated to the Supreme Court by President Gerald Ford, he served 35 years before retiring in 2010. Stevens told The New York Times in 2007 that he thinks "as part of my general politics, I'm pretty darn conservative," but he ended up leading the liberal wing of the court, and was known for standing up for the rights of individuals.

Stevens revealed that his one regret was voting to reinstate the death penalty in 1976, as he later decided that capital punishment is unconstitutional. He wrote a stern dissent in the landmark 2010 case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, saying the ruling represented a "rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government." He also led the opponents in Bush v. Gore. "Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year's presidential election, the identity of the loser is clear," he wrote. "It is the nation's confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law."

Born in 1920, the Chicago native served in the Navy during World War II as a code breaker, and graduated from the top of his class at Northwestern University School of Law. Following his retirement, he wrote three books, including Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution. He is survived by his daughters, Elizabeth and Susan, nine grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren. Catherine Garcia

July 16, 2019

The Trump administration considers Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro an illegitimate leader who is causing havoc in his country, but does not plan on granting temporary protected status to Venezuelans.

The United States grants temporary protected status to people who flee from countries torn apart by armed conflicts and natural disasters, keeping them safe from deportation. The Trump administration supports the Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, and routinely criticizes Maduro for causing economic instability in his country, which is suffering from food and medicine shortages. The United Nations, which says the Maduro regime has killed thousands of citizens, estimates the humanitarian crisis could displace as many as 8.2 million Venezuelans by the end of 2020.

In a letter sent to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on Tuesday, Acting Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli said the government "continues to monitor the situation in Venezuela," but will not extend temporary protected status to any Venezuelans in the country. Durbin and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said in a statement that Trump "cannot have it both ways. He cannot warn Americans that Venezuela is so dangerous they should avoid traveling there and then turn around and tell Venezuelans in the U.S. they are forced to return."

In 2018, close to 30,000 Venezuelans applied for protection in the United States, The Guardian reports, while 336 were deported between October 2017 and September 2018. Catherine Garcia

July 16, 2019

The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a resolution condemning President Trump's "racist comments" directed at four Democratic congresswomen, all women of color.

Four Republicans — Reps. Will Hurd of Texas, Fred Upton of Michigan, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, and Susan Brooks of Indiana — and one independent — former Republican Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan — voted with the Democrats to pass the resolution, 240-187.

Trump tweeted that the women should "go back" to their home countries — three were born in the U.S., and all are citizens — and has refused to apologize, instead doubling-down and saying people agree with him. Before Tuesday's vote, Trump tweeted, "Those Tweets were NOT Racist. I don't have a Racist bone in my body!" Catherine Garcia

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