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Why are 34,000 people being forced to wear orange Crocs?

A federal mandate that requires a minimum number of undocumented immigrants be detained each night.

Why are 34,000 people being forced to wear orange Crocs?
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Open Society Foundations

A dumb federal rule strikes again!

Law enforcement officers are forced to arrest undocumented immigrants thanks to a congressional mandate that requires 34,000 be held in detention centers every single night. A person can commit no crime other than not being here legally and be arrested and detained simply to fill a quota. So every day, 34,000 people are sitting in detention centers, wearing jumpsuits and orange Crocs that you paid for.


And it's a $2 billion problem.

Every year, 2 billion of your tax dollars are spent holding those undocumented immigrants and illegal border crossers, many for no reason other than their undocumented status. Almost 400,000 are detained every year. And guess what? That's twice as many as five years ago.

It causes extreme hardship.

Besides life being difficult for the person detained, their family also suffers. It's hard to visit a detained person because most detention centers are remote and require travel. And the family loses the detained person's income.

We're not talking about murderers here.

Barbie is married to an undocumented immigrant who was detained. She couldn't believe how much weight he'd lost and how he'd changed when she first saw him. And, as she says, it's as though they're imprisoned for murder. Except they're not.

So why is this happening? Oh, that's right! Follow the money.

Make no mistake. These quotas weren't implemented to keep us safe. No. They're the result of a profit-making system — one that pays private companies up to $120 a night per detainee.

Those 34,000+ pairs of orange Crocs are, well, a crock.

I don't think anyone would deny that dangerous criminals need to be kept off the streets. But gathering up hundreds of thousands of people to make a buck — costing you and me 2 billion bucks a year — isn't right.

How do we fix this?

First of all, we need to change the federal mandate. There's no reason to detain people for the sole purpose of filling beds (unless you think lining the pockets of private companies is a reason, which I'm sure you don't). Like Janet Napolitano said, detainment should be directly related to the threat to public safety and the offense. If someone is not a threat to public safety and hasn't committed an offense beyond being undocumented, detention doesn't make a lot of sense.

Others suggest securing the borders so that fewer undocumented immigrants come to the U.S. Because while the number of people detained annually has doubled in the last five years, the number of apprehensions at the border has dipped 50% in the same period. Is it possible that it's more profitable for certain companies if we detain people once they're here versus preventing them from coming in the first place? I dunno. But it's worth considering.

Watch the video and decide for yourself. Is this how you want your tax dollars spent?

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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