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Biden's immigration play, failing students, eye on debates

With Midterm Matters, we are counting down to the US midterm elections on Nov. 8 by separating the signal from the noise on election-related news.

Biden’s pre-midterm immigration play

The number of Venezuelan migrants arriving at the US southern border has plummeted by 90% since President Joe Biden invoked Title 42 (a Trump-era law allowing the expulsion of asylum-seekers on public health grounds) earlier this month.

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Critical Lifeline: Remittances and the Developing World | GZERO Media

Critical lifeline: remittances and the developing world

Remittances offer a vital lifeline to some 800 million people around the globe. In Mexico, the migrant advocacy group APOFAM highlights how groups of people can work together to make a difference for families impacted by migration. APOFAM’s members are related to migrants who have moved to the US, many of them undocumented, and the group helps pool resources to aid Mexicans. Whether it’s a Mexico-based mother of two whose husband works in the US or a group of elderly artisans, APOFAM helps people flourish thanks to remittances.

Watch our recent livestream discussion on remittances and other tools for economic empowerment.

Republicans Taking Dramatic Steps to Make Immigration Center | US Politics :60 | GZERO Media

GOP wants immigration front and center in midterms

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, DC shares his perspective on US politics:

What role will immigration play in the midterm elections?

Immigration has been in the news a lot this week, and not because the US recently hit a record number of border encounters at two million. Several border state Republican governors, including those in Arizona and Texas, have started to charter buses to send immigrants from their states to the northeast, in the states and cities that are typically run by Democrats, who have generally embraced a more lax policy towards immigration, yet have not had to try and absorb the new migrants into the population in any significant numbers like the border states have. This practice has been going on for a while. Here in Washington, DC, the city has welcomed hundreds of migrants over the last several weeks. But the heat really got turned up to 11 earlier this week with a controversial stunt pulled by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who flew 40 Venezuelan migrants from Texas to the exclusive islands of Martha's Vineyard.

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The Graphic Truth: US flushes LatAm with cash

Strategic, economic and cultural ties between the United States and Latin American states run deep. The US relies heavily on the cooperation of Central and South American allies to stem the flow of drugs and illegal immigrants into the country. But for years, Uncle Sam has been accused of exploiting its Latin American friends and taking the region for granted as it prioritizes economic ties with Asia. This view, however, fails to account for the significant amount of cash that the US doles out in order to boost Latin American economies. We take a look at some of those numbers.

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The Graphic Truth: Black immigrants in the US

One in 10 Black Americans was born overseas, up by 3 percentage points since 2000. By 2050, the US Census Bureau estimates that immigrants will make up 15% percent of the Black population in America. The data shows that national origin reflects differing education and average household wealth levels. We look at a few data points distinguishing US- and foreign-born Black Americans.

What We're Watching: Trump-era immigration rule is back

"Remain in Mexico" policy is back. The US and Mexico several days ago reached a deal to restart the controversial “Remain in Mexico” policy, which requires that migrants seeking entry to the US wait south of the border while their asylum applications are processed. The policy has forced thousands of asylum-seekers to spend months – or even years – in rundown Mexican border towns where crime, rape, and kidnapping for ransom are rife. As part of the new deal, unaccompanied minors will be allowed to wait for asylum rulings in the US, and the Biden administration has agreed to improve human rights conditions at the border, including by providing migrants with COVID-19 vaccines. Upon coming into office, Biden pledged to take a more "humane" approach to migration than his predecessor, but in August the Supreme Court ruled that he had to follow “Remain in Mexico.” He has also been criticized by rights groups for failing to undo the Trump administration’s use of a public health rule to keep migrants out. The new agreement between Mexico and the US comes just days after Washington pledged to help Central America deal with the root causes of migration.

In this photo illustration a medical syringe seen displayed in front of the Covax Facility vaccine logo.

Thiago Prudencio / SOPA Images

What We’re Watching: COVAX falls short, UK returns migrant boats to France, Guinea coup memes

COVAX comes up short. Who's to blame? The World Health Organization revealed Wednesday that the COVAX scheme would fall half a billion doses short of its target to deliver 1.9 billion COVID vaccine doses to low- and middle-income ex countries by the end of 2021. Several factors have contributed to this shortfall, including India's decision to halt vaccine exports earlier this year amid a catastrophic COVID outbreak, and mixed messaging from the WHO and national governments about the safety and scaling of certain vaccines that disrupted COVAX's supply chain. The WHO has long taken aim at rich countries rolling out booster shots before developing states dole out first and second shots to their populations. But US President Joe Biden hit back in recent days saying that the argument of boosters vs donating shots is "a false choice," saying the US can, and has, done both. So far, COVAX has delivered 245 million doses, but just 0.4 percent of all jabs administered globally have been in low-income states.

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What We’re Watching: SCOTUS immigration ruling, Barbecue runs Haiti quake relief, Eritreans back in Tigray

SCOTUS brings back "Remain in Mexico" policy: The US Supreme Court has ordered the Biden administration to reinstate a Trump-era immigration rule that requires asylum-seekers who attempt to cross the US southern border to wait in Mexico until their applications get processed. This is bad news for Joe Biden for two reasons. First, he cancelled that policy because it failed to accomplish its stated goal of reducing processing backlogs, while leaving thousands of migrants stranded in Mexico in legal limbo. Second, Biden knows he can't actually implement the policy anew if Mexico doesn't agree to accept migrants whom the US wants to send back. More broadly, the ruling throws yet another wrench into an already testy US-Mexico relationship — with tens of thousands of vulnerable human beings caught in the middle. Biden, who's tied up with the Afghanistan fiasco these days, wants to avoid a tussle with the Mexicans amid record numbers of migrants arriving at the US border so far this year. The Mexicans, for their part, will probably want something in exchange (maybe COVID vaccines) to be helpful.

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