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Photo: Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

The Department of Justice has temporarily ended the Vera Institute's Legal Orientation Program and immigrant "help desk" in order to investigate the program's cost-effectiveness, the Washington Post's Maria Sacchetti reported and has since been confirmed by Axios.

The impact: Vera Institute's program works with 18 nonprofit legal service providers and reached 53,000 immigrants through information sessions last year. The “help desk" offers tips to immigrants who have not yet been detained, but are facing possible deportation in Chicago, Miami, New York, Los Angeles and San Antonio.

Big picture: This move follows the DOJ putting pressure on immigration judges to clear out the backlog of immigration cases, by introducing quotas, as well as suing California over their sanctuary cities policies.

  • Key quote: “This is a blatant attempt by the administration to strip detained immigrants of even the pretense of due process rights,” Mary Meg McCarthy, executive director of the National Immigrant Justice Center which participates in Vera Institute's program, told the Washington Post.

DOJ's response via an Executive Office for Immigration Review official: “Two out of five legal orientation programs have been paused in order to conduct an audit of effectiveness, which has never occurred for one program and has not occurred in six years for the other.”

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - World

Courage vs. coddling with China

Peng Shuai of China serves during the China Open in Beijing in 2017. Photo: Andy Wong/AP

The women's professional tennis tour suspended tournaments in China Wednesday out of concern for Peng Shuai, on the same day that a top business voice made excuses for Beijing.

Why it matters: Ahead of February's Winter Olympics in Beijing, some sports figures are taking on the regime — while Big Business shrinks from confrontation with the world's second-largest economy.

3 hours ago - Sports

What to know about the first MLB lockout since 1995

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Hope you enjoyed the recent flurry of free-agent activity, because it's likely the last non-lockout-related MLB news for a while.

Driving the news: The owners locked out the players after the collective bargaining agreement expired at midnight last night, leading to MLB's ninth work stoppage — and first since 1995.

Biden extends mask mandates for travelers into 2022

President Biden delivers remarks at the White House on Dec. 1. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

President Biden will announce new testing protocols for international travelers on Thursday and extend masking requirements through March as the U.S. prepares to fight the Omicron variant this winter, according to senior administration officials.

Driving the news: The U.S. will tighten pre-departure testing protocols starting early next week by requiring all inbound international travelers to take COVID-19 tests within one day of their departure rather than three.