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30% of immigrants in ICE custody have refused a coronavirus vaccine

Three in 10 immigrants in U.S. detention centers are saying no to the COVID-19 vaccine, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Vaccine hesitancy among detained immigrants has added an unlikely twist to the challenges of a pandemic-era increase in border migration.


By the numbers: ICE did not provide the exact numbers of immigrants who were offered the shot but declined. But the 30% figure has been shared internally, according to sources familiar.

  • There have been nearly 20,000 COVID-19 cases and nine deaths among ICE detainees , according to agency data. There are currently more than 900 confirmed cases.

Between the lines: Public health officials are concerned about groups of Americans — including young people and Republicans — eschewing available shots.

  • One ICE official said immigrants have refused the shot for many of the same reasons as Americans who do so, including fear of the unknown.

The big picture: Some Democrats and advocates have been urging the Biden administration to do more to ensure that migrants who cross the border, or other immigrants in government custody, are protected from the virus.

  • ICE recently began distributing of an initial allotment of 10,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.More than 9,500 doses have been distributed so far, according to internal data provided to Axios.
  • The agency has also been working with state agencies to provide vaccines to immigrants.

What they're saying: "The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues its vaccination efforts to include voluntary vaccinations for individuals in the care and custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)," an ICE spokesperson told Axios.

The push for a "PBS for the internet"

The concept of a new media ecosystem that's non-profit, publicly funded and tech-infused is drawing interest in policy circles as a way to shift the power dynamics in today's information wars.

Why it matters: Revamping the structure and role of public media could be part of the solution to shoring up local media, decentralizing the distribution of quality news, and constraining Big Tech platforms' amplification of harmful or false information.

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U.S. women's soccer team loses to Canada, ending chances at gold

The U.S. women's soccer team lost 1-0 to eighth-ranked Canada in the Olympics semifinals on Monday, ending its chances at winning a gold medal in Tokyo.

Why it matters: The loss marks the second straight Olympics the U.S. team will not play in the gold medal match. The team was knocked out by Sweden in the quarterfinals during the Rio Games in 2016.

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Reading the tea leaves ahead of Boston's historic mayoral race

For the first time in history, a white man is not in serious contention to be the next mayor of Boston, a city with a checkered racial history.

Why it matters: The face of Democratic Party politics has changed, with more women and people of color running and winning races. As high-profile races like Boston's — and New York's — attract multiple people of color in a primary, some candidates say that allows for more ideological diversity, as well.

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Rising gasoline prices signal trouble for climate change action

Cutting oil production before we cut our demand for oil could undermine much of the progress that needs to be made on climate change.

Why it matters: If companies cut back on producing oil but consumers don’t cut back on consuming it, demand will exceed supply and prices will shoot up. That’s bad for our pocketbooks and risks the transition to cleaner energy.

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Elite trans athletes decry youth sports bans

TOKYO — While transgender inclusion in elite sports presents some challenging issues, bans on participation in youth sports are simply about hate and cruelty, several top trans athletes told Axios this week.

The big picture: Lawmakers in more than half of the states have considered such bans, and they have been signed into law in at least eight states, though legal challenges remain.

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The case for global warming realism, rather than panic

It’s getting harder and harder to communicate the two essential realities of human-caused climate change: that our failure to slow and eventually stop it is contributing to devastating human suffering all over the world, and that it’s not too late to act.

The big picture: Experts have long told climate communicators —including scientists, journalists and politicians — that disaster porn immobilizes people, leaving them cowering in a corner. You've got to give them a sense of hope, the research shows.

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Simone Biles will compete in her final Olympic event

Simone Biles will compete in the Olympic individual balance beam final, her last event of the Tokyo Games, USA Gymnastics announced Monday.

What's happening: "We are so excited to confirm that you will see two U.S. athletes in the balance beam final tomorrow — Suni Lee AND Simone Biles!! Can’t wait to watch you both!" USA Gymnastics tweeted.

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In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 10 highlights

Day 10 of the Tokyo Olympic Games saw Puerto Rico bag its first-ever track gold medal when Jasmine Camacho-Quinn beat American world record holder Kendra Harrison to win the women’s 100-meter hurdles Monday.

The big picture: There was better news for Team USA in the basketball, where the women's national team beat France 93-82 — meaning the Americans are entering the medal round undefeated as they go for yet another gold, Axios' Ina Fried reports from Tokyo. France still advanced to the quarterfinals as well.

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