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On Thanksgiving, a girl stands next to messages tacked to the US-Mexico border fence in Playas de Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. (Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images)

A record 14,030 immigrant children were in shelters across the country as of last week, one-third of them in Texas, the Houston Chronicle's Lomi Kriel reports.

Why it matters: "It is almost three times the number of children in federal detention a year ago."

Why it's happening: "Advocates largely fault a new government requirement, implemented this summer, that requires all adults in a household seeking to care for an immigrant child to submit their fingerprints for a background check. That information is shared with the Department of Homeland Security and at least 41 so-called sponsors lacking legal status have been arrested,"Under a California judge’s orders, most of the separated families have now been reunited, and almost all of the children currently in shelters came here on their own."

  • But the kids are "being detained longer — an average of 75 days in August, compared to 59 days in June and 41 days in fiscal year 2017."
  • "The daily discharge rate plummeted to 1 percent as of Nov. 15, meaning far more children are being placed in shelters than released."

P.S. Immigration remained a flashpoint even on Thanksgiving, generating two of the day's top stories:

  • Hillary Clinton said in an interview with The Guardian that Europe must get a handle on immigration to combat a growing threat from rightwing populists, and said the continent’s leaders need to send out a stronger signal that they are “not going to be able to continue to provide refuge and support."
  • At Mar-a-Lago, President Trump threatened to close "the whole border": "If we find that it’s uncontrollable, ..., if we find that it gets to a level where we lose control or people are going to start getting hurt, we’re going to close entry into the country for a period of time until we get it under control."

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 4 hours ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated" — Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Teens and adults missed 37 million vaccinations during COVID — Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics.
  5. Variant tracker