🎸Happy Friday! Thank you to my Axios colleague, Shane Savitsky, who edits AM each morning and took the wheel solo today.
Today's Smart Brevity count: 797 words ... < 5 minutes.
In the name of getting tough on fraud, the Trump administration is making it harder for immigrants fleeing violence, persecution and trafficking to stay in the U.S., writes Axios' Stef Kight.
The big picture: Claims of domestic abuse or gang violence no longer qualify for asylum claims after a decision by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions last year — one of the biggest factors in the increased denial rates, former U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) director Leon Rodriguez told Axios.
The other side: Advocates for cutting immigration, such as the Center for Immigration Studies, argue that the higher denial rates are due, at least in part, to a rise in asylum-seekers who do not qualify.
The bottom line: "You can always reverse engineer intellectual justifications for what you're doing," Rodriguez said. "But I think it's really that political motivation that's behind all of this."
Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
In one of its last acts before August recess, the House passed a sweeping budget compromise hammered out between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, per the N.Y. Times.
Between the lines, via AP: "It amounts to a cease-fire to allow lawmakers to navigate through a series of tricky fiscal deadlines without politically exhausting battles."
Speaking of August recess, the House's upcoming 46-day summer break is historically long, and could seriously decrease the chance Dems eventually move to impeach President Trump, writes the WashPost's Paul Kane.
Why it matters: "Some Democrats had hoped that Mueller’s testimony would have been compelling enough to create a liberal echo to the 2009 August recess, when conservative activists flooded town halls to oppose the emerging Affordable Care Act and other large-spending items from the early days of the Obama administration."
Parisians cool off under water jets in the Fontaine du Trocadéro yesterday as temperatures hit a new all-time high of 108.7°F in the French capital. (AP)
Amazon ended its streak of posting record quarterly profits, missing analysts' expectations for Q2, reports The Wall Street Journal's Dana Mattioli (subscription):
P.S. ... SoftBank Group announced last night that it secured $108 billion for its second Vision Fund, a late-stage venture capital vehicle whose original $100 billion edition turned Silicon Valley upside down with investments in giants like Uber, DoorDash, GM Cruise and WeWork, writes Axios' Dan Primack.
Lil Nas X. Photo: HGL/Getty Images
Lil Nas X released his fourth (!) remix of smash hit "Old Town Road" yesterday, enlisting RM of South Korean pop supergroup BTS for the delightfully-named "Seoul Town Road."
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