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Biden confronts mounting humanitarian crisis at the border

Just over a month into his presidency, President Biden is staring down a mounting crisis at the border that could be just as bad as the ones faced by Barack Obama and Donald Trump, if not worse.

  • Why it matters: Immigration is an issue that can consume a presidency. It's intensely and poisonously partisan. It's complicated. And the lives and welfare of vulnerable children hang in the balance.

The backstory: Biden came into office sounding a warmer, more welcoming policy that would treat migrants humanely. Desperate people have taken notice.

  • And Biden reversed Trump’s COVID-era policy of turning away unaccompanied children — the very group that is now surging and being held for days in border stations unfit for children.

What's happening: Shelters are overflowing. Border crossings are rising. Border Patrol facilities are overwhelmed. And the new administration is taking fire from both the left and right as it grapples with the issue's harsh realities.


Where it stands: President Biden’s advisers told him this past week that the number of migrant children crossing the U.S. border without their parents this year is likely to far exceed the previous record.

  • The federal government is taking custody of 321 migrant children per day, on average, and those numbers have been climbing rapidly all year.
  • As reported by Axios earlier this week, federal officials said they need 20,000 beds to house an expected surge in migrant children crossing the border. They’ve already opened new facilities and plan to adjust some protocols to accommodate more kids while keeping everyone safe from the coronavirus.

What they’re saying: Progressives look at the rising number of migrant kids in temporary overflow facilities, including tents, and see a betrayal of Biden’s pledge to reverse Trump’s immigration policies. Some also say officials are too quick to invoke the pandemic to quickly deport adults and some families.

  • Conservatives look at the crush of migrants and see the inevitable result of Biden ending too many Trump policies, including the practice of expelling unaccompanied children and cancelling agreements that allowed the U.S. to send some asylum seekers to Central America.

Between the lines: Families and children from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador often take the dangerous trip to the border to flee gang violence, natural disaster or severe poverty — only to arrive in a country that may not be equipped to quickly process and care for them.

  • Officials have to balance both real humanitarian needs against their duty to enforce immigration laws — and most laws haven't changed in decades. The pandemic has only made things harder.
  • Migration flows are difficult to predict, but systems and shelters at the border can't always adapt fast enough.

What to watch: There are still roughly three months left of what is usually the peak season for migrants coming to the U.S.-Mexico border. There is more that the Department of Health and Human Services can — and plans to — do to create space for more migrant children, but the projections are bleak.

Big European soccer teams announce breakaway league

12 of world soccer's biggest and richest clubs announced Sunday they've formed a breakaway European "Super League" — with clubs Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona Real Madrid, Juventus and A.C. Milan among those to sign up.

Details: So far the breakaway league that's due to start in August consists of six clubs from England, three from Spain and three from Italy.

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Senate Democrats settling on 25% corporate tax rate

The universe of Democratic senators concerned about raising the corporate tax rate to 28% is broader than Sen. Joe Manchin, and the rate will likely land at 25%, parties close to the discussion tell Axios.

Why it matters: While increasing the rate from 21% to 25% would raise about $600 billion over 15 years, it would leave President Biden well short of paying for his proposed $2.25 trillion, eight-year infrastructure package.

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Republican leaders raked in sizable donations from grassroots supporters

Republican leaders turned to grassroots supporters and raked in sizable donations after corporations cut them off post-Jan. 6.

Why it matters: If those companies hoped to push the GOP toward the center, they may have done just the opposite by turning Republican lawmakers toward their most committed — and ideologically driven — supporters.

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CDC: Half of US adults have received one COVID-19 vaccine dose

Data: CDC; Chart: Axios Visuals

Half of US adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and about a third are fully vaccinated, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are still on the rise, CDC director Rochelle Walensky said during Friday's White House COVID-19 briefing. With cases in many states being driven by variants, public health officials have emphasized the need to ramp up vaccinations.

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Israeli intel agencies believe Vienna talks will lead to U.S. return to Iran nuclear deal

Israeli military intelligence and senior officials in the Mossad briefed a meeting of the nation's security cabinet that talks in Vienna between Iran and other world powers will lead to the U.S. returning to the 2015 nuclear deal, two officials who attended the meeting told me.

Why it matters: The Israeli government is very concerned about a U.S. return to the nuclear deal and is trying to convince the Biden administration not to take the pressure off the Iranian regime.

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"It hurts": Latino community of 13-year-old killed by police in Chicago reels after shooting

Residents of Little Village, a well-known and predominantly Latino neighborhood in Chicago, are grieving the death of Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old Mexican American boy from the neighborhood who was shot and killed by a police officer on March 29, NBC News reports.

Why it matters: Adam Toledo's killing shines a spotlight on police shootings of Latinos, who are killed by law enforcement at the second-highest rate after Black Americans, according to data from the Washington Post.

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Biden adviser warns "there will be consequences" for Russia if Navalny dies

The Biden administration warned the Russian government "that there will be consequences" if jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny dies, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN on Sunday.

The big picture: Sullivan also defended President Biden for not mentionining Navalny in a Thursday speech about Russia or in a Tuesday call with Russian President Vladimir Putin,saying the White House aims to deal with the issue "privately and through diplomatic channels."

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Prosecutor on leave for failing to "fully present the facts" after shooting of 13-year-old boy

Cook County prosecutor James Murphy was placed on administrative leave Friday after he implied in court that 13-year-old Adam Toledo, who was shot and killed by a police officer in March, was armed when he was shot, the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times report.

Why it matters: Videos of the shooting show that Toledo dropped what appears to be a weapon and put his hands in the air a moment before before he was fatally shot. A lawyer for the Toledo family said Thursday that if the teen "had a gun, he tossed it."

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