Kevin Costner on undocumented children being separated: 'I'm not recognizing America'

Amid growing outrage over the separation of undocumented children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, Oscar-winning actor Kevin Costner is speaking out.

“I’m not recognizing America right now,” Costner said of the crisis. “I don’t recognize any individual statements. I feel people going with the flow … we’re in a really weird spot.”

Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May. On Monday, Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen said these children are “very well taken care of” and that the U.S. Border Patrol operates “in some of the highest standards in the country.”

Heart-wrenching images of children being separated or held in wire enclosures, sleeping under foil sheets at detention centers are going viral — along with audio of a child weeping for his “papa.”

“Separating people with no plan, when those children can’t even speak English — Can you imagine the terror?” Costner asks.

Calls to keep these families together while the parents are prosecuted for illegally crossing into the U.S. are growing from both sides of the aisle, including comments from Melania Trump and Laura Bush.

“It takes a high level of compassion, empathy and intelligence to work our way out of this,” Costner said.

Trump is scheduled to meet with House Republicans on Capitol Hill this afternoon to discuss two immigration bills. Neither bill specifically deals with children separated from their parents.

Nielsen insisted yesterday that the “children are not being used as a pawn… We are trying to protect the children.”

“We have to do better,” Costner added. “We’ve been about more, we can be about more and right now we’re acting really small.”

Costner has portrayed a myriad of American icons on screen, including Eliot Ness in “The Untouchables,” Ray Kinsella in “Field of Dreams,” and Lt. John J. Dunbar in “Dances with Wolves.”

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ABC News: Entertainment

Authorities: Rapper XXXTentacion shot dead in Florida

Troubled rapper-singer XXXTentacion was shot and killed Monday in Florida in what police called an apparent robbery attempt.

The 20-year-old rising star, whose real name is Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy, was pronounced dead Monday evening at a Fort Lauderdale-area hospital, the Broward Sheriff’s Office said. He was shot earlier outside a Deerfield Beach motorcycle dealership.

XXXTentacion had been at RIVA Motorsports checking out inventory, sheriff’s public information officer Keyla Concepcion said. He was in a black BMW i8 and preparing to leave before 4 p.m. when two armed suspects approached him. At least one of them fired, and then both suspects fled the scene in a dark SUV, Concepcion said. Investigators don’t have a motive, and no arrests have been made.

Stephanie Martinez, a 29-year-old mother who lives in the neighborhood, was just coming back from the pool with her kids when she heard three shots. She drove to the end of the street and saw the rapper’s body in the car.

“He has his mouth open and his hand out. Two people went over and checked his pulse,” said Martinez, who also saw blood. “It’s just weird because he should’ve had security and stuff with him.”

On Twitter, his peers expressed shock and sadness.

Kanye West said: “rest in peace … I never told you how much you inspired me when you were here thank you for existing.” Producer Diplo posted a photo of the two together and said, “Thanks for inspiring me.” Travis Barker tweeted: “I’m at a loss for words… speechless #RIPXXXTentacion Loved collaborating with you. You were a true artist …”

And J. Cole said, in part: “RIP X. Enormous talent and limitless potential and a strong desire to be a better person. God bless his family, friends and fans.”

The entertainer, who sported dreadlocks and a number of facial tattoos, was a rising star and notched a No. 1 album in March with his sophomore effort “?” and had a top 10 hit with “Sad!” but was facing trial on charges that he beat up his pregnant girlfriend.

XXXTentacion racked up huge streaming numbers — on Spotify, his “Sad!” had more than 270 million streams and was on its Top 50 chart this week in the United States and globally. He also has several songs that have been declared platinum, including “Changes,” ”Roll in Peace” with fellow rapper Kodak Black and “Look at Me!”

In interview with XXL magazine, which named him an up-and-coming artist last year, the rapper cited Nirvana, the Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur among his musical influences.

“Obviously, I’m one of the greatest of this generation, the upcoming generation, as far as artistry. … And I say that humbly,” he said in a video interview with the outlet last year.

But much of his brief career had been mired in controversy. In 2016, he was arrested on charges including home invasion for a 2015 incident, and less than a month later was arrested on charges that he attacked his girlfriend, who was pregnant at the time. He later faced more charges including witness tampering.

Regarding a June 2017 attack at a San Diego concert, the following messages were posted on XXXTentacion’s Twitter account: “security and venue set me up, I got sucker punched and knocked out, it is what it is.”

A subsequent tweet said,” ”next time make sure you kill me so I can’t talk (expletive).”

He was released from jail on house arrest late last year and was released from house arrest earlier this year to allow him to tour.

Fan Wyatt Rubin, 21, jumped in his car and headed to the scene shooting Monday as soon as he heard, playing the rapper’s songs like “Jocelyn Flores” and “King” on the drive over.

“He was just maturing as a person and as an artist … it couldn’t have come at a worse time,” Rubin said. “A lot of it was really beautiful music, progressive music.'”

In an interview earlier this month with the Miami New Times, XXXTentacion described his upbringing, which included seeing his mother infrequently and being raised by friends, other family and babysitters. His mother would buy him clothes, phones and other gifts. He told the paper he used violence so she would engage with him.

“I used to beat kids at school just to get her to talk to me, yell at me,” he said.

XXXTentacion was initially one of two artists Spotify removed from its promoted playlists in May in accordance with its new policy on hateful music and conduct. But after a backlash in the music industry, Spotify backpedaled and said it would no longer attempt to police conduct and restored XXXTentacion to its playlists (although they did not do the same for R. Kelly).

While he made headlines for his legal woes, he connected to millions of fans musically. Among the topics he spoke about was depression and addressed it in his music.

In one video posted to social media, he said: “If worse things come to worse, I (expletive) die a tragic death or some (expletive), and I’m not able to see out my dreams, I at least want to know that the kids perceive my message and were able to make something of themselves.”

He continued later: “I appreciate and love all of you and I believe in you all; do not let your depression make you, do not let your body define your soul, let your soul define your body. Your mind is limitless ….you are worth more than you can believe.”


This story has been corrected to show “?” in all references that was released in March, not last month.

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ABC News: Entertainment

Lawyer: Police think slaying of XXXTentacion was random

The lawyer for slain rapper XXXTentacion said Tuesday that detectives believe he was fatally shot in a random robbery while likely planning to buy a motorcycle at an upscale shop near a residential neighborhood in South Florida.

Attorney David Bogenschutz said investigators also told him the 20-year-old rapper, who pronounced his stage name “Ex Ex Ex ten-ta-see-YAWN,” had visited a bank shortly before the shooting and possibly withdrew cash for the purchase.

No arrests have been made in Monday’s shooting at Riva Motorsports in Deerfield Beach.

XXXTentacion, whose real name was Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy, was exiting the shop’s parking lot in his luxury BMW electric car when he was shot. The Broward Sheriff’s Office says deputies are searching for two suspects who fled in a dark SUV.

On Tuesday morning, workers continued building a 6-foot (2-meter) wall around the property of the newly built home where XXXTentacion lived in Parkland, the same suburb of Fort Lauderdale where a gunman fatally shot 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February.

Relatives and friends were in the house’s yard but declined to comment.

Candles, a teddy bear and a large, signed sympathy card lined the front porch of the 5,957-square-foot (553-square-meter) home, which was purchased late last year for $ 1.4 million. Property records list the owners as Cleopatra Bernard, the singer’s mother. Her name was tattooed across his chest.

Riva Motorsports is an upscale seller of motorcycles, boats, all-terrain vehicles and scooters off a main highway, next to railroad tracks and a neighborhood of tract homes.

On Tuesday afternoon a steady stream of fans had placed candles, flowers and teddy bears on the sidewalk near where he was shot, and decorated 100 yards (91 meters) of sidewalk with chalk art including messages of sympathy and loss such as “Feel for you XXX” and “4evr Young.”

Myles O’Hara, 17, and Aaron Gavin, 20, sat on the curb, solemnly staring at the ground, mostly ignoring the people who moved past. They said they admired XXXTentacion because he was a local kid who rose from rough circumstances and was making a positive contribution.

“He had some legal allegations before, but the last year he had only been a positive influence on people’s lives, making hit Billboard songs,” O’Hara said. “He has been a kind person. You could look at his face and smile and he was just a normal kid like us … His style is almost hard to explain. He had an angry tone. He meant everything he said, even the most simplistic words. It just came off his tongue like nothing. He was speaking his mind.”

Gavin said unlike other rappers whose songs emphasize buying expensive merchandise, he said XXXTentacion rapped about his emotions.

“X talked about how he felt instead of materialistic things like owning this car, this car, this house, this house,” Gavin said.

Brandon Lang, a 29-year-old magazine owner, said XXXTentacion may have had an angry persona in his performance, but in reality he “did good things,” pointing out that he had come home to perform in an upcoming charity show.

“He had all these mistakes that could have wound up defining him but he didn’t let that happen,” Lang said. “That is why he is connecting to all these kids because these kids are going through a really sad time, a sad world. He taught them how to cope.”

The entertainer, who sported dreadlocks and facial tattoos, was a rising star. He notched a No. 1 album in March with his sophomore effort “?” and had a top 10 hit with “Sad!” but was facing trial on charges that he beat up his pregnant girlfriend.

His brief career was marked by controversy. In 2016, he was arrested on charges including home invasion for a 2015 incident, and less than a month later was jailed on charges that he attacked his girlfriend, who was pregnant at the time. Later, he faced more charges including witness tampering.

In an interview this month with the Miami New Times, XXXTentacion described his upbringing, which included seeing his mother infrequently and being raised by friends, family and baby sitters. His mother bought him clothes, phones and other gifts. He said he used violence so she would engage with him.

In one video on social media, he said: “If worse things come to worse, I (expletive) die a tragic death or some (expletive), and I’m not able to see out my dreams, I at least want to know that the kids perceive my message and were able to make something of themselves.”

He continued later: “I appreciate and love all of you and I believe in you all; do not let your depression make you, do not let your body define your soul, let your soul define your body. Your mind is limitless … you are worth more than you can believe.”


This story has been corrected to show the motorcycle dealer is named Riva Motorsports, not Riva Motosports.

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ABC News: Entertainment

What to know about the negative health effects of separating kids and parents

Medical groups and international advocates have said the policy of separating children from their parents under the “zero tolerance” immigration policy, could do significant harm to both their physical and mental health.

“Separating children from their parents contradicts everything we stand for as pediatricians — protecting and promoting children’s health,” American Academy of Pediatrics President Dr. Colleen A. Kraft said in a statement.

The American Medical Association issued a resolution last week at their annual meeting in Chicago. They cautioned that separating minors from their caregivers “only serves to dramatically exacerbate” the stress that families seeking refuge in the U.S. already experience, adding it can “create a negative health impact that will last an individual’s entire lifespan.”

“It’s inhumane and risks scarring children for the rest of their lives,” AMA Board member Bobby Mukklamala said in their statement.

What exactly are these health effects? Many are related to something called adverse childhood experiences, which includes forcibly separating a child from their caregiver and the effects of the toxic stress this creates for the children.

What are Adverse Childhood Experiences and toxic stress? Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, are “potentially traumatic events that can have negative, lasting effects on health and well-being,” according to the nonprofit group Child Trends, and can be physical or emotional events.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that brain development is usually disrupted first, followed by social, emotional, and cognitive impairment, which affects everything else. Children are then more likely to try “high risk behaviors,” which are associated with early disease, disability and social problems as these children age.

Toxic stress, as defined by the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University occurs “when a child experiences strong, frequent, and/or prolonged adversity.”

What are the health effects?

“Early experiences [such as forcible separation] get into our bodies and affect brain, immune, cardiovascular, and metabolic systems. It has a multi-system effect, from disrupting brain architecture, which impacts learning and emotional development, to affecting how well our immune systems fight infections,” Center on the Developing Child Director, Dr. Jack Shonkoff, told ABC News.

Shonkoff adds that there is research suggesting that insulin resistance, atherosclerosis, and the risk of metabolic syndrome go up with prolonged ACEs.

Sensitive and responsive caregiving — both of which are removed in forcible separation of caregiver and child — appear to buffer these effects.

Why does this policy matter to children’s health?

The United Nations Children’s Fund warned of the dangers faced by children who are separated from their parents at the border.

“There is a documented impact of being detained. There is fear and anxiety, and we must not forget that these are children first,” Caryl Stern, CEO of UNICEF USA said in a previous statement. “Parents and caregivers are a steady force in these children’s lives, so when they are effectively ripped from the arms of their protector, of course that is extremely worrisome.”

Stern points to the additional health effects related to releasing these minors to sponsors who may not be suitable caregivers — and the risk of releasing minors into the custody of human traffickers. The Department of Health and Human Services documented the issue and the need for protections of unaccompanied refugee minors in report to the U.S. Senate.

In addition, there are something called ‘push’ factors that have caused migrants to flee their home countries. Ashley Ham Pong, an Associate Attorney at Montagut & Sobral in Washington DC, has worked with detained children for more than three years and now works with both accompanied and unaccompanied children.

“In many cases these migrants are fleeing immense risks in their home countries — for instance gang violence in Central America — is a major push factor which we know affects children’s health,” Ham Pong told ABC News.

What’s the solution?

“We’re also calling on officials to do extensive background checks into the sponsors who may be receiving these children, and to allow for due process,” Stern said.

Her concerns were echoed yesterday in a rare move by the United Nations Refugee Agency, which emphasized the need for family re-unifications.

“There are effective ways to ensure border control without putting families through the lasting psychological trauma of child-parent separation,” UNHCR’s Filippo Grandi said in the statement.

In lieu of additional programs aimed at serving detained and separated children, some experts are pointing to a more obvious solution to prevent the devastating long-term health impacts on these minors.

“We know that the most important predictors of positive outcomes in the face of childhood adverse experiences is a protective adult-caregiver relationship,” Shonkoff said, “The easy answer here is simple: Just don’t separate them, and if they are separated they should be brought back together as soon as possible.”

Amitha Kalaichandran, M.D., MHS, is pediatrics resident at the University of Ottawa who works in the ABC News medical unit.

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ABC News: Health

Increased stress could lead to immune system disorders, study finds

Stress may not just affect the mind, but may actually affect the physical immune system, a new study found.

Everyone will experience a significant life stressor at some point in their lives, such as the loss of a loved one or exposure to violence. While most people exposed to hardships gradually recover, a significant percentage develop severe psychiatric reactions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), acute stress reactions or adjustment disorder.

But the study, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, asked: Do psychiatric reactions to life stressors result in the physical dysfunction of the immune system?

Autoimmune disorders like celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis are conditions where the immune system mistakenly attacks the body, incorrectly sensing foreign invaders. The causes of autoimmune diseases are largely unknown, but genetic, infectious and environmental factors are thought to play a role. These immune diseases strike even the young, who haven’t experienced the stressors noted in this study.

To assess whether there was a connection between stressors and these autoimmune disorders, researchers from the University of Iceland looked at the medical records of 100,000 people with stress-related psychiatric disorders between 1981 and 2013 in Sweden and compared them to 120,000 of their siblings and nearly 1.1 million unrelated people who had no stress-related disorders. People with a stress-related psychiatric disorder in the study were, on average, diagnosed at age 41 and 40 percent were male.

Compared to those without stress-related disorders, they were at an increased risk of 41 different autoimmune diseases — and patients with PTSD were at an increased risk of having multiple autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn’s disease and celiac disease.

The risk for all autoimmune diseases may not be equal: This study found a higher risk for celiac disease and lower for rheumatoid arthritis.

For patients with PTSD, taking antidepressant medications that block serotonin (SSRIs) was associated with a decreased risk of autoimmune disease, which “strengthens the evidence for the potential causal link between stress-related disorder and subsequent autoimmune diseases,” lead author Dr. Huan Song told ABC News.

Previous studies have also shown a link between Vietnam War veterans with PTSD and a higher occurrence of autoimmune diseases. But more research is needed to understand why.

“We need more studies to inform the potential underlying mechanism behind the association,” Song said, “for example exploring potential genetic and early environmental contributors and the effect of alternations in health-related behavior.”

Overall, this study’s findings suggest that stress can impair the body’s immune system, according to the researchers, and further research and in more places could help.

One explanation could be that a major life stressor can cause severe lifestyle changes like less sleep, more smoking and alcohol or substance abuse, less exercise and worse diet. In turn, those may contribute to the development of autoimmune disease.

This study was limited in a few ways. Autoimmune diseases may be underrepresented, because less severe autoimmune conditions managed by primary care doctors were not included in this study. This study was also done in Sweden and may not be applicable to other populations. In addition, it is a study of what researchers observed and they may not have known some of the natural differences that could explain the study findings.

The findings show an association between stressors and the immune system, but not that the psychiatric stressors caused the immune problems.

“The under-diagnosis and under-treatment of these studied stress-related disorders have been an issue discussed for many years,” Song said. “Based on our results, patients suffering from severe emotional reactions after trauma, or other life stressors, should seek medical care to reduce their symptom burden and thereby also potentially reduce their future risk of further health decline.”

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ABC News: Health

CDC & FDA Say To Throw Out All Honey Smacks Cereal After Salmonella Outbreak Sickens 73 People

Bowl of Cereal

It’s a sad day for cereal lovers around the world as the CDC and FDA have just given a rather stern warning to throw out all boxes of Kellog’s popular Honey Smacks cereal after it was reported that more than 70 people got salmonella from the puffed, sweet cereal. It’s been reported by People, that as of late, the CDC and the FDA have issued a strict warning against eating any of the cereal regardless of the box or the date it was purchased.

This new announcement comes following Kellog’s voluntary announcement nearly one week ago on June 14, where they recalled boxes of the cereal within a certain “best by” date range after it was linked to a salmonella outbreak that left more than 24 people hospitalized.

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Health | The Inquisitr