The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has officially announced its new policy to avoid detaining pregnant, nursing and post-partum women in its facilities.
“ICE is committed to safeguarding the integrity of our immigration system and preserving the health and safety of pregnant, postpartum and nursing individuals,” the acting ICE director, Tae D. Johnson, said in a statement.
“Given the unique needs of this population, we will not detain individuals known to be pregnant, postpartum or nursing unless release is prohibited by law or exceptional circumstances exist.”
The new policy reverses a Trump administration directive that resulted in thousands of additional pregnant and post-partum women being held in ICE facilities.
The announcement marks Joe Biden’s latest effort to take a more humane approach to immigration than his predecessor did, but Republicans argue that the president’s approach has encouraged more migrants to attempt to enter the US.
Another potential problem for schools: the CDC recommends that schools promote vaccinations for eligible students but not require them.
That will result in classrooms where some students are fully vaccinated and others aren’t, complicating policies on mask usage.
On top of that, coronavirus vaccines are only available to students over the age of 12, so many elementary school students are not yet eligible to get their shot.
“It would be a very weird dynamic, socially, to have some kids wearing masks and some not. And tracking that? Teachers shouldn’t need to be keeping track of which kids should have masks on,” Elizabeth Stuart, a John Hopkins University public health professor, told the AP.
However, schools should still practice physical distancing between desks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its latest guidance.
“CDC recommends schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms, combined with indoor mask wearing by people who are not fully vaccinated, to reduce transmission risk,” the agency said.
“When it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least 3 feet, such as when schools cannot fully re-open while maintaining these distances, it is especially important to layer multiple other prevention strategies, such as indoor masking.”
The physical distancing recommendation underscores that schools will still have many logistical challenges when students return in the fall, even as officials emphasize the importance of in-person instruction.
Vaccinated teachers and children don’t need to wear masks while in the classroom, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today.
In its updated guidance on best coronavirus-related precautions for schools, the CDC indicated students and teachers can follow the agency’s broader mask guidance, which says fully vaccinated people do not need masks in most settings.
As of now, anyone 12 years of older can receive a coronavirus vaccine in the US, meaning many elementary school students are not vaccinated.
“Masks should be worn indoors by all individuals (age 2 and older) who are not fully vaccinated,” the CDC said in its guidance. “Consistent and correct mask use by people who are not fully vaccinated is especially important indoors and in crowded settings.”
The CDC also emphasized the importance of in-person instruction for children, as schools start to make their plans to return in the fall.
“Students benefit from in-person learning, and safely returning to in-person instruction in the fall 2021 is a priority,” the agency said.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is enacting a new policy to avoid detaining pregnant, post-partum and nursing women in their facilities, according to multiple reports.
The Washington Post reports:
ICE’s new policy is even more expansive than it was during the Obama era, when President Biden was vice president. The Obama administration generally exempted pregnant women from immigration detention, but the Biden administration is also including women who gave birth within the prior year and those who are nursing, which could last longer than a year.
The policy adds to the growing list of immigrants exempt from arrest or deportation for violating civil immigration laws. Critics have said that Biden is abandoning his responsibility to enforce U.S. laws, but the president has said he wants a more humane approach to immigration, especially for parents and children arriving in increasing numbers from regions such as Central America. …
The policy revokes a 2017 Trump administration directive that ‘ended the presumption of release for all pregnant detainees.’ ICE detained nearly 2,100 pregnant women the following year, a 52 percent jump over the last calendar year of the Obama administration, according to a Government Accountability Office report.
The agency is expected to formally announce the new policy later today, so stay tuned.
Chuck Schumer’s letter to his fellow Democratic senators also included an interesting line about potential supreme court vacancies.
“As always, Senate Democrats stand ready to expeditiously fill any potential vacancies on the Supreme Court should they arise,” the majority leader said.
Schumer’s letter comes as many progressives urge supreme court Justice Stephen Breyer to retire in order to allow Joe Biden to fill his seat with a younger, liberal judge. (Breyer will turn 83 next month.)
But so far, Breyer has given no indication that he intends to retire. The supreme court wrapped up its most recent term last week.
Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said today that efforts to pass two infrastructure bills could impact the chamber’s planned August recess.
In a “Dear colleague” letter released this morning, the Democratic leader said, “My intention for this work period is for the Senate to consider both the bipartisan infrastructure legislation and a budget resolution with reconciliation instructions, which is the first step for passing legislation through the reconciliation process.
“Please be advised that time is of the essence and we have a lot of work to do. Senators should be prepared for the possibility of working long nights, weekends, and remaining in Washington into the previously-scheduled August state work period.”
Senators are working to turn the bipartisan infrastructure framework into an actual bill, as Democrats simultaneously start the process to pass a separate infrastructure bill via reconciliation, meaning they can get it approved without Republican support.
Much work remains to be done, and it now appears the lawmakers’ negotiations could spill over into the August recess, which will likely irk senators of both parties.
North Carolina members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) collaborated with other neo-Confederate and far-right groups in failed efforts to preserve Confederate monuments in the state, according to emails, documents and videos reviewed by the Guardian.
Members of the coalition of groups protesting the removal of Confederate monuments include a man with simultaneous membership in SCV and League of the South (LOS), and at least one person who attended the rally at the Capitol in Washington DC on 6 January, which turned into an attack on the building.
The SCV is a neo-Confederate group dedicated to preserving what it sees as southern heritage, in particular Confederate statues and war memorials, in spite of the rise of Black Lives Matter antiracism protests, which frequently target such statues as memorials to racism and slavery.
James Smithson, a member both of SCV and the SCV’s Mechanized Cavalry (SCVMC), a motorcycle-riding “special interest group” attached to the organization, sent an after-action email to members after a 14 September 2019 rally in Pittsboro, North Carolina, organized in defense of a statue of a Confederate soldier that had stood outside the city’s courthouse since 1907.
The email reported on the rally as a “win” for the organization, though the statue was removed by the city the following November.
Take a listen to the latest Politics Weekly Extra podcast: After a rocky few weeks for Kamala Harris, I spoke to Lawrence Haas, former communications director for Al Gore, about the ins and outs of being a successful second in command to the president.
According to a fact sheet released by the White House, the executive order that Joe Biden will sign today includes “72 initiatives by more than a dozen federal agencies to promptly tackle some of the most pressing competition problems across our economy”.
Among other things, the order will ban or limit non-compete agreements to make it easier to change jobs and raise wages in certain industries.
In the airline industry, the administration is requiring companies to provide clear, upfront disclosures about add-on fees and making it easier for customers to get refunds.
The order will also ease the process of switching banks by requiring banks to allow customers to take their financial data with them to another company.
On the enforcement side, the order calls on the justice department and the Federal Trade Commission to “enforce the antitrust laws vigorously” and “challenge prior bad mergers” when appropriate.
The blog will have more details on the order coming up, so stay tuned.
Brian Deese, the director of the White House National Economic Council, described the executive order as an opportunity to reset anti-trust laws.
“This is not just about monopolies but it’s about consolidation more generally and the lack of competition when you have a limited set of market players,” Deese told CNBC.
The economic expert noted some data suggests wages are as much as 17% lower in industries with more corporate consolidation.
“The impulse for this executive order is really around, where can we encourage greater competition across the board?” Deese said.
Greetings from Washington, live blog readers.
Later today, Joe Biden will sign an executive order “promoting competition in the American economy,” according to his official schedule from the White House.
Politico reported on the executive order last week:
The White House is crafting an executive order aimed at promoting competition throughout the US economy, a move aimed at lessening the stranglehold of dominant players in industries ranging from banking and agriculture to shipping and air travel, according to three people familiar with the discussions. …
It would also mark a big shift in the government’s approach to the concerns about monopolies that have swelled during the 21st century: No longer content to just enforce antitrust laws, the Biden administration would use federal power to actively spark competition in a vast array of businesses.
The executive order is the latest sign of Biden’s focus on anti-trust issues, which has pleased progressives who have been pushing the federal government to crack down on corporate power for years.
Biden’s efforts to rein in corporate power also extend to his infrastructure plans, as he has called on major companies to pay their “fair share” in taxes to help fund his proposals.
Discussing the need to raise taxes on corporations and the wealthiest Americans, Biden said Wednesday, “I’m not trying to gouge anybody, but, I mean, just get in the game.”
The blog will have more coming up, so stay tuned.