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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump, and vast parts of the federal government, have been consumed with caravans, walls and a border “crisis” since at least Oct. 16. While the definition of a crisis is highly debatable, the extent of other problems with wider reach and much higher death tolls is not.

Why it matters: The border is a big deal, and the problems are real, but often lost in the shutdown madness is whether the crisis is bigger than other wrongs and injustices impacting American lives.

  • Since Trump's Oct. 16 tweet about the caravan, 547 people have been shot in Chicago, and 111 people have been killed, according to data from the Chicago Tribune.
  • 86 people were killed in the Camp Fire in Paradise, California. Trump did visit after the fires — but he's now blaming California for not exercising "proper Forest Management" and threatening to cut off emergency aid to the state.
  • An average of around three men are killed every day in the U.S. by police officers, according to one estimate in the American Journal of Public Health — which would mean around 255 American men had been killed by law enforcement since Oct. 16.
  • There's no real-time data on deaths from the opioid crisis, but with 67,000 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. every year, according to CDC, it's likely that roughly 16,000 Americans have died of drug overdoses — including opioids — since October.
  • Suicide rates continue to climb, year over year, despite a healthy economy.
  • Seven U.S. military officers were killed in Afghanistan since Oct. 16, including six combat deaths. Trump signaled a strategic shift but never addressed the nation about it. 
  • In Syria, at least 191 civilians were killed by the U.S.-led coalition between Sept. 10 and Nov. 17, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

And rather than address a devastating report by government scientists in November on the economic impacts of climate change, Trump simply said he doesn't believe it. The big picture: Per CNN, there are already 31 active declared national emergencies in the U.S., similar to the kind he's thinking of declaring to build his border wall without Congress.

  • These national emergencies, which allow the president to use special powers to respond to a pressing danger, have ranged from imposing sanctions on foreign nations that interfere with U.S. elections to holding accountable those in Yemen threatening the peace or security of the nation.

Be smart: Imagine if Trump invokes emergency power to build the wall and the Supreme Court ultimately backs him. Future presidents could unilaterally impose their will broadly — because a crisis is in the eye of the beholder. Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Reports: Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince earlier this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

Details: The missionaries had just left an orphanage and were traveling by bus to the airport to "drop off some members" and were due to travel to another destination when the gang struck in Port-au-Prince, Haitian security officials said, per the NYT.

4 hours ago - World

Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews during a news conference in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday. Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Melbourne's stay-at-home orders will end five days earlier than planned, officials in Australia's second-biggest city announced Sunday.

Why it matters: The capital of the state of Victoria has had six lockdowns totaling 262 days since March last year. That means Melbourne spent longer under lockdown than "any other city in the world" during the pandemic, Reuters notes.

Venezuela suspends talks with opposition after Maduro ally extradited to U.S.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, in June. Photo: Gaby Oraa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key ally of Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro was extradited from Cape Verde to the U.S. on Saturday to face money laundering charges in Florida, Bloomberg first reported.

Why it matters: Venezuela's government called off negotiations with opposition officials that were scheduled for Sunday in Mexico in response to the extradition of Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman and financial fixer for Maduro. Security forces placed six U.S. oil executives under house arrest hours later, per AP.

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