May 14, 2019

Kirstjen Nielsen halted White House plan for mass family arrests before firing

Kirstjen Nielsen. Photo: Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The now-ousted Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and ICE director Ron Vitiello put a stop to a secret White House plan to arrest up to 10,000 migrant parents and children in 10 major cities, the Washington Post reports, citing 7 current and former Department of Homeland Security officials.

Details: The plan, eagerly supported by senior White House adviser Stephen Miller and ICE deputy director Matthew Albence, involved "dramatic, highly visible mass arrests" and accelerated deportations in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and other cities — part of the Trump administration's effort to send a deterrence message to migrants crossing the border after its failed "zero tolerance" policy.

  • Nielsen and Vietiello reportedly challenged the plan in the weeks before their departures over concerns about "a lack of preparation" by ICE agents, "the risk of public outrage and worries that it would divert resources from the border," per the Post.
  • Stephen Miller declined to comment to Axios.

The big picture: Nielsen, who became one of the faces of the Trump administration's much-maligned family separation policy, was forced to resign last month after a tumultuous tenure as one of the president's main immigration punching bags. Trump long felt that Nielsen wasn't "tough enough" when it came to defending the border and kicking illegal immigrants out of the U.S.

  • Her departure was followed by aggressive changes to the administration's immigration policies, some of which are legally and politically dubious, according to some officials.

Go deeper: Inside Trump's hardline new border plan

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 5,453,784 — Total deaths: 345,886 — Total recoveries — 2,191,310Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 1,651,254 — Total deaths: 97,850 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: Top Boris Johnson aide defends himself after allegations he broke U.K. lockdown — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 59 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Joe Biden makes first public appearance in over two months

Photo: Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden made his first in-person appearance in over two months on Monday to honor Memorial Day by laying a wreath at a Delaware veterans park, AP reports.

Why it matters: Biden, the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee, has taken the unprecedented step of campaigning from his home during the coronavirus pandemic, ever since canceling a rally in Cleveland on March 10.

WHO temporarily suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns

Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization is temporarily pausing tests of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment in order to review safety concerns, the agency's director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu said Monday.

Why it matters: The decision comes after a retrospective review published in The Lancet found that coronavirus patients who took hydroxychloroquine or its related drug chloroquine were more likely to die or develop an irregular heart rhythm that can lead to sudden cardiac death, compared to those who did nothing.