Tag Archives: News

JD.com CEO Richard Liu wasn’t charged in the US, but back in China people are still weighing his case

Hong Kong (CNN Business)Richard Liu won’t face sexual assault charges in the United States, but the tech billionaire is having to contend with a renewed bout of public scrutiny at home in China.

Liu’s case has gripped China, where billionaire company founders often enjoy celebrity status. Social media users have been sounding off in large numbers about the prosecutors’ announcement and Liu’s response.
The business leader, whose Chinese name is Liu Qiangdong, said in a statement that the prosecutors’ decision “proves I broke no law.” He went on to apologize for his “interactions” with the young woman who accused him of rape, saying his actions had hurt his family and his wife.
    Many users said that while Liu, 45, may not have been charged, he still deserves censure for cheating on his wife, Zhang Zetian.
    “Liu Qiangdong is not guilty, that is the legal judgment. But there is morality behind the law. As a public figure, he should have higher requirements for his words and deeds,” said a widely shared post by China Women’s News, the news outlet of a women’s rights organization backed by the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
    Zhang, 25, is a popular figure in China. Before she met Liu, she gained internet fame when a picture of her holding a cup of milk tea went viral, earning her the nickname “Sister Milk Tea.” Zhang could not be reached for comment.

    Fellow tech entrepreneur calls actions ‘harmless’

    People argued on Weibo, a Twitter-like Chinese social media platform, over what the outcome of the months-long investigation by police and prosecutors meant for Liu.
    Some users suggested his reputation has been irreparably damaged. But there were others who defended him, including one fellow tech entrepreneur.
    “It wasn’t sexual assault, just extramarital sex, harmless to shareholders and employees,” wrote Li Guoqing, a co-founder of online book seller Dangdang.com.
    “It wasn’t an extramarital affair, just sex, low impact to his wife,” he added in a post that drew criticism from other users.
    Dangdang quickly distanced itself from Li’s comments, posting a statement on its official Weibo account saying that he plays no meaningful role in the company’s management. Dangdang was acquired by a subsidiary of Chinese conglomerate HNA in April.
    Liu said in his statement that he feels “deep regret and remorse” and that he hopes his wife “can accept my sincere apology.”
    “I will continue to try in every possible way to repair the impact on my family and to fulfill my responsibility as a husband,” he added.

    Battered JD shares rebound

    The allegations against Liu have weighed on his company’s share price for months.
    JD.com’s Nasdaq-listed stock closed up about 6% on Friday after prosecutors declined to press charges, but it’s still down more than 30% since his arrest. Like many other Chinese stocks, it has come under pressure from concerns about the country’s economic slowdown and trade war with the United States.
    Liu’s case was particularly significant for JD because of the power he wields as its founder. He holds a large majority of the company’s voting rights, giving him control over key decisions.
    The CEO was in Minneapolis in August because he was enrolled in a doctorate program in business administration at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. His accuser, a Chinese woman, was studying at the university.
    The Minnesota prosecutors said they found “profound evidentiary problems” that would have made it hard to build a criminal case against Liu.
    The Chinese executive maintains that the sex with the young woman was consensual. The student, who was 21 years old at the time of the alleged assault, said Liu raped her at her off-campus apartment after a group dinner. Liu was arrested the same night, but police let him go the following day without charging him or asking for bail.
      He quickly returned to China after his release, where millions of Weibo users were sharing the police mugshot of him dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit.
      The young woman’s lawyer said she plans to pursue a civil lawsuit against Liu.

      Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/24/tech/richard-liu-qiangdong-jd/index.html

      Killer nabbed by chewed gum and a water bottle apologizes for murdering a teacher as he heads to prison for life

      (CNN)Christy Mirack’s brother had one critical question left this week for his sister’s killer.

      He often struggled to keep the case going and maintain the public’s interest. He put up a billboard asking for information that could help crack the case.
      But authorities had no suspects.
        Then, thanks to a piece of gum and a water bottle, authorities identified suspect Raymond Rowe, a disc jockey known locally as “DJ Freez.”
        Rowe, 50, pleaded guilty Tuesday to first-degree murder, rape and related counts in Mirack’s killing, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office.
        Rowe’s attorney said her client has admitted he murdered Christy Mirack, the prosecutor reported.
        “The person standing beside me has admitted his guilt,” Patricia Spotts said.
        Rowe’s guilty plea includes a sentence of life without the possibility of parole with a consecutive prison term of 60 to 120 years, the district attorney said.
        In accepting it, Rowe turned Tuesday to Mirack’s relatives, who’d waited more than 26 years for answers in the case.
        “I can’t imagine what you are going through,” the killer said. “I apologize.”
        Still, Vince Mirack had one searing question when he addressed Rowe in court, the district attorney reported.
        “Why?” he asked. “Why are we sitting here today?”

        New DNA technology helps crack the case

        Christy Mirack was found on the floor of her living room on December 21, 1992, strangled, beaten with a wooden cutting board and raped.
        DNA was collected at the scene, but there were no matches — until last year, when the sample was sent to Parabon NanoLabs, a DNA technology company, for genetic testing.
        Parabon NanoLabs generated a genotype file from the DNA sample, then a DNA phenotype “composite” of the killer’s attributes — including hair, eye color and skin tone, the district attorney said.
        That helped experts get an idea of what the killer looked like as he aged. They released composite images to the public in 2017, then submitted them to a public genetic genealogy database, which brought back matches of Rowe’s relatives.
        That database, GEDmatch, shows the amount of shared DNA between two people, said Parabon NanoLabs’ president, Steven Armentrout. Members of the public voluntarily send their DNA to the database, making it an important resource for both genealogists and investigators.
        This same technology was used to catch the Golden State Killer and solve many other cold cases, including one in which a WWII veteran stole the identity of an 8-year-old boy and another in which DNA from a napkin helped solve a young girl’s murder.
        GEDmatch pointed to Rowe’s family. Parabon NanoLabs’ genealogical research named Rowe as a “strong viable suspect,” the district attorney said.
        To be certain, investigators tracked down Rowe in May at a school function where he was playing music. Undercover officers collected his DNA from gum and a water bottle he’d used and sent it to the state crime lab.
        It matched DNA found at the murder scene.
        Rowe was arrested at his home in June.

        Statistics can’t satisfy a brother’s plea

        Owing to DNA technology, the odds are “astronomical” that anyone else committed the crime, Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said. Indeed, the probability of the perpetrator being anyone else is 1 in 200 octillion among the Caucasian population.
        Those are numbers with 27 and 30 zeros, he said.
          “In other words,” Stedman said Tuesday, “it was the defendant. There are only 7.6 billion people in the world.”
          But even those statistics and Rowe’s confession cannot answer Vince Mirack’s lingering question: “Why?”

          Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/09/us/mirack-cold-case-murderer-sentenced-to-prison/index.html

          Self-harm images ‘groom suicide victims’

          Media playback is unsupported on your device

          Media captionMolly Russell’s father told the BBC he believed Instagram had ‘helped kill my daughter’

          Harmful suicide and self-harm content online “has the effect of grooming people to take their own lives”, the suicide prevention minister has said.

          Jackie Doyle-Price has told the BBC that social media companies must “step up” to protect vulnerable users.

          It comes after links were made between the suicide of teenager Molly Russell and her exposure to harmful content.

          Digital Minister Margot James is to reveal details of a “new regulatory regime” for social media later.

          According to the Daily Mail, Ms James will promise to crack down on many of the social media platforms that have “fallen short” in their response to online bullying, abuse and misinformation.

          In a speech at a conference for Safer Internet Day, Ms James is expected to say: “We will introduce laws that force social media platforms to remove illegal content, and to prioritise the protection of users beyond their commercial interests.”

          Facebook meeting

          Meanwhile Ms Doyle-Price is due to meet Facebook later on Tuesday to discuss what action it is taking.

          She told BBC Breakfast: “We want social media not really to be doing this through the stick of the law, we want them to do it to look after their users.”

          She said she hoped senior staff at Facebook, which also owns Instagram, would act – ideally using algorithms to protect people rather than “bombard” them with advertising.

          Ms Doyle-Price said: “Sometimes they do [act], but more often they don’t”.

          Addressing the National Suicide Prevention Alliance Conference on Tuesday, she said: “If companies cannot behave responsibly and protect their users, we will legislate.

          “They shouldn’t wait for government to tell them what to do. It says a lot about the values of companies if they do not take action voluntarily.”

          Speaking to the BBC, she said: “We could use fines, we could make social media companies much more responsible and apply the full force of the law to them if we feel they are being negligent in their duty of care to their users.”

          The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Home Office are due to publish a white paper on the government’s approach to online safety later this year.

          Image copyright PA
          Image caption A family photo of Molly, taken in 2009

          Ms Doyle-Price said the father of Molly Russell, who took her own life in 2017 aged 14, had done much to highlight the issue.

          “I am full of admiration for Molly’s father for being so brave and frank,” she said.

          Molly’s father, Ian Russell, told the BBC he believed Instagram had “helped kill my daughter”.

          When her family looked at her Instagram account after her death, they found distressing material about depression and suicide.

          Molly case ‘has focused minds’

          Ms Doyle-Price said that after Mr Russell spoke out, “so many other parents have spoken out…it has really focused people’s minds”.

          She added: “The really shocking thing is that he had absolutely no idea that his daughter was looking at these things online.”

          The boss of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, is due to meet the health secretary this week over the platform’s handling of content promoting self-harm and suicide.

          Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said Molly’s case had left him “deeply moved” and he accepted the site had work to do.

          He wrote: “We rely heavily on our community to report this content, and remove it as soon as it’s found.

          “The bottom line is we do not yet find enough of these images before they’re seen by other people.”

          ‘Hooked on self-harm’

          Media playback is unsupported on your device

          Media captionLibby used to post images of her self-harm injuries on Instagram

          In a separate case, Libby, 16, and her father Ian have shared their story after hearing of Molly’s death.

          At the age of 12, Libby, became “hooked” on posting and viewing self-harm images on Instagram – including pictures of cutting, burning and overdosing.

          Her father said his family reported such images to Instagram, but the social media company did nothing.

          Speaking to the BBC, Libby described how she was drawn in to an online community and recalled sharing pictures of her fresh cuts with 8,000 followers.

          Read more of her story here.

          If you’ve been affected by self-harm, eating disorders or emotional distress, help and support is available via the BBC Action Line.

          Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47127208

          Jailed Huawei CFO’s bail decision pushed to Tuesday as tensions persist

          Vancouver, Canada (CNN Business)The chief financial officer of Chinese tech company Huawei will have to wait another day to learn if she’ll be let go on bail.

          Meng was arrested in Vancouver on December 1 at the request of US authorities. She’s accused of helping Huawei, one of the world’s biggest makers of smartphones and networking equipment, dodge US sanctions on Iran, according to Canadian prosecutors.
          The arrest of Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, has further strained the tense relationship between Washington and Beijing just as the two sides are trying to negotiate an end to their trade war. It has also opening a new front in the escalating clash over technology between the world’s top two economies.
            David Martin, Meng’s attorney, has proposed that she be allowed to reside in one of her properties in Vancouver in the interim. He said Meng would be closely monitored and would personally cover all the related security costs.
            But the Canadian judge who will rule on Meng’s bail seemed to cast doubt Monday on the arrangements pitched by Martin.
            The judge expressed skepticism that Meng’s husband can act as a surety, or the primary person responsible for making sure she complies with all the orders set forth by the court, since he is not a permanent Canadian resident.
            Meng, 46, is a high-profile executive at one of China’s best-known tech companies. In addition to her role as CFO, she serves as deputy chairperson of Huawei’s board.
            The United States alleges that Meng helped Huawei get around US sanctions on Iran by telling financial institutions that a Huawei subsidiary, Skycom, was a separate and unaffiliated company, Canadian prosecutors said last week.
            The US Justice Department has declined to comment on the case.
            Meng faces “serious charges of fraud” in the United States involving “millions of dollars,” where she could receive substantial jail time if convicted, according to a statement from a Canadian law enforcement official filed in court.
            Meng’s lawyers have argued that Meng should be released on bail while she waits for an extradition hearing because of health concerns including severe hypertension.
            She was taken to a hospital to be treated for hypertension after she was arrested, according to court documents.
            Martin also said that Meng has ties to Canada and is not a flight risk. Her links to Vancouver go back at least 15 years and she has significant property holdings in the city, he noted.
            Martin also claimed the case against Meng had not been fully laid out, even though a US federal judge issued a warrant for her arrest August 22.
            The attorney argued that Meng wouldn’t breach any court order to remain in Canada because doing so would embarrass her personally, and would also humiliate her father, Huawei and China itself.
            Canadian authorities, meanwhile, believe that Meng should only be released if she receives tough bail conditions, since she has “access to large amounts of resources to escape the jurisdiction,” according to court documents.
            Huawei has said it’s “not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng” and that it “complies with all applicable laws and regulations where it operates.”
            Meng’s detention has further strainedthe tense relationship between Washington and Beijing just as the two sides are trying to negotiate an end to their bruising trade war.
              Chinese officials have demanded that Meng be let go.
              Over the weekend, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said it had summoned both US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad and Canadian Ambassador to China John McCallum to address Meng’s detention, which it described as “lawless, reasonless and ruthless.”

              Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/10/business/huawei-meng-wanzhou-bail-hearing/index.html

              4 GOP senators urge Trump to put ISIS prisoners nabbed in Syria in Gitmo

              Four U.S. senators are urging President Donald Trump to use the Guantanamo Bay detention center to hold fighters from the Islamic State group captured in Syria. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

              Four Republican senators from southern states urged President Trump to use the Guantanamo Bay detention center on the American base in Cuba to hold fighters from the Islamic State (ISIS) group captured in Syria.

              Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida said in a letter sent Tuesday: “We urge you to consider transferring the worst of these Islamic State fighters to the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, where they will face justice. Thank you for your continued leadership in our military campaign against the Islamic State and your willingness to consider this matter of national security.”

              Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.  (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
              Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

              The lawmakers said Islamic State prisoners could escape or be released in Syria.

              The letter continued: “As U.S. and partner forces have waged a campaign against the Islamic State over the past four years, we have captured hundreds of foreign enemy combatants. Our partners, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), are currently detaining over 700 of these battle-hardened terrorists in northeast Syria. These detainees include two of the so-called ‘Beatles,’ expatriated British citizens suspected of joining ISIS and beheading Western hostages.

              The issue has come up because Trump has ordered the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria, and U.S. allies there hold hundreds of ISIS prisoners.

              Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. (Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
              Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

              The letter to Trump said: “Given the rapidly shifting dynamics in Syria, it is possible that these terrorists may escape or be released from SDF custody in the coming weeks and months. It is imperative that these Islamic State fighters not be released. If given the opportunity, many of them will take up arms against our Syrian and Iraqi partners or attempt to infiltrate the United States and Europe to carry out terror attacks against civilian targets, like they have already done in France and Belgium.”

              When he took office, Trump soon reversed an order from President Barack Obama to close Gitmo. There are 40 prisoners still held there.

              The Associated Press contributed to this report.

              Read more: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/4-gop-senators-urge-trump-to-put-isis-prisoners-from-syria-in-gitmo

              Google, Amazon seek foothold in electricity as home automation grows

              Amazon joined a $61 million funding round into smart thermostat maker ecobee Inc. last March. (Getty Images)

              Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Amazon.com Inc. are taking early steps to expand into the electricity business, as home-energy automation emerges as a rich new source of customer data.

              The technology giants aren’t interested in selling megawatts—at least not for now. But they are seeking ways to expand their smart speakers, Internet-connected thermostats and other devices to harness information on consumers’ personal energy use. That data holds great power; it can be used to manage energy demand by incentivizing consumers to use less electricity during peak hours.

              While the energy ambitions of tech companies are currently limited, some executives anticipate a future where solar panels, battery storage and even electric vehicles all become part of a smart-home ecosystem. Under that scenario, any company that controls the software and systems that deliver energy could gain a formidable market position, according to executives and consultants.

              JEFF BEZOS GIVES A PITIFUL AMOUNT OF HIS $160B FORTUNE TO CHARITY

              “In 10 or 20 years, the dominant retail electric provider in the United States is going to be Amazon or Google,” said David Crane, the former chief executive of NRG Energy Inc., who said he isn’t involved in discussions with the companies. “They can provide lower cost and better service.”

              Home-energy management is a battleground in a competition between Google and Amazon for internet-connected devices that has intensified in recent years after both companies saw smart speakers take off in popularity. Google bought Nest Labs, a maker of home-security cameras and thermostats, for $3.2 billion in 2014. Last year, Amazon bought Ring, a maker of video doorbells, in a deal valued at more than $1 billion. In March, Amazon joined a $61 million investment funding round into smart thermostat maker ecobee Inc.

              Consulting firm Wood Mackenzie estimated that spending on home-energy devices exceeded $40 billion in 2018 and is set to double in the next five years.

              Google, in a push for wider adoption of its connected devices, has struck partnerships with utilities and power providers in the U.K. and the Netherlands, as well as in Illinois, California and Texas. Google has a deal with Reliant Energy, a Texas electricity provider owned by NRG.

              Click here to read more of this story at The Wall Street Journal, where it was first published.

              Read more: https://www.foxnews.com/tech/google-amazon-seek-foothold-in-electricity-as-home-automation-grows

              Russian hackers, firewall check-ups and more: Tech Q&A

              File photo – A contrail left by a passenger plane is seen behind a Russian state flag as it passes over the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, August 7, 2014. (REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin)

              Sending Secret Messages

              Q: I want to send my girlfriend secret messages. Is it possible to do this so when my wife snoops on my email, she thinks it is just a picture?

              A: This is your life, of course, but having an affair never ends well. Rather than sneak around, talk to your wife and seek marriage counseling. Now that I’ve given you the necessary precautions, the answer is yes, you can send secret love messages, and you can probably secure them from watchful eyes. There are more productive uses of this technology, especially if your work requires confidential correspondence, or you are planning a surprise birthday party. Whatever your need for secrecy, I have the steps to take that will enable you to communicate entirely on the DL.

              Protecting Cameras from Hackers

              Q: There was a news story about a hacker watching what a family was doing through their inside security cameras. I have security cameras in my house. Am I at risk too?

              A: Here is a warning that I can’t overstate: the moment you install a microphone or camera in your house and then connect either device to the internet, you are exposing yourself to a potential security risk. The irony about security cameras is that they are supposed to protect you and keep your homestead safe; once a hacker takes them over, that very safety net can be used against you, capturing your daily life in the most intimate way. Take action now. Here is how to secure your security cameras from prying eyes.

              Using a Malware-Resistant Browser

              Q: On a recent podcast, you said that Microsoft has a hidden browser that protects you from malware. How do I get it?

              A: If you have Windows 10, you’ll find that Microsoft has invented a smart containment strategy. This service allows you to create a virtual computer inside your real computer, preventing the malware from spreading. That may sound far-out, but it makes a lot of sense, especially given how susceptible Windows devices often are to viruses. Not everyone will be able to take advantage of this technology, but Microsoft Edge really does live up to its name. You’ll want to read this to learn how to use Edge’s hidden browser.

              Keeping the Russians Out

              Q: I heard that the Russians are hacking into firewalls. How do test my router’s firewall to make sure it’s Russian ready?

              A: “Firewall” is a dramatic word. It conjures an image of an actual wall of fire, giving confidence to the people who have established a firewall – and intimidating anyone trying to get through one. A firewall still offers powerful protection against cybercriminals, but as you suggest, some hackers can still break through. Hackers based in Russia are especially infamous right now, but the truth is, an evil coder could be anywhere in the world, and your firewall may not defend you from his programming skills. So how do you find out whether your firewall is solid? Luckily, there is a quick and easy way to test it. Tap or click here to test your firewall and make sure it’s working.

              Uber Spies

              Q: Some Uber drivers have cameras and record their trips. Is there a way to know for sure if the Uber car I get in is recording me?

              A: Whether you prefer Uber or Lyft or Yellow Cab, most drivers are just everyday people who are trying to make a living. (And earn a five-star rating). At the end of the day, every driver is a stranger, and every passenger is entering a foreign space. We live in an era of tiny, secret cameras. So how do you find a camera that is designed to escape notice? Here are some ways to check for hidden cameras in Uber or Lyft. And by the way, if you are looking to earn money with a side hustle, listen to this special Komando on Demand podcast.

              What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call her national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen or watch to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

              Copyright 2019, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

              Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

              Read more: https://www.foxnews.com/tech/russian-hackers-firewall-check-ups-and-more-tech-qa

              Bored of exercise bikes? This company wants to make them more fun

              (CNN Business)Eric Janszen is a self-confessed exercise bike addict but even he got tired of the monotonous pedaling.

              In the 1980s, Janszen began fantasizing about pedaling through virtual landscapes. Three decades later, when the technology had caught up with his vision, he brought it to life.
              Janszen, a former venture capitalist, founded VirZoom in 2015 in partnership with Eric Malafeew, a game developer who had worked at the company behind “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band.”
                Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the startup produces software and equipment aimed at making fitness more fun.

                A new category of gaming

                Janszen and Malafeew met through a friend in 2013 and decided to go into business together.
                Facebook’s acquisition of VR firm Oculus for $2 billion highlighted the gathering momentum behind the technology and inspired Janszen to go to China in search of a manufacturer for his products.
                Malafeew, meanwhile, hired a game design team.
                In 2015, the founders quit their day jobs to work on their new venture and raised $5.5 million.
                The result was the VZ Bike, which launched in 2016. It’s an exercise bike with speed and direction sensors that’s compatible with mainstream VR headsets. It was sold for use in the home along with five VR games for $399.
                Users pedal in order to move around the games’ different settings, which include traditional cycling terrain, racing an Formula 1 car and even riding on the mythical Greek flying horse Pegasus.

                Targeting growth in China

                This year, VirZoom pivoted from making bikes to focusing on VR equipment with the release of the VZFit. The package includes a VR headset, a TV display and sensors that can be attached to any exercise bike.
                US fitness equipment giant Life Fitness, which has operations around the world, is selling the VZFit to the commercial gym market.
                The global VR market was worth about $2 billion in 2016 and is expected to grow to almost $27 billion in 2022, according to market research firm Zion.
                  VirZoom sees strong potential for its products in China.
                  “High-end gyms and health clubs in China are particularly interested in VR compared to other markets,” Janszen said.

                  Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/16/business/virzoom-bike-vr/index.html

                  Deported Parents Make Desperate, Last-Ditch Effort To Reunite With Separated Kids In U.S.

                  A number of the roughly 400 parents who were separated from their kids under the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy and deported back to Central America want the U.S. government’s permission to cross the border once again.

                  On Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union sent the Department of Justice the first batch of declarations from 12 parents who claim they were denied a fair chance at applying for asylum.

                  Advocates say that in many instances, returning to the U.S. is the only way deported parents and their children, who have now been separated for up to six months, can see each other again.

                  “This opportunity for parents to come back and pursue asylum is critical,” said Michelle Brané, the director of migrant rights and justice at the Women’s Refugee Commission. “For many, if not all of them, it’s their last chance to be together [with their children].”

                  Staff from Al Otro Lado, a legal aid organization that works in California and Mexico, have prepared affidavits from at least 20 parents with worthy asylum claims ― a number the group expects to at least double as staffers continue to conduct interviews across Central America.

                  But advocates told HuffPost they are worried that a government hellbent on deterring immigrants from entering the U.S. will try and prevent parents from returning.

                  Lisa Frydman, the director of regional and policy initiatives for Kids in Need of Defense, fears the Trump administration will make it “extremely difficult” for mothers and fathers to cross the border again. “The government should have offered all [deported] parents the opportunity to come back,” she said. “Nothing will repair the harm that was caused [by separation], but at least these parents should have a fair shake under the law.”

                  Parents are certain their children will suffer or die if they come back to their home country. So the government forced an impossible choice on people: Save your child’s life or never see them again. Erika Pinheiro, policy and technology director at Al Otro Lado

                  Immigration experts told HuffPost that most parents who were deported between April and June while the zero tolerance policy was in effect were not given a legitimate shot at asylum. They say many were coerced into signing deportation forms after being falsely told by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers that it was the only way to reunite with their children. Others failed their credible fear tests ― the first step in applying for asylum ― because they were too emotionally devastated after being separated from their kids to focus on their cases.

                  A representative from the Department of Homeland Security declined to comment for this story. 

                  Out of the more than 2,600 children who were separated from their parents, 171 are still in government custody according to the latest figures ― more than 80 percent of whom have mothers and fathers who were deported.

                  Starting in August, as part of its lawsuit against ICE, the ACLU organized a committee to track down the roughly 400 deported parents and ask whether they want their children to stay in the U.S. and pursue asylum or prefer that their kids come home. According to the ACLU, two-thirds of these parents have chosen to keep their children in America, mostly due to safety concerns in their home countries.

                  “Parents are certain their children will suffer or die if they come back to their home country,” said Erika Pinheiro, the policy and technology director at Al Otro Lado. “So the government forced an impossible choice on people: Save your child’s life or never see them again.”

                  Pinheiro says many of the deported parents are running from life-threatening situations, which makes them difficult to track down. To find these mothers and fathers, her colleagues have trekked to remote, crime-ridden villages with no police. In one instance, they were held at gunpoint by gang members.

                  One mother Pinheiro interviewed in El Salvador has to move to a different house every week to try and escape gang members who want to her dead.

                  She is desperate to return to the U.S. and apply for asylum but her health is deteriorating. Since the woman was separated from her 16-year-old daughter in May and deported, Pinheiro says she has barely eaten and was recently hospitalized after developing gallstones and having panic attacks.

                  “She would take one piece of lettuce and chew it for a bit,” said Pinheiro. “She’s so depressed and it’s hard for her to even have the will to live.” But crossing the border may be the woman’s only chance to see her daughter again and to save her own life.

                  Pinheiro’s team is planning to interview at least 40 more parents to make sure they have viable asylum claims, and the ACLU will then submit those declarations to the Justice Department. But so far, she says, her team has not been able to reach at least a dozen parents ― people Pinheiro assumes are in imminent danger and must frequently change phone numbers and locations to stay alive.  

                  “If we can’t find these people or if we’re unable to maintain contact with them, they could very well never see their children again,” she said. “They  are just trying to survive.” 

                  By Dec. 15, the government will decide whether or not to let all or any of the parents back into the U.S.

                  Lee Gelernt, the lead lawyer in the ACLU’s lawsuit against ICE, said he expects the DOJ to consider the cases “in good faith,” but added that the government has “expressed reluctance to bring [immigrants] back in the past.”

                  Brané says that if the government denies deported parents the chance to come back, they are in many cases legally barred from re-entering the country for up to 10 years.

                  “I think at the very least those parents should have the right to have their asylum cases heard,” Brané said. “[Otherwise] it means potentially a permanent separation from their children.”

                  Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/deported-immigrant-parents-children_us_5bf5990ce4b0771fb6b54847