OCT 16 (AP/UNB) -- Seven members of an extended British family who made an unauthorized crossing into the United States from Canada are being held in federal custody at a Pennsylvania detention center nearly two weeks after their arrest, their lawyer said Tuesday, as U.S. border officials defended their handling of the case by disclosing that two of the adults had previously been denied entry to the country.
The family said they blundered into Washington state while trying to avoid an animal in the road on the Canadian side and have since been "treated like criminals" by their U.S. jailers, forced to bide their time in a series of cold and unsanitary immigration facilities as they await deportation to England. The detainees include an infant and 2-year-old twins.
Their attorney, Bridget Cambria, lodged a formal complaint over the family's treatment with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's inspector general and civil rights office. She described the situation as a "very bizarre" case of federal overreach.
"What is bothersome for me as an attorney, and I guarantee for them, was the lack of common sense at almost every stage of their apprehension and detention," Cambria said.
U.S. officials assert the family of Eileen and David Connors crossed the border on purpose, noting their vehicle was observed "slowly and deliberately" driving through a ditch to cross into U.S. territory in Blaine, Washington, on Oct. 2. Four adults and three children were inside.
"During processing, record checks revealed two of the adults were previously denied travel authorization to come to the United States," U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Tuesday in a statement to The Associated Press.
Officials did not say which adults had been denied entry into the U.S., or why.
The agency said that border agents tried returning the family to Canada, but Canada refused to have them back. After making two attempts to contact British consular officials, the border patrol said it turned the family over to U.S. immigration officials for removal proceedings.
Eileen Connors, 24, who is being held in Pennsylvania along with her husband David, their 3-month-old son, and other family members, said U.S. officials have mistreated them.
"We will be traumatized for the rest of our lives by what the United States government has done to us," she wrote in an affidavit released by immigrants' rights groups in Pennsylvania.
Connors' family, a couple related to them, and their young children were driving along the U.S.-Canada border while vacationing in the Vancouver area when Eileen Connors said they detoured briefly onto an unmarked road to avoid an animal — and, in the process, unknowingly crossed into the United States.
A U.S. Border Patrol agent quickly pulled them over, declared they had "crossed an international border" and took them into custody, Connors said. She said the family asked to turn around and go back, but the officer refused.
"This is how the scariest experience of our entire lives started," Connors wrote.
Separated from her husband, Connors described being forced to sleep with her infant on the "disgusting floor" of a cold cell the first night of her detention. From there, she was taken to a Red Roof Inn in Seattle, and eventually flown across the country to Pennsylvania.
At the Berks County Residential Center — one of three family detention centers in the U.S. that hold children and parents who are seeking asylum or who entered the country illegally — Connors described a frigid facility whose staff claimed they couldn't turn on the heat until the end of November.
Bathrooms are "dirty and broken," she wrote, and a staff member shines a light in their room every 15 minutes throughout the night. She said her baby developed a swollen, teary eye and rough, blotchy skin in custody.
"We have been treated unfairly from day one," Connors wrote. "It is undoubtedly the worst experience we have ever lived through."
U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement said the Berks center "has an outstanding track record" and "is regularly awarded exceptional ratings concerning the health, safety, and treatment of its residents."
Cambria, the immigration lawyer, said the family should be on a plane to England within days.
Phonix, OCT 16 (AP/UNB) — Former major league pitcher Curt Schilling says he's decided not to run for Congress.
Schilling told a Phoenix sports radio station Tuesday that he decided not to run because of "things that have been said and done" to his wife and children since he announced he was thinking about challenging Democratic Rep. Tom O'Halleran.
Schilling is an outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump and drew a supportive tweet from him after he told a conservative radio host in August that he might run in Arizona.
Schilling helped the Arizona Diamondbacks to its only World Series championship in 2001. He won another World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2004. He was later fired as an ESPN commentator for controversial online comments.
United Nations OCT 16 (AP/UNB) — One-third of children worldwide under age 5 — about 200 million youngsters — are either undernourished or overweight, undermining their full potential to grow and develop, the U.N. children's agency said in a report Tuesday.
UNICEF also said almost two-thirds of children aged 6 months to 2 years are not fed food that supports their rapidly growing bodies and brains.
In its annual report, UNICEF warns that poor eating and feeding practices start from the earliest days of a child's life.
"Despite all the technological, cultural and social advances of the last few decades, we have lost sight of this most basic fact: If children eat poorly, they live poorly," UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said.
The report describes a triple burden of malnutrition: undernutrition, hidden hunger caused by a lack of essential nutrients, and overweight.
According to UNICEF's findings, 149 million children younger than 5 are stunted, or too short for their age, and 50 million are wasted, or too thin, for their height.
The report says about half of children under 5, or 340 million, suffer from deficiencies in essential vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin A and iron, and 40 million are obese.
Worldwide, UNICEF says, close to 45% of children from 6 months to 2 years are not fed any fruits or vegetables and nearly 60% do not eat any eggs, dairy, fish or meat.
As children grow older, "their exposure to unhealthy food becomes alarming," the report says.
UNICEF says this is driven largely by "inappropriate marketing and advertising," the abundance of ultra-processed foods in cities but also in remote areas, and increasing access to fast food and highly sweetened beverages.
According to the report, from 2000 to 2016, the proportion of overweight children aged from 5 to 19 rose from 1 in 10 to almost 1 in 5. It adds that "overweight and obesity continue to rise."
Fore said millions of children eat an unhealthy diet because they don't have a choice.
"The way we understand and respond to malnutrition needs to change," Fore said. "It is not just about getting children enough to eat, it is above all about getting them the right food to eat. That is our common challenge today."
UNICEF says "financial incentives" should reward the increase of healthy and affordable foods. It says "financial disincentives" on unhealthy foods can help improve children's diets.
Washington OCT 16 (AP/UNB) — President Donald Trump met Tuesday with the parents of a British teenager who was killed in a car crash involving an American diplomat's wife.
The White House declined to say what message the president had delivered, but a spokesman for the family suggested they may have been disappointed by it.
"Meeting with President Trump complete," tweeted the spokesman, Radd Seiger. "We will review where we are up to and determine next steps shortly when we will comment further. In the meantime the search for #Justice4Harry continues."
Harry Dunn, 19, was killed in August when his motorcycle collided with a car allegedly driven by Anne Sacoolas, the U.S. diplomat's wife, outside a British air force base in southern England used by the U.S. military.
Sacoolas left Britain shortly after, though police released a statement saying she had previously told them she had no plans to depart. Her current whereabouts are uncertain.
Dunn's parents have been pressing for Sacoolas to return to Britain and held a press conference in New York on Monday to press their case. Charlotte Charles, Dunn's mother, tearfully urged her to "do the right thing" and to "face us as a broken family," along with the U.K. legal system.
"She needs to set an example to her own children that you can't run away," Charles said.
Trump last week called the collision "a terrible accident" and said he planned to intervene by potentially arranging a meeting between the Dunns and Sacoolas.
Still, he seemed sympathetic to Sacoolas, saying that accidentally driving on the wrong side of the road in England, where drivers drive on the left instead of the right side of the street, is something that "can happen," and that he had once done so himself.
A statement previously released on Sacoolas' behalf said she intended to continue to cooperate with authorities.
"Anne is devastated by this tragic accident. No loss compares to the death of a child and Anne extends her deepest sympathy to Harry Dunn's family," it read.
San Antonio, OCT 16 (AP/UNB) — Two days before President Donald Trump rallies in Texas, his eldest son on Tuesday looked to help him hang onto the reliably Republican state, playing to the conservative base by delivering red meat cultural attacks and lacing into several of his father's possible Democratic foes.
Donald Trump Jr., the swaggering embodiment of the Make America Great Again agenda, was the main event at a campaign event in San Antonio ahead of the president's rally in Dallas on Thursday. Trump Jr. did not shy away from taking on the primary threat to his father's presidency: the impeachment inquiry prompted by the elder Trump's push for Ukraine to investigate Democratic Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
"About the only job (Hunter Biden) could get would be a no-show job at a corrupt Ukrainian oil company because no one would else would hire this clown," said Trump Jr., showing no self-awareness that he, too, has at least in part been successful because of a famous father.
Channeling his father, Trump Jr. complained bitterly about what he deemed was unfair media coverage, declaring: "For 50 years, conservatives have turned the other cheek. I'm done turning the other cheek, guys!"
The one-two punch in Texas this week displays a degree of wariness, drenched in bluster, from the Trump campaign about the Lone Star State. A Republican candidate can't win the White House without Texas' 38 electoral college votes. Trump carried the state by 9 percentage points in 2016, but Democrats have pointed to demographic trends — including increases in college-educated voters, suburban voters and Hispanic voters — as evidence that the second most populous state in the nation could soon be in play. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz won reelection last year by just over 2 points.
In the moments before Trump Jr. launched into his stump speech, his father's campaign manager, Brad Parscale, took a more data-driven approach. Parscale said his team had collected information from the several hundred people packed into a room in San Antonio's convention center, and he urged them to recruit neighbors as volunteers as the operation looks to expand exponentially from its shoestring first run.
"2016 was an airplane being built in the sky and we built the wheels on at just the right time," said Parscale. "This time we are building a fleet."
The Trump campaign has proven to be a fundraising juggernaut, and Parscale touted other lofty statistical goals, including growing the volunteer pool from 600,000 in 2016 to 2 million this time.
As an example of the expanded operation, the campaign has begun having preview events ahead of Trump's rallies. On the eve of Trump's raucous rally in Minneapolis last week, his daughter in-law Lara Trump and second lady Karen Pence held a much quieter "Women for Trump" meeting in St. Paul.
More than 200 women listened to the campaign's pitch, as Pence and Lara Trump sat in armchairs on a small stage. Campaign spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany asked them questions, talk-show style.
Asked what young women should know about the president, Karen Pence said the president "cares about your pocketbook." She continued: "This is a president who cares. When I see the way he engages with women it means a lot to me."
The Texas preview rally was far more raucous in tone, at times resembling an R-rated political roast.
Trump Jr., whose own eventual political aspirations are the subject of growing rumors, has embraced his role as a popular emissary for his father, crisscrossing the country, showcasing his new relationship with former Fox News host Kim Guilfoyle and relishing button-pushing rally appearance and tweets. He riffed on political subjects, poking fun at Biden's recent gaffes and mocking Sen. Elizabeth Warren's claim of Native American heritage. He also took on cultural targets, laughing at Jussie Smollett, the actor who falsely said he was attacked by Trump supporters, and attacking hyper-political correctness, saying, "The amount of new genders multiply by 54 every day and I can't keep track anymore."
Guilfoyle was also greeted as a rock star and acted like a bawdy opening act for her boyfriend, saying she has known the president and his eldest son for 14 years — but stressing, "I know Donald Trump Jr. a little bit better, let's just get out of the way right now."