Full Steam Ahead

by Joseph McKeown


Artist Arlene Shechet has created a new site-specific installation at Madison Square Park featuring a series of new sculptures in porcelain, wood, steel, and cast iron installed around and within the emptied circular reflecting pool. Initially inspired by memories of a sunken living room in her grandparents’ apartment, Shechet wants visitors to step down into the reflecting pool to “linger and reflect.” In her sculptures for the installation, she uses forms that reflect her interest in historical decorative arts and references flora and fauna, including a lion’s head and paw, a bird’s colossal feather, and tree-like sculptures and branches. “My hope has been to reimagine the hardscape of the Park with delight and surprise,” Shechet says. “New Yorkers rely on the sidewalks, the pavement, and the street as the core of their urban lives. Full Steam Ahead becomes a lively and human amphitheater, softening the hardscape through sculptural intervention evocative of 18th-century garden landscapes.”


DOJ and DHS Issue New Rule to Block Certain Asylum Seekers at US/Mexico Border

by Joseph McKeown


On November 8, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced an Interim Final Rule declaring that foreign nationals “who contravene a presidential suspension or limitation on entry into the United States through the southern border with Mexico issued under section 212(f) or 215(a)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) will be rendered ineligible for asylum.” Under the new rule, based on the “Presidential Proclamation Addressing Mass Migration Through the Southern Border of the United States” that was signed by President Trump on November 9 the following day, migrants seeking asylum will have to make their claims only at official ports of entry on the border where according to the rule they will “be processed in a controlled, orderly, and lawful manner.”  

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Last Week Tonight: Family Separation

by Joseph McKeown


John Oliver recently examined the Trump administration family separation policy on his show. While noting that “immigration has been dominating the news all week long, as a caravan of migrants from Central America continues to head north,” he focused on the family separation policy, which has “faded from the headlines.” Oliver looked at the incompetence and miscommunication between government agencies that resulted in children getting lost in the system as well as parents being removed from the US without their children. Demonstrating the devastating human cost of the family separation policy, he played footage from an investigation by The Atlantic showing a traumatized boy crying, angry at his mother because he thinks she doesn’t love him. “This separation was so long,” the mother said in the footage. “My son has changed so much. With so much trauma.” Oliver, concerned that family separation may happen again, concluded: “I would argue the biggest threat to our status as the greatest nation on earth is not a caravan a thousand miles south of us it’s whoever thinks doing this is an acceptable f—king response.”


New York Times: "President Wants to Use Executive Order to End Birthright Citizenship"

by Joseph McKeown


President Trump announced last week that he was preparing an executive order to nullify the long-standing constitutional guarantee of birthright citizenship in the US, one of the many aggressively anti-immigrant actions he and his administration have made leading up to the midterm elections, including sending over 5,000 troops to the US/Mexico Border. “We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years, with all of those benefits,” Mr. Trump falsely told Axios in an interview.

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The Washington Post: "U.S. will deploy 5,200 additional troops to the Mexican border, officials say"

by Joseph McKeown


Department of Homeland Security and Pentagon officials announced Monday that they will send 5,200 troops, military helicopters, and razor wire to the US/Mexican border in advance of the potential arrival of a large group of Central American migrants. This troop deployment, according to the Washington Post, appears to be the “largest U.S. active-duty mobilization along the U.S.-Mexico boundary in decades and amounts to a significant militarization of American border security.”

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