It’s Wednesday, January 26th, and this is your Morning Wire. Listen to the full podcast:
1) U.S. Sees Record Illegal Border Crossings
The Topline: A highly anticipated report from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shines a light on the country’s growing immigration crisis, with a record number of illegal immigrants apprehended at the southern border over the last three months.
Over the last three months, more than half a million illegal immigrant encounters have happened at the border — an all-time high for a three month period — with some estimates saying an equal number of people are coming across the border without being caught.
There was also a record amount of drugs entering the country, with some areas at the border seizing ten times more fentanyl this year compared to last year.
Of the 178,000 people detained in December, roughly 78,000 were expelled from the country through Title 42, a Trump era public health order allowing for swift deportation on medical grounds due to COVID, according to the CBP. The agency noted that in December, roughly a third of those caught were subsequently released into the country.
In the Spring, many on the Left and in the media said the spike was due to seasonal weather patterns, noting illegal immigration always increases during warmer months. The Washington Post ran a headline, saying, “The migrant ‘surge’ at the U.S. southern border is actually a predictable pattern,” and President Joe Biden made similar claims in March.
From 2012 to 2020, there were seasonal patterns of illegal immigration. Each year, from the end of February until June, there was a clear increase in migrants. This came to be known as “travel season,” however, this pattern changed dramatically in 2021. The numbers rose continually each month without slowing down as the weather got colder.
Democrats say the increase is a result of migrants fleeing climate change or other poor conditions in their home countries. Republicans say migrants have been incentivized to come here illegally, with Democrat leaders promising free healthcare and other government benefits to everyone, regardless of immigration status. They also say Democrat policies have incentivized migrant parents to send their children alone because unaccompanied minors are often given preferential treatment in the legal process.
Of the 178,840 illegal immigrant encounters in December, 11,000 were unaccompanied children. Two-thirds were single adults.
Electoral Impact: Last month, a Wall Street Journal poll asked voters which issues they wanted Congress and President Biden to prioritize. Immigration was the most common response, ahead of the economy and inflation. In another recent poll, 72% of Americans said illegal immigration was unacceptable.
2) OSHA Continues To Pursue Vaccine Mandate
The Topline: The Biden administration is withdrawing its emergency vaccine order impacting 85 million Americans while continuing to push for a permanent rule.
OSHA announced it will formally withdraw the Emergency Temporary Standard. However, the agency is not dropping the rule entirely. Its current plan is to keep the order as a “proposed rule” and to work towards potentially implementing it as a non-emergency mandate.
The agency has signaled its intent to revise and perhaps re-issue the rule under a non-emergency procedure, saying in a memo: “Although OSHA is withdrawing the Vaccination and Testing ETS as an enforceable emergency temporary standard, OSHA is not withdrawing the ETS to the extent that it serves as a proposed rule” under the OSHA Act.
A spokesperson for the Labor Department told the press that the agency is “evaluating the record and the evolving course of the pandemic” and has “made no determinations at this time about when or if it will finalize a Vaccination and Testing rule.”
What It Means
OSHA’s decision to withdraw the ETS is intended to comply with the court’s ruling against the mandate, but they might still try to implement a different kind of workplace vaccine mandate. The Biden administration is still asking that companies independently impose vaccine mandates on their employees.
Despite the Supreme Court’s action, private companies still have the right to impose vaccine mandates.
However, companies who oppose a mandate, such as The Daily Wire, have the right to not require a vaccine. After the Supreme Court ruling, General Electric and Starbucks both suspended their vaccine mandates, while companies like Citigroup will continue to enforce the mandate, saying any employee who remains unvaccinated will be fired at the end of January unless granted an exemption.
3) Australian Open Reverses Course On Peng Shuai Protests
The Topline: Days after fans of the Australian Open were forced to remove T-shirts with the words “Where is Peng Shuai,” Tennis Australia is reversing course, announcing Monday that the shirts would be allowed.
Quote Of The Day: “I find it really, really cowardly. This is not a political statement. This is a human rights statement and chances are Peng Shuai may be playing here, but couldn’t get out of the country…”
– Eighteen-time Grand Slam winner Martina Navratilova
The safety of tennis star Peng Shuai has been a concern since her November 2nd social media post in which she accused a former Vice Premier of the Chinese Communist Party of sexually assaulting her three years ago after a round of tennis. She also accused his wife of guarding the door while the crime took place.
Her post was deleted nearly 30 minutes later and Peng’s account on Chinese social media platform Weibo was blocked from users on the platform. The last public statement made by Peng was a denial that she ever made the allegation against the communist party official.
On Saturday, fans wearing “Where is Peng Shuai?” t-shirts while attending the 2022 Australian Open in Melbourne were asked by security to remove the shirts because of rules set by Tennis Australia.
In a statement, Tennis Australia said, “Under our ticket conditions of entry we don’t allow clothing, banners or signs that are commercial or political.”
On Monday, Tennis Australia changed its stance on clothing containing “political slogans,” after receiving harsh backlash immediately following the decision.
Tennis Australia’s chief executive Craig Tiley said, “What we’ve said is that if anyone comes on site with an intent to disrupt and use the Australian Open as a platform for themselves and really disrupts the comfort and the safety of our fans, then they’re not welcome. However, if someone wants to wear a T-shirt and make a statement about Peng Shuai, that’s fine.”
Other Stories We’re Tracking
Attorney Michael Avenatti is on trial in Manhattan this week on charges that he stole nearly $300,000 from his then-client Stormy Daniels. The U.S. attorney told jurors that Avenatti stole the porn star’s book proceeds while presenting Daniels in her 2018 lawsuit against former President Donald Trump.
Pfizer has started testing its vaccine that specifically targets the Omicron variant. The participants in its trial are adults aged 18 to 55. The company’s CEO says it could have an Omicron-based vaccine ready by March.
Starting in 2024, the SAT test will be entirely online for U.S. students and shortened to two hours. The test will include shorter reading passages with one question for each passage.
Republican Governor of Virginia Glenn Youngkin has created an email tip line for parents to send in, quote, “any instances where they feel that their fundamental rights are being violated,” “their children are not being respected,” or “there are inherently divisive practices in their schools.”
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