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Illegal border crossings most in over decade with four months to go

The number of migrants illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border this fiscal year is already the most since 2006 — with four months left to go, according to preliminary Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The numbers quantify a lingering problem. Nearly 900,000 migrants were stopped by the Border Patrol from Oct. 1 to May 31. There also were more than 170,000 apprehensions last month — in line with 20-year records set in March and April.


  • In addition, there continue to be significant numbers of migrants from more distant nations such as Ecuador, Venezuela, Cuba and Haiti, the data show.

The big picture: The Biden administration has successfully managed to quickly release unaccompanied minors from Border Patrol stations after a backup forced thousands to wait for days earlier in the year.

  • It also has managed to slowly decrease the total number of kids being held in shelters run by the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Still, despite these efforts and the continued use of a Trump-era public health order to quickly turn back families and adults to Mexico, migrants continue to flock to the border.
  • Some migrants make multiple attempts to illegally cross the border — especially those kicked back to Mexico under the public health order. They are counted each time they are apprehended by Border Patrol.

By the numbers: The majority of border-crossers continue to come from Mexico (more than 40%) and the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

  • That said, some Border Patrol sectors in the southwest United States are seeing far more people from other, more distant nations.
  • In just five sectors, more than 32,000 Ecuadorians have been encountered at the U.S.-Mexico border this fiscal year. About 13,000 Brazilians have been stopped in the Yuma, Arizona, sector alone, on top of about 7,000 in two other sectors, according to the data.
  • There were fewer than 40,000 migrants not from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador encountered by border officials for the entire fiscal year of 2018.

Between the lines: It's unclear from the preliminary data the exact number of migrants who attempted to cross the border originating from countries other than Mexico and the Northern Triangle, but it could be more than 50,000.

What to watch: Vice President Kamala Harris was in Guatemala on Monday before traveling to Mexico for meetings Tuesday as she leads the administration's effort to address the root causes of this migration.

  • They include crime, government corruption and lackluster responses to natural disasters and the coronavirus pandemic throughout the Northern Triangle.
  • The administration also is asking Mexico to ramp up its own migration enforcement and take in more families rejected by the U.S. under the public health order, BuzzFeed reported.

GM boosts investment in electric, autonomous vehicles by $8 billion

General Motors plans to boost its cumulative investment in electric and autonomous vehicles to $35 billion from 2020-2025, a significant jump from a $27 billion target.

Driving the news: GM said this morning that the initiative will include building two new battery cell manufacturing plants in addition to the two already under construction in Tennessee and Ohio.

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Biden administration buys 200 million additional doses of Moderna’s COVID vaccine

The Biden administration has purchased an additional 200 million doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine, the biotech company announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: Moderna says the additional doses could be used to vaccinate children or — if necessary — as a booster shot.

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Live updates: Biden and Putin land in Geneva ahead of summit

President Biden is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva for five hours of talks on Wednesday, a highly anticipated summit that comes as both sides say U.S.-Russia relations have sunk to a new post-Cold War low.

The latest: Putin arrived in Geneva shortly before 7 a.m. ET and traveled via motorcade to Villa La Grange, a mansion set in a 75-acre park overlooking Lake Geneva. Biden arrived at around 7:20 a.m. ET. The two leaders are expected to take a photo with Swiss President Guy Parmelin before the meeting begins.

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Biden-Putin summit: What to expect when you're not expecting much

After a bitter blast from Putin and tough talk from Biden, both sides agree: Don't count on much from Wednesday's summit between President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

What they're saying: "We’re not expecting a big set of deliverables out of this meeting," a senior Biden administration official told reporters on Air Force One from Brussels to Geneva. "No breaking of bread."

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Florida's early reopening could make it a business travel mecca

As post-pandemic business travel comes back, experts say Florida's reopening policies should allow it to lock in a significant share of returning corporate events and meetings.

Why it matters: There's a lot of money to be made — with a lot of people itching to travel — after the sector lost $97 billion in spending last year, according to a new Tourism Economics analysis by the U.S. Travel Association.

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There isn’t a worker shortage in the U.S. — there’s been a worker awakening

Many politicians, pundits and business owners have said pandemic-era enhanced unemployment benefits are keeping would-be workers at home. But that's a much too simplistic explanation of today's employment situation.

The big picture: Many hard-hit sectors are rebounding faster than anecdotal evidence would suggest. And when jobs are hard to fill, a broader worker awakening over the past year is part of the reason.

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Biden's surprise pick for FTC chair, a leading tech critic, is already rocking boats

By naming tech critic Lina Khan to chair the Federal Trade Commission Tuesday, the White House made clear it is dead serious about antitrust enforcement and other measures to rein in Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.

The intrigue: By naming Khan FTC chair just hours after the Senate confirmed her appointment as one of five commissioners at the agency, the White House took both the industry and many D.C. insiders by surprise.

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MedPAC says higher prices drove up Medicare drug spending

The amount Medicare spent on drugs that are dispensed at pharmacies increased 26% from 2013 through 2018, members of the Medicare Advisory Payment Commission wrote in their new annual report.

Why it matters: MedPAC members put the spotlight on pharmaceutical companies, attributing "nearly all of the growth ... to higher prices rather than an increase in the number of prescriptions filled by beneficiaries."

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