Trump’s emergency wall funding declaration was ‘unlawful,’ court says

WASHINGTON – A federal judge in Texas Friday blocked an administration plan to use $3.6 billion in Pentagon funds for border wall construction, calling President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to secure the funds “unlawful.”

U.S. District Judge David Briones said Trump cannot use the declaration to get around the budget Congress approved in February that “restricts the amount and location of funding for border barrier construction.”

The lawsuit, one of many filed to stop the diversion of Defense Department money to the border wall, was brought by El Paso County, Texas, and the Border Network for Human Rights based there. They argued that Trump’s rhetoric has harmed the area’s reputation, costing the community important tourist revenues, and would divert $20 million from projects at nearby Fort Bliss.

“‘Fort Bliss is the lifeblood of the El Paso economy,’ contributing billions of dollars and creating thousands of jobs,” Briones wrote.

Written with Megan U. Boyanton. Read more here.


Pedestrian Deaths

Pedestrian deaths are at their highest level in almost 30 years.

The trend disproportionately affects lower income areas and Sun Belt cities. We interviewed experts and families affected in Phoenix and Los Angeles about this trend, as well as what can be done to make streets more walkable. I contributed data reporting to my team’s story in the Los Angeles Times and co-produced a six-minute investigative segment that’s been featured on PBS Newshour. I also spoke about the piece on Arizona Horizon,

Influx of Venezuelans sorely tests Peru’s economy and labor market

Julia Lorena Campos Noguera, 22, sells water and lemonade in San Juan de Lurigancho. (Photo by Kailey Broussard)

LIMA, Peru – Federal authorities face the daunting task of assessing how Peru’s economy and labor market can absorb the more than 700,000 Venezuelans who have fled their country and resettled here in the past few years.

Adding to the challenge is an estimate by the International Organization for Migration that the number could grow to more than 1.4 million by the end of 2019.

“We understand, and we understood, this is one crisis – a human crisis,” said Roxana del Aguila Tuesta, superintendent of the Ministry of Migration. “We cannot close our eyes, close our ears or close our mouths.”

Peru’s nearly two decades of economic growth – along with lenient immigration requirements that include a temporary residency permit, known as a PTP, that allows refugees to legally work – have made the country the second most popular destination for Venezuelan migrants behind neighboring Colombia. Read more.

Challenges to law could redefine Native American foster care, adoptions

PHOENIX – Gilbert resident Mimi Condon calls the struggle to make her oldest son part of her family her “39-month labor.”

That’s how long it took to adopt David because he’s a Native American and the Condons are not – which meant the 40-year-old Indian Child Welfare Act came into play during the adoption, adding layers of complexity to the process.

The Condons did not set out to adopt Native American children, but three of their four adopted kids – David, now 11, Tommy, 7, and Isaac, 4 – are Native American. Condon tries to keep them connected to their roots, but said she adopted the boys to get them out of foster care and into a loving home.

“We didn’t want them to have that extra step,” Condon said. “We wanted them to stay with us.”

The Indian Child Welfare Act requires that Native American children be placed in Native American foster or adoptive homes, where possible, to maintain their heritage and identity.

The law is being challenged with increasing regularity in courts and by special-interest groups who contend it prioritizes race over a child’s best interest. Read more

Archives – The Vermilion, 2014-2018


UL Lafayette student warns others on social media after reporting man following student home – March 29, 2018
10 years of leadership: University president Joseph Savoie discusses university’s growth, plans – Jan. 9, 2018
International student’s death a result of Kappa Sigma’s hazing practices, lawsuits say – Nov. 14, 2017
Assistant softball coaches dismissed following Mike Lotief’s termination – Nov. 2, 2017
Four IFC fraternities suspended in weeks following LSU student’s death – Oct. 9, 2017
SGA budget approved; cabinet position applications launch – Oct. 2, 2017
UL officials, students respond to possible hazing death of LSU freshman pledge – Sept. 20, 2017
University, students grapple with Harvey damage following week-long deluges – Sept. 6, 2017
New student tailgating spot offers change of venue, events – Aug. 29, 2017


Managing editor calls for students to ‘find their village’