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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Pledges to Build Wall along Southern Border

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Republican Gov. Greg Abbott announced that Texas would begin building a wall along the southern border.

What We Know:

  • Abbott announced this order and various other initiatives at the Border Security Summit on Thursday. He stated that they would be using $1 billion in state funds, and he needs the federal government’s approval for landowners and a border security task force. Abbott plans on resuming the wall initially started by former President Donald Trump at the U.S.-Mexico border. After the summit, Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz claimed that Abbott’s wall idea seemed more like a “border fence” than a wall, stating, “[Abbott] said ‘fence’ two or three times.”
  • Abbott plans to build his wall on a majority of the land largely owned by federal and state governments, with a small percentage also being privately owned. Trump ran into issues with this same problem when trying to complete his wall during his presidency. Building the wall was one of Trump’s key campaign promises, and he told voters that Mexico would pay for the wall. Mexico ended up not paying for any of the walls, and the U.S. spent close to $15 billion on it. Trump managed to build about 450 miles of the wall on the border that lined Arizona.
  • Abbott has criticized President Joe Biden’s administration for the border crisis, as there has been an increase of migrants crossing the border. He disagreed with Biden ending the “Remain in Mexico” policy that Trump established with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
  • This policy prevented a large increase of migrants into the U.S. because before they could cross into the country, they had to file for asylum in Mexico. In April, Biden’s administration stated that any further construction on the wall would be canceled.

“[Trump] began building the border wall and now suddenly all of that disappeared…it has led to a dramatic increase in the number of people crossing the border, but it’s not just unaccompanied minors, it’s people causing great damage and harm to the residents right here in Del Rio up and down the entire border,” said Abbott.

  • Due to the increase of migrants, Abbott has declared that the Texas Department of Public Safety will begin implementing federal and state criminal laws such as criminal trespassing, smuggling, and human trafficking. According to CNN, Abbott is also asking for the state’s Health and Human Services Commission to cease “state licensure of ‘any child care facility that shelters or detains unlawful immigrants’ under a contract with the federal government.” Abbott plans to arrest those who illegally cross the border, but local law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, and mayors must be on board for it to happen.

There hasn’t been any word on if Abbott is allowed to start building a wall. However, he refuses for the state to “sit idly by as this crisis grows.” He has stated that only single adults will be arrested at the border, claiming that families will not fall under his new policy. Abbott plans on starting his new arrest policy next week.

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Senate Prepares to Move Forward with Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

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On Monday, the Senate pushed to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill just hours after its legislative language was completed and unveiled. Senators who created the proposal expect it to clear the upper chamber in the following days.

What We Know:

  • Senate negotiators completed the 2,702-page bill on Sunday night. The bill, known as H.R. 3684, aims to provide $550 billion to fund the nation’s roads, bridges, railways, and public transit systems.
  • Since then, the Senate began taking up two amendments to the proposal. In addition, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer previewed three bipartisan amendments for consideration. Currently, it is uncertain how many amendments the Senate will consider. However, Schumer wants to vote on amendments quickly; he also noted that the first three “constitute only the first tranche of potential amendments.”
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell commented that H.R. 3684’s text lays out “a good and important jumping point for what needs to be a robust and bipartisan process” on the Senate floor. McConnell added that an “artificial timetable” must not affect the Senate’s “full consideration” of the bill.
  • On July 28, the bipartisan group of Senators and the White House reached an agreement on H.R. 3684’s details. Officials also voted 66-28 on the deal, which opened the package to potential changes during the amendment process. After this, Senators worked throughout the weekend to hammer out the legislative language.
  • If the Senate passes H.R. 3684, it will be a significant victory for President Joe Biden. A key proposal in his economic agenda, Biden boasted on the impact H.R. 3684 will hold on the nation. On Sunday, he tweeted that the deal is the most important investment in America’s public transit history. He additionally stated the bill will impact the U.S. just as much as the invention of the Amtrak 50 years ago.

If Congress approves H.R. 3684, it will ensure that Democrats may begin work on a $3.5 trillion proposal that focuses on Biden’s plans for childcare, healthcare, education, the environment, and possibly immigration. Doing so will ensure another success on Pres. Biden’s behalf.

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Coronavirus

Florida Breaks Record for COVID-19 Hospitalizations

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Florida recently saw 10,207 hospitalizations caused by coronavirus cases, the highest number since July 23, 2020.

What We Know:

  • On July 23, 2020, Florida reached a high of 10,170 hospitalizations, just six months before the COVID-19 vaccine became available. The new record makes Florida the leader in per capita hospitalizations for the virus.
  • Most of the new cases come from the highly contagious Delta variant. On average, Florida sees 1,525 adult and 35 children hospitalizations daily. In addition, Saturday revealed a peak in positive numbers, as the stated reported  21,683 occurrences of COVID-19. The day prior, the Sunshine State saw 17,093 cases.
  • Many hospital employees believed the excess hospitalizations would end soon because of an increase in vaccinations. However, the Delta variant changed all this. The Associated Press wrote that several hospitals, including the Mayo Clinic Florida and the UF Health North emergency room, needed to operate overcapacity and put beds in hallways to treat patients; the Mayo Clinic will continue to do so until the current surge ends. In Tampa, some local ambulances already needed to divert ambulances to other locations because of capacity concerns.
  • The higher numbers also are a direct result of a loosening of restrictions and a governor’s stubbornness. Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis actively declares he will not enact any more mask mandates and vaccine requirements. Along with the state Legislature, this makes it difficult for local officials to impose restrictions that will ease the positive numbers.
  • Medical officials scorned DeSantis for his adamance on the issue. Dr. Bernard Ashby, a Miami-based vascular cardiologist and Florida State Lead for the Committee to Protect Health Care, commented that the state would not be in its position now if DeSantis focused more on lowering cases than proving Dr. Anthony Fauci wrong. Gainesville infectious disease expert Dr. Frederick Southwick agreed with Ashby’s statement, saying that DeSantis needed to stop acting like “Florida won the pandemic.”

DeSantis recently announced that Florida would resist any federal authorities’ campaigns to enforce mask mandates inside schools despite the criticism.

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NY Attorney General: Gov. Cuomo harassed women, tried to retaliate against accuser

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NEW YORK — Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday announced the findings of her inquiry into accusations against Andrew Cuomo, concluding that the governor sexually harassed multiple women. James said victims included current and former employees, and that Cuomo tried to retaliate against at least one woman who came forward. Over 179 people were interviewed.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

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