There’s something of a consensus-building within the so-called mainstream political media that it’s only a matter of time before Biden’s Teflon shield is deflated. His debate performances have been shaky. He is not as quick on his feet as the other candidates. And, he’s spent most of the campaign on defense - either explaining past votes, or changing long-held positions on policy.
But, it also seems to me that many in the political class may be underestimating the staying power of a flawed - but popular and well-known - candidate. In 2016, for example, the assumption among the political elites - me included - was that once the summer ended, so would Trump’s hold on the lead in the GOP race. Voters would start to get serious about electability and stability and would reject this unorthodox candidate. Obviously, we know that didn’t happen.
This isn’t to say that Biden’s destined to win the nomination. But, just that his staying power may be more durable than we think. He’s built up a lot of goodwill over his many years in office that no one else can claim.
Annie Linskey, National politics reporter for The Washington Post
Josh Jamerson, National politics reporter for The Wall Street Journal
A warning to listeners: some of the audio in this story is disturbing and hard to listen to.
An exclusive Takeaway and The Intercept investigation shows that correctional staff at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center skirted rules when dealing with a migrant with mental illness. The detainee, a 40-year-old undocumented Mexican migrant, killed himself after spending 21 days in solitary confinement in July 2018.
The investigation shows that correctional staff at the Stewart Detention Center did not follow the ICE national detention standards during the classification process, the disciplinary process and even on the night he killed himself.
The migrant, Efraín Romero de la Rosa, took his own life at the Stewart Detention Facility in Georgia, which is run by the private corrections company CoreCivic. He had been previously diagnosed with schizophrenia.
The solitary confinement cell in which Efraín Romero de la Rosa took his own life.
(GBI Investigation Photo)
While in ICE custody, Efraín was placed in solitary confinement for 15 days, was later placed on suicide watch and, separately, spent time at a mental health institution for over a month. On his return to Stewart to continue immigration proceedings, correctional staff neglected to recognize his mental illness and classify him accordingly.
Staff had noted his fixation on death, repeatedly telling staff he would "die three terrible deaths," and telling other detainees he was a "prophet."
Yet, CoreCivic's correctional staff sent Efraín to solitary confinement for 30 days. None of the disciplinary records released by CoreCivic in response to courtroom discovery demands and provided by family attorney Andrew Free make mention of his worsening mental illness.
The Takeaway and The Intercept accessed hundreds of pages of records, photos, audio with witnesses and correctional staff, and 18 hours of security footage from within the facility.
Efraín’s story helps the public gain insight at the tangled and opaque world of ICE detention. As the Trump Administration continues to round up migrants at an increasing pace, more people diagnosed with mental illness will inevitably be placed in ICE detention.
You can listen to the entire investigation by clicking "play" above.
You can read the detailed investigation on The Intercept here.
A special thank you to Cindi Kim, Associate General Counsel at New York Public Radio. For The Takeaway, Deidre Depke, Ellen Frankman, Lee Hill, Arwa Gunja and Jim Schachter edited; Jay Cowit sound designed and composed the score.
For The Intercept, Ali Ghraib edited the story, Ariel Zambelich was the visual designer, and Travis Mannon and Lauren Feeney made the accompanying film.