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Tag: Iowa

Iowa Judge Profited from Sending Hundreds of Immigrants to Private Prisons

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An Iowa federal judge allegedly conspired to profit from investments in private prisons by sending hundreds of immigrants to jail in one of the largest, more unusual immigration raids in U.S. history.

Judge Linda R. Reade and her husband Michael Figenshaw increased their shares in CoreCivic and CEO Group five days before a planned immigration raid at a meatpacking plant in Pottsville, Ia., in May 2008, Mother Jones reports

Reade presided over the mass trials of 400 undocumented prisoners during a brief nine-day period in trailers and even a dance hall at a fairground in Waterloo.

In similar immigration cases, defendants are usually charged with civic misconduct and then deported. But under Reade’s jurisprudence, the immigrants were charged with a more serious crimes – fraud. About 270 people were sentenced to five months in prison.

The prosecution also was accused of misconduct.

Before the raid, Reade met often with immigration officials about the impending arrests. 

In just five months, the judge and her husband watched their stock values increase from $130,000 to $215,000 before cashing out.

Daily Iowan: Trump’s Travel Ban Is ‘Incredibly Callous And Inhumane’

airport-people-walkingBy Editorial Board
The Daily Iowan 

On Jan. 27, President Trump instituted, through an executive order, a temporary ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Trump contends that the action is necessary to keep America safe from international terrorists who may impersonate refugees to gain entry to the United States. He also asserted the action is a part of an agenda to prioritize the movement of Christian refugees fleeing war-torn regions of the Middle East.

Perhaps Trump does not see the tragic irony in his decree; the United States has been involved with a relatively constant bombing campaign in Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Libya. Micah Zenko, a fellow in the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the U.S. has been responsible for dropping nearly 30,000 bombs (a very conservative estimate) in 2016 alone, with nearly 25,000 of these dropped in Syria and Iraq.

To first facilitate the conditions that necessitate the need to flee and then to write a specific rule that bars such people from entering the country is not just incredibly callous and inhumane, it is also incredibly stupid.

After multitudes of protests erupted outside and in international airports in which nationals of the targeted countries, despite having green cards and visas, were detained, a federal judge in Brooklyn managed to strike down part of Trump’s action.

The case, Darweesh v. Trump Order (which allows the movement of such detained individuals through American borders), came on the heels of a press release issued by the Department of Homeland Security that stated, “President Trump’s executive order remains in place — prohibited travel will remain prohibited, and the U.S. government retains its right to revoke visas at any time if required for national security or public safety. President Trump’s executive order affects a minor portion of international travelers and is a first step toward re-establishing control over America’s borders and national security.”

The façade of protecting national security through xenophobic attempts of bottle-necking immigration is just sensationalism.

To read more click here. 

Iowa Boarding School Accused of Confining Students to Small ‘Isolation Boxes’ for Weeks

Keokuk Iowa

Keokuk, Iowa

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating an Iowa boarding school that is accused of routinely confining troubled teenagers to small concrete “isolation boxes” for up to weeks until they could maintain a specific posture for 24 hours, the Associate Press reports. 

Six former students claim they were abused while attending Midwest Academy in Keokuk, Iowa.

According to the allegations, the students were kept in dark, cell-like rooms for days and even weeks.

“You spend your time pounding your head against the wall. You can’t sleep because there is a lot of noise. A lot of girls like to scream in there. You basically look forward to bathroom breaks and those moments when you can get out of your box,” said Emily Beaman, 17, of Wheaton, Illinois.

Beaman said she was kept in isolation for weeks until she cut herself with a bottle cap and implored emergency responders to take her away from the academy.

The investigation began investigating allegations that a staff member sexually assaulted a student. Now the FBI is investigating whether students were tortured by being confined to isolation boxes.

Sen. Grassley Demands Answers from DEA about ‘Brutal Captivity’ of College Student

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Sen. Chuck Grassley wants answers.

The Republican from Iowa is demanding details of the treatment of Daniel Chong, who was detained and deprived of water and food for five days, the Hill reports.

“The American people still do not know the full details about Mr. Chong’s mistreatment and abuse,” Grassley wrote. “And despite this inexcusable behavior and long-overdue findings, the American people still have no idea whether these agents and administrators are still working for the DEA.”

The letter to DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart comes after an Inspector General report that “raises even more questions.”

“Not only were there specific failures by specific agents and employees that led to Mr. Chong’s brutal captivity, as well as a possible attempted cover up by senior DEA officials, but the entire system itself was set up to fail and forestall any future review,” Grassley wrote. “This is wholly unacceptable.”

Chong, a college student, reached a $4.1 million settlement with the DEA.

Secret Service Agent Gets Time Served for Drunken Driving in Iowa

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Secret Service agent Daniel Valencia’s drunken driving ordeal in Iowa has come to an end.

The WCF Courier reports that Vaencia, who had gone to Decorah, Iowa ahead of President Obama’s visit last year, was sentenced Friday to two days in jail, but credited with time served. He was off-duty when arrested.

Valencia, 40, of D.C., was sentenced Friday in Winneshiek County District Court  in Iowa.

The paper reported that he had entered an Alford plea, which means he did not admit guilt but admitted there was sufficient evidence for a conviction.

He was arrested Aug. 13 at about 1:30 a.m. after he ran a red light.

He must also pay a $1,250 fine and surcharge of $437, the paper reported. But the court will waive those costs if he produces a temporary restricted driver’s license to the court within 30 days, the paper reported.

 

Secret Service Blocks Obama From Sneaking Off for a Beer With Reporters in Iowa

Pres. Obama at press conference/white house photo

Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service really does watch out for its protectees like a parent — particularly when it comes to the President.

David Nakamura of the Washington Post reports that President Obama wanted to sneak off and make a surprise visit Tuesday evening to the Duck City Bistro in Davenport, Ia., to tip a beer with the White House press corps.

But Nakamura reports that the Secret Service put the kabosh on that plan.

Obama said that he was stymied when Secret Service found out about the plan, Nakamura reported.

Secret Service Agent Busted in Iowa for Drunk Driving

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The good news: At least Daneil L. Valencia wasn’t driving the President around.

The bad news: The Secret Service agent, who lives in D.C., was busted in Decorah, Ia. on Saturday for drunk driving after running a red light about 1:30 a.m., according to the Des Moines Register.

President Obama visited Decorah on Monday.

The paper reported that Valencia was alone in the car and had bloodshot eyes and smelled of alcohol. He told the cops he had two drink, the Des Monines Register reported.

A field sobriety test determined he was too intoxicated to drive, the paper reported. He was released from jail on Monday.

Secret Service spokesman George Ogilvie said the matter had been turned over to the Office of Professional Responsibility.

Despite Protests From Some Heavyweights, Ex-Chief of Kosher Slaughterhouse in Iowa Gets 27 Years

iowa-mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In the end, the weight of a letter signed by a dozen ex-U.S. Attorneys, a former Solicitor General and six ex-Attorney Generals including Janet Reno, Ramsey Clark and Edwin Meese III, carried little weight in the sentencing Tuesday of Sholom Rubashskin, the former chief executive of an Iowa kosher meat packing plant, who was convicted on 86 counts of federal bank fraud in connection with loans to the company.

U.S. District Judge Linda R. Reade sentenced Rubashkin to 27 years in prison and ordered him to pay $27 million in restitution, according to the Associated Press.

The group of former law enforcement officials had written the judge inApril  to say the harsh sentence recommended by the prosecution was a “potentially severe injustice.” At the time the letter was written, the prosecution had asked for a life sentence, but later lowered that to 25 years.

Ex-Atty Gen. Janet Reno signed letter

Ex-Atty Gen. Janet Reno signed letter

”We cannot fathom how truly sound and sensible sentencing rules could call for a life sentence — or anything close to it — for Mr. Rubashkin, a 51-year-old, first-time, nonviolent offender,” the group of former laws enforcement officials wrote to the judge..

Rubashkin headed up the Agriprocessor kosher plant in Pottsville, Iowa, which was raided in 2008 as part of a crackdown on illegal immigration. Almost 400 illegal immigrants were detained. Last November, he was convicted on the bank fraud charges and the prosecution subsequently dropped the charges related to the illegal immigrants.

To read more click here.

Read Letter to the Judge