National News at a Glance
Posted June 19, 2018 10:23 p.m. EDT
Republican Rifts Hinder Plans on Immigration
Congressional Republicans moved Tuesday to defuse an escalating political crisis over immigration, but failed to agree on how to end President Donald Trump’s policy of separating immigrant children from parents who cross illegally into the United States. The Senate had one plan, and the House another. Trump remained defiant, refusing to act on his own. In a fiery address to a business group earlier in the day, Trump falsely blamed Democrats for the separation crisis and demanded a broad overhaul of the United States’ immigration laws. In his speech, Trump dismissed as “crazy” several proposals to expedite processing of families by hiring hundreds of new immigration judges.
‘Zero-Tolerance’ Policy Floods Federal Courts With Migrants
Multiple-defendant immigration hearings have been held for years in Arizona and Texas. The assembly-line justice, known as Operation Streamline, started under President George W. Bush and persisted under President Barack Obama as deportations and other immigration cases were on the rise. But the Trump administration’s new policy of prosecuting cases that previously were most often not a priority is pushing thousands of new defendants into the federal court system. Courtrooms near the border in southern and western Texas have been packed. Federal criminal prosecutions of migrants arrested along the southwest border jumped 30 percent in April over March, according to Syracuse University’s TRAC, which monitors cases.
New Weapon Wielded Against Mueller
President Donald Trump’s congressional allies trained their fire on the special counsel investigation Tuesday, armed anew with a damaging report from the Justice Department's inspector general showing that the lead FBI agent assigned to the case held strong anti-Trump views when the inquiry began. Republicans could hardly have asked for a better weapon for assailing the special counsel, Robert Mueller. The attacks most likely foreshadowed a Republican strategy for the rest of the Mueller investigation, which is studying whether Trump tried to obstruct justice and whether anyone in his campaign conspired with Russian operatives to influence the 2016 presidential election.
New Rule Allows Small Businesses to Skirt Obamacare
A sweeping new rule issued Tuesday by the Trump administration will make it easier for small businesses to join forces and set up health insurance plans that circumvent many requirements of the Affordable Care Act, cutting costs but also reducing benefits. President Donald Trump, speaking at a 75th-anniversary celebration of the National Federation of Independent Business, said the new rule would allow small businesses to “escape some of Obamacare’s most burdensome mandates” by creating new entities known as association health plans. The new health plans would be exempt from many consumer-protection mandates in the Affordable Care Act.
Virginia School Drops Confederate General’s Name in Favor of Obama’s
When students at J.E.B. Stuart Elementary School in Richmond, Virginia, return from their summer break, they will no longer be studying at a school named after a Confederate general who fought for the rights of slave owners in the Civil War. Instead, members of the 400-strong student body, about 90 percent of whom are black, will be attending Barack Obama Elementary School. On Monday night, the Richmond School Board voted to remove Stuart’s name from the school, replacing it with the name of the country’s first African-American president. The vote, 6-1, came after months of public meetings and input, including from students themselves.
Budget Showdown Looms in New Jersey
For the first months of his tenure, Gov. Philip D. Murphy enjoyed the fruits of Democratic control in New Jersey, easily winning the Legislature’s approval on progressive initiatives, including a package of stringent gun laws, equal pay for women and an expansion of automatic voter registration. But with a budget deadline of June 30 looming and the memory of a state shutdown still fresh following the infamous trip to the beach by former Gov. Chris Christie last year, Murphy and the Democratic legislative leadership are at odds — with each side staking out different views over how to raise revenue to finance an ambitious agenda.
New York City Will Turn Marijuana Arrests Into Tickets for Most People
The New York Police Department plans to slash arrests for publicly smoking marijuana by more than half and give people tickets instead, but will keep arresting some of those who have past arrests or convictions, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday. The changes come amid strong signals from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration that it will push to legalize marijuana across New York state. But with de Blasio facing mounting pressure to address a steep racial disparity in marijuana arrests, the city took another step toward shrinking a pool of arrests that no longer exists in some states. The new policy will take effect Sept. 1.