Federal Court Says Trump Administration Can't Deny Funds To Sanctuary Cities

A federal court rules Attorney General Jeff Sessions can’t penalize so-called “sanctuary cities.”

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Susan Walsh/AP

A federal judge in Chicago has ruled that the Trump administration may not withhold public-safety grants to so-called sanctuary cities. The decision issued Friday is a setback to the administration’s efforts to force local jurisdictions to help federal authorities to crackdown on illegal immigration.

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber ruled that Attorney General Jeff Sessions exceeded his authority by requiring cities to cooperate with federal immigration officials or lose grant money for fighting crime. Sessions wanted local authorities to detain people in this country illegally for 48 hours so that immigration agents could apprehend them and to allow agents into local jails.

The judge issued a temporary nationwide injunction in response to a lawsuit brought by the city of Chicago. The order prevents the Justice Department from withholding grant money until there is a final determination in the lawsuit which could take many months.

At stake was more than $2 million Chicago and its neighboring jurisdictions receive from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants.

Local officials around the country, such as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, have insisted that by cooperating with federal immigration agents they would jeopardize the hard-won trust of immigrant communities. Judge Leinenweber, in his 41 page ruling, that the city could suffer “irreparable harm.”

“Once such trust is lost, it cannot be repaired through an award of money damages, making it the type of harm that is especially hard to rectify,” Leinenweber wrote.

In a news conference, Mayor Rahm praised the ruling as an “affirmation of the rule of law.”

A spokesman for the Department of Justice disagreed.

“By protecting criminals from immigration enforcement, cities and states with ‘so-called’ sanctuary policies make their communities less safe and undermine the rule of law. The Department of Justice will continue to fully enforce existing law and to defend lawful and reasonable grant conditions that seek to protect communities and law enforcement,” said DOJ spokesman Devin O’Malley.

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Harry Dean Stanton, A Supporting Actor Who Became A Star, Dies At 91

For decades, Harry Dean Stanton was mostly cast as a supporting actor, but he landed lead roles in Repo Man and Paris, Texas. In 2017 he starred as a 90-year-old atheist in LUCKY. He’s shown above in 1970.

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Actor Harry Dean Stanton was cast in supporting roles for decades, and his weather-beaten face became a fixture on-screen for more than a half century. With leading roles in the 1980s films Repo Man and Paris, Texas, he became something of a star and a cult favorite. His agent says Stanton died today of natural causes in Los Angeles. He was 91.

The 1984 film Paris, Texas, opens on a thin, weathered man wearing an old suit and a red baseball cap, wandering the desert with an empty water jug. That’s Stanton, in his first lead role at age 58. He’s Travis Henderson, a beat-down guy who left his wife years ago — taking their son with him.

He comes back and finds her in a Houston peep-show, where he delivers a 10-minute monologue through a one-way mirror. She can’t see him, but gradually, she realizes it’s her husband, telling her the story of his life. The family reunites, and that’s how — after decades as a character actor — Stanton became a star.

Stanton was born in Kentucky to a tobacco farmer father and a hairdresser mother. He studied theater at the University of Kentucky, served in the Navy in World War II, and then went to Hollywood. With his deep-set eyes and hawk nose he was cast over and over as an outlaw or an oddball.

He appeared in more than 100 TV and film roles, from Cool Hand Luke to The Godfather Part II to the first Alien in 1979. Of course (spoiler alert) Stanton gets eaten by the Alien monster, and that’s the way it was until 1984, when he starred in Paris, Texas and the cult-classic Repo Man. Stanton was the Repo Man, Bud, schooling young Emilio Estevez’s character Otto.

Stanton had a lifelong love of music. Above, he performs at Greenpeace’s 35th anniversary celebration in Los Angeles in September 2006.

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Jae C. Hong/AP

Every once in a while he was cast as a normal guy — he played Molly Ringwald’s Dad in Pretty in Pink — but that was about it. Stanton was in six David Lynch movies and played the polygamist cult leader Roman Grant on HBO’s Big Love. Occasionally you’d hear Stanton sing; music was his other love — he sang and played harmonica on-stage and off.

In the 2012 documentary Partly Fiction, Stanton answers some deep questions from his friend and colleague, director David Lynch. His answers were sort of Buddhist and very Harry Dean Stanton. Asked to describe himself, he responded, “Nothing. There is no self.” Asked how he wanted to be remembered his answer was, “Doesn’t matter.”

It may not have mattered to him, but the rest of us will remember Harry Dean Stanton as a singular presence on screen.

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Episode 794: How To Make It In The Music Business

Illmind’s library of beats is sought after by artists from LL Cool J to Bruno Mars.

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Courtesy of Illmind

Illmind is a music producer. He isn’t famous. He doesn’t DJ at festivals in front of huge crowds. He’s not best friends with Drake. But the producers who do DJ for huge crowds, who are best friends with Drake — they know Illmind. They use his sounds. They text him when they’re working on a song that needs a little something.

Aspiring producers who want to be famous — they also know Illmind. Some of them pay hundreds of dollars and fly across the country just to sit in a room with him and hear what he thinks of their work.

Behind almost all of the popular music you hear today, there is a hidden, high-tech, producer economy, where people trade and sell musical snippets and tiny sounds. Illmind is at the center of this economy. In fact, he helped create it.

Music: Alec Britt’s “Africa” (Mario Paint Cover), LL Cool J (Feat. 50 Cent & Mobb Deep) “Queens“, Frank Dukes’ “Lap of Luxury,” Anderson .Paak’s, “The Season/Carry Me“, J. Cole’s “Love Yourz“, and Illmind’s “Reverse The Clock.”

Find us: Twitter/ Facebook.

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Photos: Children Caught In The Crossfire Of Rohingya Crisis

Mohamed Ayas, 15, was shot in the back by Myanmarese soldiers as he attempted to flee his village in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State.

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Tommy Trenchard/Caritas

Nearly 400,000 Rohingya people have fled government violence in Myanmar and crossed into neighboring Bangladesh. The majority of them are children — 60 percent, by U.N. estimates. And at least 1,100 are separated from their parents.

The challenges for aid groups are unfathomable with a refugee crisis this large, caused by what Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, says seems to be “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

The situation is even more daunting when so many children are at risk.

Kids are vulnerable to physical illnesses like waterborne diseases and skin infections — and mental health problems spurred by trauma. They’ve been shot at and they’ve trekked across areas with land mines.

Hearing some of their stories has shocked Christophe Boulierac, the UNICEF spokesman in Geneva who’s currently posted to Bangladesh.

He remembers a teenage boy he met earlier this week who had fled Myanmar.

“He told me he saw his mother and sister shot dead in front of him, and then he fled,” Boulierac says. “I asked him, what do you feel, how do you feel? And he told me, ‘I am not feeling anything. I just want to eat, some shelter and then maybe I will start thinking.'”

Girls reach out for food handed out by a volunteer organization in the Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh.

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Aid groups are working to meet such basic needs as food and shelter.

Most of the new arrivals head to Kutupalong, the largest of Bangladesh’s refugee camps, and makeshift settlements next to it. Kutupalong has been there for years, has some infrastructure and is near the Myanmar border.

But it’s been tough for the newly arrived refugees to find a place to camp out. Many people have used materials like bamboo and plastic to make their own improvised shelters.

A Rohingya child sits amid piles of donated clothes at a refugee camp in southern Bangladesh.

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“Most of them are just homemade tents that are made from a few skinny bamboo poles that have been either found or purchased, stuck into the ground, that have been tied together with a piece of plastic sheeting thrown on top and another one on the ground if they’ve got it,” says Pavlo Kolovos, the Bangladesh head of mission for Doctors Without Borders. “Space is a premium.”

Even in this dire setting, the humanitarian agencies are seeking to give kids time and space to play — and to add structure to their lives, which can help them recover from the traumatic experiences they might have experienced.

“They need to feel safe,” says Jean Lieby, chief of child protection for UNICEF Bangladesh. “Some have been six days walking through the rainforest.”

Queuing up for food at the Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh.

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Tommy Trenchard/Caritas

“Child friendly spaces” in camp buildings, often with art supplies, offer a secure place to play and also help staffers identify youngsters who could need extra support such as counseling, Lieby says.

There are different signs to look for, he says: “Some are mute, not talking anymore. Sometimes children are shy just because they are shy. Some that were not shy before and that become extremely shy, we have to look into.”

Abdul Rahman, 21, cares for his four-month-old daughter Sangida. Her mother was shot dead by soldiers in Myanmar while trying to flee to Bangladesh.

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Not all kids who are refugees need counseling, Lieby says. But for some who have been severely affected by trauma, the psychological healing process can take decades.

“Some people that have been affected during the Rwanda genocide [in 1994] are still receiving trauma counseling,” Lieby says.

Asked about providing therapy, Boulierac says: “We are really scaling up. Nobody has expected this influx.”

A team of gravediggers prepares a grave on the hillside near the Kutupalong refugee camp.

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Makeshift shelters have been popping up along the main road, which is clogged with trucks and other vehicles — putting refugee children at risk of getting hurt, says Kolovos of Doctors Without Borders.

The weather isn’t helping, either. The dirt roads and paths within the camp have been muddied by rain – it’s monsoon season there.

“Everybody kind of looks like they’re wearing tan socks up to their shins, because it’s just all …it’s a mess,” he says.

What’s it like to be an aid worker in this type of crisis situation? “You work 20 hours a day,” he says, “and keep going.”

Courtney Columbus is a multimedia journalist based in the Washington, D.C. area. She covers science, global health and consumer health. Her past work has appeared in the Arizona Republic and on Arizona PBS. Contact her @cmcolumbus11.

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Protests In St. Louis After Ex-Cop Acquitted In Anthony Lamar Smith Murder Case

A group of protesters gather outside police headquarters following a verdict in the trial of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley on Sept. 15, 2017, in St. Louis. Stockley has been found not guilty in the 2011 killing of Lamar Smith following a high-speed chase.

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Jeff Roberson/AP

Six years ago former St. Louis Police officer Jason Stockley shot and killed Anthony Lamar Smith after a car chase in North St. Louis. Earlier this year prosecutors charged Stockley, who is white, with first-degree murder, alleging he planted a gun in Smith’s car.

On Friday, Stockley was acquitted of the crime, and protesters have taken to the streets in St. Louis to again voice rage and frustration about the shooting death of a black motorist.

“Not firmly convinced”

It was December 2011, and Stockley and his partner suspected Smith was dealing drugs outside of a fast-food restaurant in north St. Louis.

Smith drove away and Stockley and his partner gave chase. During the pursuit a dashcam recorded Stockley telling his partner he’d kill Smith. He then told the other officer to ram Smith’s vehicle.

Stockley got out of the vehicle, went to Smith’s and fired five shots, which turned out to be fatal.

Initially the officer wasn’t charged with the crime. Stockley, who’s no longer on the force, had a bench trial before Circuit Court Judge Timothy Wilson that ended last month. The city’s been on edge ever since that time.

In Friday’s verdict Judge Wilson wrote, “This Court, as the trier of fact, is simply not firmly convinced of defendant’s guilt.”

Wilson’s verdict also says the state did not prove that Stockley acted beyond a reasonable doubt of self-defense, and that the judge saw no proof of Stockley planting a gun in the car.

Prosecuting Attorney Kimberly Gardiner says her office presented a case that showed Stockley WAS guilty.

“We cannot let the naysayers and the guardians of the status quo let us miss this opportunity to seek real change,” she says.

Smith family attorney Al Watkins says he’s appalled by the judge’s decision. He finds Stockley’s story of the shooting difficult to believe.

“I’m sorry. I don’t buy it,” he says. “I don’t buy it for a heartbeat.”

Protests and reactions

Immediately following the verdict protesters took to the streets in downtown St. Louis.

“To say that it’s heartbreaking would be too much of an understatement,” says TK Benson, one of the protesters. “But this generation of black people need to wake up and realize that the system has proven time after time after time that it is against us when it comes to stuff like this.”

Like the protests that erupted in Ferguson following Michael Brown’s shooting death at the hands of then-officer Darren Wilson, activists vow to protest throughout this weekend and into the coming weeks if necessary.

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Watchdogs Try To Get Mar-A-Lago Answers; Mostly Turn Up More Questions

This March 11, 2016, file photo, shows the Mar-a-Lago Club, owned by President Donald Trump, in Palm Beach, Fla.

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Lynne Sladky/AP

Two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests are raising questions about President Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida: Who stayed there, how much they did they pay and who received the profits?

In one FOIA action, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW), an advocacy group, requested the visitors log for Mar-A-Lago. Such records would potentially show who met with or accompanied the president from January through March this year.

What CREW got from the Justice Department was a list of 22 names of people who accompanied Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Mar-a-Lago in February. The list included Abe’s butler and the van driver.

“The remaining records that the Secret Service has processed in response to the Mar-a-Lago contain, reflect, or otherwise relate to the President’s schedules,” wrote Chad Readler, the acting assistant attorney general, and Joon Kim, the acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, in a letter to CREW.

Readler and Kim said the government believes that presidential schedule information is not subject to FOIA.

CREW executive director Noah Bookbinder says his organization vehemently disagrees with the government’s stand. “This was spitting in the eye of transparency,” he said.

“We’ll be fighting this in court,” he added.

Another advocacy group, Property of the People, had more luck with its FOIA request looking into U.S. Coast Guard records on expenses surrounding Trump properties. The Coast Guard turned up a receipt for $1,092 for a two-night stay in early March for an unidentified guest at Mar-a-Lago.

The receipt shows the National Security Council was charged the full rate of $546 per night. The government — by extension, the taxpayers — paid the bill. The full rate, presumably, builds in a profit for the property.

Critics say this violates the Domestic Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which bans the president from receiving payments from state or federal governments, beyond his salary.

Property of the People also obtained receipts showing payments by the U.S. Embassy to Trump’s hotel in Panama, along with documentation of payments by unnamed federal employees to the president’s hotels in Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas. The payments were all made on government credit cards.

“These documents represent perhaps the clearest evidence yet that President Trump has violated the Domestic Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution,” says Ryan Shapiro, director of Property of the People. “The likely constitutional violation here belongs in any forthcoming articles of impeachment. Due to his glaring refusal to divest from his sprawling business empire, the President has no one to blame but himself.”

Put Trump’s lawyer earlier this year took the position that these types of payments do not violate the Constitution.

“No one would have thought, when the Constitution was written, that paying your hotel bill was an emolument,” Sherri Dillon said at a press conference in January. “Instead, it would have been thought of as a value-for-value exchange. Not a gift. Not a title. And not an emolument.”

In ongoing but separate litigation, the Justice Department has agreed with Dillion and argued that hotel transactions are business transactions, unrelated to the president’s office, and thus not emoluments.

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After Hurricane Katrina, Many People Found New Strength

A Houston resident walks through waist-deep water while evacuating her home after severe flooding following Hurricane Harvey in north Houston.

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Long after the floodwaters recede and the debris is cleared, the mental health impacts of disasters like hurricanes can linger.

Psychologist Jean Rhodes of the University of Massachusetts-Boston has spent more than a decade studying what happens to people years after a natural disaster — in this case, Hurricane Katrina.

She and her team had been studying the health of young parents attending community college in New Orleans starting in 2003. After Katrina hit in 2005, they found themselves with a unique opportunity: they had health data from before and after the natural disaster. The researchers were able to measure Katrina’s mental health impacts in a project called the Resilience in Survivors of Katrina Project (RISK).

Most people fare well in the long term, they found, but some are still struggling years later.

Ailsa Chang, guest host of All Things Considered, spoke with Rhodes about the project and what lesson those people’s experiences may hold for people dealing with Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Excerpts of the interview follow, edited for length and clarity.

Interview Highlights

How did going through a major disaster like Katrina affect people’s mental health long term?

Well, here’s some good news. About 60 percent — more than 60 percent if you look at their mental health over time — have returned to where they were prior to the storm. We often hear that there are these long-term consequences. There are, for about 20 percent, we see actually their anxiety and depression went up, and it stayed up. For some there was actually an improvement, they’re actually doing better than before.

They’re doing better?

Yes, so there’s two ways in which they are doing better. Their psychological functioning, about 3 to 5 percent were doing better on indices of anxiety and depression. There’s also this other interesting unexpected finding. That’s something called post traumatic growth; this is really the flip side of post-traumatic stress. They often go hand in hand.

Stress can often precipitate changes in our perspective about life. We begin to appreciate life more and feel a personal sense of strength of having endured the trauma. We see new possibilities. We begin to value relationships over things. And really have a spiritual awakening that psychologists have begun to appreciate comes often hand in hand with post-traumatic stress.

In aftermath of Katrina, some people in the study got access to mental health care for the first time in their lives — that turned out to be crucial for them. Since then, have you see a greater push to get mental health services out to people faster after a natural disaster?

Yes, I’ve seen a much broader, more integrated mental health response to the survivors of Harvey and Irma in ways that I think are going to have long term consequences.

One of the things that we know about exposure to natural disasters is that there’s kind of this critical period where if you’re not exposed to additional stressors and you can begin to process and make sense of what happened, you can begin to heal. It’s almost like a concussion — if you are continuously hit with new stressors after the initial stressor, it makes it much harder to heal.

I think that the responses in Houston and Florida have been much quicker and have really tried to minimize additional stressors that will have long-term implications for survivors’ mental health.

You say pets were a surprisingly big factor. Why is that?

One thing that was different from Katrina is that there was a lot less pet loss. Shelters were much more open to including pets, and people weren’t put in this forced choice between staying with their pets versus evacuating. Because of that, there was less exposure and less trauma.

Five years out of Hurricane Katrina, we saw that the loss of a pet was one of the three biggest predictors of depression and anxiety. Because we didn’t have as much separation between pets and their owners, we probably will be seeing less of that particular stress.

All Things Considered associate producer Selena Simmons-Duffin contributed to this report. Greta Jochem is an intern on NPR’s Science Desk.


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Vatican Recalls Priest From D.C. Diplomatic Mission, Launches Child Porn Probe

The Vatican’s diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C.

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The Vatican says it has recalled a priest from its diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C., and launched an investigation into allegations of child pornography.

The priest, who has not been named, is currently in Vatican City, according to a statement from the Vatican. It says the U.S. State Department informed Vatican officials on August 21 “of a possible violation of laws relating to child pornography images by a member of the diplomatic corps of the Holy See accredited to Washington.”

The Holy See is party to the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Immunity, which grants immunity from prosecution to diplomats in foreign countries. A State Department spokesperson tells NPR that the U.S. formally requested that the Vatican’s diplomatic mission waive that immunity, which it denied.

The Vatican says it has now launched its own investigation into the issue, and has “already commenced international collaboration to obtain elements relative to the case.” It emphasizes that the content of the probe is “subject to investigative confidentiality.”

Pope Francis has said he has a policy of “zero tolerance” for abusive priests, and he has established a tribunal specifically for bishops who do not report priests accused of sexual abuse.

In 2013, Vatican law specifically criminalized producing, disseminating, selling or possessing child pornography.

Possession of child porn “is punished with up to two years imprisonment and a fine from 1,500 to 10,000 euro,” with the possibility of higher penalties for large quantities of porn, according to the criminal code.

According to Catholic News Service, when discussing the case, Vatican press office director Greg Burke pointed reporters to a portion of the law with a range of child porn penalties, the most severe involving 12 years in prison and a fine of up to 250,000 euro.

The news service adds: “The Vatican yearbook lists the nuncio, Archbishop Christoph Pierre, and three priests — an Indian and two Italians — as making up the diplomatic staff at the Washington nunciature,” another term for the Vatican’s diplomatic mission.

There was another high-profile Vatican diplomatic recall over similar issues – when former Polish Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski was recalled from his position in the Dominican Republic in 2013 over accusations of paying for sex with children and possessing child pornography, NPR’s Scott Neuman reported.

Wesolowski was defrocked. The Vatican delayed the opening of his criminal trial because of his health. A month later, he was found dead in his home. And as NPR’s Sylvia Poggioli reported, he had been the “first person arrested in the Vatican on charges of pedophilia.”

The Associated Press reports that Pope Francis has a “spotty record on handling sex abuse cases.” Here’s more:

“He won praise from advocates of survivors of abuse for having established a commission of experts to advise the church on keeping pedophiles out of the priesthood and protecting children. But the commission has floundered after losing the two members who themselves were survivors of abuse.”

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As Millennials Get Older, Many Are Buying SUVs To Drive To Their Suburban Homes

Millennials were the largest group of homebuyers for the fourth consecutive year, according to the National Association of Realtors.

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Just a few years ago, many car dealers and homebuilders were worried that millennials would forever want to be urban hipsters, uninterested in buying cars or homes.

But now, as millennials get older — and richer — more of them are buying SUVs to drive to their suburban homes.

The National Association of Realtors’s 2017 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study found that millennials were the largest group of homebuyers for the fourth consecutive year.

Zillow’s chief economist Svenja Gudell says that for millennials, growing older is beginning to mean buying a house in the suburbs.

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The Great Recession acted as a pause button for many choices that Gudell says millennials were already going to be slow to make.

“We’re seeing that the age at which women have kids has also gone up. And so instead of having children in their late twenties, you might start having kids when you’re in your early thirties at this point,” she says.

Generationally speaking, the stereotype of millennials as urbanites falls flat when it comes to homeownership. The Zillow 2016 Consumer Housing Trends Report found that 47 percent of millennial homeowners live in the suburbs, with 33 percent settling in an urban setting, and 20 percent opting for a rural area.

Millennial homebuyers do wait longer to buy a first home than previous generations. But they are skipping the traditional “starter home” and buying larger homes that were previously considered the norm for “move-up” buyers.

And how are millennials navigating the suburbs? With SUVs, according to several recent studies.

Michelle Krebs, an executive analyst at Autotrader, says college debt kept millennials out of the car market, but now that’s changing.

In 2011, millennials were just 20 percent of the market. They’re about 30 percent now, and Krebs says that they’ll be 40 percent of the market before the next decade if current trends continue.

Erich Merkle, an economist with Ford, says that as millennials cross the threshold into family life, they’re buying large SUVs.

“We expect them to carry on as they age with three-row SUVs, and likely go larger simply because they need the space that to accommodate children that are now teenagers or pre-teenagers,” he said.

Ford expects all SUV sales to grow from 40 percent to more than 45 percent of the total U.S. new vehicle market within the next 5 to 7 years.

Millennials just might be mainstream after all.

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