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HHS prepared to double migrant kids capacity at Texas facility

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra told the Congressional Hispanic Caucus this week he's prepared, if needed, to double the capacity for underage migrants at Fort Bliss, Texas, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Expanding the capacity at Fort Bliss, where thousands of migrants under age 12 could be held, is controversial because it’s harder to care for younger children in massive facilities, migrant advocates argue.

  • Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas), whose district includes the base, asked Becerra about potential plans to increase the number of beds from 5,000 to 10,000, as HHS prepares to close temporary shelters in Dallas and San Antonio.
  • Becerra answered by suggesting he didn’t have any other options and was open to any ideas from the lawmakers, people familiar with the matter told Axios.

What they're saying: “Secretary Becerra wasn’t saying anything new: Some emergency intake sites, including Fort Bliss, are not at capacity and could temporarily and safely house more children — if needed — as we work to unify children with parents and sponsors," said Sarah Lovenheim, a spokesperson for HHS.

  • "We continue to make significant strides in unifying children safely. Just last week, we unified over 3,300 children with sponsors.”

The big picture: HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement is responsible for housing unaccompanied minors after they're turned over by the Department of Homeland Security.

  • The transfer is supposed to happen in 72 hours.
  • HHS’s goal is to then find family members already in the country to host the minors. They typically are allowed into the U.S., while adults are rejected at the border.
  • There are about 20,000 underage migrants currently in government custody, with HHS scrambling to find them homes — even paying travel costs for adult sponsors to arrive at the shelters to pick up the children, Axios reported in April.

E3 2021: Nintendo and Ubisoft team up again with Switch sequel “Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope"

Two of gaming’s biggest companies are creating a game together for the third time in five years with a Switch sequel, “Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope.”

Why it matters: Nintendo rarely lets other companies work with its characters, making its continued partnerships with Ubisoft a rare sign of trust.

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In photos: Harris shows up at Pride parade in downtown D.C.

Vice President Kamala Harris dropped in at the Capitol Pride Walk And Rally in Washington, D.C., on Saturday.

The state of play: Harris and second gentleman, Doug Emhoff, joined the crowd, who welcomed them with cheers, according to press reports.

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A "new industrial revolution" presses the reset button on work

The endgame of the pandemic is giving both employers and workers a chance to create a more humane relationship — both in the office and out of it.

The big picture: Companies need workers, but many employees aren't ready to go back to the way things used to be. A hybrid setup could provide the best possible way forward, if both sides are willing to give.

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Blue Origin auctions off a trip to the edge of space for $28 million

A seat aboard Blue Origin’s first crewed flight to suborbital space fetched $28 million during a live auction on Saturday.

Why it matters: While the market for suborbital tourist flights to space may not be huge, experts say it's an important, public-facing part of the space industry that could popularize it as more people start flying.

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Macron at G7: "It's great to have the U.S. president part of the club"

U.S. President Biden and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron were all smiles and handshakes during their first formal, in-person meeting on Saturday, with Macron telling pool reporters "it's great to have the U.S. president part of the club."

Why it matters: Biden has made rebuilding the United States' global leadership central to his foreign policy, frequently touting, "America is back."

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More than dozen injured in downtown Austin shooting

A shooting in a busy part of downtown Austin, Texas, early Saturday injured at least 13 people, including two who are in critical condition.

The state of play: Gunfire erupted around 1:30 a.m. along 6th Street, a popular area with bars and restaurants. The suspected shooter remains at large, Austin police said. "It is unknown if there is one, or multiple suspects involved," they noted, adding the shooting appears to be an isolated incident.

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Biden to urge G7 to take unified approach to countering China

President Biden on Saturday is expected to urge fellow G7 leaders to adopt a unified approach to countering China's rising global influence, AP reports.

Driving the news: The G7 leaders are set to unveil a multi-billion-dollar global infrastructure plan aimed at rivaling Beijing's efforts in the developing world.

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