While chaos dominates in the House, President Biden is cracking down on immigration.
This is about Title 42 — the Trump-era order that made it easier to expel asylum seekers at the border. The stated goal was to prevent an influx of COVID into the US. Since then, the Biden admin has defended and used the order to expel more than 1 million migrants. But last year, the admin tried to end it. When GOP-led states intervened the battle made its way to the Supreme Court. Now, Biden is continuing to flip-flop. Yesterday, he told reporters, “I don’t like Title 42”...while making use of it for a new immigration policy.
What’s the policy?
It starts with a seemingly immigration-friendly update: Biden announced he’s expanding his use of “parole” authority to allow up to 30,000 people from Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Venezuela to enter the US each month. In other words, the countries that account for most of the people trying to cross the southern border — fleeing issues like oppressive dictators and gang violence. But there’s a catch. They need to be sponsored by an American first and pass a background check. Anyone caught crossing the border without checking off these boxes will be immediately sent back to Mexico and subjected to a five-year re-entry ban.
So what does that mean for immigration?
The admin is trying to get a handle on the record number of apprehensions, with more than 2 million migrant encounters by border agents last year alone. It was also the deadliest year on record for migrants, with more than 800 dying — many from drowning. Biden said the changes won’t “fix our entire immigration system.” And that he needs Congress’ help for a broader fix. Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) said it’s “another failed attempt” to address a “catastrophic problem." And Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) called the move a “disastrous and inhumane relic” of the Trump admin’s “racist immigration agenda.” But the Department of Homeland Security argues it has “no resemblance” to the previous admin's policies because it includes other pathways.
President Biden is set to make his first visit to the border on Sunday since taking office. And when he does, the pressure will be on to defend his back-and-forth approach to immigration that’s been criticized by both sides of the aisle.
House of the Drag-On
Third Day’s Not the Charm
Yesterday, Republicans failed another five times to elect a House speaker. For those counting, that brings us up to 11 times now that Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has failed to get the 218 votes needed to take the gavel. And brings the House to a level of dysfunction not seen since 1859, when — two years before the Civil War — it took the House 44 ballots to elect a speaker.
The news comes after McCarthy continued to make concessions to the 20-ish Republican holdouts that absolutely do not want this man to lead them. The latest concessions include changes that would weaken a speaker’s power — reportedly including allowing a single person to call a vote on whether to kick the speaker out. He also agreed to give them some spots on the powerful Rules Committee, which decides which bills go to the floor. And apparently, let anybody get to debate changes to spending bills. Now, still without a clear direction, the House reconvenes today at noon.
Who wants us to get that bag…
The Federal Trade Commission. Yesterday, the FTC unveiled its proposal to ban employers from imposing noncompete clauses on workers. These clauses prevent employees from leaving their company for a competitor or opening up a similar business of their own. About 30 million Americans are bound by them — one in five US workers. Many companies say the clauses protect their trade secrets. But now, the agency says getting rid of noncompetes could help bump US workers' pay by a total of about $300 billion per year. It could also create better career opportunities for nearly 30 million Americans. But don’t start looking for new gigs quite yet. The rule could take months to go into effect. It still has to go through a public comment period — and could also face legal challenges.
What’s got people talking…
These Idaho murders. Yesterday, the PhD student accused of killing four University of Idaho students was denied bail at a hearing. Court documents, released after his extradition from Pennsylvania, revealed that DNA on a knife sheath found at the scene linked him to the crime. That’s in addition to surveillance footage and cellphone data. The documents also shared chilling details from the night of the murders, like that one of the surviving roommates saw a man dressed in black and a mask and that she heard crying coming from a victim's room. Investigators still haven’t shared a possible motive and a preliminary hearing is set for next week.
Who Spared no one...
Prince Harry. Yesterday, the Guardian shared details from the royal’s upcoming memoir “Spare.” Some of the bombshell allegations: that his older brother, Prince William, knocked him to the floor during a fight over Meghan Markle. And that William and Kate told Harry to wear the 2005 Nazi costume. No comment yet from Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace.
Who’s got some good news…
Damar Hamlin. Yesterday, the Buffalo Bills safety was alert and awake after going into cardiac arrest. Doctors say he asked, “who won the game?” To which they said, “You won. You've won the game of life.” But Hamlin is still in intensive care. Meanwhile, the NFL has announced the Bengals-Bills game has officially been canceled.
Who’s saying ‘giddy up girls’...
Which baby name parents might shy away from…
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