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Biden administration doubles down on use of Trump policy to expel migrants from U.S.

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Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas doubled down this week on the Biden administration’s use of a controversial Trump-era policy known as Title 42, dismissing recent criticism from a former senior State Department official who called the policy “illegal” and “inhumane.”

In a Tuesday interview aired at an international security conference hosted by the nonprofit Soufan Center in Doha, Qatar, Mayorkas told Yahoo News Chief Investigative Correspondent Michael Isikoff that Title 42 “is not an immigration policy that we in this administration would embrace.” Rather, he insisted, the policy is seen as a “public health imperative.”

Migrants cross from a camp in Del Rio, Texas, to get food supplies in Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, on Sept. 22, as U.S. Border Patrol agents watch from their vehicles. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Title 42, which has been used by the Trump and Biden administrations to expel hundreds of thousands of migrants who have crossed into the U.S. over the border with Mexico, refers to an obscure public health authority that allows the government to block noncitizens from entering the country during a pandemic. The Trump administration first invoked Title 42 in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, effectively sealing off the southern border. An emergency order issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allowed immigration officials to quickly expel mostly Mexican and Central American migrants back to their home countries without giving them a chance to apply for asylum or other protections in the United States.

According to the Associated Press, the Trump White House pressured the CDC to issue its initial Title 42 order back in March 2020 over the objections of the agency’s top scientists. Those health experts argued there was no evidence that the policy would slow the spread of the coronavirus.

While human rights advocates and public health experts have called for the policy to be revoked, the Biden administration has instead defended it in federal court. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data, 938,045 migrants were expelled from the U.S. under Title 42 between October 2020 and August 2021, including more than 7,000 Haitians who’d attempted to cross the border in Del Rio, Texas, in late September.

Haitian migrants who are seeking asylum wait to get into a van to be transported from Del Rio, Texas, the United States, Sept. 24, 2021. (Nick Wagner/Xinhua via Getty Images)

Haitian migrants seeking asylum wait to get into a van to be transported from Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 24. (Nick Wagner/Xinhua via Getty Images)

Last week Politico reported that Harold Koh, an outgoing senior adviser and the sole political appointee on the State Department’s legal team, had issued a scathing internal memo arguing that the Biden administration’s use of Title 42 to expel migrants, particularly those fleeing Haiti, violates U.S. and international laws against returning people to countries where they fear persecution, death or torture.

Koh wrote that expulsions to Haiti, which is suffering from widespread violence, food insecurity and political strife, are “inhumane” and “not worthy of this Administration that I so strongly support.” Koh’s harsh criticisms echo those of Daniel Foote, the administration’s special envoy to Haiti who resigned in protest of the mass expulsions last month, as well as several Democratic lawmakers who have called on Biden to halt deportations to Haiti.

Isikoff asked Mayorkas to respond to the Koh memo, noting that the secretary himself came to the United States as a refugee from Cuba. While Mayorkas said it is “heartbreaking” that a “material percentage” of Haitian migrants who recently arrived at the border will be expelled under Title 42, such action is “necessary as a matter of public health imperative.”

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas speaks at a press briefing at the White House on September 24, 2021 in Washington, DC. Mayorkas announced that the influx of Haitian immigrants camped under the bridge in Del Rio, Texas had been cleared. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas at a press briefing at the White House on Sept. 24. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

In the interview, Mayorkas also addressed the Biden administration’s efforts to combat domestic terrorism, as well as the recent testimony of Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, who told lawmakers that the social network deliberately promoted harmful content, including conspiracy theories and misinformation about the 2020 presidential election. While Mayorkas said “it’s clear that we are seeing ideologies of hate, false narratives propagated through social media,” he declined to say whether Facebook and other social media companies have actively contributed to the rise in domestic extremism.

“I’m not prepared to say they are part of the problem,” Mayorkas said.

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Every Day, Biden Smells Like More of a Loser

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Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty

With a hint of confusion in his eyes and a whiff of failure in the air around him, Joe Biden is watching his approval ratings continue to plummet to the point where just 42 percent of Americans approve of his job performance.

Which makes sense, since at least so far Biden really doesn’t seem very good at this whole being president thing despite dreaming of and preparing for it for decades. With his staff trying to hide him from the press, and his penchant for saying confusing things, Biden isn’t rhetorically equipped to talk himself out of this mess. He was elected on a simple mandate to not be Trump, but after promising not to do Trump things, doing his own thing has proven more difficult.

To some degree, he put himself in this corner. By governing as he campaigned (as a competent centrist), Biden might have locked in a governing majority of alienated center-right Americans along with his extant Democratic coalition. However, Biden chose to abandon efforts to transcend the current political paradigm, choosing instead to appease his base. Talk about a tragic plot twist.

His deference to progressives was foreshadowed early on: first when he flip-flopped on taxpayer funding of abortion during the campaign, and then with the partisan passage of his COVID-relief bill in February. But real trouble arrived this summer, when he prematurely declared “independence” from the virus (followed by mixed messaging over boosters), and his Afghanistan withdrawal went dangerously sideways. Then it became clear that allowing progressives to hold his bipartisan infrastructure bill hostage would result in more than just a temporary delay.

One could argue that Biden’s decision to pander to the leftward flank of the Democratic Party caused or exacerbated the various crises he now confronts—ranging from the border crisis (his “compassionate” policies and rhetoric served as a magnet) to violent crime (it’s hard to blame Biden for this, though his party’s “defund the police” rhetoric didn’t help) to inflation, which is now tied with COVID as Americans’ biggest concern (Biden ignored Larry Summers’ warnings about overheating the economy). The current stalemate over his legislative agenda is the clearest example of this deference to progressives. And since his stalled legislative agenda feels especially like a self-inflicted wound, it’s worth spending a little additional time here.

This One Basic Mistake Is Blowing Up Biden’s Presidency

Had Biden aggressively moved to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill, he would likely have garnered dozens of Republican votes, and progressives would have likely either caved to his will or been shown to be impotent. This is my counterfactual analysis, at least.

Instead, though, Biden let progressives press him into (sort of) linking passage of the bipartisan bill with a $3.5 trillion social welfare reconciliation package. By trying to have it all, there’s now a chance that he could get neither.

Why would an experienced former senator and vice president—who spent his career working across the aisle—make this mistake? Here’s one hypothesis: Ideas have consequences. And the assertion has taken root that Americans are so polarized and ideologically sorted that persuasion is a fool’s errand.

Since Bill Clinton, every U.S. president has essentially bought into this premise, despite all of them except Trump having explicitly campaigned as game-changing uniters. Bush and Obama won re-election with this formula, which probably explains why it isn’t easily abandoned, even as the trajectory of America this time at least feels like it has been headed downard. Biden had a fresh opportunity to break the cycle, but he has instead followed the path of his predecessors.

That aside, his even more fundamental problem is a lack of competence. We saw this in Afghanistan, where the dubious decision to withdraw all U.S. troops was compounded by the hamfisted manner in which the withdrawal was executed. And this same lack of competence is evident when it comes to Biden’s stalled legislative agenda.

If Biden was going to make the foolish decision to link the bipartisan infrastructure bill with the reconciliation bill, he could have first made sure he had all 50 Democratic Senators on board.

It’s no surprise that Manchin, who hails from West Virginia, would pose a roadblock when it comes to passing the Democrats’ “green” agenda items, so discussions with him should have begun on day one. Instead, Biden and the Democrats tried to jam their own framework through—and retroactively sell it to him.

Of course, it’s even more complicated, since Arizona Sen. Krysten Sinema is the other holdout. Unlike previous examples where duos like recalcitrant Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine could be won over simultaneously, Manchin’s problems with the bill (mainly climate related) are entirely different from Sinema’s (generally having to do with taxes). And don’t forget the fact that appeasing them too much could alienate other, more progressive, Democratic votes. This is just one big mess.

And the problem for Biden (and America) is that the problems keep piling up. China is menacing Taiwan and testing hypersonic weapons (Biden says we will defend Taiwan if they are attacked). Gas prices are up, with Biden admitting they’re not coming down any time soon. And then there is the ongoing supply chain crisis.

Biden’s problems are piling up so fast that it reminds me of lyrics from Hank Williams, Jr., “The interest is up and the stock market’s down. And you only get mugged if you go downtown.”

Those lyrics, recorded in 1981, reflected those dark times. It’s worth noting that Ronald Reagan went on to win 49 states, three years later.

Joe Biden better hope for a similar turnaround.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Jake Tapper Says Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Has ‘Issues’ After Her Rant On Bannon Vote

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CNN’s Jake Tapper came down hard on Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) on Friday, declaring she has “real issues” and is “not tethered to reality.”

He was referring to Greene’s outburst Thursday when, as described by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), she “started screaming” at Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.).

The House was voting to support the criminal contempt resolution against Donald Trump’s former White House strategist Steve Bannon after Bannon ignored a subpoena to testify before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Greene blasted fellow lawmakers for not punishing Black Lives Matter protesters and singled out Cheney by calling her a “joke.” Cheney, in turn, said Greene was a “joke” who has pushed the wild claim that Jewish-funded “space lasers” were responsible for wildfires.

“Congressman Raskin and Congresswoman Cheney are talking on the floor and, according to my sources …. Congresswoman Greene goes over to them and she starts screaming at them,” Tapper said to his CNN co-hosts.

“Look, I’m not a licensed psychologist, I don’t know her, but her behavior suggests somebody that has real issues, that is not tethered to reality or basic standards of decent behavior,” Tapper said.

He also referred to Greene’s conspiracy theory that “wealthy Jewish Americans were using laser technology to cause fires in California for some financial incentive.”

“I mean, it is a deranged anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, and yet that is somebody with whom many Republicans are siding,” Tapper added.

“Marjorie Taylor Greene and Liz Cheney really represent the two doors for the Republican Party right now. Which one does the Republican Party want to emulate?” he asked.

Greene is known for her outbursts. Last month, she yelled at a group of Democrats as they held a press conference on the steps of the Capitol about legislation to guarantee the right to an abortion. Greene loudly interjected that “unborn women” have a “right to life.”

Greene has repeatedly shouted at Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). Earlier this year, Ocasio-Cortez said Greene needed “help” from a “proper professional.

Check out Tapper’s remarks in the video clip up top. His comments about Greene begin at about 0:36.

Also on HuffPost

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.





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Biden proves himself unaware of basic economics during Baltimore town hall: 'The Five'

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Biden proves himself unaware of basic economics during Baltimore town hall: 'The Five'



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Family’s new dog attacks and kills 7-year-old boy, Oklahoma cops say. ‘Gut-wrenching’

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A 7-year-old boy was killed Wednesday when his family’s new pet dog attacked him, Oklahoma officials say.

Deputies in Creek County were dispatched around 7:20 p.m. Wednesday for reports of a missing child, the sheriff’s office said. Fifteen minutes later and not long after deputies arrived on the scene, a family member found the body of the boy, according to the sheriff.

The boy was identified by KOCO as James McNeelis, who was playing outside with the dog before it attacked him. Family members told KJRH the dog was a sheltie-corgi mix and they only had it for three weeks after rescuing it as a stray.

Shannon Edison, a neighbor of the family, described the incident as “gut-wrenching” in an interview with KOTV.

“We knew something was wrong. As a mother, you know that scream, if anybody has ever heard that scream, you know that scream,” Edison said. “Something was catastrophically wrong.”

The sheriff’s office said an animal control facility has possession of the dog.

Family dog attacks and kills 6-month-old in Tennessee, officials say

Dog with jaws locked on smaller dog’s throat shot by officer, Colorado police say

Young child dashes for help as 120-pound dog kills mom in home, Oregon officials say



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Joey Logano not sure fighting is "ever the right way"

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Joey Logano not sure fighting is "ever the right way"



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Matt Gaetz Gives Himself, Boebert And Taylor Greene A Nickname And It Doesn’t Go Well

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Matt Gaetz Gives Himself, Boebert And Taylor Greene A Nickname And It Doesn’t Go Well



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Ashanti’s Seductive Bikini Video Ignites a Social Media Commotion, Fans Bring Up Singer’s Ex Nelly

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Ashanti‘s month-long birthday celebration known as “Shantober” appeared to be in full effect on Oct. 21 after she uploaded a sultry bikini video.

The singer, who turned 41 last week, is currently in the Bahamas with friends as she commemorates her birthday.

Ashanti’s new bikini video from her Bahamas vacation. (Photo: @ashanti/Instagram)

In the short clip first posted by her stylist Tim B, Ashanti was seen enjoying the festivities as she danced on what appears to be a boat in a beaded turquoise bikini complemented with a tiara and two ribbons pinned to her swimsuit straps.

When “The Shade Room” posted Ashanti’s bikini video on the site’s Instagram page, many flooded the comment section with remarks about her ex Nelly. A few even brought up the infamous hug that occurred between the two last month.

“Y’all better stop before Nelly come thru the phone screen to ask for a Hug.”

“Nelly bout to walk across the Atlantic to get a hug.”

“No wonder Nelly went for that hug trying to rekindle a flame that’s been blazing by itself.”

“Nelly somewhere snatching that band-aid off.”

“Nelly somewhere figuring it out.”

Ashanti commented on her viral bikini video that was posted on “The Shade Room.” Photo:theshaderoom/Instagram

Ashanti commented on her viral bikini video that was posted on “The Shade Room.” Photo:theshaderoom/Instagram

In addition to the Nelly statements, Ashanti commented that the video was all in good fun by saying, “My birthday month!!”

Last week on Oct. 13, Ashanti celebrated her actual birthday by going to dinner with family and friends in New York. The singer also took Instagram to explain how priceless it is to celebrate life with those you love.

She said, “Super overwhelmed with the birthday wishes. I’m grateful to God that I wake up to so much love…and so many blessings. Incredibly grateful for another year. One thing we’ve all seen is that tomorrow isn’t promised… Being surrounded by friends and family, celebrating life is priceless. Thank you to each and everyone of you for all the love!!! I genuinely appreciate it from my heart 10/13.”





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