Willamette University Professor Raises Outcry for Migrant Children: An Oregon law professor was a leading voice sounding the alarm this week over conditions for children found at U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Clint facility near El Paso, Texas. "They are worse than actual prison conditions," Warren Binford, a professor at Willamette University in Salem, told National Public Radio on June 23. "It is inhumane. It's nothing that I ever imagined seeing in the United States of America." A scholar of child rights, Binford has been on the team of lawyers designated to monitor conditions for children in immigration detention as part of a legal settlement. On June 17, Binford and fellow lawyers entered the facility for a visit mandated by the legal settlement. They found a 10-year-old tasked by guards with taking care of a 2-year-old, children sleeping on cold concrete floors with inadequate bedding, inadequately treated flu and lice outbreaks, and children who hadn't bathed in weeks, despite the fact the government had been warned weeks before of a scheduled visit. Binford's report led to a national outcry, and the federal agency's director announced his resignation June 25.
ICE Contractor Cuts Ties With Vancouver Proud Boy: A Vancouver man no longer works for the GEO Group, a private prison contractor that runs immigrant detention centers for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, after WW reported his affiliation with an often-violent political group, the Proud Boys. Last month, Nicholas Carefelle posted bail for self-avowed Proud Boy Donovan Flippo, who had been arrested for an alleged 2018 assault. Since reporting Carefelle posted Flippo's bail, WW has learned Carefelle also allowed BBC News to film a documentary about the Proud Boys inside his Vancouver, Wash., home. The footage shows several high-profile Proud Boys playing video games, lifting weights and giving interviews inside the house. GEO Group launched a personnel investigation after WW showed the company court records indicating Carefelle had paid Flippo's bail. On June 18, Pablo Paez, GEO Group executive vice president, told WW that Carefelle no longer worked for the ICE contractor. Carefelle did not return WW's requests for comment.
Cyclist's Death Highlights Increased Rate of Traffic Fatalities: On June 23, Lance T. Hart died when a driver hit his bicycle near Southeast Flavel Street and 79th Avenue. Police say the driver who hit Hart, Nicholas Martinez, was drunk. The cyclist's death marks the 27th traffic-related fatality this year—a significant increase in the rate of traffic deaths from previous years, even as the city's Transportation Bureau works to implement a "Vision Zero" traffic safety plan to reduce such deaths. Last year at this time, there were 17 recorded traffic fatalities. And in June 2017 and 2016, there were 15 and 23, respectively. The increase in fatalities comes as Portland police admit they are assigning fewer officers to DUII patrol, blaming staffing shortages.
Oregon Legislators Vote to Close Stolen Car Loophole: Shortly before Republican senators brought the Oregon Legislature to a halt by fleeing to Idaho, lawmakers voted to close a legal loophole that had made car theft difficult to prosecute. House Bill 2328 makes it easier for prosecutors to prove cases against suspects caught driving stolen cars. A 2014 appellate court decision made it difficult for prosecutors across Oregon to win such cases, and preceded a steep increase in stolen vehicles. WW's reporting revealed that repeat thieves had developed a script to avoid prosecution ("Car Jack City," WW, Nov. 29, 2017). By 2017, motor vehicle theft had reached a 20-year high in Portland, which had the third-highest rate of stolen cars in the country. After WW's reporting, lobbyists for prosecutors and defense attorneys worked together to draft a fix. HB 2328 was the third attempt to change the law. It passed the Oregon House on June 12 and the Senate on June 19 without opposition.