South Florida educators, lawmakers vow to fight end of TPS for Haitians

South Florida educators and lawmakers are vowing to fight a recent decision to end temporary protected status for Haitians.

“As an immigrant myself, I cannot remain silent on this issue,” Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said during a news conference Tuesday morning.

Carvalho was joined by U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., and other fellow educators and lawmakers to condemn the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to end TPS for Haitians in July 2019.

“Today is a difficult day, not just for those who benefit from the TPS program, but for so many South Florida families who depend on them,” Curbelo said. 

The temporary status allows Haitians who fled the country after the 2010 earthquake to live and stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation.

“What will we gain by deporting Haitians?” Wilson said. “It’s not even that many — 50,000 people. What do we gain?”

South Florida’s congressional delegation wants to make the temporary protected status permanent.

“That’s why we filed the Esperer legislation, which means hope in French,” Curbelo said. “How appropriate.”

Miami-Dade County school board member Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall said something must be done.

“We will not sit idly by and do nothing,” she said. “If they come for the Haitians, they will come for all of us.”

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US official: Additional remains of Sgt. La David Johnson found in Niger

Additional remains have been discovered of Sgt. La David Johnson who was killed in the October 4 ambush by ISIS fighters in Niger, according to a U.S. official.

The remains were recovered by a U.S. military and FBI team that traveled to the area. Johnson’s family was notified on Monday, the official said.

An armed forces medical examiner confirmed the remains were Johnson’s. The remains were discovered at the site where Johnson’s body was recovered.

There has been no public disclosure about whether these additional remains will provide any clues about Johnson’s death or what happened to his body during the 48 hours he was missing.

American officials are also investigating local eyewitness reports Sgt. Johnson was found with his hands tied, a defense official told CNN earlier this month, though the U.S. military has not confirmed those accounts.

A joint U.S. Africa Command and Niger military investigation team returned to Tongo Tongo, the village near where the attack took place on October 4.

According to U.S. Africa Command, investigators interviewed local villagers, physically examined multiple areas of interest and retraced actions before, during and after the ambush.

What happened to Johnson and how he became separated from the rest of the Green Beret-led team after it was attacked is one of the key mysteries surrounding the incident.

Johnson was reportedly found nearly a mile away from the central scene of the ambush in Niger that killed him and three other U.S. soldiers.

CBS News and The Washington Post have reported eyewitnesses of the aftermath disclosing his hands were tied.

The Post quoted a local farmer and trader saying some children tending cattle found Johnson’s remains with his hands tied behind his back and talked to a village chief confirming it.

Authorities, according to the official, are also investigating whether local villagers may have taken his body at some point before it was turned over to Nigerien forces.

Johnson’s body was recovered in a remote area of the northwestern African country by Nigerien troops nearly 48 hours after he was discovered to be missing in the wake of the attack, according to U.S. officials.

Several U.S. military officials caution the local reports are not yet verified.

The Green Beret-led team was traveling with 30 Nigerien soldiers when they were attacked by approximately 50 ISIS-affiliated fighters armed with rocket propelled grenades, mortars and heavy machine guns. The team became separated during the firefight, U.S. officials and a Nigerien soldier told CNN.

During the subsequent gun battle, which lasted for hours, four U.S. soldiers were killed and two were wounded. Five Nigeriens were also killed. American and Nigerien forces managed to kill 20 militants during the firefight according to a defense official.

The Defense Department has said it expects the investigation into the Niger ambush to be completed by January.

“The Department of Defense is committed to a thorough and detailed investigation into the deaths of Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright and Sgt. La David T. Johnson. Once the investigation is completed, briefing the families of the fallen will be the Department’s first priority,” a statement released last month said.

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LaVar Ball responds to Trump: ‘I say thank you when I see something’

LaVar Ball denies being in a feud with President Donald Trump, but repeatedly refused to issue a “thanks” to the President for his involvement in the release of his son from China.

“Why would I be in war with a guy … the most powerful man in the world?” Ball said Monday night when asked about his back-and-forth with the President by CNN’s Chris Cuomo.

“Did he help the boys get out? I don’t know. … If I was going to thank somebody I’d probably thank President Xi (Jinping),” LaVar Ball said.

His comment came a day after Trump tweeted that he “should have left them in jail,” referring to Ball’s son and two other UCLA basketball players who were arrested on suspicion of stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store while their team was in China.

“Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal,” Trump tweeted. “I should have left them in jail!”

Last week, Trump questioned on Twitter whether he would receive any thanks for his role in the players’ release.

“Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

And although the players themselves expressed gratitude to the President at a news conference, LaVar Ball minimized Trump’s involvement in the matter.

“Who?” he told ESPN when asked about Trump’s role in the situation days after their release. “What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”

In an interview with CNN Monday, LaVar Ball defended his son’s actions and talked around thanking the President.

“It wasn’t like he was in the US and said, ‘OK, there’s three kids in China. I need to go over and get them.’ That wasn’t the thought process,” he told Cuomo.

“I say thank you when I see something,” LaVar Ball later added.

“If you help, you shouldn’t have to say anything,” he said. “Let him do his political affairs and let me handle my son and let’s just stay in our lane.”

The interview concluded on a festive note, with LaVar Ball wishing Trump a happy holiday.

“Tell Donald Trump to have a great Thanksgiving,” he said.

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Haitians’ protection from deportation to end, Trump administration announces

The Trump administration announced it would end special protection from deportation for Haitians.

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke announced her decision Monday to terminate the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Haiti, which will affect more than 50,000 Haitians living in the United States, most of whom live in Florida.

According to the DHS website, there will be “a delayed effective date of 18 months to allow for an orderly transition before the designation terminates on July 22, 2019. This decision follows then-Secretary John F. Kelly’s announcement in May 2017 that Haiti had made considerable progress, and that the country’s designation will likely not be extended past six months.”

For Peterson Exais, 17, who has been living in Miami since being injured in the country’s 2010 earthquake, the news was tough to hear.

“It’s very devastating hearing this news,” Exais said.

Exais is now a student at the New World School for the Arts and lives with his mother, who is also a recipient of TPS. He said his family in Haiti is struggling to survive.

“They’re hungry. They’re not receiving food,” he said. “They’re not receiving clothing. It’s very difficult for them. And I could not imagine myself in that situation again.”

South Florida lawmakers across party lines voiced their disappointment with the DHS announcement.

U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart wrote in a statement that forcing Haitians “… to leave the United States would be detrimental. Almost eight years later, Haiti remains in total disarray and still requires much rebuilding.”

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson tweeted that the decision was “unconscionable,” and, “Ultimately, we need a permanent legislative solution.”

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Changes coming ahead of Trump’s return to Mar-A-Lago

President Donald Trump will be spending the Thanksgiving holiday in Mar-A-Lago, and the surrounding communities and businesses are preparing for the restrictions that come with him.

During his initial visits to the so-called “Winter White House” as commander in chief, the president’s presence wasn’t always appreciated.

Due to security precautions, roads were shut down, detours were put in place and noncommercial aircraft were grounded, effectively putting one airport temporarily out of business, and causing some local companies and industries to reportedly lose hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In March, a helipad was completed on the western lawn of the president’s Palm Beach estate. The project allows Marine One to take him from Palm Beach International Airport directly to the property and vice versa, but so far, it hasn’t been used to do so. In fact, the town of Palm Beach believes it will mainly be used for emergencies. If it was used, road closures would go into effect while Marine One was in the air, causing similar traffic issues to what was already seen.

As Trump prepares to return to Mar-A-Lago, some surrounding communities and businesses are feeling significantly more prepared this time around.

“I think people are adapting to do what they would normally do,” Marley Herring, president of the Worth Avenue Association, said. “We’ve come to a point where I think we have it handled quite nicely and people can still shop, they can still dine, they can still make it to the avenue.”

Local 10 News contacted both the Palm Beach County Airport Authority and Stellar Aviation, the primary operator for Palm Beach County Park Airport, but neither would comment on this story.

The president is expected to land at Palm Beach International Airport at 5:35 p.m. on Tuesday. He is scheduled to leave Sunday.

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US conducts airstrikes on Afghanistan opium labs

The US conducted airstrikes targeting opium processing labs in Afghanistan Sunday, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Michael Andrews tells CNN.The airstrikes were part of a joint US-Afghan operation targeting drug facilities in Taliban-controlled areas in no…

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