National News at a Glance
Posted January 10, 2018 9:36 p.m. EST
Mudslides Leave Behind Winding Scar of Debris; Death Toll Climbs to 17
Rescue workers scoured mud-swollen riverbeds in the wealthy Southern California enclave of Montecito on Wednesday, clutching to the hope that they might find some of the more than dozen people missing after mudslides swept away about 100 houses. At least 17 people were killed. The authorities said 28 people were injured, four of them critically. At least 300 houses were damaged in the area and many more were listed by the authorities as “threatened.”
Surveillance and Privacy Debate Reaches Pivotal Moment in Congress
A yearslong debate over National Security Agency surveillance and protections for Americans’ privacy rights will reach a climactic moment Thursday as the House of Representatives takes up legislation to extend a program of warrantless spying on internet and phone networks that traces back to the Sept. 11 attacks. There is little doubt that Congress will extend an expiring statute, known as Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, that permits the government to collect without a warrant from U.S. firms the emails and other communications of foreigners abroad — even when they are talking to Americans.
Immigration Agents Raid 98 7-Eleven Stores Across 17 States
Federal immigration agents descended on dozens of 7-Eleven convenience stores across the country before daybreak Wednesday, arresting unauthorized workers and demanding paperwork from managers in what the Trump administration described as its largest enforcement operation against employers so far. The raids of 98 stores in 17 states, from California to Florida, resulted in 21 arrests, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which signaled intensified efforts against companies that hire unauthorized workers. Under President Donald Trump, ICE has expanded immigration enforcement, arresting unauthorized immigrants in their homes or when they check in with federal agents as part of immigration court cases.
House Republicans’ Hard-line Immigration Stand Clashes with Trump Overture
Prominent House Republicans stepped forward Wednesday with a vision of immigration policy that clashed fiercely with President Donald Trump’s recent overtures of bipartisanship. The proposal, championed by the chairmen of the House Judiciary and Homeland Security committees, would crack down on illegal immigration and sharply reduce the number of legal immigrants to the United States. Coming one day after Trump held a meeting in which he laid out the parameters for a bipartisan immigration deal, the House proposal highlighted the uncertainty surrounding negotiations that are supposed to coalesce before the government runs out of money on Jan. 19.
To Grease Wheels of Congress, Trump Suggests Bringing Back Pork
Remember the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere”? The Montana Sheep Institute or the now-shuttered North Carolina teapot hall of fame? Congress years ago eliminated funding for these types of pet projects, known as earmarks, after they became derided as government boondoggles, largesse and a pathway to corruption. President Donald Trump now wants to bring them back. In a freewheeling meeting about immigration with congressional Republicans and Democrats this week, Trump lamented the gridlock that has gripped the capital and suggested that earmarks, the practice of stealthily stuffing funding for pet projects into legislation, be exhumed from the legislative graveyard.
Supreme Court Weighs Purge of Ohio Voting Rolls
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court appeared deeply divided over whether Ohio may kick people off the voting rolls if they skip a few elections and fail to respond to a notice from state officials. Justice Sonia Sotomayor said Ohio’s approach effectively disenfranchised minority and homeless voters in the state’s major cities and was part of a broader effort to suppress voting. But Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Stephen G. Breyer expressed concern about maintaining the integrity of the state’s list of eligible voters. “The reason they’re purging them,” Kennedy said, “is they want to protect the voter rolls from people that have moved.”