Reason Roundup

Trump and Obama Each Break Records on Bad Immigration Policy

Plus: how Hyperloop could reshape the Midwest, crowdfunding social media, the billionaires behind Democratic candidates, and more...


The Trump administration still falls short of the Obama administration when it comes to deportation numbers. But under President Donald Trump, more people are being held in immigration detention centers than ever before in U.S. history. And the majority of these detainees (70 percent) are people with no criminal records, according to the latest numbers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

"More than 14,000 are people the U.S. government has determined have a reasonable fear of persecution or torture if deported," points out The Washington Post.

Both Trump and former President Barack Obama have presided over a huge number of deportations, although keeping so many people unauthorized immigrants detained has slowed the Trump administration's march toward Obama-like deportation numbers.

While Obama "removed 409,849 people in 2012 alone," Trump "has yet to surpass 260,000 deportations in a single year," notes the Post. "And while Obama deported 1.18 million people during his first three years in office, Trump has deported fewer than 800,000."

An ICE spokesperson said the high detention numbers were due to an increasing number of Central American migrants being caught trying to cross the border illegally, while immigrant advocates and civil libertarians blame the Trump administration's harsh and haphazard policies and the fact that ICE is simply detaining people for longer and longer time periods. Many people previously eligible for bond and release are being ordered held in ICE custody while winding through an increasingly backlogged immigration hearing process.


A Columbus to Chicago Hyperloop by 2029? "Realizing the fantasy of jet-speed surface transportation will depend more on bureaucracy and political will than on engineering wizardry," writes Justin Davidson at Intelligencer. That being said, "if Hyperloop is to grow from gee-whiz infancy into a mature—even boring—form of intercity mass transit, it could launch a slow-motion transformation of the heartland."

Lima, Ohio, Mayor David Berger "believes the new system will turn his struggling small city [population 37,000] into a magnet," writes Davidson:

"The quality of life here is good," he says, "and Hyperloop would make us attractive to people who work in downtown Chicago"—now a four-hour drive.

"Living in our community could be practical for a much larger universe of folks." That's a good thing for Lima, but is it good for America? There's something paradoxical about the notion of controlling sprawl by encouraging people to live hundreds of miles from their jobs.

William Murdock of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission told Intelligencer that when it comes to Hyperloop over traditional high-speed rail, for instance, "the environmental footprint is smaller, the right of way is narrower, and the noise impact is lower."


Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales is launching a crowdfunded social media platform. WT:Social will display user feeds in chronological order and will not display ads or sell user data, Wales said.

"About 160,000 people have signed up for WT:Social since it launched in October," notes Stephen Johnson at Big Think. "The platform is free to join, but new users are put on a wait-list, which can be instantly bypassed if you donate money. WT:Social hopes to survive only on donations."


Abolish billionaires…except when they're big Democratic donors?


  • A bill to decriminalize marijuana federally is moving forward in the House.
  • In remarks for The Federalist Society last week, Attorney General William Barr claimed "the real 'miracle'" of our country's founding was the "creation of a strong executive, independent of, and coequal with, the other two branches of government" and that far from being the "rebellion against monarchical tyranny" of which we were told, the real target was an overbearing legislature. Writes Damon Linker: "This is, to put it mildly, an unorthodox reading of the American Revolution."
  • Snippets from Monday's impeachment inquiry proceedings: "Now what led you to believe the president didn't give a shit about Ukraine?"

  • South Dakota's latest anti-drug campaign is… interesting.

  • Mina Chang, a senior State Department official, is resigning amidst revelations of multiple false claims she made about her resume and charity work, including a photo of herself in which she claimed to be on a "humanitarian mission" in Afghanistan and pictured with women "in hiding" somewhere outside Kabul. "They were wives of local employees of the defense contractor that paid for her trip," notes NBC News.
  • A prosecutor in California used his 13-year-old daughter as pedophile bait.
  • Anyone have this on their 2019 bingo card?