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El Chapo trial shows why a wall won’t stop drugs from crossing the US-Mexico border by Luis Gómez Romero, University of Wollongong, 1/17/2019.

border with Mexico

Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzmán after his capture by Mexican marines in January 2016.

The trial of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquín "El Chapo” Guzmán Loera has exposed just how powerful Mexico’s cartels really are. The trial has now run for two months. On Jan. 15, a Colombian drug trafficker who worked for Guzman’s Sinaloa Cartel from 2007 to 2013 testified that Guzmán paid former Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto a US$100 million bribe while he was in power, a charge Peña Nieto’ office denies.

With its witness accounts of extreme violence, political corruption, international intrigue and entrepreneurial innovation, Guzman’s trial is a telenovela-style explainer on why a wall is unlikely to stop the lucrative U.S.-Mexico drug trade.

The drug business

Illegal drugs are a highly lucrative business. In 2016, the year El Chapo was captured in Mexico, the wholesale price for a gram of cocaine was approximately $2.30 in Colombia and $12.50 in Mexico. The same gram had a wholesale cost of $28 by the time it got to the United States. In Australia, that same gram of cocaine fetched $176.50 wholesale. Drug prices rise significantly during transit as intermediaries demand compensation for the risk they assume in getting the product to consumers.


White right? How demographics is changing US politics by Monica Duffy Toft, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, 1/7/2019


Lagging whites, growing minorities

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s data, all racial and ethnic minorities are growing faster than whites. Interestingly, one of the fastest growing groups in this country is “mixed race” (full disclosure: my children are such, being both Mexican- and Irish-American).

Still, at 198 million, non-Hispanic whites remained the largest group of Americans in 2014; followed by Hispanics at 55.4 million, and blacks or African-Americans at 42 million. Those who identified with two or more races stood at just under 8 million. The Census Bureau projects the crossover point at which the non-Hispanic white population will no longer be a majority will occur in 2044. In fact, no one group will comprise a majority. We will become a plural nation of different ethnic and racial groups.

Demography and democracy

That powerful shift in the makeup of the U.S. population has created ideal conditions for a political backlash against people of color, including Hispanics, blacks, Asians and especially immigrants of color. One prominent example: President Trump’s lament that the U.S. was being overwhelmed by immigrants from “s-hole countries,” rather than from places like Norway.


ASSEMBLYMEMBER Rodneyse Bichotte Supports Haitian TPS Ahead of Trial, 1/8/2019

Haitian TPS

Assembly member Rodneyse Bichotte alongside Assembly member Michaelle Solages

Yesterday, January 7, 2019, several public figures, community leaders and sponsors joined 32BJ SEIU and the National Lawyers Guild for a press conference ahead of a trial challenging the Trump Administration’s rescission of Temporary Protected Status for Haitians and other migrant populations. The trial is set to investigate the motives of the government in rescinding the program, citing the Trump administration's anti-immigration rhetoric as a probable reason. Among those present at the demonstration were Assembly members Rodneyse Bichotte, and Michaelle Solages, and Councilman Jumaane D. Williams and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez who all advocated in defense of TPS.

“As a child of Haitian immigrants, I am deeply offended by the actions of the Trump Administration. Haitians have contributed so much to our country. They have provided culture and added to the tax base. It is unfair to separate and displace our families,” says Assembly member Rodneyse Bichotte.

"Haitians still have the spirit of the revolution that freed them from slavery. So today, we stand firm in one accord against rescinding of TPS."

NYS Assembly member Rodneyse Bichotte

The trial, Saget et al v. Trump, is underway at the Eastern District and will last seven days. The plaintiffs in the case are several individuals, and a couple of organizations that will be impacted by the phase out of TPS. Without TPS, about 50,000 Haitian immigrants will have to rapidly arrange for their departure or seek alternative legal immigration status.


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