Daily Caller News Foundation

  • Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe has repeatedly spread conspiracy theories. 
  • Tribe has amplified conspiracies about President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia teaming up to expose Jeff Bezos and Russia orchestrating a plane crash to cover up collusion, among others.
  • Tribe’s role as internet conspiracist hasn’t kept media outlets from promoting him on TV and in news articles.

Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe has habitually spread conspiracy theories, but that hasn’t prevented him from maintaining a presence in the national media.

Tribe was among several high-profile figures to amplify a false conspiracy theory in February that President Donald Trump had teamed up with Saudi Arabian Prince Mohammed bin Salman to leak Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s affair to the National Enquirer.

“Are Donald Trump and the murderous Saudi Prince bin Salman co-conspirators with David Pecker and AMI in a failed criminal plot to blackmail and extort Jeff Bezos as owner of the Washington Post? Asking for a friend in the Southern District of New York,” Tribe wrote on Twitter, where he has more than 492,000 followers. (RELATED: Majority Of Democrats Believe A Straight-Up Conspiracy Theory)

His conspiratorial post was shared thousands of times across Twitter.

Screenshot/Twitter

Screenshot/Twitter

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the Enquirer had paid the brother of Bezos’s mistress $200,000 for text messages between the two lovers, confirming a Daily Beast report that identified the brother — not the Saudis — as the Enquirer’s source. Tribe’s tweet was still up as of Wednesday evening.

The Harvard Law professor has made a habit of spreading baseless conspiracy theories, seemingly without repercussion.

(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Attorney Laurence H. Tribe attends The ACLU of Southern California’s 2011 Bill of Rights Dinner at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on Dec. 12, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

In one instance, Tribe implied that a Russian plane crash in February 2018 was a cover-up of collusion between Trump and Russia.

His tweet, which again received thousands of retweets, read: “Among those killed in the tragic plane crash yesterday: Sergei Millian, a Papadopoulis [sic] friend who had emailed Kushner and is said to be behind one of the most salacious claims in the dossier on Trump’s involvement with Russia. Probably just coincidence. .”

He sarcastically added that the “coincidence” “[s]ounds plausible.”

Tribe’s viral claim was nowhere close to the truth. Millian wasn’t on the plane.

In December 2018, Tribe shared a left-wing blog post titled “Mueller Hints That Mike Pence May Be Indicted Soon.” There is no evidence to support that headline, and the vice president has not been indicted.

“The title of this piece gets well ahead of its skis in terms of actual substance,” Tribe conceded, before continuing “but the evidence described provides rich food for thought. And if Pence is truly in Mueller’s cross-hairs, that’s a huge game-changer.”

No reporting to date supports the claim that Pence is “in Mueller’s cross-hairs.” The blog Tribe cited, PoliticusUSA.com, has a track record of spreading misinformation.

In January, Tribe cited the same blog to say that Trump’s announcement of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plans to travel to Afghanistan during the government shutdown bordered on “treason” by giving “aid and comfort” to the Taliban.

Tribe’s role as internet conspiracist hasn’t prevented national media outlets from elevating his profile, quoting him in their articles and hosting him on their panels.

Tribe has appeared on MSNBC five times this year, according to a transcript search on the media monitoring service Grabien.

The Washington Post cited Tribe in an article Monday about Republican Iowa Rep. Steve King, who shared a meme on Facebook saying that Republican states would win in a civil war because they have “8 trillion more bullets.” King deleted the post after criticism.

The Post quoted a tweet from Tribe, who said that King “isn’t actually COMMITTING treason, but he is fomenting and inciting it.” Tribe said King’s meme provided the House of Representatives “[a]mple reason to expel him.”

Tribe’s media appearances have continued long after a May 2017 BuzzFeed report noted his established track record of spreading anti-Trump conspiracy theories.

In one instance BuzzFeed documented, Tribe shared an article from the Palmer Report, a left-wing blog known for spreading misinformation, that claimed Trump had paid then-Republican Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz “$10 million in Russian money” in advance of the 2016 election.

The only source for the conspiracy theory was a tweet from an anonymous Twitter user.

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Neetu Chandak | Education and Politics Reporter

The University of Southern California announced former University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt will be the school’s 12th president Wednesday.

All 23 members of USC’s Presidential Search Advisory Committee voted in favor of Folt’s candidacy. The former chancellor will begin her presidential term at USC on July 1.

“Dr. Folt is a seasoned leader who has an excellent track record of listening to others,” Interim President Wanda Austin said, according to USC’s website. “She clearly understands the value of reaching out across campus, and for standing strong for the character and principles of a university’s community.”

Folt ordered for the removal of remnants of UNC’s Silent Sam statue in her resignation letter. They were removed hours later.

She originally planned to leave after commencement in May, but the Board of Governors asked Folt to resign earlier than expected, according to Inside Higher Ed. Folt had been the school’s chancellor since 2013.

“You know, it’s a bit stunning based on how this has gone, that UNC Chapel Hill felt they needed to take this kind of draconian action — and I think that’s what it is,” Board of Governors chair Harry Smith said, Inside Higher Ed reported in January. “When you start scheduling cranes at night and key and critical stakeholders aren’t involved, it’s just unfortunate.”

USC’s search committee was impressed Folt increased first generation student diversity, “strengthened the university’s policies on sexual assault” and “spearheaded a $4.25 billion fundraising campaign” at UNC.

Folt is aware of “immediate challenges” at USC, according to the announcement. (RELATED: ‘Desperate Housewives’ Star Allegedly Used SAT Cheating Scheme To Improve Her Child’s Score)

“I assure you that we will meet these challenges together, directly, decisively and with honesty and candor,” Folt said.

USC was one of the colleges entangled in the nationwide admissions bribery scandal that involved at least 50 people, including two celebrities.

This article will be updated upon USC and Folt’s comment should The Daily Caller News Foundation receive one.

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Whitney Tipton | Contributor

Authorities arrested a California man Tuesday for allegedly setting up phony PACs and websites to raise money for Democrats.

Prosecutors charged John Pierre Dupont, 80, with wire fraud and identity theft, NBC News reported. He allegedly used $250,000 raised to pay personal expenses, including the purchase of a Mercedes-Benz.

Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York allege Dupont established three fraudulent political action committees and at least a dozen websites to raise money for various election candidates, including Democratic 2020 presidential contenders Bernie Sanders and Beto O’Rourke. The complaint also alleges Dupont set up a website claiming to raise money “to unite immigrant families.”

Geoffrey Berman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks at a press conference about the apprehension of a suspect in the recent spate of mail bombings at the Department of Justice on October 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Geoffrey Berman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks at a press conference in Washington, DC. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

“Thousands of donors believed their hard-earned money was being used to support the causes described in solicitations, but in reality, the scam PACs had no operations beyond the fundraising itself, and no funds were used to support candidates,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement. (RELATED: Woman Who Climbed Statue Of Liberty To Protest Trump Sentenced To 5 Years Probation)

The criminal complaint alleges Dupont accepted $250,000 across various fraudulent entities, zero of which was ever actually donated to any candidate or cause. Instead, Dupont paid his rent, made cash withdrawal and used approximately $25,300 to purchase a Mercedes-Benz sedan, the complaint alleges.

In addition to the criminal charges, the complaint notes that Dupont failed to report any of the donations to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Dupont served time for convictions in 1985 of mail fraud and again in 1991 of bank fraud and money laundering, the Los Angeles Times reported. At one point in 1992, Dupont escaped from a minimum-security federal prison in Oregon. Federal authorities captured Dupont in 1997 and released him in 1999.

The charges carry up to 22 years if Dupont is convicted.

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Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

A former operator of a spa that’s entangled in a prostitution investigation responded Wednesday to top Democrats’ call for the FBI to investigate her because of her ties to President Donald Trump and China.

“I’m Republican and I’m Chinese,” Li “Cindy” Yang told NBC News. “That’s the reason the Democrats want to check me.”

Yang sold Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida, roughly seven years ago. Now the spa and its new operators are in the news after authorities charged New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft in late February with soliciting a prostitute there. (RELATED: Brazil’s New President Says What He And Trump Have In Common: ‘We Are God-Fearing Men’)

Senate and House Democrats requested the FBI open criminal and counterintelligence investigations into Yang, reported ABC News. They point to media reports claiming Yang’s company GY Investments sells opportunities to get close to Trump to Chinese clients.

”Although Ms. Yang’s activities may only be those of an unscrupulous actor allegedly selling access to politicians for profit, her activities also could permit adversary governments or their agents access to these same politicians to acquire potential material for blackmail or other even more nefarious purposes,” the Democrats wrote in a March 15 letter according to NBC News.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft celebrates on Cambridge street during the New England Patriots Victory Parade on February 05, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Patriots owner Robert Kraft celebrates on Cambridge street during the New England Patriots Victory Parade on Feb. 5, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Yang told NBC News she has lived in the U.S. for roughly two decades and has not had contact with any Chinese government officials.

“I love Americans. I love our president. I don’t do anything wrong,” she said.

Yang has made numerous social media posts of photographs with Trump, including a selfie with the president at a Super Bowl party at the Trump International golf resort in Florida, reported NBC News. She is “part of a network of organizations pushing for Taiwan to return to Chinese control and that fall under the oversight of the Chinese government,” reported the Miami Herald.

Kraft is expected to reject a plea deal that would result in prosecutors dropping criminal charges against him for allegedly soliciting prostitutes, according to reports Wednesday. Many pundits have weighed in on the scandal, including CNN’s Michael Smerconish, who called investigating Kraft “the largest waste of resources since Jussie Smollett” on Feb. 23.

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Mary Margaret Olohan | Reporter

Democratic New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a 2020 hopeful, said social security and a pathway to citizenship should be rights for immigrants “in the country now” Tuesday at a campaign event in Iowa.

“I have a lot of ideas,” Gillibrand said. “First, we need comprehensive immigration reform. If you are in this country now, you must have the right to pay into social security, to pay your taxes, to pay into the local school system, and to have a pathway to citizenship.”

Gillibrand has been vocal in her thoughts on immigration.

“Immigration is not a security issue. It is an economic and a humanitarian and a family issue,” she said during a town hall with MSNBC on Monday.

She also added there is “no such thing as an illegal human.”

WATCH:

Gillibrand’s words come after she announced her entrance in the 2020 race Sunday. (RELATED: Gillibrand Makes Her First Political Flip Flop Since Announcing Presidential Run)

She also recently said illegal immigrants should be allowed to receive driver’s licenses — though she was formerly against this.

She said in 2007 she did not support giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. She changed her mind in January, saying, “I think we have to make it possible for people to provide for their families.”

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Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter

A federal judge temporarily blocked new oil lease auctions in Wyoming on Tuesday after finding the Department of the Interior “did not sufficiently consider climate change” when proposing the lease sales, The Washington Post reports.

Washington D.C. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras ruled the government violated federal law and did not fully study the environmental impact of oil development on 300,000 acres of federal land. (RELATED: Federal Oil And Gas Lease Sales Break $1 Billion In 2018, Nearly Triple Previous Record)

Contreras did not void leases already sold, but he ordered the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to redo the environmental reviews used to approve the leases. The BLM must include in the redone reviews the effects of each new oil well on overall emissions in the U.S., including the pumped oil’s downstream effects, Contreras’s ruling said.

“Given the national, cumulative nature of climate change, considering each individual drilling project in a vacuum deprives the agency and the public of the context necessary to evaluate oil and gas drilling on federal land before irretrievably committing to that drilling,” he wrote, according to WaPo.

Former President Barack Obama appointed Contreras to the federal bench in March 2012.

Contreras’s ruling came after the activist groups WildEarth Guardians and Physicians for Social Responsibility sued the federal government over the lease sale in 2016.

“In spite of the President’s commitment to US leadership in moving towards a clean energy future … Federal Defendants continue to authorize the sale and issuance of hundreds of federal oil and gas leases on public lands across the Interior West without meaningfully acknowledging or evaluating the climate change implications of their actions,” the two groups wrote in their lawsuit, according to Ars Technica.

An oil train moves past the loading rack at the Eighty-Eight Oil LLC's transloading facility in Ft. Laramie, Wyoming July 15, 2014. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

An oil train moves past the loading rack at the Eighty-Eight Oil LLC’s transloading facility in Ft. Laramie, Wyoming July 15, 2014. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

The BLM’s original environmental assessments included information on Wyoming’s climate and how climate change might factor into its future. The assessments granted that oil drilling in the area would increase the effects of climate change but declined to say by how much. Accurately predicting how many oil wells would eventually be dug is too difficult for any meaningful analysis, the BLM said, according to Ars.

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Alec Schemmel | Contributor

The Mississippi police officer who left her three-year-old daughter strapped in a hot car so she could have sex with her supervisor pleaded guilty to manslaughter Monday.

Former Mississippi Gulf Coast officer Cassie Barker left her daughter, Cheyenne, inside her patrol car for four hours on Sept. 30, 2016 after falling asleep post-sex, she admitted Monday. Authorities say the infant’s body temperature rose to 107 degrees and died. (RELATED: Six hours later, toddler dead after Dallas teacher left her in sizzling car)

Barker pleaded down to reduced charges of manslaughter after she was first indicted for second degree murder.

“I don’t know what I could ever do to you that could be worse than what you’ve already experienced,” Harrison County Circuit Judge Larry Bourgeois told Barker. “You will forever be entombed in a prison of your own mind.”

Barker and the other officer, Clark Ladner, who was her supervisor at the time, were immediately fired following Cheyenne’s death. Ladner claimed he was unaware Cheyenne was in the car and was consequently not charged in her death.

This was not the first time Barker had left Cheyenne in the car alone, the Sun Herald reported. Ryan Hyer, Cheyenne’s father, believes Mississippi Child Protective Services and the police department failed to act appropriately to protect his daughter and filed lawsuits against the organizations.

“As a parent, you are supposed to protect your child, and Cheyenne is gone because her mother didn’t protect her, not once but twice,” Hyer said. “May God have mercy on her soul.”

The Hancock County sheriff’s department told The Daily Caller News Foundation that Barker will be sentenced on April 1, and can receive up to 20 years in prison.

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Kevin Daley | Supreme Court Reporter

  • Curtis Flowers, a death row inmate, has been tried six times in connection with a brutal quadruple homicide in Mississippi. 
  • Each trial has ended in either a hung jury or a conviction reversed on appeal due to prosecutorial misconduct.
  • The Supreme Court will decide what evidence Flowers can use to argue the prosecution skewed a jury along racial lines to help secure his latest conviction. 

The Supreme Court seemed poised Wednesday to side with a black death row inmate who believes the prosecution rigged the jury for his murder trial on the basis of race.

The question before the justices asks whether a judge can consider past practices or misconduct when deciding if a prosecutor is removing prospective jurors on the basis of race.

Novelist Harper Lee may as well have written the story of Curtis Flowers, the defendant in Wednesday’s case. Flowers is a black man who has been tried six times in a Mississippi court in connection with a quadruple homicide by the same white prosecutor, Doug Evans. Two of those cases resulted in a mistrial due to deadlocked juries. Flowers was found guilty in the other three, but appeals courts lifted those convictions because of misconduct on Evans’s part.

The sixth and most recent trial, which ended with a conviction, is the matter currently before the high court.

When seating a jury for trials, both the prosecution and the defense can use so-called peremptory strikes to exclude a prospective juror for almost any reason at all. The Supreme Court said peremptory strikes could not be used on account of race in a 1986 decision called Batson v. Kentucky. The decision followed the long, unfortunate history of prosecutors seating all-white juries in cases with black defendants.

It is often difficult to prove a Batson violation, however — though lawyers can bring a “Batson challenge” if they believe the other side is striking jurors for racial reasons, the other side will prevail if they can give a valid, race-neutral reason for excluding the jurors at issue.

In Flowers’s sixth trial, Evans used his strikes to boot five of the six potential black jurors. One of the six was seated, and Evans cited legitimate reasons for excluding the other five.

Yet Flowers argues there is still racial chicanery afoot. Among other things, Flowers points out that Evans used strikes to dismiss 41 of the 42 black people eligible for jury service over the course of the trials. Flowers says that history is highly salient to showing racial bias in his most recent trial.

The Supreme Court seemed largely united in its sympathy for Flowers and in the feeling that Evans’s prior conduct was relevant.

“We can’t take the history out of the case,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh said.

Kavanaugh elsewhere said that Batson meant to bolster confidence in the integrity of juries and suggested the community’s trust was broken by the Flowers saga.

“Can you say, as you sit here today, you have confidence in how this all transpired in this case?” he asked a lawyer for the state of Mississippi. (RELATED: Supreme Court Deals Trump An Immigration Victory)

Prosecutors sometimes conduct brief investigations of potential jurors to discover possible conflicts of interest or other facts relevant to a person’s ability to serve on the panel. Justice Elena Kagan noted that Evans pursued three such investigations in the Flowers case. All three subjects were black.

Sheri Lynn Johnson of the Cornell University Death Penalty Project, who represents Curtis Flowers, speaks to the news media outside of the Supreme Court on March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Sheri Lynn Johnson of the Cornell University Death Penalty Project, who represents Curtis Flowers, speaks to the news media outside of the Supreme Court on March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Other justices asked at length about the particulars of specific jurors, aiming to show that Evans repeatedly seated white jurors with conflicts of interest much like those for which black people were excluded.

Yet several of the justices wondered how much judges should rely on past wrongdoing should bear in a Batson challenge.

“If the prosecutor had one Batson violation in his 30-year career, 20 years ago, is that something that should be pertinent in the assessment of current Batson challenges?” Chief Justice John Roberts asked Sheri Lynn Johnson, who represented Flowers at the high court.

Justice Neil Gorsuch wondered if Evans’s history alone could establish a Batson violation in Flowers’s case, absent other factors.

Justice Clarence Thomas, the court’s lone black person, stunned observers with a question late in the proceedings. Thomas has asked questions during oral arguments just twice in the last decade, given his belief that the court should ask fewer questions of the advocates.

Thomas wondered if the defense had exercised any peremptory strikes of its own. Johnson conceded they had.

“And what was the race of the jurors struck there?” Thomas asked.

“She only exercised peremptories against white jurors,” Johnson replied. “But I would add that her motivation is not the question here. The question is the motivation of Doug Evans.”

A decision in the case, Flowers v. Mississippi, is expected by June.

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Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

  • Brazil’s new President Jair Bolsonaro sat down with American media after his meeting with President Donald Trump Tuesday.
  • He discussed his desire to “make Brazil great” and how he owes his life “to God” after being stabbed on the campaign trail. 
  • Brazil had been ruled by politicians from the left for years, and Bolsonaro is the country’s first conservative leader in its democratic era.

Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, wants to “make Brazil great” and says he owes his life “to God” after being stabbed on the campaign trail, according to his interview with American media following his meeting with President Donald Trump Tuesday.

The U.S. and Brazil have had a fraught relationship in the past, but Bolsonaro and Trump want to turn over a new leaf. They have not, for example, ruled out cooperating in military action in Venezuela, where socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro’s regime is in turmoil.

“To a large extent, I support what Trump does; he wants to make America great, I also want to make Brazil great. I also have concerns about the indiscriminate entrance of foreigners without any criteria. But beyond this, we are both Christians and we are God-fearing men,” Bolsonaro told Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) in an interview published Wednesday. (RELATED: Democrats Who Won’t Support Ousting Venezuela’s Socialist Dictator Pile On Brazil’s Democratically Elected Leader)

Bolsonaro’s election marked a turn in his home country as well. Brazil had been ruled by politicians from the left for years, and Bolsonaro is the country’s first conservative leader in its democratic era, reported CBN.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro presents U.S. President Donald Trump with a Brazil national soccer team jersey Number 10 for striker position at the White House March 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro presents U.S. President Donald Trump with a Brazil national soccer team jersey Number 10 for striker position at the White House March 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)

“It is time to overcome old resistances and explore the very best potential between Brazil and the United States. After all, it is fair to say that today, Brazil does have a president who is not anti-American,” Bolsonaro said in the White House Rose Garden Tuesday, according to CBN.

Bolsonaro is only three months into his first term and has been nicknamed “Trump of the Tropics” for his brash rhetoric and desire to bring conservative reform to Brazil. Bolsonaro’s critics claim he uses “misogynistic and homophobic” rhetoric and wants to take away land rights from indigenous people.

The Brazilian politician also discussed the stabbing that almost cost him his life when he was a leading candidate in his country’s presidential election in 2018. The man who allegedly stabbed him was a former member of a socialist political party and sympathizer of radically left leaders.

“Doctors who attended to me said that for every 100 stabbings of the kind I endured, only one person survives. So, I am a survivor and owe my life to God. It was His will for me to live,” Bolsonaro told CBN.

Venezuelan opposition leader and self-declared iterim president Juan Guaido and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speak during a press conference at Palace Itamaraty on February 28, 2019 in Brasília, Brazil. (Photo by Andressa Anholete/Getty Images)

Venezuelan opposition leader and self-declared iterim president Juan Guaido and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speak during a press conference at Palace Itamaraty on February 28, 2019 in Brasília, Brazil. (Photo by Andressa Anholete/Getty Images)

Prompted by Bolsonaro’s White House visit, progressive U.S. lawmakers piled on criticism of the Brazilian leader after decrying U.S. action in Venezuela against Maduro.

Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar wrote on Twitter Tuesday that Bolsonaro has “praised torture,” “called refugees ‘scum of the world,’” “compared same-sex adoption to pedophilia,” “expressed admiration for Brazil’s military dictatorship” and “called for extrajudicial killings.”

“We must call out human rights abuses worldwide,” concluded Omar, who is on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

This was not the first time Democratic lawmakers expressed concerns about Bolsonaro. California Rep. Ro Khanna, former Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison (whom Omar succeeded) and 16 others wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling Bolsonaro a “far-right extremist” before his election, reported Politico. They also claimed Bolsonaro said he would not accept defeat should he lose the election.

Brazil recognized Guaido over Maduro in January. Maduro compared Bolsonaro to former German dictator Adolf Hitler in a speech on Jan. 14 after he questioned the integrity of Venezuela’s elections.

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Whitney Tipton | Contributor

The Trump administration announced Tuesday it would no longer detain select migrant families who illegally cross the border in the Texas Rio Grande Valley.

The change is a result of crowded detention facilities, according to The Wall Street Journal, and represents a reversal of the administration’s previous commitment to end “catch-and-release” practices, calling for “catch-and-detain” instead. (RELATED: ICE Officers Giving Up On Trump Over Catch And Release)

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 11: Honduran asylum seeker Sandra Sanchez adjusts the coat of her daughter Yanela Sanchez, 2 1/2, in the basement apartment they share with fellow immigrants on February 11, 2019 in the greater Washington D.C. area. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 11: Honduran asylum seeker Sandra Sanchez adjusts the coat of her daughter Yanela Sanchez, 2 1/2, in the basement apartment they share with fellow immigrants on February 11, 2019 in the greater Washington D.C. area. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The administration has struggled to manage the recent surge in illegal crossings and detention facilities have been pushed to occupancy limits. Additionally, immigration officials have come under fire for safety issues, including the December 2018 deaths of two Guatemalan children in custody.

The policy means Border Patrol agents will release hundreds of families instead of transferring them to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for detention. Not all families will be released, the numbers of which will be determined by actual facility populations.

Those released by the Border Patrol will be given notices to appear, which orders them to report at a later date to immigration authorities for asylum requests or deportation. Families are allowed to live in the U.S. while waiting for the asylum process.

The Rio Grande Valley has produced 42 percent of the 136,000 arrests made for illegal border crossings nationally. Migrants are largely from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Families with children are currently permitted 20 days in one of three family detention centers, which hold thousands of people.

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