Jun 22, 2018

Go deeper: 5 consequential immigration moments this week

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Harrowing images of children in detention centers, the administration's flip flopping on its own family separation policy and two bills struggling to make it through the House have kept the national focus on immigration this week.

The big picture: Trump signed an executive order to end family separation, causing chaos amidst government agencies. He doubled down on his tough immigration message by holding an event with families whose children were killed by undocumented immigrants. One House immigration bill failed, another got punted to next week and Melania wore a $39 jacket that said "I don’t really care" on her trip to the border.

1. President Trump's executive order

After consistently blaming Congress for the crisis of children being torn away from their parents, Trump signed an executive order, which:

  • Told Homeland Security to keep families in detention together throughout all criminal and immigration proceedings.
  • Told the Justice Department to ask a federal district judge to modify a 2015 decision in order to allow children to be detained for an indefinite period of time with their parents. DOJ submitted the request the next day.

Why it matters: The judge's decision will be crucial to the administration overcoming legal hurdles that prevent them from detaining family migrants together long term.

2. Agency chaos
  • Homeland Security corrected a statement from the Department of Health and Human Service, which said that children would not be immediately reunited with their parents.
  • The Justice Department corrected reports quoting Homeland Security officials and clarified that there was still a full-fledged "zero-tolerance" policy in place.
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has publicly said that “if you are smuggling a child... that child will be separated from you,” claimed this week that he "never really intended" to separate families.

Bottom line: It is still unclear how Homeland Security and HHS are reuniting the 2,300 children who have already been separated with their parents. A senior administration official told AP that 500 children have been successfully reunited, but there have also been reports of parents struggling to locate their kids and being deported while their children remain in the U.S.

3. Failing immigration bills

House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte's immigration bill failed, and House leadership pushed back a promised vote on a more moderate bill to next week.

What we're hearing: A few details of the compromise bill are still being worked out. Additions are being negotiated, which would ensure the widespread use of E-verify and that there are the needed foreign workers for U.S. agriculture.

Bottom line: This bill is unlikely to pass. Its failure would close another door to allowing Homeland Security to keep migrant families together in detention longer than 20 days. What's in the bill.

4. New housing for child migrants

Meanwhile, tent villages are being constructed on military based to house unaccompanied alien minors and the Pentagon has been asked to house 20,000 immigrant minors from July to the end of the year.

5. The distractions
  1. Melania’s jacket: The First Lady took a trip to the Mexican border to spend time with migrant children in detention there, but it was her army green jacket with the words “I don’t really care, do u?” printed on the back that made headlines.
  2. Photo correction: The little girl crying in a viral photo which became a symbol for opposition to Trump's immigration policies was never separated from her mother. This revelation became fodder for media critics.
  3. Counter programming: Trump held an event featuring the families of children who had been killed by undocumented immigrants on Friday, comparing their tragic, "permanent separation" from their children to the separation his own administration had been enforcing at the border.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 5,653,821 — Total deaths: 353,414 — Total recoveries — 2,325,989Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 1,694,599 — Total deaths: 100,047 — Total recoveries: 384,902 — Total tested: 14,907,041Map.
  3. Public health: Fauci says data is "really quite evident" against hydroxychloroquine — Nearly half of Americans say someone in their household has delayed medical care.
  4. Business: African American business owners have seen less relief from PPP, Goldman Sachs saysDisney plans phased reopening on July 11Author Ann Patchett says bookstores are innovating to stay connected with customers.
  5. Tech: AI will help in the pandemic — but it might not be in time for this one.
  6. 1 🎶 thing: Local music venues get rocked by coronavirus.
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter ... vs. Trump.
  8. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, 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.
  9. 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 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Top Senate Democrat says State Dept. is working on new Saudi arms deal

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefs reporters on May 20. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/pool/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) wrote in a CNN op-ed on Wednesday that he learned that the State Department is currently working to sell thousands of additional precision-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia.

Why it matters: Democrats say that Steve Linick, the State Department inspector general who was ousted on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's recommendation, was investigating the administration's previous effort to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia without congressional approval.

U.S. coronavirus death toll crosses 100,000

Data: Johns Hopkins University; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

More than 100,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins — a terrible milestone that puts the death toll far beyond some of the most tragic events in U.S. history.

By the numbers: The death toll from COVID-19 now stands at more than 34 times the number of people who died on 9/11.