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United States President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the Black History Month Reception at the White House in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, February 6, 2024.

Annabelle Gordon / Pool/Sipa USA

Border bill fails in Senate: the jockeying intensifies

President Joe Biden is blaming Donald Trump for killing a Senate bill on Ukraine support and border security on Wednesday.

The bill would have delivered billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine and Israel along with stricter border security – including asylum restrictions, a major stated goal for the GOP.

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Texas Governor Gregg Abbott speaks during a news conference near the International Bridge between Mexico and the U.S

REUTERS/Marco Bello

Texas takes immigration into its own hands

Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott just signed SB4, a bill that is being described as the harshest state immigration law in modern US history, into law. Set to take effect in March 2024, it will allow law enforcement in the Lone Star State to arrest and jail migrants on new state-level illegal entry charges and enable state judges to issue de facto deportation orders.
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United States Senator Ron Johnson (Republican of Wisconsin)

Credit: Rod Lamkey / CNP/Sipa USANo Use Germany

Will Democrats and Republicans head for the border?

Now’s the time to watch the fascinating politics of immigration policy in the United States. For years, both Democrats and Republicans have played high-stakes political poker by using dysfunctional US border policy, and a series of migrant surges across the US-Mexico boundary, as a wedge issue. The Dems say Republicans hate immigrants. The Republicans say Democrats use immigrants to win more votes. (Reality check: President Joe Biden hasn’t changed former President Donald Trump’s policies very much.)
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Migrants gather near the border wall

Reuters

Biden is (re)building the wall

No, you haven’t gone back in time to 2016. Yes, the US government is building a wall along the southern border.

The Biden administration announced this week that it will bypass environmental laws to fast-track 20 miles of barrier construction in the Rio Grande Valley – where 245,000 border arrests were made over the last year.

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Mexican authorities and firefighters remove injured migrants, mostly Venezuelans, from inside the National Migration Institute (INM) building during a fire, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico March 27, 2023.

REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

Hard Numbers: Deadly Mexican fire, ZAUKUS, terror in the Sahel, Luke Skywalker saves Ukraine

38: Migrants fearing deportation set an immigration detention center ablaze in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, killing 38 asylum-seekers and critically injuring dozens. The blaze was one of the deadliest incidents ever for Mexico's immigration system, which is accused of mistreating migrants as it struggles to accommodate the rising number of asylum-seekers arriving at the U.S-Mexico border.

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Migrants use their phones to access the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in a shelter near the US-Mexico border in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico February 24, 2023.

REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

Hard Numbers: Glitchy US border app, Japanese no-show canned, Paris stinks, Argentina’s inflation hits triple digits

2.5: A new US government app meant to speed the processing of asylum-seekers and other migrants arriving from Mexico has a rating of just 2.5 stars on Google play. Small wonder, given that the app is reportedly glitchy, difficult to use, and creates opportunities for scammers to prey on migrants and their families.

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Visitors walk past an image of President Xi Jinping holding a ballot ahead of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing.

REUTERS/Florence Lo

What We’re Watching: China’s party congress, US-Mexico migrant deal

China's party is having a party

China's ruling Communist Party kicks off its 20th Congress on Sunday. By far the most-followed event in Chinese politics, the CCP will give itself, as always, a (glowing) report card and lay out how it'll govern China until 2027. All eyes will be on Xi Jinping, a shoo-in to get a precedent-shattering third term as CCP secretary-general, paving the way for him to become China’s leader for life. What's more, Xi is also expected to adopt the symbolic title of “Helmsman,” putting him at the same level as Mao Zedong. Perhaps even more importantly, by the end of next week, we'll know the composition of Politburo's elite Standing Committee, whose seven members — including Xi himself — have the final say on major political, economic, and social issues. If the bulk of them are Xi loyalists instead of technocrats, that'll be a signal that he prioritizes political control over the structural reforms China needs to fix its big problems. Finally, keep an eye out for the order in which the seven men step onto the stage of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. If none of them is in his mid-50s and stands close to Xi, that’ll mean he hasn’t picked a successor yet.

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Paige Fusco

The Graphic Truth: Bracing for a surge at the US-Mexico border

The Biden administration is preparing to lift Title 42, a Trump-era immigration rule that allows the US to immediately turn away asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border because of the public health crisis. Since it was first enforced in March 2020, the measure has been used to expel around 1.7 million people, accounting for more than 50% of those who crossed the border illegally in 2021. Authorities are bracing for up to 18,000 border crossings per day when the Biden administration lifts the public health order on May 23. We take a look at encounters between border patrol agents and migrants at the southern US border from 2019 to 2022.

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