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With the 2024 election fast approaching, the discourse over undocumented immigration at the U.S.-Mexico has reached fever pitch. Some on the right, echoing the racist rhetoric from GOP presidential frontrunner, Donald Trump, are calling the influx of migrants at the border an "invasion" and a "crisis."

But don't expect much action from Republicans on the issue.

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Trump, who has been attacking the Biden administration's immigration policy as a failure, has cast a shadow over bipartisan congressional efforts to reach a compromise on the border issue, which would presumably look like tougher restrictions in exchange for funding for Ukraine in its war against the Russian invasion. While Senate GOP Whip John Thune (R-SD) insisted that Senate Republicans were still trying to make a deal happen, last Wednesday, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) reportedly acknowledged that passing a bill would undermine Trump. States Newsroom had the story.

U.S. Senate Republicans insist they won’t bow to Trump demands to quit immigration talks – New Hampshire Bulletin
Top U.S. Senate negotiators said Thursday that final details on an immigration policy deal remain under debate in the U.S. Senate, despite outside pressure from GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump to sink any agreement as he makes immigration his central campaign message.
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But, on Friday, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) suggested the deal ought to be dead because passing a bill could "enable Biden." For more on that story, check out this story from The New Republic:

Republican Senator Gives Away the Game on Why They Killed Border Deal
Josh Hawley is admitting point-blank this fight was never about the border at all.
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Meanwhile, some GOP-led states are starting to take matters into their own hands, encroaching on the constitutional authority of the federal government over immigration enforcement. The Supreme Court recently ruled against Texas, which had placed razor wire along the border and deployed agents to block Border Patrol from accessing  a section of the border. The court ordered that the wire be removed, but Gov. Greg Abbott is defiant and continuing to block the feds' access. Echoing the Confederacy, Abbott shockingly claims that the state constitution grants him authority and supersedes the U.S. Constitution.

For more, check out this pieces (also) from TNR:

Texas Is Ginning Up a New Constitutional Crisis
Greg Abbott’s border rhetoric may mostly be an act of political gamesmanship, but he’s treading a very dangerous path.
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Now, Arizona is following in Texas' footsteps. GOP lawmakers are trying to empower law enforcement to arrest undocumented migrants. The Arizona Mirror had the story.

Aiming to copy Texas, AZ Republicans want to wrest immigration enforcement away from the feds
The US Supreme Court has held that the federal government has exclusive authority to enforce immigration laws and secure the border
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Further Reading:

For a closer look at how we got to this point at the border, check out this piece from Counterpunch:

Behind the Immigration Crisis: No Visas for Unskilled Workers
The current high-pitched ideological battle over undocumented immigration at the US-Mexico border overlooks a deeper problem: the failure of the legal
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It wouldn't be an OptOut newsletter if we didn't give you the latest with the COVID-19 pandemic. As readers, you are undoubtedly aware that this month has seen a major viral surge, with flu, RSV, and of course, COVID driving hospitalizations around the country.

It is that backdrop that makes the news out of California so baffling. As PRISM reported, the state issued a new guidance gutting COVID mitigation measures in schools.

While COVID-19 surges, California guts mitigation efforts in schools
The new guidance came days before a Senate hearing on the dangers of long COVID
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The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened legal backlogs in states across the country, States Newsroom reported. Much of the delay can be attributed to lawyer and judge shortage–which is pretty bleak if you think about it.

Shortage of prosecutors, judges leads to widespread court backlogs - Louisiana Illuminator
Still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, court systems in many states are working to clear their case backlogs.
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What Government is Doing

The Biden White House is taking long overdue action against corporate actors who charge consumers junk fees like overdraft and late fees. States Newsroom reported the story.

Overdraft fees, late fees could be slashed as White House continues attack on junk fees - Iowa Capital Dispatch
The cost of overdrawing your bank account could ease considerably under a rule proposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
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It's not all good news–particualrly in terms of foreign policy, as two reports from The Intercept demonstrate. The situation in Gaza is threatening to expand into a regional conflict. The U.S. now has troops in Yemen.

Pentagon Suggests There’re No U.S. Troops in Yemen — but Last Month the White House Said There Are
The Pentagon suggested in a press briefing that the U.S. doesn’t have troops in Yemen, but in a December report, the White House said it did.
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The administration is also facing a lawsuit from Palestinian human rights groups, accusing it of being complicit in genocide for its support of Israel's war in Gaza. The Intercept published an article about it.

“I Have Lost Everything”: In Federal Court, Palestinians Accuse Biden of Complicity in Genocide
Bolstered by a momentous ICJ ruling, Palestinians, including Americans, gave three hours of testimony against the Biden administration.
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