Extra! Extra!: Can We Even Begin to Untangle the Multiple Messes at the Border?

So much has been happening the last couple of weeks, it’s really been hard for me to stay on top of it all. This week’s Extra! Extra! brings you news on a smattering of issues: more anti-trans legislation and rising transphobia in the U.K. alongside a ruling in Japan striking down the ban on same-sex marriage, more perspectives on the shooting in Atlanta, what exactly is happening at the U.S. border, an early look at the Chauvin trial and more.


The War on Trans Kids Is Coming for Dr. Izzy Lowell

More trans people hiding identity at work than five years ago — report

A first: US Senate confirms transgender doctor for key post

A few weeks ago in the comments, AS regular Chandra observed that the rise in transphobia we are witnessing comes, at least partly, as a consequence of high profile people (like, you know, J.K. Rowling) using their platforms to endorse the TERF bandwagon. It was an incredibly astute observation and feels all the more poignant in light of these recent survey findings from the U.K. that nearly two-thirds of trans respondents needed to hide their identities at work, a substantial increase from five years ago. These situations always feel a little chicken and egg to me — is the heightened discrimination that people are experiencing in their day to day lives a result of the increasingly hostile political environment or is the tide moving in the other direction? Or maybe these two things are just feeding off of each other. In any case, it doesn’t matter, because at the end of the day, just having these “debates” is making for a more volatile, a more dangerous situation for trans people.

At the same time, the former Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine has made history as the first transgender person to be confirmed to by the U.S. Senate for one of the highest positions in the federal government as the Assistant Secretary of Health. Levine led Pennsylvania through the pandemic and will be a key official in leading the federal pandemic response.

So there’s a push and pull here that feels both inevitable and unnecessary. Like so many things the answer seems so obvious: treat trans people with the humanity and the dignity they deserve. Which means, politically, to stop legislating against their agency and, instead, ensuring trans civil rights are truly protected under the law.

In Landmark Ruling, Court Says Japan’s Ban On Same-Sex Marriage Is Unconstitutional

A Few Angles on the Atlanta Shooting

The Long History Of Sexual And Physical Violence Asian Women Face In The U.S.

Rep. Andy Kim On State Department Racism: ‘My Own Government Questioned My Loyalty’

Atlanta shooting victim’s husband says police held him in handcuffs for hours

There’s a lot that can be and has been said about the rise in anti-Asian violence over the course of the pandemic, how that was a latent racism that has existed unacknowledged for so long and how it all culminated in a fatal shooting in Atlanta that left eight people dead. Yet another disturbing bit of news that was reported this week was that one of the victim’s husband (who is Latinx) was handcuffed and held as a suspect by police as his wife died. Racism truly knows no bounds in this country.

The Dark Tales of the Christian Sex Addiction Industry


The migrant ‘surge’ at the U.S. southern border is actually a predictable pattern.

The people we left behind: How closing a dangerous border camp adds to inequities

A Mexican mother tried to escape her abuser. She was one of 13 migrants to die on a California highway

Migrants are heading north because Central America never recovered from last year’s hurricanes

As I read the immigration news coverage, again and again, what comes to my mind is that Trump made a bad situation worse, and it will take a long, long time to even get back to the less bad version of American immigration policy that was in place before he took office four years ago. This isn’t to give Obama a pass for any of his terrible immigration policies but, much as with the pandemic, it’s a reminder that incompetent (I would say completely inept, actively destructive) leadership can bring about so much damage it can make things nearly impossible to fix. The article from the Texas Tribune above is a perfect example of this. In reversing Trump’s “stay in Mexico” policy and allowing migrants at the border camps to enter the U.S. other incredibly vulnerable migrants (for instance, queer and trans people) who had to leave the border camps for their safety are having an even harder time entering the country. But I’m really left wondering, what is the better alternative here, short of fully opening the border? Which I personally am in favor of but know very, very well that there’s absolutely no way that will ever happen — as evidenced by the politicking that is happening around this alleged “surge,” that is not actually a surge, in migrants arriving at the border.

Meanwhile, the underlying problems remain and continue to worsen. Last year, Propublica and the New York Times published what I described at the time as a “searing look at climate migration”. And, as expected, that is bearing out with migrants leaving Central American countries that were devastated by hurricanes (made worse by climate change) last year.

As always, the U.S. simply does not accept enough asylum applications, and that was true long before Trump. Which is how a woman trying to leave a violent abuser who repeatedly threatened to kill her and her children ended up crossing the border in an overpacked, unsafe van and dying when it crashed with a truck in California.

And Relatedly, in the U.K.

Asylum seekers placed in squalid housing with no money in ‘shambolic’ plan to move thousands, charities say

Indigenous Rights

Line 3 construction brings complication, controversy to Fond du Lac Reservation

I found this to be really interesting and nuanced coverage of yet another showdown between an oil company trying to build a pipeline, a Native American tribe trying to exert its sovereignty over what can and cannot happen on its land and all the indigienous and non-indigineous people protesting the new construction. The alliances are not as clear cut and the issues are not nearly as simple as we might want them to be.

BREAKING: Charges Against Nick Tilsen and Land Defenders DROPPED, NDN Collective Celebrates a Victory for the Movement

RCMP destroyed police records from the night Colten Boushie died

Criminal Justice News

Police Unions Have Enormous War Chests to Defend Officers Like Derek Chauvin

The trial against Chauvin has started and, at that same moment, Minneapolis landed on a $27 million settlement with the family of George Floyd. This in turn led to two jurors being removed because the settlement colored their view of the case. How anyone can actually be impartial about what happened, regardless of the settlement, is truly beyond me. I mean the videos and the stills and the witness accounts reported by the media really speaks for themselves. I mean, in this situation, selecting jurors for that kind of “impartiality” is making the result many of us are sadly expecting (an acquittal) a foregone conclusion, isn’t it? That point is further reinforced by NPR’s recent reporting on who is part of the jury.

He thought he could be a ‘good’ cop. Now, he’s working to end policing as we know it.

The Fight for Echo Park Lake: Fences and Neighbors

California’s top court ends cash bail for some defendants who can’t afford it

COVID-19 Update

Little Difference In Vaccine Hesitancy Among White And Black Americans, Poll Finds

COVID Vaccine Inequity, Chicago Edition: Hospital Gives Doses Meant for Hard-Hit Black Chicagoans to Trump’s Son, Hotel Employees and Luxury Store Workers

There’s been a lot said since the vaccine rollout started about inequity in who was getting vaccinated and how much of that was being driven by a justified mistrust of the medical establishment in Black, Latinx and immigrant communities versus by inequity in access. A recent poll from NPR shows that mistrust is really not the driving factor here. And this reporting from the Root serves as just one case study of how inequity in access continues to be a major problem. Vaccine doses that were specifically ear-marked for low income people in a predominantly Black Chicago neighborhood were instead given to the likes of Eric Trump and other people who work at the Trump hotel in Chicago. In addition to this incredible injustice, there’s a really sick irony to the fact that Trump’s son (and, of course, Trump himself) are getting vaccinated even as they spearheaded anti-science COVID denialism that has and will continue to put all of the rest of us at great risk.

Why forcing Covid-19 vaccines on Māori could turn people away altogether

‘Saddest March of our lives’: Brazilians lament Covid devastation as critics decry Bolsonaro

International News

Amid A Wave Of Targeted Killings In Afghanistan, She’s No. 11 On A Murder List

A child screams in Myanmar … and China pretends not to hear

China has detained my young children. I don’t know if I’ll ever see them again

China Puts 2nd Canadian On Trial For Espionage And Bars Spectators

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Himani is a dabbler of a writer. Her work includes reviews of media centering Asian stories, news and politics, advice and the occasional personal essay. Find her on Instagram.

Himani has written 53 articles for us.


  1. The news reported today all the encampments in Echo Parked were cleared out today & will make sure the park is for everyone again(re no more unhoused people). I am hearing mixed stories from the web about what to do. Some were saying the only people complaining about the encampments are the people who moved into the area after it was gentrified; while others are saying the people complaining are the POC(generally of Latinx people) who have been there pre-gentrification & worried about the increase of police & giving these people the help they need. Help as drug treatment, mental health & so forth. I am not sure what the answer is, but whatever it is it can’t be from people who aren’t local.

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