The Biden administration is working to “dramatically reshape” the way asylum seekers are processed, in an effort to prevent a growing backlog of immigration court cases, BuzzFeed News reported, citing government documents.
SCOOP: The Biden administration is planning to dramatically reshape how asylum-seekers are processed in order to prevent an increase to the backlog of immigration court cases, according to government docs BuzzFeed News obtained.https://t.co/X9AOKEepWD
May 28, 2021
The changes could cut the waiting period by years for some applicants, according to reporter Hamed Aleaziz. The new policy, which is not finalized yet, would give asylum officers the power to decide cases instead of immigration judges in certain instances.
Depending on how it is implemented, the plan could represent President Joe Biden’s most consequential immigration policy to date and fundamentally change the dynamics at the southern border by preventing asylum cases from taking years to complete in court.
May 28, 2021
The Trump administration overhauled the asylum process in significant ways, creating more obstacles for migrants seeking protection in the US. From the draft Biden policy cited in the report:
If there is any area of agreement on immigration, it is that the system for dealing with asylum claims at the border is ‘overwhelmed’ and in desperate need of repair. A system that takes years to get to a result is not a working system. It is unfair to those who need protection, and it encourages abuse by those undeserving of protection and the smugglers who exploit dysfunction for profit. The aim of this rule is to begin urgently replacing a broken system with a more efficient one, adjudicating asylum claims expeditiously without [compromising] fairness.”
The CDC has released new guidelines for children’s summer camps, saying unvaccinated kids generally do not have to wear masks outside, except for activities that involve sustained close contact:
“Camp programs should encourage people who are not fully vaccinated and those who might need extra precautions to wear a mask consistently and correctly,” the CDC said, explaining:
- Indoors. Mask use indoors is strongly encouraged for people who are not fully vaccinated including children. No child under the age of 2 should wear a mask.
- Outdoors. In general, people do not need to wear masks when outdoors. However, particularly in areas of substantial to high transmission, people who are not fully vaccinated are encouraged to wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings or during activities that involve sustained close contact with other people who are not fully vaccinated.
More info here:
The Washington Post
CDC eases summer camp guidance, saying kids will not always need masks https://t.co/DioWG6HLN3
May 28, 2021
A federal judge is appointing a “special master” to protect attorney-client privilege during a review of materials seized from Rudy Giuliani and another attorney who has represented Donald Trump, the AP reports:
The judge rejected efforts by Giuliani and lawyer Victoria Toensing to force prosecutors to divulge more about why they seized electronic devices on 28 April. Prosecutors made the unusual request for the appointment of a lawyer or “special master” to protect attorney-client privilege the day after the raids, citing the need to make it clear that materials were reviewed appropriately.
Prosecutors are examining Giuliani’s interactions with Ukrainian figures and whether he violated a law governing lobbying on behalf of foreign countries or entities.
Prosecutors later revealed that the FBI had successfully downloaded 11 devices belonging to Giuliani and returned them to him.
My colleague Abené Clayton spent time in San Jose yesterday where families were mourning the sudden losses of their loved ones in the Bay Area’s worst mass shooting.
The shooting unfolded on Wednesday when a 57-year-old employee of the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) walked into a facility and opened fire, killing nine of his co-workers.
In Downtown San Jose, hundreds of people, including dozens of @VTA employees have gathered for a vigil in honor of their colleagues who were slain yesterday. Manny are here wearing t-shirts with the names and faces of their deceased co-workers pic.twitter.com/uL9Uk7CLRb
May 28, 2021
John Costa, the president of the union that the slain rail workers belonged to, offered words to remember the victims: Paul Delacruz Megia, 42; Taptejdeep Singh, 36; Adrian Balleza, 29; Jose Dejesus Hernandez III, 35; Timothy Michael Romo, 49; Michael Joseph Rudometkin, 40; Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63, Lars Kepler Lane, 63; and Alex Ward Fritch, 49.
“I want to send a message that we have to honor our brothers today and not forget what happened here,” Costa said.
at 5.31pm EDT
Family of Capitol officer who died after attack: ‘all talk and no action’
Hi all – Sam Levin in Los Angeles here, continuing our live coverage for the rest of the day.
The mother of Brian Sicknick, the Capitol police officer who died after the 6 January insurrection, has spoken out about Senate Republicans blocking the creation of a special commission to study the attack.
“I don’t understand it. They are elected for us, the people, and they don’t care about that,” Gladys Sicknick told CNN after meeting with GOP senators on Thursday. “They care about money, I guess, their pocketbooks. So they’ll be in front of the cameras when they feel like it. They just don’t care, and it’s not right.”
Her son was sprayed with a chemical during the insurrection, collapsed and later suffered a stroke.
“I think you know it’s all talk and no action. Clearly, they’re not backing the blue,” Sandra Garza, the late officer’s girlfriend, told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “It’s just unbelievable to me that they could do nothing about this.”
An honor to have on @TheLeadCNN today Sandra Garza, the partner of the late Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, and Gladys Sicknick, his mother. They’re in DC to lobby for the bipartisan Jan 6 Commission that the Senate GOP just blocked. pic.twitter.com/cBEWTyhgj8
May 28, 2021
Republicans killed the effort to set up a 9/11-style inquiry into the attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob despite broad popular support for such an investigation and pleas from the family of a Capitol police officer who collapsed and died after the siege and other officers who battled the rioters.
Today so far
That’s it from me today. My west coast colleague, Sam Levin, will take over the blog for the next few hours.
Here’s where the day stands so far:
- Senate Republicans blocked the bill to form a bipartisan commission to study the Capitol insurrection. The final vote on whether to start debate on the commission bill was 54-35, with six Republicans joining 48 Democrats in supporting the motion to advance the proposal. Democrats needed 60 votes to take up the bill because Republicans invoked the first official Senate filibuster of Joe Biden’s presidency to defeat the legislation.
- Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer condemned Republicans for preventing the commission bill from moving forward. “Shame on the Republican party for trying to sweep the horrors of that day under the rug because they’re afraid of Donald Trump,” Schumer said in a floor speech shortly after the vote concluded.
- Biden released his $6tn budget proposal, calling for massive investments in infrastructure, education and climate action. A president’s budget proposal is largely considered a political document that outlines the White House’s legislative priorities. However, if Biden’s budget were adopted, it would increase US government spending to the highest levels since the second world war.
- Biden spoke to US troops to thank them for their service ahead of the Memorial Day holiday. Speaking at the military base in Hampton, Virginia, the president expressed appreciation for the sacrifices made by service members and their families. “Simply stated, you are the backbone of the country,” Biden said.
- Kamala Harris became the first woman to deliver a commencement address at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. The vice-president told the Naval Academy graduates, “The American people are depending on you: the best, the bravest, the most brilliant.”
Sam will have more coming up, so stay tuned.
at 5.22pm EDT
The question now is not so much whether the Republican party can be saved any time in the foreseeable future. It is what Joe Biden and the Democrats should do when faced with a party determined to subvert democracy through any means necessary, including violence.
On Friday Republicans in the Senate torpedoed an effort to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the deadly insurrection by Donald Trump’s supporters at the US Capitol on 6 January, deploying the procedural move known as the filibuster to stop it even being debated.
Fearful perhaps of what such a commission might uncover about their own role as co-conspirators, most brushed aside personal pleas by Gladys Sicknick, the mother of a police officer who was that day sprayed with a chemical, collapsed and later had a stroke and died.
“A country that cannot even agree to investigate an assault on its Capitol is in big trouble, indeed,” observed Susan Glasser in the New Yorker magazine.
Biden condemns rise in ‘despicable’ anti-Semitic attacks
Joe Biden has released a statement condemning the recent rise in anti-Semitic attacks across the country.
“These attacks are despicable, unconscionable, un-American, and they must stop,” the president said. “I will not allow our fellow Americans to be intimidated or attacked because of who they are or the faith they practice.
“We cannot allow the toxic combination of hatred, dangerous lies, and conspiracy theories to put our fellow Americans at risk.”
Biden noted that attorney general Merrick Garland has pledged to deploy all tools available to the justice department to combat hate crimes.
“We must all stand together to silence these terrible and terrifying echoes of the worst chapters in world history, and pledge to give hate no safe harbor,” the president said.
“Let us all take up that work and create a nation that stands for, and stands up for, the dignity and safety of all of our people.”
According to the Anti-Defamation League, reports of anti-Semitic hate incidents increased by 75% during the two weeks of military conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Over those two weeks, 222 hate incidents were reported, compared to 127 for the two-week period before that.
“Many of these incidents appear to have been perpetrated by individuals scapegoating American Jews for the actions of the Israeli government,” the ADL said.
Meanwhile, congressional Republicans criticized Joe Biden’s $6 trillion as a wasteful spending spree that would do little to improve Americans’ lives.
“President Biden’s proposal would drown American families in debt, deficits, and inflation,” Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement.
President Biden’s proposal would drown American families in debt, deficits, and inflation.
My full statement: https://t.co/5mulxq0UwO
May 28, 2021
McConnell noted that Senate Republicans laid out a counteroffer to the president’s infrastructure plan yesterday, calling for investing an additional $257 billion above baseline infrastructure spending over the next eight years. (Biden has called for spending $1.7 trillion above the baseline level on infrastructure.)
“If Washington Democrats can move beyond the socialist daydreams and the go-it-alone partisanship, we could get a lot of important work done for our country,” McConnell said.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi praised Joe Biden’s newly announced budget as “an unequivocal declaration of the value that Democrats place on America’s workers and middle class families”.
A federal budget should be a statement of our national values. @POTUS Biden’s budget is an unequivocal declaration of the value that Democrats place on America’s workers and middle class families, who are the foundation of our nation’s strength and the key to #BuildBackBetter.
May 28, 2021
“The Biden budget makes historic investments in the American workforce and economy. It does so by seizing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create millions of good-paying Americans jobs, supercharge America’s global competitiveness and power growth for generations to come,” the Democratic speaker said in a statement.
“Congressional Democrats look forward to working with the Biden-Harris Administration to enact this visionary budget, which will pave the path to opportunity and prosperity for our nation.”
The release of Biden’s budget comes as the White House continues to negotiate with Senate Republicans over an infrastructure bill, with the hope that the final proposal can attract bipartisan support in Congress.
Harris becomes first woman to deliver Naval Academy commencement address
Kamala Harris delivered the commencement address this morning at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
The speech made the vice-president the first woman to address the academy’s graduating class since its founding in 1845.
VP Kamala Harris delivers 2021 U.S. Naval Academy commencement address.
Harris just became the first woman to give the graduation speech at the Naval Academy. pic.twitter.com/nbIFvZ7OYz
May 28, 2021
Harris expressed confidence that the Naval Academy graduates are prepared to meet any challenge they may face in a rapidly changing world.
“The American people are depending on you: the best, the bravest, the most brilliant,” the vice-president said. “Class of 2021, you are prepared for all of this. You are prepared for any threat. And you are prepared for this new era.”
Biden proposes $6tn budget to boost infrastructure, education and climate
The Guardian’s Dominic Rushe has the latest on Biden’s $6tn budget proposal Friday:
Biden’s budget would fund a dramatic overhaul of US infrastructure, and dedicate extensive funds to education and climate action—which would put government spending at its “highest sustained levels since the second world war,” Rushe explains.
Importantly, Rushe points out, Biden’s first budget is “largely a political document.” While this proposal makes clear Biden’s hopes for revitalizing the US in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Republicans are already chaffing against its scale.
Indeed, no Republicans voted in favor of Biden’s $1.9tn Covid stimulus bill. Biden has also been forced to limit his infrastructure bill to $1.7tn, down from his originally proposed $2.2tn initiative. So, the chances of getting GOP support for such a budget are slim.
Biden’s two-part initiative to revitalize the US economy is rooted in ramping up its flagging infrastructure and broadening its social safety net. These initiatives would cause the US to have yearly deficits of more than $1.3tn over the next 10 years, with debt increasing to 117% of the value of economic output before 2031.
Biden’s plan would be funded, in part, by increasing taxes on corporations and the extremely wealthy. He supports increasing corporate taxes to 28%, up from 21%. All Republicans oppose this tax increase plan, as do some Democrats.
at 3.30pm EDT
Joe Manchin has slammed GOP senators who blocked the creation of a bipartisan commission to study the deadly Capitol insurrection on 6 January.
“Choosing to put politics and political elections above the health of our Democracy is unconscionable, and the betrayal of the oath we each take is something they will have to live with,” Manchin, a Democrat senator from West Virginia, has said.
Senator Joe Manchin
Choosing to put politics and political elections above the health of our Democracy is unconscionable. And the betrayal of the oath we each take is something they will have to live with. My statement on the January 6th Commission vote: pic.twitter.com/tlPme9LMIo
May 28, 2021
“This was our chance to have a bipartisan commission that would allow for an impartial investigation into the events of that horrific day, so that we are better able to prevent another attack on our nation,” Manchin also says.
Manchin tells viewers that Democratic leadership in the house and Senate accepted Republicans’ proposed changes “because a commission of this nature must be bipartisan to be successful.”
He recognizes the “six brave Republicans” who favored establishing the commission, while pointing out that four more were needed to advance this legislation.
Manchin, in his address, has also issued a broad apology about the commission’s failure to progress.
“You deserve better, and I am sorry that my Republican colleagues and friends, let political fear prevent them from doing what they know in their hearts to be right.”
at 3.31pm EDT