Jul 16, 2019

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

🌞 Happy Tuesday! If you're in D.C. today, please join me at 8 a.m. for breakfast and conversation with Sen. Tom Cotton; Brian Hook, U.S. special representative for Iran; Michèle Flournoy, former undersecretary of defense; and Susan Lund of the McKinsey Global Institute, an author of a huge automation study.

1 big thing: It's taking longer and longer to become a U.S. immigrant
Expand chart
Data: Justice Department. (Pending cases include removal, deportation, exclusion, asylum-only, and withholding.) Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of immigrants waiting for a judge to decide whether they can stay in the U.S. keeps climbing, according to Justice Department data reported by Axios' Stef Kight.

  • On average, immigrants wait 727 days for decisions on their court cases — roughly twice as long as immigrants had to wait two decades ago, according to Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), which includes millions of court records.
  • Why it matters: Immigration-court backlogs "are basically crippling the whole system," Georgetown Law professor and former immigration judge Paul Schmidt told Axios.

The big picture: The long waits have resulted in many Central American families being released after crossing the border illegally, because it is nearly impossible for their cases to be decided within the 20-day detention limit for children.

  • The backlog incentivizes migration. Migrants can expect at least a few months in the U.S. before they have to show up to court, immigration experts said.

⚡Breaking: The Trump administration moved yesterday "to in effect end asylum for the vast majority of migrants who arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border, an enormous shift in policy that could block hundreds of thousands of people from seeking protection ... and is certain to draw legal challenges." (L.A. Times)

2. One nation; two photos
Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

Above: Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) speaks as she holds a press conference at the U.S. Capitol yesterday with (from left) Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

Below: President Trump tucks away talking points about the first-year congresswomen after speaking yesterday on the White House South Lawn.

  • Trump, when asked if it concerns him that many people saw his tweets as racist: "It doesn’t concern me because many people agree with me. And all I’m saying — they want to leave, they can leave.  Now, it doesn’t say leave forever.  It says leave, if you want."
Photo: Leah Millis/Reuters

P.S. ... N.Y. Times Quotation of the Day: Larry Kudlow, Trump's economic adviser, when asked about the weekend tweets:

  • "That’s way out of my lane."
3. Tweets open new impeachment front
Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) at an NAACP convention in 2016. Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump's racist tweets had an unintended consequence: They gave House Democrats a new rationale for impeachment, Axios' Alexi McCammond reports.

  • Why it matters: This has the potential to reorient the impeachment conversation, which has mostly focused on possible instances of obstruction of justice as laid out by Robert Mueller's findings.
  • Some Democrats have always viewed racism by Trump as a bigger reason for impeachment than anything in the Mueller report.

Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) announced yesterday that he'll introduce articles of impeachment this month based on President Trump's bigotry.

  • "This is not about the Mueller report," he said. "This is not about obstruction. We can impeach this president for his bigotry in policy that is harming our society."
  • Still, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been working hard to keep her caucus away from the I-word.

By the numbers: A Pew Research poll in April found that 56% of Americans polled said Trump had made race relations in the U.S. worse.

  • Almost two-thirds said "it’s become more common for people to express racist views since Trump became president."

What to watch: Whether other Democrats, including Green's colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus, take up impeachment now that he's citing bigotry.

4. Pic du jour: Coming D.C. attraction
Smithsonian Institution

The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum plans a "once-in-a-lifetime" light show on the National Mall to mark Saturday's 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, WTOP reports:

  • Tonight, tomorrow night and Thursday night, "between 9:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m., an image of the 363-foot Saturn V rocket which launched Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin into orbit will be projected on the east side of the Washington Monument, facing the Capitol building."

If you're going.

5. Q2 fundraising leaders, updated with midnight filings
Expand chart
Data: FEC. Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

In the Senate, the race between a former fighter pilot and retired astronaut — Sen. Martha McSally (R) and Mark Kelly (D) — is shaping up to be expensive.

  • The two raised the most and second most among all Senate candidates in Q2, Axios' Harry Stevens reports.
Expand chart
Data: FEC. Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

In the House, entrenched incumbents padded their fundraising leads over any potential challengers.

See the numbers.

6. Biden would set record
Graphic: Bruce Mehlman of Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas

Joe Biden has more years in Washington than any presidential nominee in U.S. history, Republican lobbyist Bruce Mehlman of Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas points out in his latest slidedeck.

  • Why it matters: In the past 11 presidential elections, the candidate with fewer years of experience in Washington has won nine times. George H.W. Bush's first-term win and Barack Obama's re-election were the exceptions.
  • See the deck.
7. Data du jour: Minority homeownership diverges

"Hispanics are experiencing the largest homeownership gains of any ethnic group in the U.S., a turnaround for the population hardest hit by the housing bust that could help buoy the market for years." (Wall Street Journal)

  • "[T]he black homeownership rate [hit] its lowest level on record in the first quarter." (WSJ)

Between the lines, per The Journal: "This divergence marks the first time in more than two decades that Hispanics and blacks, the two largest racial or ethnic minorities in the U.S., are no longer following the same path when it comes to owning homes."

  • "Analysts say black communities have struggled to recover financially since the housing crisis, which has kept homeownership out of reach."
  • "A decades-long legacy of housing segregation has also made many would-be black buyers wary of returning to the market after losing their homes."
8. 👻 Scoop: Snapchat hire

Snap Inc. has hired Laura Nichols, former head of communications for National Geographic Partners, as vice president of communications, Axios' Sara Fischer has learned.

  • Nichols will be based in D.C. and will lead communications for Snap’s global policy, social impact, and content arm, Discover.
  • Why it matters: It's the first time Snap has hired someone to manage policy communications out of Washington — and the biggest hire by Snap chief communications officer Julie Henderson since she joined in late 2018. 

Nichols previously had top jobs at the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and Center for American Progress (CAP).

  • Earlier in her career, she spent eight years as an advisor, strategist, and spokesperson for former House Leader Richard Gephardt.
  • Nichols will work closely with Snap's vice president of global public policy, Jennifer Stout.

Between the lines: It's been a good year for Snap, which has invested heavily in a new executive team and senior-level hires.

  • Snapchat has been able to dodge a lot of the scrutiny that its peers have experienced over the past two years by focusing on user privacy and content moderation from the start. It has largely avoided headlines around fake news and election interference.
9. China grows at slowest pace since '92

"China’s economy grew at its slowest pace in almost three decades in the second quarter as the trade war with the US took its toll on exports." (Financial Times)

10. 1 fun thing
Photo: Bank of England via AP

The Bank of England announced that codebreaker and computing pioneer Alan Turing, who did groundbreaking work on AI, has been chosen as the face of Britain's new 50 pound note, per AP:

  • During World War II, Turing worked at the secret Bletchley Park code-breaking center, where he helped crack Nazi Germany's secret codes by creating the "Turing bombe," a forerunner of modern computers.
  • He also developed the "Turing Test" to measure artificial intelligence.
Mike Allen

📱 Thanks for reading Axios AM. Invite your friends, relatives, co-workers to sign up here.