LGBT Immigrant Rights Protesters Arrested Near White House

WASHINGTON — Six LGBT immigrant rights activists were arrested Tuesday after blocking a street near the White House to protest the Obama administration’s treatment of LGBT immigrants in detention.

Protesters, organized by advocacy group United We Dream, took turns criticizing Obama administration detention policies as some participants linked themselves with chains or lay in the street and blocked traffic.

“We are asking President Obama to free all LGBT people from detention because detention is not protecting them. Detention is brutalizing them,” said Brooke Cerda-Guzmán, an undocumented transgender woman who was arrested.

The protest came a week after an undocumented transgender woman was kicked out of the White House for heckling President Barack Obama about immigrant detention. It followed Monday’s small victory for advocates for better treatment of LGBT people in detention, when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced it will consider transgender detainees’ gender identity when deciding where they should be housed.

The protesters — four undocumented, and three transgender — were arrested after the group marched from the White House to K Street, where they blocked a busy intersection. As police hauled them away, others continued to chant from the sidewalk.

“Detention is bad for everyone, but it is especially bad for LGBTQ immigrants,” said Carlos Padilla, who coordinates United We Dream’s Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project. “No one should should have to face such horrific conditions for simply being who they are.”

LGBT people are more likely to experience abuse and sexual assault in immigration detention than heterosexual inmates, according to the progressive think tank Center for American Progress. The Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, estimates there are more than 267,000 undocumented LGBT immigrants in the U.S. The U.S. government reported more than 140 undocumented immigrants died in detention from 2003 to 2013. The number of LGBT people included in that figure is unknown.

ICE has taken steps to better accommodate LGBT detainees. The agency on Monday revealed plans to allow transgender detainees to be placed in facilities with the sex they identify with. Andrew Lorenzen-Strait, ICE deputy assistant director for custody programs, said agency has been conducting a pilot program at one of its facilities and is looking to expand it to a few of its other detention centers.

“We do know the procedures that we put in place are working,” Lorenzen-Strait said. “We want this to be an option for more facilities.”

ICE will begin keeping data on detainees’ gender identity and will offer more training for immigration officers to help transgender detainees in a respectful manner.

But Padilla said it does not go far enough.

“No matter how much better you make that cage, it doesn’t change the fact that it is a cage,” Padilla said.

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Donald Trump Files $500 Million Lawsuit Against Univision

By Joseph Ax

June 30 (Reuters) – U.S. presidential candidate and real estate mogul Donald Trump filed a $500 million lawsuit on Tuesday against Univision over the Spanish-language TV network’s decision to end its contract to broadcast the Miss USA pageant, which is co-owned by Trump.

Univision said last week it would not air the July 12 pageant because of what it called insulting remarks about Mexican immigrants made by Trump when he announced he was running for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

The 19-page lawsuit accuses Univision of a “thinly veiled attempt” to stifle Trump’s freedom of speech in order to boost Democratic frontrunner Hilary Clinton. The network’s principal owner, Haim Saban, is a Clinton fundraiser, according to the lawsuit.

While officially announcing his candidacy on June 16, Trump accused Mexico of sending rapists and other criminals to the United States.

“They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some I assume are good people, but I speak to border guards and they tell us what we are getting,” he said at the time.

In a statement on Tuesday announcing the lawsuit, which he had vowed to file, Trump refused to back down from his comments.

“Nothing that I stated was different from what I have been saying for many years,” he said. “There is a high level of crime occurring in this country due to unchecked illegal immigration.”

Nevertheless, he added that he has “great respect for Mexico and love for the Mexican people and their tremendous spirit.”

In a statement, Univision said it reviewed Trump’s complaint, and it is “both factually false and legally ridiculous.” Univision said it would vigorously defend itself.

JUST IN: Univision’s response to Trump’s lawsuit: "It is both factually false and legally ridiculous." pic.twitter.com/YzNoeod8Z4

— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) June 30, 2015

The company said it “will continue to fight against Trump’s ongoing efforts to run away from the derogatory comments he made on June 16th about Mexican immigrants,” according to the statement.

Last week, the network said it would not air the pageant and would sever ties with the Miss Universe Organization, which had been a joint venture between Trump and Comcast-owned NBCUniversal, in light of his “recent, insulting remarks about Mexican immigrants.”

NBC also cut ties with the “Miss USA” and “Miss Universe” pageants on Monday, citing Trump’s comments. Trump previously said he would not take part in his NBC reality television show, “The Apprentice,” while he sought the White House.

Trump is considered a long shot to get the Republican nomination despite his name recognition. (Reporting by Joseph Ax in New York; Additional reporting by Eric Beech in Washington and Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Peter Cooney and Alan Crosby)

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No, You Can’t Divorce-Proof Your Marriage (But Here’s What You Can Do Instead)

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The first rule to follow if you want to “divorce-proof” your marriage? Stop thinking it’s even possible.

As comforting as it may be to believe you can shield yourself from a split, experts say the phrase “divorce-proof” sends the wrong message to married couples.

“The advice is as misguided as it is ignorant. It’s simply not realistic to ever offer a lifelong assurance on anything to anyone — especially a guarantee that a marriage will last,” said marriage therapist Becky Whetstone.

“Ultimately, a couple contains two people; no matter how dedicated and attentive one mate is, if the other partner wants to end the marriage, it will end,” she said. “Unfortunately, it happens all the time. You simply cannot control what your spouse thinks, feels, believes or does over time.”

Micki McWade, a psychotherapist and collaborative divorce coach, has seen the same dynamic play out in her work with couples and their divorce attorneys over the last 15 years.

“There is no guarantee of permanence or divorce-proofing in a marriage,” she said. “Human beings are not that reliable and there’s so much that can undermine a relationship — everything from a poor work-life-balance to kids slowly shifting attention away from the marriage.”

As unnerving as it may be to realize that the fate of your marriage is firmly in both spouse’s hands, it’s ultimately for the best, said Christina Pesoli, a family law attorney and the author of Break Free from the Divortex: Power Through Your Divorce and Launch Your New Life.

“You can only control yourself but that’s a good thing,” she said. “A marriage that is about control is not a healthy marriage. You just have to have faith in your partner and keep in mind that the goal isn’t just to be married for life, it’s to have a healthy, fulfilling marriage that goes the distance.”

So what can you and your partner do to create a strong, fulfilling marriage? Read the experts’ best advice below.

1. Realize that a good marriage is an intentional one.
In other words, do unto your spouse as you would have done unto you, said Pesoli.

“Be kind, trustworthy, honest, supportive, forgiving, loving, kind and open to trying new things,” she said. “You need to do all those things; so often we become so focused on where we think our partner is falling short that we forget to focus on where we’re falling short. If you put consistent effort into being the kind of spouse you would want for yourself, the relationship will be constantly nurtured and have a better chance of staying healthy.”

And don’t let it go unnoticed when you see your spouse putting extra effort into the marriage, said McWade.

“Simply acknowledging and appreciating when your partner does something nice or what you’ve asked for will go along way,” she said. “Validating a partner will bring more of the same.”

2. Make time for sex.
No one said the hot-and-heavy honeymoon stage was going to last forever. That doesn’t mean you should allow sex to be put on the back burner, though.

“As a couple, you need to maintain intimacy and have sex regularly, even if you have to carve out time for it,” McWade said. “Sex is like glue for a committed relationship. When a couple has sex, they bond and relax.”

3. Accept that your spouse will change.
You’re living in a dream if you believe your partner won’t grow and evolve, said Whetstone.

“In my own case, I’m not even remotely the same person I was at 20 now that I’m 50. I’ve even grown tremendously since my 40s and I continue to change,” she said. “A spouse who wants to hold onto a marriage must recognize that change like that is inevitable.”

4. Refrain from unnecessary criticism and nitpicking.
Avoid uttering any sentence that begins “you never….” or “you always…” Instead, keep your criticism on the constructive side.

“Make a conscious effort to understand and be supportive,” McWade advised. “And don’t be closed off to getting outside help if necessary.”

5. View your spouse through a soft focus lens.
Those Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds perfume commercials from the ’90s were on to something, said Pesoli: Everyone — your spouse included — looks better through a soft focus lens.

“Most people clean up nicely, but when you live with someone, you’ll see them at their best and worst — and that has to be OK with you,” she said. “In a relationship, you need permission to not be at your best. Sometimes a spouse will be happy-go-lucky and other times he’ll be stressed about work. Give him his time to rant. Choose to focus on the best and let the less flattering characteristics blur and fall to the wayside.”

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Cheryl Burke Pulls Out Of Hosting Miss USA Because Of Donald Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Comments

By Whitney Friedlander

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – Miss Universe as been dealt another blow in the wake of the Donald Trump controversy.

Cheryl Burke has pulled out as co-host of the July 12 Miss USA pageant, citing NBC’s previous decision to pull the event due to its connection with the real estate mogul-turned-presidential candidate who is currently battling negative reactions to comments he made about immigration.

“In light of the recent statements made by Donald Trump and the subsequent decision by NBC to cut ties with Mr. Trump, I cannot in good conscience move forward with participating in this year’s Miss USA pageant as its co-host,” Burke said in a statement. “Effective today I have withdrawn from my duties with Miss USA. Although I will not be there in person, I wish all of the contestants much luck as I know how hard they’ve all been working over the last year to try and realize their dreams.”

This would have been the “Dancing with the Stars” dancer and choreographer’s first time hosting the event — a gig she was scheduled to share with returning host, MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts. Roselyn Sanchez and Cristian De La Fuente, who would have hosted Univision’s Spanish-language simulcast of the ceremony, pulled out last week. (Univision bowed out the day after).

Burke’s departure comes on the same day that NBC said it would air an “American Ninja Warrior” special on the night it was originally scheduled to air Miss USA. The three-hour July 12 special will be the show’s second annual “USA vs. the World” extravaganza, in which top competitors from the hot Monday series “American Ninja Warrior” go head to head with competitors from Japan and Europe. Last year’s “USA vs. the World” special in mid-September delivered a potent 1.9 rating in adults 18-49 despite facing tough reality show competition, including the season premiere of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”

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This $50 Alarm Could Give Millions Of People More Warning Ahead Of Earthquakes

When an earthquake strikes, survival is often a question of a matter of seconds, and yet in-home earthquake alarms are prohibitively expensive. Currently, Japan is the country that has the most comprehensive nationwide system that warns its citizens when a tremor is heading their way.

But a Mexico City-based startup believes it has the key to making earthquake warning systems much more accessible. Grillo (Spanish for “cricket”) has developed an earthquake early-warning system that gives residents of major Mexican cities up to a two-minute heads-up that an earthquake is coming and costs only roughly $50. The product was backed by a successful Fondeadora crowdfunding campaign and also won the support of the 500 Startups incubator.

According to Wired magazine, the system — a softball-sized cube equipped with accelerometers — works by picking up the radio signal of Mexico’s SASMEX seismic sensors, installed after an earthquake in Mexico City killed an estimated 10,000 people in 1985. Because the previously existing earthquake alarm, called Sarmex, costs at least $1,000 to buy and install, Grillo’s cubes are much more accessible to the majority of Mexicans — more people would have more time to prepare for impact.

“This is the most affordable and the most direct way for the Mexican public to connect to the early warning system,” Grillo founder and CEO Andres Meira told CNN last year.

While the U.S. has no nationwide earthquake early-warning system, $5 million in federal funding was awarded last December to build a system in the states of California, Oregon and Washington, though researchers say much more support is needed to take the system past its testing phase.

Meira said in a 2014 crowdfunding video that the Grillo system will also accumulate data that would help researchers studying seismology as well as insurers looking to more accurately calculate risk.

Now, with the Grillo cube beginning to be manufactured in Mexico, PSFK reports that Meira hopes to bring early-warning systems to more developing nations at risk of earthquakes.

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This Is What Equality Looks Like

The steps of the Supreme Court were alive with celebration of equality and love. All around me were hugs and kisses, tears and fist-bumps, energy, enthusiasm — some disbelief — and relief, respect and remembrance for those who paved the way to the historic decision to end states’ bans on marriage equality.

I’m a gay Latino from a family of labor activists in the heart of Texas. And as I joyfully took it all in, my pocket suddenly buzzed. It was a call from an unlisted number. I answered. It was Vice President Joe Biden.

“Henry,” he said, and I could feel the warmth of his world-renowned smile in his tone, “We did it.”

The Vice President and I spoke at length about how our respective fathers had informed our own worldview. Though we grew up a world away and in different regions and cultures, both of our dads made sure the values of openness, respect and tolerance were instilled — no ifs, ands or buts — in their sons starting when we were young children. It’s well known to every American that few derive as much joy from family as Joe Biden, and millions have delighted in sharing decades of stories. But yesterday, he told me one I hadn’t heard. When the Vice President was a boy he once saw two men kiss before parting ways to work. “It’s just love, son,” his father told him. “They love each other.” It was as simple as that.

My father, who organized Mexican immigrants into voting blocs and into citizens that demanded equal pay in South Texas in the 1950s and 60s, taught me that all movements begin when someone takes a single step towards justice. Under President Obama’s and Vice President Biden’s leadership, our steps became louder. They became a march and our march has become a movement for change. What started as a trickle in Massachusetts became a call to action in New York that became a roar heard across all fifty states. Yesterday, the court it struck down same-sex marriage bans. The day before, the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare and affirmed that quality, affordable health care is a right. Not privilege. While our country remains far from perfect, through Democrats, the American people are winning.

The Democratic Party is the party of inclusion and empowerment. We fight so that all Americans have a chance to get ahead. In particular we have seen Latinos in our country thrive under President Obama. After inheriting the worst jobs crisis since the Great Depression, Latino unemployment has been halved.

More than 16 million uninsured Americans — including 4.2 million Latinos — now have health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. After Republicans in the House held up any hope of passing the comprehensive bipartisan solution, President Obama took action relieving millions of those in this county from the constant threat of deportation. We will continue to fight for a comprehensive solution that offers a pathway to citizenship and a secure border.

On Thursday, the future of our health insurance system was protected by the Supreme Court. On Friday, the future of love and marriage in America was protected by the same. Only in partnership with Democratic leadership will we, as a nation, together, draw strength through diversity, and continue this forward march.

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We Must Make Sure Every Child in America Can Chase Their Dreams

Where you live should never determine how far you go in life. That principle was central to our nation’s founding, and it has remained an enduring promise for generations of Americans. It’s why we’ve invested in public schools, infrastructure and housing. And it’s why we’ve come together, time and again, to ensure that no matter how the times may change, one thing remains the same — that in the United States, anyone can go as far as their hard work will take them.

It’s time to renew our commitment to this founding ideal. As I learned on a recent visit to Ferguson, MO, sometimes the reach of a child’s dreams depends more on where they are born than on where they want to go. In fact, a child growing up in the Clayton area of St. Louis can expect to live 18 years longer than a child living just eight miles away in the JeffVanderLou neighborhood.

In a nation founded on the principle of equal opportunity, that’s unacceptable.

The leaders who came together earlier this month for the 2015 meeting of Clinton Global Initiative America called on every sector and community to address a central question our society must answer: “How do we ensure that everyone — no matter where they live or how much they earn — can make it in America?”

Answering that question will require us to invest in three key areas. First, we must ensure that all communities provide their citizens with a strong foundation, which means ensuring folks have clean water, that electricity and transportation are reliable and available to everyone, that neighborhoods are safe, and that the housing market is free from discrimination and affordable to Americans up and down the income scale. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development makes each of these basics a cornerstone of our local and regional partnerships as part of our Sustainable Communities and Choice Neighborhoods initiatives.

I can’t stress enough how critical safe neighborhoods are to economic opportunity — it’s nearly impossible for a child to make it in America if she can’t even make it to school. That’s why in Chicago we’ve joined forces with a non-profit and the City to revitalize the Woodlawn neighborhood. In addition to renovating hundreds of units of affordable housing and creating new market-rate units, we’re also helping to boost public safety. The University of Chicago has agreed to place its public-safety officers at key locations along school routes to protect the children who live in nearby public housing. No child should have to risk robberies or violence to get an education, and I’m proud that the University of Chicago has made the community’s children their children, as well.

Second, we must promote smart, inclusive planning in every community. We can’t have one plan for the suburbs and another for cities. Instead, we must view our communities as connected, because they are. Just look at what Denver — CGI America’s host city for the past two years — did in the 1980s to jumpstart its then-struggling economy. The surrounding suburbs joined forces with urban neighborhoods to invest in creating a vibrant core to boost the entire region. HUD, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation, is working with local officials to build on that work by expanding permanent affordable housing, improving access to jobs, and enhancing connectivity along Denver’s transit corridors. We’re fighting to advance these goals in more communities, which is why President Barack Obama has proposed greater funding for HUD initiatives that promote inclusive planning and that provide housing support and choices to low-income families.

Finally, our nation must make the investments necessary to prepare citizens, especially our youth, to compete in the global economy. That means we must cultivate brainpower and match it to economic opportunity. Creating great schools is a vital step, but it can’t be the only one. We must also create enrichment opportunities for young people outside of the classroom. That’s why HUD is investing in educational opportunity for children in a number of communities, including in the Yesler neighborhood in Seattle.

Working with the Gates Foundation, the local housing authority, and the school board, we’ve created an after-school tutoring program for 400 students. And the results have been impressive. Between 2011 and 2013, science scores for fifth graders rose from 15 percent who met the state standard to nearly 60 percent.

We also know that prosperity hinges on empowering tomorrow’s American workforce with tangible pathways to employment, especially ones that lead to industries of the future. So HUD is now committing through CGI America to connect more public housing residents to continuing-education and job-training opportunities. That includes a new initiative HUD is launching in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Energy and Education called “STEM, Energy, and Economic Development” or “SEED.” SEED will leverage federal investments and partnerships in Washington, D.C., Cleveland, Tampa, San Antonio and Denver to connect public-housing residents to energy-sector training and jobs, helping them boost their skills and their earnings.

This is a start, and we will keep working to build communities of promise. Creating a new national agenda that tackles the inequality crisis and fosters enduring prosperity will require leadership, engagement and vision. And it will require that we work together. If we are to make equal opportunity real for every American, we must ensure that all citizens — no matter their income or zip code — have a fair shot to pursue their dreams.

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