News·4 min read

Daily Skimm: Immigration and Endangered Species, Taliban Peace Talks, and a New Queen in the Palace

Endangered Green Sea Turtle
Getty Images
August 13, 2019


Legal Immigration

The Story

The Trump admin is trying to restrict legal immigration.

Wait, how?

By limiting access to green cards. President Trump has tried to crack down on immigration before – both for people who came to the US legally and for those who crossed outside of official ports of entry. One idea he's had is to prioritize merit-based immigration (like highly-skilled workers) over family-based immigration. Another is this new rule, which would affect immigrants who came to the US legally and rely on public benefits.

More details, please.

Green card applicants are already required to prove they won't be a "public charge" aka burden to the US. Until now, the gov has determined that based on just a few factors, like whether applicants are using cash welfare. But with this new rule, the gov could deny green card applications to people who use food stamps, Medicaid or housing vouchers, among other programs. It will also look into applicants' income, education, and health.


The admin says it's to make sure those applying are self-sufficient and don't take resources that could go to "vulnerable Americans." But critics say it could lower family-based immigration in favor of those who are more well-off. The rule is set to go into effect in mid-October.


This is the Trump admin's latest move to limit the number of immigrants in the country. It may affect hundreds of thousands of people looking to get permanent legal status in the US by essentially linking immigration status to income.

The Endangered Species Act

The Story

The Trump admin is changing how the Endangered Species Act is enforced.

Can I get a refresher on how it worked before?

Sure. The act protects threatened and endangered species and their habitats to stop them from nearing or reaching extinction. It's credited with saving animals like the bald eagle from becoming extinct, and protects more than 1,600 animal and plant species.

So what's happening now?

Yesterday, the admin said it will start taking cost into account when deciding whether or how to protect a species. It says this will help it protect endangered species while making gov more efficient and increasing transparency around the law. Another expected result: it will clear the way for mining and drilling companies to get access to land that's previously been off-limits.

And the critics say...

That this could have a big effect on the environment. A recent UN report says humans could cause as many as 1 million plant and animal species to become extinct in the near future. Critics think this change will only add to the problem. This is reportedly set to go into effect 30 days after it's posted in the Federal Register – which could be this week.


The Trump admin's push to narrow the scope of the Endangered Species Act isn't new. Some who believe the act prevents economic growth are cheering on the changes. But others are worried about the impact this could have, especially as the world is grappling with potentially catastrophic effects of climate change.

Skimm This: Our latest podcast ep goes into how the law works and how people are reacting.


Who seriously believes fourth time's a charm…

Alejandro Giammattei. He was just elected as Guatemala's president...after previously running three times. One of the first things that'll likely be on his agenda when he takes office in January is the "safe third country" agreement recently made with the US. It would require migrants traveling through Guatemala to reach the US-Mexico border to apply for asylum in Guatemala instead of the US. Giammattei has said the deal is "not right for the country," and that Guatemala needs to take care of its own citizens before taking in foreigners. TBD what this means for the deal once he's in charge.

Who still has their work cut out for them…

The US and the Taliban. Yesterday, the latest round of peace talks between the two sides reportedly ended with no deal. It's something they've been working on for months, in an effort to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan. The gist is that the US would withdraw troops from the country, and the Taliban would make sure that Afghanistan wouldn't become an HQ for terror groups. But since they apparently haven't reached a peace deal yet, reps from both sides are discussing the next steps with their own teams.

  • Election chaos?: The country is scheduled to have its elections next month, and the Taliban has already threatened to disrupt it. It's unclear if the latest round of talks will change that.

Why health officials are feeling positive…

Ebola treatments. Yesterday, scientists said two experimental drugs are upping the survival rate of the virus. Ebola is the deadly and contagious virus that starts out like the flu and leads to things like internal bleeding. Since last year, the DRC's been dealing with an outbreak that's already killed more than 1,800 people. Health officials had tested four drugs to treat patients. Now hoping that two of the drugs may help end the epidemic there and prevent future ones. And giving all Ebola patients in the Democratic Republic of Congo access to them.

While Olivia Colman is trying on crowns

Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell are bringing you the morning news.

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