Morning Report — Biden makes another immigration policy change


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Hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants married to U.S. citizens for a decade or more could be shielded by President Biden under a program he announced today.

The Hill: Biden issues massive immigration relief, seeking balance after border crackdown. 

A “parole in place” program, a version of policy applied to military personnel since 2010, is an election-year move that could win over some liberal voters, including in battleground states Nevada, Arizona and Georgia, according to The New York Times.

Early this month, Biden announced tough restrictions on admitting more asylum-seekers who try to enter the U.S. His decision was criticized by pro-immigrant advocacy groups and some members of his party as well as by former President Trump and Republicans, whose policies became Biden’s guideposts amid what he concedes is a border crisis.

The president’s announcement today coincides with Democrats’ reminder that former President Obama and then-Vice President Biden unveiled a deportation waiver program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2012, also a reelection year. Biden’s latest action, supported by Democratic members of Congress but described by some Republicans as “amnesty,” could benefit between 500,000 and 1.1 million undocumented adult spouses of U.S. citizens by making work permits and the transition from green cards to citizenship possible.

Even if a migrant who entered the country via the southern border marries a U.S. citizen, U.S. law requires the spouse to first leave the country for 10 years before he or she can be eligible for a green card. “Mixed status” couples, many with U.S.-born children, opt to take their chances by living and working in partial shadow. 

Several related bills introduced in Congress with bipartisan support that would tackle the legal dilemma have gone nowhere. Reps. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.)and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) recently sent Biden a letter urging him to use his executive authority to remedy immigration problems.

Biden could help “undocumented, long-term contributor spouses married to U.S. citizens [in order to] keep families together and expand our taxpayer labor force,” they wrote. “It is estimated that these work permits for immigrant spouses will generate $16 billion in growth to U.S. GDP.”

An experienced lawmaker, Suozzi flipped a Republican seat in a special election in February after campaigning on immigration and border security issues in a competitive district.

“This is a no-brainer: It’s good policy and good politics,Suozzi told the Times.

Conservatives disagree, describing Biden’s action as a shady shortcut to a green card and destined for court challenges. Without congressional action, a future president could undo Biden’s changes.

The president today is also expected to announce help for DACA recipients who earned degrees in higher education and are seeking a job in that same field, NBC News reports.

In a reelection year, Biden’s bet is that he can win crucial votes in swing states by expanding legal status for undocumented spouses, many of them originally from Mexico, who have been married and living in this country for a lengthy period. Public opinion may be on his side.

Obama made a similar bet in 2012 with DACA. An estimated 3.6 million “Dreamers” live in the U.S., but only about 530,000 are currently protected under the enforcement waiver, which is still being litigated. Obama watched from the sidelines in 2017 as Trump in his first year as president was buffeted by public opposition to deporting those brought to the U.S. illegally as children. The Supreme Court initially said Trump failed to follow federal procedures when he sought to end the program. DACA continues in 2024 with renewals possible every two years, although new applications are barred. 

Biden’s new immigration move is based on existing “parole in place” law, which allows the government to “admit” some immigrants legally by overriding their illegal entry.


3 THINGS TO KNOW TODAY:

▪ The Treasury Department Monday vowed to crack down on businesses and wealthy individuals who manipulate asset values to lower their tax liabilities. The administration says more than $50 billion over a decade could be recouped.

▪ As a glitzy Los Angeles campaign fundraiser for Biden and Democrats took place Saturday, a Secret Service agent was robbed at gunpoint in Southern California. The agent opened fire as suspects fled. No arrests have been made.

▪ The Boston Celtics blew out the Dallas Mavericks Monday to win the 2024 NBA Finals, clinching a record-setting 18th title. For the Celtics, the MVP was math.


LEADING THE DAY

Bob Good. Donald Trump. Jim McGuire. 05.28

© The Associated Press / Ted Shaffrey, Julia Nikhinson, John C. Clark | Conservative Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.), seeking reelection in today’s Virginia GOP primary, is challenged by state Sen. John McGuire, endorsed by former President Trump.

POLITICS 

IT’S PRIMARY NIGHT in Georgia, Oklahoma and Virginia today, where voters will weigh in on a spate of key congressional primaries and runoffs. In Virginia, 10-term incumbent Rep. Bob Good (R), chair of the House Freedom Caucus, faces a primary challenge from the right from state Sen. John McGuire.

The intraparty battle has positioned Trump against some of his key allies, including his former chief strategist Steve Bannon and Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), who are supporting Good. Trump has endorsed McGuire, a former Navy SEAL. For Trump, the contest is incredibly personal, going back to last year, when Good endorsed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) presidential bid (The Hill).

“This was ‘This guy screwed me. This guy stabbed me at my lowest time when I got indicted,’” said John Fredericks, a conservative radio talk show host who chaired Trump’s Virginia presidential campaigns in 2016 and 2020. “‘Thanks, Bob.’”

In Georgia, a candidate convicted of a misdemeanor for illegally demonstrating inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, is running in a GOP primary runoff for incumbent Rep. Sanford Bishop’s (D) seat. Chuck Hand — convicted of a misdemeanor for illegally demonstrating inside the Capitol that day — is up against Wayne Johnson. Hand is one of several people linked to Jan. 6 who have set their sights on being elected to Congress more than three years after the Capitol was stormed by rioters.

In West Virginia, Derrick Evans, who went to jail for participating in the insurrection, lost his longshot bid for a House seat last month — as did Ryan Zink, who filmed himself breaching the Capitol, over in Texas. The Hill’s Julia Mueller reports the Georgia race will serve as another check on how willing Republicans are to welcome those involved with Jan. 6 into the fold as Trump praises “J6 warriors” along the campaign trail.


2024 ROUNDUP:

▪ The Hill’s Niall Stanage writes in The Memo about a politically busy calendar ahead. A June 27 debate between Biden and Trump kickstarts a campaign phase that also features Trump’s July 11 court sentencing and the Republican National Convention nomination days later in mid-July. A planned July 24 address to Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu poses a political challenge for Biden, whose party is deeply divided over the war in Gaza.

▪ Here are CNN rules for the first of two 2024 presidential debate between Biden and Trump.

▪ Will independent presidential candidate Robert Kennedy Jr. qualify for the June 27 debate? Unlikely.

▪ Here are some pros and cons among contenders who could be tapped by Trump as his running mate, including North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton and Florida Rep. Byron Donalds.

▪ Trump is giving moderate GOP lawmakers some breathing room on the explosive issue of abortion, treading carefully on a topic Democrats are trying to make a political liability for swing-district Republicans.

▪ Democrats in Florida are veering from cautious optimism to complete pessimism about their chances in 2024, with two liberal-leaning ballot measures having the potential to boost turnout.

▪ The Supreme Court’s recent ruling on South Carolina’s congressional map makes it more difficult for voters to prove state lawmakers improperly relied on race in drawing new congressional lines.


WHERE AND WHEN

The House will meet at 11 a.m. for a pro forma session.

The Senate will convene at 10 a.m.

The president will host a White House event at 2:45 p.m. to mark the 12th anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 3:45 p.m. Biden and first lady Jill Biden will speak at 6:15 p.m. at a campaign event in McLean, Va., and return to the White House. The Bidens will depart from Virginia for Rehoboth Beach, Del., arriving at 10:50 p.m.              

Vice President Harris will fly to Atlanta to speak about gun violence at 2 p.m. She will join artist and philanthropist Quavo for a moderated conversation during a Rocket Foundation summit. Harris will speak at 3:50 p.m. at a political event marking Juneteenth. The vice president will return to Washington this evening.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet at 10 a.m. with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. They will hold a joint press conference at 11:15 a.m. at the State Department.

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff will travel to Durham, N.C., to tour a lead pipe removal site at 3:30 p.m., accompanied by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan, and speak about safe drinking water at 4:10 p.m. He will headline a campaign event in Cary, N.C., at 6:15 p.m.

The White House daily press briefing is scheduled at 1:30 p.m.


ZOOM IN

Congress Dome 081222 AP Susan Walsh

© The Associated Press / Susan Walsh | The Capitol in 2022.

CONGRESS

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is planning to have considerable influence over Republican policymaking even after he steps down as party leader at the end of the year, writes The Hill’s Alexander Bolton. Senate Republicans say McConnell is building the groundwork for a big budget reconciliation package that would extend the Trump-era tax cuts and provide a major boost for defense spending.

Officially, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) invited Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) to last week’s Senate Republican policy lunch where the Speaker got the ball rolling on putting together a Republican agenda in case the party finds itself in control of the White House and both chambers of Congress in November. But senators say McConnell has been a driving force behind the scenes on the Senate side.

“This looks to me like a McConnell-driven project. McConnell invited [Johnson] to come over, McConnell spoke repeatedly” at the policy meeting, “and he kept emphasizing, ‘You know we really need to be prepared, we need to get legislation written now,’” said a senator who attended the meeting. “Mitch seemed very focused.”

▪ USA Today: Culture war clashes in Congress risk stalling must-pass spending and defense bills.

▪ Axios: Congressional Republicans are calling for a reorganization of the National Institutes of Health that would strip its authority over “gain of function” research and freeze the experiments until new reforms are established.


COURTS

Lawyers for Hunter Biden withdrew a court filing seeking a new trial in his federal gun case Monday “at the request of counsel,” moments after a motion appeared in his case’s docket in Delaware federal court. A jury convicted the president’s son on three counts tied to lying about illegal drug use when he purchased a handgun in 2018 (Reuters).

Former Trump ally Rudy Giuliani’s creditors returned to bankruptcy court on Monday to try to persuade a judge to put an independent trustee in charge of the former New York mayor’s finances (The Hill).

💵 Conservatives appear to be setting the stage for yet another legal fight over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s funding structure, just weeks after the agency survived a challenge before the Supreme Court, writes The Hill’s Julia Shapero. However, within days of the ruling, conservative legal minds began arguing that the decision has created a new vulnerability for the CFPB. 


ELSEWHERE

Intl PutinKim 091323 AP Vladimir Smirnov

© The Associated Press / Vladimir Smirnov, Sputnik Kremlin Pool | Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un today as Russia seeks more munitions for its war in Ukraine.

INTERNATIONAL

A DESIRED PAUSE in daylight-hour fighting by the Israeli military along a 7-mile stretch of road in Gaza appeared to take effect Monday amid cautious hopes that it would allow more aid to reach residents. While aid workers said they hoped that the daily pause would remove one of several obstacles to delivering aid to areas in central and southern Gaza, aid agencies warned that other restrictions on movement, as well as lawlessness in the territory, continue to make food distribution difficult.

With stockpiles in Rafah dwindling, “maybe for a couple of weeks they’ll have enough food, but if we cannot have access and sustain that, then that’s going to be a big problem,” said Carl Skau, the deputy director of the United Nations World Food Program. Food supplies in southern Gaza were “more stabilized a month ago, but we are really concerned now,” Skau said (The New York Times).

The Washington Post: Two key Democratic holdouts in Congress signed off on a major arms sale to Israel after facing intense pressure from the Biden administration.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit North Korea for talks with leader Kim Jong Un today, furthering concerns about the growing military cooperation between the two states at a time when Moscow is eager for munitions to use in its war against Ukraine

In an op-ed piece, Putin thanked North Korea for supporting his actions in Ukraine and said their countries will cooperate closely to overcome U.S.-led sanctions (The Washington Post and The Associated Press).

▪ The Wall Street Journal: Meet the Russian spies next door. Posing as Argentine immigrants in Slovenia, the quiet married couple were in fact part of Putin’s aggressive effort to seed the West with ‘illegal’ intelligence operatives.

▪ Reuters: Thailand’s Senate passed the final reading of a marriage equality law on Tuesday, paving the way to become the first country in Southeast Asia to recognize same-sex unions.


OPINION

■ World leaders are failing us, by U.N. Humanitarian Chief Martin Griffiths, guest essayist, The New York Times.

■ Is a Democratic or Republican president better for the economy? by Gene Marks, opinion contributor, The Hill.


THE CLOSER

Closer heat 061724 AP Joff Roberson

© The Associated Press / Jeff Roberson | Large parts of the United States will experience severe heat over the next two weeks, with temperatures spiking in the Midwest and Northeast.

And finally … 🔥 The heat wave is here, fueled by an intense heat dome in the Midwest and Northeast. Record-breaking high temperatures will last into next week, ushering in the start of summer with this year’s most significant heat event yet. Up to 265 million people are expected to experience 90-degree weather this week.

This will translate to days of hot, humid and rain-free weather and little temperature relief at night. But at the same time, some snow could fall in the Rockies as an unusually cold air mass arrives.

What should you do to battle the high temps? Stay inside, if possible, or out of the direct sun. Make sure to stay hydrated and out of the boiling temps, and to check on elderly neighbors and relatives — and anyone else at risk of heatstroke or other heat-related illnesses.

▪ CNET: Here’s how to keep cool at night without air conditioning.

▪ The New York Times: Traveling during the temperature surge? Keep these precautions in mind.

▪ The Hill: A coalition of environmental, labor and healthcare groups called on FEMA to classify extreme heat and wildfire smoke as “major disasters” to unlock federal funding for states during these weather events.

▪ The Washington Post: This is how long the heat wave is supposed to last in Washington, D.C.


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