Trump’s Border Troops Have Nothing To Do (HBO)

The Rio Grande Valley in Texas is now home to roughly 1,000 active duty US army soldiers. They’re part of the more than 5,000 troops Donald Trump deployed to the US-Mexico border ahead of the midterm elections, at an estimated cost of $200 million.

Most of the troop in the Rio Grande Valley are now living on Base Camp Donna, ten miles east of McAllen. In the last week, army engineers have built the camp up to accommodate a long-term deployment: it now has hot showers, laundry facilities, and a kitchen to produce two hot meals a day. Many of the soldiers there have served in Afghanistan and Iraq, and life on Base Camp Donna is much like life on any other base — except here, there’s no enemy to fight, and the troops have almost nothing to do.

The migrant caravan they’re supposed to be responding to is weeks away and headed to Tijuana, 1,500 miles to the West. The only concrete missions the troops have engaged in so far consist of “hardening” parts of the border with concertina wire. When that’s done, said Major Derek Wamsley, a public affairs officer at the base, “we move back here and wait for the next request from Customs and Border Protection.”

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Donations Surge for Migrant Rest Center

A migrant rest center in McAllen, Texas has seen a surge of donations and volunteers following the family separation policy by President Donald Trump. (June 25)

TX Lawyer Didn’t See Any Separated Parents Today

A lawyer says Friday has marked the first time since May 24 that no parents charged with crossing border illegally in the McAllen, Texas area had been separated from their kids. (June 22)

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Trump’s Zero-Tolerance Immigration Policy Is So Effective Courts Are Conducting Mass Trials (HBO)

It’s only been in effect for a month, but the Trump administration’s new zero-tolerance immigration policy has already yielded so many arrests that the courts are totally overwhelmed and turning to mass trials just to get everyone seen.

Under past administrations, immigrants with no criminal history caught at the U.S.-Mexico border were sent back to their home countries or, if detained, typically housed with their family members as they moved through immigration court.

But over the past month, the U.S. has brought criminal charges against every adult immigrant apprehended — a drastic policy shift that has upped the workload for defense attorneys and clogged federal courtrooms with, at times, over 75 defendants in a given hearing. Most shockingly, it has created conditions that routinely separate adult migrants from their children with no consistent mechanism in place to reunite them.

VICE News obtained audio of one of these mass trials in McAllen, Texas to illustrate what it is like to experience one of the new mass hearings, and to sit down with Assistant Public Defender Richard Gould.

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