From television shows and movies, we know housing projects are rife with crime: women raped, children shot, men beaten.
But no matter how bad it gets, if you live in the projects, you don’t call the cops. Why?
For one, a 911 call from the projects is seldom answered. Emergency calls from housing estates known for trouble are not handled like calls from other neighborhoods; that is, they’re ignored.
This means that if you live in the projects, you learn to handle emergencies yourself, and dial 911 only in the most extreme emergencies.
In one example that the author witnessed, a man was physically assaulting a woman. Residents got together and beat up the man, instead of calling the police. And because a call for an ambulance probably wouldn’t be answered either, residents drove the woman to the hospital themselves.
That said, even if the police did show up, they probably wouldn’t be welcomed in the projects.
Residents often throw bottles at cops when they respond to a call; worse, they can be shot at, too.
The police aren’t entirely innocent, either. Some officers of the law have been seen abusing residents, as part of a blackmail scheme.
“Officer Jerry,” for example, runs a protection racket. The author once witnessed him and three other police officers enter an apartment, handcuff a teenager and then brutally beat the teen’s father while demanding money.
Once the father revealed the location of his cash, the officers stopped, uncuffed the teen, grabbed a paper bag the father pointed out and left.
The author was even warned against writing about corrupt cops by other honest police officers, who were concerned about his safety. They even told him that some of the corrupt officers broke into the author’s car, intending to steal his notebook.
Gang activity almost always means crime and violence. Yet this assumption is only part of the story, when looking at the local activities of the Chicago gang, Black Kings.
A gang can provide some semblance of order and safety on its turf. Gang members, for example, would escort elderly women on their shopping errands, to keep them safe from muggers.
In one instance, the author witnessed a family whose apartment door had fallen off its hinges. Unable to protect themselves or their property, the family was extremely vulnerable to the project’s thieves and drug addicts.
Yet gang members were stationed as guards in the stairwell to prevent anyone from entering the apartment and stealing. Gang members as well shut down a crack den operating in a nearby vacant apartment, to prevent addicts from taking advantage of the situation.
At the end of last week, the caravan arrived on the doorstep to Mexico. Under pressure from the U.S., Mexico offered the migrants asylum but said it would only let in groups of 150 to 200 people a day to process their requests. Anyone crossing the border illegally would be deported, Mexican officials warned.
The Honduran government estimates that 2,000 migrants returned home. Mexico says another 1,000 or so have applied for asylum. But the majority—about 5,000, according to the Mexican government—crossed the border illegally, mostly on rickety rafts run by human smugglers.
.. “We can’t get to the northern border all together” said Irineo Mujica, the head of People without Borders, a U.S.-Mexico nonprofit that has backed the caravan since its arrival in Guatemala. Such a huge group moving across Mexico days before the U.S. midterms, he added, would embolden Mr. Trump. “If this full caravan arrives to the U.S. border, it would be like a declaration of war,” Mr. Mujica said.
.. Most migrants say they want to get to the U.S. but generally don’t know what legal options they have ahead. Many said they were determined to abandon Honduras, which has among the world’s highest rates of violence. When they saw news on television that a caravan had left from San Pedro Sula heading north, many thought it was the right moment to leave.
.. She said a criminal gang extorted her family business and demanded a “war tax,” calling it that because “if you don’t pay the gang destroys your business and kills you.”
.. For many would-be migrants, leaving in a caravan is attractive because they can avoid paying some $5,000 in smugglers’ fees and are safer traveling in numbers... “Most Mexicans are sympathetic to the migrants, so politically it becomes very difficult for the government to move against the caravan given it has such visibility,” he said. “On the other hand, you don’t want to anger the U.S. and be seen as just allowing migrants to cross through your country freely.”.. On Sunday, Mr. Trump warned the migrants on Twitter that if they didn’t accept Mexico’s offer of asylum, they would be denied entry to the U.S. He said Monday the caravan included “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners,” without offering evidence... For fiscal year 2019, the U.S. plans to send about
- $70 million in aid to Guatemala,
- $66 million to Honduras and
- $46 million to El Salvador,
according to the State Department. Most of the funds go to
- violence prevention,
- justice and rule-of-law programs, along with
- funding for border and narcotics enforcement.
.. Cutting aid to Central American countries would be a mistake, since U.S. aid dollars fund programs that reduce violence, strengthen the justice system, and encourage investment that make them more attractive places for their citizens, said Marcela Escobari, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
.. Studies have shown that once a country’s GDP per capita reaches between $6,000 and $8,000, the gains from migrating somewhere become less attractive, who served under President Barack Obama as head of Latin America for the U.S. Agency for International Development.
“We need to stop these countries from becoming failed states, because that’s what’s going to cause a tremendous exodus,” she said.
.. Immigrants asking for U.S. asylum either at a legal border crossing or upon being arrested by the Border Patrol for crossing illegally are subjected to a “credible fear” interview to decide if their request should be heard by an immigration judge. More than 75% of immigrants pass the so-called “credible fear bar,” according to U.S. government statistics. Those who don’t pass that initial interview are subject to deportation.
.. Immigration authorities can jail asylum seekers until their case is decided, but bed space is at a premium as the Trump administration steps up immigration enforcement both at the border and in the U.S. interior.
For those released into the U.S., a final decision could take years amid a backlog of more than 764,000 cases pending in federal immigration court. During that time, they can live in the U.S. and apply work permits, something Mr. Trump has repeatedly criticized.
Administration officials told reporters that the government had reunited 57 of the 103 migrant children under the age of 5, complying with a judicial order. The other 46 were deemed “ineligible” for a variety of reasons. Some of their parents had been accused of crimes. One parent had a communicable disease. In a dozen cases, the parents had been deported already without their children, making their reunification more challenging.
“We don’t have the legal authority to bring these individuals back into the country for reunification purposes,” said Matthew Albence, executive director of ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations, the detention and deportation division.
But there are ways around restrictions on permitting deported parents to return to the United States. The Obama administration, in the rare cases in which such a separation occurred, issued “humanitarian parole” to the mother or father, allowing her or him to enter the United States for the purpose of picking up the child.
.. Of the migrants older than 5, the government officials would not say Thursday how many would be deemed ineligible to be reunited with their families.
Most of the families separated from their children said they were fleeing gang or domestic violence in Central America and planned to seek asylum in the United States.