Ga. secy. of state signs petition to amend state constitution to ensure only citizens can vote

RAFFY

FILE - In this Nov. 30, 2020 file photo, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a news conference in Atlanta. The Republican announced on Friday, June 18, 2021, that he will remove nearly 102,000 voters from the rolls unless they act to preserve their registration. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

In this Nov. 30, 2020 file photo, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a news conference in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 9:13 AM PT – Saturday, September 18, 2021

Georgia’s secretary of state is pushing for an amendment to the state’s constitution, granting only U.S. citizens the right to vote. On Thursday, Brad Raffensperger signed his name on a petition launched by grassroots organization “Americans for Citizen Voting.”

In 2020, the organization led the charge in helping pass amendments in Florida, Alabama and Colorado to ensure illegal immigrants couldn’t vote in their elections.

“We were successful with this initiative in 2020 in Florida, Alabama and Colorado. The people there amended their constitutions to say that only United States citizens should vote and so we want that opportunity here in Georgia,” said Americans for Citizen Voting President Christopher Arps.

Meanwhile, opponents of the change have argued non-citizens don’t have the right to vote in Georgia already. However, Raffensperger has argued the language needs to be more clear and direct.

For the amendment to be passed a two-thirds majority in both the State House and Senate would need to vote in its favor.

MORE NEWS: N.Y. Gov. Hochul Orders Release Of 191 Inmates

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Conservative group targets vulnerable House Dems in new ad

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WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 21: U.S. House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) listens during a news conference April 21, 2016 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Congressional Democrats held a news conference to call for a raise in the federal minimum wage. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 21: U.S. House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) listens during a news conference April 21, 2016 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 10:01 AM PT – Saturday, September 18, 2021

A conservative group started launching ads targeting vulnerable Democrats telling them to vote against the massive reconciliation package. On Friday, the American Action Network released two ads targeting vulnerable Virginia Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D) and Elaine Luria (D).

The measure calls to raise taxes on the wealthy and large corporations in order to fund the bill. AAN President Dan Conston said, “the more we learn, the worse this bill gets. We’re only just scratching the surface, and already it’s clear this bill is a mountain of liabilities so tall anyone would be foolish to support it.” He also suggested members should think long and hard about their decision to support the massive package or not, calling it a “disastrous plan.”

In the 30-second clips, the group slammed Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) “social spending plan” and advised voters to tell the congresswomen to vote no. The ads also shined light on rising inflation and uncertainty in the economy since Democrats took control of Congress in January.

Meanwhile, Republicans said they are optimistic they can recapture Luria and Spanberger’s seats in the upcoming 2022 midterms.

MORE NEWS: Robert Durst Convicted Of Friend’s Murder

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Report: States like Ala. report dwindling supply of antibody treatments amid federal rationing

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Health care workers work inside the Regeneron Clinic at a monoclonal antibody treatment site in Pembroke Pines, Florida, on August 19, 2021. - Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced the opening of the Covid-19 antibody treatment site. DeSantis continues to promote the monoclonal antibody treatments as cases and hospitalizations spike in Florida. Starting Wednesday, C.B. Smith Park will start offering the antibody treatment from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. The site will be able to treat over 300 patients a day. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Health care workers work inside the Regeneron Clinic at a monoclonal antibody treatment site in Pembroke Pines, Florida, on August 19, 2021. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 10:22 AM PT – Saturday, September 18, 2021

States like Alabama say a federal rationing of monoclonal antibody treatments will hamper its fight against coronavirus. According to recent reports, some Alabama medical centers said they’ve already run out of the treatments with others struggling to find enough.

A jump in demand for the treatment has had some officials claiming there is a national shortage. This comes after the treatment’s popularity has grown since being deemed successful in holding off the effects of COVID.

Alabama public health officials said they’ll know how much of an impact the rationing will have in the coming week.

Alabama State Health Officer Scott Harris commented on the shortage and the uncertainty for the future. “I mean, I’m hopeful it doesn’t mean a cut for us, but really at this point I’m just not sure. We just haven’t seen their formula exactly and don’t know how it’s going to play out,” he said.

In the meantime in Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott (R) received the treatment when he tested positive for the virus, health officials there have said they’re concerned as well. The treatment has been described as a “pillar” in the fight against the surge in Texas.

MORE NEWS: Conservative Group Targets Vulnerable House Dems In New Ad

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Robert Durst convicted of friend’s murder

DURSTT

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 04: New York real estate scion Robert Durst appears in court for during opening statements in his murder trial on March 4, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. The 76-year-old defendant, charged with murdering a friend in December 2000, has been behind bars since March 14, 2015. (Photo by Etienne Laurent -Pool/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 04: New York real estate scion Robert Durst appears in court for during opening statements in his murder trial on March 4, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. The 76-year-old defendant, charged with murdering a friend in December 2000, has been behind bars since March 14, 2015. (Photo by Etienne Laurent -Pool/Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 9:41 AM PT – Saturday, September 18, 2021

A nearly 21-year-old murder case has been put to rest in court following the announcement of Robert Durst’s conviction. A Los Angeles County jury convicted multimillionaire Durst of killing his friend Susan Berman in 2000. The verdict was given on Friday after three days of deliberation.

Durst allegedly killed Berman for preparing to confess her cover-up of Durst’s wife’s murder. Durst ambushed his trusted friend, leaving her for dead with a bullet to the back of her head. Durst claimed he found the body, but didn’t call the police believing no one would think he was innocent.

Berman is only the first supposed victim of Durst’s that he has been convicted for. Meanwhile, his late wife Kathleen McCormack Durst went missing in New York City in 1982. Berman allegedly provided a false alibi to police, but was looking to come clean to authorities almost 20 years later.

While authorities were investigating the disappearance of Berman, Durst hid in Galveston, Texas. While living there, he got into an altercation with his neighbor Morris Black and killed him. The prosecution in that case argued Black had recognized Durst and was going to report him to authorities.

Durst testified Black had brandished a firearm, forcing him to act in self defense. The Galveston jury ended up acquitting him.

The incident leading to his arrest was his interview for the HBO documentary series “The Jinx” in 2015. While using the on set restroom, he unknowingly admitted to all three of the murders on his microphone, which was still recording.

Durst was taken into custody that year while evading authorities in New Orleans. The man attending the courtroom was gaunt and wheelchair-bound, esophageal cancer having withered away his body. When questioned by the prosecution if he would ever admit that he killed both Kathy or Susan, he said he never would.

The defendant was not present to hear his own verdict, being forced to isolate due to coming into contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19. In the meantime, the 78-year-old is likely to spend the rest of his life behind bars. He’s expected to be sentenced on Oct. 18.

MORE NEWS: Ga. Secy. Of State Signs Petition To Amend State Constitution To Ensure Only Citizens Can Vote

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Ken Paxton to Newsmax: Situation in Del Rio Shows Border Crisis Worsening

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Ken Paxton to Newsmax: Situation in Del Rio Shows Border Crisis Worsening Haitian migrants cross the Rio Grande to get food and supplies near the Del Rio-Acuna Port of Entry in Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila state, Mexico on September 18, 2021. (Paul Ratje / AFP via Getty)

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Saturday, 18 September 2021 12:02 PM

The thousands of migrants that have converged under the bridge that connects Del Rio, Texas and Mexico's Ciudad Acuña, creating a makeshift camp with few basic services in intense heat is proof of a continuing problem at the border that is just getting worse under the Biden administration, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton insisted on Newsmax Saturday.

"Every day that we don't get this resolved, that brings more drugs into the country, more COVID, more crime, and more people," Paxton said on Newsmax's "Saturday Report."

"It's out of control and the Biden administration is not just allowing it to happen. They're inviting them."

The Biden administration is reportedly working on plans to fly many of the thousands of Haitian immigrants who are making up much of the crush at the bridge back to their homeland. Details aren't yet finalized, but an official with direct knowledge of the plans said there will likely be five to eight flights per day until the Haitians are returned.

But Paxton said that President Joe Biden will neither go to the border nor listen to the people who are being affected by his policies.

"These people crossing the border affect negatively the people along the border," said Paxton. "It affects their crime rates. They have all these costs that they're incurring. There are risks for greater COVID transmission, and so they're worried about their safety. The president is not worried. If he was he'd stop it. If he was, he'd be down there talking to these people about what they're dealing with every day."

Further, Biden is inviting migrants into the United States, even while he knows many have COVID-19.

"He's letting them in the country and then he's moving them all over the country to spread COVID, and then we have this increase in COVID, and we wonder why," said Paxton.

He also complained that immigrants are being taken to other cities and states and dropped off.

"I talked to a couple of Dallas police officers," said Paxton. "They told me that they saw these buses come in from the border in Dallas, and people got off the buses and they just walked into the night. There's no tagging them. There's no vetting them. They just disappear."

Meanwhile, Texas is part of a coalition pushing back against Biden's vaccine mandate for private-sector employees, and Paxton said the fight centers around whether the president has the power under the Constitution to establish the law.

"The founders set up three branches of government," he said. "They did not give the president the edict issuing ability and that's what he's trying to do…this is the most out of control president we have ever seen, and it's up to the states to do their best to try to stop this."

Original Article

North Carolina Judges Strike Down Voter ID Law, Claiming It’s Racist

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North Carolina Judges Strike Down Voter ID Law, Claiming It's Racist graphic illustration of hands fighting over a voter ballot that looks like an US flag before it goes into a ballot box (Dreamstime)

GARY D. ROBERTSON Saturday, 18 September 2021 12:07 PM

North Carolina judges struck down the state’s latest photo voter identification law Friday, agreeing with minority voters Republicans rammed through rules tainted by racial bias as a way to remain in power.

Two of the three trial judges declared the December 2018 law is unconstitutional, even though it was designed to implement a photo voter ID mandate added to the North Carolina Constitution in a referendum just weeks earlier. They said the law was rushed and intentionally discriminates against Black voters, violating their equal protections.

The law "was motivated at least in part by an unconstitutional intent to target African American voters," Superior Court Judges Michael O'Foghludha and Vince Rozier wrote in their 102-page order.

"Other, less restrictive voter ID laws would have sufficed to achieve the legitimate nonracial purposes of implementing the constitutional amendment requiring voter ID, deterring fraud, or enhancing voter confidence," the judges added.

The majority decision, which followed a three-week trial in April, will be appealed, Republicans at the legislature said. A state appeals court had previously blocked the law's enforcement last year. The law remains unenforceable with this ruling.

With a similar lawsuit in federal court set to go to trial this January and another state court lawsuit now on appeal, it is looking more unlikely the current voter ID law will be enforced in the 2022 elections.

Allison Riggs, the plaintiffs' lead attorney, praised the decision. Riggs said the ruling reflects "how the state's Republican-controlled legislature undeniably implemented this legislation to maintain its power by targeting voters of color."

Republicans have said voter ID laws are needed to build public confidence in elections and to prevent voter fraud, which remains rare nationwide. Many Democrats see the mandates as attempts at voter suppression.

In July 2016, a federal appeals court struck down several portions of a 2013 North Carolina law that included a voter ID mandate, saying GOP lawmakers had written them with "almost surgical precision" to discourage voting by Black residents, who tend to support Democrats.

Lawyers for the voters who sued over the 2018 law said it suffered from similar racial defects as the 2013 law — following a long effort by North Carolina elected officials to weaken African American voting as a way to retain control the General Assembly. The 2013 law was carried out briefly in 2016 primary elections.

GOP legislative leaders and their attorneys disagreed, saying the latest ID rules were approved with noteworthy Democrat support and improved to retain ballot access while ensuring only legal citizens can vote.

The categories of qualifying IDs were greatly expanded compared to the 2013 law to include college student and government-employee IDs. Free IDs also were made available, and people without IDs can still vote if they fill out a form.

Sam Hayes, an attorney for House GOP Speaker Tim Moore, said "liberal judges have defied the will of North Carolinians on election integrity" with the decision. Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger are among defendants in the lawsuit.

"Photo voter ID laws are designed to bolster confidence in elections; calling this law irredeemably racist does the exact opposite," GOP Sen. Paul Newton of Cabarrus County said.

In the dissenting opinion, Judge Nathaniel Poovey wrote there was "not one scintilla of evidence" presented that any legislator acted with racially discriminatory intent.

The plaintiffs' evidence relied "heavily on the past history of other lawmakers and used an extremely broad brush to paint the 2018 General Assembly with the same toxic paint," Poovey wrote.

But the panel's majority wrote, while they found no legislator harboring racial animus toward Black voters, Republicans targeted voters "who, based on race, were unlikely to vote for the majority party" as the federal court also ruled in 2016.

About three dozen states have laws requesting or requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls, and about half want photo ID only, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Six voters — five Black and one biracial — sued in Wake County court on the same day GOP lawmakers overrode Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of the 2018 voter ID bill.

Some plaintiffs testified at trial about difficulties obtaining an ID or voting when the earlier photo ID law was in effect. Lawyers for the GOP said all voters would continue to be able to vote under the 2018 law.

The plaintiffs' case emphasized the state's history of discriminatory voting laws, as well as an analysis from a University of Michigan professor who said Black voters are 39% more likely to lack a qualifying photo ID than white registered voters. The analysis, however, left out data on some categories of qualifying IDs.

Changes to these and other voting procedures in North Carolina once needed federal preapproval. But a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling meant such "preclearance" actions were no longer required. The 2013 voter ID law was approved shortly after that ruling.

Original Article

North Carolina Judges Strike Down Voter ID Law, Claiming It’s Racist

getfile.aspxguidE9BD2100 1BDF 487A 9237 716785BC34C5 1

North Carolina Judges Strike Down Voter ID Law, Claiming It's Racist graphic illustration of hands fighting over a voter ballot that looks like an US flag before it goes into a ballot box (Dreamstime)

GARY D. ROBERTSON Saturday, 18 September 2021 12:07 PM

North Carolina judges struck down the state’s latest photo voter identification law Friday, agreeing with minority voters Republicans rammed through rules tainted by racial bias as a way to remain in power.

Two of the three trial judges declared the December 2018 law is unconstitutional, even though it was designed to implement a photo voter ID mandate added to the North Carolina Constitution in a referendum just weeks earlier. They said the law was rushed and intentionally discriminates against Black voters, violating their equal protections.

The law "was motivated at least in part by an unconstitutional intent to target African American voters," Superior Court Judges Michael O'Foghludha and Vince Rozier wrote in their 102-page order.

"Other, less restrictive voter ID laws would have sufficed to achieve the legitimate nonracial purposes of implementing the constitutional amendment requiring voter ID, deterring fraud, or enhancing voter confidence," the judges added.

The majority decision, which followed a three-week trial in April, will be appealed, Republicans at the legislature said. A state appeals court had previously blocked the law's enforcement last year. The law remains unenforceable with this ruling.

With a similar lawsuit in federal court set to go to trial this January and another state court lawsuit now on appeal, it is looking more unlikely the current voter ID law will be enforced in the 2022 elections.

Allison Riggs, the plaintiffs' lead attorney, praised the decision. Riggs said the ruling reflects "how the state's Republican-controlled legislature undeniably implemented this legislation to maintain its power by targeting voters of color."

Republicans have said voter ID laws are needed to build public confidence in elections and to prevent voter fraud, which remains rare nationwide. Many Democrats see the mandates as attempts at voter suppression.

In July 2016, a federal appeals court struck down several portions of a 2013 North Carolina law that included a voter ID mandate, saying GOP lawmakers had written them with "almost surgical precision" to discourage voting by Black residents, who tend to support Democrats.

Lawyers for the voters who sued over the 2018 law said it suffered from similar racial defects as the 2013 law — following a long effort by North Carolina elected officials to weaken African American voting as a way to retain control the General Assembly. The 2013 law was carried out briefly in 2016 primary elections.

GOP legislative leaders and their attorneys disagreed, saying the latest ID rules were approved with noteworthy Democrat support and improved to retain ballot access while ensuring only legal citizens can vote.

The categories of qualifying IDs were greatly expanded compared to the 2013 law to include college student and government-employee IDs. Free IDs also were made available, and people without IDs can still vote if they fill out a form.

Sam Hayes, an attorney for House GOP Speaker Tim Moore, said "liberal judges have defied the will of North Carolinians on election integrity" with the decision. Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger are among defendants in the lawsuit.

"Photo voter ID laws are designed to bolster confidence in elections; calling this law irredeemably racist does the exact opposite," GOP Sen. Paul Newton of Cabarrus County said.

In the dissenting opinion, Judge Nathaniel Poovey wrote there was "not one scintilla of evidence" presented that any legislator acted with racially discriminatory intent.

The plaintiffs' evidence relied "heavily on the past history of other lawmakers and used an extremely broad brush to paint the 2018 General Assembly with the same toxic paint," Poovey wrote.

But the panel's majority wrote, while they found no legislator harboring racial animus toward Black voters, Republicans targeted voters "who, based on race, were unlikely to vote for the majority party" as the federal court also ruled in 2016.

About three dozen states have laws requesting or requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls, and about half want photo ID only, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Six voters — five Black and one biracial — sued in Wake County court on the same day GOP lawmakers overrode Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of the 2018 voter ID bill.

Some plaintiffs testified at trial about difficulties obtaining an ID or voting when the earlier photo ID law was in effect. Lawyers for the GOP said all voters would continue to be able to vote under the 2018 law.

The plaintiffs' case emphasized the state's history of discriminatory voting laws, as well as an analysis from a University of Michigan professor who said Black voters are 39% more likely to lack a qualifying photo ID than white registered voters. The analysis, however, left out data on some categories of qualifying IDs.

Changes to these and other voting procedures in North Carolina once needed federal preapproval. But a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling meant such "preclearance" actions were no longer required. The 2013 voter ID law was approved shortly after that ruling.

Poll: Virginia Governor Race Neck-and-Neck

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Poll: Virginia Governor Race Neck-and-Neck Poll: Virginia Governor Race Neck-and-Neck Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Virginia for a second term. (Win McNamee/Getty)

By Nick Koutsobinas | Saturday, 18 September 2021 11:07 AM

The race for Virginia's next governor is neck-and-neck between Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin, according to a Washington Post/Schar School poll.

McAuliffe is showing a slight lead of 50 percent support among likely voters, but Youngkin is right on his tail with 47 percent, reports Politico. For registered voters, McAuliffe is holding at 49 percent while Youngkin stands at 43 percent.

The candidates hit the campaign trail Friday after clashing in a Thursday night debate where they discussed topics ranging from abortion to COVID-19. McAuliffe, who served as governor from 2014 to 2018, hit the campaign trail Friday in Northern Virginia to muster early votes while Youngkin spent the day in Chesterfield, one of Virginia's "red" counties that President Joe Biden flipped last year.

The poll, released Friday, was conducted between Sept. 7-13. Pollsters contacted 907 registered voters and 728 likely voters by phone. There was a 4 percent margin of error for registered voters and 4.5 percent for likely voters.

Original Article

Florida Police: Fiancé of Missing Gabby Petito Now Also Missing

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Florida Police: Fiancé of Missing Gabby Petito Now Also Missing Florida Police: Fiancé of Missing Gabby Petito Now Also Missing The City of North Port Chief of Police Todd Garrison speaks during a news conference for missing person Gabby Petito on September 16 in North Port, Florida. (Photo by Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

By Charles Kim | Saturday, 18 September 2021 10:32 AM

The missing persons case of Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, 22, now gripping the nation has taken yet another bizarre twist with the apparent disappearance of her fiancé Brian Laundrie, a “person of interest” to law enforcement investigating the case.

North Port, Florida, police announced late Friday that they were searching for Laundrie, 23, with the FBI.

“The North Port Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigations are currently searching for 23-yr-old Brian Laundrie of North Port,” the department said in a post on Facebook Friday night. “The attorney for the Laundrie family called FBI investigators Friday night indicating the family would like to talk about the disappearance of their son. The family now claims that they have not seen Brian since Tuesday of this week.”

Laundrie and Petito were engaged and set out in August on a cross country drive from Suffolk County, New York in Petito’s 2012 white Ford Transit van.

Petito posted several photos and videos from her trip on social media but stopped communicating with her family during the last week of August when she and Laundrie were believed to have been in the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

Her family reported her missing to Suffolk County Police on Sept. 11, according to police.

Police recovered the van, owned by Petito, in North Port, Florida, where she lived with Laundrie and his parents.

Police there said Laundrie returned home with the van Sept. 1, but without Petito.

Laundrie and his family refused to talk with law enforcement regarding the case, referring them to their attorney instead.

As the search on the ground in Wyoming intensified during the last week, and pleas from Petito’s family to Laundrie went unanswered, police in Moab, Utah, released body-cam footage of a traffic stop on Aug. 12 where the couple appeared to be involved in an argument.

According to the video, officers separated the couple for the night.

Currently, law enforcement agencies identify Laundrie only as “a person of interest” in the case and have repeated several times that there is no evidence yet, that a crime has been committed and they are still treating it as a missing persons case.

In another twist to the mystery, Laundrie’s family contacted police Friday, saying they have not seen their son, Brian, since Tuesday.

People gathered outside the Laundrie family home Friday, chanting “Where is Gabby?” as police from North Port and FBI agents entered and left the home with brown envelopes used to collect evidence, although police would not say what any of that might entail.

Related Story:

FDA panel votes against approving COVID booster shots to general public

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WHITE OAK, MD - JULY 20: A sign for the Food And Drug Administration is seen outside of the headquarters on July 20, 2020 in White Oak, Maryland. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)

WHITE OAK, MD – JULY 20: A sign for the Food And Drug Administration is seen outside of the headquarters on July 20, 2020 in White Oak, Maryland. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 7:09 PM PT – Friday, September 17, 2021

A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee halted the Biden administration’s push to administer booster shots for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. On Friday, an advisory panel to the FDA voted not to fully approve the booster shots for the Pfizer vaccine.

Only two committee members voted in favor of adding a jab, but the move was squashed by the remaining 16. The Biden administration initially wanted to get booster shots in the arms of Americans as soon as next week. However, the committee was hesitant to greenlight the added jabs, claiming Pfizer didn’t provide sufficient data showing booster shots were safe or necessary.

Although, the panel did vote unanimously to give the go ahead on the shots for Americans ages 65 and older. Additionally, those at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, including the immunocompromised, were also advised to get the booster.

The vote comes as two senior FDA officials stepped down at the beginning of the month over pressure by the White House to recommend a third injection of the vaccine.

In the meantime, the FDA has the final say as to whether to approve the booster and critics have said the advisory board’s decision shows Biden’s push to add a jab to Americans is out of tune with top health experts.

MORE NEWS: Texas Gov. Abbott Signs $1.8B Border Bill, Says Was Forced To Due To Biden’s Inaction

Original Article Oann

N.Y. Gov. Hochul orders release of 191 inmates

KATHY

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul holds the "Less is More" law she signed, during ceremonies in the her office, in New York, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. New Yorkers will be able to avoid jail time for most nonviolent parole violations under a new law that will take effect in March, and largely eliminates New York's practice of incarcerating people for technical parole violations. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul holds the “Less is More” law she signed, during ceremonies in the her office, in New York, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 7:38 PM PT – Friday, September 17, 2021

New York’s new governor recently released dozens of prisoners and has vowed to release even more.

“New York state incarcerates more people for parole violations than anywhere in the country. That is a point of shame for us and it needs to be fixed,” said Gov. Kathy Hochul. “And it’s going to be fixed today.”

Hochul ordered the release of 191 Riker’s Island Prison inmates as she advances new criminal justice reforms in her state. She announced they had served their sentences under the dictates of the new Less is More Act and argued they shouldn’t have to wait until the enactment date.

On Friday, the Democrat ordered the releases while also signing the Less is More Act into law. Hochul explained the point of the new act.

“The Less is More Act advances critical reforms to make our criminal justice a better and fairer institution. And what we’re going to do is bolster our due process and have speedier hearings.”

The new law also ensures parolees won’t be returned to prison for violating technical conditions of their release. The moves come in response to safety concerns on Riker’s Island, which is reportedly understaffed and overcrowded.

Meanwhile, the bill will take effect in March of 2022.

MORE NEWS: FDA Panel Votes Against Approving COVID Booster Shots To General Public

Original Article Oann

World leaders commemorate Abraham Accords

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TOPSHOT - (L-R)Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Donald Trump, and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan participate in the signing of the Abraham Accords where the countries of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates recognize Israel, at the White House in Washington, DC, September 15, 2020. - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the foreign ministers of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates arrived September 15, 2020 at the White House to sign historic accords normalizing ties between the Jewish and Arab states. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

(L-R) Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Donald Trump, and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan participate in the signing of the Abraham Accords where the countries of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates recognize Israel, at the White House in Washington, DC, September 15, 2020. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 4:27 PM PT – Friday, September 17, 2021

World leaders celebrate the historic Abraham Accords, the agreements President Trump brokered last year to normalize relations between Israel and other Middle Eastern countries. In a conference call on Friday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with leaders from Israel, Bahrain, the UAE and Morocco.

Blinken kicked off the call by discussing the plans for the future of the region.

“We will encourage more countries to follow the lead of the Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco. We want to widen the circle of peaceful diplomacy because it’s in the interests of countries across the region and around the world for Israel to be treated like any other country,” said Blinken.

The former UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash also commented on the hope the Abraham Accords represent.

“We are encouraged with the opportunities that are there. And you know, a lot has happened in the past year, and I would say that a lot of positive things have happened,” said Gargash. “And this is really a counternarrative for a region that needs a positive counternarrative.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid discussed what his nation is looking forward to working on now that there is more stability in the region. Lapid said they’re going to dedicate the next couple of years to strategic projects off of infrastructure.

However, despite their incalculable role in orchestrating the agreements, those present failed to recognize President Trump and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s accomplishments. Lapid did however have a message of encouragement for any other nations wishing to join the newfound progress towards peace, stating the Abraham Accords’ club is open for new members and that one of their goals is to “make sure other countries will follow suit in this new era of cooperation and friendship.”

MORE NEWS: Friends And Family Celebrate Cpl. Daegan Page’s Life

Original Article Oann

U.S. to spend $2.1B on infection control

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BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MARCH 30: CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky speaks to the press after visiting the Hynes Convention Center FEMA Mass Vaccination Site on March 30, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Walensky recently said she had a sense of "impending doom" as the rate of coronavirus infection has recently been rising across the U.S. (Photo by Erin Clark-Pool/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – MARCH 30: CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky speaks to the press after visiting the Hynes Convention Center FEMA Mass Vaccination Site on March 30, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Erin Clark-Pool/Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:03 PM PT – Friday, September 17, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announces billions of dollars will be allocated towards infection control efforts to better protect patients across health care facilities. The federal government is allocating $2.1 billion to provide better infection control in health care facilities across the nation.

Health officials made the announcement Friday, saying the investment would help prevent COVID-19 infections, as well as other diseases from high-risk facilities like hospitals and nursing homes. The funds are being pulled from the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill Joe Biden signed into law this year and involves a three-year plan to issue $1.25 billion across 64 state, local and territorial health departments.

“This includes improving laboratory capacity to detect infectious threats, training health care workers in a first of its kind program and expanding data so we can track infections in real time and monitor progress,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.

$500 million is set to be spent on creating state-based strike teams to assist long-term care facilities and nursing homes in decreasing the spread of infections. Walensky mentioned the funding would dramatically improve the safety and quality of health care in the U.S.

“Ensuring health care settings have the resources necessary to stop infections is pivotal to ending this pandemic and to preventing future ones.”

Walensky reiterated the spending is for the next three years and could take time to establish the new programs, but is confident in the plan’s development to stop infectious diseases like COVID-19 and other diseases.

Funds will be distributed at the beginning of October and nearly $900 million will go towards supporting research and training on new ways to better control the spread of infection.

MORE NEWS: Pentagon Says Kabul Drone Strike Was A ‘Tragic Mistake’

Original Article Oann

Texas Gov. Abbott signs $1.8B border bill, says was forced to due to Biden’s inaction

stateof

PHARR, TEXAS - JUNE 30: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott listens to former President Donald Trump's address during a tour to an unfinished section of the border wall on June 30, 2021 in Pharr, Texas. Gov. Abbott has pledged to build a state-funded border wall between Texas and Mexico as a surge of mostly Central American immigrants crossing into the United States has challenged U.S. immigration agencies. So far in 2021, U.S. Border Patrol agents have apprehended more than 900,000 immigrants crossing into the United States on the southern border. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

PHARR, TEXAS – JUNE 30: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott listens to former President Donald Trump’s address during a tour to an unfinished section of the border wall on June 30, 2021 in Pharr, Texas. Gov. Abbott has pledged to build a state-funded border wall between Texas and Mexico as a surge of mostly Central American immigrants crossing into the United States has challenged U.S. immigration agencies. So far in 2021, U.S. Border Patrol agents have apprehended more than 900,000 immigrants crossing into the United States on the southern border. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:43 PM PT – Friday, September 17, 2021

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has signed a nearly $2 billion border security bill into law. On Friday, Abbott signed legislation to allocate an additional $1.8 billion to protecting the southern border over the next two years.

This nearly triples what the state already spends on border security. Abbott said his hands were tied in making the decision due to the Biden administration’s failure to follow through on its duties.

“It’s the federal government’s job to secure our border, but the Biden administration has failed to do its job. So, Texas is stepping up and doing what the federal government is supposed to do,” said Abbott.

In the meantime, thousands of migrants are currently trying to enter the U.S. through the border crossing in Del Rio, Texas.

MORE NEWS: U.S. To Spend $2.1B On Infection Control

Original Article Oann

Pentagon says Kabul drone strike was a ‘tragic mistake’

pentaagon

FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2021, file photo Gen. Frank McKenzie, Commander of U.S. Central Command, appears on screen as he speaks from MacDill Air Force Base, in Tampa, Fla., as he speaks about Afghanistan during a virtual briefing moderated by Pentagon spokesman John Kirby at the Pentagon in Washington. The Pentagon retreated from its defense of a drone strike that killed multiple civilians in Afghanistan last month, announcing Friday, Sept. 17, that an internal review revealed that only civilians were killed in the attack, not an Islamic State extremist as first believed. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

In this Aug. 30, 2021, file photo Gen. Frank McKenzie, Commander of U.S. Central Command, appears on screen as he speaks from MacDill Air Force Base, in Tampa, Fla., as he speaks about Afghanistan during a virtual briefing moderated by Pentagon spokesman John Kirby at the Pentagon in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 4:55 PM PT – Friday, September 17, 2021

The Pentagon admitted it made a “tragic mistake” after 10 civilians were killed in a U.S. airstrike in Kabul. Top officials acknowledged the error on Friday, saying the strike killed three adults and seven children and not ISIS-K terrorists as originally reported.

The target believed to be linked to the terrorist group turned out to be an innocent aid worker. Reports said military intelligence had tracked the target and his car for around eight hours after reportedly discovering it at a compound associated with ISIS-K. In addition, they said they also saw what they believed was explosives being loaded into the car, which turned out to be containers of water.

U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said the Aug. 29 strike was a mistake, adding they believed the victims posed an imminent threat to U.S. forces and evacuees at the Kabul airport. However, when he addressed the nation he said “we now assess that it is unlikely that the vehicle and those who died were associated with ISIS-K or a direct threat to U.S. forces.”

Targeting two ISIS-K operatives following last months deadly suicide bombing, the Pentagon maintained the strike was a success. The targeted vehicle was being driven by Zemari Ahmadi and all victims were from the same extended family.

McKenzie took full responsibility for the tragic outcome, offering his profound condolences to the victim’s families.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also shared an apology for the strike, saying he’s conducted a “thorough review of the investigation.” He added the review would also consider the degree to which strike authorities, procedures and processes need to be altered in the future.

MORE NEWS: World Leaders Commemorate Abraham Accords

Original Article Oann

Nikki Haley to Newsmax: US ‘Embarrassing’ to the World Under Biden

getfile.aspxguidE9C6DBBC 16AA 46DC A194 CBE76CF6B0AE

Nikki Haley to Newsmax: US 'Embarrassing' to the World Under Biden (Newsmax/"Spicer & Co.")

By Charles Kim | Friday, 17 September 2021 10:00 PM

Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley told Newsmax Friday that the United States looks ''embarrassing'' in the eyes of the world after several foreign policy debacles by the administration of President Joe Biden.

Haley, who served in the administration of President Donald Trump, said that while she agrees with the recent move to partner with the United Kingdom and Australia, providing the land down under with nuclear powered submarines, the administration should have tipped off other allies — like France — to the move before announcing it.

''I actually applaud the fact that the U.S. is doing this deal with the U.K. and Australia. I think it's exactly what we need to be doing in terms of countering China, but they could have avoided a communications nightmare just by picking up the phone and calling our friends in France and saying, 'Hey, we're going to do this,"' Haley said during ''Spicer & Co.'' Friday.

''The idea that they didn't do it. It just goes to show that there's no communication within the administration, there's no communication out of the administration. It doesn't seem like our agencies are talking (to each other) and I don't know that we don't look more embarrassing in the eyes of the world than we do right now under this Biden administration,'' she said.

The move announced this week by Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison caused France to recall its diplomats from Australia and say the U.S. ''stabbed [them] in the back.''

Compounding the foreign policy problems this week, as the Biden administration continues to deal with pushback on how it handled the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced Friday that a drone strike in late August in that country killed 10 innocent people.

Those who died included seven children; their vehicle was mistaken as a threat posed by ISIS-K. The terrorist group had just carried out a suicide bomb attack at the airport in Kabul that killed 13 U.S. military personnel during the evacuation airlift.

Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, who joined Haley on the program, said Congress needs to investigate the incident and demand accountability.

''Well, it leaves us obviously with a lot of questions and what happened in Afghanistan with this drone strike that took out a target that was unintended,'' Hinson said. ''It was a complete tragedy, and it shouldn't have ever happened, just like the entire situation in Afghanistan.

"So, I serve on the House Appropriations and Homeland Security committees, and we are going to be looking into how this happened, what happened, and we just need answers. We need accountability.''

Haley and Hinson are also working together to help cultivate more female conservative candidates for Congress.

''I think it's very clear. We share a joint priority, which is that Congress needs more GOP women,'' Hinson said.

''I'm a working mom. Congress needs more women who look like America, and I think that's what our joint effort is, to make sure that we elect more strong conservative women to Congress, people who are willing to look (House) Speaker Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif.] in the eye and say we're not going to let you move our country towards socialism.''

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Original Article

Admin, Under Fire, Plans to Fly Haitian Migrants Back to Haiti

getfile.aspxguidBC9D619F 41E1 4412 A5FE 3AFE41951D29 1

Admin, Under Fire, Plans to Fly Haitian Migrants Back to Haiti Haitian migrants use a dam to cross to the United States from Mexico on Friday in Del Rio, Texas Haitian migrants use a dam to cross to the United States from Mexico on Friday in Del Rio, Texas. (AP)

ERIC GAY and ELLIOT SPAGAT Saturday, 18 September 2021 09:59 AM

The Biden administration worked Saturday on plans to send many of the thousands of Haitian immigrants who have gathered in a Texas border city back to their Caribbean homeland, in a swift response to the huge influx of people who suddenly crossed the border from Mexico and congregated under and around a bridge.

Details were yet to be finalized but would likely involve five to eight flights per day that would begin Sunday, according to an official with direct knowledge of the plans who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity. San Antonio, the nearest major city to Del Rio, where the migrants have gathered, could be among the departure cities.

The official said Friday that operational capacity and Haiti's willingness would determine the number of flights, but that "good progress" was being made.

Another administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity expected two flights per day, at most, and said all migrants would be tested for COVID-19.

U.S. authorities closed traffic to vehicles and pedestrians in both directions Friday at the only border crossing in Del Rio after the chaotic influx of migrants presented the administration with a new and immediate challenge as it tries to manage large numbers of asylum-seekers who have been reaching U.S. soil.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it was closing the border crossing with Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, "to respond to urgent safety and security needs." Travelers were being directed to a crossing in Eagle Pass, 57 miles away.

Haitians on Friday crossed the Rio Grande freely and in a steady stream, going back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico through knee-deep water, with some parents carrying small children on their shoulders. Unable to buy supplies in the U.S., they returned briefly to Mexico for food and cardboard to settle, temporarily at least, under or near the bridge in Del Rio, a city of 35,000 that has been severely strained by migrant flows in recent months.

Migrants pitched tents and built makeshift shelters from giant reeds known as carrizo cane. Many bathed and washed clothing in the river.

The vast majority of the migrants at the bridge on Friday were Haitian, said Val Verde County Judge Lewis Owens, who is the county's top elected official and whose jurisdiction includes Del Rio. Some families had been under the bridge for as long as six days.

Trash piles were 10 feet (3.1 meters) wide, and at least two women had given birth, including one who tested positive for COVID-19 after being taken to a hospital, Owens said.

The county's sheriff, Frank Joe Martinez, estimated the crowd to be 13,700 and said more Haitians were traveling through Mexico by bus.

The flight plan, while potentially massive in scale, hinges on how Haitians respond. They might have to decide whether to stay put at the risk of being sent back to an impoverished homeland wracked by poverty and political instability or return to Mexico. Unaccompanied children are exempt from fast-track expulsions.

About 500 Haitians were ordered off buses by Mexican immigration authorities in the state of Tamaulipas, about 120 miles (200 kilometers) south of the Texas border, the state government said in a news release Friday. They continued toward the border on foot.

Haitians have been migrating to the U.S. in large numbers from South America for several years, many having left their Caribbean nation after a devastating earthquake in 2010. After jobs dried up from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, many made the dangerous trek by foot, bus and car to the U.S. border, including through the infamous Darien Gap, a Panamanian jungle.

It is unclear how such a large number amassed so quickly, though many Haitians have been assembling in camps on the Mexican side of the border, including in Tijuana, across from San Diego, to wait while deciding whether to attempt to enter the United States.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security did not respond to a request for comment.

"We will address it accordingly," Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Friday on MSNBC.

An official in President Joe Biden's administration who was not authorized to address the matter publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity said the action is not targeting Haitians specifically and does not reflect a policy shift, just a continuation of normal practices.

The Federal Aviation Administration, acting on a Border Patrol request, restricted drone flights around the bridge until Sept. 30, generally barring operations at or below 1,000 feet (305 meters) unless for security or law enforcement purposes.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican and frequent critic of President Joe Biden, said federal officials told him migrants under the bridge would be moved by the Defense Department to Arizona, California and elsewhere on the Texas border.

Some Haitians at the camp have lived in Mexican cities along the U.S. border for some time, moving often between them, while others arrived recently after being stuck near Mexico's southern border with Guatemala, said Nicole Phillips, the legal director for advocacy group Haitian Bridge Alliance. A sense of desperation spread after the Biden administration ended its practice of admitting asylum-seeking migrants daily who were deemed especially vulnerable.

"People are panicking on how they seek refuge," Phillips said.

Edgar Rodríguez, lawyer for the Casa del Migrante migrant shelter in Piedras Negras, north of Del Rio, noticed an increase of Haitians in the area two or three weeks ago and believes that misinformation may have played a part. Migrants often make decisions on false rumors that policies are about to change and that enforcement policies vary by city.

U.S. authorities are being severely tested after Biden quickly dismantled Trump administration policies that Biden considered cruel or inhumane, most notably one requiring asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while waiting for U.S. immigration court hearings. Such migrants have been exposed to extreme violence in Mexico and faced extraordinary difficulty in finding attorneys.

The U.S Supreme Court last month let stand a judge’s order to reinstate the policy, though Mexico must agree to its terms. The Justice Department said in a court filing this week that discussions with the Mexican government were ongoing.

A pandemic-related order to immediately expel migrants without giving them the opportunity to seek asylum that was introduced in March 2020 remains in effect, but unaccompanied children and many families have been exempt. During his first month in office, Biden chose to exempt children traveling alone on humanitarian grounds.

The U.S. government has been unable to expel many Central American families because Mexican authorities have largely refused to accept them in Tamaulipas, which is across from Texas' Rio Grande Valley, the busiest corridor for illegal crossings. The administration said Friday it would appeal a judge's Thursday ruling that blocked it from applying Title 42, as the pandemic-related authority is known, to any families.

Mexico has agreed to take expelled families only from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, creating an opening for Haitians and other nationalities because the U.S. lacks the resources to detain and quickly expel them on flights to their homelands.

In August, U.S. authorities stopped migrants nearly 209,000 times at the border, which was close to a 20-year high even though many of the stops involved repeat crossers because there are no legal consequences for being expelled under Title 42 authority.

People crossing in families were stopped 86,487 times in August, but fewer than one out of every five of those encounters resulted in expulsion under Title 42. The rest were processed under immigration laws, which typically means they were released with a court date or a notice to report to immigration authorities.

U.S. authorities stopped Haitians 7,580 times in August, a figure that has increased every month since August 2020, when they stopped only 55. There have also been major increases of Ecuadorians, Venezuelans and other nationalities outside the traditional sending countries of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Original Article

Report: Admin, Under Fire, Will Fly ‘Massive’ Number of Haitians to Haiti

getfile.aspxguidBC9D619F 41E1 4412 A5FE 3AFE41951D29

Report: Admin, Under Fire, Will Fly 'Massive' Number of Haitians to Haiti Report: Admin, Under Fire, Will Fly 'Massive' Number of Haitians to Haiti Haitian migrants use a dam to cross to and from the United States from Mexico on Friday in Del Rio, Texas. Thousands of Haitian migrants have assembled under and around a bridge in Del Rio, presenting the Biden administration with a fresh and immediate challenge as it tries to manage large numbers of asylum-seekers who have been reaching U.S. soil. (AP)

ERIC GAY and ELLIOT SPAGAT Friday, 17 September 2021 09:15 PM

The Biden administration plans on “massive movements” of Haitian migrants in a small Texas border city on flights to Haiti starting Sunday, an official said Friday, representing a swift and dramatic response to thousands who suddenly assembled under and around a bridge.

Details are yet to be finalized but will likely involve five to eight flights a day, according to the official with direct knowledge of the plans who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. San Antonio, the nearest major city, may be among the departure cities.

U.S. authorities closed traffic to vehicles and pedestrians in both directions at the only border crossing in Del Rio, Texas, after chaos unfolded Friday and presented the administration with a new and immediate challenge as it tries to manage large numbers of asylum-seekers who have been reaching U.S. soil.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it was closing the border crossing with Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, “to respond to urgent safety and security needs.” Travelers were being directed to Eagle Pass, Texas, 57 miles (91 kilometers) away.

Haitians crossed the Rio Grande freely and in a steady stream, going back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico through knee-deep water with some parents carrying small children on their shoulders. Unable to buy supplies in the U.S., they returned briefly to Mexico for food and cardboard to settle, temporarily at least, under or near the bridge in Del Rio, a city of 35,000 that has been severely strained by migrant flows in recent months.

Migrants pitched tents and built makeshift shelters from giant reeds known as carrizo cane. Many bathed and washed clothing in the river.

The vast majority of the migrants at the bridge on Friday were Haitian, said Val Verde County Judge Lewis Owens, who is the county's top elected official and whose jurisdiction includes Del Rio. Some families have been under the bridge for as long as six days.

Trash piles were 10 feet (3.1 meters) wide, and at least two women have given birth, including one who tested positive for COVID-19 after being taken to a hospital, Owens said.

Val Verde County Sheriff Frank Joe Martinez estimated the crowd at 13,700 and said more Haitians were traveling through Mexico by bus.

About 500 Haitians were ordered off buses by Mexican immigration authorities in the state of Tamaulipas, about 120 miles (200 kilometers) south of the Texas border, the state government said in a press release Friday. They continued toward the border on foot.

Haitians have been migrating to the U.S. in large numbers from South America for several years, many of them having left the Caribbean nation after a devastating earthquake in 2010. After jobs dried up from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, many made the dangerous trek by foot, bus and car to the U.S. border, including through the infamous Darien Gap, a Panamanian jungle.

It is unclear how such a large number amassed so quickly, though many Haitians have been assembling in camps on the Mexican side of the border, including in Tijuana, across from San Diego, to wait while deciding whether to attempt to enter the United States.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security did not respond to a request for comment. “We will address it accordingly,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on MSNBC.

The Federal Aviation Administration, acting on a Border Patrol request, restricted drone flights around the bridge until Sept. 30, generally barring operations at or below 1,000 feet (305 meters) unless for security or law enforcement purposes.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican and frequent critic of President Joe Biden, said federal officials told him migrants under the bridge would be moved by the Defense Department to Arizona, California and elsewhere on the Texas border.

Some Haitians at the camp have lived in Mexican cities on the U.S. border for some time, moving often between them, while others arrived recently after being stuck near Mexico's southern border with Guatemala, said Nicole Phillips, the legal director for advocacy group Haitian Bridge Alliance. A sense of desperation spread after the Biden administration ended its practice of admitting asylum-seeking migrants daily who were deemed especially vulnerable.

“People are panicking on how they seek refuge,” Phillips said.

Edgar Rodríguez, lawyer for the Casa del Migrante migrant shelter in Piedras Negras, north of Del Rio, noticed an increase of Haitians in the area two or three weeks ago and believes that misinformation may have played a part. Migrants often make decisions on false rumors that policies are about to change and that enforcement policies vary by city.

U.S. authorities are being severely tested after Biden quickly dismantled Trump administration policies that Biden considered cruel or inhumane, most notably one requiring asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while waiting for U.S. immigration court hearings. Such migrants have been exposed to extreme violence in Mexico and faced extraordinary difficulty in finding attorneys.

The U.S Supreme Court last month let stand a judge's order to reinstate the policy, though Mexico must agree to its terms. The Justice Department said in a court filing this week that discussions with the Mexican government were ongoing.

A pandemic-related order to immediately expel migrants without giving them the opportunity to seek asylum that was introduced in March 2020 remains in effect, but unaccompanied children and many families have been exempt. During his first month in office, Biden chose to exempt children traveling alone on humanitarian grounds.

The U.S. government has been unable to expel many Central American families because Mexican authorities have largely refused to accept them in the state of Tamaulipas, which is across from Texas' Rio Grande Valley, the busiest corridor for illegal crossings. On Friday, the administration said it would appeal a judge's ruling a day earlier that blocked it from applying Title 42, as the pandemic-related authority is known, to any families.

Mexico has agreed to take expelled families only from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, creating an opening for Haitians and other nationalities because the U.S. lacks the resources to detain and quickly expel them on flights to their homelands.

In August, U.S. authorities stopped migrants nearly 209,000 times at the border, which was close to a 20-year high even though many of the stops involved repeat crossers because there are no legal consequences for being expelled under Title 42 authority.

People crossing in families were stopped 86,487 times in August, but fewer than one out of every five of those encounters resulted in expulsion under Title 42. The rest were processed under immigration laws, which typically means they were released with a court date or a notice to report to immigration authorities.

U.S. authorities stopped Haitians 7,580 times in August, a figure that has increased every month since August 2020, when they stopped only 55. There have also been major increases of Ecuadorians, Venezuelans and other nationalities outside the traditional sending countries of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Original Article

Pennsylvania Democrats Sue Over GOP’s 2020 Election Audit

getfile.aspxguid00252991 3C48 42D7 BBBA 7FB2AEC6C886

Pennsylvania Democrats Sue Over GOP's 2020 Election Audit Pennsylvania Democrats Sue Over GOP's 2020 Election Audit (Dreamstime)

MARC LEVY Friday, 17 September 2021 08:54 PM

Democrats in Pennsylvania's state Senate sued Friday evening in a state court to block a Republican-approved subpoena seeking voter information and to put a stop to what Republicans call a “forensic investigation” of last year’s presidential election.

Democrats had said they would sue within days after the Republican-controlled Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee voted Wednesday to issue a subpoena.

The subpoena seeks detailed state election records, including communication with counties and the names of who voted in last year’s presidential election, their birth date, address, driver’s license number and the last four digits of their Social Security number.

The subpoena is an outgrowth of former President Donald Trump's assertion that he was cheated out of victory last November.

“The latest ploy by the Senate Republicans is unprecedented and completely unwarranted," Democrats said in a statement. “All aspects of the certified 2020 election have been thoroughly reviewed and adjudicated in the courts with no findings of irregularities or fraud. The timeframe to contest the 2020 certified election results is long overdue.”

The 53-page lawsuit, filed by all 21 Senate Democrats, contends that the Senate Republican bid to investigate the election illegally treads on the court's duties, violates state law over election audits and seeks information that is barred from public disclosure.

The subpoena was emailed to senior Department of State officials on Thursday, according to a Senate Republican spokesperson.

The majority of the information being requested is already available to the public, according to state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat. But Pennsylvania law prohibits the public release of a voter’s driver’s license number and Social Security number.

Republicans have maintained that they are exercising appropriate legislative authority to oversee executive branch functions, and they insist what they call an investigation has nothing to do with Trump or overturning the election. Rather, they say, they are aiming to fix problems discovered in last year's election and improve confidence in elections.

“Hopefully it will accomplish one of two things,” Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre, said at Wednesday's committee meeting. “Either it will give us action items to better our laws moving forward for the next election, or we can dispel a lot of concerns about the last election. … I think both of those are good.”

Original Article

Washington Nationals Fire Two Staffers for Refusing COVID Vaccine

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Washington Nationals Fire Two Staffers for Refusing COVID Vaccine Washington Nationals Fire Two Staffers for Refusing COVID Vaccine

(Media Whalestock/Dreamstime.com)

By Scott D. Jones | Friday, 17 September 2021 07:49 PM

Two former Washington Nationals staff members were fired by the professional baseball team Wednesday for refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Breitbart.com.

The two former staff members, Larry Pardo and Brad Holman, have threatened to take their case to the federal government because the pair objected to the vaccine for religious reasons and are threatening a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

A press release from Pardo and Holman and provided to Outkick.com stated: ''The Washington Nationals terminated the employment of Larry Pardo and Brad Holman effective September 15th 2021 because the two coaches refused to compromise their sincerely held religious beliefs Larry and Brad are devoutly religious and refused to take the Covid vaccines as they are developed from and/or tested with aborted fetal cells.''

The release stated that the men followed the Nationals procedure and provided written explanations for not taking the vaccine for religious reasons. The Nationals apparently acknowledged receipt of the explanations, but fired the pair anyway.

Pardo, a minor league pitching coach. and Holman, a pitching coordinator, have been tested for COVID up to three times per week since the start of the pandemic and have always followed the safety protocols laid out by the club, according to the release.

According to Washington Post sports writer Jesse Dougherty, who covers the Nationals, the team gave employees until Sept. 15 to get vaccinated and if they did not, they would be fired.

Dougherty explained: ''On Sept. 1, the Nationals placed unvaccinated non-playing employees on unpaid leave for two weeks, giving them time to review exemption requests. If, in that time, those employees changed their mind about getting vaccinated, they could have remained with the club.''

Pardo and Holman said the Nationals' denial of the right to claim religious exemption is, in their view, an infringement of federal law.

''They plan on fighting this outrageous decision by the Nationals in the federal courts,'' the joint press release added.