North America

Environmentalists challenge border wall plans

A group of environmental advocacy organizations filed suit against the Department of Homeland Security over concerns that the border wall will result in detrimental environmental impacts to the areas surrounding the construction sites. The Secretary of Homeland Security's office has issued a series of waivers, dubbed the Lower Rio Grande Valley Border Wall Waivers, that would exempt construction projects related to the planned border wall from federal environmental laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act. The advocacy groups argue that the broadness of the waivers would violate separation of powers and other constitutional doctrines. (Photo via Jurist)


Mexico: AMLO-Trump populist convergence?

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador—known by his initials AMLO—will be Mexico's next president, following his victory in the July 1 election. This marks the first time a Mexican presidential candidate of the left has had his victory honored. An obvious question is how AMLO will deal with Donald Trump—who attained office by demonizing Mexicans and pledging to build a wall on the border (and make Mexico pay for it). Last year, AMLO actually filed a complaint with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights against Trump's proposed wall. But he also hired Trump's current crony Rudolph Giuliani as anti-crime czar when he was mayor of Mexico City in 2002. As populists and opponents of free-trade economics, there may be unlikely common ground between the two men. (Photo: El Txoro)

North Africa

Western Sahara headed back towards war?

The UN Security Council extended the mandate of the peacekeeping force for Western Sahara (MINURSO) through the end of October 2018, while calling for Morocco and the Polisario Front to finally negotiate an end to the decades?old conflict. Western Sahara is claimed by Morocco, while the Polisario Front seeks independence for the territory. The territory has since the 1975-1991 war that followed its independence from Spain been divided by a series of sand berms and a "buffer zone." These separate the territory's Morocco-occupied west and a Polisario-controlled eastern strip. Recent months have seen growing tension between Morocco and Polisario over the borders of the buffer zone, with Polisario seeking to expand control into contested areas. (Photo: MINURSO via Yabiladi)

North America

Judge dismisses challenge to Trump’s border wall

US District Judge Gonzalo Curiel in San Diego granted summary judgment for the Trump administration, allowing construction of a border wall between the US and Mexico to proceed. Plaintiffs, including several environmental groups and the state of California, were challenging waivers to public oversight issued by the Department of Homeland Security that designated San Diego and El Centro as "high areas of illegal entry" in need of replaced border fences. This new San Diego border fence would of course be but the first leg of Trump's proposed border wall.  (Photo: BBC World Service via Flickr)

North America

Trump’s vision for USA: shithole of racism

With his "shithole" comment, Trump makes clear he would bring the United States back nearly a century to the 1920s, when immigration "quotas" were imposed for countries whose inhabitants were deemed undersirable, essentially cutting off immigration of Jews, Italians and Slavs. But deepening the insult, today Haitians and Salvadorans are being driven from their homelands by poverty and instability which is itself the bitter fruit of "free trade" policies foisted upon their governments by pressure from Washington. (Photo: Homeland Security's Otay Mesa Detention Center, BBC World Service via Flickr)


Trump, Jerusalem, escalation and eschatology

If Trump is seeking to appease the Christian fundamentalist element of his base with his pledge to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, this should hardly be comforting to Jews. The evangelical fundis see Jewish control of Jerusalem only as fulfillment of Bible prophecies portending the End Times. What makes this wackiness dangerous is that with nuclear weapons, the human race now has the capacity to bring about the foreseen rain of fire and brimstone.

Southeast Asia

Thousands of Rohingya trapped on borderlands

Burma's army has responded to supposed Rohingya guerilla attacks with a massive new operation to encircle the rebels and block their escape into Bangladesh. Troops are accused of putting villages to the torch and carrying out extrajudicial killings. More than 8,700 Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh, but at least 4,000 more are stranded in the no man's land between the two countries.


Iran: Kurdish guerillas renew attacks

After Kurdish guerillas attacked an Iranian border patrol, Tehran blamed Turkey for failing to prevent "terrorist" infiltration—even as Turkey is building a security wall along the frontier.


Mexicans mobilize against Trump border wall

Andres Manuel López Obrador, Mexico's left-populist presidential front-runner, has filed a complaint with the Inter-American Human Rights Commission against Trump's proposed wall.

North America

Trump admin issues new immigration measures

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly issued two memoranda directing the department to implement Trump's harsh executive orders on immigration enforcement.


Trump risking war with Mexico for useless wall?

Trump's threat to make Mexico pay for the wall with a 20% tariff on all goods coming in from across the border portends—at least—a trade war with the third biggest US trading partner.