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Migrant Children Kept From Enrolling in School

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Candelario Jimon Alonzo came to the U.S. dreaming of becoming something more than what seemed possible along the rutted roads of his hometown in Guatemala’s highlands. This was his chance: He could earn a U.S. high school education and eventually become a teacher. Candelario Jimon Alonzo ca

Instead, the 16-year-old spends most days alone in the tumbledown Memphis house where he lives with his uncle, leaving only occasionally to play soccer and pick up what English he can from his friends.

Local school officials have kept Jimon out of the classroom since he tried to enroll in January. Attorneys say Jimon and at least a dozen other migrant youth fleeing violence in Central America have been blocked from going to Memphis high schools because officials contend the teens lacked transcripts or were too old to graduate on time.

The Associated Press has found that in at least 35 districts in 14 states, hundreds of unaccompanied minors from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have been discouraged from enrolling in schools or pressured into what advocates and attorneys argue are separate but unequal alternative programs — essentially an academic dead end, and one that can violate federal law.

Instead of enrolling Jimon and the other minors in high school, their cash-strapped district routed them to an adult school in East Memphis that offered English classes a few hours a week. But before Jimon could even register, the state shut the GED and English-language programs over concerns that few students were graduating, effectively ending his chances for a formal education.

“I really wanted to study math and English when I got here,” said Jimon, who grew up speaking Spanish and the indigenous language Quiche. The teen is in the process of applying for permission to stay in the country permanently.

Shelby County Schools spokeswoman Natalia Powers said her sprawling district had a policy that allowed students 16 and older to choose to enroll in a GED program, and that once the program closed, students could continue studying in a “similar” program at a local nonprofit. But attorneys and advocates said their clients weren’t given the choice to attend a mainstream high school, and that the Memphis nonprofit did not teach English.

America’s schools remain one of the few government institutions where migrant youth are guaranteed services, but the federal government has extended little money or oversight to monitor whether that happens, in part because schools are locally governed.

Since fall 2013, the federal government has placed nearly 104,000 unaccompanied minors with adult sponsors in communities nationwide, where they are expected to attend school while they seek legal status in immigration court. Months later, during the dramatic surge of illegal crossings at the border, the Education and Justice departments issued joint guidance reminding districts that a 1982 Supreme Court ruling established that states cannot deny children a free public education, regardless of immigration status.

For students learning English, guidance says school districts must provide appropriate language assistance services so students can participate equally in the standard instructional program within a reasonable period of time.

Districts found to have broken the law can be forced to change their enrollment policies, but making that happen is not easy. To start, few migrant children understand their rights.

Students and their advocates can sue districts or file complaints with the Education or Justice departments, but investigations are backlogged and typically result in civil sanctions, said Lisa Carmona, senior attorney with the nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center.

Many local school districts have stretched to find the resources and staff to meet the educational needs of these students, who often carry emotional trauma, have gaps in their education and are older than other English-language learners.

To determine where that was not happening, the AP analyzed federal data to identify areas where the number of migrant children was relatively large when compared to public school enrollment, along with the number of students formally learning English.

In Alabama, California, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and South Carolina, social workers and attorneys told AP that migrant students have been barred from enrolling, kept out of class for months due or routed to reform schools and adult programs. The full extent of how the Central American minors are faring in schools is unknown because the government does not release data on counties where fewer than 50 minors have been placed, which means information was not provided for about 25,000 of the migrants.

Spokeswomen for the Education and Justice departments would not say how many of the nation’s roughly 14,000 school districts have been investigated for such failures.

“We remain committed to working with federal partners and community-based organizations to address any issues that unaccompanied children . may face in dealing with the education system,” Education spokeswoman Dorie Nolt said.

All children must attend school until at least the eighth grade or until they turn 16 under compulsory education laws in all 50 states. Students can enroll beyond that age in many states.

Some districts have gone to extraordinary lengths to accommodate the students, who often come to join relatives, sometimes escaping criminal gangs or extreme poverty. One district in rural Kansas rerouted a school bus to ensure a group of unaccompanied teens made it to class. A San Francisco high school rewrote young-adult novels at a basic level to spark the newcomers’ interest in reading.

In March 2015, federal officials made $14 million in grants available for county school districts where the government placed more than 50 unaccompanied minors. But that amounts to less than $175 for each unaccompanied child placed in those counties since October 2013, which many districts say leaves them to cover too much of the cost.

Jesse Anderson has written extensively about legal matters and current events. She offers fresh perspectives on controversial issues and consistently reports objectively on notable political cases. Anderson grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and frequently volunteers for organizations like Civic Works, RAINN and Kids Against Hunger. She hopes to change the face of politics and make a positive impact on the world around her.

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Syria al-Qaeda Leader Attacked, Unsure of His Survival

An air strike struck Abu al-Khayr al-Masri in the Syrian province of Idlib on Sunday, based on unconfirmed reports.

The Egyptian is second-in-command to overall al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, according to BBC News.

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An air strike struck Abu al-Khayr al-Masri in the Syrian province of Idlib on Sunday, based on unconfirmed reports.

The Egyptian is second-in-command to overall al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, according to BBC News.

Syrian opposition forces, the Local Co-ordination Committees, posted a photo of the car which was targeted for the attack, as stated by them.

Car with roof shattered is shown in photo taken from Syrian opposition activists

The car, in the town of al-Mastuma, was targeted by “international coalition aircraft”, the group said.

Additionally, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that an al-Qaeda official was killed in a strike, but did not confirm it was Abu al-Khayr al-Masri.

The Egyptian, whose real name is Abdullah Muhammad Rajab Abd al-Rahman, was reportedly released from custody by Iran in 2015 as part of a prisoner swap.

Last year, Abu al-Khayr al-Masri was reported to have given his blessing to a decision by al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, al-Nusra Front, to cut formal ties with the global jihadist network.

The Syrian jihadist with ties broken with al-Qaeda had renamed its name to Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham, as reported by CNN.

According to Ahmad Hasan Abu al Khayr al-Masri, al-Qaeda has embraced the split. The man Masri would replace as an upranking to No. 2 of the leadership position in the terror group, is al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. Zawahiri expressed his opinion on the split in a supportive manner and called for infighting between jihadist groups to end.

Although Jabhat Fateh al-Sham was no longer linked to an external entity, the U.S. still kept it on its list of foreign terrorist groups and continued to target air strikes.

Therefore, in January, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham dissolved itself and formed an alliance with four smaller Syrian jihadist groups called Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. The move seemed to deem an attempt by the group to distance itself from al-Qaeda.

Tahrir al-Sham as since then fought rebel groups for control of the Idlib province in Syria, implying that it was them who had instigated suicide bombs on Saturday against the military in the government-controlled city of Homs.

Although the death of Abu al-Khayr al-Masri is uncertain, the Guardian has stated that he has been killed based off of what jihadists are stating.

The immediate circumstances of Masri’s death were unclear. Video online showed a tan four-door Kia sedan destroyed at a roadside with a large hole in its canopy but its windscreen mostly intact. The location of the attack was unusually far west for a US drone strike.

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Developments in Presidential Race, Trump does Terribly at Forum as Clinton shines

November is lurking around the corner and will be here before you know it, so my question to you is, have you decided who you will vote for? I have, and I proudly say my choice is Hillary Rodham Clinton. I am informing you all that there are ample development in the race for the presidency of the United States…

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November is lurking around the corner and will be here before you know it, so my question to you is, have you decided who you will vote for? I have, and I proudly say my choice is Hillary Rodham Clinton. I am informing you all that there are ample development in the race for the presidency of the United States.

First of all, Donald Trump, according to Kristina Vong’s article at Thehill.com, wrongly corrected a veteran Marine during a forum. The veteran, a woman named Rachel Fredericks, asked Mr. Trump how he plans to stop 20 veterans from committing suicide, daily. Trump tried to correct the woman, who needed no correction. He said it is actually 22, trying to emerge correct, when he was essentially incorrect.

Mr. Trump also does not have a real plan to defeat ISIS, as “his plan is to have a plan” according to Igor Bobic at the Huffington Post. He also insulted military leaders calling them embarrassments to the country when they were under President Obama. He wants to give the generals 30 days to come up with a plan to defeat ISIS.  Of course, this even makes it more obvious that Mr. Trump does not have a plan to defeat ISIS. Why, then did he call our current president the founder of ISIS? How can you give your vote to someone so unprepared and unfit for the presidency that constitutes a whole country? Sorry to say, but Donald Trump is not someone to vote for, at least not as US President!

According to Sean Colarossi at PoliticusUSA.com, a presidential forum highlighted how prepared Trump and Clinton are compared to each other, with Clinton appearing as the more prepared one, very easily. Clinton was engaged with questions, expressed gratitude, and was very prolific and intelligible in her responses. To reiterate, Trump has not a plan to defeat ISIS, where Hillary has a well thought-out plan. She outlined her plan, entailing it could take any form and she iterated and supports the idea that terror suspects should not be able to purchase firearms. Clinton also covered issues like mental health, illuminating the fact that it is overlooked, and mental health should no longer be stigmatized and victims of mental disorders should have access to resources. On the other hand, Trump gave generic answers like that he knows what is going on in the world. Also according to Colarossi’s article, Trump showed as an “empty suit” and “showed he is not prepared to be commander-in-chief” and that the contrast between him and Clinton could not be clearer”; this essentially means Clinton showed to be immensely more prepared to lead and did not focus on attacking others, like Trump’s approach does.

Lastly, Donald Trump has insulted women, children, ethnic groups, religious groups, his opponent, our current president, the military, and the list goes on. He is patronizing and unprepared to preside over our country as well. He constantly attacks others, with no action in mind. Consider if you want to have him as president, seriously!

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Politics

Senator Elizabeth Warren Highlights that Trump is a “Racist Bully” and that a Vote for Jill Stein Would Only Help Trump

Senator Elizabeth Warren recently, and I must say, very appropriately, called Donald Trump a “racist bully.” She said also that a vote for the Green Party’s presidential nominee, Jill Stein, is essentially a vote for Donald Trump…

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Senator Elizabeth Warren Highlights that Trump is a "Racist Bully" and that a Vote for Jill Stein Would Only Help Trump

Senator Elizabeth Warren recently, and I must say, very appropriately, called Donald Trump a “racist bully.” She said also that a vote for the Green Party’s presidential nominee, Jill Stein, is essentially a vote for Donald Trump.

Adding to her speech at Roxbury Community College, the senator said,  Trump has constantly proven to be a “thin-skinned, racist bully.” She then said his approach is hateful, with parts of his campaign being based on hate and that it is not characteristic of our country: that our country “is better than that.”

Warren then took the stance that, no, voters should not vote for Dr. Jill Stein over Secretary and Democratic Presidential Nominee, Hillary Clinton. Her reasons are simple. Anything can be precocious in getting Trump even inches closer to the White House, as she said in essence. Warren then suggested directly that a vote for Stein is a vote that brings Mr. Trump closer to the White House.

Also today, Dr. Stein even voiced more apprehensions and warning about Donald Trump. She did so by calling him a neo-fascist, basically. She generally suggested in her interview with Democracy Now, that Trump resonates fascist qualities of leaders of the past. This makes it clear that a vote for Trump is a vote for misfortune and peril in the United States.

Recently, on “Hannity” on Fox News, Trump generalized minorities once again, fabricating a vibe that illegal immigrants have been acutely responsible for deaths and fatalities in the country. One woman came forward, saying this is not an isolated issue. Trump, once again, has me disappointed in him and terrified if he gets elected.

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