Monday US briefing: Human cost of Trump’s immigration policy revealed


Human cost of zero-tolerance immigration policy … Saudis warn of retaliation over possible sanctions … Trump says climate change wont last … Political ads study finds right likes Google, left prefers Facebook

Good morning, I’m Tim Walker with Monday’s headlines. If you’d like to receive this briefing by email, sign up here.

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Top story: Chaos of Trump’s ‘zero-tolerance’ immigration policy

A major investigation by the Guardian has revealed the human cost of a single week in the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy. An analysis of documents from more than 3,500 criminal cases filed by border district federal prosecutors between 13-19 May shows how an “assembly line justice system” means sentence lengths for migrants vary wildly from state to state, while fewer than 13% of the cases filed were for crimes that citizens would expect federal prosecutors to pursue.

Reuniting families. Tom Dart visited Raices, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, which became a focal point for opposition to Trump’s policy thanks to a viral Facebook fundraiser.

‘All we need is to be free.’ Patrick Timmons got a rare look inside an immigration prison, where he met three sets of indefinitely detained fathers and sons.

Khashoggi case: Saudis threaten retaliation in case of sanctions

The Saudi stock market fell sharply on Sunday. Photograph: Hassan Ammar/AP

Saudi Arabia says it will hit back if sanctions are imposed over the disappearance of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who is alleged to have been murdered by agents of the Riyadh regime after he disappeared while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October. Ford and JP Morgan have joined several other companies in pulling out of a high-profile business conference in Riyadh next week, while the kingdom’s stock market took a dive on Sunday.

In two minds. The US treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, is wavering on whether to attend the Riyadh investor conference known as “Davos in the desert”.

Global repercussions. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil exporter and could do enormous damage to the world economy if it follows through on its threats, as Rob Davies explains.

Trump claims climate change impacts won’t last

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Trump’s fiery interview with 60 Minutes – video

Donald Trump said he doesn’t believe climate change is a hoax, but argued that the global climate would “change back again”, and that climate scientists were politically motivated. In an interview with 60 Minutes broadcast on Sunday night, he said: “I think something’s happening. But I don’t know that it’s manmade.”

Wide-ranging interview. During the same 60 Minutes sit-down, Trump refused to rule out reinstating the child separation policy at the US-Mexico border, and said he believed his defence secretary, James Mattis, was “sort of a Democrat”.

Political ads study: the right likes Google, left prefers Facebook

US Senate hopeful Beto O’Rourke has spent more on Twitter and Facebook ads than any other candidate. Photograph: Erich Schlegel/Reuters

Left-leaning groups are dominating political ads on Facebook and Twitter, while advertisers on the right are spending more on Google, an analysis of midterm political ads has found. The research, by computer scientists at New York University, found that Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again PAC bought the largest number of ads of any candidate.

Big spender. Beto O’Rourke, the Democrat challenging Ted Cruz for his Texas Senate seat, was the biggest spender on Facebook and Twitter.

Crib sheet

– Italian police are investigating the controversial “macrobiotic guru” Mario Pianesi, over allegations he may have killed his first wife by putting her on an extreme version of his signature, severe “Ma-Pi” diet.

– Two New Zealand women who were fined $11,700 by Israel, for persuading Lorde to cancel a concert in Tel Aviv, have raised the money via crowdfunding – but intend to donate it to the Gaza Mental Health Foundation.

– Kler (The Clergy), a film depicting corruption and paedophilia in the priesthood, has broken box office records in Poland and spurred hundreds of people to come forward with allegations of abuse.

– Ford is demanding taxpayers stump up $239m of the $740m cost of renovating Detroit’s iconic, beaux arts Michigan Central Station building as part of the automaker’s new campus development.


‘Like 10 cups of coffee with a migraine’: Tania James’s London home. Photograph: Jill Mead for the Guardian

Just can’t get enough: maximalism’s big moment

For decades, encouraged by TV property shows, homeowners have aimed for bland, beige minimalism. But now flamboyant colour and designer clutter are all the rage in interiors, from Instagram to Ikea.

A philosopher explains how fascism works

Tom McCarthy reviews the latest addition to the literature of fascism in the Trump era, by the Yale professor Jason Stanley. “The word ‘fascist’ has acquired a feeling of the extreme, like crying wolf,” Stanley writes, but that doesn’t mean we should be afraid to use it.

Gaslighting: why seek apologies from a pathological liar?

Ariel Leve wrote a memoir about being gaslighted by her own mother. In the wake of the Kavanaugh hearings, she asks whether restorative justice – seeking an apology from the perpetrator – is a useful goal for victims if their abuser is a pathological liar, a sociopath or a blackout drunk.

New Zealand’s ‘drunk, gluttonous’ bird of the year

Every year, New Zealand bird-lovers pick their favourite of the country’s dozens of rare and endangered bird species. The winner of this year’s poll is the kererū, a wood pigeon with a taste for fermented fruit, known for getting tipsy and toppling out of trees.


The number of reported UFO sightings may be falling, but Congress is still taking an interest in the phenomenon. The politicians ought to focus on the quality of sightings, not the quantity, writes MoD veteran Nick Pope.

In 2011, I was one of the briefers at a private gathering in Washington DC, chaired by Bill Clinton’s former chief of staff John Podesta, who has a longstanding interest in the [UFO] issue. It was reminiscent of an episode of The X-Files.


The US women’s soccer team smashed Jamaica 6-0 in Frisco on Sunday, booking their place at the Women’s World Cup in France next year.

The NFL’s most exciting young quarterback faced perhaps the greatest of all time and came up short – just – as Patrick Mahomes’s Kansas City Chiefs lost to Tom Brady’s Patriots 43-40.

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