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Dispatches: Five Essential Reads From the Past Week

A collection of some of our most important and timely stories, from a look at the major fires burning across California to a dispatch from Arizona in an especially deadly year for those attempting to cross the border.
A burning home is reflected in a pool during the Carr fire in Redding, California, on July 27th, 2018.

A burning home is reflected in a pool during the Carr fire in Redding, California, on July 27th, 2018.

A rundown of five of our most important and timely stories from the past week.

  1. President Donald Trump's ardent anti-immigrant rhetoric has been a consistent part of his platform since the earliest days of his candidacy. That rhetoric is now being translated into policy, policy that can have deadly consequences for people attempting to cross into the United States to find refuge from harrowing and dangerous circumstances in their home country. David Leffler talked with experts in Arizona who worry that an increase in border deterrence policy will make 2018 an especially deadly year for migrants. Read Leffler's dispatch here.
  2. It's been a little more than a year since Iraqi forces liberated Mosul from ISIS control, but ominous clouds still linger over the scarred city. As Alex Potter reports, there are growing concerns over the future of the young Iraqi boys who find themselves separated from family, rejected from the economy, and at risk for recruitment into radical and violent organizations. Read Potter's story here.
  3. "I'm 66 years old. I've lived my whole life off the benefit of fossil fuels, and then leaving behind this world that's going to hell." Jim Probst is a retired—he uses the term loosely—furniture maker from the heart of West Virginia's coal country. For the last five years he's dedicated his life to building a climate movement in his state that balances protecting the environment and the well-being of the local coal miners. Greta Moran profiled Probst, who is trying to bridge the gap between environmentalists and workers in Appalachia. Read Moran's profile here.
  4. Mission Viejo has been subject to a lawsuit accusing it of violating the California Voting Rights Act for allegedly disenfranchising its Latinx citizens. In response, the Southern California town is putting forward a unique solution: it will allow voters to vote more than once in the 2020 elections. This will make Mission Viejo the first California city to implement "cumulative voting," an electoral reform that gives citizens the same number of votes as there are seats up for election. Editorial fellow Jack Herrera broke down the implications and reasoning behind this unusual move. Read Herrera's story here.
  5. Wildfire season in California seems to be a year-round event at this point. As of this week, the state is contending with 16 major blazes that have burned more than 300,000 acres. And when you look at fire data collected by CAl Fire, the picture doesn't get much rosier. Staff writer Francie Diep did just that, compiling the troubling numbers into a series of graphs and charts that illustrate the increasingly dire situation that the state is finding itself in as a result of the bigger and costlier fires. Read Diep's piece here.

This dispatch originally appeared in The Lede, the weekly Pacific Standard email newsletter for premium members. The Lede gives premium members greater access to Pacific Standard stories, staff, and contributors in their inbox every week. While helping to support journalism in the public interest, members also receive a print magazine subscription, early access to feature stories, and access to an ad-free version of