Nov 12, 2019

Record number of migrant children held in U.S custody in 2019

People protest holding children in custody in September in New York City. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

New government data shows that the U.S. government held 69,550 migrant children in custody in 2019, a 42% increase from fiscal year 2018, the AP reports.

Why it matters: UN researchers report that the U.S. detained more children than any other country in the world this year.

  • The number of children held by the government increased after the Trump administration lengthened the amount of time children can spend in detention and diverted more resources and money to detention facilities for its "zero tolerance" immigration policy.

By the numbers: Some children previously in government custody have been deported, while others have reunited with their parents in the U.S. Around 4,000 kids are still in custody, but more are arriving every week.

  • At least nine out of 10 come from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Fewer than 3% are from Mexico. Central Americans often flee their countries due to threats of violence, abuse and murder.
  • Nearly 3,000 children were forcibly removed from their parents' custody, while an additional 1,556 migrant families were separated between July 2017 and June 2018, according to the New York Times.

What they're saying: Jack Shonkoff, director of Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child, told the AP that being separated from parents can harm kids, especially young children.

  • "Stable and responsive relationships promote healthy brain architecture. ... If these relationships are disrupted, young children are hit by the double whammy of a brain that is deprived of the positive stimulation it needs, and assaulted by a stress response that disrupts its developing circuitry," Shonkoff said.

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RNC expands convention search across the Sun Belt

Donald Trump, Mike Pence and their families on the last night of the Republican National Convention in Ohio in 2016. Photo: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images.

The Republican National Committee is planning site visits over the next 10 days to more than a half-dozen cities — across the South and into Texas and Arizona — as it scrambles for a new convention host, people familiar with the internal discussions tell Axios.

Driving the news: The RNC's executive committee voted Wednesday night to allow most of the convention to move — with only a smaller, official portion remaining in Charlotte — after North Carolina's governor said the coronavirus pandemic would mean a scaled-back event with social distancing and face coverings.

Oil faces tough road back from coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Oil companies in the battered shale patch are starting to bring back some production as prices climb, but a new report underscores how the pandemic is taking a heavy financial toll despite signs of revival.

Driving the news: Fourteen North American producers have filed for bankruptcy thus far during the second quarter, per a tally from the law firm Haynes and Boone, which closely tracks the sector's finances.

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Hong Kong legislature bans insults to Chinese national anthem

Activists holding a candlelit remembrance outside Victoria Park in Hong Kong on June 4, 2020, to mark the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong’s legislature approved a bill Thursday that makes insulting the "March of the Volunteers," the Chinese national anthem, illegal, AP reports.

Why it matters: It did so on the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, when Chinese troops opened fire on pro-democracy activists in 1989. The death toll has never been released, but estimates vary between hundreds and thousands.