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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Three-quarters of Americans say immigration is a good thing, according to a Gallup poll released Thursday.The number -- 75 percent -- is a "record-high" and includes majorities from all party groups, according to Gallup.The findings are based on a poll conduced between June 1 and June 13.Last year, 71 percent of those polled said they believe immigration is a good thing, while just 19 percent considered it a bad thing.Since Gallup began taking the poll in 2001, the majority of Americans have viewed immigration as a positive thing for the U.S. in all but one year -- in 2002, when they conducted the poll about nine months after the 9/11 terror attacks.This year Gallup tested alternative wording on the question, given attempts by the Trump administration to cut back on legal immigration, it said. The poll asked half respondents how they felt about "legal immigration," while the other half was given a question that did not specify a particular type of immigration.Gallup found that Americans are more likely to support legal immigration, with 84 percent of the people polled describing "legal" immigration as a good thing.The Trump administration has enacted a "zero-tolerance" policy approach to border protection, which has resulted in thousands of children being separated from their parents upon crossing the border in recent months.Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday to end the practice, but Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen described the immigration crisis as a "national security issue" today."Obviously we are all focused in recent weeks on unaccompanied children and others who migrate across but unfortunately our loopholes encourage that behavior," she told a crowd at the 2018 Capitol Hill National Security Forum.The House of Representatives is planning to vote on two pieces of immigration legislation, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protections for immigrants who came into the country with their parents at a young age, according to Gallup.
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  • The Gorilla Foundation/Koko.org(NEW YORK) -- Koko, the western lowland gorilla who learned sign language and became a pop-culture phenomenon, has died at the age of 46, the group that cared for her announced Thursday.The Gorilla Foundation, headed by Dr. Francine "Penny" Patterson, the animal psychologist who taught Koko sign language, announced that the famed super-simian died in her sleep Tuesday morning at the organization's preserve in Woodside, California."I'm totally aware of how blessed and magical my life has been with her," an emotional Patterson, 71, told ABC News. "She was perfect. That's my sense. She taught me so much."Born on the Fourth of July in 1971 at the San Francisco Zoo, Koko was loaned to Patterson at the age of 1 for a research project at Stanford University on interspecies communications. At birth, she was given the name Hanabi-ko, Japanese for "Fireworks Child," but she soon became widely known by her nickname, Koko.When the San Francisco Zoo wanted Koko back for breeding, Patterson raised more than $12,000 to officially adopt the primate."Koko touched the lives of millions as an ambassador for all gorillas and an icon for interspecies communication and empathy. She was beloved and will be deeply missed," the Gorilla Foundation said in a statement.She stayed with Patterson for the rest of her life and became renowned as one of the most intellectual apes in history, beloved by millions of people around the world."And she loves 'em back, even though we're pretty flawed as a species," Patterson said.Through the years, Koko was visited by numerous celebrities.She became friends with Leonardo DiCaprio. She taught Mr. Rogers the sign for love and cradled the children's TV show host in her lap. She once grabbed William Shatner by the testicles after he entered her cage and repeatedly told the animal he loved her. Koko also caused actor and comedian Robin Williams to crack up laughing by raising his shirt and tickling him."To look into the eyes of a 300-pound gorilla and have her tell you what she's thinking is truly humbling," actress Betty White said after visiting Koko in 2012.In 2016, Koko even jammed with Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea."This is the greatest thing that could happen," Flea said after he handed Koko his bass and she plucked it. “This is a day that I will never forget in my life."The gorilla was featured in multiple documentaries, including "Koko: A Talking Gorilla" that was screened at the 1978 Cannes Film Festival.Koko was also featured on the cover of National Geographic magazine twice.She became so famous she learned how to autograph photos for fans.The Gorilla Foundation said that through Patterson's tutelage, Koko learned more than 1,000 words in sign language and came to understand more than 2,000 words spoken to her in English.While she never had offspring of her own, in 1983 Koko "adopted" a kitten, a gray male Manx named "All Ball." When the cat was hit by a car and killed in 1985, Koko grieved for months and once signed "sad bad trouble" when asked about the kitty.She even helped Patterson pen a children's book about "All Ball" titled, "Koko's Kitten."In 2015, the staff at the Gorilla Foundation surprised Koko with a box containing a litter of kittens. Koko picked out two, naming them "Ms. Gray" and "Ms. Black" and used sign language to communicate to her trainer that the kittens were her babies."Koko's capacity for language and empathy has opened the minds and hearts of millions," the foundation said in its statement.
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  • KOMO-TV(OAKVILLE, Wash.) -- The pistol-packing pastor who gunned down a man allegedly on a carjacking rampage that left three people shot in Tumwater, Washington, on Father's Day, says he acted to "protect my family and others."David George, a pastor at an Assembly of God Church in Oakville, Washington, and a paramedic for the town's fire department, broke his silence after being cleared of any wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of Tim Day, 44, who police said was on a one-man crime spree."I carry a firearm for the same reason I carry a first aid bag, hoping never to have to use them but always being prepared nonetheless," George, 47, said during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.At times George was overcome with emotion as he spoke of the "tragic and shocking" event that occurred on Sunday outside a Walmart store in Tumwater."I acted on Sunday to protect my family and others from the gunman and his display of obvious deadly intent," George said. "This is in accordance with both my training as an emergency responder and calling as a pastor, husband, father, and grandfather."He said he was shopping at the Walmart with his wife, daughter, and granddaughter around 5 p.m. on Sunday when he heard gunshots inside the store.Tumwater Police Department spokeswoman Laura Wohl told ABC News that Day, who had already shot and wounded two people in a series of carjackings, entered the store and proceeded to the sporting goods section where he fired at a locked ammunition display case, removed some ammunition and exited the store.George said that when he heard the gunshots he quickly rounded up his daughter and grandchild and got them out of the store."I did not see my wife and so I continued to look for her as people began to realize the situation and run out of the building," George said. "At no time did I draw my firearm in the building."He said that while searching for his wife, the gunman walked past him "waving and pointing his gun" as he continued to walk out the exit.Wohl said that once in the parking lot, Day allegedly accosted Rick Fievez and his wife, who works at the Walmart store, and ordered them at gunpoint to give him their car. He shot Rick Fievez twice when he did not comply, Wohl said.George said he has a permit to carry a concealed weapon and has significant training in the use of firearms."As a volunteer firefighter, I have also received active shooter training. In addition, I am also a credentialed range safety officer. I train regularly to be proficient with the firearm I carry and to do so in a safe and responsible manner," George said.George said he and another armed citizen followed the gunman out of the store. He said the gunman began moving in the "direction that I thought my family to be" after Day had shot Fievez."At this point, I left cover and moved to intercept the gunman," George said. "When the gunman began threatening another person for the use of their car, I moved in order to have a safe shot at the gunman. He entered the vehicle, which I considered an even bigger threat and fired to stop the shooter."After being hit, the gunman tried to exit the vehicle and fell to the ground. I moved to clear the gunman, yelling to him to drop the gun and show me his hands," George said. "I determined the gunman was incapacitated and unable to respond at this time."He then heard Rick Fievez's wife yelling for help. He said he rushed to his car, retrieved his first aid bag and went to treat Rick Fievez, who police said was shot twice by Day."I responded as my duty and training instructed," said George, an emergency medical technician for the Oakville Fire Department.Rick Fievez's son, Kyle Fievez, said his father was the most seriously injured of the three victims Day allegedly shot. Rick Fievez, 47, remains in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.Kyle Fievez said he has spoken with George by phone and thanked him for saving his father's life."I would definitely say, 'he's a hero,'" Kyle Fievez
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Trump administration is considering housing up to 20,000 unaccompanied migrant children on U.S. military bases, according to a U.S. official.The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) made the request to the Department of Defense (DOD), and Congress has been notified, the official said.The story was first reported by The Washington Post.Last month, ABC News reported that HHS officials were touring four U.S. military bases to see if they could be used to house migrants in the event that other facilities reached capacity. Those bases were Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, Texas, Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas, Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, and Little Rock Air Force Base in Little Rock, Ark.While officials have completed their tours of those installations, no final determination has been made as to where the unaccompanied migrant children would be located.On Wednesday, Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters that DOD would support the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) if requested."We have housed refugees, we have housed people thrown out of their homes by earthquakes and hurricanes. We do whatever is in the best interest of the country," Mattis said.HHS has used facilities on U.S. military bases to house migrants in the past.In 2014, the department used bases in Texas, Oklahoma, and California to house 7,000 unaccompanied migrant children after HHS facilities reached capacity.Mattis has already signed a memo allowing up to 4,000 National Guard troops to assist DHS with the security of the U.S./Mexico border. About 2,000 troops, mostly from the National Guards of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, are serving there now -- but as support services to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, not in a law enforcement capacity.Several governors have pulled their small contingencies of Guard troops from participating in the southern border security mission in protest over the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance policy" on immigration that forcibly separated migrant children from their families.On Wednesday, President Trump signed an Executive Order, ending the forced separation of children, so that families who cross the border illegally will now be detained together.Mattis told reporters on Wednesday that the withdrawal of Guard troops was not having an immediate impact on the border security mission.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(BROWNSVILLE, Texas) -- Texas state inspectors identified nearly 250 violations at facilities run by Southwest Key, the non-profit organization now housing migrant children separated from their parents in a converted Walmart in Brownsville, Texas, according to records obtained by ABC.Reports filed with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) show 246 "deficiencies" -- defined as failures to comply with regulations governing child care -- at Southwest Key residential programs across Texas since the fall of 2014.The company's largest shelter for undocumented children, Casa Padre, which is a converted Walmart in Brownsville, has become a flash-point in the debate over President Donald Trump's "zero-tolerance" policy that separated children from parents caught attempting to cross the border illegally. On Wednesday, the president signed an executive order ending the family separation policy.ABC News' Tom Llamas visited the facility late last week, which now houses 1,500 migrant boys ages 10 to 17, and observed it was clean and well staffed, with several activities to keep the kids busy during his tour.However, HHSC records filed by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services show that at Casa Padre alone, inspectors identified 13 deficiencies over the past year.In one particularly worrisome report, dated October 2017, the facility's medical coordinator "failed to follow up with treatment" for a resident who tested positive for an STD for a full two weeks.At other Southwest Key residential facilities, which also house children apprehended at the border, reports noted a child with "unsupervised access to a tool/knife," a child "clearly in pain" not given prompt medical care, and a child administered Tylenol despite an allergy to the medication.HHSC records also documented children wearing "dirty clothing" and gathering in rooms that reached an "unsafe temperature" following an air conditioning outage.Staff members were accused of showing up to work drunk, writing obscene language on a chalkboard, and repeatedly speaking to children in a "belittling" or "harsh" manner.One staffer allegedly engaged in an "inappropriate relationship" with a child, one deficiency report said.Southwest Key tells ABC News they undertook an "extensive investigation" for each violation, noting that in some cases, employees were retrained and disciplined, and some were terminated.The company notes that over the past three years, Texas investigators evaluated Southwest Key on 78,570 issues, including many self-reported to regulators by the company, and found deficiencies in just 0.3 percent."We strive to provide the highest quality of care possible," the company said in a statement, adding that every shelter employee completes 40 hours of training prior to working with children, and an additional 40 hours of on-the-job training before they supervise kids.A spokesperson for HHSC, which documented the violations, told ABC the agency's job "is to inspect and look for violations of our state standards... when we find them, we cite them and work with the facility to correct the issues.""Our focus is to help ensure safety," he said.The company’s large footprintAustin-based Southwest Key operates at least 16 residential facilities across Texas, with 10 more in Arizona and California. About 10 percent of the children currently in their care were separated from their parents under Trump's "zero-tolerance" policy, according to the company.A spokesperson for Southwest Key told ABC News that they welcomed Wednesday's order, saying: "We were pleased to learn that the president also signed a bill that will end the separation policy."Public records indicate the company employs around 4,500 people, and the company says it has served more than 23,000 children over the past two years.So far this year, they've been awarded $458.7 million in federal money to care for kids detained at the border, including children separated from the
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