Unaccompanied Minor Children from Central America Testify Before Members of Congress

Categories: News
Grijalva for Congress

Three children from Central America who came to the United States unaccompanied appeared before members of Congress on Tuesday to explain their journeys to the United States.

Democratic Congressman Raúl Grijalva hosted the hearing with other members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Grijalva said he didn't want people, especially members of Congress, to become "detached" from the issue of Central American children fleeing their countries for the United States, as several proposals have been made in Congress to deal with the issue.

"I think as a Congress we're missing the point of this whole issue," Grijalva said. "The point is that were talking primarily about children, we're talking primarily about their fleeing violence and fleeing many times for their own safety and lives. And we're missing the point that, as a nation, we're the embodiment of those values that protect the weaker, those values that protect the people fleeing persecution and prosecution."

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Joe Arpaio's Deputies to "Greet" Migrant Workers from Central America

Categories: News
A similar "meet and greet" that took place in June.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has announced plans to "greet" legal migrant workers from Central America who have gotten seasonal work in rural parts of the county.

Yes, the same Maricopa County Sheriff's Office that was ordered to stop racially profiling Latinos, as a result of the Melendres v. Arpaio civil-rights case.

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ICE Removes Immigrant Detainees From Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu's Jail

Categories: News
Gregory Pratt
Cells inside the Pinal County Jail.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has removed its immigrant detainees from the Pinal County Jail, after the county and the federal government failed to come to an agreement over how much the county gets paid to house the detainees.

The end of this contract is a victory for human-rights groups that have complained about conditions at the jail for several years, and a loss for Sheriff Paul Babeu and Pinal County, which is set to lose millions of dollars from the deal's demise.

"It's a really important development," Victoria López, policy and advocacy director of the ACLU of Arizona, tells New Times. "It's a win for people who have been detained at that jail and suffered the conditions there."

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Teach for America Trains 500 New Teachers in Phoenix, Places 125 in Area Schools

Categories: Education, News

Ashley Cusick
Teach for America volunteers attend a training session at Phoenix Collegiate Academy High School in July.
Teach for America, the non-profit organization that trains volunteers to teach in public schools, will launch 125 newly-trained teachers into Valley schools beginning as soon as this month. This new batch of teachers will bring the total number of local volunteers in the two-year program up to 250.

For some, the Peace Corps-esque program is a lifesaver for public schools. Others see it as a crash course in one of the most important professions there is -- and a risky proposition that places potentially ill-prepared young people in tough teaching jobs.

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Arizona Becomes the Fifth State to Require ID For Cough Medication Containing DXM

Categories: Drugs, News

Beginning yesterday, Arizonans must be 18 or older in order to purchase cough medicine containing the ingredient dextromethorphan (DXM) without a prescription. Arizona becomes the fifth state to pass such legislation, joining California, New York, Virginia, and Washington.

The legislation came about in response to a growing pattern of cough medicine abuse amongs teens, says Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of the Partnership for Drug Free Kids. Dextromethorphan is contained in classic cough suppressant medicine, Pasierb says, but when taken in large quantities it can create what's called a dissociative high. Teens call this high--which combines feelings of drunkenness with hallucination--robo-tripping, drinking syrup, or doing skittles, Pasierb says.

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Governor, Prison Chief Claim There Was No Suffering in 2-Hour Execution of Joseph Wood

Categories: News
Matthew Hendley

It took two hours to execute convicted murderer Joseph Wood yesterday, but state officials claim he never suffered.

The first use in Arizona of a new two-drug protocol for lethal injection went on so long that Wood's attorneys, federal public defenders, filed a motion in federal court seeking to stop the execution.

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Latter-Gay Saints: The Mormon Church Now Welcomes Homosexuals -- Sort Of

Categories: News

On a sunny Saturday morning in April, more than two dozen men, women, and children march up Central Avenue, on the final stretch of the Pride parade. The pro-gay march has taken place in Phoenix every year since 1981, but it's the first time this particular group has joined the thousands of people celebrating. A Lady Gaga hit blasts from the speakers of a nearby multicolored VW bus, but this is not really a Lady Gaga kind of group. These people stand out mostly because of their outfits: The men wear slacks, shirts, and ties, and the women wear dresses.

In fact, they look as if they are on their way to church, and that would not be a bad guess. The crowd along the parade route gasps then hollers, reading the group's banner: "Mormons Building Bridges." Other signs declare that "God loves all His children" and "Mormons heart LGBT."

The members, friends and family of ALL Arizona -- a local support group for gay members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- reach the end of the parade route at Steele Indian School Park. It's there that they encounter another religious group.

Holding banners that condemn homosexuality and surrounded by a fence that separates them from festival-goers, the protesters hurl insults. ALL Arizona members Jon Abhau and his mother, Meg, are the first to notice the picketers. They approach them, and Jon, a tall, blond 14-year-old in a rainbow-colored bow tie, tries to hand one of the protesters a sign that reads "'Love one another' -- Jesus." The protester won't even look at the boy. The sign lands on the ground next to the protester's shoes.

As his mother looks on proudly, Jon Abhau simply smiles and walks away.

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Arizona's Execution of Joseph Wood on Hold

Categories: News
Steven Depolo

UPDATE 4:13 p.m.: Wood has been executed, although the procedure took nearly two hours. His attorney actually prepared a motion to stop the execution after more than an hour. Read the latest at the end of this post.

The execution of convicted murderer Joseph Wood has been put on hold by the Arizona Supreme Court.

Wood was scheduled to be executed today at 10 a.m., but that didn't happen. The Arizona Supreme Court will consider Wood's case.

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Arizona Food Stamps and Unemployment Scammers Slapped With $2.1 Million in Fines

Categories: News
Matthew Hendley

Arizona's Department of Economic Security is to be repaid $2.1 million by people caught gaming the food stamps and unemployment insurance programs.

The agency's investigative units, with help from law enforcement, found 87 people in the last year who abused the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), along with 122 people who defrauded the Arizona Unemployment Insurance Program.

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Arizonans Driving Less, and Using Public Transportation at Higher Rates

Categories: News
Arizonans are driving less, and relying more on public transportation, according to a report from the Arizona Public Interest Research Group Education Fund.

The shift is causing the Arizona PIRG Education Fund to recommend that public officials shift funding away from more highway projects, and more toward other transportation options."

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