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Southwest Key: A look at one of the companies sheltering migrant children

Following the implementation of President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, aimed at those who would cross the border illegally, upward of 2,000 children were separated from their parents as the adults were turned over for criminal prosecution.

While the adults went to jail, the children, some only infants, were placed in the custody of the federal government. After briefly being detained by the Customs and Border Patrol, the children were then transferred to the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services.

>> Read more trending news 

From there, children were sent to shelters – around 100 in 17 states – until family or friends can take custody of them or they are assigned to foster homes or other centers.

One company providing shelter for thousands of migrant children that have come before and after the zero tolerance policy is Southwest Key Inc. For years the company has had contracts with the federal government to care for immigrant children. Those contracts have made the company more than $1 billion in the past decade.

Here’s are a few things to know about Southwest Key:

  • It’s a nonprofit organization that, according to its website “contracts with government agencies and private foundations to operate three types of programs throughout the country: youth justice programs, charter schools for kids in underserved neighborhoods, and shelters for immigrant youth. 
  • According to Bloomberg, Southwest Key has the most lucrative contract with the federal government and will be paid the “most among the organizations, government agencies and companies that run a detention and care system for immigrant children on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services.”
  • In fiscal year 2017, 11,100 minors went through Southwest Key facilities in Texas alone.
  • Since 2015, it has been awarded $955 million in federal contracts. According to U.S. Health and Human Services data, Southwest Key Inc. has made $1.5 billion from the federal government since 2008. It is on track to be paid more than $458 million in fiscal 2018.
  • Juan Sanchez is president and CEO. He started the company in 1987. In 2016, his compensation was $1.5 million.
  • The nonprofit also operates schools for minors in the custody of the juvenile justice system.
  • According to The New York Times, only 10 percent of children in Southwest Key facilities were separated from their relatives. The majority of minors housed by Southwest Key came to the United States alone as unaccompanied minors.
  • Casa Padre, the Southwest Key’s shelter that has garnered attention in the past week, is holding nearly 1,500 boys, ages 10  to 17 years old.
  • Casa Padre has classrooms, medical offices, on-call physicians, work cubicles, movie theaters, a barbershop and a cafeteria.
  • Southwest Key runs 26 immigrant children’s shelters in Texas, Arizona and California. It also operates in four other states, Georgia, New York, Wisconsin and Florida
  • The company issued a statement about the policy of separating migrant children from their parents saying:  "Southwest Key Programs does not support separating families at the border. For 30 years, our work in offering youth justice alternatives, immigrant children's shelters, and education have served to improve the lives of thousands of young people. We believe keeping families together is better for the children, parents and our communities, and we remain committed to providing compassionate care and reunification. For every child who has come through our shelter doors, we start on day one to reunite them with their parents or a family sponsor and to provide the kind of service that will help them thrive. This has been our priority for decades."

Raising Cane’s employee fired for stirring tea with her arm in viral video

Two employees at a Raising Cane’s restaurant in Kansas City have been fired after a video of one of the employees stirring tea with her forearm went viral online.

The video posted on Facebook shows a female employee mixing tea with her hand fully submerged in a pitcher.

She and another woman can be heard laughing in the background of the video as she poured the tea into a dispenser.

>> Read more trending news 

The video caption read, “don’t drink tea from Cane’s.”

The official Raising Cane's Facebook account commented on the video, stating that all employees involved in the act have lost their jobs, WBRZ reports.

The president and COO of Raising Cane’s told WDAF that the company learned about the viral video late Tuesday night. 

He said the employee was immediately fired and the restaurant has opened an investigation. Employees are also expected to receive more training on company expectations.

Trump pushes for reform as House delays immigration vote

Lawmakers delayed a planned vote on a Republican immigration reform bill Thursday after a separate, more conservative immigration bill failed to pass the House of Representatives.

>> Read more trending news

President Donald Trump invited Democratic leaders to the White House earlier Thursday as he continued to push for Congress to address immigration.

"We should be able to do a bill,” Trump said. "I'd invite them to come to the White House any time they want. This afternoon would be good. After the Cabinet meeting would be good."

>> What does the new executive order on immigration do; can migrants be held indefinitely?

Update 5:00 p.m. EDT June 21: The more conservative of two immigration bills in the U.S. House of Representatives went down in defeat Thursday as 41 Republicans joined the Democrats in a 231-193 vote against the measure, according to Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree.

The hard-line measure called for extreme limits on legal immigration and only temporary protections for “Dreamers,” who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children by their parents.

The second bill is seen as more of a compromise measure, but it’s unclear if Republican leadership can manage to get the votes needed to pass it on Friday, and even if they do, it faces an even bigger hurdle in the Senate, where Republicans don’t have the votes to pass an immigration bill on their own. They’ll need Democrats’ support to get it done.

The Washington Post is reporting an important House moderate in the immigration debate, Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) has said he won’t support the compromise measure.

Hurd has said he opposes the measure because it includes funding for a border wall, a campaign promise Trump made to supporters during the 2016 presidential campaign.

He called the proposed wall “an expensive and ineffective 4th century border security tool that takes private property away from hundreds of Texans,” according to the Post.

Update 2:45 p.m. EDT June 21:  The Justice Department has asked a federal judge to change the rules around the detention of child migrants one day after the president ended his administration’s policy of separating children from parents at the border, The Associated Press reported.

Officials aim to change rules governed by the Flores settlement, which requires the government to release children from custody after 20 days to their parents, adult relatives or other caretakers, in order of preference.

>> Time cover: Photo of little girl crying at border, Trump illustrates immigration debate

The move is aimed at stopping the separation of children from their families amid a new policy where anyone caught crossing the border is charged criminally.

Update 2:25 p.m. EDT June 21: The House of Representatives on Thursday rejected one of two proposed GOP immigration reform bills, according to Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree.

Meanwhile, aides said the House will wait until Friday to vote on a second immigration bill, The Associated Press reported.

Update 1:18 p.m. EDT June 21: Trump discussed the need for immigration reform during a cabinet meeting Thursday, citing national security concerns.

Update 12:20 p.m. EDT June 21: First lady Melania Trump is making an unannounced visit to the U.S.-Mexico border Thursday.

Melania Trump was in Texas on Thursday morning and planned to tour two facilities holding child immigrants, CNN reported.

She previously spoke out against the policy of separating migrant children and parents at the border.

"Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform," said her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, according to CNN. "She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart."

The Trump administration policy was ended Wednesday by an executive order from the president.

>> Photos: Melania Trump visits facilities for migrant children in Texas

Update 12:10 p.m. EDT June 21: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday called a pair of proposed Republican immigration reform bills a “compromise with the devil.”

She said that the bills make Republicans complicit in Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. The policy, which directs prosecutors to pursue cases against any person suspected of coming to the country illegally, resulted in the separation of hundreds of children from their parents at the border.

Update 11:55 a.m. EDT June 21: House Speaker Paul Ryan said officials are working on reuniting families that have been separated in recent weeks at the border.

“I believe (the Department of Homeland Security) is working on that,” Ryan said Thursday at a news briefing. “We obviously want to have families reunited.”

>> Airlines taking stand in immigration crisis, refusing to fly separated migrant children

He said DHS officials are working with the Department of Health and Human Services to bring the families back together.

“What we’re trying to do is put the families at the head of the queue so they can be adjudicated faster,” he said.

The Trump administration in April directed prosecutors to pursue cases against all people suspected of crossing the border illegally as part of a “zero tolerance” immigration enforcement policy. Parents were separated from their children as they faced prosecution. Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

>> First lady Melania Trump makes unannounced visit to child migrant detention center

Trump ended the policy Wednesday with an executive order days after he first started calling on Congress to stop the separations through legislation.

The House is set to vote Thursday on a pair of Republican immigration reform bills, although neither appeared likely to succeed.

Original report: “The Border has been a big mess and problem for many years,” Trump wrote. “At some point (Senate Minority Leader Chuck) Schumer and (House Minority Leader Nancy) Pelosi, who are weak on Crime and Border security, will be forced to do a real deal, so easy, that solves this long time problem.”

The president’s tweet comes one day after he ended his administration’s much-derided policy of separating migrant children from parents at the border and as the House readies to debate and vote on a pair of Republican immigration reform bills.

>> Trump signs executive order ending migrant family separations

It was not immediately clear whether the bills would be successful. House Republican leaders were still trying Thursday morning to build support for one negotiated among conservative and moderate factions of the GOP, although the measure is unlikely to pick up much, if any, Democratic support.

 >> From Jamie Dupree: House to vote on two GOP immigration bills – both may fail

Ahead of the planned vote, the president accused Democrats of “only looking to Obstruct” the immigration bills in order to gain political clout ahead of the mid-term elections.

“What is the purpose of the House doing good immigration bills when you need 9 votes by Democrats in the Senate, and the Dems are only looking to Obstruct (which they feel is good for them in the Mid-Terms),” Trump wrote Thursday morning in a tweet. “Republicans must get rid of the stupid Filibuster Rule-it is killing you!”

>> Trump ends migrant family separations: Read the executive order

Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to end his administration’s policy of separating migrant children from parents suspected of coming to the country illegally at the border. The controversial policy was a result of Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration enforcement push announced in April.

Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Melania Trump wears 'I don't really care' jacket ahead of visit with detained child migrants

First lady Melania Trump wore an olive green jacket with the words “I don’t really care, do u?” printed on it Thursday as she boarded a plane bound for Texas ahead of a tour of a migrant child detention center.

>> Read more trending news

A spokeswoman for the first lady said “there was no hidden message” in Trump’s choice.

“It’s a jacket,” the first lady’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, told BuzzFeed News after Trump’s trip. "After today's important visit to Texas, I hope the media isn't going to choose to focus on her wardrobe."

>> Photos: Melania Trump visits facilities for migrant children in Texas

Trump wore a different, pale yellow jacket later Thursday, when her plane landed in McAllen her visit to the Upbring New Hope Children’s Center, The Associated Press reported. The center is holding 55 children.

The jacket choice raised the eyebrows of some social media users, who questioned the optics of Trump wearing such a coat, considering the purpose of her trip.

Trump visited the Upbring New Hope Children’s Center and a border patrol processing center. Grisham told CNN the trip was planned because the first lady wanted “to see what’s real.”

>> First lady Melania Trump makes unannounced visit to child migrant detention center

"She wanted to see as close to what she had been seeing on TV,” Grisham said. “She wants to see a realistic view of what's happening."

>> Trump signs executive order ending migrant family separations 

The visit came one day after he husband signed an executive order ending the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant children from parents at the border. 

She previously said in a statement through Grisham that she “hates to see children separated from their families.”

"She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart," Grisham said, according to CNN.

Common vaccine could reverse advanced diabetes cases, study finds

Scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital announced breakthrough findings Thursday for people living with Type 1 diabetes.

>> Read more trending news 

According to the new research published in the journal npj Vaccines, a common vaccine for tuberculosis (the bacillus Calmette-Guérrin, or BCG, vaccine) could reverse advanced cases of the disease by permanently lowering blood sugar levels.

Lead researcher Denise Faustman and her team examined data on 282 individuals, 52 of whom had Type 1 diabetes and participated in the BCG clinical trials and 230 of whom contributed blood samples.

>> Related: Diabetes after age 50 could be sign of pancreatic cancer, study says

Those participating in the clinical trials (average disease duration of 19 years) were given the vaccine twice four weeks apart and then studied for about eight years following treatment.

Regular monitoring throughout the eight-year study found that HbA1c levels of individuals receiving the vaccine dropped by more than 10 percent at the three-year mark and by more than 18 percent after four years of treatment. These levels reached near-normal figures five years after treatment.

>> Related: Diabetes after age 50 could be sign of pancreatic cancer, study says

HbA1c refers to glycated hemoglobin, which develops when hemoglobin, the red blood cell protein that carries oxygen throughout the body, is combined with glucose in the blood.

Participants treated with BCG were found to have an average HbA1c of 6.65 four years later. The threshold for diabetes diagnosis is close to an HbA1c of 6.5.

"If they get vaccinated twice, there's a delay. But then, after about 3.5 years, their blood sugars come down, not to the total normal range, but near normal range," Faustman told ABC affiliate WCVB.

>> Related: Scientists may have found a way to reverse type 2 diabetes

Individuals in that near normal range have dramatically reduced risk of associated complications, such as renal disease, heart disease and blindness.

The vaccine, according to the researchers, helps the body boost production of tumor necrosis factor, a hormone especially beneficial to Type 1 diabetics.

In 2001, Faustman's team first reported that inducing TNF production may cure Type 1 diabetes in mice, “but since TNF dosing is toxic in humans, clinical trials have utilized BCG for its ability to elevate TNF levels safely,” Medical Xpress reported.

>> Related: Loneliness increases your risk of Type 2 diabetes, study suggests

The MGH researchers also noted that BCG may reduce blood sugar elevations in mice caused by non-autoimmune attacks. This raises the possibility that the vaccines may even be beneficial against Type 2 diabetes.

Faustman is also expected to present five-year follow-up results of a separate group of BCG clinical trial participants at the 78th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association in Orlando, Florida on Saturday, June 23.

The researchers plan to replicate these findings with another trial currently underway.

 >> Related: Men with obese wives have increased risk of diabetes, researchers say 

Approximately 1.25 million American children and adults have Type 1 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.

In Type 1 diabetes, the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas are “mistakenly attacked and destroyed by the immune system,” according to Medical News Today.

And in Type 2, the most common category of diabetes accounting for 90-95 percent of all cases, the body’s cells either stop responding to insulin or the beta cells can’t produce enough of the hormone.

>> Related: This is what 12 Diet Cokes a day can do to your body, according to Atlanta nutritionists 

People suffering from either type of the disease have blood sugar levels that can become too high. This condition is called hyperglycemia and can lead to kidney disease, heart disease and more if it’s not properly controlled or treated.

Officer was sworn in hours before killing unarmed teen, mayor says

An East Pittsburgh police officer who shot and killed an unarmed 17-year-old running from a traffic stop Tuesday night was sworn in just hours before the fatal encounter.

Mayor Louis Payne told WPXI Wednesday that the unidentified officer who killed Antwon Michael Rose, of Rankin, previously spent seven years working in other departments, but confirmed that he was working his first shift following his official swearing in with the East Pittsburgh Police Department.

Allegheny County police officials said that Rose was a passenger in a vehicle stopped in East Pittsburgh around 8:20 p.m. Tuesday because it fit the description of a car seen fleeing the area of a shooting in the nearby borough of North Braddock. As an officer handcuffed the driver of the car, which investigators said had bullet damage to the back window, Rose and a second passenger got out of the car and ran. 

Footage of the shooting posted on Facebook Tuesday shows the scene from a distance. The 18-second video shows Rose and the other passenger, who has not been found by police, get out of the car and make a break for the yard between two nearby houses.

Three shots are heard and one of the passengers appears to fall into the grass.

“Why are they shooting at him?” the woman recording the traffic stop says. “Why are they shooting? All they did was run and they’re shooting at them!”

Rose, who police officials said was struck three times, was taken to McKeesport Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. 

The Allegheny County medical examiner on Thursday ruled the teen’s death a homicide.

Though officers said they found two guns in the car after the shooting, Rose was not armed when he was shot, police officials said

Click here to watch the footage of the shooting. Warning: Some viewers might find the images too graphic.

The officer who killed the teen has been placed on administrative leave while the Allegheny County police’s Homicide Unit investigates the shooting. Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. issued a statement Thursday in which he said he had met with police officials, but that the investigation into Rose’s death remained ongoing. 

“Out of respect for the grieving process that the family and friends of Mr. Rose are going through and the upcoming Monday funeral for Mr. Rose, District Attorney Zappala will not have any further comment until next week.”

CBS News reported that the officers at the scene were not wearing body cameras. Their patrol cars also had no cameras.

>> Read more trending news

The shooting has sparked protests, including a protest of hundreds that shut down the street outside the Allegheny County Courthouse Thursday morning.  WPXI livestreamed the protest on Facebook.

Hundreds of people also gathered Wednesday night, despite rain pouring down on them. 

Rose’s family has hired civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who talked to WPXI Thursday morning near the scene of the teen’s death. Merritt said he was looking for witnesses to the shooting to determine what the officer might have seen as Rose and the other passenger fled. 

Merritt told the news station that Rose’s family wants the officer to be treated the same as anyone who was shown, on video, shooting a man who was running away.

“If you take away the uniform and you put that same video out there, we believe that an arrest would have been made by now,” Merritt said. “Not necessarily a conviction, because that’s a process and everyone is entitled to due process.”

He said officers accused of misconduct should be treated like everyone else.

“It’s very difficult to find justification for the use of deadly force given the facts as they were presented in that video,” Merritt said. “Antwon and the other young man did not appear to present any harm or danger to that officer or anyone.”

He said Rose’s family is devastated by his death. 

“Every day that they wake up, they’re hoping that this is all a bad dream,” Merritt said

First lady Melania Trump makes unannounced visit to child migrant detention center

First lady Melania Trump made an unannounced visit to Texas on Thursday, one day after her husband signed an executive order ending his administration’s controversial policy of separating migrant children and parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

>> Read more trending news

Update 3:10 p.m. EDT June 21: Trump was criticized for the coat she chose to wear while boarding the plane en route to McAllen on Thursday morning.

Her spokeswoman confirmed to CNN that the first lady wore an olive green jacket that said on the back "I really don't care, do u?"

"It's a jacket. There was no hidden message," Stephanie Grisham, the first lady's spokeswoman, told reporters. "After today's important visit to Texas, I hope this isn't what the media is going to choose to focus on."

Original report: The first lady toured a pair of facilities for migrant children, including the Upbring New Hope Children's Center. The facility is holding 55 children, officials said.

Trump thanked employees of the children’s center and said she wanted to “help to get these children reunited with their families as quickly as possible.”

In a statement released Thursday, the first lady’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, said Trump was visiting a customs and border patrol processing center and a nonprofit social services center for children who have entered the U.S. illegally.

>> Photos: Melania Trump visits facilities for migrant children in Texas

“Her goals are to thank law enforcement and social service providers for their hard work, lend support and hear more on how the administration can build upon the already existing efforts to reunite children with their families,” Grisham said.

>> Trump signs executive order ending migrant family separations 

Trump previously said in a statement through Grisham that she “hates to see children separated from their families.”

"She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart," Grisham said, according to CNN.

Wyoming family reunited 3 years later with dog who went missing in Iowa

A Wyoming family was reunited with a dog who went missing in Idaho nearly three years ago.

KSFY reported that the George family’s dog, Ginger, went missing in Burlington, Iowa, in August 2015.

Jennifer George, of Ucross, Wyoming, was visiting her husband BJ while he was on a business trip in Iowa and took their family dog with her to avoid leaving her in a kennel when Ginger got loose and went missing.

>> Read more trending news 

George stayed behind after the trip to look for Ginger, who originally belonged to her late mother. Despite spending hundreds of dollars on ads and signs, she came up with nothing.

Three years later, Des Moines County Humane Society director Kandi Glick responded to calls about a loose dog near a car wash. 

“We started getting a lot of calls saying there was a dog running loose in town,” Glick told KSFY. “People said they saw a deceased dog, so I’d go to the spot where they'd say it was, and it wouldn't be there.”

Glick said the dog was seen hundreds of times to the point that residents thought she belonged to someone in the neighborhood behind the car wash, but she had been living in the woods near the facility.

Glick set up a trap on June 8 and, according to a Facebook post, was able to rescue the red heeler. 

“This is really funny to say, but McDonald's saved her life. People dumped food at the car wash and its McDonald's, its Taco Bell, its Burger King and she was digging every night in the trash,” Glick said. “The water that people washed their cars with, it’s just amazing she survived. We don’t know how she did it.

“Just for the record, the shelter does not have anything to do with the trapping of animals. This is something that I do on my own to help animals and people outside of my job at the Des Moines County Humane Society. I featured the post on our page more as an informational piece so people knew that this dog was finally caught. She has been spotted hundreds of times over the last three years.”

The dog, who Glick named Hope, was photographed and posted on missing pets sites. Word got around, and some people recalled a dog that went missing in the area three years ago. Glick was able to contact the Georges and send them footage of Ginger.

“Her undercoat had grown out, she was twice as big as she is now, she had a lot of matting on her and of course, after three years her face has aged, so it just didn't look like the same dog,” Glick said.

A good wash and haircut revealed the purple and lime green collar Ginger had on when she went missing. Although faded, it was recognizable. They new it was Ginger.

Jennifer George and her 10-year-old daughter, Samantha, drove through a hail storm to meet Glick and Ginger halfway in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to reunite.

Although she was confused at first, Ginger soon recognized Samantha and cozied up to Jennifer George.

Because she was out on the street for so long, Ginger is heartworm positive. The family will be paying for the treatment in Wyoming.

Boy sick of eating salad calls 911 on parents -- twice

A 12-year-old boy decided he had enough and called 911 to report that his parents were forcing him to eat salad.

Police said he was so distressed that he called 911 twice, the CBC reports.

In the first call, the boy stated that one of his parents made a salad he didn’t like. Before police arrived, he called 911 again to see how much longer he would have to wait for a police officer, reiterating how much he disliked salad.

>> Read more trending news 

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police decided to give him a break and use this as a teaching moment for the family.

“While many can relate to the dislike of a salad at times, this raises a more important issue that warrants discussion at all ages,” Cpl. Dal Hutchison posted on Facebook. “The improper use of 911 is an issue with all age groups and it ties up valuable resources, preventing emergency first responders from dealing with real emergencies.”

When asked what type of salad it was, Hutchinson told the CBC, “Obviously one to his dislike, because he called 911.”

Hutchinson said the 12-year-old's parents "were not impressed" with what their son had done when police arrived at their door.

After a conversation with the family, officers decided not to fine the boy for misusing 911 emergency services. 

Washington woman admits to cheating Costco out of nearly $300,000

A woman from Puyallup, Washington pleaded guilty to embezzling nearly $300,000 from Costco over a five-year period.

Robin Cline, 54, pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud charges on Wednesday, according to documents filed in U.S District Court.

>> Read more trending news 

Cline was an accounts receivable clerk at a Costco warehouse from 1996 to 2016, according to court documents obtained by KIRO. She was in charge of processing payments and refunds from Costco customers, along with other day-to-day transactions. 

Cline embezzled money from Costco by adding false or fraudulent entries into Costco member accounts, including refunds, credits and other charges that appeared to be credited back to Costco members, court documents state.

She would double-charge orders, which Costco would reimburse, and divert customer credit rewards into her own bank account, or her son’s bank account. 

According to authorities, she created nearly 300 false and fraudulent reports between April 2011 and July 2016.

Cline is expected to be sentenced in September, 

She has reportedly agreed to repay the money.

The Associated Press contributed to this story

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