Linky Friday: Natural Power

Crime:

smugglers photo

Image by Nerru

[C1] The reunion of a man and his bear. (Not a real bear.)

[C2] This is a really good idea. Also, a horrible one.

[C3] There is a correlation between refugee placement and crime. An inverse one.

[C4] As long as it doesn’t put the woman in the hospital, domestic violence is legal in Russia.

[C5] First we turned them into the army, now we’re turning them into the NSA.

Business:

samsung galaxy note 7 photo

Image by elisfkc

[B1] Nobody gets to sit on the sidelines anymore. Nobody. Sorry.

[B2] I’m always up for a touching tribute.

[B3] Comcast can no longer claim to have the fastest internet.

[B4] Well, it’s certainly important that workers know their rights.

[B5] Will Connecticut lose Aetna? Conservatives and libertarians often make too much of tax rates because, at the the end of the day it’s one expense among many. On the other hand, it’s definitely an expense.

Energy:

[E1] David Akin says that the Liberals in Canada are being opaque with how much their carbon taxes are going to cost customer.

[E2] Wouldn’t it be ironic if Trump brought back the Dakota Access Pipeline only to erect trade walls that de-necessitate it?

[E3] One of the big question marks surrounding solar energy is storage. Progress in France!

[E4] Wind ascendant! Well, it’s passed hydropower anyway.

Space:

Jerry Seinfeld photo

Image by Alan Light

[S1] It’s going to be a busy night for the sky, tonight.

[S2] Alabama governor Robert Bentley proves Jerry Seinfeld’s point.

[S3] How astronauts cope with stress. I suppose smoking would be out of the question.

[S4] Astroids die in some of the strangest ways.

Wildlife:

X-Files photo

Image by alicedice

[W1] This reminds me of a particularly unpleasant episode of X-Files.

[W2] Geckos in Madagaskar shed their skin when being attacked, which may be useful to human medicine in the area of skin healing and regeneration.

[W3] Somewhere in here is a lesson for the Republican Party.

[W4] Come on. Why can’t tasty meat just be slow, dumb, and non-sentient?

Housing:

public housing photo

Image by Jnzl’s Photos

[H1] Tanvi Misra argues that preservation, rather than construction, is a better way to tackle the affordable housing issue.

[H2] Success in San Francisco?

[H3] If they can afford $1,250 a month in rent, they’re… probably not transients.

[H4] Susan Popkin looks at what was learned by the deconstruction of the projects.

[H5] Trailer parks: Affordable, dense, unwelcome by urban planners that like affordable and dense. Hmmm.


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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55 thoughts on “Linky Friday: Natural Power

  1. C3 is broken.

    The way C4 describes the change to battery law is misleading. For one, it’s decriminalized, not legal. It’s still a civil offense. Also, this change doesn’t make an exception, for domestic violence, but eliminates an existing exception. They had already decriminalized mild forms of battery under other social circumstances, but had kept criminal penalties for any battery of a family member. This change means that battery of a family member will be treated like battery of someone else.

    I’m open to the idea that battery of a family member should be treated differently, but this article conveys an inaccurate impression of what is actually being changed.

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  2. C3 is broken. Many people seeking asylum in the United States and other developed countries often have a convoluted route to get their destination. That often entails enlisting the services of a human smuggler of some sort.

    C4: The Russian is continuing its long tradition of being a source blight in the world.

    B1: Nobody ever got to sit on the sidelines. People are social animals and that means we are political animals. We also live in a very political age. One reason why libertarianism might be popular to sum is the hopes that it will de-politicize everything by turning things into commodities.

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  3. W1: This is certainly a scary story.

    W2: This is certainly a confounding story.

    H1: It needs to be a combination of both. Turning existing buildings into housing is going to be faster than building new housing but you still need new housing.

    H3: Seems like a typical NIMBY complaint.

    H5: Trailer parks are probably not liked because they seem impermanent and they are also closely linked to the car. You can’t really have mixed land use or sidewalks with trailer parks. Urban planners like affordable and dense but they also like permanence, mixed land use, and transit.

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    • Turning existing buildings into housing may not be faster and in many cases not cheaper.

      Lead and asbestos abatement, ensuring ADA accessibly, getting electrical system so it can handle the 21st century residential load (and at the least, late 20th century grounding code), sewer outflow to current EPA standards – all these things are faster and cheaper in new construction than in rehab.

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    • What kind of trailers do you think are at a trailer park? These aren’t RVs. Moving one is a complex and expensive process. Not as bad as moving a fixed home, but still a hell of a lot of work. And I’ve seen some pretty well done trailer parks, very walkable, lots of green space.

      The problem with trailers is that they are often of cheap construction, they are small, and being low cost, they often attract a certain unappealing underclass. But they don’t have to be. I once lived near a trailer park that was also a retirement community. The park had an HOA that maintained standards, and it had amenities because a lot of the residents had grandkids who would visit and they wanted safe places for the kids to play.

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      • There are several high end, affluent, trailer parks in the U.K. Most of the time they are used as vacation communities, given that they don’t excel in insulation, but most parks would have at last a couple of year round residents, mostly retired empty nesters, as you mention.

        I personally am friends with an empty nester couple that owns a four story XVIII century Georgian mansion in Bath, with private access to the river (where they moor their boat), who spend summers in their (trailer park) “cottage” in Cornwall, which has been also spruced to Architectural Design standards.

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  4. Nolan Gray’s core argument is sound (and I’ve loved the people at Market Urbanism forever), but trailer parks bad reputation is almost entirely deserved. it does the same thing as housing projects for concentrating poverty and all the negative stuff that seems to produce

    The other problem is that the cheap up front construction means you basically are building ‘throw-away’ houses that pretty much need to be completely scrapped in no more than 50 years and start over. This is not really economically efficient plus the land rights that tenants have are usually not present.

    Last, his little lament for the demise of shanty towns neglects the fact that the ‘self-built’ housing (again usually on land with questionable title) invariably has tragedy of the commons when it comes to stuff like pathways (muddy ruts) and utilities (haphazard electricity, insecure water supplies, and sewage that is potentially going everywhere and anywhere – or worse, nowhere)

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  5. W4: If a considerable amount of humans aren’t truly sentient, why do we have to say that fish are? (Be interested to see if mental flexibility exhibits the same ossification in fish as it does in mammals).

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  6. C3 – Did they take into account that violent crime across the US dropped about 20% in the same period, and property crime, about 25%?

    A second thought: most people aren’t afraid of overall crime rates from Muslim refugees; they’re worried about a specific kind of crime, terrorism.

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    • Pinky,
      No, most people aren’t worried about terrorism. it exists as some sort of distant boogeyman that we ignore until it happens, again.

      Yawn, life goes on.

      You ever see people actually worried about terrorism? You’ll get Uzis on the streets, and a man with a gun in front of every shopping mall. Like Israel, you might say. In Israel, you don’t meet people who haven’t known someone who’s been hurt or killed.

      Those people are actually worried about terrorism, because it’s frequent, and it can strike anywhere.

      You ever want that for America, I know exactly the buttons to push. We ain’t nearly there yet.

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  7. B5: Given I grew up in Seattle, this was always irritating:

    Glascock, a professor of finance, said a growing number of corporations are splitting off headquarters from their central core of employees, a movement that has gathered momentum since Boeing moved its headquarters from Seattle to Chicago in 2001.

    The idea is to remove the emotional connection to the community where the company was founded to make strategic decisions that make most sense for the corporation, Glascock said.

    So, probably it doesn’t have anything to do with taxes, per se. It’s probably about not having to look at the empty buildings that your layoffs created as you drive in to work. So behavior that is otherwise antisocial gets rewarded by Wall Street.

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  8. So apparently Republicans are finding out how America feels about Trump, and the ACA.

    Now in Tennessee, and Utah, GOP congresscritters are being confronted by angry constituents over issues from repeal of the ACA, to the weird Ramsay Bolton/ Reek* relationship of Putin and Trump.

    Also, in California- Farmers are surprised that Trump wasn’t lying. He really does want to deport their employees.

    A nice tweet: Chaffetz is in an R+25 district. Hundreds of angry constituents came out tonight. GOP continues to dismiss “paid protesters” at own peril. https://twitter.com/ericbradner/status/829877715859681280

    Maybe the Republicans can do some soul searching, and think about how they are ignoring real America. Maybe they can reach out to them and try to understand them.

    *Editorial license.

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    • R+25 means the seat is safe for Republicans. R+25 doesn’t mean the seat is safe for him.

      Anything that turns out that many people is something a politician should fear. That sort of turnout is indicative of an unhappy constituency, — strike that, furious. “Unhappy” people send emails. Really unhappy people make phone calls. Furious people get up and try to find you to yell in your face about it.

      People that unhappy tend to stay unhappy, unless you mollify them. They vote. They agitate their family and neighbors to vote, and not in your favor.

      Like I said — that means jack in the general in an R+25 district. But in the primary? That’s a different story. And I think Chaffetz really cares that the seat is his, not that the seat is “Republican”.

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      • Right- the seat isn’t going to a Bernie supporter anytime soon.

        But, IMO, what we are seeing is the collision between Republican campaign chatter, and Republican governance.

        Where were these people when people like Chaffetz spent the last 8 years declaring they were going to do exactly what they are doing?

        Where were these California farmers when Trump said “I’m going to deport immigrant farmworkers“?

        Republican voters are not angry because Republicans are breaking their campaign promises- they’re furious because they are honoring them.

        And to think, dismantling of Medicare and Social Security isn’t even the issue yet.

        To be honest, part of my schadenfruede-ish “Hows that Trumpey-Changey thing workin out for ya?” is a pushback against all the concern trolling articles after the election about how Dems should stop resisting the Trump Juggernaut Yuuge Mandate from Heaven, and curl up in a fetal position and apologize for their existence.

        People like Democratic policies. A lot of people. A lot of people who voted Trump in fact, voted for him thinking he would perpetuate Democratic policies.

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        • I hate the term “concern trolling”. It poisons the well. I think a lot of people are looking around and wishing that both parties offered credible candidates for every race. We should want to push both parties in the direction that we believe in. There’s always going to be ideological distortion – after all, the person in the other camp is going to see the world differently than you do – but the impulse driving most “concern trolling” is good-hearted.

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      • An R+25 district is still going to include a lot of Democrats. They’re not paid protesters, but are likely not representatives, not undecideds, and in many cases not from the district in question. That they’re booing Mike Pence is kind of an indicator.

        That said, this does indicate some rather energetic (and to an extent organized) opposition, and in mid-terms that is cause for concern.

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        • The problem isn’t that Chaffetz is going to lose. The problem, at least for people who want to repeal the ACA, is a Republican Congressperson is a R+5 or +6 district may think, “if Chaffetz is going through that, what are my town halls going to be like,” and think twice about going whole hog for repeal.

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          • That’s reasonable. I’ve always thought that repeal was a dicey proposition (and, politically, an uphill climb). I’m not sure how concerned they should be about this in particular – apart from optics – but politicians often have misplaced worries.

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          • And for Dems, the whole issue is 2018 turnout.

            We don’t need to flip Utah blue, we just need to hold our Senate seats, and flip the swing House districts, by peeling off the members of the Trump coalition who are finding out he does lie, but not about the things they were hoping he was lying about.

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        • , the Congressman from Utah disagrees with you about paid protesters. Well, OK, they’re just out of town non-Utahans.

          http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865673092/Chaffetz-Raucous-reaction-at-town-hall-meeting-bullying-and-intimidation.html

          Chaffetz said the standing room only audience in the auditorium at Brighton High School in Cottonwood Heights and protesting outside included people brought in from outside Utah to disrupt the meeting.

          “Absolutely. I know there were,” he said, suggesting it was “more of a paid attempt to bully and intimidate” than a reflection of the feelings of his 3rd District constituents.

          Asked who would foot the bill to bring in people intent on disrupting the meeting, Chaffetz said, “do some reporting” and described how one participant made it a point to say he was not paid by a national Democratic organization.

          This is the thing I don’t get about conservatives. Like, I always understood the people involved in the Tea Parties were real people. They might be funded by various organizations and such when it came to say placards or actually being organized, but I never believed the Koch Brothers hired people to show up at Democratic town halls.

          I mean, do these guys not understand that even 25% of a House district is still a lot of people?

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          • Some of them were confirmed out-of-towners and out-of-staters. I don’t know how many. My guess is most of them are from the general area, but quite a few from not-his-district.

            I mean, do these guys not understand that even 25% of a House district is still a lot of people?

            This is a point that I have been trying to make to some folks on the left who are acting like it’s significant a bunch of liberals showed up in right-wing Utah or in an R+25 district near the state’s population anchor.

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            • Generally speaking, contented happy constituents don’t show up. The only ones who show up are the ones with gripes.

              So nearly any constituent meeting will be dominated by complaints.
              What makes it significant is that it shows the topic of complaint.

              In 2010, constituents were hopping mad about the possible arrival of ACA.
              In 2017, they are hopping mad about it possibly going away.

              Or to put it another way- all those guys with tricorner hats in 2010, why aren’t they out there, furiously demanding that Chaffetz repeal this tyranny and spare his family from death panels?

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  9. [H3] presumably “transient” in this context mainly means “not here for long”, as in the case of University students etc.

    I never quite understand the level of antagonism toward people who rent their homes.

    We went to a community meeting years ago, where a developer was proposing to tear down a derelict grocery store building – half a block of urban blight – to build what looked like some quite nice walkup apartments with nice green space and street facing retail that fit in nicely with the businesses nearby.

    (Safeway for years put covenants on their old properties that no sales of food of any kind can happen on the land – leaving behind empty buildings that are only fit to be grocery stores, with their one useful purpose banned, inevitably becoming urban blight. The developer had even managed to get Safeway to agree to allow things like a bakery or cafe in the small retail spaces they were proposing to build.)

    I was floored by the number of people who were dead set against it, because they didn’t want people who rented their homes living in the neighbourhood. They would literally rather have a derelict bunker slowly crumbling away in the middle of a big empty parking lot (blocked off with bollards so nobody can actually park on it), than fifty or so extra people in the area who would support local businesses – purely because they would be “renters”.

    I don’t know how instrumental those objections were in the ultimate failure of the project, but the bunker is still there, a bit more rotten and graffitied than it was then, a few more weeds pushing up through the asphalt of the parking lot.

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    • It’s because renters are not seen as having a stake in the neighborhood. They don’t own the land or the home, so they have no incentive to keep it up or improve it. And if the landlord is a corporation or absentee, then they have little incentive to keep things nice.

      It’s silly, I know, but truly it only takes one visibly bad tenant, or one really bad landlord, to sour others (for a long time) on the prospect of more renters in the area.

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      • Yeah, I mean I get that that’s the theory.

        At the time, all the people I knew who were sticking with work at much less pay than they could have made, because their jobs were helping people (the homeless, the sick, children with with learning disabilities etc. etc.) were all renting – partly because they couldn’t afford to buy because their career choices put “stake in the community” over “maximizing income”.

        Meanwhile, the houses in our neighbourhood where the cops kept showing up, where I kept having to break up fights, where the lawn was torn up or the renovations sat half-completed for years – were mostly occupied by the owners.

        I mean, they were good and decent people, they had their struggles like all of us. But most landlords would have kicked them out years ago; they were only still there because they owned their homes.

        Funny thing, the people objecting would probably have been happy if the builders had been going to establish a condo board and sell the units.

        Realistically what would have happened in that scenario is that half of the units would have ended up rented out in a few years time, but instead of one big landlord that hires a maintenance company to look after the units and that you can successfully take to court, there’s a dozen individual landlords without the deep pockets to fix problems, who don’t have any agents regularly on site, and who are going to be hard to track down if you need to sue someone.

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    • LeeEsq has pointed out long Anglo-American cultural traits that favored owning over renting for a variety of reasons. Other countries are different. IIRC most Germans are renters.

      We also have these stereotypes that renters are either really poor or young students/professionals enjoying life before they get a new home. I’ve lived in my apartment for the last 8 years but that is apparently very rare among renters. Maybe it is more common in SF though. When I lived in and near NYC, I think a lot of people in my cohort (young college educated people) would move every year or two. This implies not having a stake. There are also stereotypes that renters don’t care if the property is derelict or about having large parties.

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    • I’m a homeowner who’s lived next door to renters.

      Perhaps 80-90% of them are fine, but the 10% that is not – holy Hell. One summer I had people next to me who partied all night, every night, with stereos out on the lawn, who had screaming fights after 11 pm in the front yard, who tried to blow up my mailbox with firecrackers after I filed noise complaints, who threw trash around, who left food on the front lawn (who DOES that) leading to a rat problem in the neighborhood….you get the idea.

      The stereotype is that if you own something, you’re gonna take care of it, but if you don’t, you don’t care. Like some stereotypes sometimes it hits home.

      I still have renters next door to me on the other side. This batch is better even if they sometimes block my driveway with their cars or play loud music late into the evenings (at least they don’t play it all night, and at least they are on the opposite side of the house from where my bedroom is – unlike the previous renters).

      I live in a small old house in an older neighborhood; our houses are 10 feet from our neighbors’ at the closest point. I wish people were more aware of this, noise CARRIES.

      Then again, I suppose 10-20% of neighbors are just generally terrible and renter or not it doesn’t matter…..but I think the “transient” nature of renters, the fact that they don’t own the place, and the fact that often in some parts of the country, landlords are absent and don’t really care what their tenants are doing….tends to put other people off them.

      Then again, it sounds like the people in your neighborhood would not be RIGHT NEXT DOOR to the rental properties.

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  10. B1: What Lee said above. We live in a highly political time and social media spreads everything really quickly. Perhaps a good solution is if companies had very strict social media policies but then you would have some high up who used his permanent account. I’ve been thinking of Jaybird’s matters of taste v. matters of morality but I think it is much harder to separate the too than he imagines.

    H5: I am wondering what a trailer park in SF or NYC would look like. Where would it go? I think there are probably cultural reasons and aesthetic stereotypes about why urban planners don’t like trailer parks but I think another reason is that trailer parks are seen as rural or exurban housing schemes instead of urban ones. Though I do know that there are people who live out of RVs in LA and SF, they just move them frequently.

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    • Would have to go back and look at the weather maps, but weird stuff can happen around/along the mountains. Lee waves can carry gliders up to 50,000 feet without much trouble. 60 mph straight-line tail winds. 90 mph if a piece of the jet stream mixes down. Get caught in that kind of stuff and a drone that size probably doesn’t have enough power to go anywhere but where the wind wants it to go.

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  11. This essay is dragonfrog bait. Why do so many of the personal essays by polyamorous folks that get publication in high profile outlets (here, the Globe and Mail seem to describe such unhealthy-seeming relationships?

    Are they actually no more or less unhealthy than the polyamorous relationships I actually am familiar with? Are the newspapers selecting the ones that make polyamory seem dodgy? Are the folks in the long-term settled, low-red-flag-count relationships just not writing essays?

    Anyway, it makes me want to go all judge-y, and I don’t want to want to do that…

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    • I expect that there is a negative correlation in general between “people who want to write personal essays about their relationships” and “people who tend to form stable, healthy relationships.”

      EDIT: Also between essays that people are interested in publishing and essays about healthy relationships.

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    • My guess is that people who write public confessionals are probably more prone to drama and dysfunction than people in healthy relationships and the newspapers like the bait.

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      • Yeah, probably a fair bit of what you and are saying…

        In the love symposium a couple of years back I made some small efforts toward writing something, and was like “well, we sound pretty boring, really.”

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    • Well, for decades the only stories about transgender lives that were available to the cisgendered public were those carefully curated to tell the stories that the cisgendered public wanted to hear. Those stories were, as you would expect, a mixture of saccharin banality and salacious garbage. (Not that the salacious stuff is false, mind you. We really do have that much fun.) (Some of us.) (I exaggerate.) But the point is, if a topic has anything to do with sex, and if it has anything to do with a minority, then no one will want a true picture. True pictures are boring.

      I’m sure a similar point applies to crime dramas and so on.

      This is all fine, except when you are a minority under constant threat and harassment from the majority. It’s like, if people want to fixate on a group (whether it be trans folks or poly folks or sex workers or whatever), and they believe rubbish about that group, and they won’t leave that group alone — this is a recipe for great harm.

      So it goes. You can decide for yourself what kind of person you want to be.

      Anyway, I’m poly, and I’m trans, and while I’ve never done sex work, I’ve dated a number of women who did. So yeah, mostly it’s boring. Except the sex is good sometimes. I guess. It’s a matter of chemistry.

      Not everyone is happy in their poly relationships. But not everyone is happy in their monogamous relationships either. I’ve been in two long-term monogamous relationships. Neither lasted a lifetime. Both had deep flaws. One was outright abusive. My poly relationships — they can be hard also. But life is hard.

      I know this, when I find I have good chemistry with someone, I go for it. None of my partners can give me all I want from love and romance, but collectively, it comes close. I’m happy. For now.

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  12. Hey (or anyone else), I got a question for you (I’ll forward him a link to your answer):

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      • The first issue is if the alien is in custody or not. If an alien is in custody and is under a final order of removal than ICE will contact the nearest consulate and inform that the alien is in custody and about to be sent back. This is to get a travel document for the alien. Once that is done, transport is arranged and the alien taken to the airport or put on a bus and sent back.

        Sometimes the consulate of the country of nationality will not issue a travel document and the alien has to be released but under supervision. A lawyer might also convince ICE to do this for humanitarian reasons.

        If an alien is put under a final order of removal but is not in custody than ICE will mail an order for an alien to show up at particular time and place to be sent home. Aliens who fail to do so can be arrested and put in detention. Than the above process will kick into place.

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